Recently, in our LinkedIn group “Script-To-Screen Network”, the discussion of sending out screenplays came up, as it often does. One member “warned” against sending scripts to any producer that the writer didn’t know personally, then shared the fact that he had not one, but TWO scripts “stolen”.
Then another member then asked a very succinct question:
How can you get to know producers without sending them your work?
I jotted down ten (10) quick responses to this, but there are dozens more. Here are a few ideas on how you might want to “get to know” a producer- or for that matter, anyone- in the business. Most of these are “common sense”, but we know just how “common” that sense is sometimes:
1) RESEARCH. Find out about their prodco; check their website and IMDb; review their LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc. You know that you’re on these time-suck sites all day long, at least put some of that wasteful time to work for you!
2) “LIKE” OR “FOLLOW” THEM. I don’t mean stalking. Also “like” or “follow” their projects. Send a short note (“short” the operative word here):
“Saw your website today. Nice. Love the title of your current project. Take care!”
Trust me; they’ll remember your name next time you write them.
3) BE SINCERE. Anyone can spot a phony from miles away.
4) PAY IT FORWARD. If they are currently searching for a particular script- which does not fit the script you are marketing- reach out to your network. With the exception of having your OWN screenplay discovered, to me, nothing is more rewarding than introducing a fellow writer with a great script to that producer looking for that kind of great script. Most of my closest friendships with producers have been forged this very way, and you’ll often see them contribute to various discussions while also being very complimentary to me at the some time. I still help them whenever possible, and ask for nothing in return.
5) SHARE. If they post or tweet something on social media that you can support, share it!
6) ASK FOR ADVICE. Most people LOVE to give advice, especially if they can be helpful in any way. Keep it brief, and don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a response.
7) KNOW THEIR SPECIALTY. Do NOT send a horror producer your Rom/Com screenplay. Don’t send them a manuscript if they produce movies. Don’t send them a short if they produce features.
8) VOLUNTEER. If they are a small prodco, and they are filming in and around your area, offer to volunteer at the shoot. Do anything- drive people, run errands, make coffee, grip, security, make-up, etc. Do NOT ask to rewrite the script or to direct, however, unless they specifically need that and you have that experience to give them.
9) DON’T RUSH IT. Water finds its own level. If you come off as too needy, too helpful, too “stalker”, the relationship will never develop.
10) BE KIND. Thank them when you’re done. Be someone that someone else would want to work with.
There are many producer networking groups on LinkedIn, so don’t hesitate to join those as well. You will also meet producers at pitch fests, seminars, webinars, etc. Once that “friendship” develops, you’ll soon see that it can be mutually beneficial.