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Why You Should Avoid "Screenplays Wanted" Ads and Never Write for $0.

Even If the Offer Sounds Too Good to Be True (Hint: It Probably Is)

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by Script Reader Pro in Screenwriter Career
April 30, 2012 20 comments

Should You Ever Answer a “Screenplays Wanted” Ad? 

Type “screenwriter needed” or “screenplays wanted” into an internet search engine and you’ll find yourself swamped in ads such as these:

Screenwriter wanted to write Indie Drama script. Fantastic and original treatment already in place, just need you to turn into a full feature draft. No pay upfront, but we have interest from several top producers waiting to see the script.

Or how about this?

Comedy Scripts Wanted! Have you got a funny laugh out loud script in the style of the Farrelly Brothers? Then we want to read it! Send to FunnyHaha Productions and if we like it we’ll make it. No payment for script, but professional actors and funding in place.

Our recommendation?

Avoid Screenplays Wanted Ads Like These

We find it amazing how people can post these kinds of ads, basically asking writers to spend hours and hours writing a screenplay for nothing.

Often there’s the promise of cash once the thing not only gets made but presumably achieves some kind of success. Don’t get taken in by the talk of “Producers waiting,” “We’re a top production company,” or “You’ll receive payment once it’s completed.”

This is just a ruse to try and get something from you for nothing. All of your time and effort should be focused on writing the best script that you can.

Then, you should focus on learning how to sell a screenplay and trying to get a screenwriting manager.

Conclusion

The bottom line is this: Never write a word for anyone without first getting paid. There may be some “scripts wanted” ads that actually lead to paid work, but they are very few and far between.

On the whole, anyone who says they want you to write a script for free is to be avoided. No matter who they are. Your screenplay may be wanted, but don’t spend hours writing it only to give it away for nothing. It’s worth so much more than that.

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Have you ever been burned by a “screenplays wanted” ad? What happened? Do you agree with our prognosis? Let us know in the comments section below.

screenplays wanted

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[© Photo credits: Unsplash]

20 Comments
  1. Sigurjon Helgi Kristjansson says:

    This also applies to the translation industry, and freelance writing industry. It is becoming common practice, to SHAFT people. In fact, the amazing thing is, they all talk about “adopting the UN understanding about freelance translators”, but then they all expect you to use translation tools, which cost around $1000, but they all want you to use the one they’ve bought, be it TRADOS, Memo Q or whatever, and then they want you to give them a discount, because certain words appear more often. – I mean would you expect to pay a bus driver lor taxi driver less, just because he drove down the same street before (he drove you one way, and now he’s gong back, so does he get paid less). What gives?

    In freelance writing, they expect you to work for pittance, doing all the research and typing up stuff and getting photographs even, but then they want to pay you less than National Minimum Wage for the job.

    Just like in translating, when I was sent a shoddy copy of the original, but they expected me not only to translate it, but do the layout work to – Basically they wanted it ready to go to the Printers. Of course I declined. People doing Layouts get paid a couple of hundred bucks, and they wanted me to do it for practically nothing.

    We are heading back to the age of slavery, where the rich are getting filthy richer and the poor are being made destitute.

  2. Eric Dickson says:

    So many BS artists parading around as producers and/or directors. I’ve been burned so many times by so-called filmmakers who are anything but. Some of them with side gigs running for City Council, shooting skateboard videos and pursuing careers as amateur wrestlers. You can’t have it all but you sure can try, I guess.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sorry to hear that, Eric. All you can do is learn from it and move forward. Good luck!

  3. Deboraj says:

    I’ve sadly just been reeled in by a director and badly burned.
    A lesson learned the hard way.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Oh no, sorry to hear that.

  4. Liam Reed says:

    Never ever write for free. Your a mug if you do.

  5. Raj Raskera says:

    What about the Blacklist? YOu have to pay to put your script on there is that a writing for nothing?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      The Blacklist is a legit website so not really.

  6. Carol says:

    Hi. Thanks for talking about this. I found this page to late….

  7. Don says:

    Craigslist is a popular place for wanted scripts. Approx 99% have no contact info or info of who they are; and won’t reply with that info when you ask for it. SCAMMERS and BS ARTISTS!!

  8. Thomas Lee Howell says:

    I am for hire as a pro screenwriter and script doctor. I was taught to write screenplays by Emmy Award winner Lee Levinson in 1999.

  9. Lu Ann Frisch says:

    What if you think you have a fantastic idea for a script/movie, but need a writer to first write the screenplay? We just have the (true) story.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hi there, ufortunately it’s not possible to sell just an idea so your options are either writing the script yourself or hiring someone else to write it. Good luck!

  10. Patrick House says:

    Good Advice. I however do the thing of okay by the way I have registered my script with the WGA and the Copy Right of Congress. They usually decline after they see that.

  11. tedthescreenwritingmachine says:

    Great post, this really needs highlighting. So many people out there want something for nothing.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks Ted!

      1. Rose says:

        What about all those screenwriting contests where you pay to submit? Are those hundreds of contests merely receptacles for ideas? Does anyone get anywhere, even if you win or place?

        1. Script Reader Pro says:

          There are some questionable contests out there for sure, but if you stick to our top 10 you’ll be okay.

  12. Virgil says:

    I don’t think you can ever take those ads seriously if you want to take screenwriting seriously. Should be concentrating on getting proper gigs not messing around with amateurs.

  13. Amy Roberts says:

    I too have been burned by these ads. Never again!

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