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Hi, I'm new here. I've been lurking for a while checking out the contests for a while.
Speaking of which. Has anyone here entered the Writer's Network Contest (associated with Fade In Magazine)? If so, have you heard anything from them?
It's been over 4 months and I think they should have notified people by now.
Thanks for the info Bob!
Still no news for me. Anyone out there hear anything?
October 1. And STILL nothing! Aren't there ANY contestants out there!? Have you heard ANYTHING!?
Well, if anyone cares, I finally got in contact with them. They said that they are running 2 weeks behind.
Is no one else out there entered in this contest?
Thanks Peter, Paula and Clint.
So can someone provide the contact information for the wonderful Lisa?
Nevermind. I found it.
I also did the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting (1 year certificate program).
While what they taught in lecture could easily be learned from a book, the weekly workshops were invaluable. I was lucky to get 2 good groups and teachers. The 2nd one was particularly great (Neil Landau).
On top of that, the program brought in agents, producers, directors and other working writers to discuss the business with us. I had the pleasure of meeting people like writer/director David Koepp (who was super cool by the way).
Overall I found it a wonderful experience and worth the price of admission ($3000 two years ago).
I didn't receive a degree. I received a "certificate". The differences I am told (since I didn't do the MFA program) are in cost - $20,000+ a year vs. $3000 for 1 year.
Also, the professional program focused solely on screenwriting technique. I am told the MFA offers a more well rounded training. You learn about directing, acting, producing from a screenwriting point of view. I think film criticism/theory too.
But you should really talk to someone who went through the MFA program.
FYI,I submitted a spec script for the "X-Files" and got in (and on the waiting list to USC's MFA program).
So if you have a TV script your proud of (but no feature script), go ahead and submit it. Couldn't hurt.
Still nothing. Anyone else hear anything? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
They went out? Via snail mail? Or e-mail? I guess I should be on the look out for it in the mail.
I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't give you notice even if you DIDN'T make the cut. Everyone should be notified if you made it or not.
I haven't been here long. But troll like behavior that I have seen lately is the reason why I left other "screenwriting" message boards.
I'm hoping this place will be more civil and useful. I've seen good and bad. I'm still reserving judgement.
It's December already. Do they wait until they pick the winners to notify people? Has anyone gotten any letters?
In general, I think it's good advice. But there are SOOO many successful, classic movies that don't follow his "recipe". A good example, REAR WINDOW (one of my favorite of all time). That movie goes at a leisurly pace for a 30 minutes - introducing the main characters and the neighbors before ANYTHING of momentum happens. And the only "life and death" thing the protaganist (Jimmy Stewart) is in danger of is dying of sheer boredom from being cooped up in his apartment due to a broken leg.
So his advice is a good guideline, but don't feel like it's the LAW when your writing. Feel free to play around with it.
I think you should follow the rules when you are just starting to learn the craft of screenwriting. Once you've got a strong handle on them, you can play around and break them.
I've been studying and practicing screenwriting for 5 years. Just last year I finally felt like I've got a handle on it. Found my voice. I respect the rules but sometimes I experiment and color outside the lines. I've found my work has improved drastically because of it.
Oh, and, I agree with you too Steve.
Are the details of the profession integral to the story? Is it the whole story? I personally would make an effort to be accurate.
I'm doing a thriller involving police and I did the research to get basic procedures right.
Then again, I have a murder scene in there that a doctor friend read and he nit picked about a small detail about the state of the body. It was such a small detail and had nothing to do with the plot that I decided to leave it as is.
I don't know if this helped.
Can I title my movie after a popular/classic song title? Or would that cause legal issues?
Thank you for your response.
Can anyone tell me what "Checkmate" is about?
Thanks for the info about "Checkmate". I have a movie titled "Chess" and I was afraid it would be too much like mine. (turns out that it's nothing like mine)
As far as script length.
My philosophy is:
Average comedy script: 80 - 90 pages Average drama: 120 Action/Thriller: 110 - 130
It usually averages out to a page a minute. But I've been told, you can go longer with action scripts because it takes more pages to describe action but it goes by quicker (makes sense?)
Suite A Management
Pro and Con Productions Talent Management
The Screen Actors Guild provides the same service. And I believe it's free.
Does anyone know exactly what this terminolgy means?
I'm reading the Who's Buying What section and I always see the term $amount AGAINST $amount.
Does it mean you get X amount once the box office gross reaches the second X amount?
Or does it mean something else?
Ahhh! Thank you!
Hmmm, very interesting. Thanks for the info people.
So 15% manager 10% agent 5% lawyer
Those are standard?
Do managers negotiate? Or can anyone negotiate?
If I were to negotiate with someone, I think I would prefer going through only one person (either a manager, agent or lawyer).
I'm in the middle of my own waiting game myself and it's driving me nutty.
I sent queries out in March using Venice Arts query service. Between then and now, I've gotten roughly 18 requests for my work.
I sent out only 10 though. I couldn't find any verifiable information on the other 8. My criteria was, if it was a production company I had to find proof that they made at least one movie, if it was an agent or manager, they had to either be on the WGA signatory list or posted at least one sale - Am I being too picky?
Anyhoo, to my surprise, 2 of them got back to me within a week. They liked my writing; but didn't want to use what I sent them. They wanted to read more. Did that. They liked it but still didn't want to use any of it. Said keep them in mind for the future.
A good beginning, but then I sorta expected the others to get back to me right away too. 6 weeks later, I'm still waiting. I sent out follow up letters today. One of them got back to me - they said "We are still taking a look at it. You should hear from us in 2 weeks." Is this good or bad?
Well, that's my story.
I recently got an e-mail about FadeIn's 6th annual Pitchfest.
