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I was wondering if anyone has heard of Raymond Storti of Raymond Storti productions. He wants to option my screenplay, but I feel like I'm getting ripped for the price ($10,000) but I also know I need to start having a writing credit. What do you think?
He called me and wants to option my screenplay,but wants to pay an enormously low price for it. Has ayone ever dealt with him?
He wants to option it for something like 10 bucks. Then he wants me to rewrite based on he and his partners notes, then when they feel like it's in a position to buy, they are offering $10,000. It just seems so low once they would buy it. I just feel like he's trying to take advantage because he knows I'm trying to leave advertising for this and as far as he knows, I don't have an agent.
Thanks for the advice, Daphne, I guess I wrote too fast. He wants to option it for something like 10 bucks. Then he wants me to rewrite based on he and his producers notes. Then if the screenplay gets to a point that they like, the purchase price would be $10,000. That seems obscenely low. Or should I go for it?
thanks for all yøur help you guys. Jody, I'm going to be really stupid and ask what it the IMDB?
Thanks again, guys. I appreciate your help.
Okay my turn for sour grapes. Both of my screenplays got kicked back from AA. What I find funny is that both scripts that placed in the bottom 50% are now under consideration by more than one company to option them. What do we as writers truly want more -- and this is taking nothing away from the people still in the contest, go for it -- to sell our screenplay and see it made or win another contest? And as for anyone who didn't make it to the second round...do you really think you wrote a script worst than Tomb Raider, Lost in Space or Pearl Harbor. I wonder how these scripts would have placed in the almighty American Accolades contest. Just keep pushing. All you need is one person to like your script!
I'm sorry, Sam. under my huffiness I sometimes I don't write what I mean. Under consideration is -- I have two offers to option my screenplays. My agent is helping me consider which one to choose.
And I agree, writing should be fun.
You are both right Sam and Deb. And actually (sniffle) one of the options fell through today because they felt the rewrite was too gory. Oh well. I guess it was kind of cool to be invited to the dance even though I ended up being a wallflower. Oh well on to the next hope.
I just got word, my screenplay Bedbugs is a semi-finalist! The names are listed on the website
thanks, Daphne. I'm as shocked as anyone else. It's all a crap shoot, anyway.
Thanks Doug. Funny story. I submitted my screenplay to that scriptagency.com site. I guess they have readers cover it before they decide whether to post it or not. Well I got I think the most personal, kind of vicious email back fro them today calling the same screenplay laughably bad and it just went on and on. So who knows.
Thanks you J. I feel pretty good. I guess it
just gives some sort of validity to myself that
maybe I'm not wasting my time. And I realize now how everything
is so subjective. You guys are really kind.
To me, if they offer constructive criticism which in YOUR EYES improves your script, go for it. But as in my case, if the story starts moving away from the way you originally imagined, and I don't mean a tiny bit, I mean 180 degrees, use your judgement. You still have your original and the worst thing that's going to happen is "pass." 10 years of writing in advertising and dealing with headhunters kind of prepared me for this.
Keep on writing, brother!
Well today's the day. I just wanted to wish everyone good luck as we click onto the site and see if we've made it to the promised land of finalists.
Truly, good luck everyone!
just wanted to let you know that I received a flattering letter from linlea asking to rep me. I was all gushy until I read at the bottom of the page that they want to charge a 30.00 a month copying fee.
I did a little scooby doo today from work and talked with Shelly Steele. I must admit she sounds like she konws her stuff. They have sold 6 features and optioned two others. We spoke about the 30 and she said more and more (who knows) are starting to do that with a lot more writers out of town. But she did sound legit.
I spoke to Mark yesterday. They seem pretty cool. He really liked my screenplay Bedbugs, but he said he didn't know if he could sell it. I think he is looking at the spec scripts to see who can write and can't and then seeing they will do an original project, unless what you have he feels he can sell. But overall I got a good feeling about him.
I haven't decided yet. I'm waiting for a couple of things to
come across my desk. And you may be right, Miriam. I may
just need to get an entertainment attorney. Luckily, my art
director's cousin is an entertainment attorney in NYC.
I want to say 2 weeks. three tops.
Congrats to all the semi-finalists and finalists and a HUGE CONGRATS to the winner. Spend your 25 grand wisely (that's lots of Veuve Clique...did I spell that right?)
lisa is f****n great. She writes killer letters and I've gotten plenty of responses and due to her one serious offer.
I feel obligated to write this since I started the other post on linlea. First, let me watch my spelling. Truth is, I ended up signing with them after talking extensively to Shelly. In the two weeks I've been with them, I have gotten more responses to my screenplays than I ever did just doing it myself.
Shelly emails me at least three times a day with updates. Whenever I need advice she is right there on the phone. She's working really hard.
So anyone else out there with a letter from them, take Shelly and gang seriously.
so true, Daphne, so true.
I hear ya,but I'm not brainwashed. Being in advertising for 10 years teaches you to go with results and instincts. So far both have proved correct. They have been great so far.
I'll find out for ya. I do agree they sounded fishy. As for me all I can say is that they have been really attentive. I also figured they wouldn't want to sign me with my lead script Bedbugs up for an option already. But they did and they also went as far to say that they should hold off any marketing of BB until my deal is done. That way they wouldn't be entitled to their percentage. It was things like that that got me thinking. And they were very congratulatory after I just optioned B.B. Since I signed with them like I said before I have gotten mutiple emails almost every day informing me where and who the scripts are going to.
But I'll try to find out!
