Script Submission to Film Agents

The biggest obstacle a screenwriter must face is finding a script agent who will try to sell the screenplay to a film producer. For this reason, submitting a screenplay to a film agent must be done properly. If the film agent’s submission guidelines are not followed, the script would never get read.

Screenwriting Guide to Finding a Film Agent

Typing “THE END” at the end of a screenplaactually signifies the beginning. And the next phase can indeed be long and rocky. The submission section of film agents and publishers often contain slush piles, which are places where screenplays might languish for weeks if it does not create a good first impression. A few pointers will help avoid the beginner’s mistake when submitting screenplays to publishers.
How to Submit a Screenplay to a Film Agent

Some of the most obvious mistakes are still made, and one of them is an ill-presented screenplay. When the film agent opens the package and is presented with a dog-eared or gimmicky-looking screenplay, the chances will not bode well for the screenwriter. Agents like to see crisp, white A4 pages, firmly bound together with the writer’s contact details and the title on the front. Inside, the screenplay must be correctly presented and appropriately formatted.


Mistakes to Avoid in Screenwriting


Sometimes, less is more. Here is a list of things the submission package must not contain:

  • As mentioned above, gimmicks, or indeed, coloured or scented paper or anything unwarranted
  • An explanation by the writer on the story, or why they think the screenplay is good. The screenplay must stand on its own merits
  • The screenplay itself must not contain any prose. Only what is seen and heard is allowed on the screenplay
  •  The ideal screenplay should present the reader with lots of white paper, punctuated with short paragraphs and a few lines of dialogue per tag. Lengthy paragraphs and monologues do not look good on a screenplay.
  • It is likely that if the screenplay is more than 115 pages long, superfluous pages lurk within. Bearing in mind that a page of screenplay equals a minute of screen time, the agent will not look kindly upon a tome. Unless the writer is in the business, it is best to stick to within 90 to 110 pages in length
How to Sell a Movie Script


Some agents require a submission package, which can vary from agent to agent. It is a good idea to establish if any particular guidelines need following, such as the submission of a film synopsis or an outline or even a personal statement.  Although shorter in length than the screenplay, these documents can be quite time-consuming and difficult to write. Nevertheless, if the screenwriter is to increase their chances of success, it is best to follow the submission guidelines to the letter.


Guidelines for Screenwriters on Script Agents


If there are no submission guidelines set out, simply include a brief covering letter and return postage with the screenplay. It might be a good idea to briefly inform on the screenplay’s genre and what it is about. This is best done within one or two sentences at most. The writer’s contact details must be provided on the front page of the screenplay and within the covering letter.


Guidelines for Script Submissions


Before placing the screenplay within a stiff and clearly labelled envelope, imagine a weary, underpaid reader in the submission department of the literary agency on a Friday afternoon, opening the envelope. Is there anything within that might cause them to hurl it straight onto the slush pile without even reading the first page, or to send it straight back? If there are any doubts, do not send it. In regards to the screenplay itself, it might be a good idea to request the opinion of a trusted party. Importantly do not rush to send it off. Taking time over the submission package will be time well spent.

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