How to Use WordPress as a CRM Using ZeroBS

short-form product review example 

About ZeroBS CRM

ZeroBS CRM is a free CRM system for sites based on WordPress. Installation is a snap, as simple as any other WordPress plugin. The developers of ZeroBS CRM call it a super simple CRM. It’s true, it’s very minimalist and to the point.

There isn’t any other CRM that gives you the functionality that ZBS CRM gives for free and at such ease. As far as my personal experience goes, even the ones touted as free are unusable for delivering a crippled, try-before-you-buy, not really free experiences.

ZBS CRM can also be used as a CRM without integrating it with a WordPress site, but still one needs to install it onto an existing WordPress installation to be able to use it. Using it this way defeats the purpose of making it a practically seamless part of your site’s customer acquisition and nurturing strategies as well as a part of the sales processing system. 

 

ZeroBS CRM Features

  • It accepts all file formats to automatize CRM tasks involving delivery of files. Documents, presentations, images, spreadsheets, audio. Archives or any other files for customers are called attachment in ZBS.
  • Interfaces with Contact Form 7 to funnel email addresses from the form system into the CRM.
  • Allows .CSV customer file import and keeps track of the imports you already did. It imports your contacts on Google. Imports Groove customers using Groove Sync. Also imports order history from WooCommerce through Woo Sync.
  • Generates leads with its proprietary Gravity Forms.
  • Invoicing Pro. Invoicing system for clients and contacts to pay you. Supports Stripe and PayPal. Also, your PayPal history can be imported with Paypal/Stripe Sync. Also supports importing of your customers using on WorldPay through WorldPay Sync.
  • Runs email campaigns (paid service).
  • Customers can be tagged to differentiate their kind/stage in the sales process.
  • Sales Dashboard extension (paid) for sales metrics

I was attracted to this software by its invoice generation capability. To have that, and also feature mail campaigns and statistics (paid plugin) was too good to be true. But I was amazed after installing it at how easy it is and how neatly each component of the system is structured.

I’m going to review the free version only. This is one of those pieces of software that gives big value for free. As a basic CRM, the free version succeeds as an application, and the paid plugins, which as of this writing are seventeen make it a complete solution.

If you were to buy all seventeen extensions (an unlikely scenario as I see it), ZeroBS CRM would cost you around $820 a year. Some are for the automation of customer and business data exchange with other platforms like Stripe, Groove, Envato, WooComerce and PayPal, while others unlock the more powerful paid-user modes of the core features.

If I ever buy something from the developers of ZBS, it will be the Sales Dashboard. No wonder that it’s the most expensive plugin. I personally think that for the functionality I need as a freelancer, this one would be the only plugin I’d buy, but that’s just my view.

ZeroBS CRM offers three yearly plans. The Sales Dashboard isn’t even included in the Freelancer plan, which is the cheapest at $129 a year.

You may feel the need to link ZeroBS CRM with your MailChimp funnels. ZBS CRM syncs the contacts with a MailChimp marketing list automatically. You might even want to integrate Awesome Support into your site, to make it have that other common CRM feature, a customer support help desk. But for small businesses, the free version is more than enough.

It must be nifty to have statistics about my sales all in one place, but until I have a substantial customer base I can get my sales analytics with another app. Only it’s a bit of a hassle to have to export and import the sales data around.

Once you start feeling limited by the free version, you can buy a year access to the plugins which range from $29 to $79, with the exception of the Sales Dashboard, that cost $129 for a year.

 

Installation & Setup

Once the plugin is installed and activated, we have a new menu in the WordPress left-side ribbon. Clicking on settings takes us to the settings section.

Before creating a customer and doing other tasks with the CRM to see how it works, go through all the settings and customize as pertinent.

 

ZBS Settings

These are the global settings of the CRM. All of the fields are self-explanatory.

A cool feature is its capability of overriding the WordPress logo on the login page for your users. Making use of this feature with your company’s makes the site more professional-looking for the registered user that has access to the site’s member’s area. 

