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How Producers and Production Companies Should Conduct Screenplay Searches

Updated: Apr 8, 2023



In the past, we have discussed proper etiquette, procedure, and protocol for screenwriters looking to submit to screenplay searches and job leads. However, there is very little information on the web that explains the way in which a producer or company should submit a search for a script or writer. In this blog, we will specifically focus on posting SCREENPLAY SEARCHES. For SCREENWRITER SEARCHES, CLICK HERE.


Over the past 10 years, Screenwriting Staffing has facilitated over 300+ success stories, with over 105 of them produced to screen. After vetting industry professionals who want to post on our site, we have found that the producers and companies that find the right script and/or candidate tend to post in a specific way. If you are looking for your next script, we can help!


While there is no right or wrong way to post a screenwriting advertisement, there are some tips and tricks industry professionals should consider in order to get the most out of their posting.


THE BASICS. Although it may seem obvious, producers should start off by stating what format/medium they are looking for. This could be a Feature, Short, TV Pilot, Telemovie, Web-Series, or Commercial. Unfortunately, some writers don’t follow instructions, and these are often the ones who find little to no success. However, by stating something so obvious, like seeking ONLY FEATURE-LENGTH SCRIPTS, you have already narrowed down your search and eliminated unnecessary submissions.


Next, specify the GENRE. However, to get the specific genre you are looking for, just saying DRAMA or HORROR is not enough. For example, are you looking for a CHARACTER-DRIVEN DRAMA? Is the horror film supposed to be contained? If you are looking for a FAMILY film, you may want to be more specific. Just saying “family” leaves too much room for interpretation. Should it be a script geared to KIDS? Is it a FAITH-BASED family film? Using words such as GROUNDED, SMART, HIGH CONCEPT, PLOT-DRIVEN, ADULT, BLACK COMEDY, NOIR, LOW OR HIGH BROW, DARK, SLASHER, and SLAPSTICK can help narrow down your search. For example, if you are looking for an ADVENTURE screenplay, you may want to specify if you want YOUNG ADULT FICTION or FRANCHISE.


BUDGET. This is crucial. A good starting point is 1MM, but you may not know the exact budget you are going for. If you are in a position to conduct an intense script search, you should have a pretty good understanding of what you are working with and capable of. If you are looking for an ULTRA LOW BUDGET, say under 200K, use words such as LIMITED LOCATION, LIMITED CAST, CONTAINED, and ULTRA INDIE. If your budget is over 1MM, you may want to use words such as EPIC, HIGH CONCEPT, PERIOD, VISUAL, PLOT-DRIVEN, HEAVY VFX, FRANCHISE, STAR POWER, or BLOCKBUSTER, depending on your search.


Hollywood has shifted its focus to films that star MINORITY characters and FEMALE leads. If you are open to any race, age, or gender, then it’s fine to say OPEN. If you want a FEMALE LEAD, be sure to say FEMALE-DRIVEN. If you want her to be HISPANIC, then say it. There is nothing wrong with being specific.


It’s imperative to say UNION or NON UNION when negotiating PAYMENT, as well as if you are looking for produced or unproduced writers. This saves you the frustration and headache down


Submission Policy: When posting an ad, you're already agreeing to accept pitches from writers. However, it's important to clarify what exactly you expect to receive. For example, at Screenwriting Staffing, we ask our premium members to submit a standard query letter, which includes an introduction, logline, synopsis, short bio, and contact information. But maybe you only want a logline, or perhaps you require more materials like a treatment or outline. Maybe you prefer submissions directly on your website instead of email. Whatever your preferences, make them clear to the writer. If they don't follow your instructions, it's likely that this laziness is also reflected in their script.


It's also important to state how many submissions you're willing to accept. Do you want one pitch from each writer, or are you open to multiple submissions?


Lastly, it's worth remembering that writers are often in a vulnerable position when submitting their work. They're expected to submit their material blindly, without knowing the identity of the person they're submitting to. At Screenwriting Staffing, we require transparency, but it's always appreciated when industry pros state their full name, past work/credits, and links where writers can vet them. This can include IMDb, a company page, or even Twitter. Screenwriters appreciate this level of openness, and it helps establish trust between both parties.


By following these SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS, you will get the most out of your search.


Our next blog will be about conducting a SCREENWRITER SEARCH for your next project.


At Screenwriting Staffing, we are constantly seeking out skilled and proficient industry professionals to feature on our site. If you're a legitimate industry pro actively seeking out new material, we offer the opportunity to post for FREE without any signup or third-party form participation required. Rest assured that all submissions will be sent directly to your email.


QUICK, CONVENIENT, & EASY.


To post a SCREENPLAY REQUEST, use this form: www.screenwritingstaffing.com/search-for-screenplay


You can also browse through our many LOGLINES on our RATING BOARD.


Don’t need a screenplay but rather a screenwriter? Fantastic. Post your SCREENWRITER REQUEST here: www.screenwritingstaffing.com/search-for-screenwriter


Screenwriting Staffing is an online community that connects screenwriters with industry professionals. If you have any questions you can reach us at info@screenwritingstaffing.com.


On top of following us on social media, we always encourage producers do interact with our writers on our popular facebook, linkedin, and redditt groups:


This article was written by Screenwriting Staffing’s Founder, Jacob N. Stuart. Jacob is a seasoned screenwriter and producer with over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry. He is best known as the founder of Screenwriting Staffing, an innovative online platform connecting writers and screenplays with buyers and employers in the film and television industry. In his 10 years of running the platform, Jacob has facilitated over 300 successful sales, options, writing jobs, and representation deals. Some of the most notable projects he has helped bring to life include Hallmark Channel's 'Bramble House Christmas,' James Cullen Bressack's 'Deadly Reunion,' and Pollen Path Entertainment's 'Captive.'


With a network of over 100K writers, directors, producers, actors, and agents, Screenwriting Staffing has become a go-to destination for industry professionals seeking top talent. Jacob's success as an entrepreneur is matched only by his creative talent. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Film/Television Entertainment Business from The Los Angeles Film School, where he honed his skills in screenwriting and producing.


His films have been screened in theaters across the globe, and he has secured traditional distribution through Blu-ray/DVD. Jacob's projects have been selected for over 70 film festivals and have won over 15 awards. Though he is based in the United States, he has also made a name for himself internationally, with a keen eye for producing captivating stories that resonate with audiences worldwide.

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