- Finding a writer for your project.
- You have a great idea – you know the story you would like to tell, you can visualise it
- … but you’re a producer or director not a screenwriter.
- You need a writer to interpret that vision and to breathe life into your characters; to create the world for the audience.
How do you go about finding a writer for your project?
- So, how do you go about finding a writer for your project?
- Sign up to screenwriting magazines / online forums and check the writer listings.
- Contact agencies who represent writers – the WGA, talent agencies etc
- Talk to people you know in the industry – tell them about the type of movie you are looking to make and see if friends have suggestions about finding a writer for your project.
- Maybe there is a spec screenplay (one that’s already written) that is close to your film idea – adapt that with the writer.
Where will you find a writer
- Check where there are writing seminars and network – find a writer with a style that suits yours as a filmmaker.
- If you don’t have much money to pay a writer, you could find a ‘newbie’ via the film festival circuit – writers who are submitting work in order to get known
- Public bodies – e.g. Northern Ireland Screen; BFI; Creative England have schemes to support new writers – get in touch with them.
What type of writer do you need
- How do you go about finding a writer for the type of story you are hoping to make for a price you can afford i.e. there’s no point hiring a horror genre writer if you’re developing a period drama.
- Look at their writing background:
- What has the screenwriter done previously.
- Look at writing samples – read and get a feel for their writing style.
- Will their writing suit the story you are looking to tell?
- TV or Film – there is of course a ‘blur’ between the two – writers for film and TV are crossing over.
- However, a writer who has worked mainly in TV will approach a story in a different way to one with feature experience.
- The development process can be slow, painful & frustrating – costly too.
- There are no guarantees that the script will be good or that studios will respond.
- Always remember that the screenplay is part of the process – ultimately you are writing a script in order to get a movie made.
- You need to get the attention of funders / sales agents / studios.
- Make sure the movie you’re looking to shoot has a clear audience in mind.
Finding a writer for your project when you don’t have much money ..
- When approaching writers’ agents be prepared for the question about fees.
- Experienced writers will be unlikely to work for free with an unknown on a new idea.
- However, writers with fewer credits may at least be willing to meet you if your idea is well thought out.
- Offer the writer a chance to be an Executive Producer on the project, as well as a budgeted fee when the project goes into production.
- Write up an agreement that says you are the producer or director and have an agreement with the writer about the rights on the script.
Remember, what you lack in funding and experience make up for with enthusiasm and ingenuity. Film is a collaborative experience – we all need other people’s skills to get the job done. Don’t be afraid to get in touch and partner up.