I would love nothing more than to fly to Los Angeles and try sending some of my screenplays to a handful of agents. Alas, I'm from a crappy little country that needs visas to be admitted to the US, and my chances of receiving one upon telling the consul "yeah, I'd like to pitch a couple of screenplays in Hollywood" obviously do not even equal zero but go into the negatives. And, as everyone writes, you have to be there personally to even start thinking of going with the screenplay somewhere - you can't do it over phone or e-mail...
As I considered the options, I thought there was one "other" (comparatively) big movie market that is realistically open to me - UK. Apart from India, it's probably the country with the second most important movie industry in the world. But are there any "maps" helpful in trying to pitch a screenplay in, presumably, London? Do screenwriting agents operate in the UK? If so, can their details be found, or are they the industry's best kept secret? Will they accept an outsider's script? If they do, is the US release form adequate? What requirements do they have? What quirks that make them different from US agents? And if there are no agents, whose door to try knocking on and where? Will, say, the BBC send an unsolicited screenplay straight into the dustbin? Etc., etc., etc... any information would be useful...
I've read a pile of screenwriting books, from Trottier to King, numerous guides, online tips, etc., but all were obviously targeted at someone who is in the US, either living or at least staying there, and is trying do find a way into Hollywood. Those that did mention other countries, specifically Britain, were very vague and basically said "well, if it doesn't work out, you could try UK, too".
Great, but... how?
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I would love nothing more than to fly to Los Angeles and try sending some of my screenplays to a ... personally to even start thinking of going with the screenplay somewhere - you can't do it over phone or e-mail...

Not altogether true. You can do cold pitches by telephone, but the major trick is getting through to someome. Having an agent is a major asset in this area. Soo... You've given no clue to what country you're in, which probably is beside the point.
I don't know if equivalent services are available where you live, but here in the States, I am about to go with a voip that will allow me to have additional telephone numbers in any city in the U.S. for five bucks each per month, or in most western European cities for ten bucks a month per number, with unlimited calling in both cases. Which means a local Los Angeles phone number is an option. And that means that people can return calls, and would probably assume I live in Los Angeles. Or London. Or Paris.

If you find yourself an agent in L.A., the AGENT sends out scripts for you. Trying to get someone to read a script that's not submitted by a WGA signatory agent is more hassle than it's worth. With a local L.A. phone number, you can call prodcos and studios and cold pitch your script on the phone, then call your agent and have him/her send the script to whomever has agreed to read it. This is standard for cold calling, even when you actually live in L.A.
Your chance of success is probably not a whole lot different with this method than it would be if you moved to Los Angeles. If someone seriously wants a meeting, get them to pop for the ticket. If they're serious about buying your script, chances are they will. I have no idea whether this would be a viable plan for London.
Good luck! I'm curious what country you're in? Your English is exceptional!
Caroline
Good luck! I'm curious what country you're in? Your English is exceptional!

I believe you failed to observe the small but vital clue in the subject header, Watson.
Bert
www.bertcoules.co.uk
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OK, my profound apologies. I really should read the original posts and not just the replies...
Bert
www.bertcoules.co.uk
I would love nothing more than to fly to Los Angeles and try sending some of my screenplays to a ... personally to even start thinking of going with the screenplay somewhere - you can't do it over phone or e-mail...

You're not entering the US to work (i.e. for money), just to meet a few people. So can you get a tourist visa without having to explain yourself to the consul?
But as Caroline points out you won't get meetings anyway (at least at first).
You need an LA-based agent to send out the script. So your first order of business is to snag an agent. That's done by sending out queries, by mail, email and phone not in person. So that doesn't entail any travel to LA either.
In your case, email is probably the best bet, since it (probably) doesn't indicate where you're writing from.
Once you get some interest i.e. an agent says he'll read your work you can send it from wherever you live (where *do* you live) or you can get it forwarded from somewhere less backwaterish or exotic/difficult.

In other words where you live doesn't have to be issue until an agent shows interest in taking you on as a client.
It may put off a lot of agents because they liuke you to be in hand to take meetings, but if you've got a killer script they think they can sell, they may well overlook that.
And if it sells the whole business of visas and travel is no longer a problem. There are always ways around it.
I've read a pile of screenwriting books, from Trottier to King, numerous guides, online tips, etc., but all were obviously ... were very vague and basically said "well, if it doesn't work out, you could try UK, too". Great, but... how?

Even though I am British I don't live there & I've never worked in the biz there (except at long distance from here) so I can't really comment. But there are others who can.
That said, I think the real screenwriting outlets are in TV not film. The ecompetition in film is too fierce for too few slots for an outsider to crack it. Which is not to suggest that TV is easy.

But if I'm right about TV then you probably do need to be there. TV writing is a process that involves a great deal of contact. It can be done via phone and email in fact I just finished working on a UK production that way but really, you need to be able to go to meetings.
Maybe Bert Coules and the other Britsiders can chime in.

Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent. Frank Sinatra
OK, my profound apologies. I really should read the original posts and not just the replies... Bert www.bertcoules.co.uk

'Sawright... '-)
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you failed to observe the small but vital clue in the subject header[/nq]Oh, I'm not British, English is not my first language (of course the screenplays arein English), and, in fact, I've only been to UK once so far (and not on any writing-related business, either Emotion: smile. It's just that, for reasons that I mentioned above, out of the two countries with movie industries that count for anything in the world and that, at the same time, have languages in which I can write (i.e.

