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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Creative, Freelance and Ghost Writer Reflects on 2011 — Part II

Ah yes, 2011 will be coming to an end in a few weeks. Personally, I can’t wait to get out of this year. Most of the people I spoke with this past year have said that 2011 was not a great yea r. Even online, folks have said that 2011 was one hell of a year. For me, it was about self-reflecting on what I want out of life which includes what I want for my creative, freelance and ghost writing career. Here’s Part II of my reflections of 2011.

Amandah’s Reflections of 2011

1. Released the pressure off of me to earn a huge salary from my writing. I’m a single gal and solely responsible for earning a living and supporting me and my writing. Alas, I don’t have a trust fund worth $100 million. Bummer! As I wrote in my blog post What Advice Do You Wish You Received before Becoming a Freelance Writer?, I wish I could have spoken with a ‘seasoned’ freelance writer to learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ before I began. Then again, I wouldn’t have my experiences to pass onto to aspiring freelance writers.

In 2012, I’ll continue to seek full-time employment in creative fields, coaching/consulting, education, and real estate. I love real estate and don’t care what anyone says … it’s still a lucrative field.

2. I love story telling! I believe I’m a natural storyteller; I’ve been told I’m a natural storyteller. I love telling stories and creating different worlds and scenes. I love developing characters and often find myself drawn into their world. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it’s not so good. Getting wrapped up in the details can take me away from the big picture of a story.

I’m drawn to screenwriting because it’s straightforward and to the point. Basically, “He said; She said; He said; She said.” I also enjoy seeing a story brought to life through CGI, costumes, outstanding performances by actors and actresses, the music score, etc. When you see a movie on the big or little screen, it’s amazing to think it was created from a 90-120 page screenplay.

I do like writing YA, fiction and short stories but sometimes I get wrapped up in the details. As said above, I lose sight of the big picture. I’ll work on this in 2012. Perhaps, I’ll take more writing classes and workshops. I’d love to attend a writer’s conference.

3. Encouraging my nephew to write. I’ve encouraged my nephew to pursue writing. He was supposed to start a blog but is still thinking about his topic. Also, he’s disappointed that he hasn’t heard from a credit union about an article he submitted on how teens can earn and save money. I told him to contact the credit union; I don’t think he did. Hey! I can only do so much. I know he’s disappointed because his article was well written. I’m hoping this experience doesn’t discourage him from writing.

4. I need to sell my ideas. Do you know how many ideas I have written down? I have too many to focus on at once. I really need to ‘sell’ my ideas. I’ll check into that in 2012.

5. I need to enjoy writing more and remember ‘why’ I love to write. This coincides with Point #6 — releasing the pressure to earn a huge income from my writing. I need to relax and get back to the joy of writing. I lost this for a while, but I believe it’s coming back to me. It’s one of the reasons why I started Daily Family Antics. This blog is funny, blatantly honest, not depressing, and a lot of fun to write. No pressure!

Amandah

How was your 2011? What will 2012 be like for you? Share

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Creative, Freelance and Ghost Writer Reflects on 2011 — Part I

Ah yes, 2011 will be coming to an end in a few weeks. Personally, I can’t wait to get out of this year. Most of the people I spoke with this past year have said that 2011 was not a great yea r. Even online, folks have said that 2011 was one hell of a year. For me, it was about self-reflecting on what I want out of life which includes what I want for my creative, freelance and ghost writing career. Here’s Part I of my reflections of 2011.

Amandah’s Reflections of 2011

1. Set a goal to reach 1,200 followers on Twitter. I’m almost there; I have 1,199 diverse followers such as writers who write for the Huffington Post, CNN, and other outlets. I’m also connected with various publishers, producers, directors, production companies, screenwriters, social media consultants/companies, and media companies.

2. Start another blog where I can stretch my writing and not worry about it. I love comedy, especially TV comedies such as The Middle and Modern Family. I recently began Daily Family Antics because “there’s always something going on every day in my home.” It’s been a ‘hit’ with readers. My mom finds it entertaining so I know I’m on the ‘right’ path. Yes, I know mom’s can be biased; however, my mom is not one of those moms. I appreciate her honesty and she has a good ‘eye’ for stories and details.

Another reason for the blog is I plan to use it as a basis for a half-hour TV comedy. I’m still in the developing stages, but I plan to work on the plot, characters, treatment, logline, etc.  in 2012.

3. Writing for HalogenTV. This production company focuses on providing folks with information they can use to be the change they want to see in the world. It’s a great website, and I’m hoping I could expand my role with them in one form or another.

