Every screenwriter strives for the story to be bought, produced, and brought to the screen. Most of what screenwriters need to learn in school or in their training, however, relates mostly to the craft: story, structure, characters … and very little to what happens when their script is finished. Kathie Fong Yenoda's terrific The Script-Selling Game seeks to demystify, clear up and provide general insight into this lesser-known, sometimes murky area that writers don't know so well: the things that are a writer's work and yet very little have to do with writing.
Script selling is a game
Writer Kathie Fong Yoneda has over 30 years of story analysis and development experience at major film studios such as Paramount, Columbia, MGM, Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Disney, working on both live-action and animated projects. This book has reviewed over 20,000 submissions in film, television, novels, plays, and web series and shares her tremendous insight into what brings a female writer across the finish line.
For such a concise book, the author gives a lot of tips, tips and tricks and advice from a writer, ranging from general (how to create more opportunities for yourself) to very specific (deciphering the industry terminology as well as knowing what to expect) in talks to sell his script).
From her experience, the author knows how a buyer who can buy your script will think what restrictions they have and what they are looking for. First and foremost, the book tells you what the deal breakers are with what you are selling. First and foremost, you're selling a script and you need to get it ready for a reader: are the characters well rounded? Is storytelling lean enough? Do you know who your target audience is? Once you get a script done, the questions the author asked are invaluable in making sure your product is ready.
The author also goes into in depth how to approach meetings and how to sell not only your script but yourself as well. A producer who buys a script is also buying a relationship with its writer, so as a writer you need to understand how to sell yourself too. You need to convey that you understand the rules of the game and know how to play them. Kathie Fong Yoneda's open introduction to this world will help you hone your understanding of the industry and improve your meeting, pitching, and development skills.
How to play the game
The wonderful insight at the heart of Kathie Fong Yoneda's The Script-Selling Game lies not only in the enormous, clear insight into the industry that it offers the reader, but also in the clarity with which the books must have conveyed the soft skills of a writer to play the game and win. This second edition, which has been expanded from the original 2002 edition, now includes chapters on writing content for the Internet and on animation.
The author's consistently engaged and encouraging tone will surely help the writers navigate the landscape of the film and television industry in a way that no other manual can. This book is not just the rules of the game, it is the treasure map with all the obstacles on the way and how to overcome them.
The script selling game by Kathie Fong Yoneda is published by Michael Wiese Productions.
About Baptiste Charles
Baptiste is a writer from France, where it's always sunny. After a period in politics and his master's in management, he was a marketing intern at the 23rd Raindance Film Festival in 2015 and finally joined the team in 2016 as registrar of the MA in Filmmaking. He is enthusiastic about the variety of the film, about which he researches and writes extensively. He is the producer of the successful web series "Netflix & Kill" and the multi-award-winning short film "Alder" as well as a writer for stage and screen. His short film "U Up?" is currently in pre-production.