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I just got my Cinestory newsletter and was shocked to find out that this years script sessions are being held in San Fran from June4-6. Just thought I would let everyone know in case you're not on the mailing list. Kinda sucks considering i was planning a short little ride into Chicago,,,now I have to take a vacation! Darn :)
I received a postcard yesterday saying that one of my scripts did not make it into the semi-finals. Haven't heard on my second script yet. It also said that the winners will be announced at the end of march. You can check the cinestory web page at cinestory.com.
Four months is a long time. I would call them for sure! If you need a number or contact name, pick up the "hollywood guide to agents and producers" Apostle is listed in there along with the creative development people. You have every right to call them and find out,,,,what if someone else was interested in the script, you need to know. Good luck!
The shorter the better. Describe your entire project getting the major idea across in as little pages as you can. Producers don't have a lot of time to read really long treatments. Yes tell them everything in the treatment...don't leave out the ending to keep it a mystery...they need to know everything. When i submit i also include a log line page of all three of my complete scripts. You could do the log line in the query letter and then enclose the treatment when submitting. Good luck!
Yes you should put the WGA# on the cover page at the bottom.
Does anyone have any information on Yellow Hat Productions? They just did a direct to video film called Starry Night. I'm thinking they are new because they are not listed in HCD and I can't find any info on them online. I'm looking for names of Producers and owners of the company and writers if possible. Thanks all! Linda Adom4u@aol.com
Hi Guys, was wondering if any of you pitched on sunday. I only had a one day pass for saturday but at the end of the agent session i convinced one of the agents to have lunch with me and at the end of our meeting he asked to see one of my scripts and then gave me his VIP pass for the following day...so I managed to get in to a pitch session and then Cocoon asked to see the script that i pitched to them. Then i made other conacts with different producers who let me send them my treatments. Anyone else have luck wih making contacts? Linda
Did anyone make any good connections this year? I did pretty well. Did any of you get into pitch sessions and did anyone ask to see your scripts? Looking for feedback positive and negative. Thanks all!
Hi Ron, Congrats! Good luck and keep us posted. I am in the "waiting" stage. I hooked up with one of the agents who asked to see one of my scripts and then I pitched to cocoon who asked to see another one of my scripts. I then made some contacts with the other production companies who were there for pitch sessions. so now all my work is out there being read and I am waiting to hear from all of them. keeping my fingers crossed but not holding my breath, cause u know how this industry is. I'll let you know if anything happens! Good luck everyone, Linda
Hi all, I lost a website i had saved when i switched computers. It was a listing of Actors and their agents. Anyone have this website? Trying to find Tom Hanks agent. Any info please E mail me at Adom4u@aol.com. Thanks so much, Linda
Thanks everyone. I appreciate the info. I did find who i was looking for. Thanks again, Linda
I'll tell you what just happend to me. I know one of the men who the HBO series Band of Brothers was based on. This guy met Tom Hanks and is attending the Emmy's at the end of the month. He wrote a letter to Tom Hanks via his agent thanking him for doing such a wonderful job on Band of Brothers and included a letter from me along with a War Documentary that I recently made. I even enclosed a release statement signed by me along with a treatment of the script I wrote based on the documentary. Today I received the entire package back with a letter stating that my material was returned unread. So much for my one degree of separation from Tom Hanks.
Does anyone have a phone number and address on Playtone Productions? I can't find it anywhere on the web or the HCD. Thanks in advance!
Does anyone know the story about a screenwriter who was discovered by David Geffen many years ago while on a cruise. I have an interesting story that goes with this, if anyone knows the name of this screenwriter.
OK, this guy is obviously very new to the industry and has no idea what it is all about. He will either learn and move forward and try to make it, or give up because he is unwilling to work his ass off to get there. Instead of being angry at the industry, learn how to work the machine!
Wellll, I do not know his name and am trying to find out, and am not comfortable revealing certain aspects of the story. I have been trying to find out who this guy is for about 8 years. All I know is he resembles Tim Curry and has a wife named Beth and came to chicago to research for a film and also had a film out that he wrote in 1996.
Hi Troy, As a person who has been on the other end of the script blasting service and reading the queries submitted to my poducer, I'll give you my input and you can take it for what it's worth. Producers get a TON of emails so be as direct and to the point as possible. The queries I read that totally stopped me cold from reading, were over confident letters that spent a lot of time telling us why they are great writers and where they went to school. Producers typically don't care about that. They want to know right off the bat, the TITLE of the script, GENRE, a LOGLINE and then SHORT SYNOPSIS and put your contact info at the end. DO NOT tell them budget or who would be great in this film. You might also say, the script is complete at 120 pages, or however long it is. I would not even begin with dear sirs or anything, just begin with Title and genre. Also, in telling what the story is about, you may also want to tell the tone of the story, or the underlying DNA of the story. Hope this helps anyone submitting material. Linda
What contest are you talking about? If you are simply looking for feedback, why don't you hire a reputable script doctor to help you. Also, if you change your script every time someone tells you to do so, you will lose the integrity of the story at some point. I recently had a situation with that and decided to go against the advice of one person and keep my script as is based on my gut.
I've been watching all the PG's from the beginning. This one is different because they are actually planning on making money with this film LOL. BTW, Ben bought that other script that was in the top three and didn't win..the one about grubenstein inventing time travel. It was on donedeal.com. And I agree, anyone who is new the industry should watch this season because it gives you a taste of what it's really like to deal with hollywood. And does anyone know what happened to the message boards on PG website? The first season I entered a script and there were message boards on the site, I went to the site for the first time in several years and it kinda sucks. There are no message boards anymore. Does anyone know why? It's going to be an interesting season this time. Linda
Well Randy, my plate is completely full. I know many people need to focus on one thing at a time, but I am the type of person who can multitask and start a bunch of things at once and then tie them all up at different times. I have been writing scripts for ten years. In 2001 I decided to throw some money(which I did not have) into filming a documentary and then wrote a script based on it. In the meantime I am a chef by trade and took a new job working only part time so I could focus more on my writing. 6 months ago the documentary paid off. I am now in the "camp" of a known producer who is making things happen. Now I am able to go back to all my other scripts that need work and get them ready because they ask, "what else have you got?" Even if you only work on other ideas, or treatments at this time, you will have other things available when they ask what else you have. 4 years ago while still writing and working, I invented a process of preserving flowers and started my own small business out of my home. I own the trademark and am working on the patent. I also found people to train to do this so when I need to be in LA, I can open my shop and let my staff run it. Two years ago I started working on a large real estate project as well. We are currently seeking investors. I took a risk by quiting a full time job with benefits and a stable income to pursue all of my dreams. Financially it has been hell. Credit cards are my friends :) but everything is beginning to pay off. When this all started, my lawyer told me to keep a journal about how I did everything, because if the film is as successful as we hope, he can then get me a book deal. Rather than waiting for the funds to do the things I wanted, I did what I could do with little or no money and networked my ass off. I work my job 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. I come home and work on a script for a few hours until my producer calls me late at night and fills me in on what's going on. Then I work on my flower orders and go to bed around 4 am. I sleep til noon then go to work at 3 and do it all over again. Yes I am burning out, stressed but doing everything I love. All I can say is, it is working for me.
Go to IMDB and type in feast. It gives u the cast. The director's dad does play the bartender and his girlfriend does get a part as well. And as much as they talk about firing him, he is still listed as the director on the project on IMDB.
Final draft 7 has a few glitches in it. When I got it, after typing about ten pages, all my text would just disappear. I called and found out that there is a download online at the final draft website that you have to do to fix it. It didn't take that long to do. Once I got the upgrade(I think they are calling it 7.5) I rebooted and it works fine. I have had it now for six months and have not had a single problem with it.
Great job James! Good for you. If the film is good and gets attention in Hollywood, it will open doors for you. Of course I must say that if any unknown screenwriter in Hollywood tried to walk into a production company and tried the same thing, it wouldn't work. So any new screenwriters in Hollywood reading this thread, save your time, don't sell everything you own and walk into a major studio thinking you will get a meeting. What you could do, is get enough money to film a short or a trailer of your script and use that to get yourself some attention. There is no magic formula, everyone has a different story of how they made it, but networking is so important.
Check out the film M.Iberhim I think that's the right spelling. Omar Shariff is in it and it is a perfect example of showing not telling. It's on HBO this month. The whole film is a great example, but even in the first 15 minutes, you see the example.
Ten years ago I met a wonderful guy at a screenwriting conference. We became friends and wrote a script together. Our styles were very different, but together we brought the best of both of our minds to this story. We agreed on 50/50. When it came time to pitch, we were both suppose to shop it around. I ended up being much more aggressive at this than he was. I made many contacts and sent the script out. Of course we were both still very green and had much to learn about writing and the industry. He just sort of sat back and allowed me to do all the leg work. He then said if the script sold, I should get 60% and he 40 because of all my work. I of course agreed. Since then we both have written many scripts and put our project on the back burner because it needs a lot of re-writing. Now, because of all my networking and hard work, I am in a position where I can call certain producers and actors to pitch things to and not have to do the cold query thing much anymore. He on the other hand is still writing his own work and has no real contacts in the industry. Now, I am very consumed with my own projects to worry about our script that we need to rewrite. We are still very good friends and know at some point I will be able to take the script to the proper parties and see what can happen with it. I still think it's a marketable story but needs a lot of work. If and when I get to a negotiation point with this script, I will then decide what would be a fair percentage to split between the two of us. I think every co writing case should start as 50 50, but as you see, circumstances can change and then the percentage should change as well. That's my experience with this topic.
If you are sending a query to one agency, then pick an agent and only send to that agent.
There may be a glitch with the program. When I bought FD 7.0, after writing about twenty pages, the whole program would close down and I lost all my work. It wouldn't auto save either. So I called the FD number and they told me the program had a glitch and they sent me to the FD website and talked me through downloading what I needed to fix it. There should be an 800 number on your disc or info you got with it. Give them a call.
If you are just using the headline as the concept for a script, you don't need to aquire the rights from anyone mentioned in the story. If you wanted to actually use all the names of the people in the story, then you need to get the rights to do so.
I'll give you what I can based on my past experiences. Back when I use to cold query companies, I would always send a SASE. Sometimes I would get a rejection back in the SASE, other times they would send it in their own envelope and other times I would get no response at all. I believe it is true that if they like what you have, no matter if you send a SASE or not, they will contact you. Having said that, think about this. There are about a million people out there sending cold queries to studios. So, they have interns or mail room clerks, opening all this mail. Some studios do not accept cold queries and just have them tossed in the trash. Others may have their mail readers alert them if they think they have a query that they should respond to. That may be true with more indie companies, but doubtful with bigger studios. As my writing improved, and people were asking to read my scripts, I began getting the "nice" rejection letters, signed by the creative dev. person I had sent it to. Nice enough to say, this script wasn't right for us, but what else have you got. If I were to do it all over again, looking back, I would not include a SASE. If they like what they see, they will make contact. I say do your homework first so not to waste time. Find out if they even accept cold queries. I use to spend hours cold calling studios to see if they accepted queries at that time. If they said yes, I would ask who I should send it to. If you choose to go that route, ask who you are speaking to. The receptionist who is answering the phone today, may be an executive producer in the future. Everyone has to work their way up in the company. I found that developing relationships with newbies and interns helped as the years went by and these people became higher up on the ladder. Networking is so important. Also, if I had to start all over again from scratch, knowing what I know now, I would only Email and not send snail mail queries. That's just my opinion. Everyone spends so much time on their computer. Here's an example, one of my producers will get home late at night and hop on the computer and have about a hundred cold query emails, some from script blaster. He will then call me and go on and on about how horrible these letters are, but he does read them. Usually most are so bad that he gets frustrated and then just has to stop reading for the night and won't look at them again for weeks. Out of hundreds of emails he has gotten, only one was worthy of a response from him. My best contacts were made by attending pitch sessions and seminars in LA and just going up to agents and studio people and saying hey, let me buy you lunch. You would be surprised how many times that worked. The worst thing that could happen is they say no, but no one ever said no to me. This business is about relationships as much as it is about the talent. So, with all that, here are a few tips about the query, based on what producers have told me. Do not fill the letter with info about yourself that doesn't matter. They don't care what you do for a living or how great you are. They care if you have been optioned, or produced before or maybe won an award in a contest that is respected, and what your story is. The letters that keep my producer reading are the ones that jump right into your pitch, starting with the title and genre of the script and the logline. Then a SHORT synopsis of the story. Hope this all helps. good luck!
Well said Barb! It's really kinda sad because there are sooo many writers out there with passion and hope but who cannot write a real screenplay. Unfortunately they think they have one and don't understand the industry at all and just submit material and bog down companies with having to have people sift through the piles. Of course we were all there at one point, had a story, wrote the best script we could at the time, even though the format was all wrong and a horrible mess, then send it out to every producer you could find an address on. Then when we know better, we do better. And yes, the phone query is the best, but new writers don't usually have contacts or abilities to do this. I had a very successful phone query recently. I did a cold contact, online with a producer and talked him into a ten minute phone call that lasted an hour and has turned into him wanting to read a few of my scripts. Persistence will pay off if you have talent to go along with it.
Hey Ben, Great question. I'm sure you will get a lot of input here. Personally, I am where I am today because industry people took the time to tell me what I was doing wrong. My opinion on your question is, if you want to take the time to reply to a writer and give them advice on what is wrong with their script, I say go for it. They can take it or leave it. Those who are serious about making it in this business, will take your advice and at least be open to what you have to say. Ten years ago when I wrote my first script, I was lucky enough to get stuck in an airport, sitting next to a producer. Our flight was delayed. He listened to me pitch my story and asked me to come to the studio for a meeting and bring my script. Looking back, I now know that my script was horrible. I had no idea about format or anything. I also knew nothing about the business. He gave me great advice on what to do and I listened to him. He said he saw something in me and wanted to take the time to point me in the right direction. I was so grateful. Since then I have met so many wonderful people in the industry who have given me great advice and took time to help me along the way. It is such a hard business to break into, that if a new writer is lucky enough to get some good advice, they would be foolish not to listen.
"Don't happen. Not never."?? OK dart, now you opened a can of worms. Not never..hmmm....you call yourself a writer? Women do talk about men. Of course, usually we have better things to talk about, but I have been in circles of women who talk about men in the same manner as men talk about women. Most of my friends are men and consider me "one of the boys" so I hear it all. I have been around women who check men out, talk about what they are "packing" and how they might be in the sack. Of course the married women complain mostly about their husbands and some talk about having affairs. I myself, sit back and take it all in and just watch and listen. However, when I do talk with my best friend, who is also my boss, and we do talk about men, we are usually talking about the men that work for us and how we can train them better and hope they will just do their job instead of standing around talking about the women and what is under their clothes. Of course I kind of believe that you don't live under a rock and that you only wrote that to hear what us women do talk about. If that was the case, then you got it.
Hey Dart, Didn't mean to offend your talent, I apologize. My point was that women talk about a lot of things, just like men do. Unfortunatley there are sad pathetic women out there who all they do is make digs at other women and spend too much time worrying about what other women are doing. Typically, they are insecure and jealous. But enough about those women, I'll get right on those names and numbers of the fun girls for you.
Tito, Love your entree/garnish comparison. And yes Earl, my male friends do want to sleep with me, but they know it won't happen. So they have accepted the fact and have embraced friendship with me and feel comfortable enough to tell me things they should only tell other men. They also find that unlike most women, I CAN keep a secret so they confide in me all too often. I find myself sticking my fingers in my ears and singing la la la la la when they break into the gorey details about the girl they nailed last night.
A script I wrote a few years ago has a similar title to a musical that is going to be made for the big screen. A few weeks ago when a producer called to ask for the script, he said, change the title right now and if you can't think of a good title, just send it untitled, the studio will come up with something. So I left it untitled.
Earl, are you talking about filming a short? I don't think you can look for distribution deals until you have a film completely done. Would you work for little or no money? Well, film crews will not work for no money either. Not to mention all the other aspects of making a film. Unless you yourself want to be the camera person, sound person, caterer, lighting, make-up, wardrobe, etc. When I made a documentary, I filmed it myself and then hired the production company that I work with to edit it for me. The owner was a friend so he let me edit with him and gave me a deal of just under a grand. I was happy with what I had, but with more money, I could have done some voice over work that I wanted to do but couldn't afford. A few months later we shot a music video. We only had two locations to shoot at, that were donated to us. One day for each location. If we didn't get the shots that day, we were screwed. My producer, directed and also did some camera work. We had a light crew, sound crew(producer also did some of that) I did hair and make-up. We had to hire food service to feed the cast and crew. Had to have proof of insurance and business info(one whole day was shot at a bar location that had a pool and one whole scene was all shot in the pool) The whole thing, once edited ran about ten grand. We also had an overhead shot from a helicopter, I don't recall if that was a favor or if we paid for that. This was all for a short 5 min. (or less) video. I was also hired on to be script supervisor and writer by the same company to do a short children's video. Because the producer had done favors for me, I said I would do it for little money and my name in credits. Even though we exchange favors, I would not have done it for free. I have seen short, cheap films without proper lighting and they look like crap, so if you want to do something and do it well, it's gonna cost you.
