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I don't think Paul is correct. Semifinalist letters go out last week of August or the first week of September, and finalists are called in the end of September.
As posted earlier in the thread, it's not uncommon for a response to come many months after the original request. It's not rude. It's not unprofessional.
It appears the initial message from Colin was less than two months ago.
Along with perseverance and a thick hide, you're going to need a super size dose of patience to succeed as a writer.
Not to get off topic, but did you know that you can print mailing labels with priority mail postage from the usps.com website?
If you do it, you can drop scripts in any mailbox, even it they are over the weight limit.
If your post office is anything like mine, it's worth it not to have to sit in line for, oh, what is, about thirty years?
Semi-Finalist notifications were mailed yesterday.
Good luck to all.
You can get one at birth. The hospital usually processes a SSN application for a baby with the birth certificate.
To further answer your post, I remember I had a SS card as a kid. My parents kept it and wouldn't let me carry it around, though. Guess they didn't trust me.
At age 14 I carried a library card, Jr. High school id (w/photo) and a KISS army membership card.
I work for a production company that is currently working exclusively on pitching remakes of successful Asian films to major studios. They aren’t interested in original scripts.
In the current climate at the majors the simple fact is that the studios won’t touch anything without a guaranteed draw: a sequel, a remake, an adaptation of a videogame. And it better have a merchandising tie-in and a strong overseas pre-sell. Franchise pictures. Tent-poles.
I’m not defending the choice to make yet another body-snatchers, but for the time being the spec market is dry as a desert. It’s just the nature of the beast for now.
Not quite correct. The letters will tell you whether you made the semi-finals, made the second round but not the semis, or didn't advance at all.
Good luck to you.
Too true about the new crop of Japanese horror films...we're repping one that's about -- get this -- a little girl who sees ghosts! And a psychiatrist who is treating her, and turns out to be...
But I don't think it's fear of originality. Everyone we talk to says they'd all love to do something original, but the market dictates blah blah blah.
I think many young execs are cynical and jaded about the realities of staying profitable.
It will probably take a big boom of original, indie and SUCCE$$FUL pix (such as what happened in American film in the '70s) to change their minds.
There was a bit of a controversy on the Done Deal message board a few months ago when Mocean admitted to taking 10% of a client's Nicholl Fellowship money.
Some posters expressed the opinion that a reputable manager would not take a percentage of money won in a contest or fellowship, since it does not constitute sales.
Others defended Mocean, as the writer in question offered the percentage freely.
You can find the whole thread on Done Deal.
I can understand your reluctance to sign a release like that.
But the good news is that a release that seeks to deny you protections you automatically have (under copyright law) are legally unenforceable.
So go ahead and sign it. It's not binding, if it ever came to legal action.
Six hours can get you a lot of places, Nevada, Mexico. Any number of lakes and resevoirs.
So, to answer your question, yes it's perfectly possible for someone to have a deserted cabin on a hidden lake six hours away or even less.
I would just make up a name. Lake Ne'erdowell or whatever.
Where was your agent is all this? Just curious,
Way to go Paul!
In the other Austin thread you mentioned when they called you they said they "still had a few left to go regarding Semi-Finals judging."
Did you mean they're still picking some of the semi's?
I still haven't heard a peep.
Thanks, and congrats again.
I've successfully queried them by mail.
And FYI, it's two separate agencies, not two branches of the same agency.
No, but you might try to reach her through her manager, Alan Nevins at the Firm (310-860-8000).
Why does it shock you that anyone would disassociate themselves from the train wreck that is triggerstreet.com?
What's really intersting to me is that his new shingle is soliciting advertisers to fund movies, promising not just points but the opportunity to place a logo before the credits!
Can you imagine it? Paramount Pictures and Polly-O cheese present "The Godfather."
You could use MAN'S VOICE (VO) if you don't want the reader to know who's speaking. Later when the character speaks you would indicate in screen directions "His voice was the one on the tape recorder."
But I would simply use JOHN'S VOICE (VO) if it's not essential that the reader be surprised by who was speaking.
"If someone has to re-read scenes several times to understand it or go back to the beginning to make sense of what's going on--then the Writer, obviously, hasn't done their job."
Print this out, cut it out and tape it to your monitor.
It's the golden rule of all formatting dilemmas.
They're legit up-and-comers, with a few recent sales under their belts.
Trevor Engleson read one of my scripts earlier this year. Looking mostly for killer concepts. A bit brusque and fast-talking on the phone, but seems like a solid guy.
Good luck with them.
Never seen that done in any spec, produced, or published script I've read.
I don't know the details of Malice/Bodily harm, but it's certainly possible the movie was a re-make.
Michael Mann did it with "Heat," remaking his own TVM.
As for writing a script and then seen a movie come out with similar story--I feel for you. Write long enought and it will happen to everybody. There oughta be a name for it. Buchwald syndrome?
Can you send it in read-only mode? I think FD lets you do that.
That is too bad.
Years ago I was a finalist in this program. It always sounded like a great program and I'm sorry to hear it will be less accessible to new writers.
C'est la guerre, I guess.
I'm curious, and I mean no offense by this, but...
Why in the world are you querying 'majors' before your script is absolutely the best it can be?
