Writers Wanted! MovieBytes is looking for articles. Call for Submissions
On December 21, 2002 Edgar Cayago from GoGo Films requested one of my scripts. He said he found my logline at WINNINGSCRIPTS.COM and was very interested in reading it.
This morning, 2/13/03, I got the following e-mail: "John, Thank you for sending me your script. Although it was a fun read, it unfortunately isn't quite at the caliber of writing that my buyers would accept. I have attached information about a consulting service that I am now offering to aspiring writers. You have great potential as a writer, so keep up the good work.
Edgar Cayago GoGo Films"
What Mr. Cayago doesn't know is that I spent 9 months working with two professional consultants polishing the script I sent him.
He has the gall to inform me that unfortunately my script isn't quite at the caliber of writing that my buyers would accept and then offer me his services.
SCAM or DUMB? You make the call.
i'd say scam AND dumb.
I received the same request. Since all I found was catering experience, I stated that the script was on WSN. The script was never downloaded - Surprise.
I received the request as well. And when I searched the internet you know what info I found on Edgar Cayago?
He catered some food on some tiny, no budget film.
What cosulting companies was he refering you to? StoryBay used to be really bad about things like that.
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.
What's sad is Edgar comes from the story department at Cort-Madden. I guess times are tough all over.
"John, Thank you for sending me your script. Although it was a fun read, it unfortunately isn't quite at the caliber of writing that my buyers would accept. I have attached information about a consulting service that I am now offering to aspiring writers. You have great potential as a writer, so keep up the good work.
Word for word the same e-mail I got from this guy. Something smells really bad here.
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.
I think I'll go out on a limb and go to bat for this guy.
Edgar has asked for several of my scripts (6 to be exact). He has passed on almost all of them. But he feels he has a buyer for one in particular and we are now continuing talks.
I see that a lot of people are down on the fact that Edgar worked as a caterer or in craft services. I have, too -- on an indie level. And as a locations scout, driver, etc. Unless you're someone's niece or nephew, you'll probably start out the way a lot of us are starting out -- at the bottom rung of the ladder.
One thing to remember is that all of these people who really hang in there and work the business are going to make the right connections in the long run. So, it's beneficial to have some respect for your hard-working colleagues in the biz. You certainly don't want to burn bridges.
Example to illustrate my point: Warren Zide decided he wanted to represent writers. He was told no by hordes of people b/c he wasn't an agent. Then he went to bat for himself as a manager. When he first started out, he probably didn't know any more people than the rest of us. But he sold 24 specs in a 24-month period of time (Fade In magazine) -- and now look how much prestige he has.
Since so much of it is about who you know, the best thing you can do is broaden your contact base. Perhaps Edgar Cayago has contacts that can help get your script to the next level.
Yeah -- it sucks that Edgar passed on some of my scripts, too. But the one that caught his eye (for whatever reason) makes it worth the rejections. His buyer may slap a great big pass on it, too. But it's another chance. Chances are hard to come by in this biz. Don't throw them away.
You do have a good point about everyone starting off somewhere, and the guy certainly has a right to become a manager. I guess my problem is that he's also offering writers that consulting service (seems like a conflict of interest to me) and that he also has no agency experience.
But the guys in Foresight Management had precious little experience starting out as well so who knows?
You make a good point. But, I'm getting emails almost daily from people often with no credits listed and when asked about their background offer very little. Baring IMDB credits, and no agency experience, it's pretty difficult to separate the person with potential from the AOL teenager who just sent out a hundred "send me your script" emails. Any suggestions?
I'd suggest letting him (or anyone) read your script. If he (or anyone) asks you to consider paying for a script consulation, just explain that you've done that already.
In fact, if you're the one who has already had 2 consultations, let him know that. (Also, if these 2 consultations or analyses were similar -- what more do you need? However, if they were different as night and day, how many more opinions do you want to keep paying for? You can even voice these concerns to your interested party -- if they inquire whether or not you want consultation.)
Finally, let Mr. Cayago (or anyone else) know the status of your script. If it's been requested by a handful of companies or placed in the comp circuit, that's usually a strong selling point -- and a message to whomever reads it, that your script doesn't need tons and tons of analysis or development.
Whoever buys (or even options) your script will want to make changes anyway. That's a given. Once an actor is secured, the script will change. Once a co-producer comes on board, the script will change. Everyone and their brother's dog will find a way to lower the budget, raise the stakes, rewrite a scene -- what have you. But I'm getting into 2 different threads here.
Out of curiosity, were you happy with your script feedback?
I also asked Mr. Cayago to tell me what he had been doing, and this was part of his reply:
"I began my film career as an assistant at Lewis Chesler Prods. (STRANGERS, THE HITCH HIKER). Then got a job at The Cort/Madden Co. at Paramount eventually becoming the Story Editor for Robert Cort and David Madden. After that I worked for Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group. Then did some freelance producing work for New Line (The Donna's video "Strutter" for DETROIT ROCK CITY), Polygram (Kim Richey's video "The Way It Never Was") and Pop.com. After that, I worked with Smith Entertainment, a production/management company -- until I decided to start my own shingle this year."
