Friday, October 5, 2012

Marketing Your Screenplay

I want to thank The Writers Store for hosting my most recent webinar, and thank you to the screenwriters and filmmakers who attended:  How to Sell Your Film & TV Scripts: Treatments, Loglines, Synopses & Marketing Platforms.

I mentioned during the webinar that the #1 marketing tool is to have a great product, because a great script will find its way to the top.  However, marketing still plays a key role in getting your script sold.  If you have a great script but don’t know how to market your project and make the right connections, it may never see the light of day. 

An analogy would be to think of a popular soft drink like Coca Cola.  Coca Cola could have the greatest advertising in the world, but if the soft drink didn’t taste good, no one would buy it.  At the same time, if they have a great tasting product but don’t advertise and market it, no one might know about it or ever drink it.

When it comes to film and television, the right marketing tools – effective loglines, verbal pitches, cold-calling techniques to get through to your dream companies, treatments, one-page synopses, and picture books – are among the tools that can give you a leg up in selling what might be “the next great Hollywood film!”

If you are interested in learning more about Wendy Kram & L.A. FOR HIRE career coaching sessions or script and marketing consultations to further advance your projects and careers, please feel free to contact me and visit  

I wish you all the best of luck with your projects, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner
WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as one of the Industry's "Best Script Consultants" & #1 in Marketing 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


“How do I get my material seen?!!”

As a producer, script consultant and former VP of development for production companies based at Sony, Universal, and Disney, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from screenwriters is “How do I get my material seen?!!” In response to this and other commonly asked questions, I wrote this article to provide insights into the minds of industry professionals and their decision-making process when buying material.  Having a better understanding of how executives and agents think may enhance your abilities to navigate the landscape, get your project seen, and advance your careers.  .

“How do I get my material seen? What is the common denominator to success? Aren’t a lot of Hollywood executives jaded and simply don’t ‘get’ my material?!”

It may be true that many Hollywood executives, producers and agents are jaded; however, it’s because we read thousands of scripts, books, and pitches every year. We’ve seen and heard just about everything.  Therefore, the responsibility rests with the creative talent to present material that is fresh and well-executed.  The answer to “What is the common denominator to success?” is simple and yet highly challenging:  WRITE A GREAT SCREENPLAY.   A great screenplay will get attention and recognition through a myriad of resources such as:

Pitch fests, screenwriting contests, submissions to companies and agencies that are willing to look at unrepresented material, writing an effective query letter, networking, attending writers groups, and asking a friend who might have connections for introductions.  A great script will start to get attention.  It might make it on industry lists and websites such as ScriptShadow or the Black List, resources that highlight outstanding screenplays and are read by executives and agents. 

In truth, every time an executive, agent, producer, reader or assistant sits down to read a new submission, they are rooting for you.

“But you just said that most executives, producers and agents are jaded, so why would they root for me?  It seems that a lot of them just can’t even recognize a good script!”

To succeed in Hollywood, it is essential to understand the paradox that both diametrically opposed dynamics exist in the entertainment industry. Hollywood’s decision-makers are inclined to say “no” to your project and the odds are stacked against you.  At the same time, they want you to succeed.  Why?

We want the next great thing! How easy our lives would be if your script is amazing.  If we’re an assistant and become responsible for pointing out a script that will eventually get made and become a hit, that assistant is likely to get a promotion and move up the Hollywood ladder.  If we’re a studio executive or producer and this happens, we will get a raise, increase our quotes, our percentage points and our status.

Put yourself in the executives’ shoes. You come in to their office, you pitch a project that you think is the most original, most fantastic idea.  Maybe it is.  But there is also a good chance that the executive has already heard a version of it before.

The individuals who ultimately have the power to green light a film are investing millions of dollars in a movie.  If it fails it’s their ass, livelihoods, and pocketbooks on the line, not yours.

Screenwriters often get wrapped up in the rejection process and lose sight of the above.  It’s important to make an honest assessment of your work by asking yourself the following:  “Have I done everything possible to create a compelling story?  Is the dialogue fresh and gripping or is it expositional?  Is the situation engaging?  Are the characters interesting? If you cannot honestly answer “yes” to all of these questions, then ask yourself this next question: “If I had millions of dollars at stake and could risk it all, would this be a script and story I’d want to stand behind 100%?” If the answer is no, it might be time to get back to work.

“Isn’t it true that Hollywood is reactive?” 