Quite frankly, today's bullshit, cowardly attack puts a lot of things in perspective. We're all a bunch of talented writers who come on here to complain about our various problems and seek advice. Guys, what we have aren't problems. What happened in NYC is a real problem. None of us should cry again about not making a semi-final round, because you could be crying about losing someone close. I'm blown away. I'll tell you this to it was kind of an eye-opener. We (me especially) watch films like Independence Day or Die Hard 3 and marvel at buildings exploding and think wow that's cool. You know what? When you see it for real...it's not so cool. I'm really sad about all this. As a former New Yorker I offer all my prayers to my brothas and sistas as well.
GOD B LESS AMERICA
Have a safe weekend.
He contacted me a while back about one of my screenplays, which of course I sent to him. I didn't hear from him for months.
When he found out I was in advertising he wanted me to help him pitch a show, but that never panned out either.
Finally, I heard from him recently, and he wanted me to list my scripts on his website for 50 bucks a script, which I politely declined.
I'm really humbled you guys. Thanks a lot.
Personally I prefer the george foreman grill I received with Lisa's offer. She is truly great!
don't be ridiculous, Lisa, one must never forget where one started. Plus I'll need a bunch of folks to take away the pain when someone finally calls me and says, "hey we're bringing so and so for a rewrite." (Smile)
I think Mark is fine. I also think a lot of people have a niche and some are only comfortable working in that area. Mark pitched an idea to me, that I'm still trying to figure out if I want to do. It's definitely main stream, but I wonder a little confusing. you can email me Barb.
Mine came from an online "agency" service called The Script Agency.
They sent me a quote from the reader for my screenplay, Bedbugs. The reader said
obviously I had tried to write a parody ala men in black and that this was so incredibly bad that
I should just trash the whole thing and start over." Then the SCript Agency went on
to say "They obviously were not going to post my script." Try again.
Just before I was about to jump off a building, I received notice that it was a semi-finalist in Scriptapalooza,then the whole sale thing happened.
I wrote back to them telling them that this email was unecessarily personal. And told them to go F themselves.
after being in advertising for 10 years. And yes, AN AWARD WINNING WRITER, I know this Niall. Any artist worth his/her salt knows you hire the right people to further your project -- whether it is directors, actors, editors, managers etc.
After only doing this for a year and a half and actually selling something either I am blessed or have a knack for gathering the right people to push my idea forward. Lisa happens to be one of those people. So if I'm a sucker so be it. But I'm a sucker that's having a pitch meeting next week with my producer as we prepare for New Line.
Lisa is great.
I signed with them after I started that other post. I went with my instincts. Sof far I get daily (okay I'm exaggerating) about every 2 or 3 days updates as to what is going on, where my scripts have gone etc. Whenever I call her Shelly has always been responsive. And she knows how to get to me - I've been promised an apple martini night when I get out to LA to shoot Gatorade.
I can assure you I wasn't put on the spot. I was kind of blown away at how fast people began contacting me after BB was named a semi-finalist.
Harry, I think you're absolutely right. I think of how the producers were talking to me the other week during a meeting about Bedbugs. He gave it to an intern straight out of NYU film school to read. The intern later said it is everything he detests in movies -- big budget, fluff commercial. So the producer sat back in his chair and said, "but will it make money?" And the intern replied, "Oh sure. A lot." I will do the meaningful film after I can hopefully get off the ground.
a plane just crashed in NYC. There's so much else to worry about whether so and so is overreacting or so and so is a bullshitter. If Colleen got an option or is about to get one and is coming here for answers...great. If she's a bullshitter,she is the only one that knows she is, but in the end who cares. We're all just trying to accomplish the same goal and that is -- sell a movie. Let's support each other rather than tear each other apart.
Besides being thankful for everything else in my life, I am also extremely thankful for all the entertaining (whether praising, arguing or congratulating) and helpful posts I have read on here the last year.
Don't eat too much turkey!
you are confused about Lisa's services. All she is does is query agents and production companies. Once the letter has gone out, she is off to her next project. It is totally on the writer from that point on.
Let's end this one, folks. It's getting old. Mark has his opinion which will not be swayed. We have ours. So be it.
congrats, Colleen. I think it's awesome.
living in Barrington and working downtown.
OH MY GOD IT'S STARTING AGAIN!!!!
Has anyone been watching this show? So Stolen Summer is the script they chose out of all the ones submitted? Pete jones comes across (to me anyway) as a whiny, pudgy man whose movie (I aid it here) will suck. I think the insights are great, but Ben Affleck comes across as "I am sooooo cool." when he mugs for camera. Yuck.
Well since everyone else does it...
My best Lord of the Rings AI:Artificial Intelligence Moulin Rouge Shrek Monsters Inc A beautiful Mind Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Memento The Majestic Ocean's Eleven
The Worst: No reall worst films here. Just big disapointments. Hannibal Pearl Harbor Planet of the Apes
Okay Okay I saw Blair Witch 2 on pay per view in Toronto earlier this year. That is by far the worst movie I saw.
Most surprising fun: Jurassic Park 3
Happy New Year all.
Forget hooked on phonics. Pick up Hooked on Movie bytes!
Thank you Frederick for a great site. Say hi to your sister in Deer Park!
I thought the beginning of Swordfish was great...otherwise I thought the climax was missing suspense and Halle Berry's breasts were way overrated. I don't know maybe I've seen too many fake ones.
does anyone know what the PG-13 standards are on the "F" word and the use
of the word "N" word?
Maybe this thread already exists, but what the hell? Has anyone ever actually submitted something to their website and come away successful? Come forward.
No I hear you Harry. My script is extremely commercial/popcorn fare. I had submitted it before, but after a couple of people had shown interest in it, even giving me notes for rewrites, I thought I'd throw it their way again. Again it was refused. My gut says stay away. That's not rejected writer talking, just following my instincts which I have to say are pretty good.