In other words, he's starting up. Whether he will be more successful remains to be seen. And if he is simply trying to sell a consulting service, I certainly don't condone that. He did read one of my scripts and asked to read something else, without trying to sell me anything (at least so far).
This is the tough part about starting out -- for us and for anyone else. Often, when you are new, the only people who will take the time and effort to read your stuff are people with little or no track record. More established folks in the business don't like taking chances, and we are wary of taking chances too. There's the Catch-22. I don't think I have the answer.
I'm not the one who bought two consultations, so I can't answer that question.
To clarify my response. I know I probably cam off as snooty and that wasn't my intent. I received 6 email requests for a script this week. Two of those stated their background. One was starting up but he was upfront with his experience. I sent the script to those. Three said nothing except that they had a production company. One didn't even give his name. I asked his name. He replied. Name only. I asked what he had done. He replied back with "what script was I talking about?" I don't have time for this crap and neither does a true professional.
I'd like to sell a script. But anyone can ask for a script. Can they pay for it? Can they find someone who can? Or are they contacting everyone who beat their script in the latest contest.
You may already be doing this but I use Google all the time and almost always track people down using it. A name, a company name, e-mail address-- usually you'll find something out about that person, credits, company, lack of company, etc. IMDB is good but limited.
Paula writes: "I asked what he had done. He replied back with "what script was I talking about?" I don't have time for this crap and neither does a true professional."
Excellent point to bring up in this thread, Paula. I think that could be 1 of 2 things: a person who has a lack of organizational skills and is just out to scam -- or a person who needs better organizational skills and is truly connected.
I can only say that I have done this type of thing before myself. I was hip-pocketed at Epstein-Wyckoff for a time, and when they called, I had to ask what screenplay they were talking about. If you're like me (and most writers), you send out info to many people about all of your specs that you feel are ready. So you may have word out there on a good half dozen properties. When someone calls and wants to chat about the script you submitted, etc., it's perfectly OK to ask which one. Let them know you have others that are making the rounds. It may even prompt them to inquire about other scripts.
I'm trying to put on the producer's hat -- esp. a producer who has publicly announced (in trades, online, etc.) that she's accepting screenplays.
I'm now trying to imagine reading through the tons of loglines and proposals and replying with a quick "I'm interested. I'd like to take a look."
Now imagine that all of a sudden, the small group of 15 people I've contacted are submitting their scripts and they all come in at once. And I'm still corresponding with the numerous logline submissions that are flooding my mailbox. I think I'd definitely ask "which script" so I'd know to go back and look at previous communications, logline, screenplay -- or what have you.
And then I'd see about hiring an assistant!
I use google, whorepresents, castmaker, done deal, and others.
I didn’t query any of these people. They contacted me from listings I had such as winningscripts, hollywoodlit sales, contests, ....
The one email that I was refering to when he asked “what script” went something like this. I got an email requesting the script. His name wasn’t even on it, just that he was a producer. I replied asking his name. He replied with his name and nothing else. I did research and found nothing. I replied back asking for some info and that’s when I got the “what script.”
I have no problem with someone with no experience. I prefer someone to be upfront and simply say “I haven’t done jack sheet but I party all the time and know everyone in town.” That’s preferable to someone pretending to be a hotshot producer when they’re from Idaho and only experience is that they’ve written an unsold short.
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... ;.)
Edgar Cayago from GoGo Films here. I am really upset that I am on some "scam alert" posting here on moviebytes.com. Please let me explain:
The reason I charge for feedback in scripts that have been submitted to me is because it takes time to compose them - and in this business, time is money, especially for independents like me – copying scripts, brads, toner, postage, cell phone bills, etc. – it all takes money. It's a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Some of you have respectfully declined the service like adults, while others have taken offense that I have the gall to offer such services to you and have tried to tarnish my reputation on this site. As some of you know, there are other sites offering the same such services on the web – why not attack them?
I know it hurts when you get a "pass" letter from someone especially since you're putting all your hopes and dreams on this thing you've created...I know this painfully well since I submit to producers, studios and even other reps like agents and talent managers every day and take it on the chin, but I say to myself and to the filmmakers I rep “let’s forge ahead” because I know that with improvement and tenacity my dedicated clients will make their emotional and financial investment back and get their movies made...
Finally, to clarify, I am credited as a “caterer” on Jeff Bacon’s short film because I donated my time to helping this talented filmmaker out. He asked me to help and I did for a couple of day…I wasn’t paid and actually ended up spending some of my own money for sodas and snacks for the crew…Jeff’s a friend of mine…And what was the return? His film turned out great and he said "thank you."
I sincerely hope all of you become celebrated filmmakers, with or without my help, because I got into and am sticking to this business because I love movies with a passion…helping those I can and in the process, hopefully, making money myself.
Now, if you have something that you think I should consider passing along to my buyers, please let me know...I love a good script…
WOW! What an "interesting" thread THIS turned out to be.
