How to find an agent, sell a script, and “break in” as a screenwriter [STPS #9]

When people ask questions on reddit/Quora/etc. like:
  • “how do I sell my script?”

  • “how can I find an agent/manager?”

  • how do I get a screenwriting job?”

They’re likely to get short and simple answers like:

If you want a more detailed and useful answer, you’re going to have to do some homework. Here are some resources.

Books about how to sell a script and “break in”

Breakfast with Sharks by Michael Lent

Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds by Michael Hauge

The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters by Karl Iglesias

Getting it Write and Breaking In by Lee Jessup

The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide by Max Adams

Books about the screenwriting life (including breaking-in stories)

Websites

HOW TO GET A SCREENWRITING AGENT AND MANAGER IN 10 STEPS

A Screenwriter’s Guide to Getting (and Keeping) an Agent

You Finished Your Screenplay — Now What?

WGA Writer Explains How To Become A Pro Screenwriter

Just google “screenplay marketing” or “how do I get a screenwriting agent” or “how do I sell my screenplay” or similar to get tens of thousands of more links like this one.

IMPORTANT NOTE

Most screenwriters think about marketing LONG before they have anything worth selling.

How do you know if you’re ready?

You may be ready when:

  • you have at least two very good features or pilots,
  • people who know what they’re talking about (not your buddies, not your mom) say they’re good,
  • you start placing in contests like the Nicholl and Austin,
  • you get into programs like the ones listed here, and/or
  • you get 8s and up on The Black List.

Being “ready” doesn’t mean that you’re likely to sell a script or get a writing gig, however. The odds of that happening are incredibly low.

But waiting until your work is ready, and doing your homework (see resources above) before hitting the market can save you from wasting time and effort and potentially burning bridges you may later want to cross.