A lot of you have emailed me on the side asking how things are with Shelly and co.? Well, here's my six month report. Have things been perfect? No. Has she sometimes been hard to get in touch with? Yes. But the bottom line is my newest screenplay A Brooklyn Tale was optioned via Shelly after being on the market for a month. Does this prove anything? Not really. But I still feel good about her.
WSN works. Don't be afraid to post your script. My first sell came from posting there. Jerrol is very careful.
I disappear for a while and this is what happens. Many props Miriam. Good luck with everything. Let me know if you're in LA (since I'll be out there a lot). Talk soon.
Well one of the perks about being unemployed, then flying back and forth to New York for three months, then being unemployed again is that you get to see lots of movies. Boy as I look back did I see a ton. And there were a lot of good ones. Splendid ones. But as my luck would have it for every Lord of the Rings there is Pluto Nash, So without further ado, because I am a geek and a virgo, so I must make a list, here is my top ten films of 2002!
1) Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (this is an underhand pitch to any geek worth his salt, possibly the greatest adventure ever made).
2) Spider-man. Until Lord of The Rings, this was my favorite film. The best superhero film made since the first hour and a half of Superman.
3) Gangs of New York. This is movie making at its best. Even with Leo in it.
4) The Rookie. I laughed. I cried. You know what's going to happen in the end, but it's a perfecto sports movie.
5) Insomnia. Much better than the overrated Memento. Al Pacino is riveting as is Robin Williams.
6) Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. This appears on Chloe and Max's as well.
7) Y Tu Mama Tambien. Why oh why did I have to buy the R-rated version. Why?
8) Minority Report. The best Spielberg film since AI. The chase is incredible.
9) About a Boy. I don't usually like Hugh Grant, but this is awesome.
10) Frailty/Chicago. A tie. Little known Frailty appears to be an ordinary thriller until the last ten minutes. This time-span presents one of the best twists I've ever seen in a film. As for Chicago, I'm just a sucker for musicals.
The best family films: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, Treasure Planet, Scooby Doo, The Santa Clause 2 and Beauty and The Beast Imax version, Spirit.
These were the films I saw multiple times, watched in awe and just made me love movies. I also had a ton of fun watching Treasure Planet, The Ring, ET, Beauty and the Beast Imax version, The Bourne Identity, Changing Lanes, John Q, Undercover Brother, Barbershop, XXX, Signs, Spirit, The Man from Elysian Fields, Attack of the Clones, Die another Day, Lilo and Stitch, Ghost Ship, Blade 2, Resident Evil, Punch Drunk Love, Red Dragon, 8 mile, Auto Focus, and dare I say, Mr. Deeds.
Now if you've come to this part, you've reached my bottom ten. The films that made me think, "geez I can write something this bad. These are just unwatchable bad movies. I demand my two hours back from:
Collateral Damage, Bad Company(Chris Rock as action star is a funnier idea than the entire film), (Eddie Murphy earns a hat trick) Showtime, Pluto Nash and I Spy, Austin Powers in Gold Member (undercover brother is far funnier), Death to Smoochy, Scooby Doo, The Sweetest Thing and anything with Jenny from the Block in it -- Maid in Manhattan and Enough.
Next year, the state of geekdom should be in fine shape as I look forward to Daredevil (opening on Valentines Day makes it the perfect date movie) The Hulk, X-Men 2, T-3(although the trailer makes Arnie look old...real old), Matrix 2 and 3. The Return of the King, and A SUPER BOWL GATORADE spot from my best friend and oh some film called A Miami Tail written by a couple of unknown geeks!
I hope everyone has a safe, happy and healthy new year! Now I'm off to make spicy crab stuffed mushrooms and pop in the perfect new year's DVD - The Poseidon Adventure. Take care.
For anyone interested, my co-writer and I will be staging a reading of our black comedy, Apollo 18: The Lost Mission downtown on Friday January 31. Email me for details.
CLASSIC: Black Sunday. When Frankenheimer died, this thriller was hardly mentioned. After watching it the other night on Encore, I realized the finale is still one of the most exciting last 30 minutes on screen. Robert Shaw is great and threatening. Bruce Dern is at his insanely best.
NOW: Probably the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship and two towers.
FUTURE: A Miami Tail(written by my co-writer and me) when it's releasd later this year.
I read an article where some folks are using both sides of the page for their screenplays. Is that the new trend? Will I scare someone off with 2-sided pages before they even get to the words. What's the deal? Anyone know?
I'm a devout Eagles fan. Go Raiders!
yes you did MK! Now pardon me while I go slit my wrists.
that's a fine heart attack mix. I was talking to my best friend who still lives in Philly (I'm in Chicago now) and we have a theory about Philly teams as a whole.
Philadelphia does much better when they are the underdog. I think we suffer from a "rocky" complex that we don't know how to be a favorite. It must be Philly vs. the world. Thus once again when the Eagles are favored...they blow it. When the Sixers are expected to flop...they win. The same with the Phillies and Flyers. I know Tampa must be losing their minds right now. And I know of one place that must be doing gangbuster business in Tampa...Mons Venus :O) Good luck Sunday, MK.
They actually won. I think I'm gonna be sick!
my greatest success (besides my daughters) would be just finishing my very first screenplay two years ago. I never did that before and felt so accomplished...even if it sucked!
It is a very sad time. We take for granted that all of these shuttle launches are rountine and they are anything but. I'll tell you this though, after reading the Chicago Tribune, Time and USA Today it did leave me with several questions like why doesn't NASA have a rescue shuttle ready just in case something happens. I didn't even realize that the astronauts couldn't dock with the ISS even if they needed to. Or the fact that there aren't hooks or something to do latch onto for a space walk. It's second guessing I know. I just feel very sad. This has been a trying two years I'll tell you that, guys.
hi all, my friend Monique who works for an ad agency is trying to gather together great outdoor grilling scenes from movies for a presentation. Anything come to mind?
