Screenwriters Speak Confidently to Investors in 7 Easy Steps

Many screenwriters would like to see their work produced. However, they may not have the funds and require an investor to back them. This can be tricky because most screenwriters are not business people and don’t understand how investors think and work. It’s best to know what you’re up against before you ask for $50,000 or $500,000 to make your screenplay a reality on the big or little screen.

As a screenwriter, you may be under the assumption that it’s all about you and your film. Unfortunately, it’s ALL ABOUT the investor! You may be passionate about your screenplay, but an investor wants to know what’s in it for them. An investor will ask about the ROI (return on investment). If you aren’t familiar with ROI and other business terms, enroll in a business courses to learn the lingo and how business works.

Tip: Make sure you have a business plan when you speak with investors. This does not mean you have to give them a 30-60 page business plan (standard), but have an outline or proposal prepared about the project.

Investors want to back a good deal. Screenwriters must prove themselves to investors. What makes your screenplay unique versus another? How do you know your screenplay will make money? Asking yourself these and other questions will assist you when you approach investors.

Screenwriters Speak Confidently to Investors in 7 Easy Steps

  • What is your budget for your screenwriting project? This is the most important piece of information you can have!
  • Give investors a brief description of your project. What exactly is your screenplay about? What is the title? Do you have a treatment, logline and synopsis to give to investors?
  • Scout out the filming location of your project. Be open to changing the location if necessary.
  • What’s your time frame for your project? When does filming begin and end? What happens if you go over the scheduled deadline? What’s your plan?
  • What is the ROI (return on investment)? The bottom line is what matters to most investors. They want to know they’ll earn a decent ROI if they invest in you and your screenplay.
  • Prepare a ‘short’ business plan and give it to investors. The business plan will include financial projections, marketing, etc.
  • Exude confidence when you speak with an investor. Most prefer to work with people who believe in themselves and their screenplays.

Screenwriters focus on the creative aspect of the “entertainment business” instead of the BIG picture. You’re in a business of marketing and making films which solves the problem for the general public of what to do on a Friday or Saturday night. The sooner you understand that Hollywood is a business, the better off you’ll be.

Tip #2: Avoid being rude or arrogant when approaching investors. Screenwriters who lack non-verbal and verbal communication skills will benefit from classes on these subjects. Professionalism is a must! This may not sound glamorous but it is part of the business.

Developing and building relationships is part of the entertainment business. If you’re not relationship savvy, network with people who are and learn from them. Taking a few classes or workshops on relationship building will not hurt you — it will only help you. If you’re serious about seeing your screenplay produced, do what it takes to make your dream a reality. Remember, whether or not you make it as a screenwriter depends solely on you and how well you communicate with people. Good luck!

Amandah

Have you approached investors about funding your screenplay? What appraoch did you use? Share your thoughts.

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Writing Coaches with Low Conversion Rates – Stop Writing Well

In my blog post How to Stop Writing Fairly Difficult Content, I wrote about how my assistant editor emailed me statistics on my content which was rated as ‘fairly difficult’ to read based on The Flesch Reading Ease Readability formula. Unfortunately, writing coaches may have to stop writing well. This sounds ironic, but approaching your writing from a different point-of-view could increase conversion rates.

Tip #1: Most readers ‘scan’ blog posts and articles they find online. Write ‘How To and Top 10’ posts that are easily read by your target audience.

Tip #2: It’s important to know your target audience and write for them. Forget about using one dollar words and writing long-winded paragraphs. Use simple language readers will understand.

Currently, newspaper reporters write articles to be understood by readers at a 5th grade level. It’s not the best ‘news’ to read or hear, but it is what it is. Keep this in mind when you write your newsletter, blog posts and articles; and create content for your YouTube channel. Get to the point, make it and move on. Don’ drone on and on because you may lose your target audience if you do.

Tip #3: Be like a newspaper reporter and write content that’s understandable. Analyze your writing to make sure it could be understood by your readers.

When was the last time you read your writing out loud? Before you post a blog post or submit an article to Ezine Articles, read it out loud. Does your writing flow? Or is it choppy? Did you edit your writing? How long are the sentences? Are you using ‘simple’ language? Make sure your writing is ‘spot on’ before your writing goes public.

Tip #4: Avoid using industry jargon/lingo because readers may not understand it.