 

Custom Fields

The CRM has four types of main records:

  • Customers
  • Companies
  • Quotes
  • Invoices

These four types of records come with a predefined set of fields. If you need more fields you can define additional custom fields that fit your needs in this menu.

 

Field Sorts

This tab gives a detailed view of the fields assigned to each record. Dragging and dropping, you can re-arrange the order of the fields in any way that pleases you.

 

Front End Forms

This tab is to enable or disable the captcha system that protects the forms that the CRM generates from attacks.

 

Language

The language is chosen in the uppermost area of this section. Below it are most of the content strings of the CRM which can be changed to anything you like.

 

API

Here the CRM’s API keys are generated.

 

Quote Builder

Here the Quote Builder can be disabled.

 

Invoice Builder

In this section of the settings, all the content of the invoice must be plugged. The essentials are in the group of seven fields below the path to the company or business logo. It also has the email settings and comes with three invoice additional options: 

  • Show tax on invoices
  • Show discount on invoices
  • Show postage and packaging 

 

Testing the CRM — The Control Panel/Dashboard

Customers

  • Manage Customers: to add customers and modify their records
  • Customer Search: self-explanatory
  • Customer Tags: tag costumers to target them separately in your email campaigns
  • Add Extra Customer Fields: takes you to the Custom Fields section of the global settings 

 

Quotes

  • Manage Quotes: in this section, you can manage delivered quotes/estimates. You can also create new ones. After you write the quote, there’s a pull-down menu to select the template. Once that’s done, the quote must be saved, assigned to a customer and then we are able to publish it. Publishing it means that the CRM uses Quote Builder to mail it to the customer. Manage Templates: In this section, multiple quotes templates can be created. The installation of ZBS comes with a Web Design quote example that shows how to use macros to personalize the quote.

 

Invoices

To manage and create new invoices. You can keep it saved as a draft. Other statuses for the invoices are Unpaid, Paid and Overdue. Once the invoice is filled with the transaction’s data and assigned to a customer a new menu of options appears at the top right of it. It gives the option to Preview, Send, Send Test, and Save.

 

Transactions

  • Manage Transactions: here you get a bird view of all your transactions
  • Transaction Tags: lets you add transaction tags to later make different groups. They can be built in a tree structure
  • Add New Transaction: self-explanatory

 

Forms

In this section you create the forms for lead acquisition and list building. 

 

Data Tools

In this section, you have all the export options and the button in the middle takes you to the sales page of the paid import tools.

 

Sync Tools

Both the free and paid extensions are all listed in one place.

product review example

 

Conclusion

I think that this software is excellent for its minimalism. I think that what it gives for free is acceptable only if you’re just starting out and you need a way to organize your customers with several additional features.

In my case, it was the capability of ZBS to export. PDF invoices. I’m satisfied with the free version because I didn’t want any of the paid features.

The need to pay to create email campaigns, or to automatically sync your MailChimp lists is something that limits the power of the free version a lot.

Since a CRM is just the digital version of a ledger, this lean and mean system excels as one. The feature creep was kept to a minimum and the attractive features of mail campaigns and the syncs to integrate other platforms to the CRM make it above average in off-the-shelf solutions that require almost 0% programming knowledge.

To visit the developer’s site, click here.

 

© 2018 Wensley Evolo
Image Credit: Wes Schaeffer

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explanatory content example

Want To Make Big Money Helping the Needy, Less Privileged, Widowed, Motherless and the Disabled?
 

Here’s how to Earn Cash and Traffic Instantly!

 

Don’t spend a lot of money in multi-level marketing schemes. They not only don’t work but also might turn out to be some kind of dishonest, heartless get-rich-quick schemes. Without a product backing them, you may be given just an affiliate website. Then you must re-sell the lie again and again.

In most network marketing and multilevel schemes, you must not only buy yourself into the company. You also must buy products that you would probably never use. Let alone pestering family, friends, and acquaintances with products nobody needs or wants.

Share our vision of helping the needy. Become a partner today. With a one-time entry fee of forty dollars ($40), you become a life member in our original earning plan. Helping Hands International’s Adhitxpress is a charity-oriented network marketing plan. With a twist.