It's a good feeling, ain't it?
All the best!
Did I miss something? 'Cause it has sure gone downhill when you go to the jobs section.
Did anyone else here enter this one?
That happened to me with Story bay last summer as well. They portrayed themselves as more of a production company than what they really are. After that was cleared up, I didn't think the price was so bad, so I agreed to deal with them. I check my credit card and find out I was charged like $300 or $400...can't remember now. I had to call them and tell them to take it off my charge. Never again. Hey I look at it this way, I was a quarter finalist in Hollywood's Next Success last year. That project went onto get sold and made starring rappers Trina and Mr. Cheeks and will be released later this year. I'm hoping for a repeat (although I'm not greedy).
I too am a huge fan of WSN. That was where Bedbugs was found and optioned by the Adam Epstein company.
I just came back from Fade In Magazine's pitch session and I have to say it was great. Yes you are treated like cattle, but why shouldn't we be. They don't know whether we have great scripts. And quite frankly I don't think there is any other way to do it. But I did get to pitch to The Donner Co., Warner Bros, Dreamworks, Dimension and Appian Way as well as NYC Productions. Make sure you go to this festival. This seems to be the one to go to.
Also I hate to disagree, but talking to those guys outside of the pitch area can be a bad idea (unless you two become old friends real quickly). I pitched Dimension who seemed really receptive to my idea, but when he was standing outside you could tell he was nervous that I was going to try and approach him.
All in all, make sure the pitches you're paying for, at least have the companies you're searching for.
Yes Rich, I couldn't agree more. Good luck to us all. If you do decide to do another pitch seminar, do the Fade In one. The workshops were great. Antwon Fisher and Ed Soloman (MIB) and the writers from About a Boy spoke. And the companies you could pitch to were the companies that don't accept queries.
I would add make sure what you're adapting is public domain. Old greek plays, Shakespeare are usually safe...
Well guys it's our super bowl. Even without a red carpet and a war I still have to give out who I'm betting on.
Best Picture Chicago
Best Actor Daniel Day Lewis
Best Actress Nicole Kidman
Best Supporting Actor Christopher Walken
Best Supporting Actress Catherine Zeta Jones
Best Director Rob Marshall
Best adapted Screenplay The hours
Best Original Screenplay My big fat greek wedding
Best score John Williams Catch me if you can
Best Song Bono for Gangs of New York
Best Cinematography Conrad Hall for Road to Perdition
Best animated film Ice Age
Best Documentary Bowling for Columbine
Best animated short Mr. Chubb Chubb
Best live short Twin Towers
Best art direction Chicago
Best visual fx The Two Towers
Best costumes Gangs of New York
Best Sound Chicago
Best Sound Editing The Two Towers
Best Make up Frida
Best Editing Chicago
I'd go for adaptation myself, Miriam. But hollywood loves actors who write their own scripts. I think BFW has so much momentum (although the sitcom is horrible) for it. It won last night best debut at the spirit awards.
"Writing is like Prostitution. First, you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money."
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (Molière)
IT'S TIME FOR FIRST THURSDAY'S READING!
Please come to Casa de Radio Bob on Thursday June 5 to hear a table reading of Colin Costello and Ken Nared's Movie-of-the-Week/TV pilot teleplay, Grimm Knights.
The plot - Set in the fictional city of Coven, a former horseman of the Apocalypse, Johnny Grimm, is chosen by Heaven to thwart Death from secretly amassing souls for a future attack on Earth.
PLACE: Casa de Radio Bob
1720 N. Marshfield - 4th Floor
(1 block north of North, 1 block west of Ashland)
It's been a while, but I wanted to let you know some great news! My feature A Miami Tail (which I co-wrote with my pal Stephanie Jorden) is making its debut next month at The American Black Film Festival June 18 - 22 in Miami. From what I hear it is scheduled to be released Fall 2003.
It stars hip hoppers Trina, Mr. Cheeks, Queen of comedy, Sommore and other comics. It will be so weird and surreal to see it for the first time, especially on a large screen. If anyone is in Miami during those dates and wants to hook up let me know.
I will Gil. I'll be taking notes somewhere in between pinching myself. I went on the IMDB and saw that it's rated R for pervasive language and sexual situations. excellent.
I couldn't agree more. This board truly acts like a writer's group. I have not met (and gods knows we all haven't met at all) a more intelligent, supportive, friendly and informative bunch. So many others out there (triggerstreet etc) spend their time putting people and their work down. Where spend mostly positive energy.
Hope you go all the way.
I just wanted to pass on this tip. I had an incident today. Two months ago, after my screenplay Bedbugs'rights were returned to me from the producer of Hairspray, a new production company named Preger Entertainment
phoned and said they were very interested in optioning it. Of course hearing this on the day
the rights returned to me had me doing the Colin dance and drinking many apple martinis. I
didn't hear from them for a month. Later we had a couple of conversations about what they
wanted to do. They said they had shown it to a veteran horror director, Tom Holland
(Child's Play, The Langoliers, The Stand) and he wanted to punch up the scares.
THEN I GOT THE OPTION AGREEMENT. For some reason my dance slowed down because clause 6 said that according to WGA rules, I would at the very least be given "based on an idea by..." That troubled me, because I kept wondering why wouldn't it simply be me and other writers if they brought them in.
Thank God I got a good lawyer. Bob Labate from Holland and Knight met and discussed the deal. Overall the money was fine, but that clause 6 kept bothering me. Well he did a redraft of all the clauses (eliminating number 6 of course).
