As screenwriters we want to make stories and get them from script to screen, but getting feedback and advice on your work is essential to knowing how to market your film and shop it around. As newbies it is also good to get your work seen and critiqued by experienced members of this field. As they give you advice you also manage to get on their radar hopefully as a memorable and talented fresh face which they can say they were happy to advise and mentor.
First, you have to make a Film Treatment of your film.
What is a Film Treatment?
A Film Treatment is written in prose detailing your movie nearly scene by scene, limited dialogue, includes action, character, and setting descriptions. More descriptive and lengthier than an outline, Film Treatments read like a short story, are told in the present tense, and describe events as they happen in chronological order. They have a “filmic” style giving a feel for all elements that appear in your story. Super easy to follow.
Film Treatments are often times “relatively brief” between 2 – 20 pages in length. 2 pages being the absolute minimum and 20 pages being the absolute maximum. It is written in Times New Roman, 12 Font Size, standard 1 inch margins all the way around.
Here are some resources that can help you write your Film Treatment:
4 Key Elements to Writing a Strong Film Treatment by No Film School
How a Film Treatment Helps You Write Your Script by No Film School
How To Writer A Film Treatment Like a Pro by Studio Binder
Screenplay Treatment 101 PDF by ScriptMag
Writing (Film) Treatments That Sell by Film Courage
If you want to see an example of a FULL Film Treatment, see one of the Film Treatments I made for one of my own ORIGINAL Screenplays titled “Chronicles of a Cover-Up: There’s No Escaping the Pull Of His Shadow” BELOW!
DOWNLOAD MY ORIGINAL FILM TREATMENT HERE!
If you notice in my Film Treatment I included all the necessary details of my film and stayed within the acceptable margins. My film Treatment is actually 19 pages and I used the 20thpage to lay out some of my thoughts about the style I imagine for the film. This will be a good addition to your Film Treatment to show some of your knowledge about making movies and what vision you have your story. Finally, this will also further enable readers of your Film Treatment to visual your script on-screen.
Once you have created your Film Treatment use that material to get the attention and help from filmmakers who you look up to and who specialize in the same genre that you have chosen to write in.
Second, make a list of members of the film industry and their direct contact information in order to reach out to them for mentorship, advice, and feedback. Those in the film industry can include: filmmakers, film reviewers, film journalists, film columnists, etc.
If your Screenplay and thusly your Film Treatment on that Screenplay is in the Crime Mystery genre send it to reputable members of the film industry who also created or have an interest in Crime Mystery or Mystery in general.
If your Film Treatment is in the Horror genre send it to reputable members of the film industry who also create or have an interest in Horror.
If your Film Treatment is in the Rom-Com genre send it to reputable members of the film industry who also create or have an interest in Rom-Coms.
You get it right! 😉
Third, reach out with your Film Treatment and Make Your First Initial Contact via Email/DM!
It’s time to reach out and get that feedback on your work!
The way that you can approach those in the film industry is by taking the approach of a humble hopeful looking for any amount of advice from someone that they look up to.
Think this persona….⤵️
It will work for you! #TRUST
I have used this method in text form to get many rounds of feedback and critiques on my Film Treatments and my Screenplays which has given me more access to filmmakers in the industry and enabled me to have their ear and also introduce myself and my talent to them. That is what you want too.
*Try to avoid nagging, harassing, and flat out begging. It is possible to be persistent and make a request without going overboard! 😉
I always approach new contacts with a great deal of humility and almost helplessness making sure to remind them that they are an example to me of what I want to become, that I look up to the, respect them, value their opinion, and am supremely thankful and grateful for any time and attention that they choose to offer me all wrapped up neatly in my Initial Contact Email/DM.
Maintaining these qualities in your initial contact is of the utmost importance to getting, “YESes!”
Interestingly, I have found that direct contact information does not always have to be formal. Email is good, but did you know that DMing your Film Industry Contact was also appropriate?
DMing contacts through Twitter or other Social Media platforms is okay as long as you ask first.
I often reach out to my contacts on Twitter first.
You know why? Welp, Email is called Snail Mail for a reason…☺️
Most of your Film Industry Contacts will be active on at least one Social Media platform. That is where you will most likely be able to get their immediate attention.
Pay attention and see how they respond and react to their followers and fans. Are they engaging? Are they playful? Do they respond to replies or question at all?
If you see your Film Industry Contact being willing to be personable then there is a good chance, they mightlet you DM them with your Initial Contact Email/DM.
So, ask them!
I truly believe that it is outside of SM etiquette to slide into an industry contact’s DM without asking for permission first 👀….So, here is an example of the tweet I use to ask my Film Industry Contacts if I can send them my work for review, feedback, and advice!
@__________ I am a Book Blogger, Writer, and aspiring Screenwriter. I would so appreciate some Advice & Feedback. Could I DM you a question?
Customize this tweet to your experiences and interest and use it to reach out!
It is already within Twitter’s character limits and provides enough space for the length of your Film Industry Contact’s @ as well. It is literally all ready for you to use whenever you need it!
So, before we conclude let us review!
- You have your Film Treatment!
- You have made you Film Industry Contacts List with our Downloadable Chart!
- You know where to contact your Film Industry Contacts: Email and Social Media DMs!
- You also have a readymade Tweet to get on your Film Industry Contact’s radar!
Now, once your Film Industry Contact responds to your Tweet asking to DM, they will either open up their DMs temporarily to allow you to DM them, or follow you BACK (You need to be following them already 😉) so that you and them will be able to DM back and forward. Once this happens Don’t Send Them Anything!
First, thank them from the bottom of your heart! Completely gush thankfulness all over them then and only then….Should you send them your Initial Contact Email/DM.
After that the ball is in their court. They are probably very busy and might take a while to get back to you. After a week or two you can follow up with them and ask super, super politely,
“@ _______ This is _______ hope all is well with you! Just wanted to follow up on my DM to you about receiving feedback on my Film Treatment. So, looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Thank you!”
Eventually if you do this all long enough and with multiple Film Industry Contacts you will get some helpful responses and much needed feedback on your story and perhaps even your career in film!
Also, because I know first-hand how intimidating drafting my Initial Contact Email/DM was I have provided for you a template of my Initial Contact Email/DM that you can use to fit your experiences and your Film Treatment in order to get much needed feedback on your story!
DOWNLOAD My Initial Contact Email/DM HERE!
Hope this helps you get your work out there and get useful advice from your peers and find future mentors!