Has anyone here gone to previous ones? If so, what was your experience? Was it worth the money?
Bump. Anyone? Anyone?
According to them to whole point of the "fest" is to give writers access to the 100 compannies or so that will have booths(and they list BIG names).
They also offer a seminar on how to pitch too.
I think I'll give it a go. Even if nothing comes out of it. I'll get a ton of practice "pitching" - which I've never done before.
I'm iffy about options. Mainly because, it mean's taking my script off of the market.
I guess it depends on how serious the producer is about the project.
**How many other optioned scripts do they have? **How many other projects do they currently have in development? **What level of priority are they giving YOUR script? **Has this company actually produced any movies? **Is this company reputable
What's a reasonable amount to ask for an option?
If I was ever offered an option, I would only be able to offer 6 months. And that's only if I felt that the producer was serious about my script and was making it a priority. OR say an established actor/actress had a production company to find material for themselves. They wanted to option the script and attach themselves to it. Then they would shop it around for funding with them attached.
When you optioned your screenplay, was a purchase price agreed upon first? Then once you agreed upon the purchase prices they paid you 10% of that to option in?
Can you go through the steps?
I'm just curious, how have your experiences with producers/agents/managers been as you try to get your work out there?
I just started this process in March and so far I've been pleasantly surprised. After hearing and reading various horror stories since I moved to LA, I was expecting the worst.
But so far I'd say 95% of the people I've dealt with have been exceedingly polite, professional and occasionally encouraging. I've only gotten one (slightly) rude response. And a couple of weird ones.
For example: they would send an e-mail to me saying "I'd LUV 2 read UR script" (I just can't take them seriously if they write like a teenager in a chat room). Or one guy referred to me by 2 different names (neither one of them mine).
Nothing bad at all. I'm beginning to wonder if people were exaggerating or did I just get lucky the first time around?
So what are your stories? Good or bad.
I agree with everyone else, get an agent or a lawyer ASAP.
Other than that, I don't have any advice since I have yet to get to this point. But I eagerly await to hear the details as this process progresses!
Thanks for sharing!
Suggestions on researching the company:
1) Check out if they have sales posted on Moviebytes "Who's Buying What?"
2) Check for deals at http://www.scriptsales.com
3) If you have access to Variety Online or Hollywood Reporter online - do a search on the company. You can get an idea if they have made any output and/or distribution deals, in addition to see if they acquired any scripts or completed feature film product.
4) Search IMDB for movies they've produced. Sometimes they list their box office.
This should give you an idea of what they can "afford".
http://www.screendaily.com is also a good source. You can do searches.
Good luck and congratulations!
I gotta agree with Rod. You can spend an eternity on re-writes. I usually do 2 drafts myself. After that, I run through it few times trimming and tightening up dialogue (I personally don't consider those "re-writes"). When I think "re-write", I think "re-haul". Maybe it's just me.
I think my scripts a pretty tight the way they are. If a producer buys it and wants to me to re-work it to his taste, I'm game.
I guess it depends on your process. For example, the most recent script I finished. The first draft was done in film school about 3 years ago. Good idea, a few good scenes but overall, about 90% crap.
Last year I took it back out and did a major rehaul. I liked most of the first act. I kept the core of the characters from the first draft but made some changes. One character I toned down, the other I changed the age and occupation.
At that point, I realized I couldn't move forward until I worked out the plot and scenes, in detail. This is were I spend the bulk of my time - 4 months. Eventually I created an extremely detailed beat outline/treatment. Once I finished that, the actually writing of the script/scenes moved very quickly.
When I was done, I had 147 pages. That's when I made 3 passes at "polishing". Cutting and/or trimming scenes. Tightening up dialogue.
I sent it out to my "readers". Over the years I've found a group of friends/acquantences interested in reading my work. I asked them to give me the brutal assessments. I got an overall thumbs up from everyone with a few suggestions. I incorporated a few.
I put the script away for a few weeks and pulled it out again to review with fresh eyes. I was very happy with what I had done. My gut told me it was ready to go out. And judging by the positive response I'm getting, my gut instincts were right.
Only you can know when your work is ready to be shown. I moved out the LA 3 1/2 years ago. And it wasn't until this March that I felt I was ready to market myself.
Part of it is honing your skills. Part of it is believing in yourself. I've been honing my skills for the past 5 years. I think I'm ready.
I've dealt with them (don't have a phone number though). My query got submitted to them through Venice Arts. Charles read my script and liked it but he said his partner "Joel" decided to pass on it. I'm guessing that's Joel Zwick.
Zone Entertainment must be newly formed. Charles and Joel have verifiable producing credits, so say go for it.
I thought the name of Steven Soderberg's company was Alcon Entertainment. He produced INSOMNIA and that's the name they showed in the credits.
I'm interested too! I live in the Hollywood/West Hollywood area. If you know of any groups, e-mail me at:
I'm going to Fade In's Pitchfest on August 3rd & 4th. I'm working on my pitches for my 2 scripts.
Can any of you experiences "pitchers" give me tips? It would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the link Jay, that was helpful.
I'm still welcoming more suggestions!
This is all helpful. But regarding leaving a synopsis. The FadeIn tip list said DON'T leave a synopsis. Their resoning being: Why are they going to read your script (120pgs) when they can read your 2-3 page synposis? Why are they going to call you back to their offices to let the powers that be hear you pitch your story, when they can just give them the summary, which more than likely reads flat?
CHARADE was a comedy/thriller starring Audrey Hepburn & Cary Grant. It's currently being re-made with Mark Whalberg and Thandie Newton called THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE.
Then there are "tragio-comedies" like FARGO and TO DIE FOR.
Is that the kind of vibe you're going for?
FOUL PLAY starring Goldie Hawn & Chevy Chase is another one!