Yes.  If a certain type of feature comes out and does poorly, projects in a similar genre may fall out of favor at the studios and be dropped. Conversely, if a marginally perceived film does exceptionally and unexpectedly well at the box office, suddenly the studios may clamor for that type of project.  But it is also true that there are Hollywood executives, agents, managers and producers who are visionaries and risk-takers, who stand by the courage of their convictions even if what they are trying to sell goes against the status quo.  It is the visionaries who set the trends.  If they didn’t exist, we would never have movies like “The Artist”, “Up”, “The Hurt Locker”, or “Juno”, movies which go against the grain of high-concept, commercial films.  Once again, the common denominator to success:  START WITH A GREAT SCREENPLAY.

Take another example, “The Ex-Files”.  There had been nothing like it on television before.  Once it became a huge hit the networks were flooded with copycat or “Ex-Files” wanna-be’s.  None succeeded because almost nothing is ever as good as an original idea that comes from a true sense of creativity (as opposed to a replica that stems from a calculated vs. inspirational place.) 

Because Hollywood often operates from a reactive rather than purely creative place doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who doesn’t “get” your script is a jerk.  The submission process is often a numbers’ game to find the right person who eventually will “get” your material and want to fight for it and use their resources to get it made.

“But doesn’t Hollywood make bad movies? I’ve seen Hollywood make lots of bad movies!  How do they get made?!”

When I hear screenwriters ask these questions, it puzzles me.  I recognize the frustrations of getting turned down, but it’s almost as though these declarations are license and justification for not having to write a good screenplay. Just because Hollywood makes some bad movies, do you want your script to be one of them?  Ask yourself, what is it you really want?

Do you want the fame and glamour of getting a movie made?  Or do you want to create a great piece of writing that will make a lasting impression? If you’re diligent and committed to the task of creating excellent work, the fame and fortune should be the by-product.  If your focus is fame and fortune and not a commitment to your craft, chances are you might not obtain the fame and fortune.

While bad movies might be useful guides to help you avoid certain similar pitfalls in your own film, using negative comparisons as a barometer for your own work is not productive or constructive. There are a thousand random reasons as to why mediocre and bad movies get made, or start out with good material but then wind up poorly executed. Rather than look at the negative examples of such films, it is best to look at successful models of the types of movies that you are writing. If you look to these for inspiration, they may trigger your imagination further, and stimulate new and exciting ideas for your own movie. 

“What if I write a great script and it still doesn’t get sold or made? How does this serve me?”

In spite of all the glamour we see 24/7 in the media about Hollywood fame and fortune, the truth is that this is one of the most difficult businesses to break through.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It is for those who are diligent and persistent and have the ability to sustain themselves while pursuing their craft and passion.

If you do write a great script and that script gets exposure – even if it doesn’t get made -- there is a good chance it will lead to screenwriting jobs where executives and producers will want to hire you.

Many screenwriters forget that the screenwriting idols they look up to have worked on projects for YEARS before they ever got made.  A few examples include critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning films such as: “Crash”, “Shakespeare in Love”, “Ghost”, “In the Line of Fire”, to name just a few.  If it’s taken brilliant filmmakers such as Paul Haggis years to get some of his movies made, why should a writer starting out expect to hit a home run without having put in his or her dues?  A writer/director/producer such as J.J. Abrams is another example of someone who did not achieve success overnight.  If you look at his bio, it’s clear that even though he is relatively young to have such a successful career – he has in fact been working at his craft for a long time.

In 1991, nearly 21 years ago he wrote a very strong “spec” script, “Regarding Henry” which attracted Harrison Ford.  Nine years later Abrams created his first TV series hit “Felicity”.  He then went on to create “Lost”, direct “Mission Impossible” and “Star Trek”.  He is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand directors but again, his success did not happen instantaneously.  It happened through hard work and a continuous commitment to evolving his craft.

The above are a few examples that are intended to provide “tough love” and a realistic assessment of the business with respect to insights that can help you better navigate the Hollywood landscape.

That it can be both the most magical, inspiring, and rewarding, while at the same time difficult, fickle, and disheartening businesses in the world is a paradox that exists within the entertainment industry.  If you are looking for immediate gratification, you are probably in the wrong business. 

If on the other hand, you have the discipline and perseverance to painstakingly hone and refine your skills, and you are armed with good sense and self-awareness, the entertainment industry can be the greatest business in the world, and a myriad of possibilities awaits you.

