Due to the successful optioning of “The Eleventh Plague” I was recently asked to fill out a questionnaire for InkTip Pro. This is the service I used that helped put me in touch with the producer that ultimately took my script under his mighty wing.
I really like the InkTip service. It beat sending out hundreds of cold query letters that are moved to the circular file before they are even opened. I know this for a fact because I did the cold query route, and it sucks. InkTip essentially emails you a newsletter every week detailing information about the a script or scripts certain producers are looking for. These producers are also members of InkTip and are awaiting your query, though the InkTip site. To me this is great because they will at least read the query, the rest is up to you.
It’s also great because, unlike some similar services, it does not charge per query or pitch, it’s just a flat fee, I think 50 bucks for 4 months of leads. Great stuff because I’m a writer damn it, not a doctor.
Anywho… InkTip likes to promote success stories, it looks great to potential and current members, and gives the producers and writers a much needed boost in the chest beating area. One of the questions they asked me was if I had any story that other writers or members of InkTip could relate to when going through the option process. Below is my answer to the question… If you are an artist, especially a writer, I hope you find some inspiration in my words and advice.
“The story I can relate is just one of perseverance. If you have written a good script someone will eventually notice. It is very hard in the industry to get someone to read your work, agents won’t touch you without a recommend and producers won’t touch you without an agent. Inktip is great because, if you are as yet undiscovered talent, it is targeted and puts you in touch with producers who are willing to work with you.
One of the things that I think is very important is the synopsis of the script that you include with every query. If the synopsis is not proper it not only seems unprofessional, but it may not do justice to your screenplay. I advise every writer to spend time writing a very good synopsis that accurately and concisely portrays your script. This can sometimes be harder then writing the script itself. If needed, I suggest paying a reputable source to do the job for you.
As far as the contract process goes I think that many writers are in the dark, especially if this is their first time, as it was for me. I feel it’s important to talk the contract through with someone who knows the legalese. I personally used the option negotiation process to reach out to agents. I was lucky enough to find one wonderful agent willing to spend the time on the phone with me to explain everything and make suggestions. Although she had never read my script and didn’t know me, she was an enormous help with the entire process and, I of course, thanked her generosity by sending her a bottle of wine.
I also found it important to hire an entertainment lawyer. He also helped very much with understanding the contract and helping me get what I wanted out of it. Writing is an investment and it doesn’t stop when you close the keyboard.
In the end it is important that you feel comfortable with what you are going to sign. I never worried that I wouldn’t be able to find another producer to option my script if this didn’t work out, I only worried that I was happy with what I was going to sign. I made a deal with myself only to sign a contract that I would never look back on and wish that hadn’t signed it, or wished that I had asked for something else. A producer that truly believes in your work and has the ability to get it made will be willing to negotiate.”