You have a movie script which you believe would get the attention of movie enthusiasts, critics, eagles, pundits and record a box office hit! Where do you go from here ?, who do you submit it to? how do you ensure that you are not denied access to the door that would usher you in to glory and fame land, for one wrong move can be catastrophic ?. In Nollywood, and I’m sure it obtains in other Movie industries as well, rookies are tagged as “unknown personalities”. It is therefore risky to submit unsolicited movie scripts.

Rookies run in to brick walls based on the fact that:

1)      The producer / film maker did not request for the script, you therefore submitted at your own risk!

2)      Your name doesn’t ring a bell!, therefore it’s easy to use the scripts and cover their tracks

3)      They have so much work on their hands at the moment but they’ll try and read it

4)      They let you know they’re not interested in it, better luck elsewhere (after you’ve been there for the umpteenth time)

5)      Months later you get to see the modified version of your story on vcd/dvd produced by the company and the credits given to another. Due to lack of evidence to prosecute the erring movie practitioner, the script writer is left to lick his wounds

These few tips will come in handy when submitting scripts:

1)      There are many producers/film makers in Nollywood (charlatans and professionals), therefore deal with one who is a member of the Association of Movie Producers

2)      Make enquiries about those who have an untainted record of honesty,  integrity, transparency, diligence, commitment to excellence and uphold the Industry’s best practices, and know those who don’t

3)      Make a list of the professionals you have chosen and begin to narrow down your search to the specifics (certain producers/filmmakers are interested in a particular genre, so you’ve got to know who best aligns with your theme)

4)      Call to book an appointment (don’t just show up at the office), and don’t disclose the reason for wanting to see him as you might just be turned down instantly with the excuse of having other scripts to consider.

5)      On the set date go in the company of some one else(preferably a business colleague rather than your siblings, or  mere friend)  for credibility sake in case things go wrong

6)      Your general appearance and attitude is important (composure, posture, hair, clothes). Don’t show anxiety, fear, or desperation simply because you are seating before one who is important in the Industry. Remain cool, calm and collected

7)      Maintain eye contact , and observe his body language which is very important here. 70% of communication is non- verbal (body language)

8)      Use the rapport / mirror’s principle (you do something you see the person do with regards to body language). It generates a high level of comfort and assurance.

9)      Listen attentively to what he’s saying. Listening makes you know the kind of person you’re speaking with and what strategy to adopt. It helps you ask vital questions, gives you time to observe the body language of the person, and how you’d respond to certain issues . You’ll also get the subtle intent of where he’s headed

10)  When the conversation is over, he might ask you to drop the manuscript. Don’t ! Inform him that you’ll get another copy ready for him on “ X day”. You mustn’t  submit the original copy of the script

11)  On “X day”, don’t hand over the script to him personally, make the delivery an official one. Prepare a letter based on the discussion of both parties on “W day” (remember to include that your business colleague was there, but in a subtle way), talk about why you’re submitting it, contact details and the fact that you’re submitting a copy of the script, together with the synopsis. Most importantly, let the secretary acknowledge receipt of the letter  on the photocopy you made of the original one (for your records), then submit.

12)   Don’t forget to have a well drafted clause , invariably to protect your work. you might have to see a lawyer for that.

As a rookie you might not get well paid for your first job, but that can change if you’ve got the right story. Keep at it no matter what, and when it’s time for you to emerge in to stardom no one can stop you!  I’ll  also advice  that rookies should also learn the art of screen writing which will certainly act as a catalyst in boosting their rise to fame and fortune.

So long …

Augusta Okon is a lawyer, novelist and runs ‘wise Insight’, an information hunting/writing services outfit in Lagos, Nigeria.Wise Insight helps Nigerians and foreigners to have access to credible, authentic information in topics,issues,areas, where they have little or no knowledge about within the Nigerian jurisdiction.

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