Again, not to be judgemental. Just wondering.
I've seen play scripts in all kinds of formats. I worked in an off-broadway theater in NY, and we saw scripts in different fonts, margins--all over the map. It's just not as important as in screenwriting.
If you use basic screenplay format (minus the slugs of course) you should be fine.
Unless you are using the magazine article as your only source, you don't need to worry whether the ariticle copyright has lapsed.
If it is a real event, perhaps you can research some other sources.
A real life event can't be copyrighted, just the interpretation and reporting done by the author of the article.
In another thread you admitted you entered 7 scripts in the Nicholl, since, in your words, "I figure if I can't win with quality, maybe I can win with quantity."
Now, do you think the contest is flawed or do you need to rethink your writing strategy?
I don't think it will be until next week.
Greg Beal scheduled to do several of the panels at Austin this weekend, so I imagine Monday at the earliest for finals notification.
Oops. Wrong. Letters went out on Friday.
Maybe the sound was off in the theater you were at, because I could clearly hear what Bill whispered at the end.
He said "I know it was you, Fredo..."
I'm currently working for a prodco.
Every submission we make, to every studio, director, and producer, includes a synopsis that spells out EVERYTHING.
Yes, including the ending. Especially if there is a twist. Every time.
Now, our definition of a synopsis is not the same as Terri's. Our synopses are 3-4 pages long, and far more detailed than the back of a video box. Treatments that we've seen are often much longer, sometimes 15 pages or more. A video-box type paragraph we might put on a one-sheet.
In any case, I've never written (or read) a synopsis that left out the salient points of the ending.
That said, for a contest you might not have to spell everything out. I think Ron's suggestion is excellent in this case.
What does your agent think of the offer? And shouldn't he/she be doing the negotiating for you?
"I'm in the same boat as most everyone else on this BB."
If you have three offers from three companies on three scripts, I want to book a cabin on your boat.
Good luck and hope the deals all pan out.
Great news, Shell.
Start making photocopies, from what I've heard, win or not, you can expect upwards of 90-100 requests for your script.
I know they've been soliciting scripts from contest placers.
And I've seen it for $140. "Academic" sales are as low as $109.
Ed Rugoff posted today on Moviebytes that finals letters will be mailed within two weeks.
...and today he posted that letters are being printed today. I guess that means mailed tomorrow.
Good luck to those still in it. I've placed in Nicholl, Disney and Austin but never made a dent in Chesterfield.
Lisa, Ed Rugoff posted it on Done Deal's board. He didn't say whether anyone would be getting phone calls, only that letters were being printed yesterday.
A query letter should include a logline, not a synopsis.
Synopses for contests are generally used to identify scripts, or to send out to interested companies after contest results are out. They needn't be as detailed as a synopsis you would send to a prodco that requested one.
I can't clarify, but I'm sure the WGA can. I've called them with similar questions and they are very helpful.
And Congratulations to you, for the incredible achievement of being a finalist.
I know how bad it must feel not to win, but from what I've heard from other finalists, you and your work are about to get a LOT of attention.
Top 10 out of 6000. Truly incredible.
Best of luck to you, and enjoy the ride.
Have to disagree with "contacting the recipient can have no good outcome."
I've followed up on a submission and found out the agent is no longer there. Moved on to a prodco and is now producing. Contacted him there, and he asked to see another copy of the script, claiming he never got to it before leaving the agency.
I've followed up to find out that a script was passed on, but that several readers liked it and wanted to see other scripts.
A courteous follow-up not sooner than four weeks will never brand you as a "pest."
I saw a funny short film with a similar idea: "Hillbilly Hercules."
Don't worry about whether it's a silly idea--maybe it's the right kind of silly.
If you like the idea, run with it.
Learning that an agent has moved into production is a good outcome.
Hearing that you have an open door with development people at a prodco is a good outcome.
Even, as Gil suggested, closure is a good outcome.
It takes a lot to make progress as a newbie writer. Following up is essential, whatever the outcome.
"I've heard the word "tart" mentioned in connection with my name, but never "bitter!""
You owe me a monitor cleaning and a new cup of coffee.
Last year people who advanced were called for telephone interviews just before Thanksgiving.
Finalists were brought in for in-person interviews the second week of December.
You also misspelled "enforce."
Maybe your passion got the better of you.
It may be earlier than that this year. Someone on DoneDeal is reporting that semifinalist calls are going out today.
Not sure if it's true, but that's the rumor.
Alyssa and Ron,
I have to disagree. Not every "deal" mentioned in the trades and on DoneDeal involves money.
Does a free (or low $) option make a Nicholl entrant an "insider" who shouldn't be eligible? Or course not.
And is someone who is already represented really "well on their way to achieving some sort of success?"
Finally, the Nicholl is not relying on a 'technicality.' They set the standards for what defines a beginning writer ($5K in sales) and they have followed them.
Ever hear of Google, Ron? [Just teasing ;-) ]
Here's the list:
The book "Hannibal" explains a particularly nasty incident in Lecter's childhood.
Cossacks ate his sister while he watched.
That'll pack em in at the drive-in.
Actually, in this case no news is bad news.
While it's true only one Horror script has won the Nicholl over the years, I'm sure many more have advanced to the Quarterfinals and above (maybe Greg Beal will see this thread and confirm this).