USA and UK, because I suppose one can consider e.g. the Hong Kong, Indian and French movie industries big enough - but, unfortunately, I speak neither Mandarin, nor Hindu :>, and my French is too weak to write without sweating), UK is the one that is freely accessible to me (not to mention the fact that it's located close Emotion: smile, and that is, realistically, a potential place to try...
But first and foremost, thanks for the tips and good luck wishes, everyone (I'm posting this as one combined reply to all your posts). I hope others will have some more, too - one can never have enough good tips... Emotion: smile
The possibility of finding an agent via e-mail does sound intriguing, as all I've read so far suggested that everything, from a letter of inquiry, to a proposal, to a copy of the script, needs to be submitted either by snail mail or in person, and that agents won't speak to anyone who's outside the US (and at the same time, oustide the industry)... I guess it's time to look for e-mails of agents now, and hope to find real ones rather than any vanity-publishing scammers or spambots... One possible source I'm thinking of now is IMDBPro...
Cheating agents with phone-forwarding services sounds fun (heheh), but wouldn't this cause any agent to explode in rage and have me blacklisted everywhere, so to speak, once he/she found out? I mean, if it actually resulted in something, then... well, when I think of a conversation starting with "You really want to meet me and discuss the script tomorrow, at a cafe on Griffith Park Blvd? That's wonderful! Oh, by the way, I've, uh, embellished a few things a little - I'm not really in LA, I'm 5000 miles away from the closest US border and I need a visa to even cross it; that won't be a problem, will it?", I would fully expect any agent who heard that to be speechless for a moment and then scream "Don't you ever try calling me again, you little lying *$&#(*&#*!"...
As for TV... funnily enough, one of the scripts consists of four short segments with a wraparound that connects them, by their narrators, and I even thought that these segments - and similar stories - could actually be easily cut into separate episodes of a watchable (and, I believe, quite marketable...) TV series...
As far as a US tourist visa is concerned, I intend to apply, indeed, but I don't have too much hope, as, being single and without any permanent ties to this country, I apparently belong in the group that, according to the Immigration Office rulebook, "may attempt to abuse the limits of a tourist visa by attempting to illegally find employment in the US". Oh well.
But first and foremost, thanks for the tips and good luck wishes, everyone (I'm posting this as one combined reply to all your posts). I hope others will have some more, too - one can never have enough good tips... Emotion: smile

WHAT COUNTRY ARE YOU IN???
Cheating agents with phone-forwarding services sounds fun (heheh), but wouldn't this cause any agent to explode in rage and have ... to be speechless for a moment and then scream "Don't you ever try calling me again, you little lying *$&#(*&#*!"...

Never lie to your agent! And the service I'm speaking of is not cheating. You have an actual phone in your house. Nothing is "forwarded." *IF* an agent likes your work, there's a very good chance he or she will work with you wherever you live. The purpose of the Los Angeles telephone number would be to make it easier to exchange phone calls, whether you call them or they call you. Sometimes if an acquisitions person is busy, you may be asked for a phone number, and while they will usually return out of town phone calls, a local call is easier.
If you're lucky enough to land an agent, your agent is your business partner. If you're wise, you will strive to make him or her your friend. NEVER lie to an agent!
Caroline
Is it a huige secret what country you live in?
If not, maybe you could fill in that blank.
The possibility of finding an agent via e-mail does sound intriguing, as all I've read so far suggested that everything, from a letter of inquiry, to a proposal, to a copy of the script, needs to be submitted either by snail mail or in person,

Forget about "in person." That isn't going to happen unless you run into an agent at a party and ask if you can drop by the office.

The snailmail idea used* to be the *only way but these days email is fine (provided you can get hold of the address).
and that agents won't speak to anyone who's outside the US (and at the same time, oustide the industry)...

Not so. If your query intrigues them enough to want to read your script they will read it. I'm not in the US (I'm in Canada) and my agent is in LA.
And, as I said if you contact them by email they don't even have to know where you are located for the time being.
guess it's time to look for e-mails of agents now, and hope to find real ones rather than any vanity-publishing scammers or spambots... One possible source I'm thinking of now is IMDBPro...

If you go to the WGA site you'll find a list of signatory agents who are considering submission some of which publish the email addresses.
Cheating agents with phone-forwarding services sounds fun (heheh), but wouldn't this cause any agent to explode in rage and have me blacklisted everywhere, so to speak, once he/she found out?

See above. You don't have to cheat. They don't have to know until they've been hooked by the brilliance of your writing.
I mean, if it actually resulted in something, then... well, when I think of a conversation starting with "You really ... to be speechless for a moment and then scream "Don't you ever try calling me again, you little lying *$&#(*&#*!"...

Don't worry about this. If they can sel your script they won't care where you are.
As for TV... funnily enough, one of the scripts consists of four short segments with a wraparound that connects them, ... stories - could actually be easily cut into separate episodes of a watchable (and, I believe, quite marketable...) TV series...

Except TV isn't buying series from unproduced, unknown writers. That WILL NOT HAPPEN, so forget about trying to sell a series.

What TV has to offer is work on existing series. But for that you pretty much have to be able to travel freely.
As far as a US tourist visa is concerned, I intend to apply, indeed, but I don't have too much ... attempt to abuse the limits of a tourist visa by attempting to illegally find employment in the US". Oh well.

I know people who live in Ukraine and while it's easy for them to leave these days it's very hard to find a Western country that will let them in if that country suspects they might be trying to immigrate. Is this your situation?
Look, if you have a brilliant kick-ass script to sell that will make someone millions of dollars, you can bet that they have iummigration lawyers at their disposal who can make this go away.

But it is literally years too soon to even be thinking about this stuff.

You worry too much!

Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent. Frank Sinatra
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