Don't say to turn away when someone uses the term "buyer." It's most commonly used as a distribution term (rather than someone purchasing scripts).
And, Paula, I think you rely too much on IMDb.com. I have hundreds of credits and only one (the worst film ever made in the world--the most embarrassing, anyway) shows up on IMDb.com. Many times, their info is not up-to-date. My best friend has been with William Morris for several years and they still have him listed as being repped by ICM.
I am going to jump in here and join my friend Deb H. I do not know Edgar, and I have never sent him one of my scripts, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I understand the free catering bit for a friend who is a filmmaker. The filmmaker is kind enough to give credit to someone who helped him out. ( I gave "incognito" credit to "the horse people...you know who you are")for helping out in my film because they took cash and gave me a nice discount.
The number of scripts bouncing around with the number of limited managers and Prod-co's, who can blame them for reading a script that doesn't quite cut it, but shows promise, and they offer a service.
Maybe Edgar could have worded it differently so writer's might not have felt "taken advantage of...". In any event, maybe Edgar's advice might have been helpful. Who knows. Did anyone try his service?
I took advantage of a service offered me on this very message board. She may have been right about some of her advice, but she was so #******ing rude in her comments that I never wrote her back. I wasted some money on her advice, but I did a re-write and like the last draft better. At least Edgar was civil and professional in his response.
Sounds like we need to give the guy a break and back off a little. If his advice sucks, we'll hear it. If not, maybe his advice might be worth a fee.
I say if you're going to spend money then find a reputable script consultant who will talk to you over the phone as well as give you detailed feedback after having read your script from page 1 to last.
Here's a piece of advice - FREE- so as not to offend any bruised, sensitive souls out there.
This is what my "buyers" (you know, people who "buy" scripts, as in: pay money to procure them) and co-reps (agents) are looking for in the upcoming spec seasons (from post-Labor Day Sept. > Pre-Thanksgiving Nov. & from post-New Years Day Jan. > Pre-Fathers' Day June):
High concept horror (e.g. ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE RING). Smart (not slasher) female-driven thrillers (e.g. PERFECT MURDER and FATAL ATTRACTION). Buddy action/comedy pix (e.g. RUSH HOUR and LETHAL WEAPON). Comedies about families (e.g. PARENTHOOD and NATIONAL LAMPOONS' VACATION). Movies for "tweeners" (e.g. THE PRINCESS DIARIES and WHAT A GIRL WANTS). And if you're a graphic novelist - then you're made in the shade...
What they're not looking for: Teen comedies, broad comedies, period pieces, character-driven dramas (unless they're from high-profile books that you have rights to)...
Please contact me email@example.com. DO NOT email your scripts - just submit your loglines. I need scripts that are "ready to go" by July and we can polish by August.
I think what Edgar offers is very smart. If his contacts pan out, he can place polished scripts in the hands of these Prodcos and fill that empty slot in a Development slate.
The only difference I have is that I have a manager who does what Edgar will do for a commission on a sale.
Edgar is charging a service fee. I tell ya, the second Edgar gets that placement, if he hasn't already,(I appoligise Edgar if you have the credit), his phone, fax and e-mail will go crazy.
Look at M. Hernandez, Brooke Weaver and some of the other hot MANAGERS. We all question their ethics and style until HOLY SH*T they get 3 or 4 DOZEN sales in 2 years.
Unfortunately, some of us writers don't have the assets to use some of these services and next thing you know, it is a SCAM ALERT!
Best of Luck Edgar
Steve--I'm assuming your referring to Marc Hernandez and Brooklyn Weaver. I first met Marc when he was with UTA. Then, before forming his own management company, he was at Zide/Perry.
I wish every Writer on this BB--and even those who are not--the best of luck in their careers. We all have to support one another in our efforts. It's truly important that we do and I think this BB is one of the best places to do that.
what are your prices E.C.?
I know Edgar. I know him well. He is not a "scam" and has worked within the studio system, having worked at Cort/Madden Prods. on the Paramount lot in the past. He is also a very nice guy.
I do not think what he is doing is wrong. Some people will gladly pay to get coverage, notes, feedback from a professional and that is the service that he is providing. If they don't want to pay for the service, then they won't. And they will submitt a script for representation and, naturally, get a "pass" or a phone call. Nothing more than that. If they DO want professional feedback, then they should pay a professional, like Edgar.
Just want to clerify my position just in case Terri has spun me the wrong way.
I support what Edgar's Service provides.
I have submitted to Marc Hernandez querry wise 3 times and never got even an e-mail back.
As for Brooklyn Weaver- I submitted my first script to him and he gave me tons of encouragement, some ideas, some great advice and we actually just talked about the business all on his dime. That was a very impressive call and shows that he really wants to work and help writers.
Me personally, I have a manager that is willing to work closer with me and we both look at direction and story for my career. He is busy with other clients but he doesn't pull any punches and layes it out as Hollywood wants to see it.
I wish I had the work that would impress the likes of a Marc Hernandez but who knows maybe one day!
You're not alone. I've had the exact same experiences as you re: M. Hernandez and B. Weaver.