It's never a waste of time to submit your best work, regardless of genre, to the Nicholl. Even a QF placing can generate requests to read your script by agents, managers and prodcos.
Animal Planet is part of Discovery Networks:
Discovery Networks, U.S. One Discovery Pl. Silver Spring, MD 20910-3354 Phone 240-662-2000 Fax 240-662-1845 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.discovery.com
Produces: Documentaries New Media TV Series Reality TV
Comments: Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Discovery HD Theater, Discovery en Español, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Home and Leisure Channel, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, Discovery Wings Channel, FitTV, The Science Channel, TLC, Travel Channel
Staff: John S. Hendricks Founder/Chairman/CEO, Discovery Communications, Inc. Judith A. McHale President/COO, Discovery Communications, Inc. Billy Campbell President Joe Abruzzese President, Advertising Sales W. Clark Bunting II Exec. VP/GM, Discovery Channel Michael Cascio Exec. VP/GM, Animal Planet Roger Marmet Exec. VP/GM, TLC Rick Rodriguez Exec. VP/GM, Travel Channel William F. Allman Sr. VP, Online Content/GM Steve Burns Sr. VP/GM, The Science Channel Annie Howell Sr. VP, Communications Marjorie Kaplan Sr. VP/GM, Discovery Kids Channel David Karp Sr. VP/GM, Discovery en Español, Discovery Home & Leisure & Discovery Wings Channel Mark Kozaki Sr. VP, Operations & Administration Bob Reid Sr. VP/GM, Discovery Health Channel Vivian Schiller Sr. VP/GM, Discovery Times Channel Clint Stinchcomb Sr. VP/GM, Discovery HD Carole Tomko Sr. VP/GM, FitTV
According to posters on Done Deal, winners will be notified by December 19.
Your logs are good, and tell the setup, but not the conflict, and the stakes.
I'd do something in this vein:
"Evan falls for his best friend's girlfriend and must ________ to win her."
You shouldn't be querying with scripts that aren't absolutely 100% the best they can be. But you probably figured that out already.
In your situation I would probably spend some time re-writing. Get it into the best shape you can in, say, a week. That's not too long to stall Foursight.
If you do take longer, give them a call before you mail it to remind them that it's requested material.
But if you feel the scipt isn't your best work, don't send it.
My opinion only, YMMV.
I don't know if I understand the original question, but you might try getting a trial (free) subscription to Variety online, and search the news releases for "WMA ups" or WMA adds." That's usually how they announce a promoted agent.
First, I admire you for asking the right questions. You clearly have done your homework and know the stakes.
Some of the below might be redundant to you, I have no idea whether you've already tipped to these sources:
1) Read scripts. Good ones. Movies you love. SOme of the best are "Miller's Crossing," "Unforgiven," and "Fargo." In my warped opinion of course. You can find a ton of screenplays online, at Drew's Script-O-Rama, and other sites.
2) Get some impartial feedback. Try the Zoetrope site. Post a screenplay, and though some of your reviews will be worthless, many will give you at least an indication whether you're hitting the mark you're aiming for. DoneDeal also has a forum to post 5-6 pages for feedback.
3) Keep coming back. This site, along with WordPlayer, and a handful of others, can be a great source of info and hands-on tools.
4) Did I mention read scripts?
5) Write every day. Tattoo this on your arm. Put a Post-it on your forhead. Do it. No excuses.
Best of luck to you and keep writing.
The rules on formatting and submitting are different from contest to contest. Read the rules and instructions carefully for each.
Take a look at the feedback people leave about contests here on moviebytes (click on "Contest Report Cards" over there <-----).
I think contests are a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your writing, and a high-profile contest placement can open lots of doors for you.
Top 5 in terms of recognition and quality (IMO of course):
Nicholl ABC/Disney Austin Film Festival Chesterfield Sundance
Like any big city there are affordable neighborhoods all over LA.
Check out craig's list for prices.
In general, I've found many aspects of LA cheaper than NY.
The biggest expense is your car and insurance. What I save on rent and utilities goes right into the Toyota.
And to answer the original question, you will find it *much* easier to pursue a career in screenwriting living in LA. It's just that simple.
And you were never caught?
I checked HCD, ShowbizData, and Studio System, and there's no listing for a "Rollins Agency."
Maybe they're brand new.
To clarify: Lisa's comment, "the product that you create in the fellowship year belongs to Disney" is not exactly correct.
Disney fellows agree to let ABC/Disney have first option to purchase anything you write, at WGA minimum or higher. If they pass, you are free to shop your material elsewhere. Anyone interested in purchasing your material would then reimburse Disney for the amout they invested in the property (presumably the 50K).
I loved the movie, but the script is easily the weakest part. More of a character study than a fully developed story. Can't beleive it's winning noms.
As for what Bill whispers in the end? I thought we covered this. It was:
"I know it was you, Fredo."
You have a point, but...
Studios do this all the time. It's called turnaround. A studio will pay 50K and often much much more to reimburse the original purchaser of a script.
At any rate, the Disney fellow that I know said Disney almost never exercises its option on fellows' material.
I should confess a bit of a bias for the program--I was a finalist and I think it's an incredible opportunity.