Let me know if I can assist you in advancing your project and career. For more information and testimonials, please visit or contact 

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner
WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine "Best Script Consultants" #1 in Marketing


Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Over the years, I've read thousands of scripts as a producer and former VP Development for companies at Sony, Universal and Disney and had to separate the wheat from the chaff. Many times, I heard pitches that sounded absolutely fantastic in the room and I was certain I would option the project. But then after reading the screenplay, the execution fell short and what initially sounded like a definite sale became a definite pass.

Execution has to do with whether or not the concept is successfully executed on the page in terms of character development, structure, set up, pacing, dialogue, and the overall ability to engage your reader in the protagonist and his or her journey. There are tell-tale signs that a writer is a novice who has not yet mastered his or her craft, and lacks the skills that Hollywood decision-makers seek.

The following are tips on how to avoid certain "red flags" so that you can become a better writer, increase your chances of selling your script and establish yourself as a pro!

DO stay within standard script length -- 108 - 114 pages ideally. A 122 page screenplay is long but still acceptable.

DON'T turn in a script that is 139 pages! Unless it's an epic such as "Dancing with Wolves", "Braveheart" or "Seven Samurai" and you are one of Hollywood's A-listers at the top of your game, scripts should never be this long. Turning in a script that is too long is a tell-tale sign you're a novice and haven't had the discipline to edit your work.

DON'T write scripts with 20 characters. If you write a script with 20 characters, you dissipate focus away from your central character, the protagonist with whom we need to connect and engage.

DO write a central character with a strong point of view who will take us on a journey, seeing the world and experiences through their eyes, emotions, actions and reactions.

DON'T write character monologues that take up a whole page. In fact, avoid writing a character monologue that takes up even half of a page. This is a tell-tale sign you're an amateur. If you feel absolutely compelled to write a long monologue, break it up with visuals such as image motifs that correlate to what is being said and/or other character's reactions.

DO write compelling, vivid, emotionally engaging, endearing, flawed characters when you first introduce them. If you don't care enough about your character to create an interesting portrait of who they are to hook your reader, chances are the person reading your screenplay (an agent, actor, producer, director, executive) won't care about them either. Introducing a character and only including their age and the color of their hair is another tell-tale sign of an amateur.

DO take pride in your work, making sure there are no typos or grammatical errors and that your script is formatted properly. How you present your work is a reflection of you. Always present yourself as a professional and be meticulous. If you are sloppy and do not care about your work's professional appearance, neither will your reader and it will wind up in the trash.

DON’T write endless camera angles in your descriptive passages or stage directions with respect to dialogue and the manner in which your character should read a specific line. Let the director decide how to shoot a scene and let the actor decide how to read the line.

DON’T write expositional dialogue where your characters state exactly what they are thinking and feeling. Human beings in real-life do not speak this way. Often they are afraid to express how they really feel. Sometimes they might be passive- aggressive or say the opposite of how they’re feeling. Writing expositional dialogue or dialogue that is “on the nose” limits characters’ dimensionality and depth.

DO write subtext where characters do not state exactly how they feel. Examples of great subtext can be found in Harold Pinter’s “Old Times” and the Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall classic “To Have and Have Not”.

DO use image motifs, awkward moments and even silent moments to convey mood and emotions. For example, a lead character sitting in the middle of an empty square surrounded by tall buildings tells us about the character’s isolation, without the character having to actually state that he or she is lonely. A picture paints a thousand words. Movies are visual mediums. Don’t be afraid to use pictures and images to help tell your story.

DON'T write MASSIVE paragraphs of description or action -- try to keep it 3 to 4 lines max! (This last "Don't" comes courtesy of my good friend, Joseph Frio, founder of ScreenplayFest

Content may be King, but Execution is God!

Wendy Kram is a producer and the owner of L.A. FOR HIRE, a consulting company for screenwriters, filmmakers and production companies, assisting them in developing, packaging and selling their projects.Creative Screenwriting Magazine ranks her in the Industry’s Top 3 Picks for “Best Script Consultants” and #1 in Marketing.

For more information about Wendy’s services, success stories and how she may be able to help you advance your projects and careers, please visit or contact

Monday, July 9, 2012

Screenwriter Success Stories

'Shout out' to my client the fabulous Noemi Zeigler for launching her new music video "FEMINEM" which she directed, produced, and performs, featured in the Huffington Post. When Noemi isn't performing, she teaches at an inner city school in Oakland. She enlisted her students in the great video. It has a great message about anti-bullying and being true to yourself.

Please take a look at her video and post on facebook, tweet and help spread the word.

