Screenplay Commissioning


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An introduction to the commissioning process for screenplays

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Screenplay Commissioning

  1. 1. Screenwriting Commissioning
  2. 2. What next?You’ve written an awesome, kick ass script. Yourcharacters are well developed, the plot points are originalbut believable & your ending still brings a tear to youreye…. BUT WHAT NOW?
  3. 3. What next?It’s not enough to write a great script, you’ve got tounderstand the part of the industry that is powered bygreat screenwriting. Welcome to THE WRITERS ROOM
  4. 4. There’s no i in TeamLike every part of working in the TV & film industry, getting ascreenplay to the screen is a collaborative process.Many talented staff work tirelessly to get a script sold:1) Agent (& their assistant)2) Script Reader3) Script Editor4) Development executive
  5. 5. The AgentThey will take care of the business end of screenwriting.They will find you work. Getting paid is priority 1, after all.
  6. 6. The ReaderThe script reader is given the completed script to evaluateif it should be commissioned. They will analyse it forstrengths and weaknesses, and provide a report to thedevelopment executive.Their opinion is crucial.
  7. 7. The EditorThe script editor offers a critical perspective on thescreenplay as it is written and rewritten. They will analysethe screenplay and provide feedback to the writer on whatworks and what doesn’t.
  8. 8. There are 2 ways to get a script to screen.1) Write an unsolicited script (ie/ no-one asked you to write and no-ones paying to write it.)2) Get commissioned by a producer / production company to write a script.
  9. 9. An Unsolicited ScriptThings to do:- Write screenplay to final draft (unpaid)- Get someone at a literary / script agency to read your unsolicited script- Get a script agent to represent your script- Sell your script to the right buyerIts harder than it seems. What problems might you encounter?What benefits might there be when compared to commissioning?
  10. 10. CommissioningThe other route to screenplay success is to get commissioned.To be commissioned you need to get hired by a producer or production company.To do this you’ll still need to be “discovered” and represented by an agent. How do you get discovered?
  11. 11. Competitions (once a year) (three times a year) Beware! There are many competitions that you have to pay to enter. These come with a big WARNING label stamped firmly across them.
  12. 12. Commissioning Every broadcaster has their own commissioning guidelines for writers.Normally its who you (or your agent) know that gets you in, however some production companies (such as the BBC) do accept unsolicited scripts at set intervals in the year.
  13. 13. The 1st ten pagesOnce you’ve submitted your script you come to the 1st hurdle: the first ten pages.Within the first ten pages the script reader will know if they have a professional screenplay on their hands. Have you set the story up in the first ten pages? Are the main characters, setting and locations established? Are the stories themes there? Is the script formatted correctly? Is it spell checked? Is the writing exciting & engaging?Yes – The reader will put your screenplay forward for the next stage, where someone will read the whole screenplay (unless they get bored…)No – Hello waste paper bin.
  14. 14. The readerIf the reader makes it all the way through your script and decides its something that the company wants to make then it will be passed to a development executive and you will be invited to a meeting to discuss the script and its development.
  15. 15. RewritesNow begins the hardest part for many writers. You have given birth to the perfect script. You have nurtured and grown your fable about corruption in the 16th century Papal city. Your main protagonist, the tortured priest Archibald Von Persie, is uncovering a scandal that reaches to the heart of the Vatican.“Hmmm. There’s not enough action. Can we get more guns? Should we move the setting to New York in the 80’s. And make Archie an ex cop who goes undercover as a priest. And where’s the love interest? You know who’d be great for this: Megan Fox.”
  16. 16. Links