Your entry fee allows you to resell our plan and make a difference instantly. For yourself and for those that you bring to it. They become partners. You allow them to generate a steady income instantly.

When you join our charity-oriented instant cash-flow generation Matrix plan, you join a network that cares for its affiliates. We want you to become a philanthropist, a network marketer, and a great seller. And one of the most important parts of selling is advertising.

 

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about Internet advertising.

 

Register with us. For the one-time entry fee of forty dollars you will get 10000 free advertising credits. Spend them at your discretion. Do it in the advertising spots on our site and in our auto-surfing system.

 

WEEKLY CONTEST

 

If you have seven active referrals for the Matrix Plan in a week (Monday to Sunday) we will award you the Weekly Contest Prize, $100.

 

MONTHLY CONTEST

 

The top monthly referrer to the Matrix Plan gets $500.

You must have at least seven referrals in two weeks.

If you achieve two weeks with at least seven referrals per week you will qualify for the $500 prize.

 

MATRIX PLAN

You will earn in five stages and increasingly win bonuses:

 

ASSOCIATE STAGE (Stage 1)

The matrix you will have is called a Foundation Matrix and has six slots. As an associate, you become a sponsor and can introduce others to the matrix with a referral link or directly.

You will introduce two new members, and in turn, they will introduce another two. You will get 20% or $8 for each member you refer.

If you fill your Foundation Matrix with six referrals, you get $48 plus the matrix bonus of $10. Just by introducing two you will make $58, regaining and surpassing your initial investment!

 

MASTERS MATRIX (Stage 2)

When the two direct-referral members in your matrix refer each other another two, you get indirect referrals. You will now have six referrals in your matrix.

When the new four members brought by your first two direct referrals fill their matrix with two each, you will reach the Masters Matrix. They are already making returns for their investment while you collect a matrix bonus of $1000.

Our marketing plan is designed to provide a regular cash flow for members. You collect money as you and your referrals progress and then a bonus when your matrix is completely filled.

In this level, you get as an incentive a free laptop or iPad.

In this stage, you get the first Matching Bonus, which is another way for members to earn from direct referrals. You get a 10% match of the stage each of your referrals completes. When the members you brought as direct referrals fill their matrix and get their $1000 bonus, you are getting a $100 (10%) matching bonus!

 

SUPER MASTERS MATRIX (Stage 3)

When the members from level one to five in your 2 by 5 matrix become masters, you will get a $1500 bonus.

You get another $1500 when their matrices fill up. When this happens, you will reach the Super Master stage, besides the $1500 bonus you receive, your referrer gets a $150 bonus.

You will also get a Hyundai ix10 (a $10.000 value).

Reaching this stage is important not only for the rewards that you will reap but because YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RECOMMEND TWO PERSONS FOR EMPOWERMENT!

Both persons you choose for empowerment will receive $1000 each.

 

MINISTER MATRIX (Stage 4)

When your supporters filling your matrix become Super Master, you will get $2000 from the matrix’s levels one to five. Plus another $4000 when your matrix is completed. This amounts to a $6000 matrix bonus.

At the same time, your referrer will receive a matching bonus of $300.

You become a Prime Minister and earn a $6000 bonus.

On top of that you will receive:

  • An executive Hyundai (a $27000 value)
  • $1000 to donate to a motherless home or disabled home in your neighborhood
  • An interest-free loan, of up to $12000, with no collateral requirements.

 

PRIME MINISTER MATRIX (Stage 5)

This is the last stage. It’s a 2 by 2 matrix. When six members of your previous matrix join you in the Prime Minister stage, you will collect $12000 in two stages. The member who sponsored you will get a matching 5% bonus ($600).

When you fill level one of the Prime Minister stages, you receive $2000. When your matrix fills up completely, you collect $10000.

Completing the last phase of the Prime Minister stage you will receive the following incentives:

  • International Trip
  • Housing Fund
  • Educational Fund
  • Yearly Infinite Bonus
  • Yearly Elite Club Members Loan (up to $44000)

You can re-enter into the Prime Minister’s stage again.

