Screenwriting: What is a Submission Script?

Screenwriting is one of the most popular professions in the movie industry. The career path to screenwriting is fairly simple, write a great script. But this is easier said then done. You need a great idea, great characters, great structure and then you need to rewrite it a few times until everything is absolutely perfect. It could take a couple of months to write a script or it could take a couple of years. And once it's complete then what do you do with it?

Create a Submission Script

Your submission script is going to be the draft that you will eventually send to agents and producers. Do not contact anyone until this draft is perfect in terms of characters, story, format, grammar and spelling. A writer is a professional so it is very important that his work is free of spelling and grammar errors. You should consider hiring a proofreader to go through it after you just to be safe. 

You also don't need to indicate that this is your second or sixth draft. For all purposes your submission script is the first draft because it's the first version that will be made public. Once you are positive that the draft is ready you will print it out on three hole punch paper and attach it together with brass fasteners. You will only use two fasteners, one for the top hole and one for the bottom. The middle hole is left empty. You now have a submission script in your hands. Now that its done you should register it with the WGA so that your intellectual property is protected.

Sending Out Your Script

It's unwise and expensive to blindly send your script to every production company and agent whose contact info you can find. Instead you first make contact with a query letter. A query letter briefly introduces yourself and explains the script you've written in a couple of lines. You will also attach a self addressed and stamped envelope to your letter so that they can mail back their response to you.

Most letters will go unanswered as most companies and agents refuse to accept material from people they don't know. Other companies will send back a response that says no. But if your query and idea are awesome you will get some interested parties. What happens next is up to them. Most of the time an outline of your script is requested so they can quickly see if the story is any good. If that passes the test then they'll ask for a copy of your script, which you will submit.