Scroll down through the topics on this board until you find the one listed as final draft 6.0 problems. We all gave our input on final draft. Last post was dated 8/12
This pertains to several threads from the past, so I thought I would just start a new one. Last week my producer called to tell me about yet another email query he got and to ask for my opinion. He has about 300 queries in his mailbox and only reads a few. In the past year, he has only read one that made him ask for the script. Now he had a second one. The query looked like it was written by a 12 year old, with errors all over the place, but the idea intrigued him. He was curious to see how horrible the script might be written. So he asked for it. The script came, LOOSE PAPER...No hole punches, not bound or anything! Many would have thrown it right in the garbage, but he wanted to check out a few pages. It was horrible. He felt bad for the writer and said, the idea was interesting enough for him to check it out, but there was no way he would do anything with this. He has never taken the time to tell a writer what is wrong with their stuff, just sends them an email saying, no thank you. Also the writer sent a SASE and he said, what am I suppose to do with this, it's as though she is expecting a rejection letter. Why would I snail mail when I have her email and it's less time consuming for me? Being a writer, he asked me if I thought it was worth it to email the girl and give her a bit of advice. He never does this, so I was surprised that he wanted to, but he must have seen something in her. I told him that ten years ago, I was this girl, having no idea about the craft of screen writing. If it weren't for the people in the industry who took me under their wings, I would never be where I am with my work. Hopefully, a few words of advice and recommended books will mean the world to this writer and set her on a positive path. I recently found old rejection letters in my basement from back when I was this girl. It's embarassing to think about the scripts I sent to these people at that time. Two that stuck out to me were from Fortis and Jersey. I know my stuff was crap back then, but my ideas intrigued them enough to ask for my work. Both letters were from VP's in development. Both said, while the ideas were unique and strong, the writing was lacking. At the time I was crushed. Looking back now, I thought, how nice of them to take the time to write me and tell me why they didn't want it.
Sorry, didn't even think about that.
I shall do that in the future. Things don't look as long when you write them in the little box.
I see what you mean though. :)
David, I'll send you a private Email about this.
Well John, you were very polite about it and I knew you were not trying to offend me. Had you been rude like some people on these boards are, I may have just thought that you were a jerk like many people in life are.
However, you asked nicely and you made a good point. In this business and in life you have to learn not to take things personally. It takes a lot to offend me actually. When people are actually rude, I don't get upset, I just pity them and hope they learn to do better in life.
I have a part time job where I care for people who are dying of cancer. Some last hours, days or maybe a week before I watch them die. It's a real wake up call to watch people die on a daily basis and know that at any moment it could be you. So after spending a day there, nothing can really get under my skin.
Well John, you were very polite about it and I knew you were not trying to offend me. Had you been rude like some people on these boards are, I may have just thought that you were a jerk like many people in life are.
However, you asked nicely and you made a good point. In this business and in life you have to learn not to take things personally. It takes a lot to offend me actually. When people are actually rude, I don't get upset, I just pity them and hope they learn to do better in life.
I have a part time job where I care for people who are dying of cancer. Some last hours, days or maybe a week before I watch them die. It's a real wake up call to watch people die on a daily basis and know that at any moment it could be you. So after spending a day there, nothing can really get under my skin.
why does that happen?? maybe it was meant for people to read twice. :)
If I had to guess, I would say that times have changed. Before the internet was so popular, you had to rely on snail mail. I'm sure some of the books that you find this advice in, were originally published when snail mail was more the norm.
Many years ago before I owned a computer, I too was given this advice at a seminar. The speaker who was an agent said that if she got a query and liked what she saw, it was just easier for her to have her assistant type up a quick letter saying, yes send the material and then drop it in the SASE that the writer sent. It saved time and money on their part.
So perhaps if you send a cold query, a SASE might seem like a good idea and it could still be. But like my producer said, here he had a complete script that he requested and what good did the SASE serve, except to drop a rejection letter in. Because if he were really interested in the material, he would have called her personally like he did with me after reading my script.
Great points Terri! This business is a learning process every step of the way. You never know what producers really want so you just go with what you have and see what happens. I'll tell you what happened to me today.
Two years ago, I gave one of my scripts to a producer friend who produces with HBO, showtime and ABC. He liked the script, gave me helpful notes and said he would pitch it for me after I edit what I felt were valid points from his notes.
At the time, all passed on the script for different reasons. A few weeks ago I had a phone pitch with a producer/director who has done many films, one that won an oscar. I pitched him four scripts. He asked for the above mentioned script, as well as another one I am currently writing.
He phoned today with notes. Valid points that will make the script better. One of the few notes he gave me, was the complete opposite that the other producer had given me. At the time, with the other producer, I had changed the item in the story as he suggested. Now this producer was telling me it would be more effective the way I had it to begin with. So, everyone has an opinion. Both ways would work.
The current producer said that the script was good enough as is to take to his people to try to get an option or sale. He understands that I won't be doing any rewrites per his notes until an option or offer is on the table. He just felt he should tell me what his feelings on the script are and try to predict what his people might say about changes that need to be made.
Notes from a producer are very important and should be considered carefully. As long as it doesn't change the DNA of my story, I am happy to rewrite and make the product more marketable.
I'll post more as things progress.
Earl, can you give us the names of a few films where the director stole the writing credit from the writer? Did these situations end up in a legal battle?
I can't see where a writer would allow this to happen without seeking legal recourse if this was not negotiated in the contract.
The writer is fully aware as the process goes on, how much of the end result of the film is the original writer's work. As other writers are brought in and a certain percentage of the script is now written by other writers, the credit does change and the writer is made aware of this along the way. That is why we have agents and lawyers.
Last year there was a film in theaters written by a guy I know. He ended up with a "story by" credit. A few other writer's got the screenplay credit. Prior to seeing the film, He let me read the original script. I could then see why he got story by credit.
He of course knew this as it was going along. He was either unable to make the changes they desired or unwilling. They brought in other writers and the story changed a great deal. all his characters were still there and the basic story was the same, but such a huge percentage of the dialogue and locations and scenes were different. They basically took his characters and the basic plot line and put them in a whole different world than he created originally.
was he happy? not so much. He got paid and a credit, that he knew he was going to get. The film didn't do so well at the box office, but I liked it a lot. I thought it was a better story than his original script. It made sense to me why they ended up changing so much of it.
In the end he said, Hey I made a good deal of money on the sale and got a story by credit. I don't think he felt cheated or robbed. But yes, he was disappointed that it wasn't his original script.
So as writers, we choose our battles and compromise when we know we need to.
Hi Wanda, sorry but we are totally consumed with putting a few things together at the moment and not able to bring anything else into the mix. Good luck with your work! Linda
I totally agree. Especially if you are paying for a service like this, they should at least reply.
Things are much different than they were years ago. Since access to information is so much easier today, companies are getting a ton more queries than they were years ago.
Before computers were common in every home, we had to snail mail queries. Now companies get hit with snail mail as well as Email queries, and to respond to every rejection would just be out of the question.
As frustrating as it is, we have to look at things from their point of view as well. Also consider this...Producers are not sitting around reading mail. If a reader comes across a query that sounds good, they may want to run it by the producer to see if they are allowed to request the script. If a producer is in pre production or production, they are just too busy to be bothered with anything.
One of my guys is currently in pre prod. that goes into shooting in 4 weeks. He calls me at night after a 15 hour day to tell me how exhausted he is, how he can't even think straight and has to be back at the office at 8 a.m. and how they are already two days behind schedule. He doesn't even have time to check his emails.
And one more thing to consider...There are writers in LA who may have had mild success and have plenty of contacts. Many meetings take place over dinner or a drink. Some of these writers can actually make contact, set up a quick meeting at the end of a producer's busy day, meet for a drink and have a pitch session.
Producers may find many projects this way, and then fill their quota for the year and get busy. These guys get so much crap sent to them by new writers that they too get frustrated. It's a frustrating business from every angle. All we can do as writers is keep at it and never give up.
You should always send a hard copy, two brads, card stock cover. Unless the person asks you to send it via email. If they do, make sure that it is in the same script program that they have.
The only time any producers have asked for my scripts by email, were after we had built a relationship and they had read hard copies I had sent them in the past. They have asked for email scripts to see my latest, or if they had given me notes on a script I had mailed them and I did a rewrite.
Typically it doesn't happen, don't care what article anyone read where someone bought an idea from a treatment of an unknown writer. If it is true, it's a one in a million situation. A producer reads a treatment, likes it and then says, let me read the script. If you don't have a script, chances are they walk away. Every producer I have ever pitched to always asks, is the script complete? And your answer better be yes. They want to know that you can actually write a script. Buying the rights of a true story seen in the news or by a private party, is a different situation, that can happen without a complete script. If any new writers here think they are gonna sell just a treatment, well, you are living in a fantasy land and will never make it in this business.
One more thing, to Fonta, who thinks it's a smart idea to put a prod co's return address on your stuff. Ok, so you got a call, and they find out that you do not in fact work for that production company, it makes you look like you have no merit. If anything, they may put you on a "nut" list, to just toss your stuff in the garbage when it comes in. In a producer's eyes, if you are playing games to get stuff to them, it looks like you can't do it on your own through the proper channels. These guys are in business to make money, not play games.
Yes Randy, I think we all know who the Fantasy Island people are LOL. They'll learn, the hard way.
Established writers and actors who have agents have a hard time to even get their agents to call them back unless they have some heat going on. As an unknown writer, you won't get an agent until you make a sale, and you may have a hard time making a sale without an agent, it's a catch 22. Even if you send queries to agents, poor spelling and grammar will make them throw your letter in the garbage.
In an attempt to answer your question, Fonta was giving advice without really knowing what she is talking about.(no offense Fonta) Everyone is here to learn, but Fonta is pretty green to the industry and we are all trying to give her advice as well. So when she gave some info that most of us did not agree with, we all decided to give our opinions on it.
That kind of thing happens on these posts, it wasn't a hijacking LOL, we just want you to get correct info.
"Can you submit a treatment to a prospective prodco to gauge their interest, and then give them the script if they request it?" Yes, that is what treatments are typically for. If you are a new writer, you can send a query to a prod co with a SHORT treatment. If they like the treatment, they may ask to read the script. And you better have a complete script written. In your case, you said it's based on a book you are trying to get the rights to. Don't waste your time unless you DO get the rights. Then yes, you can send a treatment on the story and tell them that you own the rights. The treatment should be easy to write since you can go off of the back of the book cover. If they are interested, they can read the book.
Of course, if they want it, they may just try to buy the rights from you and hire their own writers to do the script without even asking to read yours.
Many companies have a whole department that all they do is read new books that come out and they usually option or buy the rights before the book even hits the market.
I think Ben and Fonta should get married. :)
Not just your computer Terri, mine does it too. I was wondering the same thing.
Hey, I just saw Crash for the first time. I thought it was pretty amazing. It actually helped me resolve some issues I was having with my current script. Was wondering what everyone else thought of the film.
Also, if you had to write a logline and/or a one paragraph synopsis for crash, what would it be?
Anyone know where online I could find a copy of the script for Crash. Would love to read it. Terri I think you listed some sites for scripts in the past, but I can't seem to find that thread. Thanks!
"Press on. Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; the world is full of unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
I had to smile when you posted this. I had mentioned a while back in a thread, about a producer I met on a plane. It was many years ago when I was green and had no idea how to write a script.
Being stuck in an airport, I had the opportunity to pitch to this producer who saw something in me and had me come in for a meeting.
After reading my script (which was horrible) he had me come in for another meeting. Him and his director sat with me and gave me many words of wisdom. Then the director handed me a paper with the persistence quote on it. It also had a cartoon above it with a professor speaking at the graduation of film students, he was holding up knee pads and telling the students how much they would need them in Hollywood.
I hung that paper in my office and have never taken it down. Over the years it has kept me going, especially on those days when a rejection letter would come.
It's a priceless quote that all writers should live by!
I have to say I love FD. (thanks Ben!) Of course I have not used any other script writing program to comapare it with, but it has cut my writing time in half. Not to mention the voice activation. You can actually listen to your script being read to you.
Also, most of the studios use FD. It helps a lot when a producer tells me to send him a script and I ask if he wants the hard copy or if I can send it attached in an email in FD format. The last two scripts I sent off, were sent via email in FD format. Saving me postage, printing, paper and time.
I have friends on the NOLA film board and contacts in the Governors office. The are all about getting films back down there, but from what I have been told by my contacts, Studios are reluctanct right now to set anything up until we see what NOLA will be like when things get done down there.
Having said that, there is a guy who was planning on shooting out of the country somewhere, but since the hurricane, has changed his shoot to take place in Louisianna to help the state get back to business.
There are plenty of places to shoot in the state that were untouched by the hurricane. But, when someone writes a script for Louisianna, it seems that New Orleans and specifically the French Quarter always plays a role. The French Quarter itself did not suffer as much damage as the other areas of NOLA because it's on a little higher ground.
And yes, the tax incentives down there are amazing.
One more thing...
I do know of one story that got optioned already about the storm. Did you read about the kid that stole a school bus and drove people from NOLA to Texas? I read that his story got optioned by a studio.
That leads me to believe that studios that are doing stories about the destruction of NOLA are taking stories from the people who lived it. I'm sure there will be a TV movie about the horrific crap that went on at the superdome. Hopefully there will be a scene with Bush with his thumb up his ass...don't get me started lol.
It's hard to say if a studio would be interested in a NOLA destruction story that is based on fiction when they have the factual events to go on. It never hurts to put your stuff out there and see what happens.
sorry Terri, this could dry your tears..or make you cry more...LOL I also heard a few weeks ago that the kid who stole the bus and took everyone to safety was busted on drug charges. Maybe that option money should have went right to the Katrina fund instead of in his pocket.
This is just my opinion based on my experiences...
If you are a new writer just sending cold queries out, via snail mail, no one will probably see them until after the first of the year.
If you are sending emails out, you may get an auto reply telling you that they are out of the office until after the holiday. But...
Some industry people might spend some of this "down time" at home going through emails and catching up on things.
A few years ago I was told by a few producers, don't expect to hear anything during the holidays, it is a dead month and Hollywood is pretty much shut down during this time. But...
If you have contacts and people who you already deal with, this is a good time for those writers.(or has been for me anyway)
Because my contacts are just coming off of filming movies and finishing up a few deals and decompressing, needing to chill out and sometimes just bullshit. It's a good time to be able to just be human and talk and they are not always in the rush rush business mode at this time worrying about budgets and deadlines.
I try to get certain scripts to certain people just before the holiday and know that they will read them over this down period. A few have called letting me know that my script is their plane reading material while on their way to see family.
Has anyone seen this documentary? I just got it over the weekend. It is really good. Great guide for what NOT to do in Hollywood.
OK, so I am guessing no one has seen it. Well, this guy Troy Duffy is a bartender and he wrote a script and Harvey Weinstein went to him and bought the script, set up negotiations to buy the bar he worked at and the two of them would be co-owners and then he got a deal with Madonna's label to produce the soundtrack for the film cause this guy was also in a band. He had the world by the tail and totally jacked it all up and his band managers, video taped the whole thing.
Of course they thought they were video taping the rise of a great new star in Hollywood and would make a great success story documentary. Instead it's a documentary how this guy treated everyone like crap and alienated all his contacts in Hollywood and how Harvey totally blew him off.
It's a must see for all writers.
My writing partner told me about the movie and I went to blockbuster and it was in the new releases. It recently came out on DVD and had a limited theater realease on the east coast and I think in CA.
Sorry Troy, I don't know where to buy a copy. I have not seen it on sale anywhere. Blockbuster only had one rental copy.
Also, the film that the guy made is called boondock saints and it went straight to video. You may be able to find that in video stores. But my writing partner said the movie sucked and he only wanted to check it out after he watched Overnight to see what kind of film this guy made.
Hi Nathan, You really haven't given us enough info. Did you send your work to companies that requested it or are these just cold sends? I just got back from LA. I was out there to meet with one person in particular, but a week prior to going, made a few new contacts who were all happy to take time to meet with me. Your odds increase, the more contacts you make before going out there and how persistant you are. Linda
Did you send a query or did you send your complete script?
If you sent a query, then you're in the same boat as hundreds of other new writers. Your letter goes through a reader and sits in a pile for a long time usually. If it's not something they want, they might just throw it in the trash. Few may send a standard rejection letter. If they ask to read the script, then you'll send it.
Just because you may be out in LA, doesn't mean that if they want to read the script that they will allow you to walk it in their office. If someone asks to read the script and it's close to the time you will be in LA, you can ask if you can just drop it off. Doesn't mean you'll get to talk to anyone.
Now, if you sent the cold mail out and it contains your script, and you sent this without it being requested, depending on the company, the whole thing could end up in the trash. Companies don't like when you just send them stuff that they didn't ask for. Many companies will not look at stuff if you don't have representation.
Calling these companies and saying, "hey I'll be in LA in March and I sent you a query, or a script, can we get together?" is a waste of a phone call. They could care less that you will be out in LA. There are HUNDREDS of dishwashers, cooks, waiters, etc. in LA who are all running around with scripts and they can't get in to see anyone.
It's not like the old days. EVERYONE in Hollywood has a script these days. I was in LA last week. Everyone I ran into had a script or wants to be in the business. I was having lunch with a well known Producer/Director who is now retired, our waiter realized we were talking shop and decided to tell us how much he wants to be an actor or make movies. We told him to keep his day job.
The best thing you can do is, write the best script you can. Make sure it is flawless. make sure it's formatted properly. Then send out queries and wait and see if anyone wants to read it. Try to network as much as possible. Try to meet people in the industry and make relationships. Who you know is very important.
Consider moving to LA and getting work as a PA. Sometimes you have to do this for no pay, so having a day job is important. As hard as you think it might be, it's a hundred times harder to make it.
Apparently you started this rumor...
Topic: This board is getting way too bizarre... Author: D. Jay Williams Posted: 03/02/04 02:33 AM I think the only reasonable thing to do is for each of us to declare our aliases and be done with it.
