How can I sell my script to a producer?

First, find a producer who is willing to review your script, or have a reader who works for him read your script, then when he says he loves it and must have it, sell it to him.

The process of selling a script to a producer is easy, IF the producer wants the material. The hard part is writing a script that will appeal to a producer, and then getting access to the right producer.

That’s why agents exist. Literary agents know the producers who are actively looking for material. They know what kind of material they are looking for, and (perhaps most importantly) they have access.

The best way to get a producer to buy your script is to have a great agent.

But how do you get an agent, and what if you can’t?

Let’s start with how you get an agent. I will presume that you are not someone who has relatives and friends in the film industry (but if you did, I would encourage you to use those connections). Since we’re going on the premise that you currently don’t have access there are a few options open to you.

By the way, everything I mention here is dependent upon you having superior material - a great idea, brilliantly executed.

Okay, back to our journey. Depending on where you live you can contact your local film commission, and see if they have any knowledge of local film producers looking for material. You can enter your screenplay into a script competition - the Nichols Fellowship, Sundance, SXSW all have strong reputations. If you win (or in the case of the Nicholl Fellowship, get to the quarterfinals) you may find that the doors to Hollywood have opened for you.

You can attend film conventions/networking events. Nashville Film Com is a good example of a well attended event outside of Hollywood. Sundance is another place where you can mingle with producers.

Another event where you can find producers from all over the world is the American Film Market (AFM) that’s held in Santa Monica California each fall. If you have the time and money you could go to Cannes as well and network.

There are also conventions and events that are specifically designed to give writers access to producers. The Great American Pitch-Fest, Virtual Pitch Fest are two, and there are dozens of others. The caveat here is that they are expensive and only occasionally result in success.

Then there are services that allow you to reach out to producers and in turn allow producers to find you. Amazon Studios is open for freelance submissions, but other services like The Blacklist and Ink Tip allow you, for a fee,  to post loglines and/or full scripts, and submit for open assignments. Again, they cost money and not everyone has their projects purchased through these sites.

There are writing groups, and networking groups that can help you as well, such as the non-profit International Screenwriters Association, and lastly, there are companies devoted to “consulting” with you to help you find representation. These groups have a wide range of services,  but they generally cannot and will not guarantee that they can find representation for you.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy, quick, and painless path to selling your screenplay. Although, you never know… you might get into an elevator with Steven Spielberg, and after hearing your pitch he just might right a check on the spot.

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