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If you notice, the uploads go very quickly on InZide. I think (suspect) they only upload maybe the first 30 pages of a script, and if they are interested in seeing more, they ask for a hard copy. Most production companies only read to page 30. They don't have the peoplepower to do otherwise. If you don't get their interest in that amount of time, you get rejected. If they like what they read, they'll read on. Hence the importance of plot points and structure. So, I would say having them ask for a paper copy of your script is a good thing. Hope that helps and best of luck!
Hey, I am almost 40 years old. My writing partner and I have been at this for 10 years. We are both business professionals and it took us 9 years to get an agent, and that's AFTER placing in 7 national screenwriting contests! We just now finally starting to see some headway.
There is no such thing as an "overnight" success, and those writers that do make it "overnight" usually fade away. Writing is an art. The more you live, the better you get. Remember that, and keep going! (PS- Unlike actors, we can get old and flabby and nobody cares!)
I agree with Daphne. Get out the WGA list of agents and start calling. If you tell them that you have a potential deal in the works, they may be more willing to speak with you. You don't have to call William Morris or CAA, but there are a lot of boutique WGA signatory agents that could go in and negotiate for you. They can also negotiate things like residuals for you, which you can't do on your own (or aren't likley to understand). Your response to the producer should be, "Great. I'm working on getting in touch with my agent (or attorney). Can I have them call you directly?" Oh, this is not my advice. My mentor worked for CBS and MGM and has given this advice to me.
PS- Worry about getting a sale and a decent deal for yourself first. That's the most important thing, as it will put you in a whole other league. No producer can 100% promise you that your movie will ever get made. The sale is only the beginning of the development cycle and it's a chance you take.
But congratulations and good luck!
Okay, what do some of ya'll (I live in the South, sorry) think? It seems that readers at most production companies only read to page 10 now. So what if you're writing something that's not a "formula script?" I know it's harder to sell a script if it's not "formula," but for a character-driven/cable MOW or indie-type script, would you say it's okay if your story is well-crafted to have the first major plot point come out at page 15 or 17 instead of page 10? I'd love to hear from all the drama writers out there, especially anyone who has optioned or sold to a production company.
Thank you both for your comments.
Normally, you can't send in a corrected copy. I wouldn't worry too much. Some contests (not all, but some) overlook things like this if the script isn't loaded with them. They know that many writers "test the waters" with their script on the first draft to see how they do. The good news is, you caught them before you sent it to any production companies. PS- I placed in Austin with a script a few years ago and I found a couple of in mine that I corrected. I found that I can't proof my own work, because I know what it's supposed to say.
Hope that helps.
Case in point... I just made a boo boo in my post? ;.)
Hi, fellow Byters... ;.)
Does anyone have any contact info for Catch 23? I have found info on them but no contact info.
I read an article in I [think] Variety a month or so back. I see on "Who's Buying What" that they are buying. Any info would be greatly appreciated... good... bad or otherwise.
That's a fairly standard response. A company like Ron Howard's only deals with agents... usually. I say "usually" because there's always that one exception to every rule. I got my script read by Ivan Reitman's company before I ever had an agent. They asked me to send it through an entertainment attorney.
Like the previous post said, you can focus on getting an agent or a manager now who could help you to get into some of those doors. It's kind of a Catch 22, because if you haven't sold anything, the really good agents won't talk to you... again... usually. There's always that one guy who will say... "I got CAA to rep me on my first spec script," and to him (or her) I would say... "Wow, you got lucky!" Sometimes, you have to know somebody.
But there are some decent agents and managers who make their living on working with newer writers and will take you on if you have a good script. And because some of these are smaller agencies, you get a lot more personal attention and they hustle more for you because they need to make a living, too. Again, the trick is finding that right match. And if you find one of these folks, you'll still have to keep hustling on your own. So keep trying.
Also, there are some smaller prodcos that will take a look at your script without an agent. They may require you to sign a release form. Mostly, they just want a paper trail so if they end up taking a script that's something like the one you wrote, that you won't sue them.
At any rate, it's a numbers game. If you don't already have "Hollywood Creative Directory" or subsribe to "Who's Buying What," get yourself something that lists prodcos contact info and start sending out letters. I have an agent now and I still have to hustle on my own, as I am not his only client. In the first 3 weeks I subscribed to "Who's Buying What," I followed the links, figured out who to query and I had 10 requests for my various (4) scripts and one for a treatment! Even my agent it like... "Wow! You want to hang up your shingle?"
The trick I found is just not sending to anyone. I research what types of movies they do, when they last bought a script, who they work with, do they seem to have any money... Anyone can call themselves a producer. They key is to finding those who are really legit. Not an easy task and you will make some mistakes. That method seems to work well for me.
Everyone has their own little secrets. Those are mine Hope you find that info helpful.
You guys are just too darn good for words!
By the way, in case you're wondering, I prefer Este' Lauder! ;.)
While I can't provide you with the address or contact names, I do know a writer who sold to "Deep Space Nine," altough it wasn't easy. "Star Trek" is one of the few series out there that will look at scripts from outside. My best advice is that the Writers Guild of America publishs a magazine and I know that they at least used to list contact info for shows that were open to outside submissions. Most of the shows that were open to submissions were ones that had been on the air for some time and the staff writers were moving on to other things.
The first thing I ever wrote in the 90's was an episode of "In the Heat of the Night." Through and agent that I acquired through a screenwriting class, she called them up and they took a look. Sometimes, they'll pass but sometimes they'll at least buy your story idea. Normally, though, they'll have staff writers write the draft that goes to screen, unless you are a known.
Others may have other experiences. I don't have the writer's current contact info (the one who sold to "Star Trek," but as I said, the WGAW may still have a list available and you might pull the info from there.
Hope that's helpful.
Sorry... I meant "through an agent, not AND..." can't drink and write. ;.)
Has anyone out there ever entered the Screen Arts Foundation Contest? There is a link to their webside from Moviebytes, however, I do not see that anyone has entered anything under the "Contest Report Card."
I got a "call for submissions" email from them today. I had never heard of them prior. The website looks pretty good but any info on the contest would be greatly appreciated.
Yes, they requested one of my scripts by name. I don't have my script listed anywhere on "Moviebytes." I wondered if they got it off of a query I sent to someone else? That's what promoted me to ask everyone if they'd ever entered before.
Sorry, I meant "promted..." very long day!
I have never used Venice Arts or any service for that matter. I've always done my marketing through query letters and/or through my agent. Strange. Still, nobody entered this contest last year?
Hey, I didn't realize this string picked up again. Thanks for responding.
I have always felt that it's best to write what you love to write. It's been my humble observation that those who write great characters end up being more than one-scripters. Meaning that 10, 20, 30 years go by, and you still see their name as screenwriters because they can write good characters.
There is so much talk in Hollywood about having to be "young" to make it. In fact, I made a comment on another string one time about a good writer being able to make it at any age and someone disagreed with me like I was from Mars (I am, but that's beside the point). Or are women from Venus...? Anyway...
Think about some of the older, great writers... Buck Henry, Harold Ramis, my favorite, Nora... to name a few. All still kicking around. True, they do other things than write (produce/direct), but they all started as writers and they all write great characters.
Okay, enough of my babbling...
Paula, I think I'll do just that. Miriam, I agree, it's odd we can't find the common thread.
I did the same thing and they told me the same. Feel free to email me if you'd like at MKWrites2@aol.com, and we can try to figure this out.
Yes, but the problem is, I don't want to go see over half of what gets made. It amazes me how what many producers feel is "good writing," has such shallow characters and you can set your watch by the plot points (that's what I meant by "formula" movie, by the way). In fact, people go because that's what Hollywood gives them. But when something with really great characters (like "Forrest Gump") comes out, people flock week after week after week. They see the movie two or three times and they buy the videos, DVD, etc. It's not just a "score big at the box office one weekend and then fall off the face of the plant" movie.
I know that Gump was based on a book, but it seems like when Production Companies want to do something character-driven, they go outside of Hollywood to the literary world. I'm not sure if that's because screenwriters don't write that many good charcter-driven scripts because we're all told by our agents and by the insiders that they are "too hard to sell," or if it's because the studios don't want to take a chance on a character story unless it already has a following with a best selling book or play??? Or maybe it's a combination of both?
You've probably all heard the story about how hard is was to bring "Driving Miss Daisy" to the screen, even though it had been an award-winning play.
I mean it doesn't have to be a drama to be a good charcter-driven movie. I mean look at the "Lethal Weapon" movies. Look at "Indiana Jones." Those characters were well-developed as was "Beverly Hills Cop." But you just don't see that winning combination of good story and good characters much, unless it's something that's been adapted from a book. I wonder why that is? Are we selling our abilities out to make that quick sale? Or is it something that is beyond our control? I wonder?
I started the last thread on this when I got an email. I emailed Jen back, asking where the info came from and my reply from her was that "someone known to them" gave them the info.
I have come to the conclusion that some production companies don't read our query letters, rather they just pass them all along to these services who buy lists. Don't worry, Frederick, we know it's not coming from "Moviebytes," (not that I think it would anyway) but the script they requested from mine is not posted by name anywhere on this site. They are getting the info from query letters we send out. Period.
Actually, I get a little annoyed by this practice. I respect that production companies get swamped with query letters and I also respect that have the right not to read them. But they should not be able to sell your information for money unless it's stated in a release form that they can do so. I wonder what the WGA's position is on production companies doing that?
I meant from me, not from "mine." Honestly, you must all think I drink and write sometimes. Never before 5 PM! ;.)
It depends on how much wine I've had as to how "motivated" I am. ;.) Just kidding.
Interesting, Miriam. That would make sense, since we all send out query letters weekly.
I think it's the "approach" that they used that made us all skeptical. Mayve if they'd sent out an email explaining in more detail who they were and what companies they deal with. Maybe said something like, "You sent a query to ______, they thought it was interesting, but not their genre of choice."
Did you respond back to them?
So, I guess they have to take that "cynical" comment back then?
But, I had never posted to a script list site. No, I think it's off of a query. Does it really matter, though? I mean, they got our info somehow. Maybe it's a combo of both.
Really, when I started the first thread on this, I just wanted to know if anyone had ever entered this contest before.
You know how there have been a couple threads on this board about the contest that emailed everyone asking for their script? Well, if it's not bad enough we get emails from Storybay, now they are calling and soliciting business on the phone!
I got a call a couple of minutes ago saying that I had submitted 7 query letters that got "passed on" to them by production companies, and was I getting any response from my query letters. I just told him that I didn't believe in services such as Storybay, and that, yes, I was doing just fine getting people to read my scripts on my own. I politely ended the conversation. The guy was polite enough, though, and I am certain he's only doing his job.
Now, not to knock anyone who uses or used these services, but I know that they reject 95% of what they get. So why should I pay some service to tell me that I suck and that they are not going to post my script when I can get that by sending my script off to someone on my own?
I am very selective on what contests I enter for that very same reason. If I ever enter a contest, which I enter fewer these days, it's because it's a very well-respected contest that can get you some real exposure (an award to put on the writer's resume... but at least you can get something for your money).
Seriously, I just don't get the value in the concept of services like Storybay. It's like paying a producer to consider your work. Especially, since there are some ways that you can get a decent agent or manager to get the exposure for you. Even if you send of queries on your own, you get a great deal of "no thanks," but isn't that all part of the game that we love to hate?
Everything Rod said plus be excited about your work and seem confident. And be prepared to answer questions about your script.
The very first time I posted to Moviebytes was in response to a post Mitchell had made entitled "4th and last rejection." He seemed very down on himself and his writing career even several months ago. At the time, not knowing any of you (still don't, really) I thought that maybe he was just going through a writer's funk, as his response to my post was rather critical. I wrote it off at the time to someone who had just gotten one too many rejection letters in a row. Hey, we've all been there, right?
I haven't been posting on the board much lately, because I've been away, so I wasn't aware of his last posting, because I didn't go into that thread at all until I read this and then went and checked what you all were talking about.
I have some training in psychology myself. I use it on the corporate side of life (management training, etc) but it's all the same psychology. From seeing his posts over the last several months, deep down, I think that Mitchell knew that his post would turn into a debate. Everything on this site does. It sounds like those of you who knew him from more than this board tried their best to get through on the side. For the rest of you, look at it this way: You were being yourselves, which is what Mitchell came to his board for. The same people that Mitch loved to talk to every day. Maybe, just maybe, you brought a minute of brightness into his world by taking so much interest in his post.
Look, we don't know what kind of help he maybe tried to seek on the outside. Maybe a loved one or a friend let him down. Maybe, like Ashley said, he went for professional help and it didn't. On the flipside to Ashley's post, that suicide counselor most likely did not follow procedure with your friend. Most of the hotlines I know of, stay on the phone with the person and send help if need be. It's a shame she had such a horrible experience. But you know, too, one type of intervention does not always work for the next guy or gal. So, what worked for Ashley in her situation may not work for someone else.
It's perfectly okay to grieve. In fact, you need to. Especailly if you knew him and pray, too... to your own God, if that's your thing, or pray for him, if that's your thing. But, please don't beat yourselves up. There's a lot of good, well-meaning people on here. We all have our faults and our shortcomings, but isn't that what being human is all about?
I don't know if this helped any of you or not. I hope it did. I feel horrible for those of you who were close to Mitchell who lost a friend, and I feel very badly that it had to come to this. This is why, as someone else said earlier, we have to have full lives outside of our writing careers. A very small percentage of writers actually make enough at writng in their lifetime to support themselves. We need to look at each opportunity we get with our writing as a blessing (that we are luckier than the average Joe), rather than looking at only the rejections and failures.
In fact, anyone up for making a pact that we try to stay away from talking about rejection, etc, on these boards for a while and really make it into a resource-sharing/helping kind of place? I think we'll all get a lot father focusing on the postive.
Sorry for the errors in my post. I didn't proofread very well before I sent it. Sorry for the length, too.
Seems like you knew Mitchell fairly well. How old a guy was he? I didn't interact with him much here, so I don't know much about him, I am sorry to say. Sounds like you all thought very highly of him.
My husband is a Navy vet. If you have some specific questions, I'll be happy to ask him.
I am just wondering if anyone entered this contest last time around? They sent out emails yesterday, indicating that the contest was a go again for the fall.
It seems like a great opportunity. The only thing that concerns me a little is the judging. The first round is by fellow participants and reviewers, who are volunteers. Not that peer evals can't be "on target" or helpful. My concern is while I am an honest person who would give honest treatment to another's script that I am asked to review, I know there are a great deal of folks out there who just want to win at any cost. How do they keep people from just going in and giving others scripts bad reviews on purpose or someone from getting all of their friends to sign up as reviewers? Don't you think this could open up a can of worms?
I guess I am used to contests with judges who are impartial. If I know they have some safeguards in place, I'll probably enter. I wonder how anyone who participated last time felt about the judging process?
Any thoughts? Again, I know it's a great opportunity.
I don't know if you saw the thread that I posted on this earlier today, but I am not sure about the judging. I mean to pay $30 to have other writers rate your work, when they want to win the contest, too? I think the contest is a great opportunity, but I am not sure if the judging will be all that impartial.
This year, you don't get to direct. They have a contest for director's, too, and that person gets to direct the winning screenplay.
I may still enter. I do like the comparison to "Weakest Link," though. The script that won last year was very cute, but when I read it, it had a bunch of formatting errors in it. So I guess they are looking for story over technique?
Sorry, I meant directors, not director's. I can't type some days.
Bill, those who have actually been reading what you posted and aren't too drunk or stoned to comprehend, know that you did way above and beyond what most people would do, or what most did, in your situation. Bill, you are a gem of a man. I am certain that your god and Mitch's god loves you for what you tried to do.
For those who would beg to differ, who shall remain nameless, remember, Mitch told everyone of his pain. Maybe it's you are acting out on others who did take action instead of react, because you are feeling guilty? People who live in glass houses should get some frickin' window treatments, so we don't have to look at their sorry little butts.
Case in point of what I am referring to with the peer judging. Of course they are going to say, "It sucks," because it's not their script. I still think it would be very easy to win a contest like that if you peppered the reviewers with your buddys.
Congrats on Austin. I made that second round with a script a couple of years back. It does open some doors.
I always wanted to be a bond girl. Seriously, we are sorry if some came across as abrupt. Miraim is right, we are flaky writers here. Commercial acting is a great place to start.
I meant Bond Girl. Geeze, either I can't type or I really have to stop taking all that ExLax before I go on to read these posts.
Anyone have any contact info on Loreen Arbus Productions or Magic Lanter Ent?
I meant Magic LANTERN ent. Wow, I am really getting off of here now. I can't seem to type at all tonight. Time for "Monk" anyway.
Anyone know of any production companies who are looking for dramas set in the South?
How long does it normally take for them to respond to a query?
I submitted to them. I believe I found their contact info on Done Deal. If you can't find it, contact me at my email, as per my bio on this site.
Do you have this info that you might share?
Is anyone going to Austin this year?
Still, I wonder who else had some experience with this contest?
Sorry to hear that you had to deal with that with your mom. I know it's probably made you the stronger person that you are today. I never had to deal with mental illness, but my mom has MS and it's hard enough to deal with that (the physical) sometimes.
I also agree with Correy that there's nothing more anyone on here could have done. Mitch seems like he had family. They may have tried to do something and even it didn't work. We may never know to what extent they were trying to reach him.
Okay, so they are running behind on responding to queries? I sent mine in May or June. I'll wait a little longer before I try them with another one of my scripts, just in case they want to read the first one.
I am just moving this message back up to the top of the pack, so it doesn't get lost in the clutter. If anyone has any info on either of these companies, I'd appreciate it.
Let us know how you liked the contest. I have some others I want to enter and I didn't want to spend millions on contests right now, so I opted not to go for it. But it did sound legit and I am thinking of doing so next year if I hear some good feedback.
I tried another thread to get this info, but I guess I wasn't noticed. ;.(
Anyway, anyone out there have any contact info on these two companies and/or info? I have heard good things about both.
Also, anyone out there interested in setting up kind of a an email lead swap. I do research on companies quite a bit and I come across leads that aren't always right for me. I am sure others do the same. Maybe we can help each other out by sharing information?
I was looking at that contest, too. I emailed them with some questions and they responded promptly and they were very professional. They are Canadian, so I am sure that's why you got feedback that you got. It looked interesting, if nothing else but to get the feedback they offer. I might give it a go.
Anyone know about these?
My writing partner and I have the hard copy. However, I find by the time I get it, a lot of the information is outdated. I will check out the online version, although the last time I did, it seemed rather expensive, if I am remembering correctly. But, it might be worth it.
Next time I post a call for info like this, I guess I'd get more attention on the BB if I added a title to it such as "The Most Disgusting Post You'll Ever Read." Doesn't seem like most of the folks on here really want to talk about "writing" anymore.
I appreciate your help.
Thank you, Bryan.
I really knew that. I was just being sarcastic as to the tone of the messages on the BB lately. ;.)
Yes, I noticed your "sucker" link after I typed that last bit of info in there. It was quite enlightening.
I don't think I'll be entering the contest. I always wondered why there was such "grumbling" in the audience at the Oscars after they won for "Good Will Hunting." I had heard rumors that someone else actually wrote the script, but I've only heard rumors.
I apologize. Didn't mean to offend. I just read your name too quickly.
If it's any consolation, I get called Mark sometimes.
I am thinking of going. My writing partner missed the deadline with the entry, so we have nothing "on the block" this time. But from past experience, it was a great conference and we met some very good contacts.
I really was just being sarcastic about the tone of the BB lately. That's all. No need to read any more into it.
By the way, thanks, Steve. That was a good lead.
I think we got a little off track here. We really just wanted to know in this post about people's experiences with the Greenlight contest, namely, how they felt the participant judging went. I take it you are a fan of the contest, or where you just responding to John's post? I haven't heard much good about the contest, but I would like to hear someone else with a positive take on it. I just don't feel like having other writers who have a stake in the contest judge your work as objective... but otherwise, I thought it might be a good opportunity. However, it seems like many did not have a good experience the first time around.
I know a lot of you probably visit hollywoodlitsales. Do any of you actually query the producers who post as "no money up front?"
I read their second and third posts and it seems like they say "We are swamped with scripts." Is there a reason everyone is sending queries to these companies that I might not be aware of? Seems like a waste to me to submit to a company that's telling you that they don't have any money to spend on even an option.
Am I missing something here?
That's okay, John. We still like you. ;.)
I just signed up for the free trial, so that I could look into it more. It looked great. In case you didn't see my reply on the other thread, thanks for the lead! Looks good so far.
My mentor was someone who used to work at CBS and MGM and she says to put the continueds in even the specs and here's why:
If they like your script, option or buy it and they are trying to determine budget, they will often look at things such as how long certain scenes run, etc.
As far as capping sound, she says, "no." Only cap characters the first time you see them and that's it.
I guess there's a lot of different schools of thought on formatting.
Go to Google and type in "Esther Luttrell" and go to her site. Her book "Tools of the Screenwriting Trade" helped me tons. Since I started using her formatting a few years back, I never, ever, ever get any complaints. In fact, my writing partner and I get compliments on how professional our scripts look. It's simple to follow and very easy to read.
