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How we’re pitching our winners…

How we’re pitching our winners…

How we’re pitching our screenwriting contest winners to the industry…

Since our relaunch in February 2016, we’ve gained a wonderful, varied slate of award-winning scripts and writers, many of which have now completed their year of free script development as we prepare them and their writers for the pitching process. As our campaign to pitch them gathers momentum, I thought now would be a great time to show you what we’ve been doing for our winners and the great responses we’ve been getting. We can’t reveal the confidential details of course, but there’s plenty we can show you as this gains pace.

STEP ONE – NAIL THE SCRIPT.

Even our winners’ fine scripts usually have a few important question marks in them, from a producer’s point of view. (If you would lose your job and your reputation for greenlighting a project that bombs, you’d feel the same.) So we use all our expertise and industry experience to feed back studio-quality reports and guidance for our winners, for a year, for free. It often takes that long – sometimes even longer – to get the script so sharp and convincing that producers can’t use easy excuses not to greenlight.

The process can even go beyond the one-year mark. One of our early winners has been very ill for much of the time since his prize; another – who is aiming high – decided to give the script a big review when I fed back to him my concerns that the things I felt producers would be wary about when I gave him the prize, still hadn’t noticeably progressed in his script. The writer’s approach to feedback, and their general responsiveness and promptness of redrafts, makes more difference than the guaranteed year-long timeframe: some scripts and writers are ready far sooner, others never convince us they’d reply promptly enough to a concrete offer from a serious producer.

Remember, WriteMovies have been pitching scripts to the industry for twenty years, and launched two Oscar-nominated writers into the industry. Things are ready when they’re ready. We don’t take any cut of option fees whatsoever – so we’re prepared to put in as long as it takes to give our winners the best chance of breaking through. When we succeed in doing that, everyone wins.

 

STEP TWO – THE ONE-PAGE PITCH

We’ll show you more about these and why you might want to make one, in another article soon. But these are meant to be a short, snappy, visual teaser of what this script would FEEL and LOOK like to the viewer. In an industry where the real decisionmakers are often hard to get on the phone, it’s important to present your script in the most professional way possible – that clearly shows how this movie could be SOLD to top talent and audiences. Getting our one-page pitches right is an important way to show that we, and our writers, mean business.

In the Terms & Conditions of entering our main contests, you’ll see a promise of ‘intensive pitch coaching’. This is it. We coach our winners to prepare their logline and one-page pitch, guiding them through multiple drafts as we get this right with them. At the end of it, the writers are far better placed to present and pitch their scripts in future.

And you know what else? More than a few have found that the process of presenting their script in a one-page pitch, has made them sharpen and focus and intensify their script more effectively. Everyone wins.

Meanwhile, we often give our Elite Mentors the chance to feed back on the scripts on our slate – and the writers love getting feedback from top industry pros like them. Sometimes the Elite Mentors even get involved and help push the script forward towards production themselves, which is the best of all worlds.

STEP THREE – RESEARCHING WHO TO TARGET

From quite an early point, we’ve already warmed up the industry to the projects on our slate, because of the promotion we give our winners in the weeks after their win, and consequently when their logline is promoted extensively to the industry through InkTip. We also sometimes use our dedicated Industry Newsletters (which go out to hundreds of producers and agents) to promote scripts more widely too. But these methods are only a small part of the real pitching process. The world is busy and full of competition, and everyone you want to reach out to needs treating as an individual.

Lots of writers take a scattergun approach, approaching as many producers, directors or actors as possible. Lots of writers think the world OWES them for creating their scripts, and should now bow down before them. Good luck with that. If you don’t understand the real life of producers and talent, you’ll need a totally world-changing script in order to break through with that attitude. And, if you’re so oblivious to the individuality and business needs of the people you’re approaching, you almost certainly won’t have achieved a script that good anyway.

So, between us and the writer, we compile SHORT lists of producers or talent who we think could really go for this project (exploring all sides of my motto: Aim High, Use Allies, or DIY – Do It Yourself). We research them properly, their track record and preferences, and how best to reach them. We then make our approach on whatever platform, opportunity or situation is the one they’d be most likely to favour. With our track record and polished scripts and one-page pitches, we’ve got a good chance of getting in the door. If we’re then invited to send the whole script, awesome. From that point, it’s up to the writer and producer/talent: we keep the line open and follow up until there’s a result, for better or worse. And then seal the deal or get proper feedback that we can use to improve the script or our understanding of its prospects, and then move on to the next on our shortlist.

