GETTING YOUR SCRIPT THROUGH TO DECISION MAKERS
Posted: June 28, 2019 | Tips
Are you an aspiring screenwriter or author who has dreamed of pitching your script or idea to a studio, for broadcast, or to cable TV network? But then you ran into the “No Unsolicited Materials” policy that studios and networks display? Why do they have this policy and what can you do get your pitch to them? Our experienced attorneys at North & Nash LLP have represented both studios/networks and writers and we understand this policy and its many nuances.
The entertainment industry and media outlets enforce this policy out of self-interest and there are three reasons why they refuse your unsolicited submissions.
First, most submissions are junk. One TV pitch expert and writer reports that most of the ideas pitched for TV are worthless. They are undercooked, poorly conceived, and poorly written.
Second, if studios and networks listened to every pitch or read every script submitted, they would have no time for anything else. Creative content executives crave new ideas and scripts, but are already overworked developing good content from reliable, credible sources. They’ve realized long ago that considering unsolicited content is totally unproductive.
Third, and most important, their lawyers have insisted creative executives refuse unsolicited ideas and scripts to avoid being sued. Nearly everyone at one time or another, has conceived of an idea for a TV show, movie, or game show—and have been certain the show they just watched—was their idea and that someone must have stolen their idea. An HBO creative executive said recently, for every movie produced or aired, at least one lawsuit is filed by someone somewhere in the world who claims their idea or script was stolen. The best defense for these bogus suits is a strict policy of never accepting unsolicited ideas or scripts.
So how do you break through these barriers? You must have a credible, established agent or lawyer submit on your behalf and after you have registered your work with the Writers Guild Registry (WGAW Registry). The WGAW Registry allows virtually anyone (even nonmembers) to register their work to protect it from plagiarism. Please note the WGAW Registry does not obviate copyright registration.
Our firm has submitted scripts, synopses, and background information for movies to studio creative executives on behalf of screen writers. Even established and well-known writers do not submit unsolicited material, but a submission from a lawyer establishes protection for the studio who pre-clears the submission.
If you are a creative professional, you not only need an agent, you also definitely need a lawyer. The lawyers at North & Nash LLP have experience in representing not only studios and networks but writers and artists. Contact us for a consultation at 949-752-2200.