Your msge is noted with thanks, rgds professionalism, etc. However, It's dissappointing to learn from this msge set that you haven't taken the time to get back to people. With all due respect to your experience and success, since you are approaching writers for material(log line, synopsis)on this bulletin board, and they are responding to your requests, wouldn't a response of some kind simply be the proper, expected, and professionally right thing to do, given the theme of this Topic. A moment or two invested in this area will give your bullletin board solicitation infinately greater impact and credibility. You've taken the time here to eloquently support a collegue. He needed your support; was helped by it; it was a fine, and right thing to do. Please also find the time in your busy day to respect the hopeful writer who has come to you at your suggestion, even if what they've presented to you, doesn't currently meet your needs. I ask that you please accept this suggestion, from not only a writer, but a former corporate Director in the advertising world, who enjoyed very nice office space on Fifth Ave, and Madison Ave, New York, and who had people pitching every day for things I knew at the time of the pitch, I could/would never use. I made a point of getting back to each and every one of them, regardless of their present position, rank, etc., because it remained very possible, that I would be dealing with some of them in the future, and in terms of business ethics, corporate politics, and all this rest, it was the schrewd, right thing to do. People don't forget the negative. You have the comment by Steve regarding recieving no responses from you to evidence this, and he clearly remained very respectul of your position. It's presumed there are many others like him. We are all struggling to gain and maintain ground in a very tough, often mindless, certainly " at times " heartless business that sadly only has room for a lucky few, who must find a way in, and stay. In the process, we expect to take a lot of blows. My attorney has often told me that the only people he knows who've succeed in our business have a firm grasp on their talent, work impossibly hard, know who and where they are, are relentlessly driven, that bridges are everywhere, and not to be burned. Why not come back on this message set and tell Steve, Terri, and the many others who've come to you, that they'll be hearing from you. I'd also taken the time to responded to your offer earlier this week. Should you're answer be, " No... " I thank you, and we move on. Perhaps I'll run into you at Austin, the Hollywood Film Fest, or some other such place people like us make our moves. But please make the time to answer. Naturally, I suspect you have a lot of unread e mail, and it takes time to make sense of all of this stuff we've sent. Patience is a virture.
We need you, Marc, and we know you need... well.. some of us..
Success and best of luck with all of it...
Sounds like you were the Sherry Lansing of the advertising world. (Remember those commercials that said she returned every single call before she left at the end of the day?)
I admire you, Ron.
This is indeed a strange thread, since the last post (prior to Edgar's shock at being mentionned) was on 2/20/03. Four months later?
Brooklyn is a class act. He is open to loglines and scripts and actually replies indicating whether he is interested or not. He also has a substantial list of sales with good dollar amounts. There are many such managers/producers who reply to the writer. There are just as many who are "too busy" to bother.
If you are interested in producers/agents/managers who actually respect the writer (see the thread on writers not getting any respect) you may want to make note of their reputation.
New to this board. Lurked for a while.
Well, I'd planned on staying a lurker, but, I have to say something about Marc Hernandez. He had a similar post on another board, I answered it, and he got back with me on it (a pass) in a matter of a couple of days.
He asked to see other scripts, but I don't really have any at the current time, well, what I have is a drama and romcom, he was looking for comedy-action.
Anyway, he treated me very professionally. I don't know what the deal is about the writers here who haven't gotten a response, maybe it was a super busy time at Crescendo, I don't know. Just my little 2 cents, now I'll go back to lurking. Maybe.
I had suspected there were some people out there who had been gotten back too. I wouldn't have sent something to Marc if I had thought otherwise. But, I do feel.. if a solicition is responded too, a response, no matter how brief, is expected. Sounds like it was a very positive experience for you. I'll probably get a " Pass " after sounding as if I was preaching. Anyway..
Paula, I'll check out that other string. Thanks...
Terri, I was just coverin' my corporate butt. Example.. I took a meeting with a radio producer who had a lot of solid market programming; interviews with major writers, celebrities, etc. Good stuff. Nice lunch at the Algonquin Hotel. I turned him down (in writing) on an advertising schedule. A month later I rcvd a bill for $65,000. He created and ran the advertising w/o informing me. We ended up in court. My short response letter thanking him for lunch and turning him down, made the difference.
Wow, Ron, thank God!
okay, i miss read some of the messages.
"free" is the cost. I hate clustered messages, it really challenges my ADD abilities. What!!! you think I'm joking, nuh uh or was that uh nuh. Hold it that, that's dyslexia, I don't that have.
Don't sweat it Edgar. I've been called worse on other bulletin boards. I just mailed to a manager and she replied back with good feedback and then told me to get a script consultant. It also just so happens that she does script consulting work for $375 a pop and at first I was taken back, but... I got some good feedback for free and I can work with it, but I'm still looking for a good consultant. Tom Cavanaugh PS you have Mark Hernandez vouching for you and I have talked with him on the phone... that's a solid referal!
I'm going to mention something in this thread because, to me, it's a scam.
