Screenplay Agents: 7 Things Agents Want To See In Your Screenplay

Screenplay agents are brokers who negotiate deals between screenwriters and the people who buy screenplays such as producers, studio executives, and financiers.

However, screenplay agents aren’t just looking for great writers with great material. They are looking for 7 things that make your screenplays especially sellable for large sums of money.

Screenplay Agents Are Brokers

First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about this: all screenplay agents are brokers.

In the same way stockbrokers buy and sell stock and are paid on commission, screenplay agents broker transactions between buyers and sellers and are paid only when the deals go through.

So, when an agent reads a script for the first time, they think: “How am I going to sell this?”

screenplay agent question how will i sell this

The way in which screenplay agents answer that question may influence your choices when you decide how to write your screenplay.

While I haven’t been an agent myself, as an executive I’ve worked with all the big agencies, and as a writer I got an agent to sell my book. I get where screenplay agents are coming from and how to write a screenplay that will appeal to them.

Now, having a screenplay agent is not required for every situation and many script sales are made without any agent involvement. This article is for those of you have or hope to have agency representation in the future.

So, if you want to know how to get a screenwriting agent, consider these seven factors:

7 Things Screenplay Agents Really Want

How To Write A Screenplay Agents Will Love#1. ONE terrific role for a movie star (“actor bait”)

Everything you write doesn’t need to be a high-concept star vehicle, but it’s one of the “tickets” to join the club of professional screenwriters. Once you prove that you can do this, you earn the right to do other things.

Again, not TWO great roles, but ONE great role.

A movie star should be thinking, “This is MY project.”

Otherwise they may be thinking, “Sure, my role would be great, but who would they cast opposite me and could that person be so amazing that I might be overshadowed?”

#2. The project fits easily in ONE genre

Screenplay agents are constantly researching and questioning executives and producers. They need to keep up with what companies are looking for within specific genres to find matches with their client projects.

I have never heard a decision-maker say, “I’m looking for a film that’s a blend of several different genres.” When reading a script, a screenplay agent’s question about genre is, “Will this meet the audience’s expectations for this genre?”

#3. Super short pitch

Not a “super, short pitch,” but a “super short” pitch. Provided your pitch is compelling, the shorter your pitch is (from an agent’s POV) the better.

Your short pitch is 1-3 sentences that encapsulates the main idea clearly and concisely. Typically this a “selling” logline of your project that communicates the main idea. If you’d like to see an example of how to develop a short pitch, here’s a case study outlining the nine steps to creating an effective short pitch for your screenplay.

#4. Reading the script is not required

Controversial as this may sound, from a screenplay agent’s perspective, the best script is one where the agent doesn’t even need to read it.

After simply hearing the short pitch and reading coverage provided by someone the agent trusts, if the storyline is clear and easily understood, the agent can sell your script.

#5. Polished script

Screenplay agents are closers. CLOSERS. They are not script whisperers who will take the time to patiently nurture your script to its full potential over a period of months.

Agents have short attention spans (like most people in Hollywood) and you want them to be able to capitalize on their enthusiasm right away. Some screenplay agents give excellent notes and are skilled with script development, but most are not.

#6. Project could be made “for a price”

The lower the budget for the production, the more potential buyers there are for each script.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful of buyers who are able to finance big budget fare which makes the odds of selling that much more challenging.

#7. Potential for additional sales embedded in project

Screenplay agents know that the best time to make a sale is right after the first sale. This way they can capitalize and very likely sell your second script for more than they sold your first script – provided the scripts are in the same genre.

Top agents LOVE to hear that you have multiple projects in the same genre (rather than having scripts in a bunch of different genres). And if there is a sequel or spin-off potential in your project, that can warm the cockles of a screenwriting agent’s heart.