I'll start. I'm Paula Smith and, of course, Frederick Mensch. I apologize and swear you'll never hear from either again.
Topic: This board is getting way too bizarre... Author: D. Jay Williams Posted: 03/02/04 12:44 PM I want to appologize to everyone here when I claimed I was Paula Smith. I've claimed that I was her before, but it's just that she is always such a lady and if I was a woman (although God help me that I don't suddenly become one--I'm way too committed to my current lifestyle)I would want to be a lady. Like her.
I'm not retracting the other, though. I am Frederick Mensch, I'm proud of it, and I challenge anyone to prove different.
Author: D. Jay Williams Posted: 11/01/05 11:28 AM Thank you Paula, but I've never left. I normally post under the name "Randy Roberts" and, of course, "Orlanda Szabo".
They've now posted the finals, and again I've been overlooked. I'm going to E-mail them to see if there was an oversight. (I'll ask for the rest of you guys too!)
And the postings you have here under all your different names, were not posted at the same time, the times are hours apart. Of course if you do have Multiple personality disorder, its possible your other personalities have no idea who you are. Seek help, it's out there.
I think it's obvious where D Jay hails from. A galaxy far far away. A distant land in his own mind, occupied by many a different personalities.
What does this mean...
"but the interested parties, as you dig deeper, aren't what they appear to be."
Are they not really agents? Do you have a lawyer? Don't be signing anything unless you have your lawyer look at it. If these guys feel shady, then chances are, they are. Just be careful.
In my past experiences, I have pitched more than one script in snail mails. The most I ever did was three. Sometimes I would get a request to read one, other times I was asked to send two scripts.
In my opinion, if you have two solid stories that are both good, send a BRIEF treatment of both. What have you got to lose? Shows that you have completed more than one script.
Also, in my experience in pitch meetings, there have been times where I had only ten minutes with a development executive and he would say, "OK, what have you got?" So I would start pitching. If he didn't like the first story, he would say, "not for us, what else have you got?" I was happy that I had more than one script to pitch. In fact I had four or five.
The first time I ever sat down to pitch, was with this really aggressive executive who was borderline rude from the get go. I hardly got the words out of my mouth as to the genre of my script and the title and he cut me off and said, "not for us. what else ya got?" I was stumbling in my head to get out of my current pitch mind set and quickly pull another script pitch to the front of my mind. All I could get out was, "OK, I have a comedy..." Then I was cut off by him again telling me he wasn't looking for comedies at the moment. He allowed me to finally go on to pitch him a true story drama and he listened intently.
He ultimately passed, but he knew what he was looking for and what he didn't want.
Just keep in mind, if you are sending cold queries out to a studio that won't look at unsolicited work, no one is gonna read it anyway.
I feel that when sending something cold that was not asked for, it should be as brief and to the point as possible. When a reader sifts through the pile of "stuff", if they come across pages and pages of a treatment, they may toss it to the side to read later when they have more time, or not even read it at all.
I think a cold query should be, title, genre, log line and a few paragraphs of a treatment. Something to GRAB the reader's attention and make them either ask for the script or even ask for a more detailed treatment. Then, this is the time to write that five page treatment and entice them even more to read the script.
Something that Chris McQuarrie(usual suspects writer) said to me once that has stuck with me, "Make sure the DNA of your story is in every scene of your script." I have also used this advice when writing a treatment.
Write a page long treatment and then go over it and make it shorter by keeping the DNA of the story alone in the treatment. Put as much effort into writing a treatment as you do in writing your script.
Here is an example of what I have done.
Dear Mr. Joe Smith, My script, Purple Hearts, is a true story that I own the life rights to. It's based on a documentary that I produced.
Purple Hearts: Drama
Logline: A blind and disabled War veteran searches for his best friend, but finds the love of his life instead.
Stanley, A Canadian, living in the U.S. in 1950, compelled by his new found love for our country, joined our soldiers to fight in the Korean War.
On the battlefield, he grew close to a fellow soldier named Art. The two men were separated twenty four hours before they were scheduled to go home after serving their time in the war. That night, Stanley was hit and lost his sight, his leg and his hand.
Barely escaping the war with his life, he went on a search to find Art. He finally tracks down Art's family, only to learn that Art is dead. While talking to Art's sister, Dorothy, he suddenly remembers seeing a photo of her in Korea. It is the last image of a woman that he ever saw before losing his sight. The two fall in love and get married.
While searching for his best friend, Stanley found the love of his life, a woman he had only seen once, in a black in white photo, on T-bone hill in Korea.
END OF TREATMENT
I go on to say, that I have a documentary interview with Stanley that I produced and if they would like to read the script and see the DVD, let me know. blah blah blah, thanks for your time.
I have other scripts that are less involved, like comedies that I can do a two paragraph treatment that gives enough idea of the story to get people to read it. I hope this answered your question!
AMEN Eric and Dave!
I personally thought it was rude and out of line for Ellum to make such a big deal about "me and a friend" WHO GIVES A CRAP!! Jesus, aren't we all here to help each other. When I post on here, it is sooo nice to not worry about grammar, punctuation and proper format. What a nice escape.
If I make an error and don't catch it before I send, I don't care because I'm tired from writing all day, being on phone meetings for hours and just happy to be able to express myself and not read it five times over to make sure it's right.
Give the kid a break. He is going to go through enough hell when he lands in la la land. He doesn't need to get crap here too. Maybe giving a little constructive criticism instead of being insulting would do you some good.
AWWWW Let's all sing Kumbyah together. I'm so glad you guys all worked this out, cause it was getting ugly.
Now take all this passion and energy and put it into your scripts.
Kumbyah my lord Kumbyah....all together now... :)
This is a seminar coming up in Chicago. I know it's about producing, but from what I hear, many good contacts will be there.
This is all the info I have on it, so if you want to know more, send an email to the address listed in the info.
Producer's Series Starts April 8th!
Friday March 3, 2006
Our four part producers series covers every major aspect of producing a $500,000 feature. The sessions will move through setting up a production company, acquiring material, creating a realistic budget, raising money and creating a business plan, production, post-production and distribution. This intensive workshop will combine classroom style instruction, discussion and case studies. These will be all-day workshops, with lunch provided, and optional screenings in the evenings.
Dates and Themes: April 8: Getting Started (including intensive budget workshop) April 22: Financing Your Project (including intensive business plan workshop) May 6: Distribution (navigating festivals, reps, sales agents and distributors) May 20: Production/Post-Production (focusing on challenges specific to producing in this region)
For more information, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are bringing in film professionals from NYC and LA, as well as from Chicago. This is the best seminar put on in the midwest about independent filmmaking
Well Randy, I did state in my post that the info I had was all the info I had and if anyone wanted more they could send an email to the IFP.
I was able to get a few names of people attending..but again THIS IS ALL I KNOW...
Confirmed speakers include producer Effie Brown (Real Women Have Curves), Cinetic Media's Liesl Copland, writer/director Steve Conrad (The Weatherman) and director/producer/business plan expert Stu Pollard (Keep Your Distance).
I can try to help if you give me a little more info.
Are you working from IBM or MAC? What is your ISP? What ISP are you attempting to send it to.
Well put Ellum!
May I add, Do not assume that you will ever make a living at screenwriting. So find a career or a good job that you like that you can make a living at.
There are a million writers out there running around with scripts that they are trying to sell, and they have day jobs to pay the bills.
Write with all the passion you have and write stories that you want to tell, but also do not quit your day job or put off getting a good job or career until someone gives you a big fat check for your script.
You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than making a good living at being a screenwriter. That is a blanket statement for all new screenwriters, not just directed at you.
The truth is, you do not find out how hard it is to make it in this business until you have a deal on the table, or are so close to getting one that you can taste it. Only then do you really see how rough this industry is.
Be prepared for years of rejection and learn as much as you can about the art of writing a script. Then you need to learn all about networking and creating relationships with people who get things done in the industry.
Trust no one, but be nice to everyone. Meaning, if someone reads you and says they will help you or they want to make your film, take it with a grain of salt until an offer is on the table. People like to talk, and most of the time, they just do it to hear themselves and have little control over what they can really do for you.
Being nice...the PA you meet today, could be the hot director or producer of tomorrow. It pays to make relationships with anyone you can, who you think is talented and driven to make it.
Good Luck! As hard as you think it is, multiply that by a thousand!
Hey Randy, hope you get it too!
As far as the script...I can totally relate. What a funny little town everyone wants to be in business with. The more we know, the more we realize that others sometimes know less LOL..does that make sense?
I was dealing with a known writer/producer...can't go into a lot of detail...but, I do think that his films have been good, not great, but good. And there is a lot to say about someone who MAKES it in this industry. I was grateful that he was taking the time to do certain things for me.
Finally I read his latest script. I really couldn't believe my eyes. The mispelled words, the flaws that even a novice writer learns very quickly. It was an eye opening experience. His "people" were saying to me, "Isn't it great!"
Of course I am not stupid, so I would say, yes it's great. It wasn't horrible, but like you said Randy, if this were a first time writer submitting this script, it wouldn't make it through the maze.
To quote Calvin Coolidge... PRESS ON Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent, genius will not, unrewarded genius is almsot a proverb. Education alone will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Well said Steve!!
I have been a member for a long time. For a few years I was just too busy to be on here, busy writing and working and networking.
In the early years, I'm sure I asked a lot of novice questions. Instead of making me feel foolish, everyone here gave advice and I was grateful.
While I read the board on a fairly regular basis, I only reply if I think I can be of some help.
What I have found to be true of this business is, you only realize how hard it is to break in, once you actually make that break or are on the verge of it.
Or, I guess those who try for ten years or more, and never make much progress, also know how hard it is.
I wonder if those are some of the people, who post on here, in a negative manner. They may be a little jaded and perhaps jealous of the possible future that these young, new writers may have ahead of them. Instead of trying to help new writers by giving advice on mistakes they had made, they would rather discourage them and feel since they didn't make it, no one else should.
It is a frustrating business, and sometimes, some of the statements or questions by new writers do make me cringe. For a split second I may think, oh how stupid this person is to think that.(when a new writer says something like, hey I'm going to LA next week, how can I get a meeting with a Disney producer to pitch my script)
We all are guilty of rolling our eyes as we read questions like that. The truth is, this person is asking this question because they do not know any better. We all forget sometimes where we came from. At times we all have been guilty of replying with remarks such as...you have a better chance of winning the lottery. It's because of the frustration, we as writers, have experienced with rejection that we immediately want this new writer to know the cold, hard truth.
It would be nice if everyone would think before they post and ask themselves, am I being helpful or just jaded and bitter. I know it's hard soemtimes to keep from being cocky when a new writer makes a very confident, boastful post when they obviously do not know the barriers that lie ahead for them in this business.
It's one thing to give a new writer a well needed reality check, and another to pesonally attack him/her.
I'm jumping on the Steve band wagon and throwing some things out here to see if we can get back to the purpose of this board.
I'm curious to see how other writers pitch and view the plot of the story. So I want to start this little test. I can only guess that most of us have seen The Sixth Sense.
I would like to get everyone's sample of a pitch they would give, in two paragraphs or less, to describe The Sixh Sense, as though it were a script YOU were trying to sell.
Before scrolling down and reading other's samples, quickly scroll down and add your reply and then go back and read everyones sample to see how yours compares to theirs.
After a few people post, I'll add some comments, that will be CONSTRUCTIVE. My hope is that someone will get something out of this to help them.
I was able to tour this prison over 6 years ago, before it closed. It has great locations for shooting, and completely gloomy, yet beautiful with it's limestone walls. It has many stories to tell.
Another interesting note on this on IMDB is that the script says written by Jim Jarmusch and Inspired by an idea from Sara Driver. Sara was not listed in the Variety article.
It will be interesting for all of us to see how this plays out. I can't see this changing the copyright law to protect ideas, however, I can see it changing the way things are done from here on out.
I can also see it becoming harder for new writers to submit unsolicted materials. Some studios who allow unsolicited queries may stop doing that, thus making it harder than ever for new writers to get a break(as if it isn't hard enough) But, for writers who already have some relationships with industry pros, I think it will work in our favor.
I'm sure all of us have written scripts and then saw a film come out that was a very similar idea. It's happened to me twice. The first time, the story was so similar that you would have thought someone really "stole" my script. But it wasn't possible. It was just a coincidence. But, in the Variety article, it's more than a coincidence. The article says these guys had contact and conversations with each other concerning the script.
Let's see how it plays out.
Way to go Steve! You're on a roll, keep it up! Linda
I can only tell you from my experience and hope it helps.
First off, an entertainment lawyer, will not just take you on as a client and rep. you unless you pay them. And even then, they would want to know that your work is good enough to pass along to the studios so they don't look stupid.
Point by point, the questions you asked...
"JUST" going over your contract and negotiating it for you, is HUGE. Even the "basic" option or sale agreement is never basic. I was in negotiation hell, on my own, for weeks. I did not hire an attorney, but I have one who is a friend. He advised me, but when things got hairy, I made a few calls and through contacts, talked with a few well known guys in LA. Both said that I was so close to closing the deal on my own, and that they would handle it for me, but they would be taking most of my option as a fee. I decided to finish things on my own and both of the lawyers said for my next deal, get with them right away so they can handle things from the beginning.
Are they able to sell scripts for you? Sure, if they like your work and have contacts and think they are going to make money off you. As a new writer, you will have a hard time finding a lawyer with the right contacts who will take the time to read what you have and see if they think it's worth their time. And yes, they can submit for you if they have the right contacts to do so.
Yes an attorney does count as representation, again, if they have the right contacts and depending on who this attorney is. If I called my lawyer who handled the closing on my house and asked her to call the studios and submit for me, they would laugh. You need someone with a good reputation that people know are in the industry.
You COULD go to an attorney and ask them to refer you to an agent, but chances are it won't happen. First they would have to read your stuff and see if it's good enough for them to refer you. If they did this for every new writer that called their office, they would be working for free, so this is pretty unlikely, unless you meet someone and develop a relationship with them and convince them it is worth their time.
Once you get a deal on the table, people start to listen, then everyone wants to jump on board, because it's a business and they are going to make money off of it.
Also, keep this in mind. Sometimes you only get one chance to impress someone. If you get that chance, your script better be as great and error free as it can be.
Good luck with everything! L
Good idea Barb!
I would have to start out by saying that I agree with William Goldman who said, "nobady knows anything" when talking about Hollywood. Meaning that there is no secret formula, there is no one path to get there. Hollywood doesn't know what they want until they see it, then halfway through, they could change their mind because a new shiny nickel turned up. The unpredictability of Hollywood IS predictable.
So, what may work for me may not work for any one person, but I think what writer's should learn from this thread is, don't look at WHAT worked for other people, look at what brought them to that opportunity so that they could make it work, and use that as your muse to find your own path. And it's never one thing that ends up working, it's the journey that leads you to success of making it work. So here is what works for me---
Write because you are so passionate about this story that you can't keep it inside of you. Be true to you, because of that, success will come.
Don't write what you "think" Hollywood is looking for with the expectation that they will buy it just because they keep making the same movies in this style or formula.
Write the best story you possibly can, in proper format. Learn all you can about what a script should "look" like. It needs to be flawless, in proper format. I use to think, well it's the story that will blow them away, they will overlook a few spelling or punctuation errors. WRONG. I know some producers who will just pitch a spec script in the garbage after only two or three pages, just because of errors.
NETWORK YOUR ASS OFF! Learn how to pitch and go to pitch sessions. Research and learn what conferences or pitch sessions are getting good feedback and then go. Barb mentioned the Hollywood pitch sessions I think, (Barb is that the one Carlos runs?) If so, that's the Hollywood Film Festival pitch sessions. I have attending this one twice, years ago. Both experiences were positive.
If a pitchee doesn't want what you got, ask if you may contact him in the future when you write more scripts. You should already have his name and Co. info, so don't ask him to take time writing his info out or getting a card. Just say, I'll get in touch. All you have to do is look online and get the Co. address to send future queries to, ATTN. Mr. Pitchee. Of course if he just offers his card or info, take it.
If you hear someone speaking at the conference who isn't taking pitches, find them afterwards and ask if you could buy them lunch or dinner. This has worked for me many times. If you're not that bold, then just ask if you may send them a query. If so, then you write, I enjoyed meeting you at such and such, you said I could send you a treatment..blah blah blah.
Be bold, but don't be a stalker. Also, if you manage to get a lunch or dinner date, let them lead the path of the topic at hand. Don't just start rattling off what you have written. Chances are, they want to hear about you first, see who you are, what you do with your life that allows you to lend life experiences to a script.
Read the trades, learn about what's going on in Hollywood. Keep up on who's who and who's doing what.
When you get an offer on the table, get a lawyer to negotiate the contract for you. Don't try to do this yourself. Language is tricky.
When networking, don't just go after big fish. The assistant of today could be the producer of tomorrow, this is how they move up in the food chain, so if you make friends with someone in the industry who is low on the totem pole, but is working, get to know them.
Be yourself. Be true to yourself and your craft. Never stop learning to be a better writer. Network your ass off. Don't quit your day job until you can. Get use to rejection, but don't let it stop you. Never give up. If you give up, obviously you don't want it bad enough!
p.s. There is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes YEARS.
Actually Goldman said, "Nobody knows anything." not Nobady LOL, I'm hopped up on benodryl. mmmm benodryl. :)
Yeah, what Barb said! lol, that is almost exactly what I was going to write...so I will add this...
I own the rights to a true war story that I wrote into a script and produced a documentary on. A known writer and soon to be director read it for me a few years ago. I have seen his films and read his work and respect him even though our styles are very different.
