Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Market a Screenplay

Our readers have often asked when the GREEN DARKNESS movie is coming to their local movie theater.

Oh, if only it was as 'easy' a process as step 1. option the book's screenplay rights. step 2. write the script... step 4. make the film.

What is missing in that formula is step 3 -- marketing the script to a producer or producers who will champion our script through the financing phase and getting a director interested, casting some big name actors/actresses, putting together a crew with equipment, booking locations, and a myriad of other details. And those are just pre-production and production intricacies. We won't go into the complexities of post-production in this blog.

Marketing, also known as pitching the screenplay, is an art -- a stomach churning, nerve rattling, roller coaster ride of an art. A specialized skill that we hone with every pitch we give. Whether the pitch is done face-to-face with a producer, or by having a producer read a written synopsis, or by paying companies who specialize in getting us access to pitch to big-name producers on the phone ... it's a coin toss whether the producer will ask to read the script.

During the pitch, they can sound totally enthusiastic about our project, but then they may not ask to actually read the screenplay. And if they ask for the script, it feels like forever before we hear their verdict about being involved in the project.

One producer may put down the idea of even reading a period piece, saying it's too expensive to create or not marketable; then, the very next producer may say something like  "Wow! That stuff is really hot right now!."

One may say he wants to research the book's track record more; and then, the next could ask to read the screenplay before the pitch is even finished.

Sometimes they suggest that it might work better as a TV mini-series, but they’re only interested in feature films and so won’t even consider reading it..

Some complain when we give information about the book and the built in audience, others find that information welcome. Some want more time spent in the medieval period of the story, and others are more invested in the ‘present’ part of the story.

The Executives we pitch to have to consider not only their own reactions to the story but the feelings and opinion of their higher ups whom they will have to convince. One producer knew right off the bat that her boss didn’t like reincarnation stories.

Like we said -- a toss of the coin... a roller coaster ride, but whatever the experience is, we won't stop until we find the perfect home to bring our adaptation of GREEN DARKNESS to life at your local movie complex.

Wish us luck!
Until next time --
Marla & Angela