How to research the industry?
Failing to research the industry is a common mistake made by many aspiring screenwriters. It's totally understandable - writing is a creative process, and it can be very easy to get caught up in your own ideas and forget to pay attention to what's happening out there in the industry. Especially if you’re not living close to a film or tv production hub (like the majority of us). However, if you want to make it in this field, it's essential that you keep up to date with industry trends, understand what's popular, and know what production companies are looking for.
“And just how the heck am I supposed to do that?”
One way is to start reading publications that focus on the entertainment industry, such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline. These publications provide news and insights into the current state of the industry, including which movies and TV shows are in production, which studios are buying what types of scripts, and what trends are emerging. By reading these publications regularly, you can get a sense of what's happening in the industry and what types of stories are currently in demand.
Don’t feel that you need to run out and buy subscriptions. There’s plenty of content posted on their social media feeds to get you started, plus that’s exactly where you can also read and write comments, share content, and begin to do a little networking by putting yourself out there. Just don’t get sucked in so much that you forget to write!
Another way to research the industry is to attend industry events, such as film festivals and screenwriting conferences. These events offer opportunities to meet industry professionals, learn from experts, and get a sense of what's happening in the industry. Attending these events can be expensive, but they can also be incredibly valuable for making connections and getting your foot in the door.
Get started by participating in your local film scene. Is there a filmmaking group near you? If there aren’t any local writing groups, could you start one? No? then go digital and join an online writing group instead. There are tons of online talks, classes, conferences, and more online. Again, it’s not just about learning more about the industry here, it’s about participating and becoming known in the circles you want to be in.
When researching the industry, it's important to pay attention to trends, but also to understand that adhering too closely to them can be a mistake. While it's essential to understand what types of stories are popular and what production companies are looking for, it's also important to be original and bring your unique voice to the table. It's a delicate balance, and one that can only be achieved through careful research and attention to detail. Follow industry professionals, screenwriters, and influencers to stay informed on the latest developments.
Some script reading services can also provide coverage reports that can offer insights into current trends in the market. By reading these reports, you can gain an understanding of what types of projects are being produced and what industry professionals are looking for in a script.
It all comes down to knowing who your audience are and understanding if there’s a market for your idea. Failing to research the industry is a common mistake made by aspiring screenwriters, but it's one that can be easily avoided. By reading industry publications, attending events, and staying up to date with trends, you can increase your chances of success and create stories that are both timely and original.
Remember, the more you know about the industry, the better equipped you will be to navigate it and build a successful career as a screenwriter.