So, if you’re starting out as a screenwriter, or just have an idea for a TV show or TV format–the quick answer to this question is a big NO. You can’t write something and just send it off to these places.
Netflix, Amazon Studios and ITV don’t accept unsolicited material in any form. If you post a script or idea to them – it’ll go in the bin unopened or come straight back return to sender. Emails with attachments will be binned, or even blocked before they reach an inbox.
Channel Four does have a screenwriting course that accepts submissions from new writers, so I understand.
So, the question for many people is – how do I get my script or idea in front of someone?
Well, the industry itself isn’t short of ideas or scripts (either here or in the USA) and the industry itself kind of only deals with people who already have a track record within the industry.
Asking to submit a script or idea to someone like Netflix is like asking Ferrari to look at your design for a new car–Ferrari already has plenty of proven car designers and Netflix, Amazon, ITV and Channel Four already have plenty of good writers working on scripts for them.
Writers with literary agents are treated a bit differently, but submissions still need to go through the correct channels–which the agent will handle most times.
Writers starting out and wanting to build a career need to get a decent literary agent in the first instance (you can find a complete list of UK literary agents here–with advice on how to submit to them).
If you’re serious about getting your script read, and want to make a real fist of getting an agent, or getting the script in front of someone who can make decisions then you’re best advised to get a script report or script coverage done first–by a professional script consultant (like me) before you send your script anywhere.
Never send a script to broadcaster, agent or production company without having a professional script consultant do a script report or script coverage first. Agents are unlikely to take a second look at submissions which fall below standards – so get a script report done before you SUBMIT to anyone.
Keep an eye out for script competitions too (Twitter is useful for this) a competition win can often help a project get seen – and builds up industry interest sometimes – but again – make sure you have your work read and evaluated by a pro – before you enter the competition. It only makes sense when the competition is so fierce.
Click here to find details of my script consultant fees and prices – please get in touch with any queries …and the best of luck.
Matthew Cooper has been a scriptwriter for hire and UK script consultant for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award-winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer.
His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller ‘Markham’ was released in 2020, his second feature film as director ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ will be released in 2021. You can find out more about Matthew’s work as a director here. here.