He gave me wonderful notes, that led me to rewrite the entire script in a totally different direction. I was able to do this while maintaining the integrity of the story. Because this is a true story and I have a responsibility to keep it as accurate as possible, this was a big task.
I didn't change the story, just the way it was told and it was an AHA moment for me that you can tell a story in so many different ways. Everything this writer told me in his notes, rang true, so I made the changes.
Then, another writer, who is a published author and his work has been made into films, also read the script. One of his is also a true story so I thought he would be good to get feedback from. I didn't like anything he had to say. He wanted me to change the charcter's reactions so much that it would compromise the integrity of the story. He said if I made these changes he would take it to certain producer, who I will not name, who could have really done something great with it.
At this same time, one of this writer's movies(fiction) was just released at the theater. He was upset with how very different his on screen story was compared to his original script. So I asked to read it. Script was OK, but a little complicated. Then I went to see the film. I was prepared to be disappointed based on him being disappointed. But I actually really liked the film. I thought what they did with the film was better than the original script. I shouldn't say better, the script was good, but the film "WORKED" better.
I respect this man's work also, but the notes he gave me on the script didn't RING TRUE to me at all, so I did not make the changes. I could have made the changes and got the script into the hands of someone who could have greenlit it, but I refused to compromise the integrity of this true story.
So, in the end, I say, go with your gut. Learn to listen to that little voice inside of you.
The lunch/dinner avenue has been very good to me. The first time I was at a weekend conference in LA, there was an agent speaking for an hour about getting an agent. When he exited the stage and the next speaker came on, I snuck out and found the agent in the hotel lobby getting ready to leave. I invited him to lunch and he accepted.
By the end of our lunch, he gave me his VIP pass to get into areas of the conference that I couldn't afford at the time, since he was only there for that day. He also told me to send him two scripts and keep in touch.
He gave me great notes on my scripts, that were HORRIBLE LOL, cause I was very new to things back then. But he said he really liked my ideas, I just needed to learn the craft of screenwriting. So I did.
I made sure to keep in touch, but again, not like a stalker LOL. I would send him a christmas card every year and every few years drop him an email to say hello.
Another way the lunch/dinner thing has worked for me...
After getting a rejection letter, I would find ways to keep in touch with the person if I could. Then when I knew I was going to be in LA(because I don't live there) I would get in touch and tell them when I would be in town and see if I could take them out to lunch.
To my surprise, this was working. Then this person would introduce me to another person and before you know it, you find out what a small town Hollywood really is. Everyone knows everyone.
I have made a lot of great friendships as well as great connections that have helped me along the way.
Are you on your period? (I ask with a smile) The kid didn't say he wanted anything for free. He said he wanted honest feedback, so maybe he doesn't know about paying a fee to get a read from a script doctor or the likes.
To quote June Cleaver, "Randy, I think you were a little hard on the beaver!"
I understand your frustration, we all work hard to do what we do. Let's not forget where we came from and how green we once were.
Santa, I suggest you research and seek out a script consultant who will charge you a fee to read and give you feedback. Or you can find a writer's group in your area where some writers may exchange reads and feedback with each other.
I must admit, I didn't notice in the topic headline, santa wrote, "getting feedback with no fees" My bad. So I do understand why you got a little annoyed.
I also understand how annoying it is when people post with silly names that are not their own.
santa will soon learn what it's like to push a rock up hill.
It is true, I have always been told, early on, never pay a fee to get a read. But I soon learned that it was meant concerning agents and producers. If I sent a query to an agent or producer and they replied with asking for a "reading fee", I was told to walk away. A real agent or producer who is looking to profit from you, will do it by selling or producing your work, not by charging a reading fee.
Now, if you want feedback, that's another story. To avoid being burnt, you must do your research and find a credible reader who charges a reading fee and will give valuable notes. Sometimes this is trial and error, you may get screwed once or twice, but that's part of the learning process.
We've all gotten screwed in this business and if you give up because of it, then you were never meant to do this in the first place. If it only makes you stronger and more determined to make it, then you may have a chance.
Start pushing that rock.
I also wasn't sure where Earl was getting this from, so I went back and looked and I think it could be from this statement that you made under the Santa post about feedback without fees...
"Plus, I worked all this week on spec. and have been asked to produce another commercial on spec.next week with a tight deadline and "NO" budget. No money coming in, lots of work and bills getting bigger. Life in the fast lane."
Earl, Is that what you were talking about?
It could be taken that way, since you wrote you have been asked to produce something on spec. Typically if you are asked to write or produce something, it isn't considered on spec. Unless of course you were asked by a friend or business partner to write something on spec that he or she is planning on taking to pitch to someone. I'm sure the circumstances are such that making that statement made perfect sense to you because you know all the ins and outs of the situation you are dealing with.
I think when Earl read it, it sounded like an oxymoron to him and that is why he questioned it.
Sounds like just a little confusion about what was written and what was actually meant by it. I don't think Earl meant any disrespect, maybe he just wanted to understand.
I could be wrong, I have been wrong before, actually I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken. :)
Ya know Randy, you can take the girl out of psychology, but you can't take psychology out of the girl. I don't mind being a ref. while I have some down time.
I know things are stressful for you right now, things will get better. Several years ago when I quit my full time job with great benefits to dedicate more time to writing, I took a part time gig and thought certain monies would be coming in soon, that did not.
I didn't realize how stressed out I was over the money situation until I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and realized how crabby and unpleasant I was during that stressful time.
I felt like no one understood how hard I was working and how much my work meant to me. And looking back, they didn't. The fact is, being a writer is a lonely life at times because people who are not like us, just don't get it.
Jodi Foster recently said something to the effect of...Sometimes the thing that drives you to make it is telling yourself, I'll show them!
Keep plugging away! You never know what is around the next corner.
What ever happened to Fonta, the homeless girl who was trying to be a screenwriter? I really felt sorry for her and now and then wonder where her life has taken her.
I did feel that Fonta was a real person. There was a sadness about her that rang true. Also, looking at some of her old postings, she came looking for help and advice but then had a hard time taking the advice when it wasn't what she wanted to hear.
In any event, I was just curious because she crossed my mind the other day.
Hey Terri, I was wondering why you didn't get a writing credit on Hunting Humans? just curious.
Getting back on track and just for the record:
I contacted Santa after her first posting that turned into a bit of a mess. I offered to read her script. Since then I have read the second one, which is the comedy she speaks of.
The girl has something there. I was pleasantly surprised. The comedy has great potential and I am in the process of giving her notes on it. It does need some work, but the story line is something fresh that could turn into something really good.
Good to hear Santa, because I believe you have talent. Keep pushing forward and never give up!
I was urged to watch the film by my writing partner. He thought I would love it.
I started watching it and was immediately sucked in with the dialogue and characters. I thought it was fun to watch, interesting and well written. The dialogue and characters were the best part for me.
The story got too complicated and over the top, but in the end, I was entertained.
I think if my partner didn't say a word about the film and I watched it I would have said, I love this film. But he hyped it up too much for me to say I LOVE IT.
I will say, I was entertained, I laughed, and I will watch it again when it comes on cable. Overall, I think it was well done. Sometimes, less is more and less would have been more in this case.
Banana fanny fo fandy, Fe Fi Fo Fandy, RAAAANNNNDY!
sorry Randy, I could not resist putting your name in another thread!
There was not a remake of Saturday night fever, it was a sequal.
I respect your passion, but your passionate about something that has nothing to do with you or your work. You are dreaming of a dream that isn't your dream. And you obviously have little idea of how things really work.
If FFC decided to do the remake, it would have little to do with anyone like yourself plopping that idea in his head.
If you really respected the movie and knew anything about what went into making that happen, you might not be making the statements you are.
May I suggest you write a great script and be as passionate about your own work and maybe someday, someone will be talking about remaking your film.
Walter and Dinah, GREAT advice!!
Ben, Again, I respect your passion. I disagree with you that anyone can write a script. Anyone CANNOT write a script. I do not doubt that you have written four scripts and that they may be good.
I'm just saying, if you send a package to Zoetrope yourself, without a WGA agent or known attorney, it will not get opened at all, it may not even be returned to you, it may just end up in the garbage.
Let's go nuts for a moment, let's say they open it, read it, love it...what do they need you for? FFC already did it once and did an AMAZING job. What's in if for you?? Nothing.
Putting a deal together isn't as simple as saying, hey let's get Tom and Sam to do this movie.
I'm not saying your idea is a good one or a bad one, I'm only saying it's a useless one. You have nothing to gain out of it. If you had a script produced and were a known writer, THEN, you might be able to get a meeting and try to put a deal together if you had something to bring to the table.
Hype, passion, hard work, luck and connections IS what it's all about, but maybe do all of that with your own work.
Trust me, screenwriters and directors are aware of their responsibilities. If you are lucky enough to still be involved in the project after you sell it, it's a delicate line you walk with the director. I'll share more about that in a new thread.
I'm not trying to burst your bubble, we are all here to help each other, I would much rather see you on the big screen with your name after..SCREENPLAY BY then see you waste time, effort and postage!
You have given that child up to a new home. It now becomes the vision of the producer and director.
This is some info in response to Ben's comment about writers and directors. And this is only from my experience, other writers have other experiences.
Sure it's exciting to sell a script. But it will also scare the crap out of you when you have the contract in front of you that says, "your baby is now mine!" At this point, you may be out of the loop. All your hard work and vision is in the hands of other people. You may have no control at all, depending on your agreement.
After months of negotiations, I agreed to the terms that the producer owns the project and I have first right of refusal on rewrites. So now, it's frightening. You wonder what will become of your baby.
I had no idea if he would keep me in the loop, even though according to the contract, he didn't have to keep me informed at all.
To my surprise, he began sending me head shots of the actors he wanted. I gave my input and he listened. And let me tell you, during negotiations, it got pretty hot and almost ugly at times. I didn't know what the future held, but both of us put on our professional hats, and moved past all that. Respect and learning to listen and communicate is key.
Then a director was brought on. Now the director has his own vision. Perception is reality and his perception of the script and mine, may be different. In this case, he got it. He saw my vision.
Then I get the call saying, we rewrote some scenes to reflect location changes. I was nervous. It took me two days to open the file and read the new version of the script. My stomach was all in knots, but to my surprise, he was right. The script had very little changes. And the few location changes or minor scene changes, were needed for filming purposes. I was pleased.
Then in the screen tests, the director may see how some dialogue would work better by adding this or taking away that. You now have actors giving their input on what "feels right" to them. So the director is taking your words that you wrote to get a message across and capture a moment on screen, and if a change is needed to do that, then so be it.
So the producer would call and say, what if this character said this or that instead. If it felt right, I would say sure. If I disagreed, I would say so. Respect comes in to play again because then he says, "well, you know these characters better than anyone, so you tell me your opinion." As a writer, you are lucky to get that.
At this point, the producer and director know the story and characters almost as well as I do, so when they made choices, I really did agree with them. We were all on the same page. Even when they added a scene that changed something minor in the story. At first I wasn't so sure about that, but after I thought about it, it made sense to make that change. You have to be flexible. As long as the end result is what you intended.
Then on the set during shooting, the director may make more changes due to "happy accidents" Opportunities that may come up. Such as, a prop used on set to dress the scene and the director may get an idea on how to use that prop to demonstrate something by showing without telling. A whole scene of dialogue may get deleted and replaced with a scene using this prop. He is getting the same message across, only more powerful because he is showing and not telling. This is where the Director's talents come out and the vision is truly his at this point.
I won't even go in to editing because that's a whole other story. But I think you get the idea here.
Not trying to be negative, just realistic. But heck, go for it. If you have half a million and an idea, go for it.
If I had listened to anyone who told me I would fail, I wouldn't be where I am today. So OK, go for it.
But I'm also thinking, if you have half a million, take that and produce one or two of your original scripts.
But hey, this is your dream, take your money, put a package together and try to take it to FFC. Prove me wrong. Make it happen!
I have been very lucky to be able to surround myself with amazing and talented people.
It's all about preparation meeting opportunity. And then trusting your gut as you move through the jungle.
And Good for YOU!! Aside from talent, it's all about relationships. You show them you are easy to work with and they will want more from you.
And you're right, it's THEIR dime. They are the one taking the huge financial risk. We are selling them a product, once they have it, they can do whatever they want.
When word started getting out about my script, a writer went to my producer offering to rewrite the script for xx amount of money. The producer said, "why would I have paid this money to buy the script if I want it rewritten by someone else?"
Then talking to the actors and director and hearing how much they love the story, I knew didn't have to worry about the producer compromising the integrity of the story.
Thanks for your support guys!
I'll keep you posted. I have a few other projects in development with other people as well. And the phone is ringing with the question, "what else have ya got?" It's a nice feeling and even nicer when I can say, I have 9 scripts ready to go.
Tito, that is good.
I have read the script and it has a lot of potential. Keep at it Santa!
You can make it work!
You can always use the term "Mr. Mom" or he no longer wears the pants in the family. Or he's a stay at home dad while his wife battles the corporate world with great success.
LOL, yeah Santa, I know he doesn't turn into the neighbor's wife, but when I read that from Tito, I started thinking how funny it would be if he did turn into the neighbors wife lol.
But that would be a different script than what you have.
Why don't you tell us what the conflict is between Henry and the land baron. Give us the juicey part of the story so it can be put into the logline.
I'm guessing that they meant if you throw a high concept out there as an idea, it's not protected and anyone can use it and run with it. But in writing a logline to get a producers attention, you really have to put the hook in there. They need to know.
Didn't we have a whole thread a while back about producers stealing ideas or something? It happens rarely. If you're afraid to post your hook here, in case someone might grab it, I understand.
But if you are not going to put the hook into the treatment/query you send to the producer. That's a mistake.
Terry you're killing me!!
Have you written any of these stories into your scripts? It's great material!!
So as long as we are telling true stories, I got two for ya. And I actually used both stories in a script that is being looked at.
My father had his face ripped off in a car accident before he ever met my mother. So my whole life we only knew what he looked like after the accident. He also has a fake eye because of it. He used to take his eye out and pop it in people's drinks at parties. When we were kids, we used to try to take our eyes out too cause we didn't know any better.
My mother hates when my father pops his eye out, or if it's looking in the wrong direction. So he purposely turns it crooked just to piss her off. Then she says, FIX YOUR EYE! and he says, "maybe I'm looking at something over there." I could go on with eye stories but the blow up doll story is waiting in the wings.....
My parents are the cheapest people on the planet. Any deal they can get, they take. So at my cousin's bachelor party, they had a blow up doll floating around. They were getting ready to pop her with a pin at the end of the night when someone told my father how much she cost. It was like 80 bucks or something. He didn't get the fact that this was a sex doll, all he cared about was that it was worth 80 bucks!
So I stop by the house the next day and there is my mother, sitting on the couch, dressing the blow up doll in my old clothes from highschool that she will never throw away!
So I ask her what the hell is going on and she says, "She's an 80 dollar doll! and they were just gonna throw her away!" (picture archie and edith bunker if you will)
Then she says, "besides, the dog is afraid of her, so if we leave her on the couch, the dog won't jump up on the couch anymore." Then my dad would put the doll on the patio in a lawn chair to piss off the neighbor.
Eventually my dad began to talk about taking the doll out to the dog path where he walks the dog and throwing her up in a tree so people walking by would wonder how she got there. Mom was afraid of him getting arrested, so the doll mysteriously vanished one day.
All true, unfortunately lol.
Thank you Terry
BTW, I am a professional Chef so if you're ever in the neighborhood, I'll show you what home cooking is all about LOL. My mother is also a bad cook, had to over cook everything so we wouldn't get worms. Whatever that was all about.
So I'm gonna top the eye popping with a pooping.
Because the fake eye never closed, when my father slept, that one eye would stay open. And because he had lost his real nose, he couldn't breathe through it so he could only breathe through his mouth.
So my mother was going to church and I was about 2 or 3 and she told my dad, "keep an eye on the baby while I'm gone." so I'm sitting in my playpen which in itself was a death trap and dad says, "I'm watching you." and he proceeds to close his good eye and take a nap. But I had no idea cause that one eye was just still looking at me. But his mouth was hanging open and growling like a lion cause he snored.
So I'm frozen scared in my little cage and suddenly I crap my diaper. Back in the day when we had cloth diapers, no pampers yet. So I pull out a crap ball and smear it all over my face and try to eat it, cause I had this thing about putting everything in my mouth.
So mom comes home and dad is startled awake and mom looks at me and becomes hysterical and says, "What's wrong with the baby?" Dad takes one look at me and says, "Oh...I gave her a cookie."
If this stuff doesn't make you a good writer, I don't know what will.
BTW, I am currently producing a documentary about my family. I'll keep ya posted. LOL
Yes Terry, I have an interesting family and a lot of my material comes from them. But then my other material comes from life experiences once I escaped that house. I have lived an interesting life.
I have an older brother who is an ICU nurse and my younger brother is a therapist LOL thank God. So between the two of them, we keep my parents medicated lol.
My grandmother had 17 children. She was pregnant every year of her adult life until she could no longer have children. So we have lots of colorful situations for me to get material from.
I bought a house a block away from my parents so I could "keep an eye on them." My brother bought them a cell phone a year ago because they both kept coming up "missing" from time to time.
My mother talks into the phone upside down because she doesn't get it. The funniest is when she accidentally speed dials me when the phone is laying on the dashboard when the two of them are driving home and I'm not home but I come home to this huge message left on my voice mail that she had no idea has happened. And it's usually a ten minute conversation about cheese that he forgot to get at the store and then somewhere in there is, "fix your eye, it's looking funny."