Screenplay Agents – Bonus Points

You get bonus points if you have:

  • An A-list attachment
  • Financing in place
  • A project based on successful, produced material (e.g. remake, best-selling book, comic book, TV show, web series, short film)
  • Ownership of the project’s source material

Screenplay Agents – Warning Signs

A screenwriting agent’s job (finding buyers and selling projects) becomes much harder when any of the following are true:

  • Script is a blend of multiple genres
  • Large ensemble cast
  • Long pitch
  • Interweaving storylines
  • Script “needs development”
  • Project would be very expensive to produce
  • Project would be a “one-off”

Screenplay agents will be less interested in your project if it is encumbered with additional attachments that don’t add value or if there are any unresolved legal issues regarding the project.

Write The Script Agents Will Love

Now, you may be thinking, “So you’re saying I need to write an awesome script? Duh.”

But that’s not actually my point.

My point is that you are going to need to write several awesome scripts.

Then, you need to choose with which script you are going to lead when you launch your career.

My suggestion is that you do not choose your favorite script or even the best-written script.

Instead, choose the script that screenplay agents will love.

That is the script that makes it most likely that you will sell all of the rest of your scripts.

If you don’t have a script right now that meets these criteria, then it’s time to learn how to write a screenplay that meets them.

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Discussion About Screenplay Agents: 7 Things Agents Want To See In Your Screenplay

  1. Bradford Richardson

    Stephanie, I LOVE your 7 Things! Thank you!

  2. Joey May

    Stephanie, I have had a few false starts thinking I could “work around” the seven points you described while believing my project was different and the rules didn’t apply. Truth is: you are right on all accounts. Without a track record, you must have an entirely honed, consistant approach that gets to the heart of it – fast. No exceptions.

    As always, thanks for sharing your insight.

  3. Dave Carter

    Painfully logical advice for any artist who wants to be commercially successful.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Well said. Not required for everyone (obviously), but important to consider for those who want to sell their scripts to the major studios and networks.

      • Lucius izuchukwu

        Pls am frm nigeria, am a screenwriter and wish to get an agent and sell the script .

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Hi Lucius,

        If you are interested in our consulting services, please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

    • phatteous

      hello Mrs Palmer . i’m looking to sell my script and i just trying find aveues to follow thanx

  4. Allison

    Wow, great post. Helps put things in perspective: agents are brokers! Of course they already want a polished, sell-able product. Smart.

  5. kirk

    This is great Stephanie. What happens when you have a great screenplay with more than role? Your information is very helpful amongst all of these other screenplay gurus who I think lead us screenwriters into traps!
    One of them says you should combine one or more genre’s into a screenplay. Or they go on about a certain story has to have 15 beats, 20 beats, or a dozen so called beats. I really think many are out there trying to sabotage us new screenwriters.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      You can definitely write movies with more than one terrific role. Of course, there are many incredible “two-handers” and ensemble films. My point is to be aware that those scripts might not be the best projects to lead with when you are meeting with an agent for the first time in the hopes of getting representation.

      Agents know it is easier to get a screenplay sold when you have a star attached and it is easier to get a movie star to sign on when they are *clearly* the star.

  6. Troy Romeo

    Now if I can harness the knowledge from your pages onto the pages of my script…

  7. Jim Ramsbottom

    Another great article, Stephanie.
    Concise. Logical. Applicable. Geared to the market.
    And you’re exactly right. First-time meetings with non-agented writers require a much different strategy than those with well-connected, proven scribes. It’s only after you know and follow the rules that you can earn the right to break them, or even know why you want to.
    I look forward to your upcoming work.

  8. stacey stefano

    Very interesting and illuminating!