Another 'shout out' to my clients Troy Hunter and Geof Miller for closing their third feature deal in 3 months for their spec screenplay "Fear the Day", just optioned by Gran Via Productions ("Chronicles of Narnia", "The Notebook", "Donnie Brasco", "Breaking Bad").

These successes did not happen overnight but are the result of diligence, tenacity, hours of hard work and their uncompromising commitment to continually improve their craft.

Kudos Noemi,Troy and Geof! You guys rock!

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner
WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.
Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as Industry's Top 3 Picks for "Best Script Consultants" & #1 in Marketing

For more information about my services and how I can assist you in selling your projects and advancing your careers, please visit or email me at

Monday, May 28, 2012


There are neither shortcuts nor substitutes for having a GREAT writing sample, preferably more than one. To be a successful screenwriter, you must have great samples of your work. The most successful writers and filmmakers in the entertainment industry got to where they are by developing a strong body of writing material, their success did not happen overnight.

Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin, Matthew Weiner all worked diligently at their craft for years, continuing to hone their talents before they became famous. Fame only came about as a result of hard work and consistently turning out quality material. In the case of Matthew Weiner, he had written an amazing spec pilot called "Mad Men" over six years before it got made. While no networks were interested in doing period pieces at the time, the quality of the writing was so outstanding that it captured the attention of David Chase (the executive producer and creator of "The Sopranos"). Matthew went on staff of "The Sopranos" and became one of the show's top writers.

For years there was still no market for a period piece about the ad men of Madison Avenue during the the 50's and early 60's. However, Weiner's great piece of writing which contained fantastic dialogue, rich characters, conflict and subtext continued to be a cornerstone of his career which brought him more work, which in turn led to even more and more work.

Six years after Matthew wrote the pilot for "Mad Men", an executive at F/X who had always been a fan of the script was hired by AMC to head up their original programming. AMC did not have a specific mandate, and the exec. was given great latitude to put whatever she wanted into development. She remembered "Mad Men" and put it into production. Through Matthew's experiences, working with David Chase, he learned how to become a show runner himself. The rest, as they say, is history.

The moral of the story...

Every great career is built on a cornerstone of great writing. I hear aspiring writers frequently comment about the number of movies and series that are made which are poorly written. There are myriad reasons why that might happen, such as a movie being based on an enormous, pre-existing brand like "Transformers" where the players involved are well-established, and wherein special effects are the dominant concern. While other reasons might abound, no executive intends to buy a script that is poorly written.

Great writing is a process. Every great writer I know always says that he or she is continually learning to be a better writer. Rarely is a script ready after a first draft. It often requires several drafts. Sometimes a script is a stepping stone to the next one.

What do Michael Hazanivicius, Paul Haggis, and David Seidler have in common? When these writers sat down to write the scripts for "The Artist", "Million Dollar Baby", and "The King's Speech", it's unlikely they did so thinking they were going to win an Oscar. All of these films were great underdogs. Who would have thought in the age of Hollywood's love affair with special effects and high octane excitement that the film to take home gold would be a silent one? Or that a movie about a young female boxer who dies after losing her legs would be another contender? Or that David Seidler who wrote a small play and began the story forty years prior would also be taking home gold? All these writers knew at the time was that they had stories to tell, and went about telling them exceedingly well.

The take-away...

While it's good to be eager and want to get your script into production right away, it is also important to be patient with yourselves; put in the time to take the necessary steps that will make your scripts outstanding, and enjoy the process.


For tips and feedback on elevating your writing, feel free to give me a call and visit:

Wendy Kram, Owner/Producer

WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as the Industry's Top 3 Picks for "Best Script Consultants"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Screenwriters: "How Do I Get A Manager?!"

Screenwriters often ask, "How do I get an agent or a manager!?"

On the one hand, if you get one of your projects going, it is easier to get representation because you will be a "produced" writer, or a writer whose works have been optioned. At the same time, if you're a screenwriter, I know you want to have a manager who will take your work out for you. It's a Catch 22. But there is one steadfast rule, and it is probably not a secret to you--

You must have a great script that demonstrates not only a good concept, but one that is well-executed in terms of plot, structure, character development, action and dialogue. Agents and executives pay attention to material that distinguishes itself by showing the writer has a unique and masterful voice.

The truth is that great work has a way of getting found. And for screenwriters, it is important to have more than one solid writing sample as agents, managers and executives need to know that you are not a one-trick pony. You need to show that you can consistently hit the mark.