Hope that helps.
Is it worth going? I am not going to room with you Steve... hubby wouldn't like that (I know you figured that, but I couldn't resist the joke). Seriously, though, is the conference worth it? I went to "Selling to Hollywood" a few years back and it was good, but I met more professional writers in Austin.
By the way, there are some good leads on there, too.
Greg and Ashley,
All good points. Greg, those thoughts on the judging were mine exactly. Ashely, the point about "Entertainment Tonight" was not only funny, but I think true. The point one of you made about the television show was right on, too.
You've got lots of people out there who "want to be a screenwriter." However, they may write one thing and that's it. Then you've got us folks. We write script after script, deal with rejection in the hopes of one day muddling out a living with our art.
Thanks for your insight. I'll save my $30. That Red Ink Works contest looks good and I've heard really good things about it and about the people who run it. I might try that one instead.
I am going to look into it more tonight when I have some time. But I am leaning toward giving them my $15.
I didn't read all of D.G's thread, but some of the formatting he passed along did differ from what I learned to do. Esther does believe in using CONT'S. She says that often times, after they option a spec, they'll look it how long the scenes are to determine budget/etc. She once had a student ask in a class if "continueds" weren't passe, so TO settle the argument, she called a known TV producer she knows and he said, "Of course I want continueds in my scripts!"
Proper slug lines are a must. She doesn't believe in CAPPING anything but character names the first time you see them. No capped sounds or actions, etc. In short, it's a simple format, easy to read. I think that's the real key. As I said, we've gotten no complaints on our formatting and I've had a lot of folks who have maybe passed on a certain script invite us to send in another, because they see my writing partner and I can write and can format. In fact, I just sent a second script off to someone who read and asked for something else this week.
If you have any specific questions on formatting, you can email me directly through this site and I'll be happy to share what I am doing.
In the hands of a porno scank? Geeze! Why would these guys even request a non porno script? What, is he trying to broaden his horizons or something?
It looks to me from a once-over that you can post loglines on the site and do research.
I once had a producer/director here in Florida try to get me to write someone on spec for free. My writing partner and I kindly turned him down. Our mentor knew the guy and she told us to "Run, Forrest, run!"
Down here, they are also in the habit of offering dollar options. Needless to say, I don't query many Florida producers. (I guess with the dollar, they figure you can buy ya a pack of gum while you sit and wait for your ship to never come in).
This comes on good advice from someone who I know who worked for CBS and MGM... Don't ever do a rewrite (unless it's something that you feel strongly that YOU want to do) unless somebody pays you do to it.
One little aside to what I said: If an agent or a manager makes suggestions and they think that they can have a better chance of selling the script if you make the changes, then you may want to consider the rewrite.
To Jimmy Buffet and all of us Florida tansplants and natives, it is Floridays.
In the mid 90's, I used to get a magazine called "Scenario." In one issue, there was an interview by Danny Rubin, who wrote "Groundhog Day." In a nutshell, when he first wrote the script, he sent it to his agent whose reply was, "That was the best script I ever read, but I can't sell it."
Well, long story short, Rubin ended up getting another agent who got the script to Harold Ramis at Ocean. Ramis loved the script, but, of course made changes. The studio wanted to make even more changes and add some odd "gyspy crystal ball sequence." Rubin fought it, but ended up having a really good working relationship with Harold Ramis and the movie got made.
Another gem: "Four Weddings and a Funeral" almost got canned. They got a fax in England one day which said, "Men don't like weddings and nobody likes funerals, so we think you should change the title to change the script." They even had a version where Hugh Grant is to marry a supermodel-type.
Oh, the joys of script writing. But you know what, guys and gals, you gotta love it anyway. To me (anyway) this is all part of the challenge and the fun of it.
"YOU SAY PSYCHO LIKE THAT'S A BAD WORD"-
I agree. There's no need to be contemptuous of the business. There's lots of other types of writing that people can pursue if they are not suited for the rejection and so forth that goes along with writing screenplays. I take it in stride and when I get a nibble or I gain some ground, I think to myself that I am a lot further along than others.
I always look at it this way: On one hand, it's a longshot that I'll make enough money at this to quit my day job forever. On the other hand, I know that I can write, I am making some good contacts and I have confidence in myself. With that being said, I feel like I have as much of a chance as anyone to make it. So why not pursue it? Otherwise, when I am 90, I might kick myself, if I live that long.
It's just like anything in life. There are no sure things. In the business world, which I am very familiar with, sometimes you are the most talented in your field, but someone else gets the job because they want less money, or the person who interviews you thinks that you're more talented than them so they won't hire you. It's not always because you sucked at the interview or you aren't qualified.
In writing, it's the same thing. Sometimes, your script may need more work and that's why you get passed over. Other times, it's budget. Your script would simply cost more to make than they want to spend. Sometimes, it's because they are trying to find a particular something for an actor or actress or they know that the studio or partners have other tastes, or the producer decides to go with his or her best friend's kid's script. There could be a lot of reasons.
I have one script that's been apologetically passed on several times by producers who really said they loved it, but for reasons I listed above, they had to pass. So, I may not have sold the script, but when you get that open door to submit again, at least you feel like, "Hey, I am making some progress."
Also, you'll get further with your contacts if you keep a positive attitude about the business. I was told once by a producer that she liked my attitude and she thought I had what it took to eventually make it. No producer likes to work with someone who feels like Hollywood owes them something. Remember, in most cases, all these folks had to pay their dues, too, and many are still paying them.
There are a few exceptions of actors buying scripts for themselves to star in, but mostly, their production companies are set up so that they can attach themselves to their own projects as producers. $$$
It's best to stick with the production companies and let them worry about the casting.
I say, for kicks and grins we all go to the festival and then walk into Margaritaville and one-by-one, ask the bartender if they serve any "specialty drinks." Kind of like walking into the Dollar Store and asking the clerk how much things cost.
Plus, sometimes, if an idea is really hot, studios will release similar movies in the same year. Problem is, one usually does well and one doesn't.
Remember "Indecent Proposal" and "Honeymoon in Vegas" coming out at the same time? One was done from a serious slant and the other a comedy.
How about "Ed TV" and "The Truman Show?" The same concept, almost, but the execution was very different and one was a willing participant in the show and the other wasn't.
We've all probably heard the story about "Armageddon" and ... ugh... what was the name of that other asteroid movie? I want to say "Deep Impact?" Sorry, early Alzheimer's setting in. Anyway, the first writer of "Armageddon" got ticked off at what they did with his movie, let them have the idea and went on to write his own version. I saw him at Austin a few years back talking about it.
Anyway, write it. Market it and let the chips fall where they may.
Go to Done Deal message board. I belive that there are some posts on this guy.
I've always heard that "series of scenes" are better received if they go into a script like this:
A) INT. JULIAN'S PLACE - LIVING ROOM - DAY. Liz and Julian are drinking and dancing.
In other words, incorporate a slug line to your shot. They still have to know where the scene is set and if it's a interior/exterior or day/night shot.
Libra and an INFJ on the Meyer's - Briggs/Keirsey Personality type indicator. Which is the "writer" personality.
Yes, Miriam is right about the "ing" verbs. I have a bad habit of doing that, then I have to go back in and correct the scripts. Bad MK. Bad!
The reason that you want to put the slug lines as part of your series of scenes is because when you send it to a producer, the reader does coverage on your script. Budget estimates may be part of the coverage. When you include a lot of series of scenes in without slugs, it's easy for a reader to miss something. Often, they will over-estimate or under-estimate the budget of your script, which may cause problems for you down the road.
Plus, without a slug, a reader is more likely to fly by them and if there's a critical point to your story in the series, they may miss the point.
I've seen it done both ways. It's not "wrong" to do it the other way, but to include slugs, I've heard, is preferred.
I went back and looked at the old thread (there were two--so many I found the wrong one), but what email is she referring. It sounds like you and Eric forwarded some sort of email on to the contest coordinator, but from this post, I can't make out the nature of what you forwarded to her.
Is it something that you can share here?
I am debating between entering either "Red Inkworks" or "Hollywood Gateway" contest this week. I have heard a lot of good things about Red Inkworks. I am not sure if Gateway is new. I like the idea of getting the coverage even if you don't win from Red Inkworks, but the prizes on Hollywood Gate look a little better.
Anyone have any feedback, opinions or otherwise ont his topic?
My early Alzheimer's is setting in today and I need your help for a scene I am writing. There is a special name for those guys, attendants, who stand at the head of the cab lines at major airports and blow whistles, to hustle people into taxis. What is that name? I know it. I just can't remember it.
The skycaps are the guys who check the luggage for the airlines. I believe taxi dispatcher is closer, but I always thought those were the guys as was Danny DeVito's character on "Taxi." I still seem to recall that the guys who actually stand on the curbs at the cabstands and load them up are called something unique. I guess it really doens't matter, eh?
That is a good point.
Thanks, everyone. Orlanda, I appreciate it.
When someone does as "monologue," they mostly want it one-sided, as if she was doing a one woman show. Is she a stage actress?
You might want to clarify with the actress.
Johnny, try this:
Harry snatches the newspaper from Pat and reads the front page.
INSERT: newspaper with headline- "GIANT MOSTER EATS SAN DIEGO!"
BACK ON SCENE
Harry's eyes fill with fear.
(Only you underline INSERT).
I recently sent a Script to Scot. He's a very nice, very professional guy and I heard that he used to work for Sony. He has very specific tastes, so if you have a script that's well written but it's not his bag, he'll write you a very nice, encouraging letter back, but he won't take you on unless he thinks he can sell your work, and he'll only read one script per writer. Period.
Sometimes sales have to do with talent. Sometimes it's nothing more than someone having a good connection or sending the right query letter to the right person at the right time. Other time, it's a combination. As I was once told by a WGA writer when I asked a mentor question on their website, "bad scripts get made, too." We all know that.
Fact, is, unless we've read the dudes' script, then we don't know if it's great or not. Even, then some of us may like it and some may not. I don't worry about what others are selling or not selling. I just focus on my writing and my own career. Otherwise, I would have gone nuts long ago. Actually, I am nut, but don't tell anybody! Shhhhh.
Write well, format well and write because you love it. And then send stuff out and let the chips fall where they may and remember, if you're not enough without having sold a screenplay, you'll never be enough with it. ;.)
The Cosmetic Lady
Here's what I learned that seems to work well for me. This is taken right out of "Tools of the Screenwriting Trade," by Esther Luttrell. She used to work for CBS and MGM and teaches screenwriting in workshops throughout the country. Very nice lady and her formatting doesn't lend itself to "trends" and producers seem to like it.
A Montage "is a series of scenes shot separately, to be edited together to make a slow-moving, often ballet quality, sequence. A series of scenes or shots (either is okay), is that while a montage gives the reader/audience a feeling of floating, the other denotes something happening more rapidly."
Both a Montage and a Series of Shots are written as follows - note: You cap and underline the words MONTAGE or SERIES OF SHOTS and you underline them, which I can't do here. If the montage or series of shots contains different scene locations, then you must use a SLUG line within the series as such: (note also that you indent the text underneath the slug. This message editor is not allowing me to do that).
SERIES OF SHOTS
1) INT. CHICAGO TEEN CLUE - NIGHT. Joe questions a TOUGH GUY in the corner of the dance floor. The tough guy shakes his head. He did't touch Joe's girl.
2) INT. ARCADE - NIGHT. Joe questions the OWNER, who shakes his head as he looks at a photo that Joe shows him.
IMPORTANT - At the end of SERIES OF SHOT or a MONTAGE, you write, END SERIES OF SHOTS and you underline it. Then you move on to your next slug.
Unlike a montage or a series, quick cuts happen within the same scene. They are often used to map out bar fights, etc. Again, you cap QUICK CUTS and you UNDERLINE it.
1) Fast Draw McGraw enters the saloon. 2) The bartender ducks behind the bar. 3) THREE COWBOYS spring up and grab bottles. 4) Fast draw leaps into the air and lands on the Big Guy's back. 5) The bartender pulls a gun and fires a shot to the ceiling.
AGAIN, make sure you indent your text underneat the text and not the numbers, as this editor is not allowing me to do.
No need to say BACK ON SCENE or END QUICK CUTS after a Quick Cut, because you're still in the same scene.
ONE FINAL NOTE: If you're doing a SERIES OF SHOTS to signify LAPSE TIME within the same scene, you can format it like a quick cuts WITHOUT the slugs, but you still have to remember to write END SERIES OF SCENES. In this case, they would be shooting separate scenes and then editing them together.
I hope that helps. It works for me. I've had compliments about our formatting and never a complaint. In fact, most times, even if they don't like a particular script, my writing partner and I get open doors to submit again.
ps - sorry for all the typing boos boos in that last post. I fired that sucker off in about 3 minutes flat.
PS- The editor screwed up my post as well. The numbers, of course, go underneath each other, not as they displayed here. I think you know that, though.
Johnny, rather than trying to sort through the mess that I wrote you on this site, since the text editor screwed it up a bit, I sent you email. Hope it helps.
Who is worse? Tom Greene or Pauley Shore?
Do any of you use Writesafe or any of the other services to register your scripts? I've always used the WGAW, but some of these services seem like they have extra benefits, that is, if they are any good.
Experiences with this?
If you want the cleaned up and properly formatted version of this post as I emailed to Johnny, feel free to email me and I'll email it back to you. When you try to do bullet points in this online post editor, it sometimes throws them on the same line.
I don't know, aside form "Animal House," which is pretty tame by these standards, in my youth, I used to see movies like "Trading Places" or "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" or "The Breakfast Club" or even the "Vacation" movies. I know that I'm giving away how old I am here... 29... yeah, that's it... BUT, these movies are today considered to be "classics" and even while some parts were silly, the films had substance. Most of what they make today for the youth market may be "trendy," but it doesn't have that same staying power.
I wonder when these kids turn forty, how many of them will be running out to by a copy of "Stealing Harvard" for their nostaglia collection?
PS - My husband throws things at the TV when he sees those CARROT TOP commercials. Is there anyone who actually thinks that guy is funny?
I meant "buy" a copy, not by a copy. I which this thing had spell check! mk
Welcome, J.A. Yes, this is a pretty nice bunch of folks on here. Hope you enjoy the board.
Well, they say the stats prove that women over 35 don't go to the movies, and that's why they cater to the youth market. That may be true, but do you know why we don't go to the movies that often... It's because we're at home watching our DVDs of "When Harry Met Sally," "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Officer and a Gentleman." ;.)
Actually, my screenwriting teacher taught me just the opposite. It's okay to say (yells) or (into phone), etc, just don't overuse them, but if you want to say, "picks up vase and throws it," that should go in the direction. My copy of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" has (in tears) or (with total love), (he turns) stuff like that.
In Florida, we've been able to buy tickets at credit card machines or online for several years now. Also, some of the megaplexes have part set apart as a dine-in/bar movie experience. Of course, we have a higher % of older folks down here. Perhaps why we jumped on the bandwagon sooner than later. Of course, we still can't seem to vote down here.
I once had an "in" to Tim Allen for a family comedy I wrote. I got permission to send the script to a producer he worked with, who was a friend of a friend of my brother's. It ended up sitting on the guy's desk and never got read.
Even if the star has a production company, of these production companies won't look at your work unless it comes from an agent or a manager that is known to them. I queried Kelsey Grammer's company one time... just a query, and I got this certified letter back from Paramount Studios saying that they didn't even read the query and that it had to go through an agent.
So, I got an agent and I had him send a query and they still wouldn't return the agent's calls, because he wasn't "known to them," even though he was a signatory of the WGA.
If you don't have an agent, my advice is to stick to the production companies that you know will read work from unagented writers, get a deal and let them worry about the casting. Even if you get a B list actor or actress to star in the movie, at least you got a sale and then that puts you in another league.
Now, there are always "exceptions," but that's why you hear about them, because they are contrary to what usually happens.
I always learned FADE OUT. Then you skip two spaces and write THE END and underline it.
I have his contact info if you want to email me for it. He's very professional. When he responds, he'll usually tell you to send "your best work." If you send him something that he even likes but doesn't think he can sell right now, he'll tell you so, but he won't give you a second shot to send in another script. His policy is one script per writer, period. I'd probably send him something really "commercial."
Several people who post here have written about the Writers Script Network. I am debating about it and I wanted some feedback. What do you think is the biggest advantage? A lot of the producers and agents who they list take queries directly from writers anyway. I noticed ICM and William Morris listed on their, though, and a few others that require you to know someone.
Are those of you who posted on there getting hits from these bigger agencies and producers or are the hits mostly from those who are open to queries anyway? For some, is it just a faster way to query? I guess I am looking for the real advantages. I do pretty good with the queries on my own. I've got six companies wanting scripts and or treatments right now that I've got to get out the door, but if I could make the odds better with WSN...
Anyway, any stories... good, bad or "eh" are greatly appreciated. It sounds like a really helpful service, I'm just not sure if it would increase my odds.
Sorry. I meant listed on THERE, not their... whoops. Eye did not SEA that error before EYE hit send. ;.)
How long did it take them to respond to your query? I never know how long to wait before I query a company on something else. I've had companies who I thought weren't interested ask for my script 4-6 months after I sent a query.
Just curious... For those of you who are marketing multiple scripts. How long do you wait for a producer/manager to respond or not respond before you query them on something else? I've had production companies surprise me by responding to a query 4 to 6 months later.
I agree, I wish we had a crystal ball.
I saw something over on Done Deal about Marcie Wright of the Wright Concept getting arrested. According to the news article, she stole money from one or more of her clients, according to the article I read. Is this true? She had a really good reputation.
I guess the moral of this story is, never let your agent do direct deposits for you. Scary.
That would make sense because they get so many queries and very often, they get lost in the shuffle, I am sure.
I posted a few times at Done Deal, I read it to find out leads and I've gotten some good ones over there. As far as people are concerned, I like the folks better over here. It seems we share our successes as well as our not-so-successes (notice I avoided the word, "failures" - because there are no "failures" only challenges).
This is an up and down business. There's no such thing as "Hey, I made it." One day you're having your script considered by a major network television show and the next you're looking for a new agent. One day, you have nobody who wants to read your work and then you get 5 requests in two days Look at all the writers who had one or two hit movies and they can't get work. I don't say this to depress anyone, but this is a reality that I feel most of the folks who post on this board recognize. Having a support system is a really great tool. I teach management training and the one thing we tell our managers is that you have to have a "support system" in order to recognize your goals.
I haven't been over to the Project Greenlight board. I've avoided it for what I heard. But if what you're saying that they are putting all this stock in one contest, then they've all got a rude awakening. I just want to thank you all for being the good people that you are and being supportive realists instead of competitive dreamers.
Sometimes with these pitch sessions, it's a mixed bag. I got a pitch session at Austin a couple of years ago. They promise you a "producer" to pitch too, but they don't say what kind of a producer. When we got in there, we found out the guy produced documentaries. Nice guy. He let us pitch and even gave us pointers on how to fine tune our idea, but he couldn't do anything for us.
I'm not sure how the Screenwriting Expo pitch sessions work. It's worth a shot. At Austin, I know a couple of writers who lucked out and got in front of someone who was looking for their genre and took a look at their script. I don't think they ended up selling it, though.
If nothing else, do it for the expereince and maybe you'll get lucky. Because I live in Florida, I'd only pitched "live" a couple of times before that. This "practice session" helped me a couple weeks later when a producer called me up and wanted me to pitch him and idea I had for a wedding movie.
experience... not expereince... I think you get my drift. I type too darn fast sometimes.
You are right. Avoid doing this. Also, whenever possible, unless it's a part of the story, avoid mentioning music. Remember, in many cases, your script is going to be read first by a 19-22-year-old reader and if you are lucky to get a script to a major production company and/or studio, when they see things like this, they think "amateur!"
The rule is this: If a character needs to read a passage from a book as a plot point, then put it in and quote the source in the direction. If the character needs to sing a particular song to convey an "attitude" or if they watch their favorite movie, (such as Meg Ryan did in Sleepless in Seattle), then put it in and quote the source in the direction. Otherwise, if it does not progress the story, leave it out.
Remember, too, that they have to get the rights to use it, which can be costly. If you show a movie that was done by MGM in the 30s or 40s and your script gets bought by Fox, it's likely that it will get changed.
From the perspective of getting someone to bite on your spec, special affects, kids, animals, music, movies, etc, all add to the production cost. Did you know that a producer might actually reject your script because you have a dog as a major character and that would up the production costs from the low-to-mid budget, because of the trainers, etc required to shoot it?
Think about all these things when you write. When you're on a paid assignment and they tell you to write it, then do it. In a spec, I'd leave them out unless it's necessary to the plot.
I agree with Randy. I always thought that about the show "Survivor," too. We can get further by helping each other. In fact, I'd like to those of us who post here often take a topic and add a fact to it each week. For instance, I am good at formatting, so I could post a tip of the week under a formatting thread. Someone else might do story structure. Someone else might post hot leads they've come across, such as "Anyone with a thriller, such and such is taking queries." Someone else might do tips for people who are new to screenwriting.
What would you all think of something like that?