Another childhood thing that messed with us is that my uncle was blown up in Korea. He had a wooden leg, two glass eyes cause he was left blind and he had a fake hand because he only had a thumb. so when he came over he would take off his leg and lay it on the floor by his chair and take his hand and lay it next to it.
so as little kids, we just thought everyone could take parts of their bodies off and ya didn't get anywhere near that hand because ya knew it would come to life at any moment and start chasing you around the house.
Oh, and Terry, to answer your question about dealing with life outside the house...
Nothing phases me at all after growing up in that house. Because my dad was irresponsible we were all put in life threatening situations when left alone with him, almost falling out of moving cars, choking on a caterpillar..etc..So the real world is a picnic.
OK, I have to add another story. When us kids were in our twenties, we were having dinner with my mom, my dad was off watching a game. So we were talking about my dad and something stupid he did and my mom says, "well ya know he has brain damage from the accident." Now this was news to us. I mean I knew he did crazy stuff, but brain damage? So then we started to treat him like he was kinda retarded ya know, letting some things go cause we figured he couldn't help it.
This went on for about five years until I busted my eardrum while scuba diving. When I came home from the Islands, I went to the local ENT who was about a hundred years old, to have my ear checked. I then realized he was the doctor who was called to the ER the night of my father's accident over thirty years before.
so I asked the Doc about that night. He got this look on his face and said, "to this day, that was the worst accident I had ever seen anyone survive." He went on to tell me how my father's face was smashed in and he had to go in an pull his nasal cavity from the middle of his head.
So then I say, "so what about the brain damage? How bad is it?" And he looks at me like I'm nuts and says, "brain damage? Your father doesn't have brain damage, all the damage was done to his face there is nothing wrong with his brain."
I didn't tell my mother, cause she might kill him if she finds out he's just a pain in the ass. Because anytime he does something really stupid she just looks at us and whispers, "the brain damage." with a totally straight face. I can't ruin that for her.
PLEASE, get an attorney involved as soon as you can. A three year option is too long in my opinion. Most options are for a year or even 6 months sometimes. The longest option I took was for a year at the bargain price of 1K. But I got back end on it as well.
Consult an attorney and who knows, maybe you can hook up with an agent since there is interest in the project, maybe an agent could shop it around and get you a better deal.
Proceed with caution and DO NOT try to negotiate the deal yourself. It could turn ugly and ruin a business relationship. Let the lawyer be the bad guy, that's what they get paid for.
My dear Ben,
Not just ANYONE can write. If everyone could write, then producers wouldn't need us. They would just sit down and do it themselves and not have to pay us to do it. We are here because there is a need for us.
One of my producers recently said to me, "You're a damn good writer kid, I couldn't have done that."
Recently, in a conversation with an oscar winning industry veteran, we were brainstorming some ideas to improve a script I had written and get it ready to go into the studio, and I asked him, "why don't you write scripts?" And he said, "because I can't. I'm not a writer, you are. I don't write, I budget, produce, make things happen, but I can't write a script to save my life."
When rewriting this particular script, I said to the same man, "well I was thinking of cutting that scene because it might run the budget up." He laughed, and said, "Do not worry about the budget, that's not your job. If you write your script thinking about the budget, you will overlook a possible brilliant story pinch point or opportunity. Just write the story you want to tell and do it the best you know how. Let us worry about the budget."
All the marketing and budgeting you do is not going to sell your script. Learning the craft and being a better writer than the next guy is going to sell your script.
You would sooo win both bets Randy!
Sam Jackson signed on from the title alone, from what I hear. Must have sounded like a good idea at the time.
Are you high??
For real dude, get off the drugs. What does your response have to do with what she posted?
Ben, I have no idea what you are talking about. Terry, do you make sense of any of it?
I have a logline,
A man living in a mental institution, diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as well as MPD, gets access to a computer and pretends to be a screenwriter even though he relies on another mental patient to help him form, somewhat, complete thoughts.
What he doesn't know is the message board is totally fake and set up by the institution to monitor this patients activities. The Doctors pretend to be screenwriters as well, to monitor Ben's OOOOPS...I mean monitor this "FICTIONAL" character's behavior.
Freudian slip is showing.
et'sla alla alkta ina igpa atlina ota eesa ifa etha atientpa eactsra ikela ewa redictpa.
Her name is Paula Wagner. :)
No need to apologize John. You are right on the mark.
Ben has been quoted as writing, "anyone can write a script."
I feel it's very obvious that maybe anyone EXCEPT Ben can write a script.
How old are you? This is a serious question. I just picture either a mentally handicap person on the other end here or a twelve year old. I mean no disrespect, I'm asking a serious question.
If you are mentally impaired, then we should stop making fun of your questions because clearly you don't know any better.
Good work Officer Randy, we are promoting you to lead detective. Now can you catch this guy and shoot him so he stops annoying everyone?
So I thought I would take the board back on track with something useful. Hopefully this will help some writers on their journey to becoming a better writer.
How important are back story and bios on your characters....
My producer asked if it was OK for our leading lady to call me to help her get into the head of her character. HELLOOOO of course it's OK, it's a writer's dream(well mine anyway) to work with the cast and help them become my characters.
I always create a back story on each character. Rarely on paper, but always in my head. I know what size shoes they wear, favorite foods and why they have a scar on their knee. Sometimes early on, I'll do a bio sheet, but mostly it's just in my head.
So when my leading lady called and started asking about her character, I was able to tell her all about her as if she were a real person. She asked me questions that I really never thought about, but I knew the character so well that I had the answers.
Intention of a scene....
Some directors HATE when the writer puts too much direction or intention on a scene. I recently had the opportunity to read a script by a well known European writer and director who is making his American splash very soon. One thing I found very interesting was that after certain dialogue he would write(in bold print) just below it, what his intention was. It was like a side note to the reader. I was taken back by this and asked the producer why he did this. The producer said it was a very European thing that they do over there.
This guy can get away with it because of who he is. If a new writer tried doing this, a producer would think he was a novice.
I try to only put intention if it is so important to the scene. I think if you write the characters well enough, the actors and director will know the intention based on that and help bring it to life.
Sooo, in the scenes where I put little intention, the actress asked me, "how do you see her saying this line?" I would reply with, "well, how do you see her saying it?" Because I wanted to know if she got the character enough to know how she would reply. And she did.
But then she totally surprised me...in a scene where I put little intention, but to me it was obvious based on the dialogue, how it should feel, she told me what happened in rehearsal. Her co star came up with a way to do the scene that I had not even thought of and it was terrific. So I was happy that I didn't put too much intention on that scene because it allowed the actors creative freedom to play with it and come up with something that the director loves and it works.
Thanks Terry, It was time to get back to serious writers on this board and kick the posers to the curb.
In psychology we learn early on, to extinguish any behavior, the most effective action is to ignore the behavior. I think we are all in agreement with Fred to ignore posts from the town poser.
I have to disagree with the statement that EVERY director expects the actors to create a back story on their characters. Sometimes, the director is also the writer and he creates the history of the character for the actor and helps them get into that character enough so that they take on the life of that character.
Every project is different and every director is different.
Great points by all!!
I think it's so interesting to hear about each others ways of creating and being open enough to learn from each other.
Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies to watch over and over.
So Terry, How are things going with your scripts?
Yes you are making sense. It's easy to not spend a lot of time on characters that will not last the film. But the audience doesn't know that they will not be around long. So you need to make them as rounded as the rest so the audience is surprised when they expire.
It's like the expendable guy in the old star trek, wearing the red shirt, lol.
I came across that number. I want to touch base with him next week and make sure it's ok for me to pass it along to you when you get this bite. Let me know if something happens sooner and then I'll make a call.
I'm probably heading to LA in a few weeks for ten days so if I don't hear from you, we'll touch base before I leave. I may have a meeting with him when I am out there also.
Just a few documentaries I want to recommend that discuss the making of Jaws.... On HBO all last month was Boffo! Tinsle town's bombs......
don't be confused, they are not saying Jaws was a bomb...they are talking about success and failures of films in general. A must see for all writers.
Then on Encore, I think it's called Cutting Edge...the art of editing films. another great, wonderful piece where Spielberg discusses how cutting the shark scenes at just the right moment so the shark wouldn't look as fake as it would have looked if the scene went on for just one more frame.
Another one I have put on here before that all writers need to see, is called OVERNIGHT....I won't explain, just rent it or look it up on IMDB for details. Must see! What NOT to do in the biz.
Now, I want to add a little thing I do that might be hard to explain, but I'll try my best. Creating backstory in a reverse fashion that forces the audience to want to see the movie again.
I can sort of compare it to the sixth sense...where you find out at the end that Bruce is really dead. You then rewatch the film and see everything through different eyes. I call it reverse backstory. You suddenly get a more well rounded view of that character.
ie: In my most recent thriller that is being shopped around....I have a lead male whose backstory is very strong. I needed some backstory for his leading lady that comes into his life and just sort of decided to make her a bit OCD and out of necessity I created a good reason why. Had no idea that it would end up making her character so much more compelling and end up almost making her the lead rather than him.
But, I digress...This other female character, a Doctor, Dr. C, she is almost stuck in the middle....OK...two evil doctors, DR. A and DR. B are working on a secret "thing" that will change the world.
Dr. A and B are sort of like the ID characters in the story and the Male lead and female lead are almost like the EGO characters in the story.
Dr. C is like the SuperEgo in the story. She plays both sides and seems like an innocent character who has the best interest of all the characters. The male lead and female lead are discovering the big secret of the evil Dr's. Dr. C appears to be oblivious to the big secret and is only concerned about doing her job and being nice to everyone. Not a super interesting character, but yet, you like her and can't place your finger on why you are suspicious of her.
Then in the big "sixth sense" ending, when the heros, M and F lead appear to save the day and run off into the sunset...Dr. C enters the office of Dr. B and says, "here Daddy, here's the file." Now it all makes sense. No one knew that she is actually the daughter of the evil Dr. B and looking back you can see why she did everything she did and you see how brilliant her seemingly coy attitude was.
It's like opening that last box on Xmas morning, you shake it and think you know what's in it, then you open it and it changes your whole perception of what it really is.
So, the audience is forgiving of you for not telling more about this character up until the end. They love the big surprise, the backstory that is now revealed. You can get away with a lot in the middle if you give them the big pay off in the end.
BUT...you have to give enough of decoy backstory on her early on to please the audience. Show her running late to make dinner for the kids...or something...like the audience says, oh, she's a single mom, good person, trying to make ends meet after a divorce, blah blah blah. They think they know this charcter and take her at face value. Then in the end..the bomb.
You're right Terry. You have to be careful when using the end of the script reveal like that.
I don't allow the whole story to hinge on that ending. It's sort of like a little bonus after the big ending has happened.
In my latest script, I used it as a tool to set up for a sequal. The script as is, ends just fine with this bonus, but it also leaves an opening for the possibility of a sequal.
It sort of gives the audience closure on something, but also, opens a new door and the audience can either imagine on their own what will happen next, or hope for a sequal. It leaves them wanting more, which is good to do, but allows them to be satisfied at the same time. It's a fine line to walk to make it work.
BTW, this is a story that I originally wrote and gave to that one producer(Terry I think I told you about it on the phone...if not, I will) One of his films has won an oscar, so I listen to him. He is brutally honest with me.
His first notes were pretty harsh and he said I had two completely different story lines going on, two totally different scripts built into one.
so after blasting me with how boring and annoying one of the characters was and other bits of honesty, he then said, OK let's brainstorm how to make this better. Between the two of us, we came up with some great story options and I ran with one.
So I had a page one rewrite to do. Now, I have this solid story that is so far removed from the old one, I can't even recall the highlights of the old one. Two rewrites later, I'm ready to run with it. Now it's up to him. Waiting to hear his thoughts on the new story.
One thing that totally remained the same, was the backstory on the lead character. By this point, it wasn't necessary to put as much backstory about him on the page in exposition. I was able to take what I knew about his character and show without telling.
Not only did I get a better story, but his character arc is so much stronger. Might be a good exercise for writers who are having problems. Take your character and write a short scene of him in a totally different story, perhaps a scene from an existing movie that you love to see how your character would react.
Terry, I think it's a good idea. Great tool!
Shooting begins tomorrow. Everyone keep your fingers crossed. Now it's up to the Actors, Director, DP and Producer.
The cast is amazing and I'm so pleased. Of course I wish I could be there, but I did give this baby up and it's out of my hands. All I can do is pray to the movie Gods!
Since I have been on both ends, I'll give you my personal opinion and what has and has not worked for me.
I have read queries for one of the producers that I deal with and on the other end I have a film that starts shooting tomorrow.
1. Snail mail or email?
Both. Depending on the company. If you have an email address from someone, use it. If not, then snail mail. I have done both and had success with both.
2. SASE or no SASE?
3. Is it better to query production companies or agencies?
Tricky question. Again, depends. From my own experience, query production companies, but select ones that are accepting unsolicited material. Research and find out who they are. If you want to query agencies, research and find those that are seeking new clients.
4. How important is it to open with the personalizing tidbit? "I see you've had success selling scripts in the ______ genre..." "You said in _______ magazine that you're always looking for new talent."
blah blah blah, wasting their time. Get to the point. Again, only my opinion, but after reading hundreds of queries, I know what the production company has said and done, you don't have to tell me. Simply give the Title, genre and logline of the script and then go right into a paragraph synopsis. At the end...Let me know if you would like to read the script, thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Do those little facts help or do they clutter up a space-crunched letter?
Clutter and not needed.
5. What should my goal be? "I'd like you to read my script" OR "Perhaps we can meet and discuss my script."
They don't know you, they are too busy to meet you. The goal is to read the script. If they like the script, they will want to meet you.
Does one goal have more success than the other?
The goal is getting the script read. That leads to the success.
6. Do I mention other scripts I've written? Or is it one script per letter?
I have queried up to three scripts in one letter. And was asked to send all three.
7. Should the synopsis be open ended or should it sum up everything (including the ending)?
DO NOT leave them hanging. Tell them everything. Sum it up. This is not just my opinion, it's fact.
8. Should I include page count, genre, budget range?
Page count is good, genre a must, budget range-not your job, THEY HATE THAT. Not just my opinion, fact.
9. Are the phrases "Referral Only" or "No unsolicited material" bluffs or locked doors?
Locked doors. This isn't a poker game, it's a business. They are too busy to bluff.
So, in speaking with the WGA today about my membership, I found some interesting info that you should all put in your vault for the future.
When negotiating a contract, if you sell your script outright to a signatory company, if you do not have a phrase in the contract that states you will be hired to do re-writes or polishes or any type of phrase that means you will be a writer for hire and not just selling the script as one single piece of property, The buyer does not have to pay money to the WGA for your pension and insurance benefits.
You want to try to negotiate a phrase in the contract to reflect the meaning writer for hire.
Also, if you sell your script to a company that is not in the guild, you cannot become a WGA member based on that sale. They must be a signatory company.
If it is a signatory company and you are a new writer and not yet in the guild, they must pay you signatory low rate at least. Then, once the contract is done, you call the guild, pay the initiation fee and you are now a member of the guild and get insurance benefits as long as you make the minimum yearly amount as listed in thier guidlines. At the moment it is 30K a year.
Then you pay 25 bucks quarterly. This was info from WGA East. If you are East of the Mississippi River, you must sign up with WGA East. The one benefit of this is, the initiation fee at this time is 1K cheaper than WGA West. The rate for initiation at the moment is 1500.00 for East and 2500.00 for west.
They will also work out a payment plan if you cannot make the payment in one sum.
Hope this is useful to some of you!
Let it Ride
There was a film by this name but I think it was almost 20 years ago, so many producers working today won't even remember that.
The Lawyer puts down the bet but then it turns into something else...Letting it ride.
First Day of Shooting...
So I pop online and see the producer was trying to IM me but I was away. So I called to see what was up. He just wanted to tell me that they were getting ready to shoot and everything was in place and how amazing the set looked. They rented a ton of stuff from Universal.
I was gone all day after that, and came home late and hopped online and the producer IM's with, "I need to talk to you." And I'm thinking, crap, what is going on.
So he calls and I am thinking it's gonna be bad. But it wasn't. He said everything went so great today except for one scene. The director decided to improvise a scene and add to it and it just didn't work. So the producer asked what I would do with that scene.
The scene itself was a short one, that I wrote to establish an alter ego of the character. It was sort of a set up to make you think one thing and later you find out another.
So he put me on the spot and asked what I saw the character doing in this situation. The director had gone over the top with the scene during the shoot because he didn't completely understand or have a grasp on this secret side of the character. It's very psychological.
I suddenly saw that the intention of this scene was interpreted as much more than what I had written. I knew what the director was trying to get across, but he didn't know how, because I didn't write in as much intention as they were reading into it. So I pulled something out of my ass and said...
OK, have her walk in as written but instead of showing everything in a wide shot like the director did today, do a medium shot on the character and only imply what she is doing without showing the whole thing, then cut to a quick shot of blah blah blah and then cut to this, blah blah blah and then she ends the scene with this..blah blah blah.
So he says, YES, that's it! Here, tell the director. So he puts the director on the phone and I explain the scene to him and he says, "yes that is what I was trying to get across!" Then he says, "I wish you were here."
I will be there soon, but not soon enough. But how lucky I am to have them want to be so true to the story to ask my opinion and use it. I am so lucky that egos are not getting in the way of making a good film.
I feel truly blessed! I'm so lucky to be working with these professional, amazing men.