If you’re a writing coach, it may be difficult for you to stop writing well because you’re in the business of ‘coaching’ writers. It’s an oxymoron! The writers you coach need to understand that if they write over their target audiences’ heads, their books sales could remain stagnate. It’s a conundrum!

Rebecca

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How Authors and Freelance Writers Brand Themselves on LinkedIn

Authors, freelance, ghost and creative writers would benefit from listening to Greig Wells‘ (owner of Be Found Jobs) webinars on creating your brand on LinkedIn. Many business professionals use LinkedIn to find employees, contractors and freelancer writers. Linked In is the ‘go to’ website for professionals. If you’re uncertain as to ‘how to’ brand yourself on LinkedIn, follow the steps below.

How authors and freelance writers brand themselves on LinkedIn

1. Create a hook. As a writer, you’re familiar with writing a ‘hook’ when you submit a pitch or query letter to editors. It’s important to catch the eye of potential clients/customers/readers in 30-seconds or less.

Greig’s three-step process to writing a hook that works is as follows:

1. You know how a <Company> is always looking for <Insert the biggest problem in your industry>.

2. I solve this.

3. I do this by Unique Way #1 and Unique #2.

Here’s an example for a Freelance Writer:

You know how business owners always struggle to write optimized web content that converts visitors to customers.

I solve this.

I do this by writing unique, compelling web content using your keywords and phrases which lands your business on the first page of Google and draws visitors to your website.

2. UVP Power. This stands for Unique, Value and Promise. What makes you a unique freelance, creative or ghost writer? What makes you a unique fiction, non-fiction or YA author? What value do you bring to clients? What value do you bring to readers? Do you keep the promises you make? For example, if you promise to meet deadlines, do you actually meet them? If you promise to deliver a thrilling novel that takes readers on the adventure of their life, does your novel deliver?

3. The Proof. What proof do you have that you’re an expert in your field? Do you have testimonials from clients? Do you have testimonials from readers? Do you have testimonials from other authors in your genre? Remember, actions speak louder than words. This may be difficult for writers to read, but it’s the truth.

Other tips are: create a word cloud; connect with ‘Super Connectors’ (people with 500+ connections), have a solid call-to-action, and post relevant status updates that people will comment on. Join pertinent groups where you can share your expertise; voice your thoughts, beliefs and opinions.

What is branding? Through the use of your name, symbol, term, sign or combination of these, you create a ‘brand’ that clients/customers recognize as a resource that solves their problem. Remember, you’re in business to solve problems and market your products and or services. Therefore, your brand should reflect this.

As authors and writers, you’re familiar with tapping into the emotional side of writing. You can do this when you create your brand as well. For example, let’s say you’re an expert author on dating after divorce. You could use words such as pain-free relationships, self-esteem, self-confidence, independence, frustration, etc.

According to Greig, “The biggest mistake is building a brand that no one wants. Get to the core of the biggest problem facing a company or client.”

The advantage authors and writers have with branding is they know how to write. However, sometimes it can be difficult to create a ‘brand’ for your author website or freelance writing business. Think about hiring someone else to do this for you so you can concentrate on growing your writing business or finishing your first novel. Check out Greig’s profile on LinkedIn and see how his program could help you, even though it’s marketed to job seekers, branding is still branding. I’ve learned a lot from listening to Greig’s webinars. Check them out today!

Rebecca

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Freelance Writer’s Create a Resume That Sells

resume wordle

Recently, I took on a new client; I’ll call her mom. Yes, my mom decided she wants a part-time job but needed an updated resume. She wanted to apply for a job with Rent-A-Grandma which is a successful start-up business located in California. The company is being featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Way to go!

I sat down with my mom and created a one page resume that shows her experience within the areas of childcare and elderly care along with her management expertise. I explained to her the importance of using keywords and phrases within her resume which makes a resume more searchable when it’s posted online. I also explained the importance of capturing the attention of a client, hiring manager or recruiter in 30-seconds or less. After a few hours, my mom had a modern, searchable resume that will land her the job she wants.

How to create a freelance writer’s resume that sells

Name your resume with a clever title. Naming your resume Jane Smith.doc may not get your noticed. Be creative. For example, you could name your resume Jane Smith_Wordologist for You, Jane Smith_Wordsmith, Jane Smith_Published Freelance Writer, Jane Smith_Award Winning Freelance Writer or Jane Smith_World’s Best Freelance Editor and Writer. You’ll want to ‘brand’ yourself so it makes sense you’d brand your resume. To show your resume is up-to-date, name it Jane Smith_September 2011.

