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Liveveryday
01-03-2007, 01:40 PM
Hello Everyone,

I've just spent several hours reading dozens of articles. There's so much great advice here - and I need some too!

In brief, I'm a UK based writer coming out to LA for three weeks in March.

I'm bringing four treatments at various stages of development.

My plan, thus far, is to call producers/companies in advance (after a lot of web research), find interest, send the treatment over if they request it, then meet up to pitch in person and secure a deal/interest?

But what can I seriously expect?

As a new writer (I have one script under option in the UK) I'm not expecting immediate cash, but could I expect some form of agreement or contract from a producer/company - maybe a committment to see a script or even sign an option on the treatment?

Also to maximise my time in LA, I'll be following up with a few days in Cannes as I know most of LA descends on the resort.

I feel this is a decent strategy so far, but there's so much I don't know.

I've heard people say that as a new writer I have to have a script, but then again I've heard people suggest coming over with a slate of projects/treatments and running with those that get the interest. That's the way I'm heading so far.

There's been a lot of talk about managers vs agents too. At the moment it seems to me that an agent is best, as they do the deal. I know I'd be one of their small fries, but I'm more than happy to make all the calls etc the manager might do.

Okay. That's me for now.

Any ideas, pointers, suggestions would be of massive help.

Oh... and a Happy New Year.

Thanks in advance.

ylekot43
01-03-2007, 01:46 PM
I don't want to sound like a Jerk but I really think the "treatment" angel is the wrong way to go. It is unlikely you can get an agent or even a manager without entire scripts. It will also be harder to get legit meetings -- which can often take months to set up because they usually want to read your script first. You might want to hold off a while.

Liveveryday
01-03-2007, 01:52 PM
Okay. That's not what I was expecting. I do have some project which I could push and just come over with one script, but my flights are booked and I'm coming over!

Anyone else?

rockridesva
01-03-2007, 01:55 PM
I certainly reiterate Ylekot's post. It'll be hard to get any meetings worth any while, if the people haven't read your scripts. Yes, multiple. I mean sure they can read just one script, but you really need to have a few that have been out in LA. Otherwise, I'd hate to see you make the trek only for disappointment.

Hasil Adkins
01-03-2007, 02:02 PM
My plan...is...find interest, send the treatment over if they request it, then meet up to pitch in person and secure a deal....If you find a prodco has interest in your pitch, they won't give you a deal. They'll say "Sounds great. Send over the script." or, "we'd love to take a look at the script when it's finished."

The best you can hope for is a few meet and greets while you're here. Not without value, but I don't know if it's worth the trip.

edited:
This part of your post is correct:
maybe a committment to see a script or even sign an option on the treatmentThe former, not the latter.

yeehi
01-03-2007, 02:38 PM
I like your attitude.

Practice giving elevator pitches to people / innocent bystanders in the UK, so that you have the patter down nicely.

Get at least one script completed and polished.

Considering what you have in hand and the time that is available, how about approaching actors directly?

You might even find somebody at a film school that would try and film it with their buddies...

Please let us know how you are getting along, once you arrive!

odriftwood
01-03-2007, 03:05 PM
Good on ya, lad but I don't think a hand full of treatments are going to get you far. Might want to take a small hit to rebook your flight and come out when you have scripts to leave behind or at least when there is some sort of pitch festival where you can do a lot of meeting and greeting in one weekend. Just to throw yourself to the proverbial wolves without those scripts might lead to disappointment. I've been in plenty of pitch meetings with "treatments" and have always been told "send the script when it's done." Now that might be all the encouragement you need but it's better to send a script the next day versus six-ten months down the line when you've got it finished. Good luck either was and do keep us informed...

Liveveryday
01-03-2007, 04:52 PM
Okay. The general consensus seems to be that I need a script. Thank yu so much for your replies.

I can get stuck in, and in the next month or so have a first pass draft. I can start to contact companies 4-6 weeks before I come over, which might be a little short notice, but it's all I've got. I can present the script as a draft for development. I'll polish as much as I can.

I can bring treatments as back-ups or reserves only to pull out when I'm over. Extra material to pitch.

This being the case, if a company wants to read the script, and they also like it enough to agree to a meeting - what can I expect to happen? If they're agreeing to a meeting they must be serious.

Also, should I bring just the one script or two? If I work like crazy I might be able to get two ready.

Thanks for all the advice so far. You're certainly giving me a lot of work to do, but that's cool.