Thanks Terry, yes I found her a good home!
And Randy, OMG, I just thought I was developing multiple personality disorder and had been struck by lightning. But then I looked in the mirror and you are right, there was a hyphenate stuck in the middle of my head.
I took it out, but the scar is still there and I'm guessing it shall remain. The doctors said I'll recover just fine. :) The xanex is helping though ;)
There have been mumbles about me directing in the future. I am all for it. In time, we shall see what will happen. For now, I'm very content taking meetings and getting these other projects off the ground.
I feel good about my relationships with these other interested parties and I will be grateful for whatever involvement they allow me to have in the projects.
Well Terry, I went into my basement and the only thing I saw that was kinda glowing, OK, more like steaming, was a nice little pile of shit one of my baby dogs left for me. But I'll keep an eye on it.
I will be gone for a while, heading to LA in two weeks and not sure yet how long I'll be there. Showing up for the last week of shooting and for the wrap party and meetings.
As far as raw gossip, I'm too good at keeping secrets. All the juicy stuff I know gets put in the vault and stays there. As for numbers, you have the most important one and you know how to use it ;)
The producer called me tonight and said, "shh, just listen." and I could hear.."ACTION" Then one of my scenes began filming as I quietly listened. Then he told me dailies look great and we are on our way.
If you google Kal's name, you will see he is posting the same thing on every message board he can find.
sorry dude, we all already read Syd's stuff and Hollywood stands behind Syd. So if your book is so good at telling people how to write a blockbuster, then you write and sell one and then we might be impressed.
We should probably treat this like we treat posers and ignore at this point and then they go away.
Is he a vampire? He was born dead? A night walker? It's a bit confusing. You'll have to give us a little more than that to help with a logline.
But it sounds interesting.
So I came to LA on Sunday to hang out on the set of my film, that is two weeks away from finishing. Just got back from 9 hours of it and it was a complete blast.
The crew is amazing and the actors are truly the characters that I wrote. I told the producer not to tell anyone I was the writer, I didn't want to make anyone nervous and I didn't want the actors to be distracted. So I was Lola, the craft service PA. LOL. It was HYSTERICAL!
The director, DP and key PA figured out who I was but kept it our secret. So I helped set up the snack table and quietly listened to people talk about the film and how things were going. Then, since I was "new" on the set, I asked some people how they liked the script and what it was about. It was so cool to hear people talk about my work and not know that it was mine.
I about lost it when one of the PA's who was "over" me came up and said, "Lola we need some coffee made right away!" with a very authorative voice. I quickly grabbed the key PA and said, "I have no idea how to use this coffee maker." So the key PA started to help me and the other PA turned to him and said, "No, just show her how to do it and let her do it." I was dying.
I'm sure the secret began to leak out when the prop guy was calling me over to ask me certain things about scenes and what I thought about certain props. Not to mention the fact that I was slacking off on my duties as Lola because I was too busy chatting with those who found out my true identity.
The key PA grabbed me and pulled me down the hall to the set where one scene was being shot. We stood before the monitors and I was able to watch as they filmed. It was amazing. Meanwhile, the set dressers were getting the next set ready as the director and I sat watching. During this scene they let me be on the set with head phones on to listen as I watched the monitor.
I was invisible as Lola, the actors on the set had no idea who I was. I watched them deliver my lines and improv a few and rehearsed and then it was action. Two takes and the close ups and cut aways and it was done.
Then the behind the scenes camera was floating around and snap shots were being taken of the crew with the cast members who were totally done at this point in the film. So the producer told me to get up there and get my picture taken with the actors. Many were looking on with quizzical looks as to why Lola the PA was taking photos on her first day on the job.
Then the producer announced that Lola was really me, the writer. Everyone looked at me and began to applaud. The actors all hugged me and thanked me for writing a great script. Some of them gave me thier contact info and said they knew other people who were looking for scripts if I had any more. (I have ten) One actress said she wanted to write scripts as well and that I inspired her. It was so incredible to get this great feedback.
Then it was on to the producer's house to look at some dailies from the days that I was not there. I was blown away. Everything looked great.
So now I better get to sleep, gotta be back on the set in 6 hours and I'm beat. I'll be back with more fun stories about tomorrow's shoot.
Linda aka Lola
Day 2-The adventures of Lola.
I have never driven in LA. I always have had people who took me where I needed to go when in town. But now, I needed to rent a car.
When I was at the rental company, the producer called and said, "Get your ass here, we have a cameo for you." I was like, NO WAY lol. I have no desire to be in front of the camera.
I was a little nervous driving from the valley burbs into downtown LA. Just worried about getting lost. But it was a piece of cake. I made it to the studio with no problem an thank God, I missed the shoot with the cameo.
I was finally going to meet my leading lady. We had spoken on the phone many times about her character and I couldn't wait to meet her. As I walked down the hall, I saw her come out of the make up room with her hair in rollers. She was even more beautiful than her pictures. She knew right away who I was, even though we never met, she said she felt my energy right away and she ran into my arms.
My leading man was already shooting down the hall and I peeked at the monitors to see how it looked. The DP and set dressers are amazing. I was in awe at how the set looked. Then we were on to a few big scenes between the two leading females. I hung out in the dressing room while the girls got ready. Then it was on to the set.
During the scene, the girls had some questions and they both turned to me and asked what to do. I had to stop myself from being a director, and have respect for the real director. I looked to him and asked what he thought, even though I knew what I thought. He sort of smiled and motioned for me to take control. I gave my input and the scene went on. The director put his arm around me and we sat and watched the scene. After, he looked at me and smiled with approval.
I felt a strange pull and had to get myself away for a bit. I am not the director, but the actors keep looking to me for advice. I didn't want to step on the toes of the director, so I walked away, even though I was dying to help and take control.
When the actors kept asking me things, I would just say, ask the director, and then he would give his input and then at times, turn to me and tell me what he thought and ask what I thought. We both began to walk this fine line of who is directing this film. As long as I kept pushing it back to him, he was open enough to pull me in on it. It became a comfortable dance between us.
It was getting late and I wanted to leave, but I couldn't pull away from watching my words being brought to life. At the end of the night, the leading lady and I decided to have a slumber party lol. She came over and we sat up and talked about how great the shoot is going. She feels that something magical is happening. I don't want to get my hopes up, but I feel it too. She said I brought a new energy to the set. We have this great bond between us. She truly has become the character I created and to look into her eyes and see her portray this person who was once just a thought in my head is unreal to me.
I'm too tired to go on, I'll write about day 3 later, as for now, I must get to bed and get ready for tomorrow.....
until next time...
Yes I was in meetings as much as possible last week. Tough balancing act because I was asked back to the set every day, and the only day we had off of shooting was friday. So I had meetings in the early part of the day and then would run to the set and stay until the last shot which was sometimes at 3 am or 6 am and then go to sleep for a few hours and do it all over again.
Just got back last night at 3 am from morro bay where we were shooting all day yesterday. It is so beautiful up there. I had to get back here to LA, but the rest of the crew is up there until Thursday and then shooting is wrapped and we go into post.
The DP is amazing and the dailies look great. Everyone is really excited about how it is going. I'm trying to squeeze two more meetings in tomorrow and then I go home on Thursday.
so far, I have made all my meetings that I had planned, except for one, but, I did have other meetings that were last minute that I didn't plan ahead of time. I think I have gotten a lot done. I would have done more if I had more time, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be on the set every day and work with the actors like I have. I'm so fortunate to have been given this opportunity.
Great advice Randy. I agree. I learned so much from being on the set. Any writer who gets an opportunity to just be on a set, even if it isn't your film, I say do it.
I just flew home from LA tonight and after a little nap, I am happy to be home. I got a text message from my leading lady telling me they wrapped today and all the scenes I missed out on, looked great. I also talked to the AD and he said everything went great and we have so much coverage.
I was able to have a few meetings with some studio execs concerning my other scripts and they all want to see the film when it's done and consider helping with distribution.
I made so many great contacts from the film. And I had some incredible meetings. Ten years of hard work and networking my ass off has paid off. Some people I had meetings with are studio execs that I have been in touch with over the years through cold queries. They had rejected my stuff in the past, but once I told them I had a film in production, they were happy to meet with me and read my latest scripts.
During a meeting yesterday, a producer said, "you should be so proud, you have done what is unheard of for a new writer, you sold a film that is in the can and you were allowed on the set to work with the actors. That doesn't happen."
The most rewarding moment came yesterday. My very first major contact in the indurstry was about ten years ago, I contacted him with a cold query and we began emailing back and forth. He was kind enough to read my script, that back then was total crap. He is a TV producer and has been very kind to me over the years. He gave me notes on my crappy scripts and as I progressed, he took one of my later scripts to pitch to major studios.
In the past, we would have lunch together when I was in LA and just shoot the shit. We began a friendship he gave me so much advice. He was there to boost my spirits when in the past, I had near misses and bad experiences in the industry.
He took me out to lunch the other day and then stopped by to say goodbye to me yesterday. As he was leaving, he hugged me and I said, "hey, I'm making a movie finally!" And he said, "No baby, you just made a movie, it's in the can and I'm so proud of you."
Another golden moment came on location. We were shooting the beach scene and the locals had started flocking around. A little girl about 12 years old came up to me and said, "you're the writer." and I said, "yes I am." And she said, "I want to be a writer too someday." And I said, "Just start writing and never stop."
Luck does play a part. I prefer to call it good Karma. For me it was preparation meeting opportunity. Also never giving up and finding back doors to open when the front door closed.
I did what every writer tries to do. I found someone who was as passionate about my script as I was and willing to invest a lot of money into making it a reality.
Everything just fell into place. And some things that seemed like bad luck at the time, turned out to be something positive. Everything seemed to happen for a reason.
My leading actor's character was sort of cursed it seemed. The original actor had to leave the project because of a prior engagement. Then the second actor who we ended up liking a lot, was not working out and was replaced after two days of shooting.
One of the actors who had a smaller part was asked to then take the lead. He ended up being the best choice for the role. He was perfect. Two days of shooting were down the drain and had to be re-shot with the new actor but couldn't happen until the last week.
This worked out well, because the scenes that were shot are very important opening scenes in the film and show relationships between the characters. Since the scenes couldn't be shot until the end of production, the actors had a lot of time to become comfortable with each other and by the time we shot, they all knew each other so well that the scene played better and they did a little improv as well.
We all said it was good luck, not bad, that the actor had to be replaced twice until we found our "Mikey" It was meant to be this way.
The original title of the film was called, Is It Cheating? The producer and I began calling it, Cheaters from the beginning of our negotiations. Two weeks after he purchased it, he called to ask me what I thought about changing the name to Behaving Badly and I loved it. So that is the title.
We are hoping for it to be released in theaters and are going to take it to a few studios once a rough cut is ready. The producer thinks within a month he should have a cut ready to show to people to consider distribution. We have a few ins at a few major companies for distribution.
As far as time frame, I wrote this script in two weeks. It was my first draft actually. It was around January that I wrote it and was working on a second draft when I started to pitch it around. This producer wanted to read it and even though it was a first draft, he didn't care. I sent it to him on February 13th and he wanted to buy it right away. We spent about 4 weeks in negotiations and then I got my option check.
Then it was late March and he began pre-production. Early June he began casting and scouting locations. The crew started to come together and production was set for late August, but delays happened and shooting started on Sept. 8th and wrapped on Oct. 5th. The week that principal photography began, he wired the purchase price into my account.
Walter, I'm not sure what you mean by what page color did we end up on. The original script was revised once to reflect location changes and then it was shot from that script. I don't have a copy of the shooting script to frame, I only have it on my computer.
I got to be on the set for seven days. It was the last five days shooting in LA and then I went to Morro bay for two days.
The Morro bay stuff went on for 4 days but I had to get back to LA. They only took a skeleton crew up to Morro and only five of the actors had scenes to shoot up there. So the last night in LA was sort of the last night for many people on the set. It was sad. We all exchanged info and said goodbye.
That was Saturday night, then I spent the next night at my leading lady's house. We had so much fun talking and running lines together. Then I drove her up to Morro Bay with me on Sunday and we had a great time. It was like being on a little vacation. We stayed up late and ran lines and just enjoyed the time we had together.
The next day we shot a bunch of scenes and then at night after we wrapped, I had to drive back and my leading man hitched a ride with me. We talked all the way home and it was great to get to know him. We talked about a project to work on together in the future.
As I was leaving, everyone hugged me and we were all kinda sad and my leading lady walked me to my car and we had gotten so close and spent so much time together and we hugged each other and didn't want to let go. Then she said, don't be sad that it's over, be happy that it happened.
Yes, it went through one revision. Mostly what was changed were locations. Instead of certain scenes taking place in a basement/rec/poker room, they got changed to a patio in Morro Bay so they could shoot the amazing landscapes and sunset.
Some dialogue was shortened a bit, but for the most part, the shooting script was as I wrote it. The producer added a few scenes here and there at the last minute during shooting. He would come up with an idea that added to a scene that was to follow and shoot a prequel to that scene to maybe give more insight to that character. It worked well.
It was nice that he would actually come up to me and say, "hey what if we did this..." and I would say, Brilliant! because his ideas were always good. And the AD would say, "hey, it's your money, let's do it."
Some fun stuff that I hope makes it into the final cut, is when a scene was ending and the actors just kept going. They would improv and say funny stuff that was fitting to the characters. I would watch the director and the AD just sort of smirk and allowed the scene to go on before saying cut. I was like a proud mommy watching my children grow.
It was so relaxed on the set. The actors were given some creative freedom and they ran with it and it was magical. They were so comfortable in character and excited when they came up with an idea and asked what if they did this or that and they were given that opportunity and it worked.
I applaud the crew for allowing this to happen. The AD could have said cut and let's move on, but he didn't, he stood by and allowed things to flow and we captured moments that added so much.
One scene that comes to mind that I loved so much....three characters are playing poker, one goes to the bathroom and the two leads have a semi-serious conversation that is a secret. The leading lady lights a joint and they have their little talk. The scene was supposed to end right there, but, the guy who went to the bathroom comes back as the scene is ending and they just kept rolling as he improved and we captured this moment of light hearted fun between the three and it just added something special.
It was awesome for me to watch them say things that the characters would actually say but wasn't in the script. I'm so proud of all the actors. They were so amazing.
I'm so glad you found me. I was looking through all my info that I collected and I thought I took your email down but maybe I didn't.
It was amazing to meet you and to watch you work on the set. You were missed in Morro Bay. I spoke with Silvia today and she was saying how Jimmy assumed your role in Morro and it worked fine, but would have been nice to have you up there.
I was only there Sunday and Monday. They shot the restaurant scene, exteriors and the Melanie scene after I left. Silvia and Jimmy both told me they thought it went well. I think Dana added a few scenes as well. It was so beautiful up there, I wish you could have come up.
The whole experience for me was great and the entire cast and crew were amazing. Thank you for being part of this experience for me. I would love to talk to Sonny about coming to a meeting. I'll send him an email.
When I got back to LA, I had a few really good meetings before I had to leave town. Two of my other scripts and my series pilot were requested as a result of these meetings.
I have a ton of pictures. If you want any, I will email them to you.
I watch all the credits all the time. Every single person who worked on the film is as important as the next.
without the sound guy, you have no film, without the lighting guy, you have no film, without the craft service people, you have a bunch of pissed off cast and crew.
good to hear Steve, Mind if I pass your kudos along to my friend who works on Heroes?
I have to say that I love WEEDS!
The cable company screwed something up on me and as an apology, they gave me 6 months of free showtime. I had already rented the first season of Weeds and I loved it, but I wasn't going to add showtime to my already expensive cable bill. Then they goofed and I ended up getting it.
I'm so glad I did, because now I have resumed my Weeds watching and am already pretty into Dexter. Dexter is taking a turn that I'm not yet sure if I like, but I'll see where it goes.
If anyone is watching Weeds, did you die laughing at the scene where the uncle is teaching the nephew about jacking off? I was on the floor.
Bananas for everyone!
Hey Randy, I am also working on writing and directing my first short. I have a documentary that I shot years ago and needs some work so I'm gonna try to tackle that as well. I have access to some great equipment and crew so I am running with it.
I can tell you from my recent experience on the set, what I learned about this topic.
One of the production crew who has been in the business for years and I totally respect, came up to me on the set to tell me how much he loved the script. Then he kindly said, "Can I offer a small piece of advice?" Of course I'm all ears. He said, "leave out camera directions. You put it in the script at various points and I know some of it was important to the way the story was told, but some of it was not needed and can tend to annoy the reader."
After watching my script come to life and being on the set, I totally understand what he meant and I agree. Since being on the set, I have come home, a better writer. I am now aware of the difference between what is needed and what should be left out as far as descriptive narrative and camera moves.
IE: There are several important scenes in my film that take place during a poker game that happens through the film. When I wrote this, I didn't put in camera angles or directions. It's basically strong dialogue and reactions. I never thought about "HOW" they would shoot these scenes. I just figured a master/wide shot of the group around the table and then close ups for each actors' close shots.
So I'm sitting there watching them light the set for one of these scenes and I'm in the other room watching the monitor and the scene is shot from above. I look in and see the camera up high, near a tree, looking down over the card table with the actors sitting around it rehearsing the poker scene. What a cool shot. This was the master shot for the first poker scene. I never would have thought to do it from that angle or view, but then again, it's not my job to do that. The producer, DP and director thought it would be an interesting shot. If I had written shots and angles in there, it might have taken away their creative eye a bit and distracted from creating all the options they have.