Also, in your example it wouldn't apply. Disney only gets the first look during your fellowship year.
Richard is right for most cases, but it varies. Some contests ask for a second cover w/contact info, and there are other situations too.
Check carefully with the contest rules. If it isn't clear, call and ask.
Another thing that concerns me about PGL is the scoring system.
They are going to take the lowest common number of reviews, and use only that number of reviews to score all scripts.
That means if your script got 10 reviews, but another script got only 3 reveiews, PGL will only use the first 3 reviews you received to determine your score (and everyone's scores).
So if the first 3 were luke warm and the next 7 were stellar, tough luck for you.
It's such a problematic contest all around.
The case isn't as clear cut as it may seem.
Guggenheim asked for a shared credit and was turned down by the studio and producers. Only then did he go to the WGA for arbitration. I doubt he ever thought he deserved sole credit.
Many writers hired to re-write a script end up with no credit. That's the nature of work-for-hire.
And, to the above post, Agents don't have any say in WGA arbitrations.
Terrible for Mike Rich, though I doubt his career will suffer.
And the WGA didn't have any agenda in this. They have a process and they followed it. The abitrators sat down with both scripts and compared them. They felt there was enough evidence to give the original writer full credit.
Obviously, the producers disagree.
Since none of us has read both scripts, I don't think we can judge.
Part of the problem is that the original script was based on real people and events.
From the article: "The first person to write a screenplay about a nonfictional story is given credit for the real-life characters and events as if he'd invented them out of whole cloth."
The whole arbitration process needs an overhaul. There was a lawsuit over "the last Samurai" recently that really brought attention to the flaws in the system.
From LA Times: "Guild arbitrations are typically conducted in secret. Writers aren't told the names of those conducting the proceedings, nor are arbitrators given the names of participating writers — though on high-profile projects their identities are often widely known around Hollywood
I bet you don't smoke marijuana, do you Richard?
Oops. Misread your post. Thought YOU were from Muskogee.
I gotta stop posting pre-coffee.
Sure, there are variations.
But remember the VO/OS convention started so that sound team could tell what was to be recorded live and what was to be recorded later in post.
Therefore, VO for anything not recorded live (filtered voice on phone, narration, voice coming out of Jack-in-the-box head), and OS for anything recorded live (person in other room off camera, Romeo outside house shouting up to Juliet, etc.).
But, as someone posted above, no one is going throw your script in the wood chipper if you do it another way.
I think I saw this movie: "Dances with a Beautiful Mind."
Terri said: "CALLING IS A BAD IDEA."
I have to disagree. There could be any number of reasons a prodco doesn't respond to a submission, including never having received the script. It happens.
Also, people move around quite a bit. The person who requested your script could have moved on.
A polite phone call follow-up around 6-8 weeks later is always a good idea. Even six months later, it can't hurt to call.
Jerry said: "and calling is unlikely to do any good whatsoever."
Unlikely, maybe, but in my experience it can do a lot of good. Once I followed up with a producer who hadn't called in 3 months. I was told, "thank god you called! We moved offices and lost your contact info. We'd love to meet you. How's next week?" Other follow-up calls have been positive too.
Now, Jerry's comments, "Do NOT sit by the phone. Do not paralyze yourself as a writer with anxiety over things out of your control," are absolutely %100 correct.
This doesn't preclude a quick follow-up call to producers you haven't heard from.
I am Spartacus
FWIW, I sent Colin a script, and he phoned to say he liked it and wanted to read all my completed scripts.
I sent them in October and never heard a word back.
It's true that the posts around here can often deviate from the intended purpose of the site, and it's true that some mud gets thrown around, but...
On the whole there is good advice and inspiration to be found here. You just have to separate the signal from the noise.
I've been poking around screenwritng boards for some time. Have you ever looked in at misc.writing.screenplays? That howling madness makes this place look like Oxford University. Or the old PGL board? That was a sandbox temper tantrum. This place ain't so bad.
Try the boards and columns at wordplayer.com. Or the Done Deal message board. Or the books or resources Ellum mentioned.
And as they say at my home group, keep comin' back...
This was in the LA times back in Feb:
"The future for original material looks bleak. Warner Bros., for example, has 21 more films due out this year. Seven are from original scripts, including two biopics and a Hilary Duff movie based on the Cinderella story. The other 14 are sequels or are based on an old film or TV show, comic book, novel, children's book, musical or, in the case of "Ocean's Twelve," a sequel to a remake....MGM has four priority development projects: "Foxy Brown," "The Bellboy," "The Pink Panther" and "Basic Instinct 2," all based on old movies. Universal had 15 films at the top of its development slate. One project derived from an original script; the others were sequels or based on comics, old films and TV shows, nonfiction books and novels."
Well, a great spec can still be a calling card, even if it never gets made.
And if you can adapt to the current environment, you can still get assingments and re-writes.
Good writing and perseverance will always get attention. IMO of course.
I agree that many movies based on comic books are sub-par, but there are also a lot of great ones. Ghost World, Road to Perdition for example. I even liked X-men. Don't forget the Matrix.
Not always my thing, but there's great source material out there in the comics world.
Ever hear of "Hard Boiled?" I hear David Fincher is doing it.
