Article

Getting a Producer to Read Your Script

Written by: Timothy Scott of Aurora Productions
Published: Feb 11, 2009
 

Producers are always on the lookout for new scripts, I know I am. Not just any script, but one that I can live with for two or three years, because that's how long it will take to produce unless it is a short.

I am telling you all this to help writers learn more about what producers are looking for. My views may not represent every producer but I am confident they would represent most.

When I decide to produce a particular genre I will look at 5 to 12 scripts a day and sometimes only a couple will captivate me with their synopsis. For the short I just purchased I looked at over 50 scripts. Writers spend countless months working on their script but it would seem like only minutes on their logline and synopsis. If you don't hook the producer with your logline he or she isn't going to read your synopsis.

If you do write a good logline and I like it, then I look at your synopsis. THIS IS WHERE I GET TURNED OFF FAST! A word of advice here, less is more. Don't write a page when ONLY A PARAGRAPH OR TWO is all that the producer has time for (or wants) to read. SPEND SOME SERIOUS TIME WRITING AND RE-WRITING UNTIL IT IS SHORT AND ENTICING.

Telling new writers how to write a good logline and synopsis would be redundant when Ink Tip covers this far better than I could.

However, if you're a new writer, there are a limitless number of new producers looking for a good half-hour or one hour to represent them. There is a wide market for shorts.

I like to deal with professional writers not because they are successful, but because they are professional, and don't take rejection personally. Also, if a deal is consummated I don't have to worry about "ownership issues" with a professional.

I have heard from writers that producers don't always acknowledge their submissions. Some producers don't want to have to justify why they didn't like your script albeit a simple thank-you is always in order.

Here are some tips:

  1. Your logline should be one sentence and tell what the story is about.
  2. The synopsis should only be a half page or less.
  3. Less is more, skip details and just give me the meat of the story in the synopsis.
  4. If you want some feedback from the producer ask him or her politely what they would recommend to improve the story, then don't be offended when they tell you.
  5. If a script doesn't hook me by page 5, I stop reading it.

My own preference is for stories that cut to some action/murder/mystery and that way I'm hooked right from the beginning then build characters and the plot.


Tim ScottTim Scott executive produced the 2012 family film, "Against the Wild," starring Natasha Henstridge. He directed his first half-hour thriller called "Dark Sessions", written by InkTip writer Dan Smith and distributed by Quat Media. Logline: While preparing for an upcoming exhibit, a well-known artist is kidnapped by a mysterious woman. After seaching dozens of loglines, synopses, and scripts, Tim discovered Dan's intriguing logline at InkTip and read his script and loved it from page 1. Tim says, "I was so taken with the simplicity of the plot and gripping characters that I purchased it from Dan immediately."