Once upon a time, an unknown screenwriter sent a Hollywood agent a well-written script. The agent read it, loved it and called the writer with a contract offer. The writer agreed and soon his scripts were made into blockbuster movies. Unfortunately, in today's Hollywood, that's just a fairy tale. Today, an unknown scriptwriter shouldn't expect to land an agent at all -- at least, not without some serious legwork.
One way to get Hollywood agents to notice you is to win -- or at least rank high in -- a quality screenwriting contest. For example, in 2010, screenwriter Larry Brenner entered Final Draft’s Big Break Contest. He didn't win, but one of the judges, a studio executive, loved his script. He helped Brenner get an agent and make his first sale. Agents, producers and executives often judge writing contests for the purpose of finding new talent.
Upload to a Video Site
Many screenwriters, including Brian Koppelman -- who wrote "Rounders," "Ocean's Thirteen" and other films -- recommends producing your own script and posting it on YouTube. Grab a digital single lens reflex camera and start shooting your script with local actors. Get help from local film students. Then post your film -- or part of it -- on a well-known video site. If it creates enough buzz, an agent will notice it and contact you.
Use Social Media
If you can write a great screenplay, then surely you can make yourself stand out -- in a good way -- on social media. Link to your online videos through your social media site. Be witty and entertaining. Quote your script. Convince people your work is worth noting, but don't act desperate. Make them ask you if they can read your script. Agents, producers and other Hollywood types frequently go online looking for new ideas and new people with whom they can work.
Conferences have become the place for writers of nearly every type to get noticed. You could, for example, attend a screenwriter's conference and give agents and producers your best screenplay pitch. You don't need to know anybody in the business, you don't have to take the time to create a film or post to social media sites. You just need to invest the money and time to attend the conference.