I was going to start a thread asking for a definition of "Contentious."
Then I looked it up. It's "Moviebytes."
311 N. Robertson Blvd., Ste. 737
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
In Development: Self Serve - Lost Not Found - Coyote Highway
Produces Documentaries Features TV Series
Post-Production Punk's Not Dead - Brick
Credits Good Housekeeping
Staff Susan Dynner Partner/Producer Mark Mathis Partner/Producer
Flower Films, Inc., 9220 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 309, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Gwenn Stroman VP, Development
Alan Trezza Director, Development
They won't read anything unless it comes through an agent. I queried them last year and they actually called to ask for the script, but only if it came through an agent. I offered to have an ent. attorney send it but they said no dice.
Hey, Gil, you could try Kate Hudson's Birdie Films. They're usually open to submissions.
c/o Cosmic Entertainment 9255 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 1010 West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone 310-275-8080 Fax 310-275-8081
Get some sleep, Wayne
Please come down to the moviebytes office to pick up your award for "longest thread title ever."
Great. I'll keep it in mind, once a movie is produced from one of my scripts.
According to Ed Rugoff, posting on DoneDeal:
The Chesterfield Writer's Film Project competition is on hiatus. We are considering a fall deadline, and in any event we will have an application period of at least 12 weeks between the announcement and the deadline.
In the meantime, we are busy running our workshop with the six current fellows (please see http://chesterfield-co.com/html/2004_workshop.html).
Please feel free to email us with any questions, either at email@example.com or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing all of you much success with your writing,
Ed Rugoff Chesterfield Writer's Film Project
Champion snowboarder becomes brilliant criminal lawyer.
SHRED OF EVIDENCE
There must be a pony somewhere in that pile of shit.
David, I think you're missing what's meant by an option. AN option gives the opter (?) the exclusive right to shop the project around. It does NOT give them the right to rewrite and bring in new writers. They'd have to purchase the script to do that. And as Terri points out, when they want to do that they'd have to pay real money.
I've seen it happen on every single online board and email list I frequent.
Flames erupt, sputter for a while, then die.
I think the anonymity of internet boards, and the vagaries of communicating through posted text, cause people to act in ways they wouldn't in person.
Seriously, these recent outbursts are nothing. Go over to MWS sometime, and check out the abuse that gets hurled there.
"Very long, but concise..."
Keep coming back, sunshine.
Just jerking your chain Randy. 'Long' and 'concise' seemed contradictory.
With all due respect, Curt...
Why would you believe Fred Barnes? Moore published the interview in which Barnes couldn't remember the odyssey back in 1988. He never complained about it until Moore reprinted it in the book.
Many of the other "distortions" people in this thread are pointing to are a matter of public record. Facts, in other words. Moore's interpretation of the facts is subjective, naturally, but hey, that's entertainmnent.
Clearly there's a lot of strong feelings about Moore and his methods. I for one am reserving judgement until I see the movie.
Help! someone stop the italics!
Variety lists his LA office, Showbizdata has the London one.
Since he's president of the company I imagine you could reach him at either number.
This brings up something I've been thinking about. HCD seems to miss a lot of legitimate prodcos and people. Studio system is much more accurate. I've subscribed to HCD online for a couple years now, but I don't think I'll re-up. THey miss too many players.
Aw shucks, Terri, li'l ol' me?
You do make a good point--if a writer uses HCD as his bible, and David Heyman requested a script, that writer would miss out on submitting to the producer of the Harry Potter movies.
I mostly rely on Variety's database, powered by StudioSystem, more current and complete than HCD and free with a Variety online subscription (which is a must for anyone serious about a career in the flix).
You don't like the sound of a major studio buying your scripts for large amounts of money? Isn't that, um, sort of the goal here?
Disney rarely (if ever) exercises their option in any case. They simply want to take a look at everything you have.
Who wouldn't accept the chance to show their work to Disney and have the chance to sell it? What exactly are you afraid of?
That said, I suppose nothing would prevent you from not disclosing the scripts you 'may not want to sell.'
I don't think you're crazy, or delusional.
I do think you needn't worry about Disney forcing you to turn over the script you want to direct.
Here's what happens. You turn in a list of all your completed scripts and a brief synopsis. (and, if you conveniently leave off your pet project script, how would they know?) If they are interested, they'll ask to read some or all of them. If they want to buy it, they begin negotiations with you. I don't think you are forced to sell it to them, at whatever price they name.
I was a Disney finalist and this was what I gathered from tne final interview.
Also, as for your script not being a 'Disney' script, bear in mind Disney owns Miramax, Buena vista, and Hollywood Pictures, producers of some very UN-Disney like movies.
Just food for thought. Best of luck,
How did Hannibal become a monster?
In the book "Hannibal" Lecter recalls his childhood as a refugee in some war-torn eastern european country that I can't remember.
He and his beloved sister are taken hostage/prisoner by some menacing cossack types. Hannibal gets to watch the hungry cossacks cook and eat his sister. Then later he sees her teeth in their doo-doo.
I'm not making this up.
You can uncross your fingers, Paula. That note means your other entry made the QF. Congrats!
I got the same note on my dink, along with "just missed - among the next 100 scripts."
See you in the semis!
