Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Understanding, Respecting, then Overcoming the Unsolicited Submissions Barrier

Everyone who starts out promoting a script or finished film learns very quickly, and abruptly, about the unsolicited submissions barrier.

The letter generally reads "your submission is being returned to you unread, we only accept submissions from recognized agents and attorneys."

Here is an article that explains a great deal why those policies are necessary:

Although I am not an attorney, I do understand a few more principles pertaining to unsolicited submissions:

At the development level, if a producer chooses to acquire and develop your script, the company will need to obtain an Errors and Omissions insurance policy in order to obtain production financing.  That policy will cover many subjects, but derivative characters and possible descriptions of real people are two important considerations.  Your script will need to be reviewed by a qualified attorney to assure that there are no intellectual property infringements, and that there are no direct or inadvertent references to real people.
You'll need to understand that within reason there is a probability that something you consider to be your original concept may end up in a produced film, but in fact it may not actually be a unique concept.  For example, you may feel that your idea of a party on a cruise ship that is disrupted by a (meteor, aliens, pirates, tidal wave, earthquake, etc.) is unique, but it isn't.  A qualified attorney can help you understand and differenciate which of your script elements may be protected, and which can't.

Some distributors and production companies may accept unsolicited submissions, particularly completed films, provided you accompany your submission with a Submission Waiver, which they will provide to you.

Unfortunately, as you might imagine, a company who provides you with a Submission Waiver, will give you a version that favors them, not you.

Our attorney has developed a Submission Waiver form that favors our clients, so we can be proactive when we contact companies on behalf of our clients.  Our initial contact briefly describes the project and the commercial potential, then we mention that we can provide a Submission Waiver with the work if they would like. 

Our practices make two important points to the people we contact: we understand and respect their Unsolicited Materials policies, and we, and our clients are professionals.

Understanding and respecting unsolicited submission policies and providing a Submission Waiver for our clients that favors them are just two of the many ways we strengthen our clients' competitive advantages.

When you are ready to begin marketing your finished film to potential distributors, we can help you do so in a totally professional manner.  For far less than the fees charged by larger New York and Los Angeles agencies.

Contact me, tell me about your project and what you want to accomplish, and I'll tell you exactly how we can help you.

Steve Thompson

Thompson Communications
580 Haddon Avenue; Collingswood, NJ 08108

s t e v e @ c i n e m a n e w s w i r e . c o m

Thompson Communications

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