A couple years ago, this "working" actor was producing films and wanted to purchase one of my romantic comedies.
When I met him and the Director for lunch, he didn't discuss money with me but, instead, handed me an envelope with a sample contract to take home and look at.
Talk about a frickin' waste of my time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I had been told from the very beginning that this JERK was only going to offer me $1,000, I would've told him, well--I'm going to try and be a lady here so I won't say what I would've said!
Not only THAT, but he wanted to cast some woman without acting experience. Some married woman he was sleeping with. I think I showered several times that day.
Anyway, to me it's a major scam for so-called people to try and take advantage of Writers like that. You work your ass off for a script and they want to offer you $1,000? And they act like they're doing you some big, huge favor! Yeah, well, I'm sure they're not making only $1,000--but at least enough to buy themselves groceries for a few years.
What's $1,000 get you? Especially in L.A.? NADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT A DAMN THING!
Marc Hernandez is a good guy who works hard. I know for a fact that he gets tons of screenplays submitted to him (by solicited writers, agents, development execs and even other literary managers). He can't seem to say "No" to people who ask him to read their material. So if he hasn't gotten back to you yet, it's probably because he really is going through all the material he's gotten.
I may have misread the post about Marc, but I believe the complaint was that there was no response even to the e-mail query that was invited by Marc. No doubt he was inundated, but queries from writers who believe in the product of their considerable efforts should not be ignored as if they were telemarketers or solicitations for charity. To be busy and successful is no license to be rude. Marc would be starving were it not for the creation of writers for him to peddle.
One opinion -- from a Word Artist.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH, ELLUM!!!
Months and years go by and you don't hear anything? I'm tired of hearing excuses.
Uncle. You guys win.
I'm not going to burn anybody about this but here is my main complaint.
#1 Solicitation of Scripts and never hearing back when you submit a Logline/synopsis.
#2 After submitting the logline/synopsis you get a request for the script.- Then weeks go by and you never hear back- even after follow-up e-mails.
#3 A submitted script gets a pass because it wasn't what they were looking for even after they are all excited after reading your logline and synopsis
#4 Agents/Managers soliciting for scripts on message boards who are really only looking for writers with at least 8 or more very polished scripts who have had an option or been repped before.
Think about this- How many writers packed it in after being beaten down by the silence of Prodcos/Agents and Managers in La La Land and how many great stories will never be heard because of ignorance and rudeness.
That's my .04 worth.
Just a rough guess, but I'd imagine that thousands of great and worthy scripts never even get read for every mediocre and trite cookie-cutter copy that sees the big screen. Must be, because I know many talented writers whose worst script is infinitely better than most of the trash that's shoved down the throats of moviegoers.
Ah well, keep writing - never can tell when a masterpiece might get mistaken for something 'commercial' that might sell some popcorn.
I think that's worth more than 4 cents, Steve. Honest. To the point. Priceless!
Oh, Terri -
I bet you say that to everyone who posts something that is honest, to the point, and priceless.
By the way, I believe it is Marc Hernandez's stated policy that he will not contact you regarding your logline and synopsis unless he is interested. I read this online somewhere, many months ago in an article that was focusing on his company. The reason given-- he gets too many queries to respond to them all.
And that has been my exact experience. No response.
Ah, the silence of the scams. (sorry, couldn't resist)
Guess Marc doesn't have it in him to be a "Sherry Lansing" then, huh?
Terri walks into Outpatient Small Surgery room. Says to a Nurse:
What's with the fat pillow with the hole in the center?
NURSEHello, fellow writer. Have a 'Sherry,' and toss me that fat pillow with the hole in the centerwhile they're 'Lansing' Marc's Hernandez.
Terri walks into Outpatient Small Surgery room. Says to a Nurse:
What's with the fat pillow with the hole in the center?
NURSEHello, fellow writer. Have a 'Sherry,' and toss me that fat pillow with the hole in the centerwhile they're 'Lansing' Marc's Hernandez.
Terri walks into Outpatient Surgery, says to a NURSE
What's with the fat pillow with the hole in the center?
Terri walks into Outpatient Surgery, says to a NURSE
What's with the fat pillow with the hole in the center?
Hello, fellow writer. Have a Sherry. The pillow's for Marc after they finish Lansing his Hernandez.
(Sorry about the two incomplete posts above. I had some trouble with the keyboard, or not enough coffee.)
Definitely made ME laugh! Which is what I needed before going to the damn doc. (No, not the hunky Ortho Surg--the ol' fart.)
I've sent two queries to Marc Hernandez in the past 6 months. He responded to 1 of them. Ultimately he passed on the script, but I can say he did respond. I didn't know that he had been soliciting publicly on boards like this, so I can only assume that his inbox is exponentially out of control. Having said that, let's assume he receives hundreds of queries each day. Who the hell would have time to write hundreds of email responses as well as review scripts he's requested to read?
I think it should be understood that no response to a query is a no. It's not personal and I'd say that it's not even unprofessional. Just simple mathematics.
But a reply to requested script I would say is always in order. You take the time to and postage to send a script to someone, they should be obligated to respond.
