Reports | Screenplay Doctor | Screenwriting

Ask the Screenplay Doctor: Submitting Your Screenplay Etiquette and Looking for Screenwriters

1 Apr , 2014  

Written by Susan Kouguell | Posted by:

This month, Screenplay Doctor Susan Kouguell covers pointers for the best way to submit your screenplay and answers a question. Email screenwriter@newenglandfilm.com to have your screenwriting question answered in an upcoming issue.

When I began writing this Ask the Screenplay Doctor monthly column about four years ago, the NewEnglandFilm.com editors had noted that this is not a column where writers can post their loglines synopses of projects, or submit queries – or even their screenplays. I know how challenging it is to get your query, synopsis, and scripts read and considered, but you are wasting your effort by sending them to someone who doesn’t want them. If you want to post those, feel free to do that through the Screenplays Available/Wanted page on NewEnglandFilm.com.

Of course, if you need advice about screenwriting, the business of screenwriting, then by all means, email me your question — but leave out the logine, treatment, or script. So, with this reminder, here is some advice on this topic.

Top Five Pointers for Submitting your Project

  1. Confirm that the company you are querying is indeed accepting unsolicited material. (Unsolicited is defined as work that is not submitted by an agent, manager, or entertainment attorney.)
  2. Follow the company’s submission rules. For example: If a company requests only a one-page synopsis, send them only a one-page synopsis. Nothing more.
  3. Only submit your logline, synopsis and/or script to companies who have requested it. When you submit work to a company that is not seeking unsolicited material, your work will be rejected. You are wasting your time and you are wasting the time of the person to whom you have submitted your unrequested work.
  4. Research the companies, film executives, and agents to confirm the spelling of their names and their titles. Film industry folks don’t appreciate seeing their names misspelled. Executives’ titles frequently change — the industry person who is there today may not be there tomorrow. The Hollywood Creative Directory and IMDBPro are two suggested sources (among others) to find extensive contact information for film executives, production companies and studios.
  5. Never submit a logline, query letter, synopsis, and/or script that has not been proofread. For screenplays, it is critical that you follow industry standard format.

Here is an answer to a question that I received on email:

Question:I have a true story that I would like written into a screenplay and I was hoping that you could direct me to some writers who may be able to help? Maybe students or…?

Screen Doctor There are many aspiring screenwriters looking for writing opportunities. Before you enter into any type of agreement you need to be prepared on your end. That means – figure out the terms of payment, credit, and ownership of the project. Once you are clear as to what you can offer the screenwriter who is the right fit for your project, you can move ahead and post a notice on at film schools and message boards like International Screenwriters Association ISA and Inktip. You can also post in the Classified section of NewEnglandFilm.com, under Screenplays. Always draw up a letter of agreement/contract so you and the writer are equally protected and there are no unexpected surprises. Understanding and spelling out each other’s expectations will lead to a positive working relationship.

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting and film at Tufts University, and is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and industry executives worldwide. (www.su-city-pictures.com). Susan wrote THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! (St. Martin’s Griffin) and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises, (14.95) which is available at $1.00 off by clicking on www.createspace.com/3558862 and using DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD.

On Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009SB8Z7M (discount code does not apply).

Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/.


Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting and film at Tufts University, and is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and industry executives worldwide. (www.su-city-pictures.com). Susan wrote THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! (St. Martin’s Griffin) and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises, (14.95) which is available at $1.00 off by clicking on www.createspace.com/3558862 and using DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD. On Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009SB8Z7M (discount code does not apply). Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/.