  9. Duke Mondry

    Duke Mondry
    753 Virginia Street
    Plymouth, Michigan 48170
    734-459-6267
    ajmondry@yahoo.com DearSir: 9-2-14
    I would like you to evaluate HIGHLY CONNECTED, a screenplay in which a science project connects students subconsciously to a force which controls the entire game? Two sixteen year old brand new soul mates, equal in every way, as was true in HUNGER GAMES, and too smart to take school seriously, avoid summer school by agreeing to take part in the project.
    Magical control in the project is catchy, like an infection, and reflects the subconscious of the connected player – villain as well as hero. An antidote is discovered, which disconnects control, but until the connection is discovered and destroyed, a new connection is made and the screenplay twists and turns around the good and evil of the game through an optional number of computer generated special effects featuring a feeble reactive military intervention; controlled meteor trajectory guidance and other controlled natural weaponry; and, a chilling example of a connected monster – half human and half evil fiend – delivering lethal lightning bursts from its finger tips as it pursues the heroes, until comedy and young love save the day and resolve all conflicts. The special effects can be realized quite inexpensively and even deleted for a TV show or stage play or added for a lion’s share of a competitive summer time market without detracting from the story. In any event plenty of latitude exists in the story to completely penetrate any desired market. The screenplay moves along like WAR GAMES, but it defines a much broader game with much higher stakes-the very existence of the universe, not to mention that of the soul mates. Wouldn’t you like Amy Adams, Ema Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Brooklyn Decker, Ashanti, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kristin Stewart or Jessica Alba to star? How about Justin Timberlake, Tom Cruise, Robert Pattinson,Taylor Lautner or Bradley Cooper?
    I published an editorial on high level scams, wrote a textbook on medical rip-offs; wrote a poem and fictional account of life from an esoteric point of view; and, wrote a novel examining power and control along with its consequences throughout history (especially in the Middle East). I hold two patents.
    I am a medical school drop out and a mathematician, physicist, and engineer. I own a software company. I am an energy and medical advisor to the Pres.
    Yours truly, Duke Mondry

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  12. Mohamed

    Hi guys, my Name is Mohamed (32) and i live in Germany. I wrote a Classic serial Killer Thriller and would like get in contact with screenwriters bevor i come to the States. So May be we can stay in Touch. Sry for My english. See you

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  14. Laskarina Diamantara

    Hello to everyone.What an amazing page.Thank you so nuch. I would like to post the theme from the book where i will write the script.

    Dimitris Stamos is a famous photographer. He lives his life, finds love and gets a really good job in a multinational company.
    Everything seems to be going fine (or progressing nicely), until the Company gives him a difficult mission. He must to travel to belligerent countries to photograph the prevailing conditions.
    Dimitris enters the war zone, lives the brutality of war and sees people dying, caught captive and tortured for months. With his only source of power (or strength) – the memory of his homeland and the woman he loves and was forced to leave behind in Greece.
    But as he tries to escape from the dangers surrounding him in Iraq and Afghanistan, his friend and partner, Nick, discovers that the Company who has led them into the heart of the war in the east, is part of a global drug trafficking circuit (maybe ‘cartel’?). Arms and instruments are simply camouflage for this dirty game.
    The two men decide they must try to uncover the secrets before the agents of the Company kill them.
    They have to stay alive. They want to return to their homeland and their families. Together they begin a modern ‘Odyssey’, a great adventure full of intrigue and danger, starring “an ordinary man” who is anything but ordinary!

    .Please i would like to give me your opinions. Thank you.

    • Rick

      What you’ve written isn’t a theme, it’s a synopsis. A theme is a general idea such as Love Conquers All or Man vs. Nature. Themes give us an idea about how your story can give us a lesson about an aspect in life. Check out this page on themes: http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/story/development/1005-top-10-central-themes-in-film#

      Looking over your synopsis, I have to ask why Dimitris is ‘forced’ to take on this dangerous job? If he’s a famous photographer than he should have plenty of opportunities to show off his work. From there I’m a bit confused about how the rest of the pieces fit together. He’s supposed to be a photographer, but you shift him into a captive role, then shift him into being captive from the company that he works for, and somehow this company, that wanted him to take pictures, is involved with drug trafficking under the guise of an arms dealer.

      Why would an arms dealer need a famous photographer? Arms dealing is much more profitable than drug running, why the coverup? And how does the friend Nick come into play?

      The adventure side of it sounds good, but there are a lot of initial issues to figure out prior to proceeding with the odyssey portion of the story. I hope this illuminates some issues and spurs you in the right direction. Good luck!