FadeIn Pitchfest went fabulously!! It was definately worth the money. New Line, Miramax AND Dreamworks showed up. William Morris, UTA, The Gersh Agency were there as well.
Lots of high profile, high quality companies.
Two big companies requested both of my screenplays on the spot. The rest gave me compliments and asked for my contact information.
I was wondering. Should I send follow-up letters to those people? If yes, should I include my summaries?
Well I participated in the last Greenlight contest. And to put it as nicely as I can - step slowly away from the bomb.
The judging system was a joke. People figured out a way to override the questionnaire (the multiple choice questions about your script) that was suppose to prove that you read the script. You only had to answer 3 out of the 5 questions correctly and you can go back again and again guessing until you got enough right.
That's how many people ended up getting bullsh!t reviews. I faired better than most, I could tell people actually read my script with their comments. None of them professional or helpful.
Greenlight hoped that people would inact an honor system. That's didn't happen. And like stated above, any reporting of misbehaviour was either completely ignored or brushed off.
Someone described the message boards as the "Jerry Springer Show". I liken it more to "Lord of the Flies meets Cat On A Hot Tin Roof".
Not to say there weren't good people there willing to discuss screenwriting. But most of them were quickly fed up, left the boards (like me) and set up their own. Only the trolls were left behind.
Looking over the "new" set up. It doesn't look like they did a thing to fix the problems of the last one. Asking for 1 more review isn't a real change. Splitting screenwriters and director won't force the reviewers to be more honorable. I just think it will create more "drama" for the TV series.
In short, if you take your craft seriously - stay away.
First off, I'd like to say that I have NO PROBLEM with doing re-writes. If I ever sell a script, I totally expect to do them.
That being said, here's my story. I have a script that is going around that is getting a very positive response (this script was re-written twice and edited about 5 times after that before I sent it around). I even got close to a sale once.
So recently I had an acquaintence that works at a production company accept my script for consideration. A few days ago she called me about it.
She talked to me for about 30 minutes giving me her comments on it (very positive) and suggestions on making it better. She made some good points (most of them were about making the ending more "commercial"). And like I said I have NO PROBLEM with doing re-writes.
But at no point in the conversation did she say that if I re-wrote it, her company would be interested. In fact she said, that she thought ANOTHER company might be if I did.
My question is. Should I take her suggestions do a re-write? Or should I only do a re-write if a company is actually interested in purchasing my work?
I mean, on the one hand - it's obviously good enough to get quite a bit of notice. But I still haven't made a sale. I don't know if that's because the script truly needs to be re-worked or if it's because I have yet to find a company willing to take a chance on an untested writer.
To answer everyone's questions:
I don't think she has actual contacts at the other company. I e-mailed her asking the question, but she's on an extended vacation right now.
The changes she suggested would make it more "commercial". My story doesn't fall neatly into a specific genre (I did that on purpose) and my ending leaves and open interpretation as to what the future of the protagonist is. She suggested that show exactly what the protagonists future is. And jazz up the 3rd act a bit so it would fit more neatly into the genre.
In short, I think I've decided to stick to my guns. The only situation I would do a re-write for no money would be if I secured a manager/agent and they said it would be easier for them to sell the product if I made some changes.
I think I've re-written and polished it enough for now. I'll do re-writes if I get an option or sale and they pay me to do it.
Thanks for your responses! They helped.
Well, whenever I need to be inspired and refreshed again, I read Truman Capotes "Music For the Chameleons". It's a collection of short stories and "dialogues". Hard to explain. But read the Preface written by him. It always makes me feel better.
I just wanted to respond to Steven Calderwood's post about trying to predict trends.
DON'T. I believe it's pointless and a waste of time. And that's the same thing people in the business have told me.
Let's say the latest trend is say "pot bellied pigs as pets". By the time this information gets to you, the trend has usually peaked. And by the time you write a script on "pot bellied pigs as pets", sell it, get it made into a movie and get it released - chances are no one is gonna give a flip about "pot-bellied pigs as pets" anymore.
Your time would be better spent by writing a story you feel passionate about. Because that's when you will produce your best work. And it will come across to everyone who reads it.
You can't predict what people are gonna want to read/see. Because that varies from person to person. Each production company, manager, agent have very individual, specific tastes. You're not going to come up with a magic formula that will guarantee a sale. It's combination of talent, persistance, connections and a whole lotta luck.
I do read the "Who's Buying What" section. Not to try to figure out what the trends are. But to see what each company is individually interested in at the moment, then to see if what I have would be their cup of tea. If that's how you define "trend", then we are in agreement.
But I still maintain, if everyone is buying a certain type of script NOW, there's a good chance that if you try to write a script to match that, by the time it gets out there it will probably be too late.
On the other hand, if you happened to have a script NOW, that fits into what seems to be hot NOW. Go for it!
But don't go thinking that all big producers are infallable. Like someone said earlier, some people are really good at figuring out the pulse of the nation, the youth, etc... It's a rare and beautiful thing. Most aren't.
Let's take THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS for example. EVERYONE in the industry was SHOCKED by how well it did. "Who knew that kids would be really into street racing?" The kids on the street knew, and the person who wrote the script knew. Probably because he was extremely familiar with the scene and the culture.
Now that's another point. If you now about or are involved in a unique cultural phenomenon. An undergroud thing that is very popular but just hasn't hit the mainstream. Write a story about it. For example, fight clubs, street racing, the wacky world of dog shows, rave culture, etc...If you understand it. Then you might have a chance of catching lightening in a bottle.
But after all is said and done. Do what you feel you think is right. I was just giving you my opinion. Who knows who is right or wrong. Maybe both. Maybe neither. I'm just gonna do what I feel is right, for me.
