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showbizskeptic
10-16-2004, 10:47 PM
Ignore the anal retentive that wrote this...allow the free expression of ideas between creative minds. Lord knows, the A--Holes who run Hollywood don't! Maybe there is an independent filmmaker that is receptive to your ideas and stories?

The "powers that be" in Hollywood are so busy keeping the business to theirselves, and their little close-knit band of friends and cohorts, that there is little chance creativity can blossom. Witness 90% of the schlock screenplays that get produced, usually by the same hack writers who probably blew the producer to get their foot...or something else, in the door.

Forget submitting your screenplay to any WGA list of agents or producers. Ninety-nine percent of these will only return it with the usual "no unsolicited materials" bulls---t, denying that they even opened or touched it!

Agents only want or expect a "ready-made" deal handed to them by someone they already know, so unless you have one "in your pocket" forget trying to coax or cojole them into reading your "newbie" script.

Screenwriting, and screenplay sales is such a "closed system" it is time that a few influential producers and/or studios take a stand to insure creativity survives in Hollywood. The way it's going, it surely won't!

And forget "screenwriting contests." All they are about is the entrance fees, and subsequent "writing consultations." Another new and frequent scam is the phony producer, agent, or lawyer, who talks-up your screenplay, only to suggest he write you a "business plan" for a fee, so he can submit it to his contacts and investors. Total B.S. Beware.

If anyone disagrees with the above...PROVE ME WRONG!

JustinoIV
10-18-2004, 12:08 PM
"The "powers that be" in Hollywood are so busy keeping the business to theirselves, and their little close-knit band of friends and cohorts, that there is little chance creativity can blossom. Witness 90% of the schlock screenplays that get produced, usually by the same hack writers who probably blew the producer to get their foot...or something else, in the door."

Yet we still have a number of people who were not born into the business. Spike Lee (screenwriter/director/producer), Suzan Lori Parks (playwrite/screenwriter), Steve King (author/screenwriter), among many others in the industry.

"Forget submitting your screenplay to any WGA list of agents or producers. Ninety-nine percent of these will only return it with the usual "no unsolicited materials" bulls---t, denying that they even opened or touched it!"

Tell me you didn't mail an unsolicited screenplay to a producer or agent! That would mark you to the agents or producers as a total amateur.

"Agents only want or expect a "ready-made" deal handed to them by someone they already know, so unless you have one "in your pocket" forget trying to coax or cojole them into reading your "newbie" script."

Oh, please. Has it ever ocurred to you that you can be one of those people the agents or prodco's know? Get a job at a prodco, agent, or studio. Work well with people, and then you know them.

"Screenwriting, and screenplay sales is such a "closed system" it is time that a few influential producers and/or studios take a stand to insure creativity survives in Hollywood. The way it's going, it surely won't!"

I'm told by independant producers that the bulk of screenplays submitted to them are not even in proper format. So a lot of people are rejected due to technical flaws in the writing, after they've gotten past the query stage.

Then of course, the story must be something the studio can make money off of. The public is the one who ultimately decides what gets made regularly. They vote with their DOLLARS.

"And forget "screenwriting contests." All they are about is the entrance fees, and subsequent "writing consultations." Another new and frequent scam is the phony producer, agent, or lawyer, who talks-up your screenplay, only to suggest he write you a "business plan" for a fee, so he can submit it to his contacts and investors. Total B.S. Beware."

I agree with you here. Money is supposed to flow to the writer. And the only place you should sign a check in on the back (endorsing it and then depositing it into your account."

As for the agents, if you achieve an offer on your own (by dealing with a producer) you can go into any WGA agent and get them to rep you. If an agent is not mainstream, forget them. Often they have little, if any ability to make sales, and/or will be cons.


"Maybe there is an independent filmmaker that is receptive to your ideas and stories?"

Perhaps there is, and this is a valid avenue to explore.

"

Miss Modular
10-27-2004, 10:20 AM
I'm told by independant producers that the bulk of screenplays submitted to them are not even in proper format. So a lot of people are rejected due to technical flaws in the writing, after they've gotten past the query stage.

I've queried several producers over the years, to no result. And my screenplay was in the technically correct format.

You do have to know people. And your material has to be to their taste.

zz9
10-27-2004, 11:01 AM
Ninety-nine percent of these will only return it with the usual "no unsolicited materials"
So one percent succeed? That's pretty good odds! How many people want to be Indycar drivers? How many people want to be rock stars? How many people want to be best selling authors? What percentage of them never even get a chance to show what they can do?

We have chosen a profession where the supply FAR outstrips demand. People who have sold scripts have talked about writing several hundred query letters, writing several scripts, making hundreds of phone calls before they got a break. Just as Indycar drivers, rock stars and so on have to work the system.

If everyone who wrote a script got it made then there's be a thousand movies opening every week. It aint gonna happen. Life's a bitch.

wcmartell
10-27-2004, 01:04 PM
Easy to prove you wrong.

Look at how many people break in every year.

Hey, I wasn't born a pro writer, and I wasn't born with any connections to Hollywood. My family business is water wells and farm irregation.

I wrote a bunch of scripts - the average WGA writer wrote 9 features before making any money - and wrote a lot of query letters (because if you send an unrequested script they'll just throw it in the trash - you need a script with an idea so great they request the script), and by hanging out with other people interested in film in my home town made some awful connections (people who lived in my home town) but I had a script that was good enough to be passed around... and was eventually passed to someone very very very low in Hollywood, who thought the script was really good, so he passed it to his best connection who passed it to his best connection (etc) until it ended up at a production company at Paramount who bought it.

It all starts with a great script - one that people like enough to pass around. The script does the networking. The script opens the doors.