  15. Paul

    Stephanie,
    Is it fair to say that if you have a 140 page script that you’re very happy with, but you can cut one character out and hand some vital plot points to other characters and by so doing you can drop your script to 119 pages, that you should do it? The idea being that length is so important to readers etc.
    Even if your script was better before the excision, (better scenes, better dialogue, better story, better dynamic) is it still the right thing to do to go with the lesser script (even though it still ‘works’) because of the expected conventions about length etc and therefore the likelihood of a sale?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      It’s true that readers like to see certain page counts (and I’ll admit that I’m biased towards shorter scripts too), but this is mainly because the vast majority of scripts that are submitted are too long and would benefit from more editing. More important than the page count, though, is “Are you sure your script is as good as you think it is?”

      My advice is to write a 3-5 page summary of the script and get feedback, ideally from a professional reader. Then, if that is very positive, get professional coverage of your full-length script. If you get positive coverage of the summary and script, leave it as the 140-page version. If you don’t get a positive response on the script, fix the issues as you see fit without regard to page count. Be strategic about getting feedback and you’ll be able to use what you learn to make the script not only better, but more sellable as well.

      • vladimir

        Vladimir, screenwriter. I have a script titled “LIVES FOR RENT” Its been formatted and edited a few times and now I feel it’s time for the script to get into the minds and hearts of drama lovers who could give me their fit-back. 90 pages of the story about strong and beautiful love restricted by complex interconnection within two families. The story clearly indicate that the girl was molested by her father, And that fact forces her to hide from her young lover, presumably having him the same blood as her molester.

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  17. Raymond Hughes

    Several good scripts seem to me to be the antidote. It gives the writer confidence.

  18. Debbie Richardson

    I’m loving your tips Stephanie. I write novels, and reading through the scripts you’ve provided and your tips has already improved the opening chapter so it has high impact and grabs the publisher’s attention.

    Thank you!

  19. C.L. Pike

    Hi Stephanie,
    Great post! And so true about budget.
    I’d love to write horror scripts in gothic mansions
    with gowns and carriages and bling,
    but for now it’s “EXT. CAMPGROUND – DAY”.
    That said, a good idea can go a long way.
    Cheers!

  20. Craig

    I can check every one for just almost every script I’ve written thus far. Now, if I can just get off my backside and approach some agents!

  21. Sonya Lea

    I’m a writer/ screenwriter who teaches women primarily, but not exclusively. I pass along your web site when I am on panels, teaching workshops and in my class instruction for active duty soldiers and veterans. One of the things I notice here, is that your images are of young men. Since the percentage of women writing and succeeding in making films is so ghastly, I wonder if it could start with refreshing our own imaginations? How would it be to post a photo of someone who is not male, white and twentysomething?
    Questioning the status quo,
    Sonya

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  23. Philip Onions

    So it’s basically Tom Cruise in a prison cell then!

  24. Luke Jon Isbrecht

    Dear Stephanie:

    Quick question – and BTW I would gladly, happily take your course but I am so broke that currently I am living in my cousin’s basement in Jersey 🙂

    May I please ask you which script you would suggest I run with?

    1.) A savvy art dealer unwittingly launders money for the mob and has to flee to her estate in southern England, where by accident she discovers a lost manuscript written by Shakespeare; now ‘everyone’ is after her.

    2.) An ex fighter pilot is chosen to escort a boy cloned from the Shroud of Turin to the Tree of Life and enroute is hunted by a Tracker – a supernatural being – in his efforts to fulfill his duty.

    Any help here is greatly appreciated Stephanie.

    Best –
    Luke

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Luke,

      I love that you are getting feedback on your ideas. I only give specific project feedback to my clients, but I suggest that you keep testing these ideas with multiple people to see what project gets more people interested. It’s also important to consider what project you want to write- which of these projects could be amazing?

  25. Nassoro

    Thank you very much for your article and I am finally very happy to have a site with lots of resources of my interests.

  26. Amit

    Hi Stephanie, question:
    In a revenge-action plot line, is it ok to begin with the main character interacting with his friend before that friend gets killed (thus beginning the revenge plot)? Or is it better to cut that out for a more impressive opening?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Tough to say. Pitch each scene to a feedback group and see what gets the best response. The more impressive your opening, the better.