" Pass " This just took me one second to type. Of course it's not in my job description to do this kind of work, so I might be off a bit here in the numbers. But, if it takes one minute to read an email query and one second to type " Pass " and a management company rcvd 10,000 queries per month, given the fact that it advertised on a writer board, ... do the math. We're really not talking much O/T here. Not responding to a solicited e mail query is an arrogant industry acceptable poor business practice based on a " use and abuse " conventional wisdom, that hopeful writers, and even working writers have no voice, not a business issue based on work load. Also, if a company policy is to NOT respond to e mail queries that they are not interested in, it should be noted in the solicitation on this board. But, that of course might limit queries. Go figure.. Management compnies are business people. They meet, they read, they solicit, they respond, they do lunch. We write, many of us seven days a week, and most hold " day jobs. " I'm told that Jeffrey Katzenberg has a little sign on his desk for all of his hot young turks to see that says, " If you can't come in on Saturday, don't bother to come in on Sunday. " When I was in the Marine Corps, we had one that said, " Can't means Won't. " On the other hand, Irving Thalberg once said, " I'll give writers money, but never power. " Somewhere in the middle of all of this are " we " the angry, frustrated, tired of being dismissed writers, and Marc, the unfortunately singled out talented business exec, who has now been precieved to have a time management, business practice, communication issue, that has developed into boiler plate over why writers should only be deserving of respect when their " material " get's some heat. Although Marc should have responded to this msge set by now, if anything since others(writers) with good reason, have supported him, and the fact that he hasn't, is dissappointing, this whole reproach thing is not really about Marc, it's about us.. Filmmaking.. the whole movie business, the work we've chosen, begins with us, not Marc. The fact of this is openly resented in the industry, Robert Altman made a movie about it, we have a right to speak out about it, there was a reason some guy wrote a book titled, " The Writer Got Screwed, " and this is our board.
We're all busy, Morris
I'm absolutely with Ron on this. I don't require of coutesey of people--that's a standard that is beyond the capabiltity of many. But the absence of courtesey isn't discourtesy, and it's really that we're talking about when we're solicited and then don't get a response back. Or get one months later.
That's discourtsey, and it's the sign of a bad business person. Can you imagine how frustrating your life would become just trying to get a phone call returned if you ended up in business with one of them?
Reduce the the number of assholes you have to deal with in this life and you'll have a better life.
sorry for of the typos. I became agitated addressing the subject. I was remembering an occasion when a client in my past life handed me my fee. As I reached for the check he pulled it back and said that for once he wanted me to express my appreciation that he paid me so much money.
It caught me off guard and I was poor, so I profusely thanked him so I could get paid.
I've always been sorry since that I didn't instead just hammer him into spit. I would have been out by now and I'd be sleeping a lot better too! :)
I think it's a matter of what we individually will accept given the reality of what we're trying to achieve. Yes, ideally I would like response to all 450 of my email queries I've sent out. And ideally I would like everyone to say thank you after I go out of my way an offer a courtesy such as opening a door for someone or allowing them to go in front of me in line.
But ultimately I understand that the world we live in is not one that shares the same values as I do individually.
I look at Marc (or anyone for that matter) relative to the industry as a whole.
My interaction with him was more pleasant than most. Yes, we as writers deserve FAR more respect than the amount we're given and FAR lesser caliber work is more often produced. But it's a sad reality and one we all have to work within. I would say I find it better dealing with a Marc Hernandez who has made it a point to deal with finding writers in all places and who may not acknowledge every query sent to him than the limitless number of entities that won't even read your logline unless one of 'their' people first recommends it to them. So to me, it's all relative. There are some concessions I know I have to make until I can demand certain changes in the future.
I agree with everything you guys have said, but I think that ideally it's not feasible and that Marc reaches out further than most who completely hide behind their titles and company names.
I've simply decided to have nothing to do with anyone in the film business who is too busy, too calloused, or too 'important' to exhibit at least a modicum of professionalism and mutual respect. They ask for a description of what I have to sell, I expect an acknowledgement to my response, not silence.
The only time silence that's an acceptable response, to me, is an unanswered prayer.
Persons, such as Marc Hernandez (since he's the one who's been put on the hot seat) are successful and 'too busy for courtesy and professionalism because we writers have flooded them with our scripts, and he's been able to peddle them to his own financial gain. I don't resent his success, but I am aware that without the products of our sweat and brains and talents, Marc would still be doing whatever it was he was doing to pay his bills before he turned to the entertainment business. Was he so aloof and dismissal of others then? Doubt it.
Simply because there are so many in the business who have forgotten their pasts, their Mother-taught manners, and that they are not the only ones who harbor dreams, have ambitions, and work hard to actualize their potentialities, does not make it acceptable to me.
If women, African-Americans, Asian, Latino or Moses' people had accepted the roles they were cast in by others, the world would be one ugly-ass place. But, by uniting and resisting the bullshit (excuse me, Mama) they, like Paddy Chayefsky's character in "Network" - said, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!'
