Everyone has a story to tell. Stories pop into my writer’s head several times a day. I jot down notes on whatever paper is available for later contemplation. If you are attempting to write one of your stories into a script for a feature film, theater play, or television pilot, there are a few simple, but necessary, steps that must be followed. Industry standards are high and do not allow for variation.
Download screenwriting software (Celtx is free); it will do most of the work as far as formatting, producing a Title page, storyboarding, and converting the script to a PDF file. When the program is opened, an option will be given to choose the proper media. The choices will be: feature film screenplay, television script or theater play. The formatting varies for each media so be sure to choose the proper media formatting. There are many screenwriting programs available for purchase, most are quite costly. A word processing program will also be acceptable, but formatting has to be identical to the result of using a script writer program. I highly suggest downloading a program designed for the specific project. Watch the video tour and/or read the instructions carefully. It may be a bit intimidating at first, but the time saved and knowing the script is formatted properly will only be a benefit. Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite again. Wait a few days, read and rewrite.
Printing and binding the screenplay correctly is absolutely necessary; do not try to cut corners. If you are serious about submitting the completed script to a film professional or screenplay contest, it has to be printed and bound one way and one way only. Screenplays are always printed on white, 8″ X 11″, 3-hole punch paper. This is not debatable. Use standard white cover stock for the front and back covers. Office supply stores sell it by the sheet. The holes will have to be punched on the cover stock. Place one piece of cover stock on the front and one piece on the back. Fasten only the top and bottom holes with ACCO Solid Brass Fasteners. These can also be purchase at an office supply store. Leave the cover blank; do not type any information on the cover unless the submission guidelines for a screenplay contest instruct otherwise.
Register the script with the Writers Guild of America. The WGA has made this an easy process. Online registering is available at the mere cost of $20.00 per screenplay. Print the registration page after registering; a Certificate of Registration will be mailed to your address in approximately 30 days.
Most agents do not accept new clients without a referral. Enter the screenplay in as many contests as is affordable; the average cost is $40.00. Check with the WGA for reputable organizations before submitting any registered work. Each screenplay submission must adhere to the Submission Guidelines set by the contest administration. Pay particular attention to these guidelines and follow them to the letter.