How To Get a Script In Front Of a Producer

Producers receive far more scripts than they can possibly read cover-to-cover, or even cover-to-page 10. They also may have many possible reasons that they decide to pass on the scripts they do glance at, and not all of them have to do with the quality of the writing inside. If you do not have representation, then it may be difficult to get producers to take a close enough look at your work for them to make an informed decision.

Persistence is necessary, but so is professionalism. After you have supplied a producer with your material, it is important to follow up, not just once but possibly several times. Be respectful and polite when you do so, however, as you are looking to set a balance: between being noticed and being noticed as a pest, between self-confidence and egotism, and between the impression of aggressiveness and the impression of desperation.

Not only do producers need to want to work with your script, they need to want to work with you. When you follow up, accentuate your recent accomplishments but not to the point of implying that overlooking them would be a mistake. Do not be afraid to boast, but also do not let your boasts morph into threats (e.g., that the producer’s competitors will get the deal if he or she doesn’t snap you up).

Perhaps the producer does not want this particular script from you—maybe he or she is already working on one too much like it or is looking for something very specific for the next project—but would be open to something else you write in the future. The last thing you want to do is cut off the possibility of a future partnership by being disrespectful.

What you do want is to become a familiar name, and not only to the producers you are courting. Get to know people, including but not limited to those who might read your material. Friendships and business contacts in the industry can make the prospect of looking at your script a more appealing notion.

Communicate with producers’ assistants and junior-level development executives with the same persistence (and respect) as you do with their higher-ups. They are likely to be familiar with this tactic and will recognize your motivation, and so the same caution applies: do persevere; don’t harass.

Follow-up letters are themselves a means toward becoming more familiar, so long as they leave the impression you wish to convey. All that is necessary is a short, concise note that gives the producer a reason to want to read your work. It does not need to be lengthy; quality is far more critical than quantity here. Query letters are a matter of course for this purpose, so after you have sent a few, follow up with a phone call as well. After that, tread lightly or move on.

It is important to keep writing throughout this process. Your first script might not be the one to spark attention, and the first producer you send it to might not be the one you end up working with eventually. Diversify yourself as well as your options by continuing to develop your writing on screenplay after screenplay and by getting them under a number of different pairs of eyes.

Often, getting your work noticed is a matter of lucky timing—meeting the right person who knows the right person at the right time that the right script is ready for the right project. The more you write, communicate, and utilize your contacts, the more likely that series of “right” circumstances will fall into place.

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