So, I’ve got Nelson Nutmeg‘s Jan Caston on B2W today … As well as being a producer, Jan’s also a screenwriter and a novelist, so be sure to listen to her GREAT advice! Enjoy …
Are You Ready To Commit and Submit?
WELL DONE! You’re trained, getting a name, have your script, and you’re ready to hustle for a sale that will earn you money.
Stop right there!
Your script may have been written with your heart, but it will always be sold by your head. Curb your excitement – you still need to eat – so don’t rush to submit.
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts that will assist you in becoming a professional writer. Selling any script is sensationally life-affirming, so it’s not an experience to waste with ill-preparation. Common sense maybe, but it’s funny how this can be lacking in the spec pile and at networking events …
So make sure you …
- DON’T GET OVEREXCITED. Get loads of opinions before you submit. Hesitancy always tells where you need to do more work. Release the power and pressure of HESITANCY – both the expert’s and your own.
- DO TRUST PROFESSIONALS: – particularly editors – their knowledge can get you out of some very tight corners. Be prepared to pay the going rate for their work. Ours is a business, not a charity.
- DON’T BE A PEST: Research and understand your market. People and companies specialise. Read the trade news, network and find out who does what. Don’t submit where there’s no chance of success. It makes you look an idiot.
- DO WORK WITH YOUR MATES: Getting a script to screen involves many people with different skills working within tight deadlines, so filmmakers naturally go to trusted colleagues first. Become part of, or form your own trusted network. Make indie film.
- DON’T MISS DEADLINES – no one wants to work again with people who do not deliver, do a bad job, or cost them money. This is a breach of trust. (In the same vein, respect competition closing dates and rules.)
- DO TRUST YOUR OWN CAPABILITIES. You’ve told the world you’re a writer – now go out and prove it.
So, after you receive the response to your submission:
- DO ACCEPT what you are told as the truth. Great if it’s a sale, but if not:
- DON’T GET ANGRY! Rejection happens far more than acceptance, even to the most successful writers. Have other proposals in reserve.
- DO BE POLITE but follow up any openings that are offered. Producers may not be in a position now to put any money into this particular project, but if they like what they see, they won’t forget you for the future.
- DON’T BE A SNOT (s’not fair!). Moaners really are a pain in the butt.
- DO KEEP RECORDS – when, to whom and the outcome – a simple spreadsheet is enough. And unless invited, only submit once.
- DON’T EXPECT A CAREER, expect to sell projects. Writers go in and out of fashion. Very few make a good living over a lifetime’s career.
So, you want to be a professional?
Then act like one. You’ll need to be tough – and that means on yourself too.
Plus, of course, you WILL need that little extra smattering of luck.
BIO: Jan Caston is a screenwriter/producer with www.nelsonnutmegpictures.com. Her latest novel – Normal Dating, a contemporary comedy romance, comes out on 9 October 2017. Details www.brackenbraeandashby.com or www.jancaston.com
More on this blog about writing careers
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