Making sure your scripts are at the best writing level they can be is the key to finding representation and/or getting produced.

Do you know how to tell if your project is market-ready? Show your script to respected industry colleagues and other screenwriters whose works you admire for feedback. You might also hire a professional script consultant, and make sure to do your due diligence when deciding who to use.

InkTip can also be a good resource for screenwriters, as production company executives use the site to look for material by genre. Attend prestigious Pitch Fests and Film Festivals that attract A-list Hollywood executives. In addition to the biggies such as Tribeca, Sundance, Berlin, and Venice, other prestigious festivals that are smaller but provide opportunities to make excellent contacts and network include the Austin, Palm Springs, Slamdance, and Toronto Film Festivals, among others. For more information on Academy qualifying festivals, go to Top Pitch Fests include InkTip Writers Pitching and Networking Summit and The Great American Pitch Fest.

I hope you find the above helpful. If I can assist you or someone you know, please visit: or email for more details

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner

WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as the Industry's Top 3 Picks for "Best Script Consultants"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Importance of Log Lines for Scripts

A question was recently asked by a writer if one should start with the log line when writing a screenplay.

As a script consultant and producer, I don't think there's a steadfast rule, as each writer may find a different source of initial inspiration and it's important to honor your own unique process. In my experiences in working with screenwriters for over 15 years, I have found that once an idea begins to form, log lines can be helpful with respect to bringing focus and direction to your story -- so that it becomes a reference point from which action, character and plot may flow. Log lines therefore, are not only sales tools for pitching; they also can create the spine to your screenplay during the creative process. If you can define your core concept by encapsulating it into a sentence or two, this reference point can be an effective springboard.

At the same time, it's not good to be slavishly wed to one particular way of doing things so you can allow for your muse and the unexpected to come into play. Many times the surprises, the elements you didn't plan, become the moments that make your script stand out. You might even find once you've started your screenplay that you will need to go back and revise your log line. But the purpose of having one to begin with served its purpose in getting you to this point.

I hope the above is helpful. Please check out my website as I specialize in assisting writers elevate the quality of their writing and execute their vision.

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as Industry's Top 3 Picks for "Best Script Consultants"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Screenwriters' Stepping Stones

I have recently met a lovely screenwriter through the Linkedin Group, Independent Filmmakers & Screenwriters, Stephen M. Hunt. It's a great group by the way. Stephen hails from England, has an accomplished career (impressive I might add), and offered eloquentadvice to a fellow UK screenwriter who was planning on making a trip to Hollywood in the hopes of selling a project. I would like to share what he wrote:

"Rarely does a single trip deliver the answer to all your prayers. Usually getting there comes from advancing by stepping-stones, one at a time...Your trip is more like your next important stepping-stone that could lead to others and then others and then others..."

I believe the above is a great philosophy because "making it" as a screenwriter is a process and does not happen overnight. Whether you are improving the quality of your writing, brushing up on your pitching skills or developing industry relationships, each stepping stone makes you that much smarter, better at your craft, and closer to realizing your goals.

I would also recommend that you have more than one screenplay or project when you start taking meetings for several reasons: 1) So you don't put all of your eggs in one basket as prospective buyers might not be looking for the type of movie you wrote at the moment 2) You then have other material to speak to them about and one of your other scripts could turn out to be a better fit for them 3) When looking for an agent, in particular, the agent wants to know that you have a body of solid work that demonstrates consistency and you're not a one trick pony 5) As a writer, you want to keep moving forward. It's great to be focused and give concentrated energy to one project. At the same time, writers need to continue to stretch and challenge themselves creatively. Often, writers learn from each of their projects and by writing a new script, a writer gets to test and exercise what he or she has learned.

I hope the above is helpful. For questions and consultations to help you sell your projects and advance your careers, please fee free to contact:

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner
WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as Industry's
Top 3 Picks for "Best Script Consultants"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Advice for Screenwriters

Teachers and mentors come in all different forms, and sometimes one small saying from one of them can resonate long after it is heard and become a reference point for achieving our goals. Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, was a very wise man who gave great advice to his players. His wisdom can be applied to screenwriters:

"There are no shortcuts. Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn't expect good things to happen overnight...When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.... Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made." John Wooden

Wendy Kram, Producer/Owner
WK Productions & L.A. FOR HIRE, Inc.

Ranked by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as Industry's Top 3 Picks for "Best Script Consultants"

For more information about Wendy Kram and L.A. FOR HIRE services, please check out our website