Then for another poker scene, I'm watching the monitor as they are shooting the master for this scene and they did the whole master in steady cam, going around the table.(Kind of a risk for a master, but it worked) I couldn't have written it to play better. The beauty of how the steady cam moved around in such a way to capture each character as they were saying thier lines and perfectly moving on to capture the next character speaking as though the dialogue was planned to work with this shot. It was not planned, but the brilliant minds of the crew made it look flawless. Did they even know how perfectly it would work this way? I don't know.
Me leaving out directions in the script, allowed the creative minds shooting the project to come up with their own vision of what the scene should look like. Not that they wouldn't have changed my directions anyway, but I think if the directions are there to begin with, the reader gets the vision in their head and may not even go the extra step of re-creating a more interesting shot.
Leaving out these certain elements, allows the shooting crew the ability to do what they do best. I came home and read the script again and now I see all the "stuff" that I wrote in as far as directions and descriptions that really do not need to be there.
I know as you write, you see the movie in your head, but if the direction or descriptive narrative isn't directly related to the DNA of the story itself, then I say leave it out.
I found myself saying over and over, "wow, I never thought that scene could look like that, or play that way." The scenes that I left more "open" to the opinion and perception of the film crew were taken and made into something more than I could have ever put on paper.
I am a professional Chef and one phrase I learned long ago about plate presentation also holds true, in my opinion, concerning this topic...."Less is more."
So I caught this movie today on Showtime and thought I would throw it up here to see if anyone else has seen it.
It's a funny look at the industry and anyone who is a writer will appreciate it.
I'm sure it's a story we have all thought about writing. An assistant working at a studio creates a buzz about a fake screenplay and a fake screenwriter. Soon a huge bidding war takes place for this script that doesn't even exist, by a writer that no one has met and doesn't even exist.
Fun movie to watch. check it out.
It made me think of the movie Momento
I get the impression that your husband is an unsuccessful screenwriter who posts messages on this board? And your tire is not fixed because of it?
Is this why you are trying to find out what it is that keeps him doing this? Or are you writing an article for a local paper?
You say.. Given that writing a screenplay can be a soul-sucking, family-destroying, friendship-threatening, reality-fuzzing, non-bill-paying passion . . .
If the above is true for any screenwriter, then they are doing something wrong and shouldn't be trying to be a screenwriter.
Thanks Terry, You're much too kind.
I feel bad for Betty. I love the concept though, sounds like a taste of a modern day irreconcilable differences.
A documentary style version of this would be really interesting to watch, but, the down side, Betty and her man would probably end up in divorce court.
My opinion, if someone doesn't have a job, can't support the family they chose to have, sits at a computer all day calling themselves a screenwriter but can't put food on the table? That to me is just a loser.
In this business we have always been told, Don't Quit Your Day Job...until you can...because most of us have day jobs, because we have to.
I know a guy who is an artist, he is very good at what he does, but only sells a piece a few times a year. It puts food on his table and gas in his car and he has no "real" job, but...HE LIVES WITH HIS MOTHER!! and he's almost 40. The starving artist...who doesn't starve because mamma always helps out when he has a slow year.
That's good if that's what you want to do. He's happy and has no ambition to change or do anything else. BUT, if you decide to get married, have a family and be a family, then you should be able to support them.
As much fun as it would be to see Betty come home with a computer loaded with Final Draft and say, honey, I'm gonna be a screenwriter too....I think the issue here is much bigger.
Take the screenwriting out of the picture. From what I make of this...correct me if I'm wrong Betty, A man is trying to make money doing something that he isn't good at and hasn't been able to make a living at for nine years.
Sounds like Betty might want to consider giving him a final choice. Get a job or get the hell out.
I have always worked a regualar job or THREE at a time and continued to write.
Betty, you may live your life in chains, but always know, you have the key!
Well Colin, the name game got lost. But I would like to join in and wish everyone the happiest holiday.
And may this New Year bring everyone a fresh sense of energy to make your writing dreams come true.
Peace and love,
Hey guys, I was wondering if any of you subscribe to the Hollywood Reporter online and have full access to the site.
In the spirit of bringing the board back to business, I thought I would bring this to the table.
As many of you know, I recently had a feature film produced. We are now in post and I hear from the producer that things are looking good.
Since then, I have gotten a few really good calls and I have two other projects in the works.
I have never been a writer who outlines. Sometimes I start to, but I just don't work well that way. I feel like an outline may hinder my creative flow as the story progresses. I have always had a distaste for outlines..until recently. I really learned how to use an outline as a tool, after the fact.
After the director read my script on one of my new projects, he asked me to submit my outline to him. To outline an existing script is a piece of cake and I figured I would just do the outline and give it to him and didn't think much of it. But it really opened my eyes as to how to make an existing script stronger.
I always keep an eye on my page count for act breaks, pinch points etc. just to make sure I'm on the right track. But once I looked at the entire outline, I was surprised to find that everything fell into place so well, the plot points, breaks and pinch points were dead on and I never planned it from the start, the story just fell into place that way.
Now I have gone back to other scripts that I have finished and am doing an outline on them to see that everything falls into place. If not, I am using the outline as a tool to rearrange scenes or cut useless scenes that I had thought were important, but I am now seeing that they may not contain the DNA of the story or be in the proper place in the story.
I think in the future, I will outline my scripts after I write the first draft and use the outline as a blueprint tool to make the script stronger.
So, if any of you anti-outliners decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes.
Are you talking about a music montage? several scenes with the same music with no dialogue heard? Maybe I'm missing something here. MOS meaing Music over the scene? Are you not sure how to put this on paper to make sense to the reader?
SOOOO, Terry brought up music and I was thinking about posting something about this anyway...so here it goes.
As many of you regular posters know, I just had my first feature film produced in Oct. We've been in editing since and now a rough cut of the film is ready, but the producer wants to shoot some extra stuff.
Meanwhile, a composer was brought on to do the music. At first, we planned on a very dramatic piece of music to play as a theme for the lead character. The film is a dark dramatic comedy. Dramatic music was being composed to play through the film.
But the producer, realizing that the music was making the scenes even more dramatic than we wanted, had a change of heart. He and the composer came up with a real fun, playful sort of theme for the lead character and it's amazing at how much of an impact the music has on changing the tone of the scene.
They have now changed the music through the whole film from dramatic, to upbeat and playful, even during dark scenes that have a comedic element to them to bring out that humor, and it works.
Then there is a music montage, I wrote it to be played that way. But while shooting the scenes for the montage, one of the brilliant actresses improved some great, funny stuff. She was supposed to just be having a conversation, no dialogue was written for it, but her and her "husband" were just pretending to have a conversation and music would be played over the scene.
I was there watching that day as they shot the scene and I was cracking up at the little improv that the couple worked out on their own. And it was perfect for the characters, actual dialogue that these characters would say if I had written it.
The producer loved it so much, that he's keeping it in, and ending the music montage early just to get this scene in. This same actress did more improv in another scene and it's terrific.
As writers, we are always afraid of someone taking our work and adding to or changing it from our vision, but, what you must realize once you sell the script is, that it's now a collaboration. Something that you as a writer must embrace.
My original vision had dramatic music playing, I saw my actors in a certain light, and saw scenes a certain way. Through the collaborative process, all the great people working on this film have brought something to it, having been given a voice and some creative freedom.
So much was brought to this project that I alone, as the writer could not have done on my own. This whole experience has changed me as a writer and I am so grateful for it.
The whole experience thus far has taught me so much. I know how lucky I am to have been so involved in the process and I appreciate it so much.
And one more thing...Go Bears! :)
OK Terry, now I gotcha.
When I do this, I start the scene as usual...
Music plays over the scene as...blah blah blah.
I just describe the scene and then when I go to the next scene I do this.
EXT. Location-Day or Continous
Music continues as...blah blah blah.
then at the end of the scene where I want the music to stop, I just write Music fades out. It's pretty obvious if you write that music plays over the scene and then there is no dialogue in the scene, that it's MOS but with Music.
I hope that helps.
And thanks for your support. I'm really excited about my film, the producer is sending me a rough cut to check out. I'll keep you posted.
How about this Randy...
In a right triangle the square of the measure of the hypotenuse is equal to the the sum of the squares of the measures of the legs. This is called the Pythagorean theorem.
My head hurts now. :)
This might be more fitting, to quote Calvin Coolidge...
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
I write the logline when I'm getting ready to pitch. And that is after the script is complete.
Sorry to say, but this..."You can have many sold scripts, but unless they've been produced and released into theaters/television, they will not be listed on IMDb.com. (Produced credits.)"...is incorrect.
And Ron, the simple answer is yes.
My film is listed on IMDB, it has yet to be released as we are still in post. Here's the real deal on IMDB, In october, while still filming, we began submissions to IMDB. My producer has no existing credits on IMDB, this is his first feature film.
But that doesn't matter. What matters is that you have a URL, that is not owned by you, giving a mention of the project, Showing that the project is real and being written about by a real source.
You can find films on IMDB all the time that are "announced" meaning they are not even in production yet.
So here's how it goes, first hand, as we are going through the process right now. While still filming, we submitted all of our info with the film's webpage as the URL. So we get an email from IMDB saying, you can't use your own website.
So we wrap on Oct. 5th and I decide to go to the Hollywood Reporter production charts to list the film and then use that URL for IMDB varification. Two weeks after I submit to HR, there is nothing listed in HR. So I call the prod. charts guy at HR and he tells me, they only list films in production or pre-production but not in post.
So, we are out of gas, we decide we'll have to wait until the film premiers. Meanwhile, my leading actress is doing press in the Czech Republic for the film. Several magazines did an article on her and the film. She sends me a link to one magazine's website, and even though the only thing in english is my name, and the film's name and a few other words, I decided to submit it to IMDB as a listing.
About 7 days later, my film was listed, with two credits. The gaffer was the first to be listed. Why? We have no idea, maybe he has a lot more credits than anyone else, maybe he submitted before any of us did. We don't know. My DP said IMDB has a format for how they begin listing.
Slowly, over the past several weeks, the crew has been popping up a few names at a time, then the cast. The producer finally popped up about a week ago and the director and myself are still waiting for our names, even though the director is already listed from another project he did. No idea why certain names appeared before others, I only know every few days, more names appear. Names that my producer, DP and myself all submitted around the same time.
And BTW, my contract, a pretty good one, about 6 pages long. It's not the length, it's what you do with it.
Looking back over my post and your reply, I'm thinking I wasn't clear enough about something.
When I said IMDB wouldn't accept our website as the url it asked for. I meant my producers official website for the film. It might make a difference if the producer in question has a nice resume, I'm not sure about that though.
I got the impression that even if you were a known producer and listed a film on your website, it wasn't good enough as varification. I could be wrong, but this is what I'm guessing from the response we got from IMDB.
It seemed as though they wanted a blurb in a publication such as a magazine, or announcement on a website like the hollywood reporter or variety etc. saying the project was announced, in production or in development etc.
I don't know where they draw the line, what makes a difference or not. I don't know that even if someone is a known producer with a nice resume that they will simply accept a blurb on that producers website for the film.
But I say, give it a try. They will send you an email if they consider the URL not valid by their standards.
PS. I asked my DP why my director and myself were not yet listed on my film, he said we will be last, since there was a gap in my director's career and this is my first feature listed on IMDB.
My advice is to get a copy of the Hollywood Creative Directory and find the studios that you want to send your script to. Call and ssk them first if they are accepting unsolicited material. If not, then don't send anything, as it will end up in the trash.
If they are accepting, ask who you might address it to. Sometimes they will say, the creative development dept. Sometimes they may give you a name.
Yes it's time consuming, but this is my answer the the question you asked. It worked for me in the past when I first started with cold queries.
So sorry to hear of your hard times. Hope all gets better for you.
I don't fully understand your question. Are you asking if you should mention more than one script in a query? Are these cold queries?
I was surfing Youtube tonight and while putting in the name of one of the actresses from my film Behaving Badly, a clip of the film came up. I have no idea who the guy is who put it there or how he got the clip, but there it is if you want to check it out.
I'm finally on IMDB too. yeah! Been waiting for that for a while. To find the clip on youtube, put in the actresses name, Natalie Miston and it should come up saying, a scene from behaving badly.
I'm really excited because I have been waiting for the producer to send me some clips from the film, but it's still in editing, so watching this was really the first edited piece with music of my movie that I have been able to watch. Now it all seems real, I got a movie made.
OK Sue, thanks for clearing that up.
This is only my opinion based on my experience, but you should never mention a script idea in a cold query for a script that you have yet to write. The whole reason to send a query and treatment is to get them to say hey, I want to read the script.
If you send a query and mention a logline or enclose a treatment for a script you have yet to write, and then a week later you get the call or letter saying, yes please send us this script, you can't tell them, OK, well, I have to finish writing it first.
Wait until you have a really good script, edited, polished and ready to go before pitching it around, unless you have a relationship with the producer and you can pitch an idea and then they say, yes, go write that. That only happens once the producer knows you have a track record or you have proven yourself in some way to that person.
And yes Terry, it's funny you brought that up, because I was just looking at all the pictures I have from the shoot and trying to visualize what my characters looked like when I first wrote the script.
The producer did a great job in casting, most of the actors were very close to how I wrote them to look, and then once they got into character, they were even more accurate. The funny thing is that I close my eyes and I can only remember maybe what one or two of the characters looked like in my head as I wrote the script, and even then, they are kind of blurry faces.
Natalie Miston, who plays Diane, totally blew me away, she brought this character to life so much more than I ever could have written.
I talked to the producer tonight, they are still doing sound editing, so the clip on youtube, was given to the actress for her reel and wasn't even fully edited yet, but still I was happy with how it looked.
It's all coming together, I've heard the theme song they are working on, sounds really cool. And all the other music is falling into place.
I'm really pleased, no matter what, everyone worked so hard on this project and I am so proud of the entire cast and crew and now the editors. And the producer, even though we almost killed each other one day LOL, he is great, he built amazing sets and went back to shoot additional scenes to make the film stronger. I feel lucky.
Great point Walter. I agree totally. If you create a gap for the reader, depending on who it is, they may just toss the script to the side because of confusion.
When I have had to do this in my scripts, the first time I introduce the character I might say something like, A STRANGE MAN watches from the other side of the fence. And let's say the strange man is not seen again until later in the story or he has little or no lines until later and he is later introduced. I then would say
The Strange Man enters the party. It is now revealed that he is really, JOE, the long lost brother. From that point on, I refer to him as Joe.
My writing partner has done this pretty much the same way in one of his scripts, but he also put the note in the script that says, The Gypsy will now be called Mary for the rest of the script. Or something like that.
Will you marry me? OK, it doesn't have to be a BIG wedding, something small is fine. Or if you want, we could just have kids together, forget the wedding, because they would be f---ing brilliant!
Remember that one guy who posted on here all the time under different names and was a failed writer, he ended up dead didn't he? Wasted time jacking around rather than writing and become produced. hmmm rings a bell. So sad.
This marriage will survive just fine as long as you keep your mouth shut and keep rubbing my feet. LOL, such insight on your part to order the leather basinet, it will match my thigh high boots and the rest of my wardrobe.
And if you MUST speak, while rubbing my feet, just make sure it's as brilliant and witty as I know you can be.
The producer who bought my script, Behaving Badly (shot last year, almost done with post now) said the reason he wanted to make it was because the script was irreverent. It was edgy and fresh and he hadn't seen anything like it.
All I did was write a story that I wanted to tell. Everyone who read it, looked at it in many different ways. Some, different than I intended certain aspects of it to come across. Some aspects of the story that didn't seem so powerful or shocking to me, were, to other people, based on their own lives and experiences.
William Goldman said, nobody knows anything, and it's so true.
Months ago, after my film was shot, I made an option agreement with a director for a script I wrote years ago. This might be the third or fourth script I ever wrote. I have always loved this script because it's a story so close to my heart and nothing real over the top or WOW, but everyone who reads it has something positive to say about it. So this director wants to make it. It was a script I wrote, loved and then put to the side because I thought, it's not commercial enough, it's more a personal story for me.
So, a producer who has done over forty films, as a favor, agreed to do the budget for the director. This producer, who has done some amazing films, today sent an email that said, The script is kick ass!! That made me smile. I have always thought the script was kick ass, now someone else does as well.
My latest script, still in the works, has been put into motion based on a simple pitch. I cannot even go there because it's not done yet, but when I pitched this never before seen comedy, the guy I was pitching to got so excited and said, OMG, you have to write this script, like right now and we will make this.
So, here I have three totally different stories, genres and budgets and what set everything in motion on each one was this....the person buying the script or pushing forward with the project, was as excited about the script as I was and believed in it as much as I did.
That is the key. First, write a script you believe in. Second, convince someone, who can make it happen, that it's as great as you think it is.
Will you marry me? I just dumped Terry.
sorry to break up with you on a message board, but that's how I roll.
With all my skills, you actually thought you would need viagra?? Just one more reason why we are through!
I have two jap chins who think they are cats, so I'm sure our furry children will blend just fine.
Speaking of fur, has anyone seen the nicole kidman movie FUR, just watched it today, and while it's not an actual account of Diane Arbus' life, it was a good flick and I enjoyed it, but I would love to see a real account of her life.
I can't stop laughing.
See Terry, now you remind me of why I asked u to marry me in the first place.
I know a few producer who do the 10 and 20 page read, first ten pages and last 20 pages, but they always ask for the whole script, in the event that they really like it and want to read more.
I think it's kinda strange that the person told you to only send a portion of the script. I say send the whole thing and let them read what they want.
Good post Tito,
I totally agree with every reality that is listed on that link.