The "legal right to use any elements" clause concerns me. While it's standard in most release forms to have the "similar material" clause, I was always told to stay away from those that say "legal right to use" and/or those that list a particular dollar number that you can sue them for if they steal your material. My mentor always told me that means, "We're going to steal your work if it's good and all you can get is "$3,000."
Let the writer beware!
If I get "voted off the Island," does that mean I get picked up by an agent at CAA for a multi-million dollar commercial deal? ;.)
Just kidding, too. Glad you liked the idea. Maybe if we get enough of the gang to go for it, we can each start our own thread and update it every week or so.
I write with a partner and have done so for several years. My writing partner lives four hours away, so we do a lot of writing electronically or over long weekeds. It works out well for us, because you have two perspectives. Only downfall is when you don't agree on a plot point, but that's why it's important to establish a good. working relationships. It will get you off the conflict and on to a solution.
I would suggest for your first time out with a writing partner, don't try to write something to "sell." Do something maybe for a contest, where you can kind of test the waters. My writing partner and I wrote for contests (and placed in them) for the first few years. We both are business professionals and have careers outside our writing, so it was kind of like going to screenwriting school, while learning to work with each other.
I have to say, it's hard for both of us to write on our own now without the other side of our brain and we even get the same ideas now about certain scenes. I know if I'm editing and I change something, 99.9% of the time, Julie will like it.
Hope that helps.
On the people side of things, how long have you had the agent or manager? Unless you're having real personal problems with the manager, you might want to wait until the agreement expires and then move on, if you've got less than six months left.
It's normally a good idea to give them at least a year. Sometimes when you are a new client, they go gangbusters on you and make you feel like you are #1 on their priority list. That's normally because most agents or managers have a relationship with certain producers and/or they have a lead on someone who wants something like you have. If the producers end up taking another script over yours, no matter how good it is, the agent, having exhausted his or her primary leads, normally puts you in what is known as the proverbial hip pocket. This is very common for writers who aren't well known yet. This means that they still believe in your script, they just aren't going to push it unless they happen to stumble upon something. If this is your first manager and this has happened, sometimes it makes you feel like they don't want to market your script.
But that doesn't mean it's time to leave... yet. Here's where you have to work along side your manager or agent finding leads and when you do, you ask them to submit for you. A lot of times, having a manager or an agent helps you get into doors you can't without one.
If the hip-pocket thing has been going on over a year and he or she is not pushing your script abd you're ready to leave, do it gracefully. Our agent even gave my writing partner some suggestions on who we might "trade up" to a better agency.
If you're a good writer, they know it and if they are not one of the big guys, they almost expect you to leave.
The biggest mistake writers make is thinking that their agent and or manager will do it all for them. Like I said, sometimes they get spoiled in the beginning and then it's an eye-opener.
If you only have a few more months on your contract, I'd just wait it out and start looking for someone else.
I hear he's looking for scripts, but if you query to the AOL address, they either go unread for months and months or they get deleted unread. On AOL, you can check the status of another AOL member to see if they at least got your email.
It may be that he's at his fill of queries since he's posted on so many boards.
Has she submitted anything for you in six months? Bryan is actually lucky that he gets to talk to his manager that often. Most of them, after the initial what I call "courting period" only get in touch with you when they have someone who is interested in looking at your script or they've got something to tell you about a submission. This is not unusual, although it can be annoying, I agree. Remember, you are not their only client. But they are supposed to tell you when they pitch to someone, so if she's not even getting back to you on that, then maybe she's not pushing it.
Try calling first. I had one instance with my agent where he had computer problems for 2 weeks and couldn't get to his email. Or, she may even be on vacation. (We forget that they are normal people, too). Don't assume the worst just yet. When you call, just act like nothing is up. You're just calling to see if she's had anyone interested in the script and "does she still feel it's something she can work with." Then wait for her response. You should be able to tell by the response if this is someone you still want to deal with. MK
No, but he's been around for a while. I think it's a small operation, though.
I'm turning 40 on Monday, so maybe a spread in AARP Magazine would be more appropriate. But I still make a darn good cup of coffee.
If Hugh comes calling, I'll let you know. ;.)
I meant, Bryan, sorry. I was thinking of another writer friend of mine who often gives me the same kind of advice.
He contacted me on day and said that he had gotten seven of my query letters sent to him and tried to talk me into the service. When I told him I had six copies of my script out for review, he said, "Sounds like you don't need our service" and hung up.
With the exception of a contest or two that I enter (and there you can win a prize) I just don't like paying anyone to read my script, period.
PS - I've heard they reject 95% of the scripts that are sent to them. So you can pay all that money and nothing based on someone's subjective opinion. I wouldn't do it.
Talent Scout has been around for years. I believe he's on the WGA signatory list and isn't he out of Georgia? You might check the WGA list.
No offense to this site at all, because it's a very good one in my opinion, but some of the agencies that say "no script sales found" actaully have sold or optioned work. The agency I used to be with says that and he has sold a few scripts. I think Frederick said once before on here that it just depends on whether or not the information is reported through the sources that he uses. I may be wrong on this, because I've only worked with two WGA agents in my career, but sometimes you'll see on "Who's Buying What" where a deal was done by a manager and an agent. I believe that's because a "manager" isn't bonded and can't be part of the WGA, so they can't really "sell" a script for you. That's why many of them attach themselves as a producer and then refund your 10% once there's some money in the deal (they make more as a producer than a manager anyway). If they don't attach themselves as "producer" then you'll notice that there's usually a WGA signatory agent that goes in and actually does the deal. That's how some of these newbies end up with William Morris repping them, because their manager gets soomeone from there involved to actually do the deal. Some production houses have agreements with the WGA and if you're not a member yourself, you have to have a WGA agent do the deal for you. Again, unless the manager walks it in as a "producer," then I think they can get around it.
My point is, and it's getting lost here, that even when you see that someone "sold" so and so script on here, they may have only played a minor part or worked as a "go between" and not actually done the negotiations.
The best way to find out if an agent or manager has ever sold anything is to ask them. Most are happy to provide the details if they want to rep you. Some managers/agents may have sold when they were with other companies but broke off and started their own. In a contest situation, even if there's no report card, there's normally a contact where you can write for more info on the contest and who is running it before you decide if you can enter.
Hope that helps.
If there's no other way to progress the story, then go for it. If there are visual ways to show what your character is thinking, do that instead. Remember, it's a film.
V.O. is a good way to get out backstory quickly, especailly if it's needed for a plot to make sense.
Your regulars on this site think you're PDC. Pretty Damn Cool.
Regarding this post:
I visited Triggerstreet, hoping for the best and was a bit turned off when it looked like a Project Greenlight. I am doing okay right now with the query letters. Just sent five copies of the new script out and also a treatment was requested. I figured why post it on trigger street only to have some wannabe trash it, have everyone in the world be able to read it, only to ruin my chances with people who might really be interested in taking a look.
It may sound old fashioned, but I still think the best way to sell a script is to find leads, follow up with query letters or email, and submit, submit, submit.
You know, there is also that TVWriter.com contest, where you can pitch your proposal and win a deal and representation for your TV idea. I entered it last time and came in as a semi-finalist for my idea. Have only heard good things about this contest, but the deadline is very soon. You can check it out on Moviebytes.
It's all very subjective. I'm thinking about a review I read for "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding" right after it was released. The critic blasted it as being "sitcom-like." Several months later, when it broke records for length of time at the box office and now has some Academy award nominations. Now, that same journal is writing favorable things about the script.
My screenwriting mentor once told me that she turned down "Twister," because all she could see was a girl running around in a tee shirt. She said as she read the script, she couldn't visualize how the special effects would bring it to life. She also told me about a time when she was working on a studio lot next to Stephen Spielberg's production office. One day, she ran into his assistant. She noticed that Spielberg was "packing up." When she questioned why, the assistant told her that the stuido asked them to move off the lot, because all they had was a "Back to School Special." It turned out, that script was "ET."
The biggest "revenge" for a writer is securing representation on a script or optioning it after it's been rejected by a few others. All it takes is one "yes." As for Triggerstreet, most of those folks are trying to make their own scripts look better. I wouldn't give it another thought.
My rule is, if I send a script out and it gets rejected for the same reason 10 times, then I look at the story structure, dialogue, etc. Why 10 times, because it's a numbers game anyway. You can't even be sure if you submit a script it's ever going to get read. Sometimes, the people who request them leave and when you follow up, they never even read your script. But if I get 10 producers/agents to provide feedback and they point out the same problems, then I consider making changes before I send it out again. You don't want a script to be read and rejected by everyone in Hollywood. But out of the 100s of options out there, 10 is a pretty "safe" number.
Any restrictions on formatting for uploading? I have two computers at home, but I use my trusty old favorite for my writing and I do my scripts in WORD PERFECT. Can I upload a script in Word Perfect, are are you converting them to PDF files?
Does anyone have e-mail addresses for any of the following?
Nine Yards Entertainment Bauer Company Graup Entertainment
(I have other contact info, but need e-mails if anyone has them).
Actually, I don't mean to confuse things, but I understand it differently. In dialogue, you ALWAYS write out the numbers, even if they are very long. In direction, you may use the actual numbers.
I actually had an agent, fired him and I am looking for a new agent.
The best thing to do is query the agent with a professional query letter to see if they rep the kind of material you have. Agents and managers normally will only read something from a someone who hasn't sold anything yet if you have something they think they can sell. Most of them have certain connections and they know what these folks are looking for. Even if you send it and get rejected, don't take it personally. Sometimes it's a well-written script, but they reject it because it's not what they thought it would be or the people who they deal with wouldn't like it.
One of the biggest misconceptions that newer writers have is that an agent is going to "market" your script. Unless you are already a known in the business, they try their contacts first and then you go into what's known as the proverbial "hip pocket." In other words, if they happen to stumble upon a lead or two, they'll pitch it, but they are not out there banging on doors to market your script. You still have to market even when you have an agent. Many of them will tell you not to, but that's normally during the initial stages.
My advice to you is just to send out letters, send out submissions and keep writing. Try production companies as well as agents and you never know. Sometimes it's really not about a script being good or bad, it's about being at the right place at the right time.
Hope that helps.
Forget about Triggerstreet. Kevin Spacey's very words on the "Today" show this past week when Katie asked him if he'd produce anything from the site were... "I don't want people going there thinking that's going to happen."
My suggestion, forget what other writers think. No offense to any of us, but you ask ten and you'll get ten different opinions. Plus, let's face it, we're more critical because we are writers.
My advice: Put it in a drawer for two weeks over the holidays. Take it out on January 2 and read it with a fresh perspective. Do a re-write and then start sending out query letters. You'll never really know until you get it out there.
Oh and PS - Rejections often have nothing to do with the quality of your work. Lots of sucky scripts get made every year. If you get some good, constructive feedback from an agent or a producer, take it if you think it will help. Some say you have to be "drop dead brilliant" to get noticed. I say you just have to be in the right place at the right time... or at least your script needs to be.
I do tarot readings. But I'm sure that's not what you meant. ;.)
Just because I am in Florida doesn't mean I am Miss Cleo in disguise. I do readings for free for friends only.
Does anyone have an email address for Harpo Films?
I noticed that in the HCD. Who Represents has a fax number but it's under her publicist. I'm not certain if that fax could be used for a query.
Thanks for trying.
I think they are "no money upfront." Which means if you option with them, yo don't get any money unless an actual sale is made.
There's a lot of those out there lately. I don't see the point in taking your script off the market for a year or two unless the person has very, very, very good contacts.
H.J, thanks for making me laugh! Marel, thanks, too.
I meant Marcel, but you knew that. I get very lazy when it's late.
Anyone heard of Jessica Russell at Zinkler films or had dealings with the company. I heard she's a real estate agent-turned producer. I've also heard that she has some good contacts, but the vibes over at the Done Deal board are mixed.
Really, because she wanted to read mine with no attachments. Maybe she's changed her policy.
I posted this on another thread, but in case you didn't see it... Kevin Spacey was on "Today" last week plugging this site. When asked if he would produce anything from it, he said, "I don't want people going there thinking that will happen."
He said the site is for those who've never had a chance to have any of their work read but by their family. It seems, however, that these wannabes are on there knocking ya'lls work. I registered but took one look at the site and hit the road.
Look, from what I gather, the majority of the folks who post regularly on this site are serious about thier craft. It's only a matter of time till you sell something. Remember, most folks give up before they do and only your god knows when it will happen. Keep the faith! Meanwhile, don't waste your time with Triggerstreet, and remember, one man's poison is another man's elixer.
Respectfully, Craig, I don't agree with you. Perfect by whose terms? Do we all have the same taste? Do not hundreds of really crappy scripts get made every day because the person knew someone? Where they really "perfect" in someone's eyes, or did dollar signs block their view of how imperfect some of them really are?
See, we, as writers spend so much time trying to place "value" on our work by what other people "think," that we forget that what we're supposed to be doing is creating. When we get so caught up in "making it" that we forget about our craft, as a result, I really believe the work and the quality suffers.
The reality of this business is that when a script gets made, everyone points at it as if it's perfect, until the reviews and the box office totals come in, that is. Then they run like hell and pretend they never knew the writer. As an old boss of mine used to say, "One day you're a superstar, next you're a super#$@!."
The real reality is, most writers don't ever make enough to support themselves by just writing, so if you don't really love it, you are wasting your time. BUT, if you can't imagine yourself NOT writing, then you're doing what you should be doing. The other reality is, which we often forget because we get so cynical is that anyone, and I mean anyone can make it if they are persistent, they have even a bit of talent, but most importantly, they are in the right place at the right time. The people who make the decisions on scripts are not Gods, they are just people who work for companies who make decisions on scripts. Just like any corporate executive, they are human and sometimes they make good decisions and sometimes they suck. The important thing to remember is that if you do make it, you may have a few more bucks in your pocket if you make it and you may have some recognition, but when it's all said and done, you're still going to be you. If you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
So, Everette, don't let your friend discourage you, or anyone for that matter. If you love to write. Write. Work hard and like anyone else who posts on this board, you never know.
I meant were, not where... See, I am not perfect. :.)
She asked for my script last week. I think that I heard that if it's a high budget work, she wants attachments but mine is not. Thank you very much for the feedback.
Sometimes they just do that if they didn't get very many entries. They may not have gotten enough entries to pay the prize money, if there is any.
I wouldn't worry about it just yet, unless they miss the next announcement date.
I just posted on WSN, but only my logline and synopsis so far this AM. I am going to post the script, but I have to convert it first. I got a hit on the logline within 30 minutes. Finally thought I'd try it because I have something that's not really "big budget," but high-end medium (if it's going to be done right) and the places I can get to right now between agents aren't the kind that can normally afford to do such an animal. I thought I'd get better fits with WSN. At least I'm hoping.
To answer your questions... since I was just on the site this AM, they recommend that if a script gets downloaded you wait at least 6 weeks to contact them with a follow up, if you've not heard back within that time. My experience has been it takes on average about 2-3 months for someone to read the script. Even with the dowlnlods, they may print them off and put them in a slush pile with the 100s of others a reader will read for the weekend. I say that not to be discouraging, but if this is your first script, new writers tend to think that when someone "requests" your script, they are hot for it. Actually, the idea may sound like something they would do, but they don't know until they read it if the characters grab them or the budget seems in order for what they think they can put together. Lots of factors involved.
So don't get discouraged if you get rejected. Keep writing and keep your fingers crossed. But I would wait until Mid January if you haven't heard from them and then follow up with a letter.
PS- It's also common practice for some to never even acknowledge a follow up letter. Remember the old Hollywood saying, "Don't call us, we'll call you." Most are more polite, though and will get back to you.
It depends on the genre, too. In a romantic comedy, if you will notice, there is normally one long scene when boy meets girl, to establish the chemistry. If you do have a long scene, my advice is to keep it moving. Don't have two talking heads. If it's action-oriented, when the shooting script gets done, it will actually get broken down into smaller scenes.
I decided to try WSN for one of my larger budget scripts. For those of you who have had success on the site, did you post your script out there, too, or just the logline and synopsis.
I can see the advantages of having the script out there, too, but I almost feel like you have more control they have to contact you for your work.
Pros, cons, opinions?
Thanks. All good feedback.
I did my conversion to .rtf. I have two computers here and I tested the download on both. One one computer when I download from WSN it looked fine. On the other, the formatting looked a little off. I guess there's no way around that, because you never know what someone will open the file with. Do you think it matters?
I deleted and put it on again and it looked fine. WSN went in and she said it looked OK to them. I suspect, anyway, that people with get different results depending on which version of WORD, etc, they download it into. I am sure the producers take that into account anyway. (Could be why most ask for hard copies).
Thanks for your feedback.
I've got a dog and he chews the furniture. :.)
I'm not Steve... at least I don't think I am... or at least don't tell my husband... Can anyone say... "Crying Game..?" Anyway, early 90's joke... You addressed the question to Steve, but I have a possible answer...
What I had to do to get mine to look right, because I use Word Perfect to type my scripts (yes, I am sick and I do all my own formatting... but WP works great 'cause it's like an typewriter on a computer...) anyway... I converted to WORD then to .rtf and it work great.
Long explanation for a short story, but it's late, I'm tired and you all know I love to ramble anyway.
I meant worked great... can't type but can post a script on WSN. MK
Cheers, Vincent. You are right. It's about the story. Don't worry about what's right or what's wrong. I can't really see a reader counting pages. If the story flies, that's all that matters.
Is this why some production companies say "Canadian writers only? Are your deals really bad up there.
Hey, at least in Flordia, all we can't do is vote.
GORE IN 2004!
I actually wrote their feedback board telling them how they are looked upon in the writer community. I did mention that they were in the best of intentions. Not certain it will really help.
They seem very nice and very professionsal in my dealings with them. I agree, though that they are looking for youth-oriented material and medium budget. I think they like to read just about everything to just stay in the loop and see what's out there.
I actually had an interesting thing happen with them on one of my scripts. I sent it to InZide, they read it, passed, but then I noticed that another rep from their company went into WSN and inquired into my synopsis last week on the same script. Not sure why.
Of couse, production companies do change their minds sometimes. A few years back, I had gotten read and passed on from a company on a family comedy. About a year later, they wrote me a letter asking to see the script again. They producer said that he really liked it but couldn't get his parter to read it at the time. I sent it back and they ended up passing again.
So what does this have to do with your post on Zide/Perry? Even though they seem to prefer youth oriented material, send your script in because you never know if their needs change. You may even have a youth oriented script and all the better.
Concentrate on the actress and if you get in touch with the producer after the holiday, let him know that she has your script. Remember, these people often read lots of scripts. Just because they request to read it doesn't mean they want to do, option or buy it. It could be that the producer is not jumping on this because he knows the reality of the business. If you actually got the actress attached and then you left that message, I'll betcha five bucks you'd get a return phone call. Right now, he's probably thinking, "Yeah, okay, we'll see what happens."
By the way, keep writing and keep submitting. Never put all you eggs in one basket.
Anyone have any dealings with Brenton Cochran of Cochran Productions? I am not coming up with anything in the "Hollywood Creative Directory." IMDB gave me some hits, but there are so many people with similar names, I'm not sure I have the right person.
Any info would be appreciated.
I don't think he has a pro co. I met someone who sold a script to him back in 97, but he got to him through a connection and I don't have the guy's contact info or name anymore. As you can see, the dude really made an impression on me.
However, if you've got something for a Stallone-type character, may I suggest a Latin Stallone? Try: ANTONIO BANDERAS, Green Moon Productions... 3110 Main St. Suite 205, Santa Monica, CA 90405. I have an alternate address of 8500 Wilshire Blvd., #700, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 if that doesn't work and an email of firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't know why, but my Hungarian gypsy blood is telling me to tell you to query this guy. If I am right and you sell the script to him, I will take a case of Dom.
They are in the industry and they are interested, so why are they making you hunt Stallone down? Can't they option it or buy it from you and then try to get him attached? That would make more sense, as a reputable producer always has more clout with an actor, especially a high profile one. Sounds like they are interested if they have s sure thing.
What about your manager say about all this? You worked hard to get him. He's got some pretty good connections. Can't he get to Stallone for you? Is he telling you to stay clear of these folks or go for it?
One more thing you might want to know about Stallone. He rewrites everything and makes it his own. I met Dan Petrie, Jr., who used to be the Prez of WGAW and also wrote "Beverly Hills Cop" and other famous movies. He said that Stallone was set to star in BHC at first. Anyway, he rewrote Dan's script. The studio finally told him that they liked Dan's script better. Stallone walked and made his own movie, which bombed, of course, and Dan rewrote BHC for Eddie Murphy.
I hope that I am wrong about this and you get Stallone attached, screen credit and everything works out, but if I were you and they only want the script if a star is attached, I'd probalby have my manager do the deal with the company and let them go after Stallone or have my manager shop it to other celebrities. Think Antonio, Denzel... they are supposed to be easier to work with and less likley to rewrite a good script.
Sorry for the typos and the disjointed sentences. I just got up and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet. ;.)
PS - I just thought of something else. Could be, too, Steve, that these folks who are interested aren't "producers" in the sense that they go out and make movies. Could be that they are "investors" who attach themselves to projects as producers to get a return on their investment, hopefully tenfold.