So how many scripts have you written? Producer Fred Levy says a script is like a semester of college - you need 8 before you graduate.

Are your scripts great? If you read great pro scripts then read your script, does it fit in with the others? Is it pro quality material?

Write a great query letter - it's your writing sample. Now paper Hollywood with query letters - it's a numbers game.

I've got all kinds of breaking-in advice on a new audio CD, but those are the main things: write great scripts, lots of them, and get the word out that you have great scripts. Not scripts *you* think are great, scripts that *people who hate you* think are great.

- Bill

Otis
10-27-2004, 01:17 PM
I moved to LA 3 years ago to write screenplays. I had not seen a screenplay before and I knew no one in town. I met my writing partner who was in the same boat. We got a manager, agent and attorney without any deals on the table and now we are working writers. We got everything (reps & first deal) because of a spec we wrote.

At some point you have to deliver a script that people like but we also...

...worked on scripts at least 2 hours almost everyday for 2.5 years.
...hustled our asses off trying to meet people and make connections.
...and took advantage of every opportunity (however small) that we came across.
...and we had some good luck along the way.

Bottom line... Hollywood will welcome you with open arms if you have something they want.

burnaise
10-28-2004, 10:05 AM
wow, the bitterness of that initial post is staggering. clearly there's been a great deal of rejection there.

what it comes down to is this...if the art of writing itself is not a reward, then don't do it. if you do not feel a sense of joy and pride after you've left your sweat, blood and coffee on the page, then this isn't something for you.

while it's great to receive accolades from people who sell or buy, hopefully it's not the reason you do this. write because you have a story you want to or need to tell. not because you need someone to pay you to do it.

you totally miss the point.

gaterooze
10-28-2004, 05:30 PM
I agree there's a massive chip on the shoulder of the initial poster, but this is a tough business. It's difficult breaking in, hence the term BREAKING IN, (knocking down the barricades, knock-knock-knockin' on Hollywood's door).

That said, if you are only interested in the pure joy of writing, then why choose SCREENwriting? I'd suggest nearly any other type of writing (poetry, novels, essays, short stories, practically anything else, yeah Blogging would do).

Screenplays are meant to attract financiers, plain and simple -- they are best when it is clear from page one, from the logline that the writer ISN'T just telling a story they want to write, but one which has such potential universal appeal, that many, many people will be willing to give up lots of other things in their lives for many moons (read years) to PRODUCE THIS FILM.

Why? Because the expectation is that many, many people will be interested in seeing this story on the big screen and ancillary markets.

Sure, find joy where you can, but if your aim is to write a great screenplay, why not make it one that has a chance to complete its total mission -- become a film?!

I think that this is one of the problems with new screenwriters who clog up the pipelines (before they are really ready with "product" for the entertainment biz) -- Sorry, but maybe that's some food for thought.

graceandd
10-29-2004, 03:57 AM
I wrote one feature script, my first and only. It got me an agent, which got the script interest, which led to an option.

Before this i had writen and directed some short films, without which i probably would not of gotten the above, however i felt compelled to post after reading all the stuff about eight scripts required before money etc, well maybe in some cases but why not hone your writing with short scripts first, its quicker, just as hard and if it is useless you have wasted just a fraction of your time.

Hairy Lime
10-29-2004, 09:25 AM
graceandd makes an excellent point. Having actually made something, anything, attracts notice. Since I've been able to add "I recently produced my first independent feature." to my query letter, my script requests have sky rocketed.

JakeSchuster aka Ostroff
10-29-2004, 10:03 AM
I found it also works if you've published novels with respectable publishing houses. It signifies you're a professional writer that some people, at least, take seriously.

graceandd
10-31-2004, 05:10 AM
Thank you Hairy Lime and congratulations on your indie project.
I always compare screenwriting to the building industry (or construction in your neck of the woods). Say you want to be a builder and you want to build houses. Do you go and build 8 lousy houses (or to be fair houses which no one in the house buying industry wants) only to have some one buy your ninth house? I hope not, i hope you build model houses, which attract attention, then one day, someone in the construction industry says "why not build a real house?" so you do and it sells. And low and behold you are a builder, not because you decide to be but because your buildings are in demand and you need to keep making them to supply that demand. What you should not do is sit around for months scratching your head wondering why your last seven houses did not sell before deciding to....build another.
In short you do your thing, until your thing gets noticed, then do it for others.

Adam Isaac
11-01-2004, 11:47 AM
Might want to try directing or another area in film........shoot if you love movies, it would be like having a limb hacked off if you quit wouldn't it?

zasque
11-10-2004, 06:55 PM
OK, proving the initial poster wrong on this:

"And forget "screenwriting contests." All they are about is the entrance fees, and subsequent "writing consultations.""

Mike Rich ("Finding Forrester," "The Rookie," "The Miracle") has landed one plum writing assignment after another since he placed first in the Nicholl Fellowships award a few years ago, and he does it all from out of LA (in Portland, Oregon in fact).

The story goes that Rich shopped his "Finding Forrester" script around LA for ages to no avail. Then, the day after the Nicholl results came out, he had 80 messages on his phone machine. Soon after that, Connery signed on and the rest is history. Sure, he's an exception to the rule but a reminder that competitions can help.

I placed in the quarterfinals of the Nicholls a couple of years ago (my second feature) and have found prodcos more likely to want to read a script when I mention this (esp. since I didn't go to film school).

filmcarver
11-13-2004, 08:38 AM
wow, the bitterness of that initial post is staggering. clearly there's been a great deal of rejection there.

I actually seriously doubt it. Writers who are in the game understand rejection.....this is someone so full of self-doubt they have to form an unrealistic POV of the business in order to justify their lack of work ethic and fear of failure.

IMO