Okay, so you’ve got the top contests like Nicholl, TrackingB, and Page. Unlike most contests, they actually break new writers with some level of consistency.
The new Blacklist service is very cool. I’d say it has potential to create more success than even the Nicholl competition. That said, because it’s combined with feedback, it also has potential to be more disheartening. Most writers will need a thick skin if they’re going to use it.
As for querying, I always recommend that you start with managers. I wrote up a long post on querying on my blog, but in short, you should spend some time researching managers online through blogs, the Blacklist, and tracking boards that list managers associated with recent successes and sales. Then, you can often pull their e-mail addresses from IMDBPro.
Before any of those things, submit your work to other writers. Ideally, writers who are both better at their craft than you are and are willing to give you objective feedback. Use that feedback to improve.
It depends on your credentials and (especially) your contacts. But you can do any of the following: — package it with a hot director and/or a hungry producer and let THEM do the selling, as writers are near the bottom of the food chain in Hollywood. But of course this requires you to know, and then sell, a hot director or hungry producer on your screenplay. — query a major agency, something like CAA, that has a large stable of actors and directors, as it will be much easier to sell if it’s part of a package with a star and a director attached.. The disadvantage, of course, is that they’ll also have a batch of writers who are currently worth more than you who they’ll be more inclined to package with their actors and directors. — query a boutique agency that specializes in writers But this diminishes your chances since they -can’t- package you. Whatever you decide, do NOT submit to a studio’s Script Department, which in Hollywood is just another term for “slush building”. Mike
I don’t have a Hollywood agent. I did it the hard way — optioned some books, met the producers, they introduced me to other producers and directors, etc.