I had an investor/producer send me a letter once saying that they liked an idea of mine and if we had a star attached, to come back to them. My agent at the time, a WGA signatory, approached Don Johnson's company, who had also sent me a letter a few months earlier indicating that they liked our pitch and would read the script if it came through an agent. When the agent tried to get everyone together, he had no luck because Johnson's company was only looking to do something if it came through a big name director/producer. And that was Don Johnson, whose show had just gotten canceled. You're talking a major movie star here.
For some stars, investor is not enough because they have no problem raising the funding themselves or getting a studio attached, which would be the case with Stallone.
I am not saying this to discourage you. On the contrary. I am hoping that you understand the realities and the real obstacles of putting together something like this, so that you can work around them. Get as much advice on this from your agent. Don't get caught up in the excitement. Keep your head about you, but most importantly, understand that if this person who is "interested" is an investor and not a big name producer or director, then it's unlikely that Stallone will respond. But you've gotta try, right?
I mean, if you think about it, with the success of "Rocky" and the comeback, there are tons of people out there just wanting a bit of that action.
Hope you take this with the spirit it's intended. Again, try, I just wouldn't get too excited about it.
Congratulations. Now you shouldn't feel the least bit bad about your option. It's an option and yes, you are right about first-time sales sometimes being lower. You did the right thing by taking it.
It also sounds promising that this exec producer/investor actually paid you something, wants to show it to folks who can do something about it and also was willing to negotiate. That right there tells you he thinks your work has promise, or he wouldn't have budged. If he has connections, all the better.
The ones that worry me are the ones that "invest" but say "no money up front to the writer." At least this guy sounds like he's really in the game rather than some who just want to attach themselves like insects. Bottom line, rather they are an "investor" or an actual producer, if they think your work could really spawn a deal, they'll at least give you a nominal option.
Good job. Now use that to your advantage, keep marketing your other stuff and sell the big one.
I just wanted to say Happy Holidays to everyone. Especially those who answer my questions and put up with my long posts. ;.)
Looking forward to a Happy New year and if hopefully more success stories... hopefully mine.
Have a good one.
Beginning, middle and end. That's what they want.
The average script gets rewritten 17 times before it gets into the can. Yes, we all need to get used to that. In fact, many times when you're making your first couple of sales, you can negotitate for one or two of those rewrites then they either bring in known screenwriters to polish the work or the director sometimes takes a crack. And did you know if they change a certain percentage that they get screen credit. Nora Ephron did that with "Sleepless in Seattle." Ever wonder why so many comedies are "written" by the director with a "story by" someone else?
You're in the game, dahling... that's all that matters.
I agree with Bryan. What you don't want to do is have too many copies of your Script out at the same time. Queries is no big deal because most of them never get read anyway. Seriously.
Good rule of thumb I've learned: You can re-query the same company if they haven't responded in 90 days. When I do this, I usually use a slightly different pitch. If I have five copies of one of my scripts out, I normally hold back on additional queries for that script for few months until I get feedback.
But grammar is a big deal... I meant queries are no big deal... not is... I really have to stop typing these in the morning.
Frederick, I don't hear you say much on these threads. Thanks for your contibution. We love you for this site and we wish you well in the New Year.
Marcel, I am sure that none of us meant to make you feel bad. Your deal is what it is. Everything is a learning experience. After all, isn't that what life is all about?
Just make sure that you target your market when you send our queries to those who do those types of movies. If you have something new, you may not be looked down upon but rather looked upon as quite creative.
Mary Ellen and Samuel, welcome. So you are M.E. and I am M.K.
You will find that those who visit this board are very serious about their writing and most of us, like you all, have had some success in either contests or options or obtaining agents/managers or a combination of these. We all try to help each other out.
Again, welcome and warm wishes for a successful New Year!
Gee, Steve, since it's cold up there in the great white north, I was hoping to see pictures of you nekkid making snow angels. But no such luck.
I'd love to see one of these sites work that if you give so many "constructive" or "good" reviews within X number of weeks, you get a free review by a production company reader (a volunteer) who may be looking for good scripts to recommend to their company. They will get a listing of those writers who completed their "homework" and the reader gets to pick from those who haven't had a review yet. It could be a (I hate this term but I'm gonna use it) win-win for everyone because the writers get real, constructive feedback from someone in the industry and the production companies may find something different that they really like. What the heck, they go onto WSN and read them, only we don't get to see the coverage.
Here is the rule of thumb. We all know they shoot each scene individually. So, if the actor has to show up for work that morning for that scene and is in another room and he or she talks out loud so the others can hear him or her, then it's O.C. If they do not have to show up for and/or they are simply in the other room listening but don't have any dialoge and the only people who will be hearing the actor's words are the audience (narration that will be later read by the actor or actress and edited in later) then it is a V.O.
Does anyone have an email address for Flying Freehold Productions? I have an address and a fax number but not an email.
Thanks Steve Dahling and Orlanda. Say, Steve, did any of that info I forwarded to you help you last week?
Anyone have an email address for Jeff Graup at Graup Entertainment? I have an address and fax number. Thanks.
Thanks and hugs.
But, Jay, was there a boo boo in that web address? It's not responding.
Say, what do you all say to a Moviebytes 2003 reunion where we get to all meet each other in Austin? I say, we all go to the Austin Hearts of Film Fest this year in October.
My hubby said he'd sit at the hotel bar and entrain spouses and significant others, in fact, he'll be the non-writing spouse social coordinator, cause he's just a really cool guy plus he wants me to meet everyone.
I know we're mostly 30-40 something with mortgages and kids and in my case, a dog who acts like a kid, but I think it's really important we commit to this because I feel this year is going to be success for all of us and we'll need to celebrate.
Can we do this, Byters?
I meant my hubby would entertain, not entrain... yikes, I wish they had spellcheck on this site. :.)
Still, what do ya'll say?
I went to one of them, but I haven't made it back in a few years.
If you're hearing the voice over the phone, than it's a V.O. because the actor talking on the other end of the phone that you do not see will record that dialogue later and they'll edit it in. So, when actor A, who you see, speaks into the phone, he's talking to nobody.
Sometimes they just reject your script because you aren't a big name writer. Did you read that article, I think it was on here, about the writer who got bad coverage on one of his scripts, turned around and sent it back in with the name of William Goldman Jr. on it and got back, "this is brilliant!"
One man's garbage is another man's caviar.
I sent an e-query last night and that seemed to go through. I heard a lot of good things about this guy and I am hoping to get them to look at at least one of my projects.
Could be. I don't know that for certain but I have heard from a very good source that many production companies have two piles... one for scripts sent in from queries and another for those from high-power agents and known writers. The later always gets priority and those on the query submission pile get read by weekend readers or not at all if they don't have time. Hence the reason why we sometimes send in a script and get not even a rejection letter.
Not all companies do it this way, but, as I said, I know for a fact it does happen. I think that's probably why, even when you have a script that doesn't get noticed but it's very well written, you might get passed over in favor of a known writer's mediocre script. Encouraging, huh?
I stopped beating myself up over queries and wondering "why" a long time ago. There are more reasons why a script gets rejected than just the quality of the script.
If I remember correctly, if was a couple hundred dollars for the conference and you can get deals on hotels in the area.
My anniversary is in October, too!
You are correct in your formatting. O.S. or O.C., same thing, is only used when the character is actually show's up for work that to do the dialogue. If it's inserted later, such as with a phone conversation where they don't show the person talking but you just hear them, that's a V.O.
It is correct that it V.O. is also (and mostly) used for narration, as in "Usual Suspects."
I would do as you wrote here and do the Intercut and actually show the dude.
HOLLYWOOD (AP) January 8, 2003 – Driving through Beverly Hills, down the agency heavy Wilshire Blvd., one would not imagine that today marks the first day of a boycott against agencies that represent television writers. There are no picket signs. No shouting from bullhorns. Only silence.
A large group of television writers have vowed to take a stand when it comes to looking for and depending on agents this year. Their maxim: No Agents, Just Jobs (NAJJ). The NAJJ movement started in late 2002 and has grown stronger over the past several weeks reaching a crescendo during the holiday break. The group would like all writers to take a more active role in their own careers even after they type “fade out”.
The idea was the brainchild of Sandy Ryzenkemp, a working writer and recent graduate from USC’s School of Television and Film. Ryzenkemp cultivated the idea after reading a post on an Internet message board. “I was on Done Deal [(www.scriptsales.com) one of the largest web sites that cater to the screenwriting community] and saw this post by Zoditch that said in fifteen plus years he never got a job because of an agent,” said Ryzenkemp. “There are some writers, myself included, that waste a lot of time trying to ‘find’ an agent. I just think that time would be better spent making my spec scripts better.”
Said another television writer, “I was working as a story editor until ABC cancelled my show. Now it’s my job to get out there and hustle, not my agents. Don’t get me wrong, I love my agent, but when all is said and done she only gets 10%. That means I should do 90% of the work which includes me going out on my own and meeting the people that do the hiring.”
The group of working and yet to work writers claim to have over 150 writers who will network with one another, meet with executives, and share information on what showrunners are looking for.
“I think the concept is a good one,” said one agent who wishes to remain anonymous. “Writers think that once I sign them their job is over. This hopefully puts out there that writers should know the business side as well. In addition to writing great screenplays, they should read the trades, network, and know who the players are so when I get them meetings they are better prepared.”
NAJJ would like to stress that the boycott is not about cutting out or distancing themselves from agents. It’s about empowering writers to be better with the business of writing.
Anyone have an email address fro Angel Ark? I have a fax and an address.
Hey, Jay, I had the story a little mixed up, but here's a bit from that story I was talking about. You can read the rest of it by going into into the articles on "Who's Buying What." I believe this one is titled "The Harsh Reality..." and it's near the bottom of the page.
************************************** "When I was working at William Morris," said Bill, "I tried an experiment." Frustrated that he could not feasibly offer his work to agents and/or producers while working there, he sent his work to a reader within William Morris under a pseudonym. It came back with a devastatingly horrendous review "This is the worst piece of crap ever written!" proclaimed the coverage.
After a few months, Bill realized how political the business really is, and decided to embark upon Phase II of his "experiment." "I put a new cover page on my screenplay, this time, with William Goldman’s son’s name on it." Knowing he was taking a risk, he couldn’t help himself. It came back with the most incredible review he'd ever received. "This is a work of art! An absolute gem!" And a definite "consider."
The moral of the story? Sometimes, it really is, who you know, or, more importantly, who knows you. This isn’t to say, however, that new screenwriters should just give up. "You just need to be aware of what can and sometimes does still go on," Bill offered.
Yeah, well, ya know, Jay... Just kidding. ;.)
Hi, D.G. I'm the only one you never made a name up for, so I feel left out. I see you are back. But I guess you were really on summer break?
New Mexico would be nice, because I've been to most states but that one, but I normally do a family vacation in the spring. Why don't we all check back in maybe June and see who can go and if we can, we'll all plan a big Moviebytes night out. I have friends in the travel industry so maybe I can even act as coordinator and find out about hotels, etc. I would love us all to meet one night for drinks and dinner. Frederick, I hope you can attend, too! ;.)
Jay, Dahling, I agree 100%. That was my point with all of this. We beat ourselves up over "quality" even after we've been told that we are very talented. I feel very confident in saying that most on this site are serious about their craft, can write, but (in most cases) we live outside of LA (not everyone, I know) and we just need to network more. It's not always about the script, but about how well we learn to play the game. ;.)
I think you're both right. Hollywood does want to sell popcorn but here's an underlying segment that wants to do art.
"Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" was a masterpiece. Even my investigator husband gets the DVD out every six weeks and we watch it two times in a weekend.
The real money is where the commercial stuff is, but the joy, I think, is in doing TV movies or something different or real. I am writing something based on a true story right now and I've written mostly very commercial stuff before and let me tell you, my heart is in this project more than the others.
Look, write what you all want to write and love it while you're doing it. Life is too short, especially now days, to worry about it.
Do any of you, when you talk to us online, paint pictures of what each other look like or more importantly, what we are all about? (I mean clean stuff, now... this is the family hour.)
I'd love to see us trade "impressions" over the next few months and if we do get a chance to meet, we'll see if we are right.
Who wants to start? I could start with Steve, but after the Neeeeekid post out there, that would be unfair. ;.)
Steve, and I mean that in the most flattering of way, of course. ;.)
If Hollywood is smart, they'd scrap the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" sitcom idea and just do more movies like it. You know why women over 35 don't go to the movies? It's because we are watching our "When Harry Met Sally" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral" Videos. You think someone in Hollywood would "get it by now." Quality + Non Matrix or American Pie Concept = normal people going to the movies.
PS - If they think they are getting profits now, just see what they'd get if they followed my RX.
Thank you for the nice compliments, Mary Ellen. You are almost right about me. I am blonde (well, my hairdresser makes sure of it) I am 5'6 1/2 but the "fit and trim" part is getting much, much harder now that I turned 40, in spite of my daily mile walk. In fact, my wardrobe is expanding but it's not because I'm buying more clothes, if you get my drift. SIGH.
At any rate, Mary Ellen, I see you as you described me only with dark, curly hair and I don't see a profile but I picture you wearing a lot of sweaters.
From Canada to Oklahoma. That will be a culture shock for sure. ;.)
Yeah, but "crappy" and "brilliant" are in the eye of the beholder. All the critics raved about "Punch Drunk Love" but everyone I knew walked out of the film. "Gosford Park" got an Oscar, but I couldn't follow it for the first hour and I feel asleep watching the DVD. ON THE FLIPSIDE of this argument, "Spider Man" made gazillions of dollars and some people loved it, but I happened to think it had a poorly constructed story. I loved "Big Fat Greek Wedding" in spite of the critics and for something "artsy," I loved Emma Thompson's "Sense and Senisbility."
We all have different tastes. What's good to me may be crap to you and so forth. Another reason why the Indies don't make as much money is that often times they don't get the distribution of say a Jennifer Lopez movie.
And by the way, sometimes, as we know, even those commerical "blockbusters" bomb.
Actually, I was saying that, as that is what the article seems to indicate. It's posted on this site. Give it a look.
I second Miram's guess on D.G.
Does anybody know of anyone who does research (for a fee of course) for writers, who lives anywhere near Fall River, Mass? I need a copy of a small town news article from the 1920's and because the library is understaffed and the newspaper doesn't have search capabilities going back to the 1920's, I am not getting anyone to help me get a copy of this article.
If anyone who knows of anyone who would be willing for a fee to go to the Fall River library and search through microfilm, please have them email me trough my link here.
For those of you who know me on this site, you'll forgive my indulgence, because you know I'm normally middle-of-the road.
I'm sorry, folks ... but those of you who can't see the classics for what they are and say things like "they wouldn't be hits today" should clear their heads of all the pollution, TV garbage and crap and take a deep breath ... there ya go... and welcome to Moviebytes!
Ladies and gents, nobody thinks the dialogue and the plot points would go over today in our "Oh, so sophisticated world..." choke choke... But we wouldn't even have a chance at this stuff if not for the writers of the 30s and 40s who made film great, and if not for great actors and actresses like Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.
Look, you have got to look at those films for how brilliant they were then and what they did for the film industry and not compare them to now. Still, I can't see a film today that holds a candle to something like "Casablanca." Let's face it. We're all too busy thinking of plots that will let us quit our day jobs and buy a Jag to worry about something that will live on forever. Casablanca will. "Austin Powers" and "Matrix" may be entertaining, they may make us money now, but nobody is going to give a S**t about them 40, 50 years from now. I ask you. As a writer, would you rather just make money and die rich or make money and know you left something that people will cherish? At the risk of sounding like Katherine Hepburn, I'll take the later, thank you!"
Hugs and kisses.
Oh, and I think what Ellum was saying is that it's sad that many Hollywood readers, many, not all, are so young and so unsavvy about film that they don't even recognize a classic when they read it.
I don't think that's what Ellum meant, though. I think he meant, and correct me if I'm wrong Ellum, is that one of the reasons so many good scripts get passed on and so many bad ones get made is because of the accepted reader practices in Hollywood today. Now, I don't mean to offend anyone who is or was a reader. I am certain you work hard and if you too are a writer, then you probably were a bit more versed than some of the 19 year-olds I've heard stories about. My point, building on Ellum's is that in order for somone to be able to "evaluate" others work properly, they should at the very least be familar what makes a great film great... be visionary.
It's not enough to understand trends because they change like the wind.
In a nutshell, because my fault is that I ramble... Figuring out why we got rejected is not worth it. There can be so many reasons why and none that have anything to do with your work at all.
PS - Thanks for the nice words, Randy. I always like your posts, too. ;.)
I leave you on this post with a quick scene from "Casablanca."
MAN (TO RICK) "WHAT NATIONALITY ARE YOU?"
RICK (HUMPHRY BOGART) "A drunkard."
Good idea, KG. I never thought of that.
Actually, I have always learned that you write MONTAGE: and underline it.
Then you skip two spaces and you bullet point them using letters A, B, C. You need SLUG LINES, but you can start typing the action right after the slug.
INT. DONUT SHOP - DAY. Marcel eats.
When you're finished, you type, END MONTAGE and underline it, skip two spaces type your next slug.
If you need a better example, please email me through the link here because when I try to type it here, the formatting doesn't look right and I don't want to confuse you.
PS - You can find an easy to use formatting style that producers seem to like in "Tools of the Screenwriting Trade" by screenwriter and teacher, Esther Luttrell. If you do a google search I think you can buy a copy online. I've been using this formatting since about 1997 and even if a producer "passes" on my work, they normally comment on how well-written and professional the script looks.
The only reason I don't think about that is that's a part of process we as writers have no control over. That part of the process is created by those who are distributing the film.
Paula and Johnny are both right. Like Johnny said, if the song is a pivital moment in the script, then it can go in and it should define the character. I only refer to songs if it helps the story along. For instance, I have a scene in a romantic comedy where a Price Albert-type prince just lost out on his last shot at the Olympic team, and he's flying through the Alpine roads in his Porchese blasting a U-2 song, "Where the streets have no name," because at that moment, it's logical to think that someone in his position who's upset would pop that CD in.
Paula is right, though, about the copyrights. Normally, if you include music, they have to work though all the copyright stuff in order to use it in the film. Sometimes, it get's changed for that very reason.
And if it doesn't really progress the story, leave it out. By using music, you may not realize it but you are increasing your production costs. When a producer looks at your script and sees that it's laced with music, sometimes they will pass because it puts the script over budget on what they can afford to do. Food for thought.
I know I spelled Porche wrong there. I am typing really fast. Sorry.
I'd like to be compared to Susan Serandan. I normally get Meg Ryan, which isn't so bad.
That's the ticket. Network and submit, submit, submit. True, our scripts have to be the best we can make them, but lots of sucky scripts (far worse than any of ours) get option, purchased and made every day.
Remember, even if you sell it, they're probably going to have it rewritten about 16 more times anyway.
These two are posted here, but there's no contact info and I don't find them in my copy of the HCD.
I am looking for contact info for Rhythm and Hues and for Focus Features.
As usual... muuuuough. ;.) The best and most helpful guy on the site, I'll tell ya.
My hubby and I will buy u and the wifey a Canadian beer in Austin. We'll drink Fosters or Sam Adams if u don't mind. ;.)~
PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLA.
We can’t vote because the machines are “too confusing,” but we sure know how to rent apartments to terrorists. Anthrax is the state flower. The speed limit may be 55, but the average evening meal consumption time is 4:30 PM.
“Send it back. It’s not good” is common in the vocabulary 'round these parts, as well is “My face lift is at what time?’ The rest of us are still hung up on that voting thing.
PS-- The speed limit is 55, but the median speed is either 22 or 90, depending on whether they are headed to bingo or Miami.
Johnny, this is Meg Ryan talking, real women LOVE John Candy. To hell with Tom "Top Gun" or Brad Pitt. There's no man there to love... But with John, there's lots.
PS - My current hubby (hey, I'm only on number 2, so I'm not really a "man eater,") is a Dennis Franz typy... Only his butt is even cuter.
Johnny, I once wanted to marry John Candy in that flick he did with Alley Sheedy... I want to say "Only You." Is that right?
PS - If nothing else, I miss John Candy. I really, really do.
PS... You are not on that Office Depot spot, are you?
So, what is your favorite film of all time? Better yet... let's do this...
List your favorite classic... Your favorite now (up to 10 yrs back) and what you'd like to see your favorite... Also tell us why. I'll start, since I posted this silly thread...
The Philadelphia Story... Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. It's nothing more than a play on screen, but the acting is top notch and the story is timeless. In the end, you don't know if you want Kate to end up with Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.
It's a toss up between "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "A Fish Called Wanda." Note that they are both English flicks. Enough said.
FUTURE: I'd love to see a story (I haven't written it yet..maybe you can) about a guy who looks back on time only to find out it never existed. Deep, huh?
Hey, I had a Catholic mother, so I've had enough guilt in my life anyway.
Oh, cause you said you look a little like Bill Clinton and there's an actor on an Office Depot commercial that kind of looks like him. I don't know that actor's name.
And then there's the added thing thrown into the mix: Everyone's taste is different.
Yeah, it's so coooold down here in Florida, too. I had to actually wear jeans and a sweater today. ;.)