Re-entry into this stage can go over and over. Each time you re-enter this matrix, $500 are deducted, and your status changes to Primer Minister (**). The two stars indicate the second tenure as Prime Minister.

You can re-enter this stage up to your sixth tenure as Prime Minister.

When your Prime Minister (******) sixth tenure ends, you are offered to occupy one of our prestigious Trustee (Director) positions.

The Board of Directors is a most coveted position in Helping Hands International. Enticing benefits and lots of luxuries and fulfillment packages await you as a Director!

 

MEMBER OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES (DIRECTOR) STAGE

The Trustee Matrix is a 2 by 3 matrix.

This stage requires two referrals on your first level, four in your second, and eight in your last level.

When this 2 by 3 matrix fills up you’ll be contacted and all the benefits will be paid.

 

The Trustee stage benefits:

  • Trustee Bonus (once), $80000
  • Global Profit Pool (yearly), $10000
  • Life Residual Income $10000
  • Position of Director in Charge in the country to be launched
  • Automatic qualification to attend the Annual Global Meeting (AGM) In Hawaii or Paris

 

That’s a 100000 (one-hundred thousand) dollars value!

 

Yearly Recommendations

  • Scholarship Award (yearly), to be given by you to two orphans of your choice.
  • Two more Scholarship Awards for two persons of your religious setting.

To reach the Director position four of your direct referrals must be on this matrix.
This means that four members you directly refer must be somewhere in levels one to three of your 2 by 3 Trustee matrix.

To reach this stage is the goal of every one of our help partners.

 

Please do visit our website at

http://www.adhitxpress.com

we have more information for you there!

 

© 2018 Wensley Evolo
Photo Credit: SomewhereInLife 


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Design of Responsive and SEO Websites

b2c commercial website copy example 2

We offer you a site design service according to your needs, built in a week, or a maximum of ten days. In these times, a website is necessary for many purposes. It is not enough for a service or product to use non-digital methods or just social networks without a site.

You have to own website for your service, product or brand. The possibilities of placing yourself in front of your customers will multiply exponentially. Even if the project is not for a commercial purpose. Because your own site will guarantee a share of analyzable traffic. Therefore a larger audience, with all the possibilities that this implies. 

Sites Based on a CMS or Platform of your Choice

With the help of a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress.org or Joomla, it is possible to create dynamic sites. You can add all kinds of functionality to CMS-based sites. Some examples of the functionality of a CMS websites are:

  • Less hassle overall than using a different platform
  • They foster community and relationships building
  • Can be used as collaboration platform
  • Modular functionality, all kind of things can be added to it
  • Many options for search engine optimization

 

Types of CMS Functionality

Mobile Version Responsive/AMP

A correct display on phones and tablets based on the resolution of such devices. Accelerated Mobile Pages compliance.

Shopping Cart (e-commerce)

When you want to use the site to sell products.

Catalog

Be it commercial products or other things.

Customer Relationship System (CRM)

History of the customers of a business through the entire sales process.

Integration with Social Networks

The signals originated in social networks increase authority in the search engines.

Photo Galleries, Audio & Video

Smart ways to embed media in the pages of the site.

Slideshow

For SlideShare-style presentations.

Courses (e-learning)

Offer courses and be remunerated by credit card or internet payment system.

Mailing Lists

To communicate with customers, fans, or followers through emails and newsletters.

Artistic and Work Portfolios

Sites to display work samples to show potential employers and/or clients.

Contact Form

Many different uses. Generally for questions and support of a product or service.

Printable Coupons

For promotions that must be redeemed in physical establishments.

Blog, Phlog, and Vlog

For professional or amateur specialist content.

Events calendar

Keep users informed about certain events.

Chat

Chat system embedded in the pages of the site.

Downloads

Offering files to download on a site is a great way to get traffic.

Community Forums

To create a community of people with something in common.

Interactive Maps

To show the exact place of a business and ways to get there.

Voting Systems

One way to implement surveys.

Search Site

To find specific content, without having to resort to an external search engine.

Rating System

To evaluate content.