4. I didn’t move. I was hoping to move by October 31 but that didn’t happen. This made a little sad because I need to be in my ‘own’ sacred space. On the bright side, I have a lot of ideas thanks to my ‘family’s antics’ and more life experiences.

5. Querying and pitching. I was thrilled to receive a response to a query I sent out for a well known magazine. I also pitched my teleplay. But, I need to do more querying and pitching and stick to my schedule in 2012.

Part II will be posted tomorrow. This blog post would have been close to 1,000 words if I posted everything at once! That’s a bit much for a blog post. That’s just s my opinion.

Amandah

How was your 2011? What will 2012 be like for you? Share

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Writing Prompts from WordPress

I started a new blog documenting my family’s antics along with giving my insights on the life and times of family in the 21st century. After I published my posts, I was given a couple of writing prompts. Here are a few writing prompts from WordPress in case you feel stuck in your writing, want to get out of your comfort zone, or you’re bored with your writing.

  • If you had your own restaurant, what would it be called?
  • Do you think you’ll ever try living in another country?
  • When are you at your best?
  • What other person or animal could you have been in a former life?

Amandah

R.L. Stine Shares the Worst Writing Advice Given to Writers

According to R.L. Stine, author of the popular Goosebumps series, the worst writing advice given to writers is as follows:

  • Write from your heart.
  • Write what you know.

When I read Zachary Petit’s interview with R.L. Stine in the November/December 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, I was taken aback that Mr. Stine would say writing from your heart and writing what you know is the worst advice given to writers. Mr. Stine said, “Well, I hate it when authors come into a school and they say to kids, “Write from your heart, write from your heart, only write what you know, and write from your heart. I hate it because it’s useless.” Ouch!

Mr. Stine made a good point by saying, “I’ve written over 300 books — not one was written from my heart. Not one. They were all written for an audience, they were all written to entertain a certain audience.” Publishing is a business and most publishers are in business to make money; however, it would behoove them to understand that marketing and solving problems is a part of the business of writing as well. Authors are in the business of marketing their books and solving various problems from self-help to educating; from entertaining to inspiring. Again, it is a business.

R.L. Stine pointed out that if authors only write from their heart or write what they know, they’ll become blocked. This is true. Their imagination goes out the window along with pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. It’s good to try different genres, tones, voices and styles of writing. You won’t know what you’re good at if you don’t try it. And, you may find that you prefer one genre over another.

I’m guilty of telling writers to write from the heart and write what they know. Of course, this was the ‘friendly’ advice I was given; I passed it along to my fellow writers. Perhaps, R.L. is correct that writing from the heart and only writing what you know is the worst advice given to writers. Who knows … Then again, Mr. Stine is a famous and well paid author. Perhaps, he does know what he’s speaking about.

Rebecca

What’s the worst writing advice given to you? Share.

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How to Become a Powerful Storyteller

How powerful of a storyteller are you? Every author and writer could use tips and tricks for crafting their stories. It’s about maximizing your impact on readers. It’s important to write engaging and entertaining stories that will captivate and hold readers attention. You want them to come back for more.

How to become a powerful storyteller

1. Get in touch with your emotions and transfer them to your characters. Think about your characters and what emotions they would feel and have.

2. Who are your characters? What do you know that they don’t?

3. Stay in the moment and hold onto it.

4. Go inward to connect outward.

5. Step in and out of your characters.

6. Get into the moment and feel the emotion of it.

7. Silence is golden and can make a strong presence.

8. Think about the body language of your characters. Do they slouch or stand up straight? Do they cross or fold their arms? Is their face contorted?

9. Be comical! Everyone can benefit from laughter.

10. Do exaggerate. For example, think about how Oprah introduced her guests. When she introduced guests she wouldn’t say, “Please welcome John Travolta.” She would say, “Come Out, Jooooooooohn Trrrrraaaavoooolta.”

11. Don’t forget about branding your message. Use a catchy phrase that will stick in the minds of readers.

12. Be an authentic author. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

13. Don’t play it safe. Be a bold and daring author/writer. Go deep and be precise in your writing. Don’t hold back.

14. Love yourself and your readers. Remember, they buy your books and other merchandise.

15. Be the amazing author/writer you know you can be.

16. Your manuscript will set you free. Keep writing and rewriting your manuscript until it is spot on!

17. Write, edit, proofread and read your story. Put it aside for a while and come back to it. Give yourself a break. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day.

Rebecca

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