  27. Migue

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have to say, this is a great webpage! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    Regarding this post and its Exclusive Bonus (8 screenplays you should read…) Is there a “Perfect Sample”of a screenplay that has all the factors you mention here?

    I would like to know how writing an Agent friendly screenplay (with the factors mentioned here) works against having a unique budget friendly screenplay that could have more than 1 genre (Horror/Comedy for example) and more than just one big role for a movie star.

    Do agents have different opinions on this subject? Or do they just look for specific things that a screenplay must have? (Like the factors above)

    Thanks,

    M

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Migue,

      I don’t think there is a “perfect sample,” but I recommend reading many produced screenplays in your genre. My goal is to help writers understand what agents are looking for and to give you some guidelines. Agents are looking for projects they can sell— and these factors increase the odds that they will be able to sell the scripts.

  28. Alexander Cranford

    Regarding your paragraph “A screenwriting agent’s job (finding buyers and selling projects) becomes much harder when any of the following are true:” would explain why Dennis Potter had no initial success selling The Singing Detective to Hollywood. It was only after the TV series was so well received in America that Hollywood remake was made. The script breaches points 1,2,3,4 & 7. As my script attempts to be in a similar vein, maybe I should not try selling it to Hollywood.

  29. R.Sathia narayanan Ramamoorthy

    165,Nehru Street,Alwar Thiru Nagar, Chennai-87.
    Dear Sir….I am adept in writing in Tamil. The scripts are a reflection of INDIAN conditions. I would like to write a Hollywood Script to fetch an opportunity. I know only INDIAN English and not familiar with the slang of HOLLYWOOD. Now what should I do ? Please SUGGEST and GUIDE. Best Wishes.

  30. samuel

    am so happy to have come across this, which i so believe it will go a long to help me through with my screenplays. am from nigeria a young prolific writer. may God bless you.

  31. Heath Jones

    Thanks for another great post Stephanie – again i really appreciate the information you present here.
    And for the comment about Tom Cruise in a prison cell – was that the idea for a movie or something you’d like to see in real life? (just kidding)
    Heath

  32. omar smith

    I have 5 movie scripts ready let’s just do business. I wrote these as books in prison and was able to sell them to inmates. They loved all my books and said they would be great movies. They vary from sci-fi to horror to urban street. I even wrote a western. Get with me!!!

  33. Brian

    Stephanie,
    Thanks so much for another richly insightful post. Your ‘7 Things Agents Want’ really focuses on the essence of the marketplace…I especially like your point that agents are brokers.
    An agent has come onboard a pilot and bible I wrote for an original limited series: she will be pitching this to show runners and producers, and the international market.
    The genre is historical drama; specifically, medieval actioner. Does this mean I should be writing new screenplays in this very specific (and expensive) genre? Thanks! Brian

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Congrats, Brian! Yes, I suggest writing additional dramas, even historical dramas, but if you can write something else that can be made for a much lower budget, that will be beneficial. Here’s how Evan Daugherty wrote Shrapnel and how that was key to selling additional higher-budget projects.

  34. Lorri

    Hi Stephanie,
    The box office mojo is a great resource. Does something similar exist for TV shows?
    Thanks
    L.

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  36. Francesco Lupo

    You say:
    Controversial as this may sound, from a literary agent’s perspective, the best script is one where the agent doesn’t even need to read it.
    Its exact these phrases that distroy the cinema milieu!
    Catchwords and slogans don’t make any movie at all! This proposition is also made to publishing houses where everyone only reads the headings and the exposés and then publishes the book with every literature missing. Remember the last Stephen King books…published uncriticaly. The book (screenplay) is the most important thing!
    Its exact the reason why we have that stereotype and boring milieu in the cinemas. First publish the movie then read the book or the screenplay. Not my affair.
    Remember ,Police Academy’ 2-7.
    I’ve written a screenplay born from my third novel. But you never will make a movie without reading the book – and enjoy it.
    F. Wolf (German)
    francesco.lupo@t-online.de