Sorry, Greg, I don't want to sound like I'm picking on you, because we know who you are and we do respect your insight. But I'm a fiesty Russian gal who's lived in the South way too long, and I'm bull-headed enough to say that my britches get burned when I am misquoted.
There still seems to be some "confusion" on my post on the guy who submitted the script as William Goldman's son (I didn't say William Goldman, I said his son) and on my Casablana post.
On the first point: If you all go to "Who's Bying What" and read the article (3rd from the bottom) entitled "The Harsh Realities of Screenplay Sales," you will see what the guy said for yourself and then you can be the judge.
On the Casablana post, I was simply responding to some posts that basically said the movie was crap. If you read my post, I said that it would not get made today because of the outdated dialogue, etc, but it's a classic and I just found it ironic (whenever that experiment was done) that someone who reads scripts for a living wouldn't recognize a classic. Especially with all the famous lines that came out of that script. Enough on that...
I know for a fact that some of the bigger production companies and the studios use professional readers. I've been kicking around at this for some time now too, and I have encountered everything from college kids reading my scripts, to old drunkards who quote from old Tracey and Hepburn movies and scribble notes on your script in ink, to really professional, insightful people.
There was a post over on Done Deal not long ago from a reputable manager in Hollywood who said that intern readers are common practice at smaller production companies and management companies (college kids). In fact, she defended the practice and said, "Get used to it, folks, that's just the way it is." That's not a direct quote, but the flavor of what she said.
I am also friends with a woman who worked in Hollywood for years at both MGM and CBS, and she is still active in Hollywood, recently sold a script of her own and also works with an agency and teaches screenwriting. She told me that some of the smaller production companies, the ones an unagented writer has access to, do use intern, college-age readers.
So, I suspect that everyone who has made comments on this thread is right in there point of view to some respect.
The name of this thread is "Reasons for Script Rejections." I can't speak for anyone else's intent in making some of the posts, but for me, my point was this: We beat ourselves up as writers when we get rejected. Sometimes it is the quality of our work, but sometimes, it's just the system. To acknowledge one point without the other simply is not being realistic. Keep writing, keep polishing but understand that this business is a little about art and a lot about making money. To understand that perspective is just being a realist. When we're realistic about things, we can overcome challenges and meet our goals.
I am going to shut up and eat some borsche and collard greens nows. ;.)
Sorry... their point, not there... I haven't had my coffee yet... sorry...
My Dearest Greg,
Well, then I guess it was I who misquoted you. ;.( Bad, MK, bad! I should stop responding to posts before 10 AM because I never read things right (or type correctly for that matter) until at least noon. ;.)
On the other stuff, point well taken. My writing partner and I recently decided to look for another agent when our contract was up, for reasons that I won't go into here, and I still think that a script gets more attention if A) they know your name when you submit it (you're known in the industry or they have read your work, passed but asked you for more of your work because they like your writing) or B) it comes through an agent they know. At least that's been my experience. Maybe I'm just gosh darn unique.
Oh, and thanks for the compliment, I think... ;.)
When Greg is on this board, he's one of the guys and our Byter Buddies. The nice thing about Moviebytes is that no matter what we've sold, optioned, had agented or not agented or who we know or don't know, we are all cyber friends and all peers, equal in drive and spirit, if nothing else.
We have an unwritten law here at Movieybytes and that is any bickering that goes on is for entertainment and educational purposes only. I think fellow byters would agree. I wouldn't even call it "bickering." It's more of a spirited debate.
We're all opinionated yet we all, I think, sincerely care about each other's goals and welfare on here. That's why this is the best board on the web!
I feel a big group hug coming on.
I have also seen it done this way:
EXT. HARBOR - DOCKS - DAY
Ellum stands on the docks and waves his hands frantically, in an attempt to get the speed boat's attention.
EXT. SPEED BOAT (MOVING SHOT) - DAY
Steve C., neekid as a jaybird after his layout on Moviebytes, drives the speed boat as it clips over the waves.
EXT. UNDERWATER - DAY
Marcel, in scuba gear, swims with all his might against the wake of the boat.
ON THE DOCKS
Ellum sceams for help, AD LIB.
ON THE BOAT
Steve calls back to Ellum, but we can't hear what he says.
So master slug lines first, then what I call mini slugs after that. Especially with a script, where you are writing in masters.
PS - I didn't mean for that "Marcel swims" to be at the end of my post. I am sure it's too cold to swim in Canada right now.
I have always heard that it can vary. For a comedy spec, between 90-110 is standard. For a drama, you can go to 120 as long as the scenes are well thought out and necessary.
My writing mentor always taught me that if it's a good story, the reader is not going to care if it's a page or two long or short either way.
I think you mean quick cuts, Marcel.
Montage is normally used for slow, flowing scenes that are not connected but you want to progress the story. For instance, you might start out in a high school and the kids in the hall, show them running out the front door of the school on the last day of school and end up with the kids playing beach ball on the beach. (Plus, in a montage or series of scenes, you need a SLUG, but in a quick cuts, you do not.
Yes, but Connie, regardless of that, and I think you are right, can you honestly say that selling or not selling a script is totally based on talent? Take for instance, Walter Newman's "Harrow Alley," which unless something has changed is known as the greatest unproduced screenplay of all times and Walter was known as one of the best screenwriters. So if it's only on talent, why is a script like this passed over and something like "Jury Duty" gets made?
Oh, I agree with you, but I think our point here is that it's a combination of factors that will get your scripts sold. Write, rewrite, market and network.
PS --- and get your script to the right person.
We don't have snow, but it's going down to 20 in parts of Florida tonight. Yikes.
I have heard lots of good things, too, but I've never entered this.
I'd only submit it that way if the production company or contest you are submitting to tells you to do it. If they don't know you and it's not common practice in that co, it could be just another reason for them to toss the scripts.
Hi, guys. This got buried in a sea of other more fun threads. Does anyone have an email address?
I am going to crack open a bottle of wine and watch "Casablana" tonight. Ya'll got me in the mood for it. ;.)
Actually, quick cuts might be the way to go with this as it would save the most space.
Yes, I am familiar with Kosberg. He is known as the pitch king of Hollywood and makes his money on selling concepts rather than scripts. High concepts. He's written some books that you can check out. The one I have is "How to Sell Your Idea to Hollywood." It's worth the read if you're learning how to write loglines, and we all can use a refresher on that now and then because writers, in general, hate to condense their "baby" down to one sentence. Alas, it's often necessary.
Robert Kosberg also has a website where you can pitch your story idea. He doesn't really take scripts, but can sell your idea. He charges a fee though to get into the website.
God Bless you, Greg, for being such a good sport. Aren't writers wonderful? ;.)
As one of my favorite presidents once said, "I feel your pain." Sometimes I feel like saying, "just leave the guy alone and go write something," but you know I'm shy and I would never be so brash as to say something so off-the-cuff.
I never entered Nicholl because I write with a brilliant and funny partner (a former produced playwright and TV model) and probably always will. When I was entering contests a lot, I don't think ya'll took co-authored scripts at that time. I hear lots of good things about the contest, though and if I ever fly solo, who knows, I might give it a try.
LOL, Steve. Thanks for trying, Dahling.
I feel like one of those pictures on the walls in some of the Barnes and Nobles/Starbuck's cafes on this thread. We are all old men here in finely pressed suits and hats, scratching our head and debating the world of the business. I'd love to be Hemingway, thanks, except for the part where he beat his wives... and I like dogs better than cats... anyway... I digress... and I just lost my thought... Oh, yeah... har har...
The reading enterprise itself is not bad... but wouldn't you all agree that the measure of "success" is often equated to the the box office receipts on Monday morning? Today's reader is tomorrow's lap dancer if the grosses aren't good... unless they are a male... or maybe not.
Okay, it just seemed like you were feeling bad for speaking your mind and you never need to do that here. ;.) But I am a Libra and I deal with psychology and professional development each day in my day job, so I have a tendency to sense things that aren't there sometimes or are "hidden." Damn Freud and what he did to me!
Seriously, some of the newbies to the board don't get the debating and go away and you seem very insightful and I didn't want you to split on us. ;.) Glad you saw through it, though, and we hope you stay with us for a long, long time.
Freddie, you're going to smack me silly, but I have never seen "The Goonies" all through. "Casablanca" was fantastic. Even my fraud investigtor husband liked it. Why do I feel like I'm going to hear, "Here's looking at you, Kid," in bed all night tonight. Probably more than ya'll wanted to know. ;.)
I heard one producer say that they have so many screenwriter plots right now. Do they have to be a screenwriter?
You go, Dude!
We are still waiting on these, Steve. Are you bringing them to Austin?
Johnny, you better be there so I can live out my John Candy fantasy.
In the most plutonic of ways, of course.
A Happily married MK
A while back, I posted an idea that we all start a thread of our interest and share advice each week with the crew. I never followed thru but since it's the new year, I will now...
I am going to start a thread that gives you one comedy producer lead a week. I hope some of you who write other genres will do the same.
This one you might have, but I've got some info to boot.
Elizaeth Owen of Girlie Girl is looking for comedy screenplays. Her beef is writers who do not address the email to somone in the company directly. Keep your pitch short and do not include more than one screenplay in your query.
go to www.girliegirproductions.net.
If you sell something, you can buy me a beer in Austin.
Does anybody else have a dog who loves cheese so much that they run to the fridge every time you open it?
I meant platonic, not plutonic. I sound like a geologist now. :.) Gosh, I need to go to sleep.
Anyone else know?
You don't have to have any contacts. If you see something on the web, post it here.
My dog sleeps between my husband and me with his paws over our faces.
Freddie, if you are only 19, you have plenty of time to see "Casablanca" and probably will appreciate it more once you are 30... like I was... 10 years ago... gulp.
When I was 19, I was doing beer bongs at the Delta house and falling asleep in English lit 102.
Sleep time now. My hubby is already snoring in the bedroom and the dog has taken my spot on the bed. Life at the LaBrie house.
Instead of entering if you think you have a good script, why not try WSN? It's only 40 per script and you do get hits.
So, who is actually involved in this? I signed up but never participated once I found out what is was. I got my new "assignments" emailed to me last week. I haven't read squat.
Nothing wrong with that, Darlin.
What is it? Is it only for LA Writers?
I outline them all and see which one is working and I go with that.
Actually, is she's thinking back on her own life, it's okay to use a series of scenes, but you'll need to start it with FLASHBACK, underlined and END FLASHBACK, also underlined, followed by a BACK ON SCENE if you are returning to the original scene before the flashback. Otherwise, the reader might now figure out that he or she is thinking about their own life. You don't want to do anything that will confuse the reader.
I like to type late at night, in the dark after the rest of the house is down.
Thanks, Crystal. I'll do that.
PS - Most of them do only want LA writers for meetings and such, which limits us when we live elsewhere. ;.(
Off to San Diego! Since the Hurricanes got robbed due to a bad call, it's nice to see that something went right for us this year. Now all I have to do root for Tennesse because I'm not sure we can beat Oakland!
I guess I'm SOL here, huh?
I guess you and I must read the same articles and be on the same wave-length... ;.) Although, I'm really strange so I'm not sure you want to be on the same wave-length as me. ;.)
I haven't seen you around here much lately. We miss you.
I never figured out how to use this to a writer's advantage. All you get is stars agents and such. Have any of you really had any success getting scripts to star's agents without having a deal already behind your script?
I am just curious what others may be doing that's working that I'm not.
How is this going? Getting any better because I totally dropped this (in fact, I never really particpated).
PS- I'll teach you all the fight song if you are interested.
No, I have never had contact with him. I've only read his book. When I was starting out, it was a great way to learn how to write loglines. I like to write my own ideas. Even if I never become a famous screenwriter, I'll probably always write because I have to write.
For those of you who have scripts posted on here, do you feel it's picking up now after the holidays? It seems like the number of hits has greatly increased in the past week or so.
We have a room in our movieplex in Boca that serves gormet meals and drinks during flicks.
Times, they are a changin'...
PS - I did like People's Pilot. It's great if you have an idea for a TV series. Made the semi-finals this year.
I always thought a montage varied from a series of scene in that a montage represents a slower, flowing telling of the story???
Oh, and for our Canadian friends, this is REAL football. ;.)
I don't write for TV much either. I just thought I'd give it a try. Jungles, huh? Sounds cool!
Hey, WSN users...
If someone downloads your entire script... we are supposed to wait how long and then contact them? I am used to mail offs where I "don't call them... they call me..." ;.)
I guess we all learn a little differently. Who knows who is right? I guess it's best to do just do it the way we have been doing so. ;.)
The teacher I learned from says: "A MONTAGE is a series of scenes shot separately, to be edited together to make a slow-moving, often ballet quality sequence. The big difference between a SERIES OF SHOTS and a MONTAGE is that one gives the reader/audience a feeling of floating (MONTAGE) and the other denotes something happening more rapidly. A MONTAGE might be used more with a flashback, while a SERIES OF SHOTS might be used, for instance, if a man is looking for his lost daughter."
Either way, with both I learned that you need full slug lines because when they are reading your script (to determine if they can afford to do it budget-wise) they like to see these mapped out because they can determine what scenes would need to be scheduled, etc. Also can play a big role in what they ask you to re-write for budget.
At any rate, I don't think it matters much as long as your script looks professional.
How did this work out for you?
You do have a way with words and rightfully should call yourself a "word artist." ;.)
Hey, I posted this a few weeks back, but I think it got lost in the more interesting threads. Is there any truth to this?
I haven't seen this around here yet. Did it get national distribution? I'd love to give it a look.
Looks like we might have to play Oakland.
I'll bow to the folks from the frozen Tundra forever more.
You know, I have a flash of mental images sometimes, but it's always of my college days in the 80's. Should I seek help for that?
Have they optioned it from you? I wouldn't until they option it from you.
Yeah, I guess it's good to acknowledge that you know they have your work at some point. I am sure they download about 10 of these suckers when they download. Weekend's reading, perhaps.
When you go into the Writer's Page and check "see how they look to industry pros," do you see anything on there?
I had one time when I made a few changes to a script and uploaded a new version, that it kept the old version out there. After I deleted it again, I had to go and change the file name and upload it again.
I had a week go by with no hits on one script, either. Sometimes, I think it depends on how they search.
Hope you get it figured out.
You want to be descriptive in the beginning as they kiss, etc, but you can leave it to up the director as to how much detail they want to go into. Usually depends on what rating they are shooting for. If the rest of your script is PG 13 fare, they probably won't show much.
The best example of this is "Officer and a Gentleman." They have it posted on Drew's. You can take a look and see how the writer handled those scenes. You will see that's it's nothing like what we saw in the actual movie. They also cut some of the love scenes between David Keith's character and that "Lynnete" girl.
Fist fight, you can write out the main thing they'd choreograph, such as a chair breaking over someone's head, one guy being thrown over the bar... or slammed into the side of the car. I have seen those done as QUICK CUTS...
BBAfter your master SLUG and into to the scene, you write
QUICK CUTS (underline it)
A) John gives a quick left to Fred's jaw.
B) Fred throws a sharp write and misses.
C) John hits Fred with a chair.
END QUICK CUTS
You can continue the action here. No reason to write BACK ON SCENE, because you never left it.
You may have seen this already.
We are looking for all types of Romantic Comedies in any budget range.
We are listed in most of the entertainment directories and some of our credits include: Final Destination 1 & 2, Repli-Kate, Cats and Dogs, American Pie 1 & 2, etc.
Please email a logline (60 words) ONLY to: Tom Butterfield email@example.com
I meant right... not write... Again, typing before coffee.
Steve... Boo to the Raiders winning.
Sorry, Orlanda... My fingers aren't working today. Maybe because it's only 40 degrees outside and 60 inside. I know you Canadians do not feel bad for me at all.
Anybody ever heard of this guy? He is pretty active on WSN, but I can't find anything on him on google, imdb or in HCD. His address is listed as Beverly Hills.
No, I don't think so. WSN screens those industry people who have access to their website and they do it very well. It's not impossible that someone would slip though but they do allow agent's readers to go in search of material, so maybe he works for an agency or management company and has his own account with them.
They have rules about contacting those people who look at your work for specified amount of time. I am certain others that may have things posted on WSN might have gotten hits from the guy.
Oh, Steve, he will? I didn't know that they would do that.
Yeah, but we whipped yur li'l be-hinds...
If you're actually in talks with this guy, then it's probably okay. You have it registered, right?
I would hope that they are not "shopping" anything around before they contact the writer. If one is a writer and they decide to take a "free" option with a producer, that is up to them, (I wouldn't) but I know I wouldn't want anyone "shopping" my work without my knowledge. I mean, I am out there hitting the pavement, too, so I like to know who has already seen the work.
PS - It is commonplace, though, to send in a script sometimes and never hear back. I have one company, Alex Rose, that I have tried to nicely contact 3 times on my work, which they've had for over six months now, and they don't get back to me. I guess I am to assume that means they are passing, but the work is not horrible, I almost had a deal with a director a while back until negotiations fell through with our former agent... I got an agent with this script AND I had a another well-known producer try to get her partners to go for it and I had a critique from a TV producer before I ever submitted it.
I think that sometimes, they just can't bother getting back to you. It's the old, "Don't call us, we'll call you..." thing. ;.)
A synopsis can vary in length. The key to a synopsis is that you don't want to give away too many details because you want them to request the script.
While a synposis is used to get someone intrested in reading your script, a treatment is an actual sales tool often sent out in place of a script. Treaments give an overview of all the main plot points and characters. Here's what goes into a treatment. A treatment includes actual dialogue while a synopsis does not:
Always write in the present tense.
Large spaces between change of locals or time lapsees.
Make it look as interesting as possible.
Stay concise and to the point.
Include dialogue, but use an absolute minimum.
Not shorter than 5 pages but not longer than 12-15.
Pages are numbered either at the bottom or the center of the page, or in the upper right hand corner.
Fasten with a staple in the upper left hand corner.
Always include a cover sheet.
There's a couple of different ways you can go with this. The People's Pilot contest, which opens up again next month, considers proposals for TV series. So if you put the ideas together in the form of a proposal, you could enter it into the contest.
Meanwhile, honestly, I would probably write those as shorts rather than as TV specs. The reason is that there are lots and lots of producers looking for shorts. You can go to "Writers Wanted" on this site and find them. WSN is also a good place to post and sell your shorts (even if you are a boxer or a briefs man... har har har... I couldn't resist). But seriously folks...
I am staring on a true story as an MOW, but I will not write it in the MOW format. Normally, on spec you write in the spec format and later, if it's sold to TV, you rewrite it into the acts. I would suggest you doing these as shorts that could be marketed individually or as a team. That way, if some stories are stronger than others you might still sell those.
I can see how that would help and realize that even in my years of doing this, I have a lot to learn. ;.)
Please don't do that... even over football... or at least get some meatballs and pizza on Superbowl Sunday, first... and a beer, or twenty..
Hey, but the Eagels were favored to win, eh? My hubby and I were driving home from his dad's during the first quarter and the announcers were all pumped up for the Eagles. I love it when the underdog wins. If nothing else, we've NEVER made it this far and for a girl who lived in Tampa for 15 years before moving to Hanging Chad Land, this is very exciting.
Hey, I'm cooking tons of food on Sunday for our party, so anyone wants to come to our house, come on over!
Greg, that was my fault, not yours. I get sarcastic when I'm tired and I apologized to our gal in a personal email.
Hey, how 'bout those Bucs? ;.)~
I hate to see anybody put this board down. Even folks I like (and the nuturing Mom in me has taken liberty to email my friend and tell him so... bad, friend... bad!).
We may not be at the Oscar's or even the Golden Globes yet, but mark my words, there's enough determination on this board to take them both and still have time to blow the froth off a top or two!
I think we all have our days on here. I know I get sarcastic now and again (no, not me)... little Catholic girl I am, but what I like about this board is the forgiving nature. It's almost like we are all friends but we don't even know each other... which makes it even more special, right?
Guys and gals, keep posting.
PS - I grew up in Pittsburgh during the 70s... so I have been wanting to see my team in the Superbowl for a long time.
What films were you in again? I want to check out this John Candy connection?
What films were you in again?
Does anyone know anything about silent films? If so, email me on my link.
Menu for Sunday...
Publix Fried Chicken...
Beer Meatballs (special)
Veggies and Dip
Lots of Beer
Can you say, heart attack?
A normally healthy eating MK.
I was wondering? Even if it's not your biggest deal...
My first thought was to say getting WGA representation the first time, but then I realized that it's something more...
I think it's a toss up. My greatest thrill was getting to submit the very first thing I wrote to the series "In the Heat of the Night." Yes, I got rejected several weeks later, but even getting there with the first thing I wrote kept me going. The next was making the TOP 50 for the first time in 95, for AMERICA'S BEST, when I wrote a TV script for "WINGS" and then for "GRACE UNDER FIRE" that got submitted to FOX...
That stuff kept me going and wanting to write for the big screen...
Lets share these success stories to pump each other up!
Are you okay?
I ask again?
Thank you, Ellum...
AA's philosophy applies to many things in life... even football addiction.
I feel a big group hug coming on.