Today we got the lawyer's reply that they would agree to up my percentage, but nothing else. What also got me was that they finally said they only planned to use the title and idea. Very little of my script if any. You know I'm not rich and even if we were well off, why the hell couldn't they have told me that from the start? I wouldn't have wasted my time because I would have flatly said no. I wouldn't have wasted my lawyer's time. He is $300 an hour (and that was cutting me a break because we have a mutual friend). This Preger Entertainment made me waste at least a thousand bucks. For nothing. If they had simply been up front.
When a company contacts you and is gushing over your script, don't fall for it. Make triple sure you have an understanding of what they plan to do with it.
Make sure you get a damn good lawyer. I would have slit my wrists if I had signed that original option.
Make sure that lawyer gets you the first crack at a rewrite. Because once you sell it guys, it is gone.
Don't hurry to a deal. Every good script will find a home. I believe that.
I hear you guys. It was a tough decision to pass, but think about it. And I know some of you think I'm probably stupid. Would you really want to sell your script to not have it made for based on an idea by? Based on an idea by will not get you into the WGA.I was just angry that I felt misled from the outset. And I did have an entertainment lawyer involved. He's actually a really good one, too! But eventually it comes down to you have to trust your instincts and my instincts said, "no."
Plus I guess I feel real lucky and real blessed because my feature A Miami Tail is premiering today at the American Black Film Festival.
oh one more thing. When a producer says they will offer you a percentage of net profit, say no. Net profit means after they have paid everybody down to craft services. The fact is there is no net profit to a movie. You want a percentage of the adjusted gross.
You know Terri if they were offering 400 grand or even half that I would've said yes. It's not like I think it's Macbeth or anything like that. Or you can't change my word. I just feel like I wrote a story that I want to see. I know whoever takes it will change a lot. Hell I just saw A Miami Tail for the first time and boy is it different, but still very the same. Bedbugs spent 18 months under option and went all the way up the ranks at New Line, until they finally passed because of 8 legged freaks horrible box office. So I just want to find it a good home. It's a ll a crap shoot. I just feel a little more confident that I can find it a home because a lot of folks who read it like it. Also since A Miami Tail comes out this Fall to theaters I feel like I can look for the best deal. My whole point was to just be careful of the offers you receive for your scripts. Just look at all the options and don't just jump because someone is gushing over your writing. Thanks for the support you guys.
I, too, read about Mylo in Jerrol's newsletter. That's what I'm talking about Mylo. Way to go!
I, too, had to finally write AA (hmm nice similarity to Alcoholics Anonymous, cause god knows this contest makes me drink!) to ask the the same question. Here is what I got:
We have 12 scripts that still need to be read, then a little time for stuffing envelopes.
I contacted him with my loglines as well and he wanted to see one of them. So I popped it in the mail. We'll see.
Did you enter? We ended up as a quarter finalist for our MOW Grimm Knights. The same thing happened last year for a screenplay I worked on called A Brooklyn Tale. Shortly after it was optioned, bought, rewritten as A Miami Tail and shot and now is scheduled to be released by Lion's Gate later this year. So I hope Grimmy goes the same route. And if you did entered the contest, I hope you did well.
Thought this may be of interest....
Shrinking paydays for writers Scribes face smaller fees, fewer jobs By DAVE MCNARY
For movie screenwriters and TV scribes, the Big Bucks are starting to dry up.
Except for Hollywood superstars, salaries across the board are tilting downward -- so much so that the WGA West has just decided not to issue an annual earnings report.
In 1997, the WGA trumpeted the fact that screenwriter earnings had surged an astonishing 81% during the previous five years, to $366 million.
But screenwriter earnings edged up a mere 0.6% to $388 million between 1996 and 2001.
"We had to assess whether spending the money on compiling the statistics was the most effective use of our resources," assistant exec director Cheryl Rhoden told Daily Variety.
If it's any consolation, scribes for bigscreen works are not alone: TV types are being hit just as hard.
The WGAW shows TV scribe earnings climbed 47% between 1994 and 1998 to $355 million; but earnings for TV writers over the next three years inched up a modest 5%, to $374 million.
There's still money to be made in TV -- just ask Dick Wolf, David E. Kelley or newbie Shawn Ryan, who just became a $6 million man at FX thanks to his cop series "The Shield."
But the vast middle class of writers -- those who don't have an "executive" before their "producer" credit -- are no longer in the driver's seat.
The WGAW reports contain the most detailed financial results of any guild, so the conclusion is inescapable: A-list writers, both for big and small screens, get hired for potential home runs, while everyone else fights over what's left.
"The most dangerous place to be in the film biz is to have a quote of $400,000, because you'd better be on the upswing at that point," says one production exec. "Otherwise, the studios are going to take a chance on the $150,000 writer in the hope that he'll be the next David Koepp or Akiva Goldsman."
So what went wrong for the other 1,800 or so screenwriters who manage to obtain a gig each year? The key factors:
Salaries for A-list actors and directors are escalating. That means less money for others associated with the project, including writers.
Writers wind up working longer on a single script, often with seemingly endless rewrites and studio notes.
The trend to co-finance projects leads to writers serving many masters, often with conflicting visions. And most writers shy away from disputes out of fear of being labeled a malcontent.
The once-booming market for spec scripts has cooled.
Competition has increased. The WGA West is on track to register as many as 50,000 properties this year, up more than 10,000 from the usual level.
Meanwhile, on the TV front, network and studio execs claim they're just not able to support writers and series showrunners the way they used to, given smaller foreign and domestic backends, as well as fewer chances to recoup costs as repeats are replaced by reality.
Consider what TV scribes were up against this month as the studios rushed to fill the writing jobs on their series, in what's commonly referred to as "staffing season."
