One of the quickest ways to make your impact on Hollywood is to be able to tell your story. How can you sell people on the idea that your voice is vital and needs to be heard? Knowing the niche you fill as a screenwriter helps other people help you. Good personal branding makes it easier to sell you as a good fit for a new project. It will connect you with people who get your vision and take your script to the next stage of development.
Here are some tips to share your vision with the world.
Call Yourself a Screenwriter
Don’t be afraid to call yourself a screenwriter or filmmaker! It’s easy to think that you “don’t qualify” for those labels if you haven’t sold your scripts or been hired into a writer’s room yet. If you’ve written scripts or filmed your projects, you’re doing the work!
By distinguishing yourself as a writer, you’re telling the world to meet you where you’re at. So many of the opportunities that I’ve gotten have been a direct result of being clear about my screenwriting dreams and sharing the writing process. Share scripts for feedback (and return the favor!), celebrate competition or career wins, and host table reads with stated next-step goals for the project.
Tell Your Story!
Write a bio that tells your story as a writer, and get good at saying it out loud. Whether it’s a pitch or a meeting, having a succinct and memorable blurb is a sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd.
Rather than a bio of facts and competition wins, use your storytelling skills to share why your voice matters and where it fits into Hollywood. How does your personal experience influence your writing? A recent application for a WarnerMedia Fellowship asked: “explain who you are, as a writer, in a tweet.”
Drill down your essence into a quick blurb. Showcase your personality while explaining what you love to write and why!
Set Your Goals
Make a list of projects you’re interested in. Showrunners you’d love to work with. Your dream networks or producers/distributors that you’d love to work with. Know your voice and your comps (existing work that feels tonally similar to your work, i.e. it’s Brooklyn 99 meets Barry).
Keep this in your back pocket to bring into meetings and to share your dreams with others. You never know if one of your co-workers used to date an A24 exec in high school or one of your comedy friends used to write with the showrunner of your favorite show. You’ll be surprised how many doors open just because you were loud and clear about your dreams!
Make Your Social Media Count
Even if you use social media primarily for news or memes, it’s still a good way to connect with fellow screenwriters. Put “screenwriter” or your competition wins in your bio. Tweet that you’ve finally written a new first draft. This will help connect you with peers that you might not have the chance to meet in your own network.
In my screenwriting career, Twitter has given me mentorship opportunities, connected me with like-minded comedy writers whose pilots inspire me to swing for the fences, and turned the solitary act of writing into something I get to share with my community.
Get a Website
Once you’ve written your blurb and set your goals, get a website! There are plenty of resources for free web-hosting (Wix, Weebly, WordPress) and domains can be as cheap as $10/year. Put your website in your email signature and your social media bio. That way, people can find out more about you without having to ask.
Hone Your One-Pager & Pitch
Now that you’ve branded yourself as a screenwriter, give your scripts the same treatment. Sell people on your vision by having a memorable one-pager. Craft a verbal pitch with a great hook that explains what your story is about and why you’re the right person to tell it. These tools can be someone’s first impression of your script, especially if you have plans to develop and produce it. Hit your major plot points, keep it succinct, and showcase your personality!