  37. Michael Ogbu

    Looking for a movie producer to work with

  38. Patrick Moote

    Great article!! It’s so important to have a good idea who you’re writing for before you start the process. I have been writing hybrid genre feature films for several years and have now committed myself to writing only contained thriller’s that can be made for very small budget. I have two completed and getting ready to start working on a third. At that point you think it would be best to try and get agents to read the one that will be the easiest to sell, as opposed to giving them the one that I think is the strongest film?
    Also, I wrote a contemporary Western a few years ago that is now in the top 100 in the Cinequest screenplay competition. Is there anything I should/could be doing to make sure I capitalize on any potential opportunities to try and get a literary agent??
    Keep it up!! It’s easy to feel lost in this industry at times. I so much appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge 🙂 very cool!!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Congrats, Patrick. You’re making good choices and it sounds like you’re on the right track. Rather than thinking about an agent, I recommend you focus on finding producers who are looking for contained thrillers.

  39. Val Phillips

    Hi Stephanie,

    As ever, this is so helpful!

    Two questions:
    1. When I clicked on the link for SpecScout’s scorecard of which agents are selling the most specs these days, it took me to their home page and I couldn’t find that actual scorecard. Any idea if they’re still doing it?

    2. I notice that SpecScout gives coverage, but that you didn’t recommend them. Any comments?

    Thanks again for all you do for us newbies (and oldbies!).
    Val

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for letting me know, Val. I don’t have an updated link and I’m not sure of SpecScout’s plans.

      I haven’t had as much experience with SpecScout’s coverage, but that’s the only reason they weren’t included. They have a good reputation, so feel free to try them out and please let me know your experience.

  40. elsa mustefa

    i have a script please advise me

  41. Jan Blackburn

    I know this is the wrong way to do this, but I have a true story about a time in my life where I was a chemist like in Breaking Bad but Im a girl. I ran several states for 5 years and was awesome at what I did. I have these stories about every day life then, that are out of this world crazy, intense and on the edge of your seat exciting. I have put together an outline but Im not a writer. I need someone to at least talk to me as this is a Blockbuster. I call it Breaking Bad meets Pulp Fiction. Its unbelievable that Im alive. A perfect time for this sort of thing with all the crime shows, murder shows and life in general. Please help me and you get something together and retire 🙂

  42. Lou Claudio

    What exactly do you mean by “You get bonus points if you have: An A-list attachment” (in “Screenplay Agents – Bonus Points” section). Thank you for any clarification.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      This means that if your project has a major actor who has indicated that he or she wants to star in your project, that’s worth a lot.

  43. Ehsanshokrinia

    Stephanie, i wrote the Godfather 4 which have all the seven things. Where can i find an agent for my script? Please help me. Other sites just made me hopeless

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I wish I could offer encouragement, but I have to be the bearer of bad news. Unless you have secured the rights beforehand, it’s extremely unlikely that a studio would consider a sequel to an established property like The Godfather. When studios want to produce sequels, prequels, or spinoffs to produced projects, they hire writers and aren’t looking for scripts that have been written on spec.

  44. gregory davids

    The tips are awesome. However I still need an agent for the three scripts that I wrote. Not living in the states is probably my biggest barrier. How do I cross it?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Look for an example of how the professional writers who are working in your country succeed, and start there. Succeed locally and you can leverage that success in the States.

  45. sterling johnson

    May 23, 2017
    I have recently completed a screenplay on an obscure but important Black leader, Martin Robinson Delany, America’s first black nationalist. A contemporary of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, Delany is responsible for recruiting and training black troops during the Civil War and recruiting Harriet Tubman as a Union spy. He negotiates a treaty with African Chiefs to colonize West Africa and undermine the international political economy of slavery and “King Cotton. Delany is a Medical Doctor, an inventor, an editor, publisher lecturer, a Major in the Union Army and a political agitator.
    As a Major in the Union Army Delany makes certain that that the freedmen are not exploited by Yankee Carpetbaggers or by their returning former confederate masters. He teaches the freedmen of South Carolina the value of land ownership economic and political unity. When black labor is rejected by white labor, Delany is critical to the early formation and organization of Black labor unions. Most importantly, Delany struggles to secure the black franchise.
    The story encompasses the years 1831-1877 and takes place in several locations, including Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charleston, The Islands of South Carolina, Xenia, Ohio, the Oklahoma Choctaw Territory, Mexico, Ontario Canada, London, Glasgow, Scotland and The Niger Valley in West Africa.
    Professor Sterling Johnson.
    Central Michigan University
    Department of Political Science

    Johns1s@cmich.edu
    989 317-0971
    989774 3442

    The Screenplay is about 125 pages single-spaced.