And as for who I've been talking to in the business. I'm going by what I learned from the speakers who came to my UCLA screenwriting program. Professional agents from agencies like Gersh and William Morris, producers, writers/directors like Alexander Payne and David Koepp.
There is no magic formula for success.
ROTFLMAO regarding your cat comment. SOOO true. Just because they're cute and your pet, doesn't mean they won't kill and eat you if they had the chance.
I mean, look at pit bulls. Them MoFo's deserved to be eaten!
It's not just you. I've always likened it to LORD OF THE FLIES. Little good can be gleamed from them.
If you're talking about Fade In's Pitchfest, then YES, it's totally worth it. High profile and well respected production, agent and management companies come.
And even though they tell you it's 7 minutes. It's actually 5. That's not including the time it takes for you to walk into the room, find your seat and introduce yourself. Less time if the person before you is still there talking.
Sometime they throw you in on stand by and you have even LESS time.
Come PREPARED. Keep it short and sweet. It's OK to bring in notes to help you if you forget. 99.9% of them didn't care that I did that.
Get there EARLY to get in line. Because the appointments fill up QUICKLY, espcially for the big companies. Many of which are only there for 2 hours.
Hope this helps!
I can honestly say that screenwriters (wanna-be's or otherwise) are perhaps the most fickle lot in the writing business. I've never been exposed to a group that sets to undermine each other by offering scathing reviews without an ounce of constructive criticism. Perhaps they think that by negating others their work will rise to the top.
Amen, and I thought I was the only one who noticed this.
Well, I tried contacted Julia Stiles once.
I used whorepresents.com to find out who her representation was and called her manager. Her manager gave me the phone number of her production company. I talked to them and they let me send them a query letter.
Never heard from them after that. But, I was surprised I even got that far.
I have a script with a young, lead, female character that I think every up and coming ingenue in town would KILL for.
I've been shopping it around and it's receiving very positive response. I know it's moved up the chain in several companies and still under consideration at several more.
Someone suggested to me, that I should find an actress who might be interested in it.
For example, I have already queried Julia Stile's new production company (with no response but hey they got my letter).
Some other names I've thought of are:
Thora Birch Maggie Gyllenhall Eliza Dushku
Can you guys/gals suggest some other actresses. If they have their own production companies or even a development deal with anyone, that would be even BETTER.
Thanks for the suggestions people. I came up with a lot of the same names you did. One of the girls' manager agreed to take a look at the script. Wish me luck. :o)
I'm tired of "waiting it out". It doesn't hurt to try other avenues while others are still "thinking about it".
I have followed up via e-mail on several occassions. "We'll let you, when we know" is the response.
Anymore right now would be pushy and annoying. So while I'm waiting, I will pursue other avenues.
I've already selected an actress to woo. I mailed my script to her manager yesterday.
I selected her because she was one of my top two choices. She is getting some MAJOR buzz right now but has yet to "break out" mainstream style. All that may change in the coming months if she gets some awards during awards season. But at the moment, she's still "hungry" and "daring".
Also, strategically, I think she's in a position to get things moving if she's interested. Seems like she has good connections.
Yeah I used WhoRepresents. Then I called to double check if the information was correct.
Everyone here is being WAY too nice. I think you should tell your unsupportive, dream-killer of a "friend" to go #$%@ themselves.
Are things getting any better at TRIGGERSTREET? I'm still debating whether to give it a try.
Can you still choose scripts to review? I thought I heard Kevin Spacey say that the script assignments would be random. That sounds more fair.
Being able to pick makes it too easy to flame (or unfairly prop people up).
So what's the latest?
I don't need reviews. I've already received a ton of reviews from a variety of sources. Professional, personal, screenwriting workshops, etc...
If I put my script up on Triggerstreet, MY purpose would be for exposure. That's why I'm still trying to get a feel for what's going on there. Seeing if Triggerstreet will work out the kinks.
I just set up my first meeting with a production company who wants to option one of my scripts.
It's a small company with verifiable credits and a few good connections, so I don't know what to expect.
Anyone here who has done this before? Please give me ALL the advice you can. Or recommend me to some good sites that have good tips.
This has been helpful so far. I'm going to consult with a lawyer before I go in.
Randy, $10,000!? That sounds like Big Studio money. This is a small company.
Anyone else have any helpful suggestions?
I haven't even had my first meeting yet. We (meaning me & the company) need to feel each other out first.
If I like them and they like me, then we will discuss contracts.
And if it gets to that point, I'm not going to discuss a contract here on the message board. I'll discuss it with a lawyer.
I'm just trying to get a feel for what to expect from people here who've done it before.
Yeah, I've been there. Especially with the last script I wrote. I've had TONS of people read it. The comments were all over the map. Including on what they thought the genre was.
So I've being relying on myself to judge what's right and wrong. Can't please everyone. Can only please myself.
Now, I have no problem if/when someone buys it they want to go in a particular direction with re-writes. Just pay me and I'll do what you say.
Yeah, K-19: The Widowmaker, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, The Four Feathers, Gangs of New York...
All suppose to be blockbusters made for $100 mil plus - TANKING BIG TIME!!! Faith
Crap gets made and makes money
Crap gets made and loses money
Quality gets made and makes money
Quality gets made and looses money
INDIE FILMS Crap gets made and makes money Crap gets made and loses money Quality gets made and makes money Quality gets made and looses money
It's all a big gamble. No guarantees. Some people are better gamblers than others.
Just focus on your own work, getting it made and marketed. Stop worrying about all the other stuff you have no control over.
Just my 2cents :O)
A movie I will forever worship because of it's brilliance on every single level, from the writing, acting, directing and technical is REAR WINDOW. It doesn't get any better than this people.
