I have an idea for a script, film or TV show – why you should forget it and go do something more interesting instead

As a leading UK script consultant and scriptwriter for hire I get contacted a lot by people who have an idea for a film / TV show / sitcom or series. Just the idea, not a script, not even a half finished storyline.

Here is the email that I generally send to those enquiring about hiring me to take their idea, and turn into a viable proposal.

“It is possible to hire me or other pro scriptwriter’s to turn your idea into a workable script.  But, I would suggest that you don’t bother and forget the idea.

It would cost around £3,000 upfront to turn your idea into a screenplay. However, this offers zero guarantee of production. And unless, you’re financing the film /show yourself, it will most likely never get made, despite a pro writing the script.  

Hollywood, the UK film industry, and I’m sure the film business world over IS NOT short of scripts or ideas.  In the UK the BBC writers room gets 20,000+ scripts submitted every year (it has only ever made one project submitted in its’ 20 year history)  

The Writers Guild in the USA has 80,000 scripts submitted every year (the USA only makes 900 films per year). The UK has over 300 pro scriptwriters all turning out original screenplays all the time (the UK makes about 60 films per year – most are aimed at US market and written by American’s)

Hollywood only deals with people who already have a track record in Hollywood, and the UK industry is pretty much the same.  The big studios which finance most Hollywood and UK films, actually commission writers rather than wait for scripts to come to them. They hire writers to write what they want make. They don’t read spec scripts from people without track records at all. 

And finally, UK and US production companies WILL NOT even accept unsolicited scripts or material by post or by email – never mind read them -for very good legal reasons.  So even with a finished script, it’s almost impossible to get anyone with power within the industry to read it. I’m serious, they won’t touch it. Legally they could get in trouble.

So, as I said, unless you finance the film yourself -it’s essentially a closed shop. It’s a bit like saying I want to design a Ferrari. Unless you work for Ferrari or are a well known car designer already, it’s probably not going to happen. 

My advice would to forget it, or come up with an idea that you can afford to finance yourself.

If you’re happy to pay me £3,000 to write a script that I can’t guarantee anyone will read let me know with a reply to this email – it kind of covers me later.  People get convinced there film will get made or picked up. The odds are about the same as a lotto win (even with a pro writer on board). Its the reality of the business.

Let me know if you’d like to proceed on these terms, and the reality of the industry.”

So, if you have landed on this page with the intention of hiring me (or another pro scriptwriter) to turn you idea into a script – take note of the above.

Matthew Cooper has been a scriptwriter for hire, UK Script editor  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 UK script coverage service, Script reading service and script development service are highly sought after.

You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb.

His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham was released in 2020. You can find out more about Matthew’s work as a director here.

You can contact Matthew directly to purchase his ebook The UK Soap Opera Script Writers Handbook.