Aspiring screenwriters from all over the United States (and other countries, too) dream of selling their screenplays to Hollywood and seeing them as a movie on the big screen. But given that selling a screenplay is a long-shot at best, most of the time it’s a bad idea to uproot your entire life and family and move to Los Angeles.
So what can you do to try to sell your screenplay and get into the market if you don’t live in Los Angeles?
1. Prepare a pitch and attend pitching events.
Just because you don’t live in L.A. doesn’t mean you can’t pitch your screenplay. Every year an event called the Great American Pitchfest is held in June in Burbank, CA. About 100 industry execs are invited to attend so that about 1000 screenwriters can pitch their screenplays.
Additionally, this pitchfest offers industry panels discussing the business of Hollywood. They also offer seminars on various aspects of screenwriting such industry pros as Pamela Jaye Smith and Melody Jackson and many other top coaches and instructors.
Other industry pitching events are put on by Inktip.
2. Write an excellent query letter about your screenplay and send it to producers targeted for your screenplay.
Your query letter is most straight-forward tool for getting your screenplay read by the industry. And this can be done without the expense of traveling to Los Angeles.
You can write the query letter yourself, or you can hire another industry pro to write a query letter for you if you aren’t exactly sure the best way to write a query letter. Some of the screenplay consultants who review screenplays also write query letters for you. You can then research the production companies who might be right for your script and send it to them.
Another option is to use a complete query letter service, such as the Query Letter Mailings offered by Smart Girls Productions. They write the query letter for you and also select the best production companies for you to target.
However you approach marketing your screenplay with a query letter, you’ll need to have both parts — writing the letter and also selecting who to send it to. It is good to learn about this process at some point in your career. But if you are too busy or feel you don’t know enough, you can hire an expert to help you with it.
The main benefit of this is that you can market your screenplay from anywhere in the country.
3. Enter competitions and contests to try to get your screenplay noticed.
Screenplay competitions are another way to potentially get noticed and sometimes get some basic feedback on your script. They will charge anywhere from $50 to $100 to enter a script into the competition.
While that is cheaper than flying to Los Angeles or a query letter mailing, you will also find that you may have to enter a lot of contests to have any chance of winning. And really it’s only the biggest contests that Hollywood pays any attention to.
And there you have it! Three approaches you can use to try to sell your screenplay to Hollywood, even if you don’t live here.[gmedia id=7]