I'll also always love BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S for the incomparable coupling of Truman Capote's writing and Audrey Hepburn.
I also admire the brilliance of all things Bob Fosse and John Hughes (the early years) each for completely different reasons.
Geez, if you think this place is bad, go check out message boards like Project Greenlight. It's like the 9th circle of Hell compared to this joint.
I don't expect this place to give me everything I need. But the people here have been helpful from time to time. I don't have any expectations beyond that. Maybe that's why I'm not disappointed.
Is anyone else getting this?
For months I have been receiving personalized e-mails. Always referring to a SPECIFIC screenplay of mine. Asking me to enter. NOW, I got a PHONE CALL "reminding me" to enter. Not a recording. A real person.
Please, let me know, is this happening to anyone else?
I'm just curious. I know TREATMENTS have been sold before. I've always wondered how that worked.
I wonder if production co's and agency's prefer reading a short treatment vs. a long screenplay. Just to see if they like an idea.
I'm not being lazy. I've completed full length screenplays. I'm working on another one. And I tend to like writing a detailed "treatment" so to speak before I dive into writing the screenplay.
Since co's re-write everything anyways, maybe it makes more sense to send in a treatment.
Also, I talked to a working screenwriter recently. Has worked solidly on TV shows for the past 11 years (including THE SIMPSONS and THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW). He said that he felt alot of the agents were quite lazy with their reading and prefer you make it as easy for them as possible. The less they have to think, the better.
Can anyone give me the pro's and con's of this method?
Like the guy said about. BenderSpink is pretty big. You're lucky as an unrepresented writer to get a read from them at all.
It's not surprising that it took them months. And you're lucky they even took the time to reply to you. Because, half the time, they don't even bother.
I understand you being frustrated and POed at the wait, but it only hurts YOU to go off on them like that. These people talk amongst each other, you know. You never know if they talk to someone at another company that is reading your script currently.
It's always in your best interest to be polite and professional even if you think THEY aren't.
I've done it twice.
First with Julia Stiles. I talked to her manager and she gave me contact info for Julia's fledgling production company. They let me send a query letter but that's as far as it got.
Then I tried Maggie Gyllenhaal's manager. They let me send a script. They liked the script. But wouldn't pass it on to Maggie because I didn't have any finacing or production company attached to it.
This is sad to hear. I've used them twice to great success. I guess in the future I'll have to use other services.
So Scriptblaster? What else is there?
NO, I haven't heard anything yet. Have any of you?
I know they said they would send stuff out by next week. But what I would like to know is - if you made it to the quarter-finals, do you get notified by e-mail or snail mail like everyone else?
I guess I should reply to the post I started! LOL!
I got my letter too. I got a little personal note saying I was:
"Among the next 50"
I'm actually thrilled to bits that I got that far. And my calculations tell me that means I was in the top 6%. YAY ME!!
I'm going to Pitch Fest this week-end and you can bet I will be telling every company this.
Colin O'Reilly is with Origin Talent Agency: http://www.origintalent.com/
He was at Fade In's PitchFest on August 3, 2003. Along side companies like Dreamworks and New Line. I would suspect he's quite legit.
If you check the Who's Buying what section. You see that this agency has posted a sale recently along with Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment.
I remember reading somewhere that Origin and Energy have started to work together to develop literary talent.
He asked for one of my scripts. I DON'T expect to hear from him IMMEDIATELY.
He probably has stacks and stacks of scripts to go through. I will follow up with him in about 6 weeks if I don't hear from him before then.
Well in most of my experiences, they do get back. But not right away, usually within 3 months.
It's because they have stacks and stacks of material to go through. AND, if you are sending them an unsolicited script (meaning not through an established agent, manager, lawyer or some other connection) - you're not exactly at the top of their priority list.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to be read at all.
I totally agree Z. There is a lot of "hurry up and wait" going on in Hollywood.
Hollywood is not known for it's efficiency or it's politeness and manners. And writer's aren't the only people who get stepped on. Lot's of struggling actors, and below the line people have had their moments of mistreatment and getting hosed too.
Yes, it sucks. Yes, it's not fair. But as they say "That's (Hollywood) Life". And if you can't handle it, then maybe this business isn't for you.
I've read the other thread. I saw a wide range of attitudes.
And I'm not complacent. Nor am I suggesting that others should be. I'm saying that a writer has to figure out how to play the game.
There are times when patience is needed. There are times when you need to get a little pushy and aggressive. There are things you just have to put up with to get ahead. And there are things you shouldn't have to put up with.
We will just have to agree to disagree on what those "times" and "things" are.
Listen, I get frustrated and POed just as much as the next person. And everyone is entitled to vent. I vent all the time - to my friends in a more private manner.
Because you never now who's watching and it could get back to the person you are venting about. Then you could develop a bad rep.
I just don't think it is in anyone's best interest to go on well known screenwriting boards and start naming specific names to vent your rage upon.
Especially when there is an extremely good chance that that person is perusing the board.
This is an interesting turn of events. I wonder who has my script. ORIGIN or Colin O'Reilly? I think I will make a call.
I called, I left a message with someone. All I know right now is that someone else besides Colin signed for my script when it was delivered (sent it certified mail).
No, I don't think it was the front desk person. This person's name was on the staff list of the 5 or 6 names to choose from.
I really do appreciate Terri actually making the effort and finding out the information on Colin. It was a smart PRO-ACTIVE thing to do. As oppossed to whining incessently about the state of the Hollywood system. Which is what I saw a lot of.
I still stand by everything I said. Sometimes you need to be patient. Sometimes you need to be a little aggressive and pushy (which is what Terri did) AND It's not smart to bitch and moan on a public board about specific people. You're only going to end up screwing yourself.