The average salary for a showrunner/exec producer ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 per episode, though there are now more pacts closer to $50,000 per seg than $75,000.
The real difference: Five years ago, almost all showrunners earned an extra $2 million to $3 million per year to develop shows.
"That gravy is gone," says one agent.
Studios are frequently ignoring salary quotes, giving writers' agents take-it-or-leave-it offers when negotiating staffing deals.
"There are cases of writers who had $50,000 quotes who are now going to be making $30,000," one tenpercenter said, noting that studios had almost all the leverage this staffing season.
"The writer's married, has a house and a couple of kids in private school -- what's he supposed to do? He takes the offer," the agent said.
Nickel-and-diming on deals has become more common. Twentieth Century Fox TV, for example, recently began making staff scribes contribute what amounts to one script per year; writers traditionally got paid extra each time they wrote a script.
Many writing staffs have gotten smaller, leading to fewer overall jobs and more people competing for gigs. And when this season's staffing frenzy was over, some writers got left out in the cold.
"There are senior writers, people I'd hire in a second, who I know right now aren't on shows because they didn't get staffed," said comedy scribe-producer Rich Appel ("A.U.S.A."), one of the lucky few scribes with an overall deal.
"It's hard to believe, because you read in Daily Variety there are more comedies than last year," Appel said. Some studios, he added, may not want to have writing staffs that are "top-heavy" with seasoned pros. "But sometimes that weight is a good thing, because it's the weight of experience and talent."
Writers who have signed development deals now are being required to earn every dollar by writing on one of their studio's shows. Not long ago, those scribes were allowed to go off and simply come up with ideas for new shows.
As a result, a writer who made, say, $3 million to brainstorm at Starbucks back in 1999 now makes $1.5 million a year to churn out episodic scripts of shows he couldn't care less about -- and maybe create the next "Friends" in his spare time.
Networks and studios plead poverty as justification for their continued cutting -- even though the webs just posted another record upfront advertising intake, adding more than $9 billion to their coffers.
So what gives?
Blame it on just about everything that's happened to TV over the past decade.
Consolidation and deregulation have led to fewer companies producing most of primetime's wares -- giving writers fewer avenues to travel and creating less competition for their services.
Meanwhile, networks and studios operate less like dream factories and more like other businesses -- which means penny-pinchers like Viacom's Mel Karmazin and Disney's Michael Eisner aren't going to stand for big-bucks deals unless they can be justified.
"TV companies need to be run like businesses," says CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves. "There was a part of the old biz practice that got stagnant. I want people to be incentivized. You need people dreaming of the money that hit showmakers make."
What's more, Moonves said, international and syndication riches aren't what they used to be, leaving less money to invest in new writers.
"There isn't the pot of gold like there used to be, starting with foreign money, but also domestically. The margins are much tighter, and people have to make right economic decisions," he said.
In the wake of the networks' depressed 2001 upfront ad tallies, the industry tightened belts and accelerated the move toward eliminating pricey overall TV deals.
However, now that the ad market is recovering, some scribes and agents are wondering why the coin's not flowing again.
Having worked in everything from sketch comedy to hourlong drama in her 15-year career, "The District" exec producer Pam Veasey said she has learned by now that everything is cyclical.
"There's always a place where they're adjusting," Veasey says. "I think we'll come back to writers being appreciated."
Still, given that paranoia is the fuel that powers so much of Hollywood, it's no surprise that some agents and writers believe economics isn't the only explanation for the current belt-tightening at the congloms.
Some are convinced execs are taking revenge for the excesses of the 1990s, when one agent said getting rich development pacts was like "shooting fish in a barrel."
Studios and nets, the agent said, "feel like they were getting screwed for years, and now it's their turn. There seems to be some malicious glee in getting back at us."
I think a lot of you make really solid valid points. I think Terri is right in that this may be an opportunity for new writers to break in. We don't cost as much. It's just like when I was/still sort of in advertising. The economy has given the agencies a chance to weed out the expensive hacks (not in my case when I got laid off) and let some newer thinking come in. And I also believe once we get established as writers we have to realize that it is a business - one where we for some odd reason don't hold a lot of clout - and try to gain more control. That means learning all aspects of production at any given chance. I've been lucky to have shot commercials with a lot of A-list directors and I always tried to learn so much just so I could tuck it away and bring it out at the appropriate point. The bigger issue is that this economy is just hurting everything. I saw today that unemployment in June was at its highest in 9 years. I guess I always naively (did I spell that right) thought entertainment was immune to it.
Hello!?! Trust no one is from the X-Files, besides The Truth is out there. Happy 4th everybody!
OUCH! CRAAAAACK! CRASH! That's the sound of my foot breaking! Bring on the movies!
I am bummed. July 4 Barry White had to go and pass. My wife and I have made out and gone further to so many of his songs. I think my older daughter was made to I'm Gonna Love you. Damn. Anyone else bummed.
Good luck in the finals, Gil. Don't drink too much at the schmooze fest.Meets lots of folks!
Ain't this something? Everyone always wants us to spend weeks (maybe months) writing a script for them without giving us any money upfront. We spend all of our energy putting finger to keypad, with the hope that something will sell. And if it doesn't? A nice pat on the ass and a thank you. I was burned twice writing spec scripts for free. Luckily I believe there are too many saavy writers on this site. For the naive ones, I say avoid this like the plague.
Hope you guys find this as funny as I did!
Here are seven lessons for screenwriters to remember, followed by some examples of the pithy and trenchant dialogue that helped this summer's scribe tribe earn big bucks.
1) PROVIDE A SENSE OF URGENCY.
"What the hell was that back there?" ("X2: X-Men United")
"Who the hell are you?" ("The Italian Job")
"What the hell is going on?" ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines")
2) UNDERLINE THE SENSE OF DANGER.