Wherever possible, of course, we pitch in person, or failing that on the phone. Most people prefer doing business with strangers by email, but building their trust and their image of us gets us in a lot of doors that writers alone couldn’t. Our in-person pitching in the last two years has got many of our scripts read by leading players and has earned us important new allies, some of whom put us in touch with other people who’ll read the script now it’s been recommended by someone they trust and rate.

Getting a ‘no thanks’ often isn’t a closed door, if we’ve handled the approach right. It’s just a no to this script at this point in time. But with the range of our slate – now and in the future – and all the other services we offer, we always look to keep the door open for mutual support in the future. We keep in regular touch with all producers or agents who are happy for us to, such as through our industry newsletters.

It’s often frustrating how little of all this activity we get to share with you publicly. For obvious reasons, producers and talent wouldn’t want us to share the detail of what we discuss with them. But believe me, if you become a winner in one of our main contests, we’ll be working furiously behind the scenes to take your script as far as it can go.

While many agents and writers would be annoyed to learn that the company we approach have already got something similar on their slate (maybe worried they’ve been plagiarized!), personally I welcome it. Why? Because it shows we really did get this to the people who’d be interested in it. And the praise we often get back from them is great momentum to take into our next approach.

Enter our latest contest now, or enter our next one early by purchasing a consultancy service, to get the benefit of our decades of industry experience into YOUR project.

© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.

Our Wall of Fame 2017: Grand Prize winners!

Our Wall of Fame 2017: Grand Prize winners!

Our Wall of Fame 2017: Grand Prize winners!

We look back at our Grand Prize winners from 2017 today and reveal the full Wall of Fame infographic. If you enter the Winter 2018 Contest and come out on top, you could see your name up on next year’s Wall of Fame – as well as winning $2000 in cash!

Here’s all you need to know about our Grand Prize winners from 2017… The scripts are improving every day, and we’re closing in on pitching them to our industry contacts soon…

  • BLACKOUT.CON by Ruben Bush III: “Two young African-American men find a unique and dangerous way to handle white supremacists and help their community.” Read more here
  • CHOKE JOB by David Dell Johnson: “A slick defense attorney with a penchant for getting guilty clients acquitted has his life methodically destroyed by a mysterious stranger and must embark on a desperate race to clear his name of murder.” Learn more
  • SPOON FED by Scott LaFortune: “A feisty feminist with a sweet-tooth is hired to curb the obesity crisis, then battles USDA corruption as she brings down a chauvinistic sugar lobby.” Read more

Check out the full 2017 Wall of Fame below – click on it to see it in all its might! Then, with the inspiration juices flowing, finish off that script you have sitting on the shelf and take a chance with the Winter 2018 Contest before Sunday’s deadline…

Our Wall of Fame 2017: Second Placed Winners

Our Wall of Fame 2017: Second Placed Winners

Meet our Second Placed Winners from our Wall of Fame 2017…

No way is second the first of the losers with any of our contests as you receive one year of free script and pitching development and the guarantee that we will pitch your project to industry – which is what the Second Placed winner for our current Winter Contest will also receive!

Here’s all you need to know about our Second Placed winners from 2017… The scripts are improving every day, and we’re closing in on pitching them to industry very soon.

  • THE ARENA by Belinda Whitney: A futuristic gladiator battles for his life while trying to shield the son he loves from the brutality of the arena. Read more here
  • THE FACTION by Kevin Karp: In 1978, crippled by a blown operation that sees one of its agents murdered in West Berlin, MI6 activates skeptical veteran HILL to exact revenge on the man responsible: ex-SS war criminal ALD STITZMAN, who has taken control of the Stasi-funded Red Army Faction that is terrorizing West Germany. Read more
  • FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY by Ron and Tony Basso: 70 years after an extraordinary true story of freed slaves volunteering to return to the South to spy on Confederate military forces, one spy questions if it was worth it. Learn more here.

Enter our current main contest and you can have your face appear on next year’s Wall of Fame…

Our 2017 Wall of Fame: Third Placed winners

Our 2017 Wall of Fame: Third Placed winners

It’s the final week of our Winter 2018 contest, and a great chance to celebrate our 2017 Wall of Fame. Today we honor our Third Placed Winners and their fine scripts!