You say your script made the Nicholl QF "where it ended." That's not true. You're still in the running.
From Greg Beal's post: "No one can now know that they reached the quarterfinals but not the semifinals. That has not yet been decided."
Drew Barrymore's agent is Patrick Whitesell, at Endeavor.
Drew has a production company with Nancy Juvonen, Flower Films. Their VP of development is Gwen Stroman. Phone: 310-285-0200 Fax: 310-285-0827 Email: email@example.com
BUT---You'll need a rep. Even if you wow them with a killer logline, they'll ask you to submit via an agent.
Best of luck.
I got my letter today.
Stopped reading after the first word.
It means your script made the second round, but not the semifinals.
As a 'second rounder' you're entitled to a discount and a specail badge identifying you as such.
I got two of those mailings, after ntoification of my two scripts' status.
Your letter is probably coming soon.
Online is definitely the way to go. The database is searchable, and you can pull up lists of all agencies that (for example) are WGA and rep writers, or, say, have email addresses.
It's kept up to date frequently, and you can do a lot of work with it in your weeklong trial.
Yes, you can print the info, too.
All that said, I prefer Variety's database. It's more complete and more consistently up to date. I think they even have a (brief) free trial.
Are you referring to an agent?
No WGA-signatory agency may charge a fee to read your screenplay.
And you shouldn't even be dealing with an agency that is not WGA signatory.
Now, management companies are unregulated by the WGA, so they can do what they want.
And I would avoid any company that charges a reading fee.
He's repped by UTA, but you might have better luck through his company:
Angel Ark Productions, Inc. 5042 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 592 Los Angeles, CA 90036 Phone: 818-981-8833 Fax: 818-981-8412 Direct Dial: 818-508-3338 Direct Fax: 818-508-2009
Posters on other websites report that Finalists were emailed on Sunday and called on Monday.
Zoetrope, and a yahoo group for screenwriters I subscribe to.
Around Thanksgiving they call the top 40 or so for phone interviews. the top 12 are brought in for final interviews in December.
I was a finalist a few years ago.
Always a bridesmaid...
They asked how many brads I use and whether I use "we see..."
(ok, I'm an asshole)
The questions on the phone interview (as well as at the live interview) were about my background as a writer, and what sort of movies/scripts/writers I liked etc.
Very basic stuff.
Verhoeven Productions AKA: Verhoeven/Marshall 124 South Kings Road, Los Angeles, California, United States, 90048 p (323) 655-0613 f (323) 655-0082
Nope. Variety's Studio System.
From one Z to another, couple of comments to your original post:
There's no real 'typical' for first-time sales. Anything from minimum + 10K up to the big six figures. Depends on the deal.
Charlie Kaufman was far from a complete unknown before BJM. He worked in TV for years.
Professional writers who support themselves by writing make money from other sources besides spec sales. Option money, assignments, uncredited polishes, treatments etc etc...
The writers I know who make a living from it never focused on making that one big sale. They focused on building a career. It's a marathon, not a 50 yard dash.
Keep writing, and best of luck to you.
Kate Hudson's shingle is Birdie Productions, a division of Cosmic Entertainment:
9255 Sunset Boulevard Suite 1010, Los Angeles, California, United States, 90069 p (310) 275-8080 f (310) 275-8081
I doubt very much they accept scripts from anyone other than agents.
This is getting off topic, but to answer some earlier questions (my experience only, YMMV):
"Is the writer working for free, armed with only a deal memo with the prodco, and good intentions" Essentially, yes, but we're dealing with scrupulous people.
"Where/when does the WGA play a role in getting their now member writer paid" Never. Your rep can help, but I just call the studio directly.
"Does studio business affairs make the contact or the prodco" My contract came from business affairs.
"No Writer should be working on a script...without a signed contract." In an ideal world, sure. But last year, I sold a pitch in October, went through outlines and notes in November-December, turned in the script in January, didn't see a contract until end of January and to date still haven't been paid.
I'm not getting back on the bus any time soon. ;-)
'Thank you' for *sharing* the 'news.'-----------------------
Even placing in the Quarterfinals of the Nicholl can get you reads. My last entry was in the top 30, and I received about 40-50 requests for my script.
But, since it's free to enter, I'd add the ABC/Disney Fellowships as well.
I'll pass, too. I'm ineligible!
Good luck to the hopefuls...see you on the other side.
If you were doing a script about, say, the Black Dahlia murder, and you used one book or article as your source material, then you are in danger of violating the copyright of the material. But if you fictionalize elements of the crime, and use various sources for background research (e.g., James Ellroy's 'The Black Dhalia') then you should be OK.
As always, this and any advice you get online should be vetted by an entertainment attorney.
You can read the Nicholl winning scripts at the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills (333 S. La Cienega Boulevard.
I don't think any are online.
Andrew's first example is closer to what's known as 'on-the-nose' dialogue (i.e., dialogue that directly states what should be given in subtext). Ellum's example better explains 'show don't tell.'
Tell: "That Ted is the best salesman this company's got. You know he used to be in the Marines."
Show: Ted sits behind his desk. He toys with one of his many Salesman of the year trophies. His haircut is high and tight, his suit pressed neatly and his office hospital clean.
I liked this movie the first time it came out, when it was called Dodgeball.