  46. Enrique MAYERS

    Plot Synopsis

    The American economy is at an all-time high but is on the verge of collapse at the hands of the crooked and merciless Ricky Cactus and his henchman and alter ego Taxman who punishes his citizens with soaring tax rates, all the while embezzling the funds.

    Growing up in the shadow of his hero father, Billy VanCash learns early on in life that his destiny is to become the next great savoir that the citizens of Arch City, and the rest of the country need. When his father falls into a violent trap, orchestrated by his one-time friend, President John Boot, Billy is thrust into action to rescue him.

    Using his newly acquired physical and technological skills, he will fight Taxman and his cohorts in order to save his fellow Americans and finally put an end to the corruption that has a stranglehold over the country. He soon finds out that with enormous wealth comes enormous power; Taxman is freed from prison only to set forth another devious plan to take down Arch City’s new superhero – Super Cash, The Crime Buster.

  47. RJ Samson

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’ve read this post in the past and thought about it recently in the context of the recent phenomena/trend/wave of “genre-bending” films. I get that we’re talking about keeping our screenplays simple, ie one genre, in order to keep the attention of a potential agent. But how does this same conversation fit into a world where many films now contain 2, 3,4, and 5 genres in one script?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I think even blended films typically still fall under one main genre. Can you share some examples of the kind of genre-blending projects you are thinking of, RJ?

  48. sarah

    I like your article as well. 🙂
    What, if I do have an idea. I am from Germany, so my english is “not the yellow from the egg”. I didn’t even write a german screenplay, let alone an english one. You can’t pitch an “idea”, right? And most of all: is there a chance that they might even accept my script, even though its full of mistakes due to language? Plus: What if my idea is not a film, but a series. I cannot write 7 to 20 scripts 😮

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Correct, Sarah. You can’t pitch an idea, mistakes due to language count against you, and if you can’t write a lot of scripts, you’re not right for TV. I recommend trying to get started in the German film/TV industry and learn about how the business works there, then see if your ideas will translate to an American audience.

  49. Raquel Sims

    I am looking for an agent to help me sell my web series

  50. Richard

    Looking for agent for my scripts similar to Empire and have tv shows written so hard to find a agent when you up and coming

  51. Richard T. Lynch

    This is exactly what anyone breaking in needs to see. It’s basically a checklist of necessities. Thanks. The best companion piece to this would be how to get an agent and/or submit to production companies, which to me is much harder than writing a polished, submittable script. I have three solids I wrote myself plus one with someone else (an overhaul rewrite of theirs with their permission and co-credit). What are the best resources (including yourself) to getting my work read?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much, Richard. I agree that getting your work into the hands of potential buyers can be as challenging as writing a great script. I am not a fan of unsolicited query letters, but getting an agent is the way most people sell their first script. Agents must be approached in the right way and I detail how to do it in my course How To Get An Agent.

  52. Angela Terga

    Snow White and the huntsman is resale cool idea. But what about screenplays not based on classics? If an A list was there why get the middle man at all? Just an entertainment lawyer would be necessary. Also if the funding is in place. The agent would be the one to query the writer in that case So I️ think that’s their job. To get funding and an a list for the project.

  53. Hamish Pillay

    I have been trying to pitch my novel as a movie/TV Series for a while now. Your list of 7 helps so much in understanding the work that needs to be done translating whats in my head into a pitch. Thanks

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Glad to help, Hamish.