Coming in third is a big win with our contests as each of the below winners is currently receiving a full year of free script and pitching development and the guarantee that we will pitch their project to industry – as the Third Placed winner for our current Winter Contest will do too.

You can see your face up in 2018’s Wall of Fame if you come in third in any of our main contests (Winter 2018 closes this Sunday!)

Here’s all you need to know about our Third Placed winners from 2017… These scripts are progressing fast and already getting attention from the industry!

  • IN THE SHADOW OF FREEDOM by Elliott Riebman and Michael Gozzard: “Inspired by the extraordinary true story of a boy soldier who escaped the Congo to become a decorated U.S. Marine, but he is still haunted by his past demons.” Read more here
  • BURNER by Bob Canning: “A Palm Springs police detective must put aside her health and marital problems to solve a brutal homicide, while the hitman responsible is now experiencing uncharacteristic bouts of guilt and anger after killing the wrong person.” Learn more
  • CHARMER by David Kurtz: “A burned-out middle-aged accountant and a young daredevil woman put their polar opposite lifestyles aside when they team up on dangerous hostage-rescue mission.” Read more

Stay tuned, as we release a special one-off Wednesday newsletter celebrating our Second Placed winners. Then we conclude our celebrations on Friday with our Grand Prize winners – as we also reveal the full Wall of Fame infographic…

Our Wall of Fame: 2017’s Featured Script of the Month winners!

Our Wall of Fame: 2017’s Featured Script of the Month winners!

Our Wall of Fame 2017: We have more winners than ever to celebrate from 2017 than ever! With 18 winners in total, we’ve seen an increase in quality from 2016, and we’re looking for that trend to continue…

Today, we’re honoring our Featured Script of the Month winners in this very special infographic (click on it to see it in all its might!) More to be revealed shortly…

Learn all about each of our Featured Script of the Month winners and their loglines:

  • GAMERS by Travis Lemke – “A man child who has lost love finds new love, but then has to kill that love after he and his Dungeon and Dragons buddies fall into possession of a magic book and summon a mysterious “protector” from hell. Shenanigans and hi-jinks abound in this contemporary comedy.” Read more
  • MARIGOLD by Lisa J. Cristoforo – “When a woman realizes her dreams are a window into her past lives connecting her to a famous actor and an 18th century Irish house servant, she embarks on a clandestine adventure to Ireland to discover the truth behind the connection.” Read more here
  • THE CHERRY ROOM by Christine Stevens DeLorenzo – “THE CHERRY ROOM (Inspired by true events.) – An undercover cop, a writer, and the owner of New York City’s most famous gentleman’s club discover a sophisticated baby-making network that supplies elite pedophiles and satanic cults with prepubescent children.” Check out more here
  • IDLE OF MAN by Joseph Campbell – “IDLE OF MAN follows the life of a depressed psychiatrist who is all of a sudden abducted by aliens and returns seeking a new perspective on life.” Read more
  • LAST RIDE OF METRO 313 by Michael Neyland – “Passengers on a commuter bus become stranded during a storm and must work together to survive strange and unnatural creatures.” Learn more
  • QUEEN OF HEARTS by Ethan Westgate – “In a world where everyone is united by a global thought-network, a small minority of people are unable to access this network. Molly Dark must lead others of her kind in a race to survive as the Network turns violently against those Unconnected.” Read more here
  • SEEMINGLY HARMONIOUS by Dengxian Cao – “When terrorists use a Mind Transfer Device to control the bodies of US officials, including the president, a Secret Service agent must battle against his seemingly own people to prevent a nuclear war.” Learn more
  • DEAD POSSUM by Jared Wayne Raun – “A boy discovers he is dead, but resists leaving his body so he can save his living girlfriend from a gang of zombie bikers, despite protestations from his spirit guide.” Read more
  • DEAD MAN’S HAND by Ronald L. Ecker – “When the hypnotist dies during a past life regression, it leaves a present-day schoolteacher and an Old West gunfighter trapped in each other’s body and times.” Read more here

Wouldn’t it be great to see your name up there next year? Well, you can! Enter the Winter 2018 Contest by the 14th January and you could see your name, face and script up in the 2018 Wall of Fame…

Free Writing Contest – Featured Script of the Month for October/November – DEAD MAN’S HAND by Ronald L. Ecker

Free Writing Contest – Featured Script of the Month for October/November – DEAD MAN’S HAND by Ronald L. Ecker

Featured Script of the Month for October/November – DEAD MAN’S HAND by Ronald L. Ecker

We chose Ronald’s script from a host of October and November submissions for its intriguing concept – which is what this free contest is all about! We combined the Script of the Month to include both October and November entries because of the off-period between our Summer Contest and current Winter 2018 Contest (enter here!) to give everyone the best opportunity possible.