But, hey, go ahead and continue on the way you were going.
Bumping to see if there is any news.
Thanks for the info! Good to know.
Yes, legit companies ask for release forms. United Talent Agency had me sign a release form before they read my scripts.
For those of you who entered and want to know.
"First round notification letters will be mailed to all applicants by Sept. 21."
At least that is what they told me.
Does anyone know when they will be sending out notices for quarter-finals, semis, finals, etc?
Do they even do that?
• Writers Network Screenplay Competition Deadline: Expired. Previous Deadline: 05/31/2003 Objective: To give new and talented writers the chance to pursue a career in film and television. Contest judging by WGA Signatory Agencies. (Entry fee: $35) [More Details]
I'm aware of all this Terri. I was just trying to find out if anyone knew when the notices were going out.
Nevermind, they finally got back to me. Quarterfinalist notices will go out around September 30th.
Spec Script vs. Shooting Script
I've gotten several screenplays from Book City Collectibles in LA. Classics like "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Rear Window" or modern movies like "Bridget Jone's Diary" and "My Best Friend's Wedding".
And they were NOT the shooting script. I doubt they were the original first draft - but they were definately different than the final product.
It was fascinating and really education to see the changes from script to screen. Lines of dialogue taken out, scenes taken out. Scenes shortened or combined or moved around. And the shooting version was always an improvement than the earlier version.
For example, the early version of the "Bridget Jones" script I read was HORRIBLE. It was all over the place and NOTHING like the final version. And I LOVED the final version.
In the draft of "Breakfast At Tiffany's" I read - there was a lovely scene that didn't make it into the movie. But it wasn't necessary. So I understand why they took it out.
So I highly recommend reading scripts. Here is the web site:
Are they still checking loglines that are uploaded to the site?
I uploaded a logline 2 weeks ago and haven't gotten a response. It's been a year since I last tried it but I remember them taking less than a week to respond.
Are they still checking loglines (just slower); or has the site been abandoned?
I'm thinking of trying ScriptBlaster.
Say I already have a query letter prepared and ready to go. How quickly do they get your query out once you've placed an order?
I'd ask for points on GROSS sales instead of "profits". Too easy to manipulate books to fudge profits.
Points off of the box office take, the video sales, etc...
And then I would be thankful for the embarrassment of riches just bestowed upon you.
I believe some of you have representation/managers.
What do you look for in a manager? Before you decide what type of questions do you ask?
What do managers look for in YOU as a client?
I anxiously await your wisdom.
Milk those contest placements for all it's worth!
Honorable Mention, quarter-finalist, semi-finalist, finalist, winner - put them ALL in there if you got 'em. It DOES help.
Hellooooooo? Is this it? This CAN'T be the extent of people's wisdom on the subject.
Thank you Ron, that was very helpful.
These people have already read all of my scripts and asked what other stuff I was working on.
I've been keeping a running list of submissions and responses for myself. Good to know that might come in handy soon.
This past week-end I started making a list of my influences and favorite movies and such (an idea I got from another board).
I went to UCLA. I HIGHLY recommend it! They have online programs too.
I did the Professional Program (1 year) for the Certificate.
I learned oodles about how to write a feature length screenplay. I had never written one before (only did TV specs).
It layed an excellent foundation.
Sorry, don't know anything about the online program. Don't know anyone who has taken it either.
This was one of the more informative posts I've read in a long time.
I often wondered about this.
Has anyone gotten their rejection letters yet? I haven't. I figured I wuld now.
I need my closure.
I case you're wondering. I e-mailed the program today and got this prompt response:
Fellows for the 2004 Program have been selected and all contacted via telephone.
Written notification has been mailed out to all television applicants; expect letters to be sent out to feature candidates within the next week or so.
A press announcement will release the names of the Fellows later in the year.
Thank you very much for your interest in our program.
I just saw that.
Looks like this year they will charge a submission fee. They haven't listed the amount yet.
I hope this means they will hire professional readers to review the scripts and not have the contestants judge each other (which I have always thought was a terrible idea).
And it looks like they are being genre specific this year too - Horror, Thriller, Action or Comedy.
I got my e-mail on Friday. Here are the contents:
Attention Project Greenlight Members, On behalf of Miramax, LivePlanet, and our presenting sponsor, HP, we're extremely happy to announce the 3rd Project Greenlight Contest. Although the Official Rules are not yet posted we wanted to provide prospective contestants with enough information to begin preparing their entries now.
Please visit the Project Greenlight web site for more information and check back over the next few weeks for updates:
THE NEW CONTEST This year's Project Greenlight Contest, like last year's, will actually be two individual contests that run concurrently--a Screenplay Contest and Director Contest. Contestants may enter one or both contests.
We've made some improvements to the contest format based on our experience from the first two contests and feedback from contestants and community members. Information about these changes, along with the contest timeline, Official Rules and other information regarding the contest will be available on the Project Greenlight web site over the next week or so.
Please do not email or call with questions, we will post all information to the site as it becomes available.
We look forward to reviewing your submissions and we hope you'll take the time to enter when the submission period begins in a few weeks!
HP ROLLS OUT THE RED CARPET FOR PROJECT GREENLIGHT Hewlett Packard announces that it has become the exclusive presenting sponsor of the Project Greenlight Contest. In the next few weeks, HP will also be announcing an additional element of Project Greenlight - the ability for just about anyone around the world to participate using easy-to-use consumer technology from HP. Stay tuned...