The WGA used to publish a listing of shows that were open to submissions. You might try going that route because you'll get the appropriate contact names and submission guidelines. Back when I first started writing, I wrote TV scripts and I got to submit to "In the Heat of the Night" that way.
Well, I think we have to go off topic now and again. After all, most of us on here have two jobs: Our day job, or school or taking care of kids, and our other job... writing. ;.)
Yes, I guess I should be more specific. I am looking for someone who may have seen a film called "Rudy Valentino and his 88 American Beauties." I won't bore you with the details other than to say I think my husband's grandmother might be in the movie. I think I've located a copy but until I get it, was wondering if anyone ever say that short silent film?
Your comments are always worthwhile.
Why is it when people think of Tampa, they never say, "Busch Gardens" or "Clearwater Beach," they always remember MONS VENUS? You know, I think that place burned down.
Not Scottish. It's called I was up way too late past my bedtime.
So, Randy, your writing this as you sit in your OSU underwear now, I take it? ;.)
OK, I'M SORRY! ;.) I posted one thread about the Bucs because I got excited about being in the Superbowl and other posted COW PUCKY MUCKY threads. Is that really that bad, folks, in light of the fact that most of my posts are strictly about business as are some of the others who get silly from time to time?
When we get "comfortable" with each other, sometimes we let off steam and/or get silly. It's like a TV channel... If you don't like it, you don't gotta watch. It's bad enough we have to have our work critiqued in the manner in which it is but now we're getting our threads critiqued, too? ;.(
I PROMISE I WILL NEVER POST A FOOTBALL POST AGAIN! EVER! EVER, EVER, EVER!
But, by the way, GO BUCS!
You see what I just did? I said I'd do one thing and I went the other way. ;.)
Oh, help me, I just did it again. I can't stop myself... I don't know what's come over me...
GO BUCS... Ahhhhh. Thump.
I meant you're... short for you are... And no, I didn't graduate from UM. I am actually more from your area, a bit east.
Yeah, Joe, don't ever pay anyone to read your scripts unless it's a service like WSN. In fact, you'd probably have a better chance of getting a good agent if you posted on the site.
Jill... Have u been here before? Welcome!
You sound like a doll, too, like Randy. I will forgive you from being from Ohio, as I am from the big P... PITTSBURGH! Yes, it's true... Not only am I a witch that begins with a b... although I know I'm really not the "b" word... except on occasion.. I am from Pittsburgh. Haven't been back in years, but I have a 93-year-old grandma who tells me it's fine...
However, you are right about us freezin' our Cha Chas off. We are not used to this... especially after 17 years... PS - I moved here when I was three... choke choke...
If u believe that, I've got some swampland...
Ellum, Doll... email me and tell me what you posted. I'd love to hear the whole thing. I've gotten so many hits, thanks to Steve's enthusiasm for the site. I wouldn't have tried it if not for my buddy.
Steve, Dahling... You always make me howl, Dude... Did you check your email? (You are a man... of course you didn't... guys only check email once a week... it's a macho thing...) Anyhoo, I got you the info you needed... Tell me if it works out...
Happy Birthday! Smoochorama!
I've just been busy. My day job is as a trainer and I've been doing managment training web classes to a company in the Ukraine. They are 7 hours ahead, so needless to say, it's been early morns and early nights to sleep. ;.)
His name is Eddie (Sir Edward) and he's 17 months old. He is my baby boy! In fact, he just came over and put his head on my lap, meaning that he has to go outside.
This is my first dog, too, but my husband has had many dogs.
I wrote once for 18 hours and my husband only saw me when I slapped eggs in front on him and when I went to bed.
I agree with these two. I used to follow up with people, but recently made a decision that I am not going to do that anymore. Hollywood seems to still live by the "Don't call us, we'll call you," philosphy and we're supposed to understand that no comment means "no thanks." If they are interested, they will call. Plus, if they do happen to get back to you, I found out it puts you in a better negotiating position because you don't seem desperate. In fact, recently, I had one manager put us off on something and said to my writing partner, "get back with us after such and such film festival" and she was honest with the manager and told ther that we have others interested and we may not be needing representationt then, we'll keep her posted. I am finding out that it's best to play it really, really cool.
I also agree that many of the producers that take writers work without it being agented don't have the money to do much more than really low budget stuff. So if you have something that could only be done well on a medium or high budget, you're going to find a lot of "passes" for that reason only.
"I say nothing. I see nothing..." Sgt. Schultz...
I'm MK. The person who posted this thread was Mary Ellen. Different person.
I didn't get to really comment on these, as I was out of town last week. Actually, I was up in Tampa and it was nuts! I think it's something the town needed, especially with have of McDill being deployed.
Does anyone else have to lock their dog outside their bedroom to do it because he is too jealous? Just wondering.
I know that some of us don't like posts like this, but I had to say "Farewell, Columbia." I always feel a pain in my heart when something happens on NASA missions. Perhaps it's because they exemplify the left-brained side of what we are trying to do: create, prosper and more importantly, seek something.
My heart feels very heavy tonight.
No, not lock him out. He'd never stand for that. ;.) I just mean that he'll come up and put his head on my lap and look up at me the the sadest little eyes. ;.)
Actually, he sits right under my chair a lot of times when I am writing, unless my husband is watching a good movie downstairs, then he'll go watch TV with him.
Oh, maybe I did say that. I am so tired, I don't even know what I wrote anymore.
Shuttle launches are big deals here in Florida. When there's a night launch, everyone goes out on their lawn to see it and you can hear the sonic booms when they land. I remember the first lauch after they Challenger. Everyone waited for a really long time and people were standing on the roofs of shopping malls to see it that day.
My suggestion on the love scene is to go to Drew's Script-O-Rama and look at "Officer and a Gentleman." I love the way Douglas Day Stewart wrote that script. If you remember the love scenes in the film, they were quite... uhummm... visual, to say the least. But check out pages 42, the scene between David Keith and the Lynette character and see how he wrote that scene but more imporantly, check out page 71. That's the big, famous love scene between Debra Winger and Richard Gere, and Stewart simply start it... "They are making love." He does not, anywhere in the script get very graphic.
However, when it went to film, it was translated the way it was. A lot of it depends on the rating the director wants to get. If the rest of the script is PG 13, then they'll probably do a subtle love scene. If they want an R... then...
But check out the script. (I love to read it anyway because the words just fly off the page).
That's typical of what I've encountered with Hollywood. If you have what they think they can sell, they treat you like royalty, but once they exhaust their resources in that area, you never hear from them again. That's why I no longer follow up when I send in a script. I figure if they want to talk to me, they know my number and if, in the meanwhile, I sell or option it to someone else, TDB.
They seem to read everything but are only really interested in those that would appeal to the "youth" market.
Yes, and it you go in and delete your script and save it under another name and reload it, it does the same, too. Keeping yourself at the top of the pile is really the best way to get noticed.
Inzide really does like work for the youth market. I know of some folks who are looking for "lifetime" types of movies. If you email me through the link here, I'll be glad to share some of the information with you.
"Vegas Vacation" has that really funny grilling scene where Randy Quaid throws the chicken on the hot rocks. ;.)
"Vegas Vacation" has that really funny grilling scene where Randy Quaid throws the chicken on the hot rocks. ;.)
Whoops, didn't mean to add that twice. Eating and trying to type just doesn't work.
Marcel, you are a fantastic artist and one of my favorite people, for that that's worth.
Why not look at the rewrites like we look at laundering our husband's underwear? We encounter skid marks now and again, but we still love it (them).
I know I am crued, but chalk it up to Southern living for a geat part of my lfie.
I meant great... as Steve C would say... I am "fast fingers MK..." or something like that...
I was doing a web training class to some folks in the Ukraine this morning, and I got an IM request from a screen name I didn't recoginze. I was wondering if it was from someone on this board? If so, I did not mean to be rude. I couldn't answer becasue I was doing role plays with a class across the world.
Sorry... because... I really wish we had spell check on this thing.
If you IM me, I'll talk about writing.
I think I figured out it was spam, because I got another one today.
The contests get your script names from query letters you send out. If something sounds good, they pass it along to contests that are looking for that kind of material. It probably was a telemarketer, but it's not really rotten, it's just business.
I've had it happen, too.
I sit here writing this while wrapped in my duct tape and plastic sheeting.
Personally, I think it's all about the oil and a substitute for Osama. But who am I? I mean if it wasn't about the oil the first time, why did we bother to go in liberate Kuwait and then leave Saddam in power? Notice instead of ever answering that question, all Gomer... I mean Bush, excuse me, ever says is "We'll Clinton should have taken him out." Once a scapegoat... Hummmm...
And if he could find Osama, I'll bet he wouldn't even be going after Saddam right now. In fact, Osama would love it if Saddam was out of power and another government that he could control was put into place... and if anyone is in favor of this war, don't you think for a moment that's not going to happen... What's the old expression, "jumping from a frying pan into the fire?" By the way, fire melts plastic sheeting and duct tape.
I don't have the solution, obviously, or I'd be president, and, yes, I do want to see someone pay for Sept. 11, but I hate to go risk innocent American lives only to find out we make the situation worse.
That's all I've got to say about that...
Oh, we get off track now and again, but if you look at the other posts there are plenty of writing topics. Again, if you don't like it, turn the channel.
I didn't mean to come off so aloof... There are lots of "friends" on this board... We support each other but sometimes we have to digress. This business can be harsh and those who are in it need a break. So, we return to reality, which isn't much of a break... Does that make sense to anyone. If it does, email me at MKWrites2@aol.com. I'll forward your contributions on to Jimmy Swagert... HAR HAR...
Oh, damn... my next script was going to be "Valentines from Hell..." I was hoping that Steven Segal and Meg Ryan would star... He plays a guy who saves the world with his secret weapon... Kung Fu and she plays a jilted book store owner who just sold her last materpiece to an evil nemisis who wants to turn the book into a miniseries... NOT!
I am sorry if you think we are rude but we are really just mild compared to what you will get on these boards. Most folks on here at Moviebytes are represented writers or those who are really in the game and trying and are really making connections. In addition we have those who are serious about helping fellow writers and we do not mean to offend. Besides, people who are "successful" often don't wear it on their shoulders, so you should be careful with your assumptions...
In fact, off the board we learn, share and help each other. We just "digress a bit" to release some energy. We are all friends here and we strive to keep a nice place where we can post our opinions and not be judged.
I hope you'll join us again and if you want to email me on your own to discuss anything, please follow the link. I assure you, we are all very kind here. But to judge us on a post like this when the country is on the brink of war that many of us do not agree with is just ... wrong. You may not agree with our political views... I mean this is why we live in the USA, but please don't down us for having an opinion.
God save the Queen ... whoops! ;.)
No need to end on action, Marcel. In fact, it's better to have a few scenes in your script that don't.
Frederick is right, there is a link. However, I also know that sometimes, people put things on the report cards that aren't true. I like to also read the comments as they are very telling. In some cases, people just didn't win so they get back at the contest this way. So while the information is helpful, you have to sometimes "read between the lines."
Contests in general are okay, but I think for your 40 bucks, you get a lot better results posting your script on WSN.
You know, I'm looking down on this list and I see all these writing-related threads and it makes me wonder why some people pick the one or two that are not talking about writing on here, go into them and then slam us for not talking about writing? Does anyone else find the irony in that?
Now, by the very title of this thread, it is not related to writing ... Or is it? That's my question to you. Is this thread related to writing?
Great. If you need some tips on how to use the links in this site to your advantage, let us know. You'll find lots of good information here.
FYI, you know you can check out anyone's credits on the imdb too? Always check someone out before you send them anything.
If there's any good news in this, it's that it has nothing to do with your scirpt. I'll be you five bucks that the guy didn't even read it. They take scripts in and sit on them for a week or so and they send out these letters. That's how these husksters work. So the feedback you got had nothing to do with your writing but everything to do with this guy's scam.
I had something similar happen to be once by a so-called agent. You always know that they are not legit when use words like "buyers." Also, really professional Hollywood people don't drop names. It's not considered cool unless you are talking about someone associated with your own project. So when you see these ads (WE HAVE HOLLYWOOD CONTACTS) stay away. Whoopee! This whole business is about making "contacts." We all have them if we do this for a while.
Where did this guy hear about your script, anyway? I haven't seen any posts from this company on any of the writers' sites.
Sorry I didn't get back to you on this yesterday, because I had a wine tasting party last night. However, the others gave you the information you needed. If you also subscribe to "Who's Buying What" here in Moviebytes, you can click on the production company and the credits come up.
What I do to query, which seems to be really working for me" is to follow the links until I come up with actual names of people to query. I've had some recent success lately which I can only attibute to Frederick's site and my tracking downt he leads.
Good luck and don't ever hesitate to email me or any of us off the board if you have specific questions.
Storybay calls me all the time. I just tell them that I do okay marketing without such a service, but thanks anyway. I know that there have been a few success stories from Storybay, but I can't see paying that kind of money for someone to review your script and pass on it. Hell, I can get that on my own! ;.) They "reject" about 95% of the scripts that are sent to them, I hear.
What I like about WSN, however, is that you can post your work without being "judged." One person's "Thanks but I'll pass" is another person's "I love it," so to pay someone to "judge" your work I don't always think is a good idea. Consultations are good when you are learning, but you have to get to a point with your writing that you trust yourself. If you complete a script and you put it down for a couple of weeks, you should be able to tell if you acheived your goals and I always do a couple of "test" submissions off of the first few queries to see what kind of repsone I'm getting. And that doesn't cost me a thing.
But I have become a big fan of WSN. Yes, it costs you $40, but they let the producers, agents and managers make up their own minds about your work.
Didn't Broderick play the role on Broadway, too?
Getting an agent can be a catch 22. You're not likely to sell much of anything until you get one but you're not likely to get a good agent until you sell something.
My writing partner and I just let go of our agent and we recently received an option offer from a production company. I found that having an agent at this stage of the game (unless you luck into a really high powered one) is almost a hindrance. Many of them don't want you marketing the script on your own, but unless you have a really, really hot property (which, lets not kid ourselves, folks, no script is a really hot property unless you have someone interested) or you have some credits, an agent is simply not going to "push" your work. You get what is proverbially known as the "hip pocket treatment." (Even they an agent may not like you doing any marketing, you still have to do it on your own because if you wait for them, you'll never make the kind of contacts you need to really succeed). Contacts, good ones, are everything in this business.
At this stage of the game, I would suggest trying a little bit of everything: Send queries to producers who will take them without an agent. You're not likely to make the big bucks here but you may get an option or two, some money and maybe even screen credits if it gets made. That can help you a lot.
Submit to a few contests. Some of "better" than others but I seem to like the ones where I can get some kind of "exposure" or win an option or representation. Many production companies and agents participate in contests and it's a good way to get noticed. (PS - if you do enter contests, just like with submitting to producers, if you don't win or place, don't feel bad as there could be many reasons why you didn't).
Also, get the WGA list and try to query some California agents and see what happens. You may be surprised if you have a good logline that they will read your script.
That's just it. While we write, we are all networking, aren't we? Contacts are the name of the game in this business.
Oh, yes, rule of thumb: Never market until you have a completed screenplay.
Is it for a true story? Treatments are almost always used when you're trying to sell a true story because why bother to write the script unless someone is really interested. If they are, you can get someone to pay you to write the first draft then all the better.
I've had people request treatments for my specs but seriously, unless they are so overloaded (which means they'll probably never get to yours anyway) a good production company will just request a synopisis then a script.
You know, I just read my post and it's full of typeos. I really must run this through email spell check from now on.
My advice, don't pitch them on anything that you don't have a completed script. That seems to really tick producers off and lets face it, things change so frickin' fast in Hollywood, if they are intersted now, but summer that's likey to change. Remember, yours is not the only pitch they are taking.
If they ask you "what else you got," then you can say, I have a teatment for such and such and I'm working on the script. If they like the idea, they may just ask for the treatment.
I meant by summer... I am typing really fast... sorry.
There's an easier way to do an Intercut.
INT. JANE'S CAR - DAY
Jane's face fills with tension as she floors the gas.
EXT. JANE'S HOUSE - DAY
A man in a dark coat, face disguised, tries the window, but it it locked.
IN THE CAR
Jane senses something and floors the car up to 100 mph.
ON THE FRONT PORCH
The man in the coat... yada yada...
It it's not about the oil, then why aren't the French supporting us? After all, we wouldn't have a country now if not for the French.
For those of you who do not like history, just rent "The Patriot." ;.) While most was fiction, the last scenes about the Revolution were fact.
Ummm... I don't get it... but maybe it's because it's early, or maybe I am having a blonde moment... Can you "'splain it to me, Lucy?"
The ending of "The Patriot" where it talks about Yorktown is accurate.
The only think about contest credentials is that some people in Hollyood only care about them if they are from Nicholl, Austin, Sundance. To some, it opens some doors, but I have found that I've placed in contests with scripts I can't sell worth crap and I've not even placed in contests with scripts which have gained attention in the market.
What they look for in contests is sometimes a lot different than what a producer, director, manager or agent is looking for.
I am not saying don't enter contests but you can market successfully without ever winning one. In fact, before I had my last agent, I used to leave my contest credentials off my letter or only mention that we'd placed in some, but not give specifics.
The real trick to getting read is a good logline, a great synopsis and an iron ego (because it's going to get bashed right away).
I've been reading through this thread and everyone has made some good points. Deb is right in that everyone had to start somewhere and I myself have two careers right now. Even Spielberg wasn't born with a megaphone in his mouth.
The only thing I want to say is, it's not so much that you have to worry about someone stealing your work, but you have to ask yourself, even if it's a start up company, if the person has what it takes to get a movie made. It's so easy to fall into the "Oh, my God... a producer or an agent or a manager wants to read my work." Well, I start calling myself a producer, take out an add, gather up some scripts and does that mean that I can get a movie made?
Now, mind you, I am not downing this guy because I have never even heard of him. He could be the next best thing to come along since sliced bread and for those of you with scripts out to him, I hope he is and remember me someday, K? IN GENERAL, if you can't answer "yes" to that question, then why even bother sending to to them.
There are people out there who want scripts in their "hip pocket" because it makes them look more legit when they go out into the marketplace. You're better off to find yourself a nice little production company that's done one or two movies and is still open to accepting newer writers material. I've found out recently that there are some really great, up and coming producers out there who will not only read but are just plain good people, too.
Again, nothing wrong with the start ups if they are well-connected and that word "buyer" that the guy used with some of ya'll doesn't set right with me. Call it a gut instict.
instinct has an "n" in it by the way... I knew that... ;.)
It's better to error on the side of caution than not... Honey, nobody ever threw a script out because it had cont'ds in it. In fact, it's better to do so than not if you aren't sure.
My writing mentor travels the country giving seminars and one persons spoke up one day and said "They don't' do continued anymore!." So she called a friend who was producing "Diagnosis Murder" and said "Don, do your scripts have continued in them?" He said "What the %$&^... of COURSE my scripts have contends in them..."
Bottom line... Lots of people want to sell books and tell you the "latest way to format" and even some film schools have bought into this now.. But if you stick to the basics, nobody is going to laugh at you. Yes, you can save space without continued but when they look at your script to tell you if they can "afford to do it..." hence the reason for most "passes," they appreciate the "cont'ds" because they can see how long scenes go.
Do what you know, dear. Write well and nobody will really give a %^$# as long as the formatting is professional.
ps... I know "Diagnosis Murder" is not a "hip show.." but it's the point that counts. ;.)
You told me tonight you were sick... Don't go... We love your posts... I pray you can continue your posts...
You remind me of two we've lost recently... Bill Marks and Ellum... It is odd how all these people leave us...
Yeah, but let me tell you, it's sure useful if you're not using a screenwriting program to have them in there because they they do a budget off of a spec, if you sell or option it, a scene breakdown is done and the continueds make it much easier.
You won't get "rejected" because you don't have them but I've had producers tell me that they "appreciate" still having them in there because it's easier to eyeball a script to determine if it's really within the budget range that they want to do. The number of locations, etc, as you know all plays into the budget along with other factors.
Ever since I was told that by a producer (and off what my screenwriting mentor told me) I do it.
I notice you don't have a profile, but can you please follow the links to me or Miriam? We have to poll you about something important. ;.)
I just had an unprofessional thing happen with Bondeson. A reader there requested a script of mine around the holidays and I sent it. Meanwhile, I took an option on the script. If it was another producer who had the script, I wouldn't have bothered to contact them but since it was a management company and I was seeking representation for it, I wanted to be nice and let them know not to read it. However, I got busy and I forgot to do so and she got back to me before I got to write her. She was going to pass anyway because they weren't looking to rep a somethning like it right now and my reply was to apologize for not getting back to her sooner, as I optioned it and could have saved her the read. I asked her if she enjoyed it enough to consider something else and she responded that she certainly did and so I pitched her another work and she replied, "send it on." Which I did...
Now here's the funny part... She couldn't have had that script for even a day and I get a polite "pass" from her. Now, nobody in Hollywood is sitting and waiting for a script from Mary Kay LaBrie. Nobody. Normally it takes a company at least a month or two to get back to you and on the first read, it took them a month. I suspect that this woman just took my second script to reject me because she's sour that she passed on a script that optioned. I can't prove this... maybe she did put me at the top of the slush pile, but I seriously doubt it. My mentor says that in "Hollywierd" they try to keep writers humble all the time by doing strange things like this.