 For winning the Featured Script of the Month, Ronald now receives free Judging Feedback and publicity on our website, Twitter feed, and Facebook page. Ronald will also get the chance for a free resubmission of his script to our current main screenwriting contest! A great set of prizes for a free writing contest!

Here’s Ronald’s summary of this interesting script…

When the hypnotist dies during a past life regression, it leaves a present-day schoolteacher and an Old West gunfighter trapped in each other’s body and times.

Check out a short biography on Ronald, too!

Born and raised in Florida, Ronald L. Ecker received a B.A. in English at the University of Florida, and spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Arequipa, Peru. He earned a Master of Library Science degree at Florida State University, and worked as a librarian at Barry University in Miami and with the state of Florida until his retirement in 2000.

He is the author of five published books, including the Dictionary of Science and Creationism, selected by the review journal Choice as one of the Outstanding Academic Books of 1990. His complete modern-English translation of The Canterbury Tales (with Chaucer scholar Eugene J. Crook) was a widely adopted text in college and university literature courses, and is now available free in an online edition.

He also writes screenplays and songs. His scripts have been in the Winners category in four screenplay contests (e.g., 2nd Place Winner in the 2014/15 Comedy Screenplay Contest, and a Winner in the 2016 True Story Screenplay Competition) and finalists in 14 others.

Enter our Featured Script of the Month Contest with any contest entry or by purchasing any one of our top, studio-quality mentoring services.

New Hollywood Virtual Film School Launch!

New Hollywood Virtual Film School Launch!

So you want to be a screenwriter, huh? Well, we want you to be, too! For nearly 20 years we’ve been developing writers with our mentoring services and contests with the aim of getting writers’ scripts produced. And now we’re going that step further… our Hollywood Virtual Film School is here!

WriteMovies Academy: Hollywood Virtual Film School

The WriteMovies Academy is introducing a brand new Hollywood Virtual Film School for all you aspiring writers and producers.

Opening in January 2018, this 6 month academy will put you through your paces with courses on how to crystallize your concept, how to put that down into a script, and how to sell it and work with the production and distribution – all taught by our top, experienced script analysts, producers and writer mentors.

You invest months of your life on a script in the hope that it will sell. There is nothing sadder or more defeating than a script that has not sold. You owe to yourself to give your projects the best possible chance of getting made. We provide that to you. For a few cents for every hour of your life you have or are about to invest, we will provide you with not only a safety net, but a support system that will always be there for you. You cannot make it on your own, the odds are totally against you. Let us help you: THIS IS WHO WE AREPEOPLE WE HAVE HELPED, and FEEDBACK.

Don’t blow $100,000 to go to film school and be taught by “has beens”. We can teach you to become a professional screenwriter or writer-producer for $3000 and you will be taught by successful working professionals! Let us know about your own personal situation and WriteMovies will adopt a specific plan of action to take your script or idea to the next level.

Book your place on the first Phase of the course, or all six right here… or, hey, sign up a friend for a Christmas present!

The Phases of the course, and their launch dates, and prices are shown below:

  • Phase 0 (Project Selection, Additional consultation & notes): $250 (or free if you buy all of the Phases 1-6 for $3000!)
  • Phase 1 (concept & development): $500 – Date: January 12th.
  • Phase 2 (development & outlining): $500 – Date: February, 2018.
  • Phase 3 (1st draft & coverage):
    $500 – Date: March, 2018.
  • Phase 4 (writing is rewriting & 2nd draft coverage): $500 – Date: April 2018.
  • Phase 5 (pitching and promoting your script): $500 – Date: May 2018.
  • Phase 6 (that’s a wrap): $500 per year for ongoing support – Date: June 2018.
  • Or, book your place on every Phase at once for just $3000, which includes Phase 0 absolutely free!

For more info on each Phase just click here, or to book your place for Phase 1, go right HERE.