Use keywords. Believe it or not, keywords and phrases aren’t just for blogs. When you submit your resume, a potential client will ‘scan’ it to see if your keywords and phrases match theirs. Don’t stuff your resume with keywords, but don’t skimp on them either.

Show what you can do. Simply listing your qualifications isn’t enough. You must show what you did. For example, if you wrote sales copy for an electronics company, write something like, “Increased the sales of digital cameras by 75% ($5 Million dollar profit) through the use of copywriting, web content and social media writing.” If you worked with a not-for-profit, write something like, “Wrote newsletter, invitation, email campaign and other copy for annual animal advocacy fundraiser called Fashion Shows Up for Animals. Fundraiser raised $100 Million dollars.” Show what you did and how you did it.

Sell yourself and skills. A resume is a great advertising and marketing tool. This is where advertising/marketing copywriting come into play. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. What qualifications would you look for? What makes the perfect editor/writer? Think about this when you write your resume.

Choose your style. What resume style is right for you: chronological, functional, or combination (chronological/functional)? Chronological lists your employment first. Functional lists your major accomplishments and skills. A combination resume mixes the chronological and functional technique. Choose the style that works best for you.

Utilize the power of the infographic resume. An infographic resume could put you ahead of other candidates. This visual trend has taken off like a wild fire! Make sure your infographic is neat and clean. Overwhelming a potential client with a lot of graphics, wild colors and details could make them dizzy. You want to make a good impression, not a bad one.

Use a QR Code. Smart phones and other electronic gadgets can read a QR Code aka Quick Response Code which is a bar code that contains data. A QR Code could contain a link to your website, resume, portfolio or other information. It’s a great addition to the ‘traditional’ resume.

Your professional experience and stellar copy writing are the keys to a resume that gets you noticed. Put the client’s needs before yours. Focus on what you bring to the table and don’t worry about the other freelance writers. You’ll get the client if it’s meant to be. Don’t settle on a project because you feel you have to take it. Holding out for the ‘perfect’ client/project (in your eyes) is better than agreeing to one that isn’t your heart’s desire. It’s better to wait for the ‘right’ opportunity. It will be worth it!

Rebecca

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Your Mom Thinks You’re Special … What about the Media?

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Image by Dr. Keats via Flickr

Authors and experts, “What makes you special?” What sets you apart from the other authors and experts in your field? Take your time to think about it … I’ll wait. Did you think of at least five answers? If you didn’t, it’s time to start thinking about “What makes you special?”

Most people feel embarrassed or shy to answer, “What makes you special?” but this is an important question to answer if you want media attention for your book, seminar, workshop or class. If you want to promote your new book, you need to be prepared to answer this question; otherwise, the media won’t be attracted to you and your book. And, you’ll have missed your cue to spread your message.

The media loves to interview authors and experts who are special. Readers purchase books because authors have a message they can relate to or it’s a gripping, personal story. Event and meeting planners are attracted to speakers who are distinct — they’re message is meaningful and timely.

The good news is that everyone has something that makes them special. Follow the steps below to showcase how special and unique you are. The media won’t be able to take their eyes off of you!

How to show the media how special and unique you and your message are

1. What accomplishment have you achieved that most have not? Did you win a championship or write a book that’s mind blowing? What about starting a not-for-profit that received millions of dollars in three months? Did you discover an ancient city while on vacation? Make a list of your accomplishments that others may not have.

2. What’s new? What’s ‘old’ that’s new? Perhaps, you have a concept or idea that’s new; it’s pure genius. What do you teach or write that others don’t? Did you take a ‘worn out’ idea like networking and revamp it? How? Think about how you’ve packaged an ‘old idea’ in a new, innovative way.

3. What are your credentials? Did you graduate from Brown, Duke, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, St. Andrews, Edinburgh University, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, ETH Zurich, Kings College London or Princeton? Have you worked with royalty? Use your credentials in a headline such as “Cambridge-trained artist paints like Van Gogh and so can you.” Discuss current and previous professions and how you’ve helped thousands of people.

4. Tell your story. It’s not healthy to ‘relive’ your story over and over again. However, your ‘unique’ story will touch the lives of millions. They’ll be amazed how you overcame adversity. And, there could be someone, somewhere, with the same story. Telling your story means they’re not alone.

