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October 28, 2021

How To Submit Your Screenplay

You've got the perfect plot; your characters are distinct and grow with your story. You even have plans for the potential sequels and future series.

So how do you go about getting your masterpiece on-screen and submitting your screenplay?

Polish Your Script Until Your Sick Of It

Your first task is to polish your script until every word is perfect. You should never submit first drafts or drafts that still need work. Agents and film executives are looking for as close to the finished project as possible.

Always remember you're competing to have your script read against industry professionals, and their scripts will be watertight before they hand them over because they've had the benefit of more experience and more nurturing than you.

Fix every tiny detail that is niggling in your script. Read your dialogue out loud. Even record it and play it back to yourself. Use a spell checker like Grammarly to make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes.

Get Some Feedback

Only once you've polished your script and made it as good as possible should you start seeking out some feedback.  

Ask some friends who will give you some honest and objective opinions about your work. If you can, try to get it read by people in the industry as you can.

Feedback is vital to the screenplay process. Get as many comprehensive notes from as many people as you can.


This feedback might give you insights into your script that you'd never considered. Always try to establish whether what someone has said about your writings chimes with you.

If you think their feedback is misguided, remember you don't have to implement it. But don't dismiss feedback out of hand just because it's critical of your work. You have to put your ego to one side when it comes to feedback.

Format Your Script Correctly Using Screenwriting Software

After you finish the final draft of your script, you need to make sure that you format your script correctly before you make any screenplay submissions. This is a must if you want to make it in the film and TV industry.

Thankfully, it's straightforward to do this, and you have lots of options to consider. If you've written your script in Microsoft Word and want to keep it in Word, you could download a free template here.

Word will prompt you to enter necessary details about your script, such as title, episode number, and character names. You can then import your script into it.  

However, dealing with templates can still be a nightmare. Nowadays, affordable industry-standard scriptwriting software programs like Arc Studio Pro can format your script correctly from the start. They can also make your life easier when planning future episodes as you can group different scenes and storyboards very easily.

Screenwriting software such as Arc Studio Pro makes formatting your script and organizing your ideas a breeze.


Always check the submission guidelines of the agent or executive you are submitting your script to.  

Use Your Connections Before You Submit Your Screenplay

Before you begin sending out what is known in the industry as unsolicited submissions - blind pitching - you should try to find a way into the industry by using your connections and networking.

Agents, executives, and directors will always have an easier time taking your work seriously if they have an established relationship with you. If you have firm enough relationships with key players in the industry, get them to read your script and make them aware that you've finished it.

This route doesn't always work out, but it is worth persevering with this. Remember that networking and establishing your name as a writer is just as important as your work itself.

Find Agents Based On Your Favorite Scriptwriters

Your first port of call when submitting a script should always be agents. Having an agent has many benefits. They can manage your career for you and help you negotiate better contracts. They also open more doors for you in the film and TV industry.

Agents have already cultivated relationships with directors and executives. When they present something to them, they will know that this high-quality work and has excellent potential.

Always follow the submission guidelines carefully. Some agents wish to see a covering letter and a certain number of sample pages. Others want to see the entire script.

Some agents accept unsolicited scripts, but most are closed. Only submit to ones that are open to submissions. If you submit to closed agents, the chances are your script will be deleted without being read. Don't waste your time!

Target your agents carefully. Consider agents that represent writers you like and admire. State this in your covering letter. Only approach agents that you could work well with. An agent you don't get along with won't serve you well in the long term.  

Instead, build a relationship with a great agent you like and work with from the very start. Tailor your submissions to each agent individually.

Recommendations

Some agents have an additional requirement. To submit to them, you must have a recommendation from a producer, executive, or a trusted course tutor at a respectful film school.

This can feel frustrating, but it shows the extent to which cultivating relationships is key to success in this industry.  

If you don't yet have contacts, you might want to consider enrolling at a reputable film and TV school. It can be expensive, but it can pay off because of the connections you can make there - you also will be surrounded by other people trying to make it.

It doesn't matter how many scripts you've written; you will still learn something about the industry by enrolling at a critical institution like the National Film and TV School. 

Enter Competitions

Scriptwriting competitions are another way into the industry. They don't guarantee that your script will be made or picked up. But what they often do offer is mentorship, attention, and grants.

You can reinvest any prize money in your script education, in expenses for networking more widely, or on paying privately for a professional edit to your screenplay.

Some good examples of competitions it's worth considering entering:

  • Slamdance Screenwriting competition. Last year's prizes were worth $16,000, and they offered free film passes and mentorship programs.
  • Script Pipeline. $25,000 in prizes, introductions, and long-term script circulation.
  • BBC Writers Room Open Call Not a competition as such but a yearly window when you can submit unsolicited scripts in the specified genre to the BBC.

Be Persistent and Patient

The key to success in the film and TV industry is patience and persistence. There are multiple routes of entry and a multitude of different opinions and voices.

Just because one route isn't working for you or you've had some rejections doesn't necessarily mean your script has merit. It means you need to keep trying. Consider any feedback you get from executives or agents very carefully.

Pro tip: An agent or executive can take weeks and months to decide on your script. Always be working on your next project while you're waiting for a reply. This is the way you keep moving forward and working at your craft rather than standing still.

Level-up your screenwriting software

With Arc Studio, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

Go to Desk
How To Submit Your Screenplay
Harry Verity

Harry is a professional writer. His first novel The Talk Show was published in the U.S and the U.K by Bloodhound Books in 2021 and he is currently working on adapting it for screen. He's also written for Media Magazine - a UK magazine for students of A-level Film, Media and Television Studies. In addition, he was a senior ghostwriter at Story Terrace from 2015- 2021, the private memoir firm.

Level-up your screenwriting software

With Arc Studio, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

Go to Desk

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