Related Links

To other sites, with sample thumbnails, reviews, etc.

Affiliate Products

Sell products from third parties.

 

Static Websites

For a fraction of the price of a CMS-based site, you can get a static website.

In the past, the CMS system was not widespread. There were some off-the-shelf options for static sites that added functionality. It was done via applets, and Java sites created with a multimedia suite. The sites in Java are in the past. It is more difficult to optimize them for results in search engines.

Basic functionality can be achieved with static websites. It is possible to offer features similar to dynamic sites. It can be configured for the owner to have statistical reports of their use. Needless to say, static sites can and should be optimized for search engines as a dynamic one.

 

Websites Based on Blogging Platforms

Get a website based on a blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress.com. For a fraction of the price of a static website.

Using a personal or business domain you can implement a decent site on a free web platform. Like Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr.

The downside of doing this, using the platform as a CMS, is that the options are much more limited. However, with the use of a personal domain, you can achieve simple blogs and quality sites that are sound budget-wise. With these sites functionality suffers. And the ability to obtain detailed statistics suffers much more.

The statistics options that come with free plans are basic. However, just like static websites, there are ways to better monitor site statistics. It’s done through web apps like, for example, cyfe.com.

Regarding the payment plans of these blogging platforms, we do not recommend them. We think that you are paying for a service that simply is not worth it.

 

Get Your Website in less than 10 Days

Through our website design service, we will provide you with a site with a basic search engine optimization. Our configuration will allow your site to start receiving visits and increasing its authority from day one.

Contact Site Design: xxxxxxxThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Telephone: ***-*****

 

© 2018 Wensley Evolo
Image Credit: MedithIT

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historical short form example

Alien and UFO Movies: Pearls from The Fringe

 

Even though movies featuring aliens have a long pedigree dating back to the 1950s (Earth vs The Flying Saucers, This Island Earth, It Came From Outer Space, etc), only in the last decade or so alien movies have become truer to alien/UFO real-life lore, with narratives that take inspiration from real-life accounts of alien and UFO phenomena. 

There is a big non-fiction bulk of alien literature from which many movies take their inspiration, but I dare say that, for the first thirty years of alien and UFO movies, the tales were original and the movies’ stories and visuals were larger-than-life takes on the subject.

 

The 1950s: Threat of An Atomic Holocaust

One of the first, if not the first, non-fiction books on aliens and UFO, was Donal E Keyhoe’s The Flying Saucers Are Real, published in 1950.

It’s interesting to note how, while there exist precedents — A Trip to the Moon (Méliès, 1902) for instance — the genre really took off in the fifties, at the same time that non-fiction literature on the subject did.

In the visuals of the aliens and UFOs movies of the 1950s, there are hints of a strong influence from Donald Keyhoe’s book, in the sense that most of them include the military as a crucial player in this kind of narratives.

There are many alien and UFO staples from the 50s. Aside from the three I named in the introduction, musters from the decade one shouldn’t let pass are War of The Worlds, The Day The Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet.

 

The 1960s: The End of The Golden Age

The 60s are probably the decade in which less UFO and alien movies came out. But at the same time, it’s the decade that gave us 2001: A Space Odyssey.

When I began watching this kind of movies, the first movie I felt I needed to watch was 2001. I might have been biased back then, because of memories of having read the book in childhood and loving it. But I think 2001: A Space Odyssey was a great way to start assimilating this sub-genre of science fiction.

I personally liked it a lot, but reflecting on how I felt when I watched it I can’t say that I’d like it now like I did then. It’s a movie that takes its time to build up the story, and once interesting things start to happen, the story — albeit greatly photographed — 2001 is just an okay rendition of hard science fiction.

Other movies worth of mention from this decade are, Day of The Triffids, Barbarella, and Quatermass and The Pit.

 

The 1970s: Augmented Originality

The seventies is when things start to get tricky. For the sake of narrowing the chronology of musters I want to make in this article, I won’t write about space opera movies that feature aliens in them like Star Wars since they don’t relate to the genre’s conventions.