Jake Schuster
01-03-2007, 05:04 PM
Well, there are meetings and then there are meetings. The most common are meets-and-greets, which is a chat between the writer and an executive so he or she can see what you're like, how you present your ideas and what you may have in the pipeline. Sometimes you'll be given the opportunity to look at material as a possible assignment. And sometimes you'll be given a handshake and a smile.

I think your expectations are a bit high, though, at least for right now. I admire your determination and your willingness to travel out to L.A., but I agree that a script in hand would be good, and representation in one form or another would be a lot better. Also remember that many producers won't look at a script--even one they're eager to see--that isn't submitted by a representative or an attorney. Just some things to keep in mind as you look ahead.

And good luck!

insano
01-03-2007, 06:03 PM
You come here smelling like a amateur from over the pond with no quality scripts you are going to literally cause more damage then you can possible imagine.

First time run throughs are the lifeline of this business when nobody has time for their own clients let alone the billions of newbies giving it their one shot.

This is like going to a pro baseball camp, with no glove, spikes or bat and the kicker, 'no glasses' they're back home in Kansas I'll bring them back next time.... not prudent.

The fact is, you already have nothing going for you, and you're making it MORE difficult.

But if you are coming, concentrate on liguistics, and scouting. Treatments mean nothing -- they mean less than nothing for a no name, agentless Brit.

The thing is people have to start living their life with a plan. The plan has to freaking work or nothing will happen.

That's why in this country we have a team called the A TEAM, they have a guy called hannibal, and he says..' I love it when a plan comes together', cause when you got a good plan, **** happens.

Bad plan, and stuff happens a lot less.

You have a good plan, but a bad portfolio for that plan.

Very long post for a simple theme, don't you think?

BOING

But give it a go --

Geoff Alexander
01-03-2007, 07:45 PM
[QUOTE=Liveveryday;325035]Hello Everyone,

I've just spent several hours reading dozens of articles. There's so much great advice here - and I need some too!

In brief, I'm a UK based writer coming out to LA for three weeks in March.

I'm bringing four treatments at various stages of development.

My plan, thus far, is to call producers/companies in advance (after a lot of web research), find interest, send the treatment over if they request it, then meet up to pitch in person and secure a deal/interest?

But what can I seriously expect?<<

You can expect that pretty much anyone you call (at least anyone who is reputable), if they like the idea you're pitching with your treatment will say, "huh, sounds cool, I'll read it". And then when you say that you don't have a script, they'll tell you that they don't buy pitches or treatments, but to let them know when you have a script. And when you say you'll be coming out and you'd like to meet, if they're extremely averse to conflict they might agree to meet w/ you, and when you meet you'll talk about your ideas...which you will have already done on the phone.

So why spend a couple grand and days of your life achieving something in person you could achieve over the phone?



>>As a new writer (I have one script under option in the UK) I'm not expecting immediate cash, but could I expect some form of agreement or contract from a producer/company - maybe a committment to see a script or even sign an option on the treatment?

Also to maximise my time in LA, I'll be following up with a few days in Cannes as I know most of LA descends on the resort.

I feel this is a decent strategy so far, but there's so much I don't know.<<

At this point, you're wasting your time. What you need to do is develop a fan base, and the only way you can do that is by writing a great script (or a couple)--which you can do in the comfort of your own home. Then, once you've written great material, have a bunch of fans, maybe get representation and have material go out reasonably wide, then, it *might* be worth your while to come out for a round of meetings.

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 12:09 AM
Thanks again for the feedback. My reason for coming to this forum is to develop my plan and strategy. I've put off coming to LA for a long time, always wanting the script to be perfect, but this is an endless game - so I've simply booked my tickets and I'm coming over.

You've mentioned that many companies/producers won't see an agentless Brit - so should an agent be my top priority?

Should I be targeting agents first of all? Then once I have an agent go after companies/producers?

I'm under no illusions how hard it might be, and for me, whatever happens will be a bonus, but I do want to make as much happen as possible.

Any more suggestions would be great. You're already transforming my whole approach. Great.

Buzz2074
01-04-2007, 12:58 AM
Okay- time for honesty.

I've been out here 10 years now in LA. Worked on 3 studio lots, watched a half dozen movies get made up close, and read scripts for 8 producers here and there. I've paid my dues, and have had far less success than I would have liked, but more than many. I've seen a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. Observed the mindset of agents. I've wached producers throw out scripts and query letters and faxes with the speed and ruthlessness you'd expect from a person sorting junk mail.

