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Qazworld
07-12-2006, 11:40 AM
Is it possible for someone in the states to approach producers overseas with scripts?

I have a script idea, that would work perfectly in a foreign country, and its of a subject matter that im pretty sure hollywood wouldnt touch right now.

Has anyone had any experience w this? Im talking about non-english speaking nations.

Would it be more realistic to keep the budget low, and try for a domestic indie route?

thanks

Jake Schuster
07-12-2006, 11:50 AM
It's very tough. I broke into the UK market (which started my career), but I'd been living there for several years and had an agent in London, and my writing was known to TV and film producers. I know something about the French market, as I have a writer friend of whose works two commercial hit movies were made there, and unless you're completely fluent in the language and have legal representation in that country, you have virtually no chance to get it made.

My third novel, set in Paris, was optioned, with a script written by the producer, and developed largely with French financial interests, but it was contingent upon, of course, an English-language script and at least two French actors attached. We had the actors lined up, though the lead male hadn't yet been decided upon, and as the producer was holding out for one particular name, the French backed off, and the project dissolved.

But because it was a project largely financed by European (there was German money, as well as Australian) interests, and repped from L.A. with attorney involvement Stateside it was able to proceed as far as it did. But for you to go cold into another country hoping to pitch a project would be a option probably not worth following.

Qazworld
07-12-2006, 11:52 AM
thanks jake, that's what i was worried about.

darn.

Hamboogul
07-12-2006, 12:00 PM
If you think it's a compelling script, just write it and see what happens. Don't talk yourself out of writing a script that might be good just because you think the market will or won't react to it.

You never know what can happen to a script or who it might appeal to.

Jake Schuster
07-12-2006, 12:14 PM
Well, yes, I agree. But the European market is very tough for someone outside the EU to break into. It's like moving to England from the US. When I moved there I was told that I would not be permitted to take employment--apart from working as a writer and selling rights to my work, which is a whole separate issue--as I would be taking up a space that a native-born worker could have had. On the continent the rules are even tougher. As there are far less screenwriters in the countries that make up Europe than there are in a square mile of West L.A., all the work really does have to go to them.

Hamboogul
07-12-2006, 02:19 PM
I'm sure what you say is mostly true. And you have far more experience in this than I. But I believe that anyone who is truly a great writer or have in her possession a truly great script will have very little struggles getting noticed and eventually getting work in the U.S. or anywhere else for that matter.

Qazworld
07-12-2006, 02:20 PM
I'm sure what you say is mostly true. And you have far more experience in this than I. But I believe that anyone who is truly a great writer or have in her possession a truly great script will have very little struggles getting noticed and eventually getting work in the U.S. or anywhere else for that matter.

well its a controversial, politically sensitive subject matter, so i was thinking that it actually might hinder my ability to break into hollywood since no one would touch it. and it might polarize ppl. i dunno.

ETA:
plus it would work better in a foreign nation w/ foreign actors.

Hairy Lime
07-12-2006, 02:33 PM
C'mon, Qaz. Don't be shy. We know it's about islamofascism.

wcmartell
07-12-2006, 02:58 PM
The reason why I can't get a credit in that accidental Steven Segal movie of mine is that it is European production and *must* have a European writer in both the "screenplay" and "story" credits. It's, like, the law. Most of EC films re made with tax credits or government arts funding or ticket taxes or lottery money, and the rules say you have to hire locals. The purpose of thse funding sources is to give artists in whatever country work, and to create "cultural works" that reflect the country's identity.

The US is commerce oriented rather than culture oriented - so they don't care where your passport was issued. They just want to make money.

I remember a couple of decades ago, there was a US director who moved to France, renounced his US citizenship, became French... and made some movies. I guess you could do that.

- Bill

Jake Schuster
07-12-2006, 03:09 PM
Bill has more or less hit it on the nail. By the time I was commissioned to adapt my first novel I was legally resident in the UK, and the book in question had initially been published there. My film agent was in London, and all of my work was based there. So legally there were no issues.

As for the adaptation of my third novel, the prodco was US-based, and as my novel was set in Paris, and the script adhered to the novel pretty closely, it was launched as a US-based production (having Francis Coppola attached in name only didn't hurt over there, either).

But these days it's nigh on impossible for an American who doesn't speak the language to bring a script to production there.

Qazworld
07-12-2006, 03:32 PM
thanks for the info guys.

darn though.

guess i have to wait till i make it big to make this movie. :)

Hamboogul
07-12-2006, 03:36 PM
thanks for the info guys.

darn though.

guess i have to wait till i make it big to make this movie. :)


I don't understand this. Were you intending to write this at all? If so, why are you letting advice of DDers talk you into it or out of it? If this is a story that is compelling and you are passionate about it, you should write it no matter what any random DDer says.

If you never really had strong intentions to write it, then this just validates your lack of desire to write this. Again, write what compels you and not what the market dictates that you write. Your chance of breaking into markets of any continent are pretty slim so why not write stories that move you?

Hairy Lime
07-12-2006, 03:37 PM
Don't let these naysaying ninnies disuade you, Qaz.

Just write the fvcker. The rest will sort itself out.

Hamboogul
07-12-2006, 03:38 PM
Did I ask you to summary my posts, a-hole?

Jake Schuster
07-12-2006, 03:46 PM
Y'know, the guy asked a simple, practical question, and I think between Bill Martell and I, who've had experience in working abroad in screenwriting, we've pretty much answered it.

If he wants to write his script because of some personal need (I have yet to meet a professional writer in all my career who has said "I write because I don't care about making money, but I just need to express myself"), then he will. But the guy's asking about practicalities, and we've pretty much covered it, I think.

Qazworld
07-12-2006, 03:57 PM
I don't understand this. Were you intending to write this at all? If so, why are you letting advice of DDers talk you into it or out of it? If this is a story that is compelling and you are passionate about it, you should write it no matter what any random DDer says.

well, theyre not going to talk me out of writing it, but i now see that it's not something that's practical at this point.

i know certain things wouldnt work in a domestic market, so i was curious about writing for a foreign nation.

i dont have a chimerical view of this, where i believe all i have to do is write a great script and then that'll be good enough to get me noticed. and im not writing this strictly for a personal need either, i expect things i do to get me somewhere down the line.



If you never really had strong intentions to write it, then this just validates your lack of desire to write this. Again, write what compels you and not what the market dictates that you write. Your chance of breaking into markets of any continent are pretty slim so why not write stories that move you?

its a good point, but its more a question of time and being efficient. my own undestanding of this is that you can break in if you get a certain critical mass of concept driven scripts.

this script, might actually hinder my ability to get into hollywood, b/c the subject matter is touchy.

that's my own personal assesment of this. yes, im a complete amatuer and know little about the biz, but my gut tells me writing a controversial film few americans will watch or appreciate, could do more harm than good.