Having sold a script that got made, and having another script optioned, every point that is made on that page is very true, from my experiences.
So Santa you finally came up with a new name for the script huh? It's a really good script(having read it) Good luck to you and to everyone!
Good article all writers should read, even if you're not WGA, yet...someday, you hope to be. check it out.
Hey guys, my film Behaving Badly is finally finished. It was a year ago this week that I went to LA to hang out on the set for the last two weeks of shooting. You can find that post here under my name, entitled, "shooting in LA" I think, is what I headed it with.
So now, a year later, we are done, I got to sit in the editing room and edit my film back in May and it was the best experience. We finally have a complete listing on IMDB with a movie poster that was posted today.
The producer has decided to go the festival route to get as much publicity for the actors and myself. A publicist has been hired and is setting up interviews for me when I get out there on Oct. 10th. The film will have it's first screening at the La Femme Film Fest in Beverly Hills on Oct. 11th.
Here is the info for anyone who can make it. La Femme Film Festival Thursday, October 11, 2007 Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm Location: Fine Arts Theatre Street: 8556 Wilshire Blvd. City/Town: Beverly Hills, CA Contact Info Phone: 310.441.1645
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we have a website too. Behavinbadlythemovie.com it's still being updated and there is NO trailer yet on the website, so don't try clicking on it yet cause it will only buffer forever and nothing comes up, but I'll let you know as soon as the trailer is there, the producer just finished editing it tonight and I saw it and helped edit it and I'm really happy with it.
So, if anyone wants to hear about the editing experience and how that happened and the big controversial love scene lol, let me know and when I have time I will post. I will also post the week after the festival to share my experience there if anyone wants to hear about it.
None of the above. You should leave it up to the director, however, when I found that I had to do it, absolutely had to do it, I would do it in all capital letters. But I would say I have never done that more than twice in a single script and I would stay away from it as much as possible.
John, yes it was amazing to see my name on the screen as writer and associate producer. And Randy, I know what you mean about not wanting to sit there and watch the film, I really want to watch the audience. One of my actresses said the same thing and she has been in a number of films, including one that won an oscar.
Back in May the producer asked how I felt about coming back out to LA to help edit. I was like, are you kidding me? Of course I would love it. I sat in the screening room and watched and wondered where certain scenes had gone. It was a rough cut to start with, but there were missing elements of the story and the big scene was missing. The big scene being the turning point of the story, the high point of the arc of the character who has the biggest arc.
So I thought, no big deal, they just didn't know how to edit that scene so we'll fix it together. We had a meeting with the editor, producer, director, co producer who is also one of the actresses in the film and the animation guy who was a huge help with many areas of editing for us.
During this meeting, I soon discovered that the men did not want the BIG scene in the film. My actress, Silvia and I were like WHAT?? It turned into this huge heated discussion. So the film, being about people, in general, behaving badly, doing bad things but justifying why they do them to make themselves feel better.
The whole movie starts off with the men being bad and the BIG scene is the point where the women take their turn at being bad. and as it turns out, all the men in the room were so scared about this scene, so afraid that women might see this scene and it might give them permission to be bad and take that control away from the men, that these men sitting in the editing room wanted nothing more than to leave that scene right there in the editing room for nobody to ever see.
The editor said the scene offended him! And I said, it's not about you, we don't care what you think of this scene personally, it's your job to edit it to fit the story.
At this point, I pulled the producer aside and said, I refuse to work with this editor, make a choice. He gave the editor the week off. I got hooked up with the animation guy who could also edit. We locked ourselves in the editing room for four days. At night I was a gypsy, going from house to house of two of my actresses to crash.
Everything is going along smoothly and we were making a lot of progress. Then we get to the BIG scene and the animation guy says, ok, I think we should skip the scene. I was like OH NO, here we go again. So we went round and round about it and I was thinking, these damn men are going to ruin this whole film because they're afraid of women getting inspired by this scene. They were all so threatened by the scene.
So for the moment, I gave up the fight. The greater good of the project was to get the whole film edited by me so that the story was there. I would fight this battle later and with back up.
I came home, feeling ok, except for that scene. Silvia, being a co producer on the project as well as an actress, felt the same way I did and we stood our ground. We both talked to the producer and tried so hard to explain to him why this scene was so important. Then it happened, I can't even begin to explain it here, it will take too long, but I suddenly understood what these men were so afraid of and why they were thinking the way they were and it's one of those Mars Venus things.
I also discovered at this point that THIS was our film, this scene, this controversy over this scene, this was what the film was about. If this little scene was causing this much controversy with the men in the editing room, what will it do to audiences full of them. So I tried to explain this to the producer, that this will be the buzz that gets people to come see this film and talk about it, it's this scene.
Between us girls, we broke down the producer. Instead of just agreeing with us, he got a focus group, of only women to watch the film and then asked them questions. He showed them the big scene, the long version and guess what, ALL the women said that scene not only needs to stay in, but needs to be LONGER! So now the producer was convinced.
So the scene was back in and the old editor was back on and was told to put the scene in and do it right, and he did. I couldn't be happier.
When we got accepted into the film fest, the producer sent me the most recent cut of the film. The editor did such an amazing job, and the animation guy made the green screen shots look great. And of course the actors all did so great, I'm so proud of all of them.
In seven days, I'll be sitting in a theater watching my movie with all the cast and crew and a bunch of strangers as well. I'll keep posting as time allows. :)
Listen to Peter. He's right.
The whole paragraph is a little confusing...
"Would you be willing to give full rights to the producer(s) of the script if fully optioned"....
Ask what he means by FULLY optioned. there is no partial option, either it's an option or it's not. and yes you should only do an option for 6 months. It can always be renewed. If they want to make it so bad, they'll find a way to buy it in six months. "even though it is based on deferred payment?"
So are they not going to pay you a dime until the film gets made and makes money??
"In effect, this would allow us to make any alterations in the script."....
Here is what it sounds like to me, they like the story idea, want full rights to it right away so they can rewrite it how they want, and will pay you later.
I would never do deferred payment. That's just me. If they have the money to potentially make this film, then they have the money to option it from you.
If you are indeed being signed by a real agent, then why are you messing around with this guy who sounds like he isn't going to want to pay you up front. If you have something that good that an agent is going to sign you, then the agent is going to sell it for you and I wouldn't even bother with this other guy. just my opinion from what it sounds like.
Hope this helps!
And thanks Randy. The producer has hired a PR firm to handle all that stuff, so she is setting up interviews and all the publicity.
I did get your private email and I passed it along to the producer. I'll let you know. Thanks!
The role of the director was very interesting on this film. From what I understand from some of the cast, he worked with them in rehearsal, prior to shooting. But at the same time, my actress was calling me on a regular basis to gain more info on her character and to run lines with me, so I was rehearsing with her over the phone and explaining the intention of her scenes.
Then, when they started shooting, the one night the director was having trouble with a scene, so the producer called me and asked what I really wanted to get across in that scene and why it wasn't working for them. I knew why they didn't get it, because it was a subject matter they weren't familiar with at all. So I told them what I saw that needed to happen and how it needed to look. They did it and it worked.
By the time I arrived on the set, with two weeks left to shoot, I learned that the director was very passive on the set. Some of the actors felt like they were directing themselves.
A few of the actors were then coming to me with questions about a scene and how to play it. I didn't want to step on the directors toes, but he was fine with it, so I did it.
I don't know if the director stepped into the editing room at all before I got there to edit, but he didn't have any input while I was there. And during the big heated discussion, he didn't say much at all.
Yes I would love to direct. I have about ten scripts and there are probably five that I would feel comfortable directing. I feel I will probably have to sell one more script, that someone else directs before someone will give me a shot at directing.
Thank you everyone for your support!
To comment on what Walter said, My actress Silvia and I have spent a great deal of time talking about how everything fell into place. We have no regrets about how everything happened and we feel the film is what it is because of how everything fell into place, or happy accidents.
I also have to give a lot of credit to the producer, as much of a pain in the butt he was at times, lol, and he knows it, he was smart enough to know when to listen to people and ask for opinions.
A lot of interesting ironic happenings played out from the very beginning, even back in casting that led the producer and myself to feel that this was going to be an interesting ride.
If the director had been more aggressive, the film would have turned out differently, and perhaps not as true to my original story as it is. I would say 90 percent of the scenes are on screen exactly as I wrote them.
Even when a scene was changed by the producer or director prior to shooting, I was able to sneak the original scene back in and as a result, it ended up playing an important role in two scenes.
I had written the sceen so the character of Vella was playing a violin when her phone rings. The producer or director changed it so she was listening to classical music instead. After talking to Silvia/Vella, I found out that she actually does play the violin, so we were on a mission to get that scene back in. During shooting, the producer was so busy, that he wasn't on the set all the time. Silvia and I both mentioned that scene needing to be her playing the violin instead of listening to music.
I had been on the set maybe two or three days and it was time to shoot the violin scene and Silvia brought her violin. It was sort of like Silvia and I just said, hey this is how we're gonna shoot this scene and it was as if nobody even noticed. In fact, I can't remember if the producer knew we were doing that ahead of time or not.
So, Silvia was a little rusty on the voilin, so in editing the producer said he was going to have better violin music put in, but then he had a great idea, Silvia's slightly out of tune violin playing ends up being used as a lead in to that scene and it works because the scene prior to it needed this sort of out of tune music. Just one of the many happy accidents that happened and in editing we discovered how to use it.
I sooo have to go to bed, in 24 hours I'll be on a plane and heading out there.
Thanks Julia and Terry!
I'm finishing packing, but the producer just IMed me to tell me our trailer is on myspace. You can go find Dana Schroeder on myspace and the trailer is on his page. I'll try to paste it here as well.
I'm so exhausted. I was up for about 36 hours before I took a nap in the old editing room here at the producers place.
I had a 6 am flight, got into LA, picked up my actress, went to a casting call with her and then headed right to the screening room to see the latest version of the film. Even though it's technically "locked" for viewing, he keeps trying to add and perfect music cues etc. So he wanted my input. So we watched the latest cut, which I was going to watch at the screening, but now I can watch the audience instead.
I'm so happy, the new music and the edits make such a difference from what I saw a month ago. And even then I thought it looked great. And you did hit it on the head, so I'm glad the trailer worked. Everyone in the film finds some way to justify what they do as far as cheating. Of course, the women are more in tune to the reality of the topic in the film.
After watching the film, I realized I had been up for over 30 hours and just had to pass out for two hours. Now we are all checking RSVP's to see who is all coming to the screening, and figuring out networking plans for the fest. And still totally jet lagged! But I am not complainging LOL. :)
My producer only asked for my WGA registration number on my script.
Sent queries to producers for ten years, never giving up. January 2006 I wrote my tenth script. Took me two weeks, was working on a rewrite but felt like I had to get it out there. Sent it to two producers, the second one bit. Began negotiations I think around February. Optioned by April or May. Casting began in July. Filming started first week in Sept. 06. Finished shooting Oct. 8th 06.
Five months into editing the producer asked me to step into the editing room and help out. After a week of that, the real editors took over and then the sound guys and music etc, and three months later, we had a film. So almost a year to the day that we finished shooting, we were being shown at a film fest.
oh D Jay lol, u are not quiting.
I guess after ten years of writing scripts, I can write fast if I need to. It helps to have final draft. I can usually get a first draft done in two-four weeks, depending on what kind of story it is.
Behaving Badly started with a phone conversation with a friend. We were having a discussion about cheating and rules and excuses that people use. The next day I already had a story brewing in my head and an opening scene.
I don't outline ahead of time. I just start writing. That is what works for me.
I heard the trailer is up on the website, I have not looked myself, but I got a few emails saying it's up.
oh D Jay lol, u are not quiting.
I guess after ten years of writing scripts, I can write fast if I need to. It helps to have final draft. I can usually get a first draft done in two-four weeks, depending on what kind of story it is.
Behaving Badly started with a phone conversation with a friend. We were having a discussion about cheating and rules and excuses that people use. The next day I already had a story brewing in my head and an opening scene.
I don't outline ahead of time. I just start writing. That is what works for me.
I heard the trailer is up on the website, I have not looked myself, but I got a few emails saying it's up.
You do so much for Chicago screenwriters and you are greatly appreciated by the group and I think you know that. This one jealous person who is out to sabatoge you will only get what they have coming.
Karma's a bitch and so is the person who did this to you.
I second that!
I have not spoken to the producer in a few weeks. I know that we did get an offer, but I also know the producer wanted to do color correction and another edit before distribution. I'll keep you posted as I find out.
The premiere went great. Sitting in a theater with over a hundred people watching my movie was a great experience. It all happened so fast. It was interesting to see people react to certain parts of the film. And it was great to be with all the actors again. The after parties were a blast and of course the networking that was happening on a daily basis was huge.
Yes it led to other projects, yes it opened huge doors for me. No I do not look at my IMDB every day....anymore :)
I'm too busy working on getting more credits on there.
Terry you are right on the button. I have sold a script and this sounds like a total scam. It's so sad that people take advantage of other peoples dreams by making them think they will help them achieve them but only milk them for money.
I know we talked about this before, but I couldn't find the post. Where online can I find TV show series bibles? Or does a bookstore ever carry them?
Online I found bibles for Transformers and Voyager series but that was it. There have to be some other old canceled shows that have bibles lurking around.
Hey guys, I need help, I'm going nuts to try to find this title. A few weeks ago I caught the middle of a film that I really liked but I had to go to work and missed the rest, I saw it was coming on again later so I set a reminder so I could watch it.
I got home from work and the movie disappeared from the lineup. It was crazy, cause I totally forgot the name of it, but I knew what time it was on and it was just gone.
So here it is, if anyone knows what the title is, please let me know. It was either on encore or showtime, I'm leaning more towards encore.
Looked like it was in Canada. A blond woman who looks like naomi watts is on a road trip to go to locations where areas are full or radiation or plutonium, or something like that and she has to take readings of areas like water supplies and other areas of this small town. She has one of those hand held meters that looks like a radar detector and everything that is "hot" on the screen looks red.
So for some reason I don't know, she takes her ex boyfriend with her on this trip. Strange things happen along the way, like after driving for a long time they go to fill up the gas tank, only when the guy goes to fill it, it's already full. Something fishy is going on with the speedometer as well.
Later the two separate and she gets a ride with a trucker or something and that's when I had to leave. oh yeah, and when he tries to go off on his own, while she stays at a hotel, he keeps driving to this fork in the road and no matter which way he takes, he ends up back in the same spot.
OK so that's it. Sound familiar to anyone?
it's still making me nuts lol. If anyone can help, please end my suffering LOL. thanks!
I did not. If I did, I would have IMDB'd them and tried to find it that way.
Thanks everyone. I'm gonna try the sci-fi boards and see what I come up with. I'm usually pretty resourceful and I did try all the searches I could on IMDB keywords as well as a few other boards.
Thanks for taking the time to help me out though, I appreciate it. I will continue to search.
Do not mess around with anything but copyright or WGA. Copyright is the best way to go though. It's only like 30 bucks or so, so why would you mess with any online BS when copyright holds up in court.
My film "Behaving Badly" premiered at La Femme last year and was the opening film of the festival. I have no idea how their script contest works or anything about that.
All I know is my Executive Producer entered our film and it got in, opened the fest, had a great turn out and I did a great deal of networking at the after parties and met a lot of great people that led to my next project.
Sorry it didn't work out for you at this time. Go home and write your butt off and see what you can make happen after that. You are a good writer with good ideas. L
run, and don't look back.
A scene is as long as it needs to be to do the job it needs to do, move the story forward and tell a story. If you think in terms of how long something should be rather than telling the story that needs to be told, your focus is in the wrong place.
If IMDB let every idiot who thinks they are screenwriters on their site it would be a useless spam site. There's no "sneaking in a back door" as a writer or producer. Instead of trying to sneak onto IMDB, actually produce a film or sell a script and be legit. People are stupid. I had a girl who I never ever heard of who got herself listed as an extra or something stupid on my film, it was like a bartender role or something. My executive producer and myself had no idea who she was. We had her taken off of our film credits on imdb, twice. She has not returned either by her own doing or because IMDB flagged her maybe, I don't know.
Excellent article. Every person on this board who wants to sell a script should read it and really listen to what it is saying! Great post, thanks Ron!
I miss you, how are you?
Script Dude will you marry me? lol. I too have not posted on here in a LONG time. But I needed a distraction tonight so I popped on and read through the same old posts that always seem to appear on here and then I found this one.
As I read Script Dude's response I sat here with a smirk on my face and then had to go and read all of his past postings. Mr. Dude sir, you speak the truth. It's so nice to see someone like yourself take the time to try to school some newbies. Very kind of you, I hope many of them really get it but as you know many of the new screenwriters today will read what you are writing but really will not understand until they go through some of the experiences that you and I have gone through.
When my first script got bought and went into production I was still an active member on this board and I posted almost each night after I got done on the set to share with everyone what it was like. It was awesome to finally get a movie made, but also so much bitter sweet...and oh too much to actually go into here and now...
But just because you sell a script and get a movie made doesn't mean that things are any easier for you. I was fortunate to meet some amazing people at the premiere of my film and made some awesome relationships, like the Dude says, it is A LOT about who you know. You must have some talent of course but it's a whole lot of networking and making solid relationships...and everyone knows everyone in Hollywood, it's really a small town and pretty soon you find out that everyone is talking to everyone so you learn how to negotiate that whole system too.
It is super hard for new writers to break in these days. Listen to what the Dude says. Get a good day job that you like and can support yourself and keep writing and networking as much as you can.
Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed watching it and could relate to what Oren was saying!
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