As I see it, the 70s were a return to the enthusiasm of the fifties, but with much higher production values. Moreover, the plots of the seventies did thick a lot (e.g., Close Encounters of The Third Kind) and started to deliver not only more astonishing visuals but quite substantial stories of the kind that let you thinking afterward.

Clear examples are Alien and The Andromeda Strain, what if a microscopic alien organism in a crashed satellite spread, replicated and colonized the earth? What if it was a life-form with acid for blood, that needed a human body to gestate? What if the alien menace was an invisible being channeling itself through a piece of technology left behind that fell into the wrong human hands, like in Laserblast?

 

The 1980s: Visual Overload

In the eighties, fans of this sub-genre of science fiction festered on the most well done special effects to date. I think that if the 80s weren’t the peak in grandeur for UFO and alien movies, they were at least a synthesis of all the best elements seen in the previous two decades.

The eighties had campy and controversial features like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and Repo Man, the masterpieces Cocoon and The Abyss, disturbing takes on the alien problem, like Xtro, social commentary masterfully executed, like They Live or new takes on alien movie narratives that came before, like Lifeforce, a movie that I see as a crossover between Alien and The Andromeda Strain of the previous decade.

 

The 1990s: World Domination

The nineties were the decade when the sub-genre became a masses phenomena on a global scale. The X Files and the Alien Autopsy mockumentary are two that come to mind as global phenomena beyond the dedication of science fiction fans and UFO buffs.

It was the turn for UFO and alien movies to become the darling of the Hollywood blockbuster format. Millions saw the box office hits Independence Day, Mars Attacks, Stargate and Men in Black.

Sagas from previous decades, like Alien and Predator, returned, and new ones, like Species, ran their course.

A movie that went over the top was Incident in Lake County. This movie did what Blair Witch Project did, but one year before. Yet, it’s not given the merit it deserves. I guess that to watch Incident in Lake County when it came out, and not knowing about found footage movies, could have been really frightening.

The special mention of this decade should go to Fire In The Sky, an awesome movie which is based on what happened to Travis Walton when he was allegedly abducted by aliens in Arizona, in 1975.

 

The 2000s: Modest Progress

For the most part, I see the 2000s as the decade when alien movies started to diverge and incorporate elements of other genres, like Altered and Night Skies (horror), District 9 and The Fourth Kind (documentary), and Doom (video game).

I believe that the 2000s were a time in which originality and interest in this sub-genre of science fiction appeared to wane. This sub-genre didn’t receive the attention that it capitalized on previous decades, I guess this has to do with The Matrix and the rebirth of cyberpunk as post-cyberpunk.

One movie from which I expected a lot, from this decade, was The Mothman Prophecies, but it disappointed me. I thought it was going to be like the book of the same name, but it practically doesn’t touch the subject of evil men in black like the book does, it only uses the storyline of the Mothman creature.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good movie, but I see it as a Close Encounters movie with the Mothman instead of alien sightings as the fantastic central event of the movie.

I think of the legends about the 1966-67 Point Pleasant Mothman sightings as a kind of material capable of serving as the source for a way more detailed and in-depth story than what The Mothman Prophecies was.

The Fourth Kind shouldn’t be overlooked. That movie eases down the audiences to what will come the following decade, the 2010s, when film industry decidedly coopted the alien and UFO narratives of the printed word.

 

The 2010s and the Future

At present we are getting tales based on alleged true facts, or clearly inspired by them. That gives them an exciting air of disclosure. Beside that we had nice surprises like Apollo 18, Battle of Los Angeles, Cowboys and Aliens and Area 51. All these are top-notch fare, but I hope the best of the decade is yet to come.

 

© 2018 Wensley Evolo
Photo credit: Ryan Lowery

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short blog post example

My First Attempt at Selling to Hollywood

One day I got Syd Field’s Screenplay. In that book, Field talks about compensation. It gives the Writers Guild of America minimum rates for 1984. A market price of $11200 for low-budget, and $20800 for high budget screenplay. This translates to around $27130 and $50300 in 2017 dollars.

When I read that, I decided to become a screenplay writer. I guessed that a writing that commanded those figures must be high-standard.