"Dear God, you're saying this country is completely open to attack!" ("T3")
"Sir, are you sure about this?" ("The Matrix Reloaded")
"Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go!" ("The Italian Job")
3) HEROES MUST BE VULNERABLE.
"Nobody's responding. I can't get a signal." ("X2: X-Men")
"There's no power -- some kind of counter-electromagnetic field!" ("Hulk")
"We've lost contact!" ("T3")
4) THE VILLAIN NEEDS MEMORABLE LINES.
"Kill them! Kill them all!" ("Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle")
"Non-lethals only! I repeat, non-lethals only ... Hit him with the foam!" ("Hulk")
"Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without." ("Matrix Reloaded")
5) PROVIDE TECH JARGON.
"Its arsenal includes nano-technological constructors." ("T3")
"Repatch the main ACs to the hard drive and prepare to broadcast!" ("Matrix Reloaded")
"The vertical thrusters are offline!" ("X2: X-Men United")
"They're absorbing all the ambient energy!" ("Hulk")
6) THE LEADS MUST HAVE A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP.
"Where are you taking me?" "To a safe location." ("T3")
"Who have you told?" "No one, no one, I swear to God!" ("The Italian Job")
"I don't understand how this is possible, you should be dead!" "They worked: the nano-meds!" ("Hulk")
7) A FILM NEEDS PHILOSOPHY.
"We can never see past the choices we don't understand." ("The Matrix Reloaded")
"Know: What happened happened, and couldn't have happened any other way." ("Matrix Reloaded")
"I know because I must know. It is my purpose. The reason I'm here. The reason we are all here." ("Matrix Reloaded")
Well it had to happen. We had to go from the positive chain to another version of the Springer show. Robert that was very childish. This board is meant for positive subjects from writers or if we want to complain about something in the business. Not talking about who the ugly tree fell on. Quite frankly, if we're all writers I'm sure the ugly tree fell on a few of us. Me included. You come here with ridiculous offers, poor spelling and now insults. Go away.
Well I got my results today. Entered three scripts...three scripts didn't make it to the next level. Oh well, two years ago my Bedbugs script didn't place at all in the contest, then a month later it was optioned. Congrats to anyone out there who made it to the next round!
I have had both. A manager isn't governed by WGA laws. They are supposed to guide your career, but not seek out specific opportunities. OF COURSE THEY DO. They also can take from 10 - 20%. I had a manager who took 15% of income made from script sales,appearances etc. They also by law (although mine did) negotiate a contract. An agent (one governed by WGA) takes 10 % of your script sale. And as far as I know can negotiate a contract (although it is good to have a lawyer as well). An agent can also seek out work for you.
Although if you get either, never stop pushing your stuff yourself. No one is interested in your stuff selling more than you.
The reason for the box office slump is not the huge amount of sequels or event movies (although I don't think the audience has a chance to breathe in between weekends), it is the huge amount of movies that SUCK!
Charlies Angels SUCKS
Matrix on regular screen or IMAX SUCKS
The Hulk did not suck but the marketers jumped the gun before he was ready. So the advertising SUCKED!
Bad Boys 2 SUCKED
Hollywood Homicide SUCKED
At one time a sequel wasn't expected to make as much money as the original.Now it is expected to make more. Most of the event movies (and believe me I look forward to them) and like rides at an amusement park. Once you get on, you don't need to go back again. Hollywood needs to wake up (again) and get back to some original stories.
My fellow geeks,
Tell Tim Burton (Batman and Batman Returns) and Joel Schlockmacher (Buttman Forever and Buttman & Robin) to kiss Sandy Collora's ass. I have just seen what everyone was talking about at Comic Con. Sandy Collora used to work for Stan Winston and he has put on a film the best rendition of Batman ever. It is so dark and amazing. And there are a couple of humdinger surprises. If you want to see it go to http://download.theforce.net/theater/batman-deadend. You need quicktime 6. If you can't get it that way go to Google and type in batman: dead end. I won't say what the surprises are, but you're in for a good one. Amazing what you can do for $30,000 and some talent.
The IFP market is a great place for indy film makers. Last year, our script A Miami Tail was a semi-finalist in the Pipedream Award and a finalist in the Gordon Parks Award. And of course it comes out on DVD on Sept. 2. I just got notified that they are letting folks know if their script made it into the market on Aug. 6. If you go bring lots of promotional cards for your scripts.
I'll be honest with you, Kim I didn't enter it last year. It was the producer of A Miami Tail who entered the script. When I went to the IFP for the week and awards, what struck me was the amount of gay stories being told in the black community. I would say 3 out of the 5 films I remember seeing had that focus.
I think they are looking for some insight into the black experience. Or something different. Like A Miami Tail was an urban update of Lysistrata. I saw a black western at the American Black Film Festival that was like Set it Off in the old west. I t was pretty cool.
So I think if you have a story that isn't necessarily a hood story you have a shot. Or if it is a hood story, it should have some different take.
Otherwise I think they just want different stories featuring African Americans written by African Americans.
Hope that helps.
hey feel free to email anytime. I' m feeling you. I have a fulltime gig, wife and 2 very precocious daughters...who want lots of Daddy time.
Well it is time I fess up. I am the writer Terri was talking about who was signed by Colin. My experience was like this:
July 4 I received a call from Colin on my cell phone at 4 AM Chicago time. He is in LA. I could not believe the call when I picked it up the next day. Colin raved about my superhero script Teen Force. Said it blew him away. I thought okay what is the scam here. How much is he going to charge me etc. None of that. After we played phone tag, we finally caught up and spoke and vibed right away. Plus the fact that my name is pronounced like Colin Powell and his is pronounced like Colin Farrell led to some early laughs as we addressed each other.
