At this point you should be well into a couple other pieces and the title should be about what to do with those “Screenplays” you have written. Friends have perhaps glanced through it, and one or two might even like it. This is the hard part now. Get it out there some more…. to strangers.
I don’t really foray much into forums, as they can be more chat than actual insight, but there are some with decent communities overall. I used to like http://www.zoetrope.com to some extent, but the well has really dried out there, and hardly anyone uses it anymore in comparison to 5 or so years ago.
Still, it was there that I learned a lot about screenwriting, by reading other people’s screenplays. And I read some pretty bad ones, from users complaining about the types of reviews that they got. This perhaps is not wise to do, but it works out well. For the most part the insight was appreciated, and it was there that I was able to refine my own craft and learn what not to do. At the same time, I hunted out some good ones, or promised to exchange reviews if they were serious. The reviews you get fall into three categories though – very very useful insight that you couldn’t pay for, nit picking about the littlest things, or they didn’t read it and made bad assumptions. Category 1 happens, sometimes.
Perhaps this is because it’s always easier to improve someone else’s screenplay than your own, because you have some sort of ties to your own. There are loads of other forums and networks where one can work on their craft, such as http://labs.triggerstreet.com/ – which I used a few years back, but have decided to give another go. It seems to be much more active than Zoetrope these days, so we’ll likely test the waters here again in the coming week or two with Alphabet Soup.
Subscribe to the newsletters from https://www.withoutabox.com and http://www.moviebytes.com/ – they’ll tell you what’s going on out there, and what festivals are happening, where to enter short films, screenplays, etc, and how other people felt about the contests (in MovieBytes’ case, and they’ve been around for a long time).
That’s right, Screenplay contests. There’s going to be a point in time, where you’ll have to set foot in these. But which ones are legit? Read around. Some are more obvious than others, and some cater to certain niches, so take time to do some research on each – especially when most of them are not free.
Here are some of the more well known ones (which can also mean more competitive), that will get your name out there.
Nicholl Fellowship – http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/index.html (average of 6-7,000 entries per year)
Page Awards – http://pageawards.com/
TrackingB – http://www.trackingb.com/
Final Draft – http://www.finaldraft.com/products/big-break/
Sundance – http://www.sundance.org/programs/screenwriters-lab/
Script Pipeline – http://www.scriptpipeline.com/
BlueCat – http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/
Writers on the Storm – http://writerstorm.com/
Cinestory – http://www.cinestory.org/
Zoetrope – http://www.zoetrope.com
They can also be local festivals such as:
London Independent (based in the UK) – http://www.londonindependent.org/
Richmond Film Fest (VA/NC area) http://themixshorts.com/
Gotham (NY) – http://www.gsiff.com/
In fact its useful to find some ones near you and thus be able to attend them should you be considered. Sooooooo….. start scoping them out and see how you fare. But only do so until you’ve polished up your work and gotten free feedback from the likes of people you know and free member places like Trigger Street and Zoetrope – along with seeing what’s out there. Yep, part of getting your screenplay out there is putting in some work beyond writing up your magical idea. That’s what they kept telling us at least! And yes, we have entered some of the ones listed above.
Next part to come soon…… thanks for all the feedback so far.