THE $136,413 SCRIPT SALE (13 Great Writing Secrets… #1, 7 & 11 Are My Favorites)

THE $136,413 SCRIPT SALE

Hollywood (aka: Production company that is a signator to the WGA), according to the writer’s union minimum rules, gets paid approx. $100,000 ($72,662 to $136,413), for a Treatment and two Drafts (1st & Final),to write a script, based off an original idea they have.

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“You’re first script sale you’ll be offered WGA minimum plus 10% for your agent”

QUESTION: So what do you think they’ll offer you when you come to them with the finished script that, for whatever reason, is absolutely perfect and they love?

ANSWER: What they would of paid a writer if they developed/wrote it from scratch… Which is $100,000…give or take a little…  Duh!

For specific amounts go to the website for the screenwriters union, called Writers Guild of America (www.WGA.org) and view (http://www.wga.org/uploadedFiles/writers_resources/contracts/min2014.pdf) and you’ll discover the exact pay ranges from $72,662 to $136,413

This is nice.

The $72,662 is for a Low-Budget movie (film under $1,200,000) and High-Budget is (film over $5,000,000) assumed as any movie costing more-than $5,000,000 but marketed as “just-under” $7-10 Million, or $10-12 Million, or $12-15 Million. Yep, all those budgets they market are “just-under”…

Back to facts.

If the project is Low-Budget (under $1.2 Million) the writer gets paid at a minimum…$72,662.

  • TREATMENT… $32,922
  • 1st DRAFT… $28,613
  • 2nd DRAFT… $11,127

If the project is High-Budget (over $5 Million) the writer gets paid at a minimum… $136,413.

  • TREATMENT… $54,519
  • 1st DRAFT…. $54,519
  • 2nd DRAFT… $27,375

The one and only secret to obtaining the $100,000 SALE ($72,662-$136,413) is to write the great script.

Duh…. Obvious and simple to say… yet extremely difficult to do.

But doable if you follow these steps.

And remember; Anyone can have an idea and use free formatting shareware (www.Celtx.com) or purchase formatting software (Final Draft 9.0, www.FinalDraft.com) and knock out 90-120 pages in 1-2 months.

Not a big deal.

The key is writing the great script in 1-2 months… and to do so follow these 13 Screenwriting Tips.

13 STEPS TO A GREAT SCRIPT

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“Remember… Nothing is Written… It’s Re-written”

The big secret overall is to write 90-120 pages in 1-2 months, or 2-3 pages/day, typed in the correct format, that…

  • (1st Step) Grabs the Reader on Line 4-6 of Page-1 (Grabs readers attention)
  • (2nd Step) Grabs the Reader again on Bottom Line of Page-1 (Hold readers attention)
  • (3rd Step) Has the first 8-12 Pages easy-to-read. (Have a lot of white space. Write down-the-page, not left-to-right with exposition)
  • (4th Step) Has Characters introduced that are unique. (Make reader either like or hate each character)
  • (5th Step) Has a roller coaster 2nd ACT with 5 “UH-OH” & “OH-SHIT” scenes. (Put reader on a roller coaster ride)
  • (6th Step) Has the Reader now grabbed, hooked and he/she reads entire script. (Make reader want-to-read)
  • (7th Step) Has the 2nd ACT a great roller-coaster ride that makes reader want an ending. (Reader is hooked)
  • (8th Step) Has 2nd ACT establish the 3 Sub-Plots. (Reader is fascinated & hooked)
  • (9th Step) Has all Characters not 1-dimensional with interesting back stories. (Readers is enthralled with even minor characters)
  • (10th Step) Has 3rd ACT start page 70 (90 Page Script) or page 110 (140 Page Script) with a belief that it won’t happen. (Reader is excited)
  • (11th Step) Has 3rd ACT bringing the 3 Sub-Plots and Primary Plot all together. (Reader is happy everything has a purpose & is tide together.)
  • (12th Step) Has 3rd ACT resolve itself. (Reader wants an ending)
  • (13th Step) EPILOGUE, 1 page might be a bonus (Tease the reader)

Now… Get Real.

 You keeping hearing Hollywood, all those celebrities and dudes, sitting on those $1,000 “Variety Entertainment Financing Summits” stating “We’re looking for great ideas” and you instantly get excited for you’re sure your-idea-is-great.

Now, a reality check.

HOLLYWOOD DOES NOT WANT GREAT IDEAS.

Don’t get excited. Hollywood is not looking for great ideas… it is looking for Great Scripts. And if your script has “1-13” above then you likely have the Great Script.

You grabbed the reader right away on page-1, you make him/her turn the page and read 9 more pages. The 10 pages are great he/she is now engrossed and then reads the entire script. Plus, you have dimensional characters, with unique dialogue, and 3 sub-plots which each resolve themselves and are all intertwined into the primary story that also resolves itself… You got a Fr*ckin’ Great Script.

“Hollywood wants Great Scripts, not great ideas, from 1st timers”

Let’s assume the reader gives “good coverage” (two page book report to his/her superior), states “Must Read” and the superior reads the script and agrees “This is a Fr*ckin’ Great Script” you will now likely get an offer for Writers Guild minimum (Low-Budget) of $72,662. What the f*ck round-it-up to $75,000, with a paragraph in the offer that if the budget ever goes over $5 Million you will receive $136,413 or whatever writers guild minimum is at that date… plus, of course an added 10% for your agent.

Voilla…You sold your script for about $100,000… give or take a little.

Hold on, Stop-The-Engines, I’d be remiss if, however, if I did not say that you “ain’t gonna get a check for that $100,000 or $72,662-$136,413″, at one time from a slick Hollywood Buyer (aka: Development Executive), for he/she is not really buying your script he/she is really optioning it (first refusal right) for 2-4 years and you’ll likely only see 10-20% down.

Bummer?

Don’t be bummed!

Stay tuned for in another NO-BULL BLOG I will show you how to negotiate a bigger Purchase Price for your Option Agreement then if you really took that first $136,413 offer with a 20% check for $27,282 down for a 2 year option.

Happy Filmmaking,

Dov Simens

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6 comments on “THE $136,413 SCRIPT SALE (13 Great Writing Secrets… #1, 7 & 11 Are My Favorites)”

  1. Scott says:

    Dov is great, I did his 3 day film school in sydney 1996. Dov did a great service to filmmakers everywhere by publishing his core ideas in the volume From Reel to Deal. If you want to make movies then that is required reading.

  2. jedidiah manowitz says:

    got some examples of that kind of script
    got any written by first time scriptwriters that sold ?

  3. Gary Fladmark says:

    Excellent!

    1. joeyjojo says:

      You should not ask about “first time screenwriters”. There are isolated incidents of people selling literally the first script they ever tried to write, but even those scripts sold as much by random chance encounters as actual talent. I believe that what you actually want to know is about “screenwriters who have never sold a script before”.

      1. joeyjojo says:

        Weird, when I wrote that, it was in response to the post above yours.

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