I was told by a friend of mine in the business that it doesn't pay to act professionally because we're the only ones doing it. I have a hard time with that so I'll just keep on being my self and if something thinks I'm thowing something in their face because I am trying to be nice and save them a read, then I think that's their problem, not mine, don't you?
Needless to say, I won't be sending that company any of my work anytime soon. ;.)
Sorry for the typeos in there. My husband wants to use the computer to get online and he's hovering so I'm typing very quickly.
You are right not to worry about that rejection. Sometimes companies reject you for other reasons than the quality of the work. Sometimes they are looking for a specific something and sometimes it's because of budget, etc. Or, sometimes it's just not their taste. Comedy is tough because one person's idea of what is "funny" is not always the next. Look at all the critics who downed "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding!"
I got rejected on a comedy that I just optioned elsewhere. I also have a director interested who is now talking to the producer and another producer who read the synopsis emailed and said they were going to call the producer who optioned it to make an inquiry about reading it. So are the people WRONG who passed? No. Of course not. I don't take rejections personally as it's a very subjective business. InZide is looking mostly for "youth market" material, so it may just be that your script doesn't quite fit into the niche.
If you think the script is worthwhile pitching, try looking for someone who is looking for the type of material you have available. Maybe by "targeting" your market, you can get a foot in the door. ;.)
Never give up the ship.
For anyone else reading this post, I don't want to sound like sour grapes. I take rejection with a grain of salt and I did find out recently that really nice, professional people do exist in Hollywood. I am dealing with a couple of them right now. The producer, especially, who I optioned with and I had a conversation last week after I complimented the courtesy of her staff. She told me that she hates how crappy writers get treated and that if you're professional (like I try to be) that there's no reason for someone to treat you badly. I found that take so refreshing that I couldn't wait to sign with her, and I did. ;.)
Maybe a lot of us do it to ourselves because I know that a lot of writers don't act professionally and I am sure they (producers/managers) see and hear everything. And on the company I posted about on here, the one who I think acted a little less than professional towards me, maybe it's because they hear so much crap that when someone sincere does come along, they don't want to believe you.
Anyway, there are really cool people out there to work with. It just takes a little patience and luck to get your script into the right hands.
Anyone find out when the conference is? For those of us saving our $, we need to find out and plan... not only the trip, but he MB party nite!
It we all pitch in, we can buy one bottle of Dom and each have a toothful... or, we can buy our own drinks and have lots more... ;.)
Those are the best but there are lots of good, smaller contests where you can win representation, etc. Look at Fredrick's "Report Cards." They are excellent and you will get a good take on what to enter.
PS... Frederick keeps this site really up-to-date and you can bet that most everything on here is on the money.
Sorry, Frederick... Damn, I still haven't learned to type...
I don't know if there are any "big guns" here, but I have big boobs and in some parts of this business, that means even more. ;.) Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Besides, with the way this site has been going lately, we don't know anymore if someone who posts is really who they say they are. In other words, we suspect we've had a lot of imposters posting here lately. So not to worry, D. Jay... vent your frustrations if you must. We're all friends here and we're certainly not going to tell anyone. While I agree with Faith about being professional out there, I wouldn't worry about it. Everyone has bad days, says things that they regret but if we were all perfect, I'd be out of a day job because nobody would need professional development counseling. ;.)
Yeah, what Mike said... ;.)
Copyright Office is backed up for 6 months because they were closed during the Anthrax scare. However, mail gets opened at an offsite facility for inspection first. The guy there told me if you send it Priority Mail with "Delivery Confirmation" as soon as you know that it's delivered and they cash your check, you are protected, even if they don't get around to entering it there system for 6 months.
Actually, I just talked to a gent about that a few weeks ago. He said not to bother with Fed Ex because they are now going to the same sorting place and you're wasting your money. Might be a new policy since we were in "Level Orange." ;.)
In case ya'll didn't see this, here are the dates.
Yes, I know James. Nice guy. Email me through my link and I'll give you the scoop.
I have an address and fax number, but anyone have an email address and current contact for TIG Productions?
Have a good one.
Why not? It's only a read and if he's interested in buying or optioning it, then you can see what he has to say.
Maybe you don't have the goods, dahling.
Hey, I'm not peddling "Waterworld."
This is for a romantic comedy where he'd be sort of a Texas cowboy-type.
Check out the mission in Santa Barbara. I think it was either run by nuns or monks.
I agree with Thomas. Gosh, sometimes these companies don't even remember you. Not to long ago, I got response to a query from a company that had already read that particular script. Go figure.
Anyone have any contact info on Brooklyn Films or Walden Media?
Thanks. You both rock!
I've heard that unless you have some other attachments to the movie (like a producer and some money...or have a chance in hell that the thing could actually get made) it's rare that an actor will offer to attach him or herself to a project unless they are head over heals for it. In those cases, those scripts don't usually come through their agents (agents normally give actors scripts on projects that are in development), but they come through the actor's own production company.
If you don't have any attachments already to the script and you don't run in cirles, as the previous post suggested, I'd probably focus on trying to get it to that actor's production company.
Just my two cents.
What makes me "spittin'" mad about this whole thing is that anyone who opposes this war, whether their reasons be right or wrong, seems to get chastised. If we dare utter an uncomplimentary statement against Bush, we are slapped with an "unpatriotic" label.
But I ask you, isn't freedom of speech and opinion part of what it's all about in this country? I say if you care about the situation either way, you are patriotic, because you care. Please don't write back and say, "Well our freedom is what we're fighting for," because I don't see anyone over here holding guns on us and making us speak Russian or Arabic. What I see is a bunch of fanatics who want to kill us because we don't agree with them and they think we do not want to let them live the way they want to live. I don't see that as "threatening our freedom," as much as a cry for change. Yes, it's a horrible way to cry out.
So, that being said, with the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I just don't feel like this war is going to get us what we think it will get us.
A) Saddam doesn't think like we do. In the name of Jihad, he's likely to take his whole country, and many of our ground troops, with him.
B) I don't think we can count on air strikes alone to get the weapons, as I believe he has them hidden underground. That's why the inspectors couldn't find them.
C) While I do think Saddam needs to be taken out, why not go after the real threat, which is Osama? We apparently know where he's hiding now. I don't understand why it's so hard to find a sick, aging man in a cave, yet we chastise the inspectors for not being able to find hidden weapons.
D) Being that all this airstrike is going to do is put some fanatics in a "Jihad state of mind," I don't think conventional, "We're America, we're going to kick you butt" wisdom applies in this new world anymore. I do think someone needs to pay for 9-11, but would those who died on that terrible day want their children's lives risked? I think it's time we put down our guns and really, really figure out how to negotiate with each other in this world. If we don't learn how to understand each other and meet each other half way, then the next thing you know, Iraq will strike Israel, Israel will strike back and then North Korea will join forces with what they will consider these "oppressed nations being bullied by our country," WW III will break out and we won't have a world left to negotiate for.
E) I think Bush's message "don't blow up the oil wells" is very telling about an underlying motive in all this. I didn't vote for the man and I do think he thinks he's doing the right thing. However, deep down, I think that the oil plays some part in the motive.
I know this all sounds very contradictory, because I'm saying that someone needs to pay but we also need peace, but aren't we, as a nation, smart enough to figure out how to really conduct peace talks?
See, that's exactly what I mean. Anyone who talks peace is automatically accused of being some kind of innocent or dumb or something. I have a really bad feeling that this war is not going to turn out the way we think it will, but all you John Wayne's and Rambos out there think otherwise, so all I've got to say is, to each his (or her) own.
I pray I am wrong about my gut feeling and you all are right about this.
PS and just to set the record straight, my husband is a Navy who saw some action. I have great respect for our military personnel and I am not against military conflicts when they are needed. I just think we should be going after Osama and I also think we're in over our heads this time and that the ramifications of opening this can of worms is going to be far greater than the benefits. We're creating a whole sub culture of young, Arab men and women who just hate us. Since you all say this is "not about oil" and we get most of it from Venezuela, then why on earth do we not just put severe economic sanctions on the neighboring Arab countries to try to get them to oust Saddam for us? It's a sad fact of life that money often speaks louder than guns. But, you know why we are not doing that, because of the OIL.
What we fail to forget is that while we may be able to level Iraq in two or three days, it's what's coming after on these grounds that we really have to fear. No, nobody is holding a gun to my head, but if you read my post clearly and without bias, you would have understood that I pointed out a more eminent danger in front of us. Our freedom is not being challenged, here, it's our lives and getting involved in this war is only going to make it worse for us here, not better.
I meant to say Navy vet... he's not the entire Navy. ;.)
Paula, Thank you. She's right, there's so much more to consider here, like the Russian's announcement today that they are demanding we pull out now. If Saddam pulls the plug and takes his country with him, which he's likely to do, I wouldn't be surprised if the last almost 20 years of breaking down the cold war will be all for nothing.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe we WILL have a Russian holding a gun to our heads, thanks to this. And on the Euro-trash comment, most Americans forget that we one in the same. As Bill Murray said in "Stripes," "Our forefathers were kicked out of every respectable nation in the world!" I think the real problem is that we, as Americans, are often too arrogant to admit that another country might have some insight that we do not.
Again, I hope this is successful and I hope I'm wrong.
I hope you ended this call with something like, "Maybe not according to you, but I do know tht I'm serious about sending con men to jail. Let me see, is this your home or your work number?"
My husband works in corporate fraud investigations. The best way to handle these types of folks is to call their bluff and share the *&^% outta them!
Meant scare, not share. Sorry, one my first cup of coffee. ;.)
I meant on, not one... I better give up and go to work. ;.)
You get my point.
Finally, someone got it! Thanks, Paul. Whether we agree or disagree, that was my point exactly. Notice how the Iraqis set fire to the oil fields and oil prices are already going up as I write this.
I know a little about Russian political prisoners because my great grandfather was one, only during WWI. He would not fight, so they shipped him off to Siberia. He later escaped. Maybe that's where I get some of my spunk.
Does anyone have any contact info for Chick Flicks?
I have contact info for Dee Gee, but does anyone have a valid email address?
Don't you have to obtain permission and rights before you can do that?
"Hello, friends and enemies." Cary Grant.
Thanks, David. How did you get a call with her? Is she open to that or did you have a referral?
Hey, D Jay, I hope you're not counting me in that insult. I have great respect for our fighting men and women. As I said, my husband was one. However, I just don't happen to agree with this particular war. There's no reason to insult people just because they don't agree with you.
No, I haven't called. I'm probably going to send a query. I am not great at cold calls.
Sorry to disappoint.
By the way, for those of you who are about to slam be because I talked back go D Jay, he knows I'm just getting on his case. ;.)
Hummm, these rules... I guess they are a good starting point... but... The script I recently optioned starts with a short voice over. Many fine movies start with a close up and dialogue... Hell, I can't think of the name of the one I'm thinking about, but I keep seeing the scene where Uma Thurman is laying on the shrink's couch and Richard Gere is examining her. What was the name of that movie?
Anyway, I think the important thing is having a good story. If you have a scene or two that runs over 3 1/2 pages, just keep it moving. In the script I just optioned, I have a bar scene that runs 6 minutes but part of it takes place at the bar and part takes place between just two of the characters at the waitress stand. So it's really one long scene with various ANGLES, but the way that would be shot would be in several smaller, continuous scenes. There's POVs, etc in there.
What you don't want is talking heads going on and on and on and on and on... kind of like this post.
If you haven't found an example, you can email me through my link here and I'll be glad to give you some help.
I am just shy. ;.)
Actually, my system seems to work for me. Some like to call. I think you have to do whatever works for you.
Does anyone have an email address for Red Strokes and/or does anyone know if Shirley McLain has a production company? I hear she is directing now.
Is it just me, or has the flavor of this board turned really sour the past few months? Used to be that we could go on and debate in quiet reserve. Now it seems that we have a few that have joined us that want to slam everyone's contributions or pick them apart.
How come? For those who like that kind of sparing, Done Deal is only a click away.
Well, Ellum, no offense, but I wasn't really "agreeing" with you, although I understand the points you were trying to make.
Here's my point: I think the rules Steve posted are very sound and I try to follow them as much as possible. My point was just that you may break them if you do so wisely and it makes sense and moves the story along. Too many writers try to be too inventive on their first or second script and it does them in.
Whether we like it or not, format and formula are two very important elements in most "successful" movies. By successful, I mean movies that actually make money. If you're writing for film festivals, you can break a few more of them, but if you really want to sell something to "Hollywood," you've got to figure out how to work with the rules yet be creative enough and polished enough with your writing to know when you can break them. Like the rule on not opening on dialogue. I mostly follow that myself because I know from being a trainer that most people process information visually and it takes the average human a few seconds to "catch up." Therefore, pictures work better than words at the beginning of a movie. You've got to have something really poignant to say at the beginning to start on dialogue. You'll know it if you do and then that's a rule you can break.
I am not saying this to boast, only using it as an example, but I was once told by an agent (and a good one) that my writing partner and I write some of the best voice over scenes she's ever seen. She went on to say that it takes a real talent to figure out how to do it, and not many writers, even really great writers (better than myself) can figure out how to do it and make it flow in a script.
So my point is, that's something I do well, so with rule, I can feel comfortable breaking it. Now there are some other rules on that list I stick to and that's it.
We have to know your not only our strengths as a writer, but we have to be willing to admit our weaknesses, too. Until a writer is comfortable enough with him or herself and their abilities to do that, it's best to stick to the rules. If you find that you excel in a certain area, then hell yeah, run with it. Break the rules and more power to you.
Yeah, what they said...
&^it! I just spilled water all over me...
Obviously, you thought this post was about you. Either you are being very defensive because your conscience is bothering you or you've just lost it, dude, because I never mentioned anyone's name here. Can you say, "take a chill pill?"
In Steve's defense, he's a great guy and very generous. There's a group of us on here who write off the board, exchange leads, help each other. That's what this is all about. Meeting friends to help us over the hurdles.
Ellum, why did you come back to this board anyway, in whatever name you're using now? I thought you thought us all beneath you, according to your last email to me. That, dear poster, is very confusing to me.
Take your high blood pressure medicine, stay away from salt and and your computer now. You're obviously having a TIA or something!!! Quick everyone, call a doctor!
Dude, it's only a webiste about writing.
And yes, I did feel kind of bad until I read that one paragraph, but I am sure you didn't mean it. I forgive and forget and I would never, ever, assume a name or creditials I don't have on here and be someone else because I think it's a rather vile thing to do, thank you. ;.) Would you do that, Ellum? Now that you mention it... I wonder....? Hummmm... ;.)
You know what they say... People who live in glass houses shouldn't drink beer in their underpants.
I meant website and credentials. I am having a TIA of the fingers today.
I just got back from vacation. I went to Biloxi and New Orleans. Back to work today. No new news on the option, but it's only been two weeks since I talked to the producer last. I came home to three requests for two other scripts. ;.)
I was trying to drop some weight, but I might be preggy. We'll know in about a week. I don't want to get too excited over this prospect yet.
I said nothing negative about Steve. Ever, Ellum. Don't pull that crap. You are a piece of work lately, I'll tell you. What's your problem, Dude. Why are you putting everyone down all of a sudden? Do you feel this sense of power or something just for pissing everyone off.
Listen, I'm outta here, too. I'll respond to posts about helpful things, but that is that.
Read your own post. You brought it up. I was just teasing you back anyway because you brought that up and you told me once that you used a lot of "pseudonyms." I thought maybe you were trying to tell us something like your own here bickering with yourself for entertainment value. I wouldn't put it past someone to play a big joke like that.
Thanks, Gil for your remarks, too. I am sorry I started this thread. I just meant to point out that people are getting quite hostile with each other lately. I didn't mean for anyone in particular to take offense. I just smacks of Done Deal hositlity.
You know, D.G is right. I've noticed that trend, too. I go in every so often and update my loglines and synopsis from WSN, to put mine back on top. I've also noticed that sometimes, people who hit on your logline weeks (or months) earlier suddenly come back and request the script. Could be that some pull them, put print them, put them aside and then get to them whenever.
WSN is the Writer's Script Network. It's a great site that some of us use to promote our work. You can post your logline, synopsis, and even your script if you want to. It's secure, because Jerrol LeBarron, who owns the site screens (the best he can) producers, managers and agents who want to search for scripts.
It's a good way to get around the "we don't accept unsolicited material" becasue they are actually soliciting your material by requesting your script from you after viewing your logline or synopsis. You'll have your own link to your email in there so you'll know when someone has looked at your synopsis, and they can contact you directly.
It costs $40, but it's well worth it. Steve C, who posts on here got his manager through WSN and I got a director interested in one of my scripts who is currently talking to a producer who optioned it. I also got an email from Jerrol a week or so ago telling me to contact someone who he had a conversation with, who might also be interested in the same script.
So it increases your odds a bit, I think. It saves you time and it's well worth the money.
By the way, I am in no way involved with WSN other than being a happy client.
Hope that helps.
That's all I've got to say about that.
I thought I told you a long time ago. I'm sorry. Email me off the board. It's a long story. ;.)
I think some of the production companies make money selling lists of writers names and email addreses. I really do.
If it's through WSN, contact Jerrol. He's a great guy and he's happy to give you the scoop. I had someone download my script a while back who I couldn't find anything on and he wrote me back telling me that the guy was an agent. He told me who he used to work for and who he represents. The whole nine yards.
Yes, Amit, I do.
David Mattis Circle of Confusion Ltd. 107-23 71st Road Suite 300 Forest Hills, NY 11375
That happens to me all the time. The script I recently optioned, when we completed it, I thought... oh, this is a just a nice little story and it turns out that it's done very well. I have another script that I just love that I can't sell even if offered free doughnuts with it. I call it my "always a bridesmaid script" becuase it gets a lot of nice nods but never gets taken ;.)
Jerrol LeBarron of WSN told me recently in an email that whatever we did right with the script we optioned, we need to figure it out and keep doing it. So my advice to you is to figure out what you did in this one script and keep doing it.
;.) Oh, and sorry I spelled your name wrong before.
I've had something read by them in the past. They seem nice and they do get back to you. I have to follow up on another script they wanted to read because they wanted to read two of them and we sent one first. I used regular Priority Mail, which is 2-3 days anywhere in the US.
I am glad you liked the example. ;.) You know, on the adult drama, it could be other factors that are pulling people to that script over your sci-fis For instance, budget considerations, mainstream appeal, those sort of things. It could be that the quality of the writing is equally as good in this script you're talking about and some of the others, but what you have in the drama is a something that more producers could make.
;.) Have you tried submitting it to producers, too, or just contests?
Yes. They are a management company and they also produce. David Mattis seems run the management company end of things and Lawrence Mattis seems to be the producer.
Excuse me if you already know this, but I'll post it here for some others who may not... But a lot of these management/production companies seems to be popping up. I hear what they do is rep your script, like an agent would, only they pair up with a WGA signatory agent to do the deal if your deal is with a company with a WGA agreement. Problem is, then you need to pay the manager 15% and the agent his or her 10%, but that's the breaks. Many of these management companies (I can't speak for this one, but I heard that Zide Perry does this) will refund your 15% you paid to THEM IF they attach themselves as a producer. If they decide not to produce it, then they keep the 15% fee.
So either way, they make money.
"I know nothing. I see nothing." Sgt. Schultz.
I too think that was the funniest post I've read on here in a long time. We need more fun like this around here. ;.)
By the way, don't you feel old (like I do) when members of our peer group here don't know who John Cleese is?
Time for my Geritol now. :.)
PS- Ron, I agree with your comments on the Iraqi's too. As you know, I've posted some antiwar stuff on here and like the other person, I too support the troops. Which, I know, seems contradictory. I guess the real problem I have is that we keep helping to create some of these monsters.
We gave Afghanistan the weapons to fight Russia and practically handed the Taliban the country on a silver platter. Look what happened years later. If we hadn't given Saddam the weapons to fight Iran, he wouldn't have turned and used them on his own people when he lost the conflict. We wouldn't have had to get involved in the Gulf War and who knows, he could have been overthrown by his own people long if he didn't have this "power." One can only speculate.
I just think it's a pity that American policy is such to trade arms to the "lesser of two evils," (no pun intended on your post) and then a generation later, GIS who were in grade school at the time have to go in and clean up the mess.
I agree Saddam has to go, but I think once we get this mess cleaned up, our government should make a pact to never, ever, ever supply arms again to anyone unless they are proven, peaceful allies (we see how fast even they can turn on us). But at least the worst the French are doing is cursing us over their cafe au lait... they're not likely to try to attack us.
I think many of us aren't really "for" or "against" this war. I think many of us are just looking at the "big picture" and wondering how it all came to this. I just think it's really sad. MK
I was going to ask Ed the same question. Anybody know this?
$600,000 for a 2-3 bedroom bungalow? Ye gads. I guess if ya'll really want to live near the action, that's what it takes but man...
You know what I can get for $600,000 in Palm Beach County, Florida. Never mind. You all probably don't want to know. ;.)
Yes, I believe I saw a post like that a few months back.
