How do you plan to put your spec into the marketplace? I too just finished a comedy spec and am thinking of using InkTip.com. Have you used it before? If so, what were your results. Has anyone else tried it, or a concept similar to InkTip. And then there’s services like Scriptblaster. What are your thoughts about those services?
John (can’t get passed 4th place!) Hart
I have long been represented by a strong agency here in town (L.A.) and they handle initial marketing of my specs. I also have a great manager who does his share, too. Before I had an agent and a manager, I networked fairly aggressively and submitted scripts directly upon invitation. I have never sent a query letter to anyone and have never used a service like Inktip or Scriptblaster.
When I’ve been on the producing end of things looking for quality scripts, I did receive Inktip’s magazine which lists pitches. I don’t know how it happened to come to me since I never ordered it. I did not read it because I knew it was a pay-to-list service. Unlike agencies, which have some incentive to make sure the writing is marketable before they submit it, pay-to-list services do not. The material they list has had absolutely no professional eyes on it and no professional judgment. Ninety-nine percent of it is junk and neither I nor most producers have ever had the resources to review it to find the few diamonds.
Other services review your material for a fee, give you “coverage”, and claim that, if they like it, they will present it for you directly to industry professionals. These services claim to have sold some scripts. The services are very controversial for a number of reasons. Alex Epstein’s blog, Complications Ensue, has some material that presents both sides of the controversy – see it here.
A much sounder approach to your writing career is to share your writing through networking. As you network, you get real and continuous feedback on your scripts. It is a tough road because everyone has an opinion about your writing and most of the opinions can really shake your confidence. However, if you hang in and keep networking, you will develop a thick skin, learn how to channel input constructively, and improve your writing. The very process of working to make contacts for script submissions tends to help hone your craft.
While it is much easier to network from Los Angeles, you can do it from anywhere working through writing teachers, legitimate screenwriting contests, and other resources, honing your craft and getting your material submitted in ways that will get it noticed. It feels very hard to get noticed, but I can tell you from experience, once the writing really shines, it suddenly gets very easy to get noticed. Then begins the next level of hell – moving from getting noticed to making a first sale. But that’s a whole other topic.
Good luck with the spec.
A screenplay is a super-condensed description of events. Each word must convey a substantial amount of information, not the least of which is the emotion of the character or moment. There is very little room for neutral language. Phrases like “he looks at her” are not helpful. To help me increase my “emotional vocabulary”, I have compiled a list of words that convey greater emotion. I offer a downloadable version of that list to you now.
NOTE OF CAUTION: Whenever you download a file, there is a possibility of it containing a virus. I have scanned this file and have no known virus issues on my computer. However, the file is offered “as is.”
Click here to get the RTF format file.