Ask Movie Help Web: Submitting scripts

I was catching up on some e-mail recently and came across a query from someone who said he has a movie idea that would be perfect for Steven Spielberg to direct. Unfortunately this isn’t as easy as tracking down his e-mail address, even if that were public information.

The problem is that Spielberg — like any writer-director-producer — can only take on so many projects at a time. According to his profile on IMDb, he’s in post-production for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in pre-production for Jurassic Park IV and Lincoln, and will executive-produce Transformers 2. And that’s just his film projects. So the likelihood of an unsolicited script making it all the way up to him — past, I’m guessing, several levels of readers, assistants and other staff — doesn’t favor the independent screenwriter.

The answer, according to film professionals, is to network, network, network. Polish your script, do a treatment, and send query letters to agents. Check out local filmmaking groups in your area; there might be an aspiring director looking for a story to film. Take a class or join a screenwriting group. But be wary of online script submission services — don’t pay a fee unless you’re sure the site is legit. And once you have a script, register it with the Writers Guild of America. People are generally trustworthy (I like to think), but better safe than sorry.

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