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Ask the Screenplay Doctor: Working with Independent Directors

1 Oct , 2010  

Written by Susan Kouguell | Posted by:

This month, the Screenplay Doctor discusses finding and working with a professional who can help bring your work from page to screen. Email screenwriter@newenglandfilm.com to have your question answered in next month's issue.

How would you recommend working with an independent director? For example, if I have a short film, how might I find a director and what would your advice be on working together?

If you have written a screenplay for a short film, there are several avenues you can choose to find a potential director. NewEnglandFilm.com, as well as other screenwriting and film publications, have sections containing information about screenwriters seeking directors and vice versa, and lists of festivals that specialize in short films. When possible, attending these film festivals is a great way to see directors’ work to determine if you share the same sensibilities as the filmmaker. In many cases, the directors are in attendance, which gives you the opportunity to meet them in person. However, logistics, travel expenses, and so on, might prove impossible for some, so another possibility is to register your work with an online script registry, such as InkTip. (This is not an endorsement of InkTip; I have had some screenwriting and filmmaking clients find great matches while others had no success.)

Once you find the right director for your short film, it’s important that you express what your expectations are and ask what expectations the director has for the film. Doing this from the beginning will avoid any (bad) surprises and damaged egos. Always keep the lines of communication open to avoid any conflicts.

It is imperative to draw up a contract. This contract will protect each of your interests, including any income or expenses derived from the collaboration, and ownership and rights of the film.

To learn more about collaborations, contracts, and the business of screenwriting, read my book The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! www.su-city-pictures.com; su-city-pictures.blogspot.com.

You can follow my Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell Twitter page to receive more Savvy Tips about how to write, structure, and sell your screenplay.


To learn more about collaborations, contracts, and the business of screenwriting, read my book The Savvy Screenwriter: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! www.su-city-pictures.com; su-city-pictures.blogspot.com. You can follow my Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell Twitter page to receive more Savvy Tips about how to write, structure, and sell your screenplay.