  54. Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian

    Hi Stephanie
    Very interesting, indeed. I am a book writer, published in 26 countries. I wrote several scripts. I have a major default. I am french. And we don’t have agents in France. I’ll be delighted to have an agent to sell my scripts. If I am selling millions of books I think that I know how to tell a story, don’t you think?
    Thank you very much

  55. Evanda

    I am currently in search of a film agent. I need someone who can pitch my screenplay to network and movie producers. Do you have any contacts for agents?

    Thanks

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Good question, Evanda. Connecting with the right agents in the right way can be complex (and that is why I have created a course that goes through the steps) as it isn’t something that is done casually or quickly.

  56. Giovanni Vitacolonna

    If it is an ensemble idea why stray from your concept? Also you neglect informing us on how to find an agent

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Even in an ensemble idea, there will be one character who is the primary protagonist who carries the theme (and the A-story). When pitching it’s important to help the listener to understand what they are hearing for the first time and if you have too many characters, it gets confusing real quick. For more information about how to get an agent, check out The Top 23 Hollywood Literary Agencies.

  57. Orpheus Kennedy

    This is the exact article I have been looking for. It gives me the basics and allows me to form the questions that I do not know to ask. These “7 Things” will be the outline for my work going forward.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      So glad, Orpheus!

  58. Hyrone Lilly

    I write movie scripts for a hobby yet I want to actually see it become a real movie. I will get the scripts copyrighted. I let a couple of people read them and they love it. I just wanted to speak to someone who can guide me in the right direction so I make this a career. Can you help or guide me to someone who can. I appreciate you for your time. HY

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Hyrone, Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who could offer your individual guidance. Thanks!

  59. Heaven Lee

    Looking for an agent to assist with a screen play.

  60. Jonathan

    My only complaint is about ONE actor – that’s just not true. Your screenplay should be well written throughout with great characters. You don’t dumb down your other characters so the lead doesn’t get “overshadowed.” Heck in most scripts a supporting role may be the funny guy / girl or whatever else that’s very appealing but isn’t the star. Actors may be insecure but they’re not that insecure and most modern movies have multiple attachments not to mention most good agencies represent a lot of talent which they package with a script much of the time.

  61. Douglas Morrow

    I have a screenplay Sci Fi action drama. Unlimited sequels and series, literally.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Douglas – It sounds like you’ve been doing some serious world and character building. Congrats. If you are looking for guidance in regards of how to sell your project or get representation, please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com.

  62. Vladimir Shuster

    Stephanie, it’s Great. Clear, short, as a perfect pitch! Many Thanks. I’m going to use Your advices. Best, Vladimir

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thank you so much, Vladimir! Best of luck!

  63. G.J. LaRouche

    I just completed my original screenplay called “The Wager”. I’ll purchase the rights to this soon. It is my take on political satire. It’s a combination of sports history, sports gambling, and modern politics. I envision Ray Liotta to play the hero while Demi Moore could play the villain trying to get the hero. The story is heavy into sar-casm. I don’t know who would direct it. (Maybe Martin Scorcese?) Which agency would like to take a look at it? Tell me what you think.

  64. Scott S.

    John Truby is adamant that Hollywood is looking for two or more genres, such as comedy-drama.

    Is he wrong?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Scott – Thank you for your post. I don’t think he’s wrong, but I would add that almost all major Hollywood blockbusters and tentpoles have a large dose of comedy of some kind in them. So I wouldn’t necessarily go about thinking you need to write a comedy, but keep humor in mind when you’re writing dialog, situations, and character dynamics. I think both the Marvel movies and the Fast & Furious franchise are good examples of films that successfully utilize a lot of humor and comedy.

  65. Mickey Newman

    I’m curious to learn!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Mickey – That’s great to hear! Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.

  66. Amir Namin

    Hi Stephanie,
    I’m from Iran but live in US and am a US citizen too. So, my English is not good. I wrote a script which never Iran’s government let it to be filmed. I just registered my script and explained it for some people who loved that. Please let me know what I should do. Thank you.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Amir – Thanks for your comment! Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance in terms of helping you with your script.

  67. Robbie Costello

    Need a producer or director to look at my film if you have one

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Robbie – Please email me at spalmer@goodinaroom.com and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can offer you individual guidance.