Max Adams talks about this exact thing in her book.
It's too common, but there are exceptions, execs who love movies and know movies.
Russell Crowe Orlando Bloom Denzell Washington Jim Carrey Clint Eastwood Leonardo DeCaprio George Clooney
...but I'll give you Nicolas (Nick) Cage.
What's really strange is why line breaks disappear in posts on this board.
Is that you, Ghost?
Here ya go. No charge:
I've noticed no difference in results between e-queries and snail queries. Neither is likely to get a response.
Five years ago, I'd get about 4-5 reads for every 10 queries; today it's 0-1.
By far the most successful way to query is the phone. If you can speak to someone directly, it's much harder for them to say no.
And Terri is absolutey correct--an SASE is not necessary.
If I had to guess, I'd say the explosion of various internet sites and competitions has created a flood in the market of newbie writers. Prodcos and execs are probably inundated w/bull$hit queries, fielding dozens or even hundreds per day where they used to get two or three highly targeted, quality pitches.
At a recent WGA panel discussion w/seven top agents, the panel was asked 'how would a writer connect with you for representation?' To a person, they all answered 'referrals only.'
Also, there was a question about how many e-mails they get on a daily basis. One agent looked at his blackberry. He'd received 67 e-mails since the meeting started. Another topped him with 119.
I think e-querying is generally a waste of time.
*sigh* This old hoax, again?
Claim: Not buying gasoline on September 1 will cause oil companies to "choke on their stockpiles" and lose over $4.6 billion.
You really only need to register a new draft when significant changes have been made.
"being copyrighted does you no more good than W.G.A. registration."
Have to disagree.
WGA registration lasts 5 years, LOC copyright registration lasts your lifetime + 70 years.
Copyright registration allows you to sue for punitive damages, WGA registration does not.
And, "copyright costs five times as much" is incorrect. (WGA=$20, Copyright=$30)
Why are you 'suspiscious' and fear 'book-cooking?' There's nothing dishonest or fraudulent about BBM's release strategy.
Dramas with limited appeal or subtle themes have been building audiences this way for years.
What's wrong with it?
Sue: you are misinformed about the ending to the movie.
D. Jay's comment "But many gays have had the same combination of problems in childhood such as molestation, absent or passive fathers and domineering mothers" is total bullshit.
And, I agree w/Michael above.
Four golden globes and $22 million and counting.
I think the original post's "That aside, is Brokeback Mountain REALLY that good as a film" has been answered.
D. Jay (actually Randy--see below) wrote: "I'm not wrong. I'm right."
Really? Show me one study, one paper, one poll or even one source to back up your bullshit claim.
You know, I used to post here a lot, and stopped because of the caliber of posts like D. Jay's. e.g.:
"Is it 'irrational' if I'm now a tiny bit 'fearful' of being set upon by a bunch of crazed gay cowboys?"
"most people of that ilk couldn't beat my sister." [come on down to the lower east side, D. Jay. I know some raving queens who could beat you, your sister, and your whole family with one arm tied behind their fabulous backs.]
"I certainly meant know [sic] harm."
"Hell, my father's gay."
I imagine he is ashamed of you.
I love that "D. Jay Williams" came to the defense of "Randy Roberts" when in this thread http://moviebytes.com/messageboard.cfm?action=DisplayMessages&topic=4565&ShowAll=True
He wrote, "I normally post under the name "Randy Roberts"
“someone else that [should be who] changes your life forever.”
“David was killed … Jennifer is still alive.” [Tenses don’t match].
“the lesions on her legs will bleed her to death.” [Those would have to be some big-ass lesions. Do you mean lacerations?]
“irony says that I have not one scratch.” [The irony is that I have etc.]
TJ’s dialogue (and Bill’s, and Mitch’s) is too ‘countrified.’ It’s distracting to try to read “gotcha” and “whaddya” and “up at ‘em hospital.” A little of that goes a long way.
“MITCH: That’s ridiculous Bill. Derek’s been in coma for the last 6 years!” [we already know this]
It needs a lot of work, but it would keep me reading to find out more.
You're right, Ellum. But in the next VO line, Alexis has "Alex has also been killed."
I just doesn't sound right to me. I'd do it "David is dead, killed by the steering column etc..." And "Alex is also dead..."
Steer clear of that ol' passive voice...
Absolutely, but could David E. find gratification? Hope I’m just kidding; legitimate marketing needs other procedures. Quick rewards seem to usually vanish when x-rayed, you zee?
To bring this thread back to its original course:
(From today's Variety) Who says the Golden Globes don't matter?..."Brokeback Mountain" garnered the impressive achievement of a solid No. 1 win at the box office Tuesday and Wednesday despite playing just 682 theaters....
That puts "Brokeback" in a very strong position as it expands this weekend to 1,194 playdates.
If, as expected, "Brokeback" garners a slew of Oscar noms on Jan. 31, it could go significantly wider then.
Pic will push into remaining small cities, as well as further into the suburbs, this weekend.
Looks like some of the earlier posts' questions are being answered.
A young freshman from Texas on a scholarship to Harvard stopped a professor in a blazer and asked "Say, pard, can you tell me where the library is at?"