Sorry, folks... I've been off the board for a week because of my work, so I didn't see this... Yes, D. Jay is right. Veena did email a month or so back, out of the blue, to tell me she was passing. I was surprised because I had not had much interaction with her here that she would do that... But then I saw the post, so I guess it's true.
I know she seemed to be a "mento" to many people.
You know, I never thought of that. ;.)
I don't know anything about ScriptPimp, but I do know that WSN has been really great. Jerrol or Mia are quick to answer your questions and Jerrol even went out of his way to email me and tell me that someone talked to him about my script and I should contact him. Now that's service.
Zero Gravity read one of my scripts one time and never got back to me. I emailed him to let him know that I optioned it to save him the read, in case he hadn't yet and he asked for something else, but I had to write him back and tell him that I was going with another agent on it. That's about it for me.
Have you noticed how Saddam keeps appearing on TV, but just like Bigfoot, nobody is sure if he is for real?
Or, is it a twin pulling a Mary Kate and Ashley? Hummmm...
However, the Bush Administration's remark today that "It's not important because Saddam's regime is no longer in power" was a little lame.
I've had more luck with producers than actors.
Hubby and I are planning Austin. Who is serious?
Dan, my husband... He will host the spouse/signifcant other outing while we are at our seminars. This sounds like fun: My hubby said he'll host a day where the spouses/sig others go to play trivia and/or meet us at an Austin bar after the classes. Byters, let's go!
If you haven't gotten a response on this, follow my link and email me off the board. It's too involved to post here, but I have a nice format that you can use to write a teleplay. I have written many of them and made the top 50 in contests. ;.) I won top 50 for a "Wings" episode, "Grace Under Fire," and for a pilot I did and I also made the semi finals for a "Fraiser" episode. I've also written scripts for "In the Heat of the Night" (which was considered by the show) and also "Northern Exposure."
Never got a complaint about this formatting technique, so I assume it works.
I've had more luck with email than anything else. Nobody seems to respond to letters anymore. Faxes use up their resources and it's hard to get someone to talk to you on the phone if you don't have a referral.
I wouldn't recommend small options for everyone. I never thought I'd do it but I took a small option with a chance to make a significant amount of money within about six months to a year, and I must say, the producer is working on the script. I got a call from her office about two weeks ago telling me that it had been moved onto their development slate and I should be hearing some good news, hopefully, very soon. However, she's known from working with another production company, with her own start up company now, so maybe mine is the exception rather than the rule for small options.
There are no guarantees that my film will get made right now but where it's helped me is that I've had more requests for my other scripts now that I say I have an option. So, if nothing else, I can use it as a marketing tool for the next six months to a year.
I am also letting a friend of my (my old writing teacher) who is teaching at a University outside of California and who recently signed with a WGA signtory outside of LA handle one script. I normally would never go with an out of LA agency, but A) I know her, b) She's got connections and C) it's only one script.
I figure when you live outside of LA and you're like many of us, throwing darts out there to see if something sticks, you've got to try a little bit of everything. I had a WGA signatory agency on this same script for almost two years, and he was in LA, and nothing happened with it.
Sometimes you do find opportunities in the most unlikely places and sometimes they are a little offbeat. I'm not sure I'd take another small option because I probably would not be so lucky the second time around.
I guess I'm just one to figure out ways to turn lemons into beer. ;.)
I used to follow up. No more, unless I want to query them on something else. I agree, rarely would someone say, "Oh, I forgot I wanted to pay you six figures for this!" Now, the only time I follow up is if I sent something off and somebody else is interested. Then I give them a heads up so that they don't have to waste their time, and in the past, and it seems like they respect you for doing that and often ask you what else you have.
I do have two interesting tidbits to share about this. One time, back in oh, 1999 or so, my writing partner called up a producer who had a script and she said, "I wanted this script, but my partners only want to do Lifetime TV type stories. I've had it on my desk for a week now trying to figure out how I can change their mind." But she had to end up passing.
Not too long ago, I told someone who was about to pass on a script that I had optioned it with someone else, and I think they thought I was being a smart ass. So they requested another script and passed on it in like two days. ;.)
Just "shows to go you" ;.) that there are always exceptions.
The point: Send it off and forget about it. They'll call if they want the script.
I've had this happen to me, but not with this company you're talking about. I have no experience with them.
Sometimes a producer or an agent will ask for a snynopsis to A) see how well you write, or B) to determine if you're story has a solid beginning a middle and an end and/or C) if they are looking for something for someone in particular (actor/actress) or D) if the budget is in line with what they want to do.
Sometimes a logline can sound super but when they get a script, its full of EFX or too many locations, etc. There is more to why they take a script (or don't take it) then just good writing.
I'd send the synopsis and see what happens.
Sorry for all the type-boo boos in this post and others I've posted today. I am posting on the fly.
No, this is not a post about what I look like before I put my makeup on in the morning or about my dog, Eddie.
It's about a production company looking for shorts. If anyone responded this this guy's post for shorts, I got an email today from him explaining his company. He says that he's not going to pay for any scripts. I guess they are hoping for a "contribution" of one script with a profit sharing type of deal. I told him to take my name out of the running. Just thought I'd let y'all know.
Before the character doesn't get the job, is there some kind of set up or temptation in front of him to steal from this company. For instance in "Office Space," which I found very funny, the main character sees his friends getting laid off, which causes him to go go through some changes, which in turns causes the executives to think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then he decides to steal.
Sometimes there doesn't have to be this BIG thing happen at page 30, but enough little things to keep the reader interested. "Back to the Future" didn't really "start" until Act Two, but there was enough good character development and funny situations to keep people interested until he went back in time. Many time travel movies seem to work this way, because you have to set up the characters as they are now, and the rules for your time travel first.
It really just depends on the story you're writing and the genre. Maybe write it the way you want it, submit it to a contest and see how it does?
The only other thing I'd suggest is to make sure you're not mixing genres. I have one script that's a hybrid. I've mentioned it on here bofore as my "Always a bridesmaid" script. It's well-written, funny, but it's kind of a mix between romantic comedy and fantasy. I had an agent on the script for almost 2 years and now we are going to have another agent rep it. It's been talked up by producers, it's almost been purchased twice, but still, no sale. It's mostly because producers have a hard time investing in something from a not-well-known writer if it's not high concept. These hybrid's do work, but they are harder to market. I have another that's almost a hybrid, but the slice of life feeds into the second storyline. The character progresses with it. It's done well in contests but no takers in the "real world" yet. Again, I think it's that hybrid quality about it.
So, you may want to consider if you're writing a "slice of life" or something more plot-driven. Don't change course in mid stream. I only say this, Sherlock (or whoever you really are-- I doubt that's your real name ;.) ) from my own personal experience.
Sorry about the typos. I type about 85 WPM and I need spellcheck. Sorry.
Oh, my gosh, are you guys still going on this? Ye gads. This thread was posted in March. Onward and upward, fellas.
I get them professionally done, thank you. ;.)
I think it's the economy. Have you noticed how many contests, even Austin, have "extended" their deadline? I think there are 3 problems:
A) The economy. People can't afford to enter as many as they used to.
B) Saturation of contests - Too many to pick from, and some of the newer contests are bringing in pretty impressive prizes such as deals or representation and also any Joe Blow can now say they have a "contest."
C) With that comes too many rip offs, as some of you have posted about on here. People are more cautious.
D) Too many other avenues to sell your work without paying money to enter a contest. When I first started doing this in the early 90s, we didn't all have home computers. We used to use word processors or (gulp) typewriters to type up our scripts, and we did not have all these producers who had email addresses. I guess that's four points, huh? Oh, well... It's early... I'm having my coffee... but I drink decaf, so it's really not going to help me... Nothing will help me at this point... but I digress...
Anyway, lots of factors make for lots of contests going bye-bye soon, I fear. In fact, there was one in the mid 90s I used to love and was very well resprected, "America's Best," and I don't even see that around anymore.
That was respected, not resrected or whatever the hell I typed.
I got an email from her this week, after checking in with her. She seemed in good spirits and was happy to hear from someone. She said her hubby is hanging in there and starting his treatments and wanted me to tell you all "hello." She said that she welcomes your emails and her e-mailbox has been far too lonely. So if you have time, drop a line to her and see how she's doing.
Hey, this sounds like a question that I'm qualified to answer. See, my day job is as a professional development specialist (communications skills trainer) for a laboratory information systems organization. I develop and train workshops to the company and to another company we do business with (via web classes) overseas. I also hold a master's degree. So, are you ready for the psycho-babble version of why all this happens? Maybe not, but here goes anyway.
There are four stages to group development: Forming, storming, norming and performing. If the group hasn't successfully oriented to each other and they are stuck in this "storming" stage, any new, outside factor (ie: you) or anything that is different from the "norm" that the group has adjusted to (ie: your writing) is going to get squash treatment. It's basic Teambuiling 101 we teach our managers, and the same thing happens to new employees when they come into a department with new and inventive ideas. They get a lot of "Well, that won't work because..." and "What do you know? You're new. We've ALWAYS done it this way." Which, as we know in the business world is counterproductive thinking.
Just goes to show you that many people have not progressed out of the "You can't play in my sandbox" stage. This is normal behavior and unfortunately, it's the group facilitator's job to keep this kind of "squashing" and "aggression" under control.
If I were you and you respect this woman, I would mention very casually your perceptions and see what she says. If she's any kind of a facilitator, she'll know what to do subtly right the situation. If she's not, then you may have to find another group. If the group can't get past this stage of development, then they are really not likely to do you much good anyway.
Hope that makes sense.
Dr. Fraiser Crane...
I mean, Mary Kay
I didn't really have anything to say, other than I felt like starting a new post.
When I first started writing about 10 years ago, I wrote for TV and it seemed like we were a "lesser class." Seinfeld seemed to change all that. Seriously. Now, there's this new breed of TV shows that almost exceeds films sometimes. Not always, but sometimes. They used to also say that for TV you HAD to live in LA. While it helps now, I hear that major production companies are looking for fresh ideas everywhere. Could it be that people are getting tired of "reality TV?" Dunno.
I bought the Cary Grant stamp a while back, just because I love him so. ;.)
Steve... Copy Cat! ;.)
Yeah, we wives throwing down the law really does help put things into perspective. ;.) It's funny how life works that way. In fact, life really is a family sitcom, isn't it? At least mine is... ;.)
Glad it worked out for you, Gil.
The one I optioned, we wrote in about a month. I have one script that I just finished a rewrite on, that I've been writing since 1995! It's gone through so many evolutions, that you hardly recoginze it from them to now.
Veena was a lovely woman who blessed us all and then was taken away all too suddenly. of course, no one can verify her death, which makes us all wonder if she wasn't one of our regular posters who decided to have a little fun??? We've had that before on here.
By the way, if you all believe in mediums (psychics), email me and I'll tell you all about one I went to this weekend. If you don't, we'll then how about those Yankees this year? ;.)
I meant well, not we'll... Oh we'll har har...
There is a novel that I read in high school (20 years ago) that was a little before it's time, but would make a great movie today. I hear that the author might be dead now. How do I go about getting the rights so that I can write the screenplay?
D Jay... Me? Make light of a situation? NEVER!
Anyone have an email address? I have the rest.
Anyone ever hear of them or have contact info?
Honestly, save your money. I got a free "blast" from entering/placing in a contest. So, I picked a script and went with it. They sent me a copy of what they sent out and the quality of the email was so poor (lines all goofy and such). They blasted agents like ICM, where I don't have a dog's chance of getting into at this point in my career, although the agent was nice enough to write me back and tell me that.
The only "reads" I got from the whole deal were two really, really small agencies, outside of California, who I never heard back from.
Personally, I'm not for the "spray and prey" approach. I like to take my time and query people who I think will be interested and so far, it seems to be working.
I'll be kicking your butt in Austin, Calderwood. ;.)
This, from Miriam tonight: "Wanted to let you know that Keith's leukemia is officially in remission."
Please email her at Miriamqueensen@aol.com and let her know that you're thinking about her and to praise whatever GOD you worship. I know mine is listening.
Me, after I eat too many carbs for the week.
A while back, I posted a lead. Zide Perry was looking for romantic comedy screenplays and the lead was one of their producer's email addresses. They weren't taking them through the INZIDE site. Well, guess what? I lost the address and the post is now off this board. By chance, does anyone recall the guy's name and email?
Yes, that's it! Thank you!
Does anyone have any contact information for them? They are not in my copy of the HCD.
You are a wealth of information. Thanks again. I am a mess of disorganization lately. ;.)
Hey, D.G. Sorry to disappoint, but nice to hear from you again.
My dog once ran upstairs when we came home and jumped on the bed and fell off because he barked too loudly at us. He has this habit of wanting to talk to us. Does that count as a flying dog? I am a stage (dog) mom and I think my kid (dog) is the cutest in the world and I'd love to see him on the TV. ;.)
Freddie, we want to see pictures of you... I'm a northerner who became a southern belle, so I mean that in the most proper of ways.
Your fans want to know the man behind the website!
I do not believe that Bill Cosby has a production company, but do any of you know how to get a script to him?
Terri, helpful, as usual.
I thought of Carsey-Warner. Anyone have an email or a fax for them? It's not listed in the HCD.
Go to google.com and do a search on Esther Luttrell. She's a fairly famous screenwriting teacher who used to work for MGM and CBS. I her years in Hollywood, she read tons of scripts and she came up with a formatting style that is so easy to remember, and it's "safe" and very logical. Since we went to her formatting, I have not gotten one complaint. In fact, even when we get passes now, we often get comments such as "Very well-written and professional script." The script we optioned, the producer did not require any re-writes and said that the formatting looked great.
I'd encourage you to get a copy of Esther's book and follow it, and no, I don't get any commissions. ;.)
Stay away from the "Freeze Frame," unless it's really important to the story. Sometimes, you can do a fantasy sequence in slow motion to get a point across, but don't direct in a spec. Just tell your story. Directing is the directors job.
As far as captions, you can try:
SUPERED IN BLACK: JULY, 2003
Underline "Supered in Black."
Anybody ever try to email one of the "mentors" they list on the WGA site? I've done so twice now and have gotten the most bizarre responses. The first time I emailed one of them, I asked a question about rewrites and got this long email on how I needed to find someone in Hollywood to tell me if my script was "done or not." I politely thanked him, but heck, if I had a friend who lived in Hollywood who would take the time to advise me on my scripts, I sure as hell wouldn't be using the WGA mentor site to ask my questions.
Last night I emailed one of them with a business question, wanting some guidance. I'll try to explain the situation here. I have a small, boutique agency outside of Hollywood handling two of my scripts, but I do not have an exclusive with them. For something we just completed, I had three more prestigious agencies/managers request it, so, we sent it to them before showing it to the agency that handles some of our other work. (FYI - I am not going behind my agent's back doing this. I know this agent well and she's told me that she's very, very swamped right now and is not able to give the two scripts she has as much attention as she'd like. She knows we are writing and expects that we'll be shopping other stuff elsewhere).
Meanwhile, a well-known producer's office called my writing partner, off a query, and the producer wants to read this script. Problem is, they would prefer the submission be through an agent or with a standard release form. So I wrote the WGA mentor and I asked about protocol... "Should I...
A) contact one of the agents who has the script to see if they are interested, and tell them that if they are, I need to have someone submit it to a well-known producer?
B) contact the smaller agency who has my two other scripts, knowing that I get them to submit it, I'd have to sign a six month contract with them, which means I've have to can the possibility of going with one of the other three on the project for six months? Additionally, the agency has a "no marketing clause," meaning that all queries must come from them.
C) Or should I just send the script in with a standard release and if so, does the mentor think it would actually get read that way? I went on and asked if he knew where I could get a standard release form.
In short, I'd love to do option A, but I wasn't sure if it was cool or if the agencies might think I was just another pesky writer trying to put pressure on them. Option B ties our hands for six months and option C... well, I'm afraid I'll end up on the slush pile. I thought maybe the mentor would help me outline the pros and cons of each option, even if he didn't have the "answer" or didn't want to stick his neck out with one, but what I got was this fairly rude and abrupt response back, "Sorry, I only answer questions about the craft."
I thought these folks were "volunteers," which means that nobody is holding a gun to their head making them do this? I wouldn't think one would "volunteer" for such and activity if they didn't find some sense of fulfillment from doing it. You can tell by the quality of the responses that you get that they really just look at it as a burden. So much for that.
So, does anyone on here have any similar experiences and could maybe help me decide the best way to go? Does anyone know where I can get a "Standard Release Form?" I looked for it on the WGA site, but I can't seem to find it on there, if one is there.
I meant an, not and...
The dog is repped by William Morris. ;.)
I was able to get in touch with a guy I know who is a writer/director of filmography in LA and he advised me to go with the release form, to keep my other options open. He said that since they didn't send me one (and he knows this company) they are probably serious about reading the script regardless. That was good to hear. ;.)
Thanks all for your advice. It's appreciated.
Yo dude, check your email. There's something important on there... it's a forward from a producer on "Back to Boca."
Hey, dude, I got your email wanting to know why I hadn't responded to yours, but I actually had sent you several back. Are you still having that funky problem with your computer?
When you get this, emial me and we'll test it out and see if you get it.
Well, if you read the post, I think it was K who started with the whole idea that impostors were present by saying that some Canadian guy was one. At least on this thread. I don't think that Paula was saying K was an impostor. Maybe we're all impostors. Maybe I'm really Katherine Hepburn in disguise. Oh, wait, then I'd be dead.
I agree with Ellum. I don't know why anyone would want to post as anyone other than themselves on this board. Seems to me that anyone who would NEED to do that either needs a shrink or has nothing better to do. You'd have to be a real wannabe with no self-esteem to post as someone else. Or, they don't have any friends so they have to create several personalities so that they can talk to themselves. Can you say "Psycho?"
If anyone who posts here regularly would do that, then shame on you, but I trust (or I hope) that everyone is being up front and honest about who they really are. So, thank you, Ellum, for that comment.
Oh, and about typos on here... I make them all the time. I am just too damn lazy to spell check and since this site doesn't offer a spell checker, oh fricken' well... You know, there's no direct link between spelling and intelligence. Some folks with very high IQs can't spell. Spelling only involves memorization and people with really high IQs often lack in that area because they are too busy thinking 15 steps ahead. Ever hear of the absent-minded professor?
Sorry, I have to share my geek psycho-babble knowledge now and again.
I always found the majority of the folks who post over there to be obnoxious and I even heard that people were writing lies about companies. I would, however, go check in there from time to time to get leads. I went to the site yesterday and it seems to be gone. Did the lawsuit kill them?
Frederick, thanks for running a nice site and I saw your post on the "impostors" thread and I think it's a good idea to limit screen names. That will assure the credibility of this site. ;.)
Frederick is right about the IPs. Many people have and use more than one computer. I got a very strange request from someone who said they frequented this site not too long ago, but I never found any posts by the guy. Come to think of it, as I'm writing this, it just came to me that I see that a lot on here. Someone posts one thing and they say, "I've been on this site for a while." However, there are no other posts by them and there's also no profile set up.
Anyway, back to my story... This guy sent me an email asking me for some formatting info. I helped him out, because that's the way I am, and then he started asking me to read my scripts. Now, I don't know this person from Adam, so I said not at this time. He seemed to get really pissed and then (this is the strange part), I get an email from a company work email address (some woman's) and it's got the same request to read my script from this guy. The same request that I'd already said no to. I believe this same guy also wanted me to edit his work for free.
I think it was sent off the Internet. I suspect this guy was using someone else's address to send out lots of requests to read people's scripts, hoping that some good Samaritan would oblige and send one to him (or her). I have no idea if this guy was really a woman and thought that I was too stupid to see that a man's email came from a woman's corpoarte work email address, or if it was the guy's wife sending them for him, or if he was a hacker and had stolen this woman's address to send SPAM. Who knows what the person's real motives were for getting the scripts. Was it to learn or was it to copy? But this is the kind of thing that can happen when someone uses someone else's IP address.
You know darn well that we ALL told you that impostor post months back was intended for another person, who has long gone from this BB. It was not about you and yet, you decided to take offense then and you still take offense now. Why? I don't know how many times I can tell you this, but by becoming "defensive" about a post that was about someone else, you made people suspicious. Nobody mentioned your name in that post, yet you jumped on it like an ant on sugar. You wanted to believe we were talking about you. If you want to keep going on believing that, then fine, but don't accuse people of things they already explained to you before. It was then and is now still about another person. Period. End of story.
And by the way, you always accuse people of being "mean" on here, and in the case of the guy who attacked Terri, you had a right to do so. Why did you have to draw Steve into that? Aren't you being as mean-spirited as those you're trying to condemn? People who live in glass houses shouldn't drink beer in their underpants!
You can lash back now if you want, Ellum. I don't care. I won't be reading it anyway. I, and several others I've heard from today are out of here. I'll use Moviebytes for its fine "Who's Buying What," but this board is just getting too goofy for words.
Best regards, MK Simple-Minded Writer & One Tired Bitch
I think you should go to the Film Noir Institute at www.imasnob.com for your response. They will have cup of English tea and a cookie waiting, or whatever the "heck" y'all call it in Canada. Sorry, but I had to do that... YES, I AM BACK... HE HE...
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