BRAVO TO OFFER TELEVSION SERIES TO OVER 70 MILLON HOUSEHOULDS Maintaining momentum from its breakout summer, Bravo has ordered nine hour-long episodes of the upcoming Project Greenlight series... http://projectgreenlight.liveplanet.com/bravo_announce.htm
SPECIAL OFFER FOR PROJECT GREENLIGHT MEMBERS Write Brothers' Award-Winning Movie Magic ScreenwriterTM is the official screenwriting software of Project Greenlight.* Project Greenlight members can purchase the software at a great discount, saving you as much as 40% off the retail price.
Visit the store: http://store.write-bros.com/160703/Default.aspx
Already own screenwriting software? Project Greenlight members can get a special competitive upgrade to Movie Magic Screenwriter for 64% off the retail price!
Visit the store: http://store.write-bros.com/160703/Default.aspx
* Use of the softare is not a contest requirement and will in no way will affect a contestant's standing.
************************************************************** If you would like to be taken off our e-mail list please send an e-email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word "REMOVE" in the subject line.
Are you registered as a member?
I was involved in the 1st PGL, thus I'm on their mailing list. Although I could have sworn I asked to be taken off.
This is from E!Online:
Bravo Gets "Greenlight"
by Josh Grossberg Jan 7, 2003, 3:20 PM PT
Bravo is getting HBO's hand-me-downs.
The NBC-owned cable network announced Wednesday that it has signed up for the next season of Project Greenlight, the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck movie contest/reality series that had aired on HBO the past two years.
a d v e r t i s e m e n t "We're thrilled to be partnered with Miramax and producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore," Bravo president Jeff Gaspin said in a statement. "This glimpse of the creative process of filmmaking is a perfect fit for our brand, and we're thrilled with the prospect of providing Project Greenlight the kind of elevated platform it deserves."
The deal comes after HBO summarily axed Project Greenlight despite two solid seasons.
Bravo will air nine new episodes of the Emmy-nominated reality series, which will again chronicle the misadventures of an amateur filmmaker as he/she gets a $1 million budget and attempts to complete a feature film for Miramax.
"Project Greenlight has tapped into this country's appetite for wanting to know how a film gets made, with all of the ups and downs that are a regular part of the process and thus we want to continue to bring this compelling series to audiences," Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said. "Once it was decided to move the show to a network with a broader household reach, Bravo became a clear choice.
The addition of Project Greenlight further bolsters Bravo's increasingly formidable lineup. The basic cable network has scored in the past year with the original series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Celebrity Poker Showdown, in addition to reruns of Fear Factor and The Amazing Race and its long-running signature series Inside the Actor's Studio.
Greenlight, dreamed up by the Good Will Hunting guys as a way to discover would-be Spielbergs and help them get their projects made, quickly garnered a cult following as viewers became addicted to the weekly trials and tribulations of making a feature film--from script meetings and the casting process to all the major and minor day-to-day crises during shooting.
But while the series was popular, the fruits of the novice filmmakers' efforts were not: Pete Jones' 2002 film Stolen Summer and Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin's 2003 effort The Battle of Shaker Heights both bombed in limited release. That track record, coupled with Damon and Affleck being MIA for much of the second season and Greenlight partner and driving force Chris Moore reluctance to commit to another go-round, led to HBO pulling the plug.
This time around, Weinstein & Co. say they are no longer interested in playing it safe with cheesy coming-of-age dramas that played out more like after-school specials than edgy features.
"The potential of a horror or thriller film is a great way to infuse a new angle into the show, just as we did last year by separating the screenwriter from the directors," said Weinstein.
The third season's contest rules and exact dates have not been released, but it's expected the winners for the third season will be chosen by next summer and the film set to begin shooting by fall.
Project Greenlight will join several new series in the Bravo roster. Also on deck for 2004: Underexposed, a show produced by Will & Grace's Sean Hayes in which two amateur filmmakers are pitted against each other in a contest to make a short film; Blow Out, a new reality series detailing what it's like to be in a long-term relationship; and Project Runway, a Miramax-backed, fashion-themed take on Greenlight.
Bravo 'Greenlight' Miramax shifts reality filmmaking series By DENISE MARTIN
Related Miramax, Bravo fashion new reality
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Comcast ready for Rupe 1/7/04 4:41pm Bravo and Miramax are making it two for two. NBC-owned cabler announced it was teaming with Miramax on a second project -- the third season of "Project Greenlight" -- Wednesday during the second day of the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
Bravo and Miramax previously announced a partnership on "Project Runway," a 10-part competition skein for would-be designers (Daily Variety, Nov. 4).
"Greenlight" will premiere in early 2005 with nine hourlong episodes. Docu series originally aired on HBO, with 13 half-hours last season.
"This glimpse into the creative process of filmmaking is a perfect fit for our brand, and we're thrilled with the prospect of providing the series the kind of platform it deserves on Bravo," Bravo prexy Jeff Gaspin said.
"We are proud to add 'Greenlight' to our wide-ranging relationship with Bravo as we have seen what they have done to create a groundswell for some of their other series, and we are confident they will be able to help us create similar interest in this series as well," Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein said.
Show is produced for Miramax TV by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore and Sean Bailey of LivePlanet with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magic Elves. Bravo's Frances Berwick and Jamila Hunter will also exec produce the new season.
Miramax co-prexy of production Bob Osher said the company shifted the show to Bravo in hopes of reaching a bigger aud -- Bravo now reaches 75 million homes while the pay cabler reaches less than half of that. HBO had licensed "Greenlight" on a season-by-season basis.
"We had great times with HBO. It was just time for a change, and Bravo gives us the potential for greater TV and a larger turnout," Osher said. "There are some twists for the upcoming season which I think will make the show even better than last season."
Changes include restricting aspiring scribes to a genre script, but one that can range from a period drama to a horror pic or thriller. Move is unsurprising since the two movies to come out of "Greenlight," both coming-of-age tales, didn't become box office success stories.
