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Writing Plays/Screenwriting/the price for screenwriting


I will be attending a seminar here in Miami at the Miami International Film Festival, this seminar will have producers and people looking for writers and screenwriters. I have not have had a screenplay published yet, I wrote many of them and plan to take them to the seminar with me. My question is, for someone who haven't had a screenplay bought or published and is not a member of the writers guild, what should I request as payment of someone express interest in one of my completed screenplays or my talent? and I don't have an agent!


I am not sure what a 'published' screenplay is.  Screenplays are produced into movies or TV.
I also presume that you wrote all the screenplays you are taking to that seminar.

As to your question regarding payment, remember that you have to get the production companies or agencies to read your screenplays first.  You make the pitch and they say yes or no.  Usually no.  If yes, they then read the screenplay.  If they want to buy the product, they will contact you.

Agencies do not buy screenplays.  They accept your screenplay or perhaps your talent and market that screenplay or talent to the production companies.  Keep in mind that the agency sets up the meeting, you make the pitch.  If the screenplay sells, the agency takes 10% off the top.

Regarding payment, if you are really interested you can contact the WGA-E (212-767-7800) and ask what the recommended guild minimums are for feature films and go from there.  A good rule of thumb for previously unproduced writers is that you should expect no less than $40,000.  If the studio options the script, you would 10% of that or $4000.  Optioning is a process where the studio holds onto the script for a year seeking money to produce.

A suggestion -  Learn to pitch your screenplay effortlessly in less than 5 minutes.  This process requires a lot of practice and for you to know the stories backwards and forwards.  Be professional, not pushy, and don't be desperate.  These producers and agents see hundreds of people every day.  Stand out from the crowd.  Make the process not about you or your story; make the process about them.

Another suggestion - if this is a series of seminars, listen.  The folks talking know a lot more about the industry than you and are willing to impart some of their knowledge to you.

Enjoy your time at the film festival.

Good luck.  Keep writing.

Writing Plays/Screenwriting

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John M. Lovett


I answer questions regarding film production and screenwriting. I will answer questions dealing with screenwriting style, ideas, film production, format, and agents.


Sixteen years working in the motion picture and television industries as a screenwriter, producer, and military technical advisor. Have two produced movies TWO WEEKS and CATHY MORGAN. Worked with Digital Ranch Productions, Warriors Inc, and Nichols Productions.

CSUF, BA, 1980 UCLA, Certificate in Screenwriting, 2009

Past/Present Clients
Warriors, Inc.
Dreamworks Interactive
Legacy Interactive
Silvertouch Pictures
Synergy Group
Nichols Productions

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