“The question about breaking in seems perfectly legit, but really it’s not. A writer must create compelling work, and then try to sell it. Once sold, the writer has to do the same thing again. It’s really not true that the writer ‘breaks in’—that’s an artifact of the belief that the person is being judged, not the work, and also of the belief that there is an inside and an outside, which I don’t think exists. There are too many screenwriters out there with only a single credit for there to be an inside, and too many writers on the outside making sales, to too many markets which are either new, changing, or undefined.
In truth buyers are just not that organized, your buyer is not my buyer, or in some cases, you can become your own buyer. Courtney Hunt was nominated for an Academy Award this year for best screenplay for Frozen River, and she’s never sold a screenplay. Is she on the inside or the outside? In truth, anyone, at any time, can come up with South Park or Superman or Sandman, and that’s all that matters. I know writers want to think it’s all about access, and it’s true that for me, at this point, I can get a screenplay read, far easier than most. But that doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t sell, and no writer is so inside that anything they write sells. Lawrence Kasdan has three unsold specs. Shane Black has films he wants to get made he can’t get made. When every studio passes on your project, let me tell you, that feeling of being on the inside disappears fast.”
Screenwriter Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)