Sure, it’s not the first screenplay we’ve written, but at the same time, we’re not experts. We haven’t quit our jobs and do this for a living…..yet. So why should we tell you how to get a screenplay out there? Well, someone has to. And trust me, some of the advice will be good, because we’re testing it out for you.
Here we tell you what we did. What we did right, and what we did wrong. What feedback we accumulated, what we learned and then denied admitting we learned.
Lets assume you wrote a screenplay first though. Because putting one together is a different matter, and that’s not what this post (or series of posts) is about. There’s plenty of material out there about how to convert that great story idea you had while intoxicated at 3am one night to a properly formatted piece that isn’t just a shit load of dialogue you thought sounded cool or carried a message you needed to say. . . . . . . . >>>>>>> Fast forward a bit. It’s done, great job.
Register it. Do you need to? Maybe not, after all, it might just sit in the storage box or hard drive for years to come. Someone might find it decades from now and think its a rare screenplay that would make a great idea because by then movies are a dead art. Or who knows, things might work out sooner than that. You never know. But why not? It’s cheap and easy to register your script with the WGA, and it gives you some proof. Plus contests and companies often require you to list the registration number when submitting to them anyway.
And while you’re at it, email yourself a copy of it, and snail mail a copy of it via registered mail / certified mail, whatever gives exact proof of when you did it (though this is not going to win you a case by itself, it will help you prove your authorship). And you’re convinced its a good story, right? So then do all of the above. If not, you might as well throw it out and start again anyway.
What does it get you. Peace of mind perhaps. If you want to feel safer, visit http://www.copyright.gov or your local equivalent. Here’s a place that talks about the pros/cons of each – http://www.writersstore.com/wgaw-registration-vs-copyright-registration/
Does this matter. Only a little. Chances are it won’t happen, and if it does, you’ll need to be ready to do a lot of work, get a lawyer, etc. But the more you do, the more evidence you have. So get on with it. And now that’s done, we can start to dive in. Next chapter coming soon.