Colin told me he wanted to go over some notes for my script and even before I wanted to sign with him, to check an article in Variety about Origin. Well lo and behold there was an article about Origin scoring a deal for a new writer. That was Colin. So I started to gain confidence.
I signed with Origin, took notes from Colin that at first I didn't agree with then I realized after doing them, ohmigosh my script is way tighter and better.
Well Colin sent Teen Force to 30 producers including Bruckheimer, the producer of Malibu's most wanted, folks at New Line etc. 30 producers passed. Colin said they really liked the writing but with the gross of the Hulk they were scared. And they were doubly nervous taking on a superhero property that was not a known property.
I guess I thought that was it for me and Colin but it's not. I sent him a query (on purpose because I wasn't sure) for a comedy script that placed in Hollywood's Next Success. He basicaly responded calling me a moron with "of course you can send it me, I'm your agent!" He didn't abandon me after one script flopped. He is a really good guy folks. An aggressive one. Not everyone is going to get signed by him. Origin is a boutique. The ones that do though I believe are in for a really good relationship.
No word is not a pass. I have great faith that you are a really good writer. I n my case, Ron is right. Colin O is a comic book geek. So he is going to gravitate toward stuff that interests him first. But I will say a prayer for you and anyone else, because I genuinely believe we all deserve to make it. If Akiva Goldsman can, why can't we?
Thanks for the congrats, too, you guys
Over the next two days we will find out who made it to the semis. Good luck to everyone who entered.
Me, too. Me, too. A Miami Tail gets released on DVD Sept. 2.
Just wanted to let you know that my feature I co-wrote A Miami Tail, which is a modern day adaptation of Lysistrata is released this Tuesday Sept. 2 from Lion's Gate. If you pick it up or rent it I hope you enjoy it. Now if I could just get in the WGA...
Hey I've decided to write an hour-long spec of Smallville. How many pages make up a one hour drama ususally?
Does 60 pages allow for commercials as well or should I shoot for 50?
what do they say in their R letter? Do they give any kind of feedback or the usual blah blah blah?
I just went to Virgin and saw my first movie A Miami Tail on DVD. It's such a surreal feeling. You hope and pray to sell a movie. And before you know it, there it is. I know there are so many talented folks on this board, I hope each of you get to feel that surrealness either looking at your movie at a theater or on TV
wow I'm a second rounder too. Me being the advertising person - can we spin that into a quarterfinalist? Congrats to everyone here who made it the second round and beyond. My wife and I have worked so hard at our romantic comedy Deerly Beloved and now it seems like it may be getting to the point of good but not good enough! Anyone going to the festival and proudly pitch their second rounder?
Once again congrats to the second rounders. I just found out our other screenplay Apollo 18: The lost Mission made it to the second round. Now I have to figure out how to get to Austin without my wife killing me!
I just used Scriptblaster for our new screenplay The Bridge. I think up to this point I have gotten 15 - 20 requests for the script. Probably like 10 rejections. Still pretty low considering how many people it went to.
First off congrats. I am so proud of you. Next really study the offer once you have received it in writing. That is the only time it matters.
Right now it is all talk. Talk that should make you feel very happy.
Then decide what about the script if any is important to you. Make sure you have an ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER involved.
And quite frankly, you have to jump in at some point and make a sale and get your name out there. The reality is once it is sold you (hopefully not) will be out of the picture. Make sure you get the credit and make sure they are signatories of the WGA or you will not get in the WGA.
CREDIT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY FOR YOUR FIRST SALE.
Screw adjusted profits or points. You will not see a dime. You want a percentage of the gross profits. Adjusted means after the producer has paid everyone down to the craft services.
Also make sure that your name (guess I'm getting back to credits) will be first under Screenplay by. Remember my Bedbugs story where they wanted based on an idea by...
And most of all. I'm proud of you. I'll cross my fingers and eyes for you.
aw shucks, thanks guys. And big props to Michells. Way to conquer the Nicholls!
Michelle I throw my heartfelt congrats in as well. What is your screenplay about?
hey I just answered this for the chicago tribune so I thought in the spirit of the season I'd show you mine if you show me yours...
1) Carnival of Souls 1960-something. Scared the crap out of me as a kid, I still won't watch it as an adult.
2) The Exorcist - Slightly repulsed by Linda Blair...slightly turned on. What was I thinking?
3) John Carpenter's The Thing - C'mon need I say more. The two arms coming out of the stomach? Yeeecch.
4) Alien - one of the all time scariest. In space no one can hear you scream. But they sure heard my ass in the theater.
5) The Evil Dead - The original. I'll never look at trees and women the same way again.
6) Nightmare on Elm Street - I couldn't sleep.
7) Jaws - I was one of the ones that didn't go back to the ocean.
8) Ringu/The Ring - The Japanese version is even scarier than the remake.
9)Silence of the Lambs - Clarice.....
10) My scariest movie of all time is The Omen. Who is scarier than satan. Maybe Glenn Close comes close in Fatal Attraction, but the Omen is still my winner. There is no better decapitation scene.
This is fun. Here are my honorable mentions: Rosemary's Baby, Don't be afraid of the Dark (ABC Movie of the Week), Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Others, Friday the 13th, The original Haunting, Hell House, Tales from the Crypt (1969 or so), The Fog
don't be afraid to bare your soul here, brother. There are some helpful folks here. I have been in the option world. What's up? Congrats if you have an offer.
I too want to see these screenplays turned into movies. Way to go guys. You give us all hope.
Ron is completely right. Get yourself an entertainment attorney. Remember you are a baby writer and a producer will try to get your material for the least amount of money.
How could I forget...Hell Raiser and The Stepfather?
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