How to Sell a Script
We had a fantastic workshop in Austin, Texas, this weekend. Twelve strangers walked into the room Saturday morning and by Sunday afternoon each stood before their colleagues and pitched their story perfectly! And each had an honest-to-gosh winner of an idea: clear, concise, and sizzling with possibility!
I love this class! I run to teach it whenever we have one scheduled and really look forward to it all week. I love the creative exchange, love to see projects get better over the course of 48 hours, and I LOVE it when a suggestion for a script — a scene or a plot point — comes flying across the room from another writer.
It literally gives me chills when a great title, concept, and story come together. I am high for a week afterward thinking of how each will develop — for from that simple starting point, a great screenplay can begin. From that little acorn of a logline, everything we need to turn it into a mighty oak is right there!
It’s the story’s DNA!
I love the intersection of art and commerce. Saturday night, I had a chance to take a break and meet writer Mark Hacker and producer J.R. Ghaddar of Counter Clockwork Films. Both have ties to Hollywood and the business world, but have chosen to set up shop in Austin. The city is brimming with talent and energy. And Mark and J.R. are great examples of creative people putting their skills to the test — and winning.
How do I get an agent? How do I sell my script? How do I get my script in the hands of producers who will be interested? These are questions writers ask me all the time, and I’ve been there. I struggled to find an answer, fought the despair of the sound of “one hand clapping,” hung in there to discover what it took to get a sale.
Would you believe me if I told you that the way to sell a script is to do everything that is outlined in Save the Cat! Start with that killer idea! Pitch it! Get permission to continue and execute it in a way that satisfies. How many attempts will it take before you too “take a dollar from the man” (my favorite saying)? That is only a byproduct of how good you can get at formulating your ideas, writing better scripts, and getting them in the hands of those who are as excited about the intersection of art and commerce as you are.
But we are doing it! We are connecting to others who can help, sharpening our skills, networking through our writer’s groups and here on the site. And the person who is most excited about your success is me!
I want you to sell your script! I want you to have every tool, connection, skill set, and experience you need to get where you want to go. Tune in to this site each week and take a look around, from the Forum to the News section, to our classes, to our writer’s groups, we are succeeding. And if you have a question I can help you with, write me directly at [email protected] This is your best year ever! You are next!
And when you succeed you must pass on your experience and tell others How to Sell a Script!
- Simon Maxwell
You are a good man, Blake Snyder.
I will tell everyone How to Sell a Script, after I tell them about your books, site and courses.
Blake, you ROCK! The most important thing you’ve taught me? BE POSITIVE! That positive vibe that you continually share with us all just makes things so much easier.
Rich reminded me (although it’s always pretty obvious) how much your “glass always full!” positive nature is really great, and probably quite rare in this crazy high-stress industry. Is this a natural state? Has this always been your personality? Or can you point to some thing (books, people, philosophies, ect.) that helped develop this in you?
I hope I’m not getting too metaphysical! I just could use a little of that elixir myself sometimes. (Although your books and blogs usually do the trick!)
- Stephanie Jagst
Although I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting you, I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for signing my book when you met J.R. the other day. He is constantly singing your praises. Your ability to put a well honed marketing perspective on creativity is an incredible asset to understanding and becoming successful in the business. As an aspiring producer, it’s also given me the tools to identify a well structured and winning script when I see one. And you’re right about J.R… he is quite the wealth of knowledge! I’ll make sure to listen to him ;o) I look forward to meeting you whenever you return to Austin!
“The intersection of art and commerce” — that’s the phrase of the month! I can’t agree more. Really.
I’m European. I guess I’m supposed to support and defend European cinema achievements (especially those from my own country), but the thing that bothers me the most is that art and commerce don’t intersect here very often. There is a school of thought here, don’t ask me where it comes from, that art and commerce are completely different worlds; the first one is to please the intellectuals, while the second is meant to entertain all the rest — the peasants. And which respectable artist would like to create for peasants? Complete waste of time; they wouldn’t understand the “artistic” vision anyway.
Okay, perhaps I exaggerated a little bit, but there really is such tendency in Europe, no matter which country you go. Perhaps that explains why there are not too many worldwide hits coming from Europe…
Personally, I don’t see any contradiction between the both. I’d say even more; they should intersect a lot!
Because no matter how important, touching and clever ones thoughts and message are, there’s no point in putting them in any artistic form if nobody is going to see it. Every message is worthless if there’s nobody one can pass it on (at least from the pragmatism’s point of view.) Besides, who said that deep philosophical dilemmas cannot be presented in a fun way?
With this approach, I always felt closer to the US moviemaking philosophy (but only of the good ones, of course) than European. My spirit is already there, somewhere among you, only the body is a bit behind, unfortunately.
- Graham Jones
you know, the mastery of the art is one thing that all books and seminars out there try to teach, and most succeed in at least some ways. I’ve already shared on this site that your books opened my eyes beyond anything I’ve seen in the over 20 other screenwriting books I had already read.
However, what clearly sets you well apart is your ability to motivate and inspire. Every line of your blog sparkles with intensity and positive energy. You help to restore faith and belief that I really can do this!
I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, my biggest battles are not with technique, but with motivation and focus. I believe whole-heartedly that I will sell a script one day, but how motivated and focused I am may well determine whether I do it in 5 years or in 15.
So… as always, I say a huge “thank you” and urge you to keep it coming!
- Linda Frothingham
Thank you for your inspiration, guidance and feedback at all hours. Chicago loves you Blake! We will make you proud…
I look forward to the day (soon) when I can say: Thank you, Blake, we did it!
Thanks for the kindness you have shown to our Chicago Style Writers’ Group.
As always, very good information sir – and I agree that we – as hilariously fragile-ego’d writers always need to be optimistic about the opportunity, and I AM!! But I am still stumped by the fact of “HOW TO MEET AN AGENT!?!??” My story has a great title, logline, and simple to understand premise, but I didn’t grow up here, nor do I have any relatives, cousins, neighbors, etc.. who are in the industry. I would love to even hear someone say “great idea kid, but it’s not for us” rather than to not even be able to submit it because I don’t have an agent!! Should I go to the coffee shops and pretend to “drop” my script? Or go to bars as you did and strike up conversations? I love the cat, the beats, the whole nine, but most of all I love your willingness to share! Thanks Blake, and I’ll try to stay positive-
-hoping in hollywood-
- Gora M. Faal
I am now a Screenplay Writer because I read your book. (Save The Cat)
The info it contains, jumps off the pages and hugs you…. Know what I mean?
I am an Audio Engineering Major–didn’t know anything about Screenwriting prior to reading your book. I just want to say that your book can turn anyone who aspires to be a Screenwriter into a better one.
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I am convinced, Blake, that when I sell a script this year it will be because of all that I have learned from “Save The Cat”, “Save The cat Goes To The Movies”, and your blogs. And you’re absolutely right. If we follow what’s in your books, starting with that great idea, that great concept, that great hook… and marry it to the BS2, and execute execute execute… I truly believe that script will sell. How can it not?
I so look forward to these blogs. Your excitement and enthusiasm is contagious, and keep me going!