I’ve been preparing for the Selling and Pitching Weekend Masterclass which you’ll see is coming up very soon, on the last weekend of this month, and that’s led me to thinking in depth about why some scripts sell and some just don’t…

Before we get to that, there’s something you need to know. Many people ask me if they should learn about selling and pitching scripts before they start writing, or after they’ve finished a draft.

My answer is: either and both – and while in the middle too!

The thing is this: you should absolutely not write a script for the market. And you absolutely should write it with awareness of the market.

Your market is your audience. All the great artistic screenwriters and film-makers in cinema and TV, from DW Griffith to Godard to Charlie Kaufman to Martin Scorsese have known exactly who their audience is, where they are and how to get to them.

Knowing their audience doesn’t distort their vision – it is a central part of their vision.

And the irony is, when I see scripts that don’t sell (and sadly I see many) very often the difference between reaching the writer’s audience and not reaching it comes down to one or two things that could be changed quite simply – either in the script or in the pitch. If only the writer knew.

So, the tip for today is: know your audience – profoundly and in detail. Do whatever research, watch whatever movies and TV programmes, go to whatever workshops it takes to find where they are, and how to sell to them.

If you want to learn more about this, then it’s going to be at the very heart of the Selling and Pitching Weekend Masterclass, in London, coming up in just two weeks time – Saturday to Sunday, 28th to 29th January. There are still some places available, but they may not be around long.

Excuse me blowing my own trumpet for a moment, but we’ve had many successes from writers who came on these workshops, you can hear about some of them on the website.

I believe firmly that a workshop like this is absolutely essential for any writer who wants to be successful in TV or film.

I hope to see you there.