5. Who are you connected to? Let’s face it; people love celebrities because they’d like to be one or enjoy living vicariously through them. If you have celebrity connections, use them.  Make sure you have their permission before you tell the world who you know or who’ve you worked with.

6. Share powerful success stories. Have you’ve helped thousands of people lose weight through hypnosis? Perhaps, spending one hour with you, twice a week melts the pounds away. That’s extraordinary! Think about your most powerful success stories and share them.

7. Create a unique hook for your book title. You probably already know this but it begs repeating. A unique ‘hook’ is a great way to reel in the media and readers. Write (no pun, okay there was one) a memorable book title and turn your book into a #1 Best Seller. The media will trip over themselves to speak with you.

8. How can you be Number 1? Sometimes, a market or niche is too crowded. They way to get around this is to create a category where you’re number one. For example, perhaps you’re a marketing consultant who works with optometrists and podiatrists. You could say, “I’m the leading marketing consultant in the world serving optometrists and podiatrists. Walk over to the computer, visit http://www.Eyes and Feet Serve You.com and see for yourself,” or something like that.

9. Network. Form partnerships with established authors and experts whose target market is the same or at least compliments yours. Ask them, “How may I help you? What can I do for you?” Not only will you reach a larger audience, but you’ll develop valuable relationships that can serve you and others now and later.

10. Be confident. The media wants to work with confident people. Stand up straight, reach out your hand and say, “Hi, my name is (fill in the blank), and I’m an author/expert that you’re audience needs to hear from.” Give the media your best 30-second elevator speech and they’ll want to work with you.

Stand out from other authors and experts by using these ideas and gain local and national publicity. Don’t overwhelm yourself by applying all of these strategies at once. Select the ones that work best for you and your book/message. You’ll be a media darling in no time!

Rebecca

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What Doesn’t Attract Clients

This post is from Barb Wade, M.A. who specializes in teaching Coaches to create thriving, 6-figure practices in under 20 hours a week! For a FREE “How To Get Clients” BUSINESS BREAKTHROUGH KIT just for Coaches, visit Barb Wade.com today.

Even though this post is targeted towards coaches, freelance/ghost writers and writing coaches need to market their services. Remember, you’re in business for two reasons: 1) To market your products and services and 2) To solve a problem.

Some coaches just don’t like marketing. They don’t like to promote themselves and they may even find it distasteful! In fact, until I learned that marketing was nothing more than letting others know how I could help them with their biggest problems, I thought marketing was a “necessary evil” at best.

On the other hand, there are some coaches and entrepreneurs who have no problem with marketing – or so it seems. BUT they use it as an excuse for not moving forward or to “hide out.”

Do you know what I mean? It’s the endlessly tinkering with your website.

Or taking forever to craft your “elevator pitch,” and then never actually using it!

Or spending tons of time, energy, and money getting just the right logo… or business card… or… well, you get the idea.

Of course, doing this comes from good honest intentions. Those things do help support spreading the word about your services. But it’s all too easy to get stuck in an endless loop of tweaking and fiddling with the minutia.

The truth is, doing so can actually keep you from getting clients!

Here’s the big news: your clients aren’t attracted to your coaching practice because of your business card, logo, website, or any other collateral. Even if they are really beautiful and elegant and “cutting edge.”

Yes, those things can help get your potential client’s attention, but that’s not what holds them or compels them to come back.

Ultimately, your clients will respond to the connection you create with them. Those people that you are meant to help will resonate with your authentic and unique brilliance. It is you being willing to share your experience and expertise – in the way that only you can – that makes an impression on people.

Your clients want to be seen, acknowledged, heard, understood and helped by you. And the more they get to know the real you, the more they will want to continue to work with you.

This is the concept behind the “Know, Like, Trust” factor you may have heard of. It works like this. First, your potential clients hear about you somehow – on the Internet, at a live event, on a tele-seminar, etc. And the more they get to know you, they more they begin to “like” you (note: this is not a popularity contest. Instead think of “like” as “appreciate” or “value”) And the more they like you, they more they begin to trust you as a teacher, advisor and friend.

And what I have found is that when you cultivate that kind of connection with your market, it actually accelerates your ability to attract clients and it makes your work so much more joyful!

So, if you find yourself spending too much time “crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s,” try adopting this mantra that was taught to me by one of my mentors: “Completion Not Perfection.”

Get into action and get it done – perfection is highly over-rated!

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