How to Submit Screenplay to the Film Agent
- A covering letter, including the writer’s contact details
- A tagline to the movie. A one-sentence summary of what the film is about. Since this is often 25 words long or less, every word counts and is difficult to do
- Film synopsis. This is plot summary of the film, told in around 250 words, and covering one side of an A4 sheet of paper. It will include the key scenes, a brief description of the characters as they arrive within the story and the conclusion
- A film treatment. A more indepth description of the film’s events, in around 25 pages. It tells the story in fast forward
- It is often helpful to have a character list. A cast list with a brief description of each character to help the reader in grasping the screenplay story
- Personal statement. This is rarely required. This describes the writer’s reasons for writing the screenplay and what he or she hopes to achieve.
- The screenplay itself
- Return postage
- Describe the film’s events in around 250 words or less
- Be told in the present tense
- Reveal the conclusion of the story
- The storytelling and the narrative style must be compelling. Every word must count. Use one word rather than two and be sparing on descriptive words, clichés and cut redundant words. The thesaurus is invaluable
- No dialogue, slang or typos must be included
The one sentence summary is a useful tool for the screenwriter in selling the screenplay. The film agent is able to get a taste of what the screenplay is about at a glance and make an informed decision whether to read the synopsis or the full screenplay.
The Film Treatment
This is perhaps the most difficult part of the submission package, but is not always requested. The treatment is something between the synopsis and the screenplay. Around 25 words long, it tells the screenplay in fast forward, but will describe every scene in the story.
Other documents that might come in handy are a brief rundown of the character list, including a brief description of each, and a personal statement, which describes why the screenwriter wrote the screenplay and the message that was intended for the audience. Again, a personal statement is rarely requested, except in screenwriting competitions
The Full Length Screenplay
Not forgetting the main item, the screenplay itself. The screenplay must deliver what is promised within the synopsis and the tagline. It must dazzle the reader and offer something unique. Comprehensive advice on writing a screenplay, covering issues such as character development and plot conception can be found on my website on how to write screenplays.
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