I can always earn a living; I choose to write, and I elect to be discriminating with whom I will do business. I can be rejected as easily by a person of good character and work ethics as by the run-of-the-mill 'bigwig' agent/producer cum shaker/deal-maker. And I know I'm not alone.
About six years ago, I sent out a query regarding a thriller I had written. While nothing ultimately came of it, the experience stands out as positive for one simple reason—they were surprisingly courteous and responsive.
I had contacted them via e-mail, and within moments I received an automated response that went something like this:
"Thank you so much for your interest in our company. While we would love to respond individually to every e-mail we receive, the sheer volume of communication that comes to us makes this nearly impossible. We know you've worked hard and that you'd like to know where you stand with us, so please be assured that we will respond to you within two weeks if this property sounds like something we might seriously consider. If you do not hear from us, we regretfully decline. Best wishes, and good luck."
Quick, easy, DOESN'T EVEN REQUIRE A SECOND THOUGHT.
They weren't a big company and I can hardly remember their name, but the point is, they made an effort. An uncommonly thoughtful gesture in the terribly busy of rush of life that is Hollywood.
Miracles do happen...
There's a great little piece of dialog in Doctor Zhivago that goes something like this:
Alec Guinness, character is a cold government bureaucrat(Zhivago's brother) watching Zhivago, a poet/doctor(his day job) steeling some wood.
Alec Guinness Character,
" As I watched him steeling the wood, I knew he was breaking the law. One man stealing a piece of wood is pathetic. But, a thousand men steeling wood is a revolution.. Still, I knew he was a better man then I was. But, I've shot better men then me with a small pistol.. "
In Candide, there is a character who always uses the phrase, " In the best of all possible worlds " before he responds to anything. But, the book ends with, " We must all work in the garden.. "
I think the business - side of our business could use a little more work in the garden to qualify for an " in the best of all possible worlds " justification for the accepted practice of camplacency and salutory neglect when it comes to writers. We'd all be the better for it, and wouldn't have to feel like we're stealing a pathetic piece of wood every time we approach or reproach the gate keepers. Sadly, the WGA has yet to make this work environment a revolution.
" Stick together..!! " Another line from Zhivago.
I have to address two (2) points at the moment.
1) I've received responses from every single person/company I've ever dealt with in this business--except one. His name's already been mentioned several times on this thread, so I won't repeat it!
I, myself, receive 100 e-mails on one S/N and 200-300 on my distribution S/N. I answer every single one and still make time to write and read 2-3 screenplays a day.
2) Apparently, someone misunderstood the $1,000 I was offered for a screenplay a few years ago.
They couldn't understand why I couldn't understand why they turned down an option when I did the exact same thing, but for more money than them.
It was NOT an option. It was for the RIGHTS TO THE SCREENPLAY. A FLAT SALE!
Personally, I don't think it was wrong to turn down $1,000 for a screenplay. It wouldn't even have covered minimum-wage, considering all the hours, weeks, months, years, drafts! I may be a fool, but I'm no stupid fool! Math may not have been my best subject, but I'm not THAT dumb! (And I'm not that blonde anymore, either!)
In closing I'll just say this. An email query (which is largely a form letter at best) is not something that we've sacrificed an inordinate amount of time or money to create or send via email. You're not wasting any paper or postage. In fact, not even a lot of time in the sense of just forwarding a form query with minimal changes.
If you're going to pick a battle to fight, I'm not sure that a 'pass' response to an email query is the one to choose. I'd much rather have a timely response to a submitted script. That's tangible time and money out the door.
I always respond and acknowledge with a note of thank you to anyone who does respond...pass or not, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm not going to get bent out of shape because somebody didn't specifically tell me 'no'. We should all be pretty used to hearing 'no' by now.
I'm not going fight for 'better' ways to be told no or even more 'professional' ways.
No means no. I don't care whether it's sugar-coated or garnished in feces.
That's just not important to me. Let's look at the big picture.
We're not talking about someone leaving you hanging on whether they're going to option or buy your script (which has happened to me). We're only talking about a 'pass', nothing more.
Yes, of course I'd like a higher degree of professionalism and courtesy, but this is the entertainment industry...let's be real. For those of you who haven't specifically worked in entertainment (I have my whole career) this might be foreign to you. But it's the way it is and it's not going to change, regardless of how altruistic most writers are. I'd rather fight for writers' respect in regards to screen credits and quality work making the screen, not a token response telling me they're not interested when I could figure that out for myself with no effort on my part.
Analogy. You call the woman and ask her out...she doesn't call you back. Take that as a hint, move on. But don't take it personally. The right woman is still probably out there.
I'm not telling anyone what they should or shouldn't do...but I won't get sidetracked because someone isn't 'nice' to me. Nor do I confuse that just because someone emailed me a 'pass' response that they are inherently somehow more 'professional' or 'reputable'. Crooks and executives of questionable ethics know how to use email too.
And those are my $.02, and I'm pretty sure I spent them well.
I have to disagree with you that the e-mail query is a form letter (at least the one's I send out are not form letters).