"Young man," said the professor, "this is Harvard. We do not end a sentence in a preposition."
"Awright then," said the Texan, "Can you tell me where the library is at, asshole?"
You don't have to spell out Mr. or Mrs., unless, as Terri points out, it's at the beginning of a sentence.
Numbers under 10 are spelled out, higher than 10, not (unless at the beginning yada yada).
None of this really matters if your script is good.
Boy gets into Yale, gets a 'C' average. Boy has coke and alcohol problem. Boy is given two businesses to run by his daddy, runs both into the ground. Boy loses presidential race but is appointed by the supreme court. Boy goes on to be the worst, most damaging president in US history.
The American Dream.
"Democrats who had their hats handed to them in the past two elections."
You clearly don't understand the meaning of the idiom "having your hat handed to you."
"the great majority of our presidents, senators, and great CEO's and entreprenuers have come into this world without privilege or wealth to aid them."
Your source for this claim?
And, yes, my post was silly. I apologize to the original poster.
Doorgadutt, I'm not sure this will help, but the only comic books I can think of that deal with 'the American Dream' are those of Harvey Pekar. His view of the concept is pretty jaundiced.
I haven't read MND, so I'll concede the point.
But the narrow margin by which Bush won the election in 2004 (and lost in 2000) hardly qualifies the handing of hat or head, and the only ass-kicking was delivered to your constitutional rights.
No more thread de-railing posts from me, I'm bowing out.
Your timing is a little off for TV. In march pilots have all been shot and Networks are making their decisions which to pick up.
Pilots are pitched to the Networks in August-September, most are sold by October-November.
Cable is more year-round though.
All that said, go ahead and make some calls. The worst that can happen is you'll be told "no."
Reading this thread, the original poster may be confused or misinformed.
Ellum is incorrect. It is perfectly acceptable to write "the house sits on the hill."
Oops. Duh. Michele *is* the original poster.
What deals have resulted from "top" producers posting internet ads? Studio deals? Movies green-lit?
I'm with Ron. The mini-boom of internet script marketing was an anomaly that is fading away.
You really have to be here to find a place. Can you couch it for a couple weeks?
I found my place by driving around the neighborhood I wanted to live in, looking for "for rent" signs. If you go on a saturday, you can often call the landlord agent and see the place there and then.
If you can afford it, westside rentals is a great service that has better listings than craigslist or the times. (I think it's $65 or so. and they have places all over town, not just the west side.)
"the best "free" resource here in L.A. is to pick up THE READER at any newsstand."
Except that it folded ten years ago.
If he published his autobiograpy, find out from the publisher who controls the rights.
If not, it's likely one of his descendents controls the rights to his literary estate. (Your grandparent? Your Parent? You?)
"Television is much more closed world than features."
Traditionally, true. But much less so now. Networks are turning to unknowns and other sources, trying to find new voices. Playwrights in particular are hot.
Dbra, moo cow is correct; nets hear pilot pitches in August-October. You'll need to go in with a producer w/a network deal, or somehow attract an agent willing to get you in to pitch. Every major has a TV lit dept., as Terri noted.
Give up. Throw in the towel.*
There's a great article from Wordplayer by Terry Rossio. Read it all the way through, it's harsh but worth it:
From the article: "...you should quit trying only after two conditions have been met:
1.) You've given yourself a legitimate shot.
2.) Trying is no longer fun."
*of course I don't really mean that. Read the article and you'll see what I mean.
Roughly 5% of entries in the Nicholl (no "s") place in the quarterfinals and above.
That's a pretty high bar. Your script has to be a hell of a lot better than "not terrible" to even place in the first round.
"I was also under the impressions that if you spell a word incorrectly, they throw the screenplay in the trash pile."
Hardly. Greg can confirm this (he's not just a reader, he's the program coordinator) but I think I read posts by finalist fellows stating their winning scripts contained typos and misspellings.
"But it's like playing the lottery"
It's not like a lottery because every entrant in a lottery has the same chance to win.
"I do get the impression that the Committee won't let a slasher/horror screenplay win, regardless of merit"
I would guess this isn't true.
"I've never read a post on this site by a Nicholl Fellow"
I have. Three or four years ago, several used to post here often. The quality of threads and posters back then was much higher.
I guess contest winners, working writers, and industry pros got turned off by the ad hominem attacks and garbage spewed on this board.
Personally, I participate far less frequently here these days. There are better boards, where people aren't called "idiots" "sponge heads" and other gems.
All message boards have their share of flames and ad hominems; but this one has low signal to noise ratio.
Done Deal's board is better. Wordplayer is also good (esp. the columns)
I spend most of my time on WriterAction, but even there bickering arises.
Ellum: This is your definition of 'an exchange of ideas?': "The next time I have a constipated bowel movement, I'll think of some of you as I flush the toilet."
I have to agree with the other posters that the venom of your responses in this thread is over the top.
This thread is making a lot of assumptions, not the least of which is that the writers' claims of infringement have merit. We don't know that they do.
Also, if these writers win on their claims of implied contract, it will make studios even less likely to hear pitches from new writers.
I hope that was a joke.
To the OP:
There are some good suggestions for improving your logline on this thread.
I would worry about your story--it seems like it's been done before. I've seen several dead serial killer stories out.
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