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.