If I'm targeting a specific company, I will often research that company and find something very specific which I'll use to try to make a personal or individual connection.
Additionally, even if I send the same letter numerous times, it is in no way a "form" letter. At least not in the way we refer to form letters in the vernacular. The term "form letter" has a negative connotation, often implying a lack of creativity, individuality, and detail. (NOTE: I'm NOT saying all form letters are like this, but the term implies a very rudimentary, often ill executed form of communication)
I work hours to write and rewrite these letters and to taper them to the targeted reader. I'd say each e-mail query takes an average of 2 hours.
I understand that everyone will not respond to each of my queries, however to send back a form reply is not an impossible task. Many busy companies do this every day. Does it both me if they don't. No. But the one's that do, I just respect a bit more.
I've worked in the entertainment industry my entire life. I agree we're talking about small beans here. But there's an awful lot of effort put into marketing and I think there's an implication in your post that there's not. And that may just be your personal experience.
Okay, let's sell some scripts.
I agree with you, Paul. Whether we write an e-mail query or snail-mail query--is insignificant. Professionalism is professionalism.
There are companies in this town who have GREAT reputations because of their wonderful, kind development execs who are polite and considerate when they call, etc. Then there are some who do not have great reputations because of their NASTY execs (I've only come across one, thank God--who's known for being a total ASS! Oh, wait, I remember three who talked about nothing but getting into my panties.)
If people like Sherry Lansing and Bill Mechanic can have such awesome reputations because of their consideration, honesty, politeness, etc., why is that too much to ask of anyone else?
Once upon a time in Austin (about two 1/2 years ago) I was sitting at an empty round table, waiting for the crowd to arrive. The session was, " How to attract an agent. " Well, a real nice guy - mid thirties, dark hair, comes up, sits down next to me and introduces himself. " Hi, my name is Marty, what's your name.? " We shake, and chat. The room is still mostly empty. No one but Marty and Ron. We talked like a couple of guys for a while, and I remember he said that he said he was off to Norway or somewhere for the winter. There was something uniquely smart and ingaging about the guy that I will never forget. Anyway, we start talking business, and I ask him what he thinks is the best way to get an agent. Marty says, " If I'm an agent and an unknown writer want's to get me to read their material, I'd ask him or her to find someone who knows me, who I respect, to call me on the writer's behalf. That done, I'd read the unknown writer immediately. He added, very matter of factly that he wouldn't care if the writer was new, young or old. It's about the material. I told him, maybe I'd see him around. He responded, I never forget a face. Well, the crowd piles in, and most run to our table. Everyone nervously introduces themselves, and it turns out, Marty, is Marty Bowen, of United Talent, one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood. When the session broke up, I called over to Marty, " I'll take you up on that offer.." Marty yelled back, " That's a deal.. " And, he meant it. I guess my point is, there are many ways to find a way, anything can happen, and what we're all dealing with on this message set are just the troubling aspects of one of them. Ironically, our Marc, used to work for United Talent, so I hope I haven't blown a potential opportunity to get back to my close personal friend, who I have a relationship with, good old Marty. Ron
Personally, I could never be offended if I was not getting responses to unsolicited inquiries that I may have sent out. But I think many of us are referring to the occasions when we've been given the green light to send the script and then don't hear anything back. Or when a prodco or agent solicits us, and then doesn't respond after we send it off.
Those are the guys I find offensive.
I find everyone offensive. It's in my nature. J/K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Um, Jay, remember that bottle of Ban Roll-On that just happened to slip out of the bag? It was my way of a subtle hint.
Ban Roll-on? Is that what that was? I thought it was some kind of "marital aid" and you were coming on to me. I feel like a damn fool!!!
Uh, Jay--NO COMMENT! LOL!
And, Ron, I believe that's commonly known as the "referral." But that is hilarious that you had NO CLUE it was Marty Bowen. THAT'S FUNNY!!!!
Now, if it had been me and it was "the other Marti"--I would've definitely crapped my pants while hanging my mouth open and saying "Ahhhhhh."
Can you duh... believe that..
Oh, I'd met the other Marty too. At NYU in 76. He was shooting some NYC location stuff for TAXI DRIVER. Some of us NYU film students(Marty's an NYU alum) were allowed to do minor non credited PA stuff. I held a cable in front of the political headquarters scene. I don't think many people know this, but that was Marty sitting on the ledge to the right of the front door. Also, a year or so later, I was working my then " day job " moving furniture, and our Mayflower truck drove past the Long Island exterior location shoot for NEW YORK NEW YORK. Marty was behind the camera with a little green hat on, in front of an classic green car, and two period dressed actors in front of and old gas station. As we drove past, I hung out of the truck window and shouted, " Hey Marty..!!! He jumped(very tense guy)tuned and looked. Pissed off, are not the words to describe.. If I ever make it, and meet him(again) I'll remind him of it. Marty remembers everything.
Register here to receive MovieBytes' FREE email newsletter featuring contest deadline reminders, news, articles, and much more. Choose a password to access the MovieBytes bulletin board and other great features.