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How to Submit a Screenplay


Movie studios are bombarded with hundreds of scripts virtually every day. Script readers spend their entire work day pouring over screenplay after screenplay. One thing you must keep in mind is that there is a standard manner in which you are to submit scripts. If a script reader comes across a screenplay that was not submitted according to industry standard, then you have one huge strike against you. A script reader or executive is looking for a reason to put your script down and begin with the next one. Don't give that person a reason. Read on to learn how to submit a screenplay.

Use the correct paper: The paper you use must be 8- 1/2 x 11 inch white 20# bond, and the screenplay must be printed on one side in black ink only. This is the industry standard and should be followed exactly.

Use the correct font. Courier New 12 point or the Courier Final Draft font should be used. The margins should be 1 inch around all sides of each page. The length of a movie can be determined by the length of the screenplay. Therefore, if you mess with different fonts, it will be harder for the reader to determine just how long your screenplay will run.

Have the right cover. You should use card stock that is either white or beige for both the front and back cover of your script. A script gets handled multiple times, so the card stock is necessary to protect the screenplay. The screenplay should also be held together by three brass brads. This makes it easier to take apart the script for photocopying.

Put your information on the cover page. The title, author and your contact information should appear on a separate cover page and no where else.

Pay attention to the rules. If the studio or agency you are sending your screenplay has specific guidelines for submission, make sure you follow them to the letter. They come up with these rules for a reason and no matter if these rules seem trivial to you, they can mean the difference between your screenplay being read or skipped over.

Revise after spell-check. Spell-check will not catch every error, for example, spell-check will not catch "form" when you really mean "from." Make sure you go back over the script for one final revision to make sure you have the grammar and spelling correct.

Tips
  • One page of a script is considered to be equal to one-minute of screen time. That is if it is properly formatted according to the industry standards.
  • Get screenplay software such as Final Draft to help with the form of the screenplay. It is very difficult and time-consuming to write up a screenplay with regular word processing software.
  • Have some friends read your dialog out loud to make sure it sounds real. This is a process that can be fun and will help you catch some things that just don't sound the same when spoken.
Warning
  • Don't get cute and think that smiley faces on each page or pink paper will make your screenplay stand out. As a matter of fact, it will stand and will then be tossed into the trash heap without being read.
Items you will need
White 20# bond 8-1/2 x 11 inch paper
White or beige cardstock
Three brass brads
About the Author

Steven Mitchell has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared on eHow.com. Mitchell received a Bachelor of Science in marketing, with minors in English, philosophy and communications, from Virginia Tech University.