New England | Retrospective | Screenplay Doctor | Screenwriting

Ask the Screenplay Doctor: 2013 Retrospective and Questions

3 Jan , 2014  

Written by Susan Kouguell | Posted by:

Screenplay Doctor, Susan Kouguell, reflects on her interviews from 2013 and answers your questions. Email screenwriter@newenglandfilm.com to have your screenwriting question answered in an upcoming issue.

2013 was quite an exciting year of columns, ranging on tips about marketing a screenplay, to the pros and cons of film schools. Thank you for your enthusiastic responses to my columns.

A special thank you to all my 2013 NewEnglandFilm.com inspiring interviewees from across the country, who not only offered invaluable advice, but their honest insights into all aspects of writing, filmmaking and the film industry:

Thelma Adams: Self-described “outspoken” film critic, offered insights into the world of movies past and present, and gave us a glimpse into what critics look for in a film. https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/02/adams

Ann Flournoy: Louise Log Web Series director took us on the adventurous journey of making a web series with tips on her successful crowd-sourcing with Seed&Spark. https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/06/flournoy

Jon Gartenberg: President of Gartenberg Media Enterprises, talked about experimental filmmaking, distribution, and what’s happening to the field in this modern age.
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/05/gartenberg

Jeff Greenstein: Emmy-Award sitcom television writer, director and showrunner of such shows as Will & Grace and Friends, shared tips on breaking into writing for television, sitcom trends, and more. (Since our interview, Jeff is now the director of the new CBS sitcom Mom.)
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/07/greenstein

Sydney Levine: President of Sydney’s Buzz pulled back the curtain on the international film industry with sage advice on getting films seen and distributed in the global market.
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/12/screenplay

Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez: Award-winning Manakamana documentary filmmakers discussed the process of making their unforgettable feature, at our sit-down at the Locarno Film Festival, where they later took the stage as big winners.
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/09/sprayvelez

Genine Tillotson: Director of Harvard Square Script Writers talked about HSSW and the benefits of joining a writers group.
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/11/harvard_square_script_wri…

JD Zeik: Screenwriter and SUNY Purchase Professor who’s worked with James Cameron, Alfonso Cuaron, and 50 Cent, and more. We talked about film school and the film business.
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/01/screenplay

Questions for the Screenplay Doctor

Robert S: It seems like you can only have success selling a screenplay if you have industry contact. I’ve written 12 screenplays, but not one industry agent or representative will read them, because I’ve sold one. Please tell me how to get an agent?

Screenplay Doctor
Dear Robert S –
It’s true that having industry contacts does give some screenwriters an edge in selling a screenplay, but it is not the only way to sell your script. There are many venues for screenwriters, including attending pitch festivals, submitting scripts to screenwriting competitions, going to film festivals and networking with other filmmakers, and closely following the film industry trade publications to see which producers, production companies, managers are seeking unsolicited material to consider for development and/or production.

In my August 2013 column, and others, I offer tips to finding an agent.
Ask the Screenplay Doctor: Top Five Tips… How to Really Find an Agent
https://newenglandfilm.com/magazine/2013/08/screenplay

Thanks,
Screenplay Doctor

Luke W: I am a screenwriter – I’m fully trained in the craft of screenwriting and I know how to write a screenplay. I just need to find an agent or a manager to represent me. I’m not looking to ‘make it big’ as some people may suggest. I would just like to make enough money to live off of, doing something I love… which happens to be screenwriting. I don’t think that’s too high a goal to wish for. Is there any help or advice you can give me?

Screenplay Doctor
Dear Luke W –

In addition to finding an agent or manager, which I address in my previous response, I also suggest that you don’t narrow your focus solely on finding agent or manager representation. Put on your producer’s cap and network. Attend pitch festivals and screenplay conferences where film industry folks are panelists, enter script competitions, and contact your local film office to see what programs they might be offer or films they might be involved in. Networking with other aspiring screenwriters is a good way to share information — and commiserate when necessary. Attend film festivals to meet aspiring producers and directors who just might be seeking the type of projects you are writing.

Thanks,
Screenplay Doctor

Robert P: Where can an amateur writer send a story to try and get published or turned into a screenplay in the New England area, particularly Connecticut?

Screenplay Doctor
Dear Robert P –

Getting a story published is not a topic I cover in this column. Finding someone to adapt your story into a screenplay might be found in this publication in current, past and future issues.

For more leads, you might also want to contact the Connecticut Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media. http://www.afci.org/film-commissions/connecticut-office-film-television-and-digital-media.

For writers and filmmakers in New England, contact your local film offices for additional leads to network.

Wishing you all Savvy Screenplays and Fabulous Films in 2014!

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; http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/).

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.


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; http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/). 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.