1. Don't even think about sending your work out, contacting agents or production companies or anyone until you've written at least
Two reasons why:
First, as writers, we become attached to our work and by the time we finally have a finished product, we tend to think it's a masterpiece. It isn't.
A major accomplishment? Yes.
A reason to break out the bubbly? Yes.
A product ready to go out to anyone other than a peer review? Absolutely not.
A script needs revisions. Remember the exhausted but undying cliche:
To Write is to Rewrite
We learn a tremendous amount simply by completing our first script. Things like formatting.
We learn even more after our second, third and fourth scripts. Things like pace, effective dialogue. We learn as we go.
We didn't get on that bike once and learn how to ride, right? Same thing here. Don't confuse completion with mastery.
The second reason why we must wait until we have amassed a small collection of work before we contact the Powers That Be, is that we may have a beautifully polished script and we may miraculously get that jewel of a script into the hands of a Somebody, but if that's not exactly the kind of material they're looking for, they're going to want to see what else we have for them.
A ProdCo loves our work, Great news, right?
Not if we don't have anything else to show them. We just got their hopes up, and then let them fall flat. I think it's pretty safe to say that this is not how we want to be known by a Director of Development in any Production Company.
In this one-shot planet called Hollywood, we can not afford to leave a bad taste in any one's mouth. We have to have those other scripts polished and ready to offer up.
So forget the agent, forget the competition, forget the submissions. Write, write and then write some more. Join peer critiques, ask other writers to give you feedback (NO Family) and then rewrite and rewrite and then do it all over again at least four times.
I know, I know, so much for the glitz. Good. Get over it. We're writers. Go write!