“An informative, engaging look at the inside of the dream factory.This is a terrific aid for screenwriters who are trying to gain insight into Hollywood system.”
—David Kirkpatrick, producer, former head of Paramount Pictures
“A wonderful book that should be in every filmmaker’s library.”
—Howard Kazanjian, producer, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi,
Demolition Man, The Rookie
EXCERPT — On the Road to Find Out
” Hollywood is the only place where you can die from encouragement.” — Dorothy Parker
“When you try to second-guess Hollywood, you only end up in heartbreak.” That’s what one executive told me when I interviewed her, and it’s true.
Everybody tries to second-guess Hollywood. People in and out of the industry think they know what the public likes and what the public wants, what will sell, what will not sell. But the truth is nobody really knows.
The movie business is a big business, and the prices movie companies are willing to pay for screenplays can be astronomical. Six-figure sales prices have become common, and a few writers are paid a million dollars or more per script.
If you’ve written a screenplay and spent months, perhaps years, writing and rewriting, what do you have to do to sell it? Are there any set, prescribed rules to follow? What are they? Do you need an agent? How do you go about getting one? What does he or she look for in a screenplay?
Or if you thinking about writing a screenplay, what are you going to write bout? Is there any way you can “scope out” the market to see if there is a market for what you want to write?
When I first started writing this book, I wasn’t really clear on the specifics of what I wanted to say. All I knew was that this was going to be a book about selling a screenplay.
My original idea was to interview people in Hollywood whose job it is to buy and sell screenplays, but as I began my interviews, I started to focus on what producers and executives look for in a screenplay. When I interview Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, two of the most successful producers in Hollywood, I realized their success is due to their unique ability to create material; you don’t make films like Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Top Gun without knowing what you are doing.
When I interviewed producer Peter Guber, perhaps the most creative entrepreneur in Hollywood, I learned the process he goes through in terms of isolating and defining the “success factor” in making movies, building a package, or marketing a project.
It was at this point that I began to realize this book was to be about more than just selling a screenplay and was turning out to be an inside look at the process a film executive goes through in order to make a movie.
So what started out as a text on how to sell a screenplay has evolved into book about the inside workings of Hollywood, as seen from the point of view and perspective of the people who are the writers, buyers, sellers, and moviemakers.
At a Glance
- Breaks Down the Business of Screenwriting and Explains What the Buyer Looks For
- Shows You What to Do to Get in the Door and Tackles the Pitching Process
- Provides Personal Insights from Famous Screenwriters
Everybody has a story to tell. Everybody wants to write the great American screenplay. But what do you do after it’s written? How do you sell it? Studio honchos. Development Executives. Independent Producers. What do they want? Do you need an agent or manager to get it into production? Selling a screenplay can mean earning $250,000 or more, so competition is fierce.
Syd Field gives you an insider’s look at the movie and TV industry, packed with essential tips from the pros. Selling a Screenplay is a must-have guide for every screenwriter, filled with frank real-life advice from Hollywood’s most powerful deal makers and most celebrated screenwriters.
They all started somewhere.
Excerpted from Selling a Screenplay by Syd Field. Copyright © 2005 by Syd Field . Excerpted by permission of Delta Trade Publications, published by Bantam Dell a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.