Chris Moore will continue as exec producer but hand off his day-to-day producing duties to someone else to be determined, Osher said. "He'll still be the seasoned voice for the show though," he said.
They have samples of synopsis on their site.
None of them seem too detailed or long.
I'm about to do it myself. But I'm putting up a one page "pitch" instead of a synopsis so to speak.
I just did 2 script placements. In the SYNOPSIS section it says "keep it to ONE page - about 450 words".
There is also a place you can upload a more detailed TREATMENT too.
That's the million dollar question, isn't it?
Don't know. But I e-mailed them and they said the Official Rules will come out Monday - hopefully.
That should clear up all questions then.
BUT, looks like after the first cut to 1000, they will bring in 3rd Party Readers.
A vast improvement.
They have stated that a HORROR or THRILLER is their "preference". And will give the above the advantage when scoring. But they are open to other genres too.
They definatley want to avoid the coming-of-age drama/after school special stories they produced the past two years.
They are more interested in screenplays that fit into a clearcut genre. Preferably THRILLER or HORROR but previously they mentioned straight up COMEDY or ACTION too.
FROM THE SITE:
B. Screenplay Submission Guidelines. Promoter seeks to produce a film that falls into one of the following categories: horror or thriller.
***While any screenplay that adheres to the rules of the Contest as specified in these Official Rules, and that does not violate the terms of the Participation Agreement agreed to as part of the Site registration process, will be accepted into the Contest, Contestants should be aware that scoring will be weighted in the discretion of Promoter to favor these film genres.***
***Promoter seeks to produce a film that will receive a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. While any screenplay that adheres to the rules of the Contest as specified in these Official Rules, and that does not violate the terms of the Participation Agreement agreed to as part of the Site registration process, will be accepted into the Contest, Contestants should be aware that scoring will be weighted in the discretion of Promoter to favor screenplays that might reasonably receive a rating that is no more restrictive than "PG-13." ***
I don't think it's "new writers" per se as it is SPEC SCRIPTS. New material.
I recently went to a seminar called "The Greenlight Generator", given by a man who has worked in many areas of the industry - agent, producer, studio executive, etc...
He discussed all the different "elements" that are needed for a project to get the greenlight. I don't have the list in front of me right now but I will type them up later this evening.
Anyway, there were about 15 things he listed and discussed. In short, it's a major feat for ANYTHING to get greenlighted. Therefore a lot of producers are playing it safe with material that would be easier to get greenlighted - i.e. re-makes of old movies, TV series, comic books, video games, best-selling novels, etc... Things with built in audiences that are more of a "sure bet" so to speak.
I'm just as frustrated. I'm a "new writer" with spec scripts. I've gotten read quite a bit by many good companies. I'd say 8 times out of 10 I've been complimented on my writing and often had more work requested.
I've even gotten close to an option or a sale on at least 3 different occassions - but in the end, I get turned down. They're quite nice about it, they tell me to "keep writing, you're very talented" but I'll be honest, I'm completely disheartened right now.
At this point I don't know what else to do to break through - short of praying for a miracle.
Since everyone is talking about "Where have all the spec scripts gone" and "No New Writers Are hired" etc...
I mentioned in another thread how I took a seminar that discussed the elements it takes to get a project greenlighted. Hopefully this will shed some light on the screenplay selling/buying market.
SELLER'S ACTION INDEX
*Surveys industry trends
*Surveys Product trends
*Selects the screenplay/Property
*Determines the market sector
*Surveys buyer trends (and supplier competition)
*Plans the initial trajectory of the sales strategy
*Gets specialists advisors and representation (attorney, agent, manager) who provide ACCESS and influence modification of the project and the plan.
In Accordance With The Plan
**Performs sales pitches to AUSPICES
**Attaches Auspices (production company or intermediary buyer)
**Evaluates other value-adding elements - creative, financial and business
**Attaches selected ELEMENTS (director, star actor(s), necessary financing sources and business allies)
**Matches the screenplay/project to qualified Distributor-Buyers
**Performs Sales pitches to distributor-buyers
**Improves the screenplay/project and the pitch until a sale is accomplished, a deal is negotiated and signed and payments are received
**Supports pre-production activities where the project is set up at least until production gets a greenlight
I didn't post that list as something I think one should adhere to. I was just sharing information as to how it's done in many sectors in Hollywood. Since there has been a lot of openly expressed frustration over what it takes to sell a spec script.
I'M frustrated too. I don't look at that list as my personal guide. I look at it and see that getting a movie made has VERY little to do with the screenwriter and the material. It's sad and frustrating.
I don't know what the answers are. I'm currently fed up and looking to take a bit of a break.
Wow, that sounds SO familiar. But the refrain I usually hear is "We love your writing but we can 'generate enough enthusiasm' to get behind it."
I've always wondered what they meant by that. So maybe it means "I have neither the money, the connections or the clout to get your project greenlighted".
I just received my umpteenth letter from a management company stating that they love everything about my writing but they "do not feel passionate enough about the material to pursue it further".
Are managers today interested in representing writers, guiding their careers and getting them work for hire gigs and taking their 10%? That's what I've always been told.
Or are they interested solely in selling an individual screenplay and taking their cut? Getting the "big sell"?
If there are any managers/agents lurking, please chime in.
I think I'm realisitc. I realize that selling a spec script is a rarity. Even for established writers. Especially these days where they'll re-make and adapt any existing product instead of developing original material.
Sure I would love to sell an original. But my MAIN goal was always to be a working writer. I figured if I got a manager who believed in my talent, they would take me on and help me get jobs. Then they would take their 10 - 15%. Right?
Or am I wrong? Or am I doing something wrong? PLEASE tell me. What should I be doing. Because I'm at a total loss here.
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