By then I’ve been writing more than four hours per day, every day. I was doing it for the previous three years. To dream with that kind of money, for one’s writing, felt great.

I started writing scripts in late 2004. My scripts were monstrosities difficult to describe. I’ll just say that my scripts suffered from all the possible kinds of problems screenplays can suffer of.

A single book, specially Screenplay, can’t teach you all there is to know about writing scripts. That showed in the mess that those first scripts of mine were.

I grudged with my hopelessly failed screenplays, trying to fix them, for years on end. I never cared to know about the marketing side. Not cool. Because the process of selling is ten percent development and ninety percent marketing.

I took two years off from screenplay writing from late 2010 to late 2012. I didn’t know where to begin again, as I had decided, and felt very aimless in general.

 

It’s a School of Hard Knocks

Around 2011, I realized that if I needed to learn to sell my screenplays. The best thing to do was to do it with scripts that reflected my studies on the subject for the last seven years. I needed to get acquainted with the business side of the industry.

I knew that a great screenplay and a great marketing approach to match it could possibly work. Yet, I didn’t know what story I could write. In late 2012 I began writing again. In a very small-time way.

Many writers, generally the new and aspiring ones, are infected with an old 1990s meme. Me too. It’s the idea of breaking into the film industry by means of selling a screenplay. A script written on the speculation that a Hollywood studio or production company will buy it.

Write a script. Send it to the studio or production company. They buy it, and you become rich overnight. Selling it for what in the industry is called lower sixes. A hundred thousand or more dollars. Yeah, right.

Good luck with that, it ain’t going to happen. Or maybe it will, but it won’t be an easy ride.

If you are an outsider, you have to be really good at your vocation and deliver in a way that is way, way above average. I mean, you have to eat, breath, drink and sleep on scripts more than movies. You must research your audiences. You also have to write all kind of screenplays and not get pigeonholed into any single genre. Also, be prepared to write for all kinds of budgets.

As a first timer, not bringing to the table awesomeness, and the capacity to crank it out in large amounts is not going to cut it. You mustn’t forget that tinsel town is the hardest industry on the world to break in.

 

What Did Exactly Happen?

From early 2014 to late 2016 I wrote three spec screenplays. The time I dedicated to it was something in the order of two to three hours per day, five days a week. In 2016, after countless rewrites I felt that I had three scripts for three movies. Three films that production houses would like to make, actors and actresses would like to act, and audiences would like to watch.

I’ve sent query letters to hundreds of production companies, producers, and studios. To the ones that accept unsolicited material. These letters had the pitch for my specs, a brief synopsis of the stories and my asking for permission to send them the scripts.

Maybe because the quantity of query letters I’ve sent, I must have witnessed at least half a dozen of different kinds of rejection, these are some:

  • Not hearing from them. After sending the query letter not receiving anything in reply
  • Rejection due to being flooded with other scripts. Or that they didn’t have the manpower to deal with all the submissions
  • The automated response of the email server of the company. Full mailbox
  • Someone who asks to be sent the script. Then never hearing from them again

I didn’t get a second email from anyone. Only a producer in a new company asked for the screenplay.

 

Don’t make my mistakes!

Not networking

I would have stood a greater chance of making something out of my scripts if I would’ve networked from day one. Not just a spam-mail campaign. Also, someone would’ve found the grammar errors in the screenplays and point them out to me.

 

Not using industry-grade tools to check my screenplay

Grammatical errors, yeah those will happen. Even if they didn’t register in your mental corrections. What’s worse, if you’re stuck with an old grammar correction software, you are in for a lot of disappointment. The grammar tools of the last three years are stupid. They can’t spot blatant English grammar errors. Errors that will discredit the writer if a studio o production house reader founds them.

 

Not basing development on method

To write a screenplay that has a chance to sell. Instead, writing the ideas I’d like to see made as movies. Because they were based on real events of my life and I love to flatter myself.

Now, go write your spec screenplays. May you become a ten-year overnight success.

© 2018 Wensley Evolo
Photo Credit: Photo YourSpace

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