Livevery:

Your post strikes me as addle-headed delusional nonsense on par with the scene in Midnight Cowboy where Joe Buck throws a bunch of postcards or whatever out the window. "Oh boy, ladies! Looka up here, there's a handsome man for rent!" Like ANYONE is gonna care that he's there.

Los Angeles needs you like it needs another pothole. And when you, Mr Pothole are here, along with the other 82,000 potholes that were here before you, the people who run over you will curse and move on, and will have forgotten you by the time they hit the next pothole, which is always very very soon.

But if you can't return the ticket, at least you can see the Capitol Records building and get a Pink's hot dog. But seriously. You're wasting your time in LA at this point.

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 01:27 AM
I can't believe coming is a complete waste of time. I am under no delusions about the game I'm coming into. I will be another number, to start out with - but I have to start somewhere.

I know this is hard and tough. I've been working on my craft for many years, and I know I've got a long way still to go - but I'm going there.

I'm not returning my ticket and intend to do whatever I can while I'm out in LA. So, that understood - is my best approach to go after agents first?

Personally, I want to meet as many people from every walk. Meet and greet yes. I want to plant the seeds of future relationships. This whole business, and every business, is built on people.

So, who are the people I should target first of all?

Pull Back Reveal
01-04-2007, 01:53 AM
Who should you meet? Every cab driver, valet parker, waiter, busboy, personal trainer, landscape consultant and many already in the film business -- readers, assistants, actors, technicians -- you'll want to meet and compare your handful of treatments "in various stages of development." Everyone's got a drawerful of those, they're a dime a dozen. No one reputable will listen to a pitch from an unrepped, unsold, unproduced writer. Until you have a marketable script (with more in the drawer), you don't have anything that hundreds of thousands of aspiring scribes already have in abundance.

So enjoy the sunshine (or the rain), take a studio tour, see some movies that aren't yet in wide release and hang out at Whole Foods for some stargazing. It could be great inspiration to write some scripts, but it doesn't have anything to do with starting a career.

You've really been spending "many years" working on this and don't have scripts? That's what you need to work on. That's ALL anyone cares about.

Happy new year.

BROUGHCUT
01-04-2007, 02:17 AM
KidCharlmagne's posts on hitting LA (and Cannes).

Post you logline here for feedback so you can polish what you've got.

What no-one in this thread will admit to is that you're English and played right this heritage can trump a lot of their LaLaLand internships and ten years on the lot and what not--if you have the goods.


This whole business, and every business, is built on people.

it's built on material.

I never thought I would do this... but here goes...

http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?p=256239&highlight=agents#post256239

Pull Back Reveal
01-04-2007, 02:24 AM
What no-one in this thread will admit to is that you're English and played right this heritage can trump a lot of their LaLaLand internships and ten years on the lot and what not

So showing up unannounced with an accent gets you in to pitches? Hello, what's this? Bloody hell! I'll wager bangers to mashers, that's not cricket. Pip pip, cheerio and all that rot.

csparks
01-04-2007, 02:31 AM
First of all, I agree that your attitude and enthusiasm are priceless-- so congrats on that, and keep it up. :)

My first trip to Los Angeles was for four weeks, and a year later I made the move. That trip was invaluable because I was able to get a real feel for the city, the area, the neighborhoods, etc.

If I were you, I would use January to get a first draft script done from one of my treatments.... I would then call or email the logline in February (whilst polishing the first draft). If I got any bites, I would email/send the script with a message about my upcoming visit.

If you are not renting a car, then I would get a really large map of L.A., circle the areas of interest (Paramount, Universal, Disney, etc.), and start planning my bus routes and itinerary now... keep in mind L.A. is quite large, and the commuting is infamous...

I would make sure to go to some tv tapings (google "audiences unlimited") and some studio tours (because they are fun, and educational... and you want to be part of the business...).

Someone once suggested Writer's Boot Camp to me (disclaimer-- I have NEVER tried it, and it may have been a sale-pitch for all I know), but I know they do "immersion" courses for 6 day screenwriting sessions, which, I was told, is a great way to network (again, I don't know this from personal experiece).

I would suggest that you visit The Strip, 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and cafes in Los Feliz (for star-gazing, and fun California sun... which there should be lots of in March)....

This won't be your last trip to L.A... just your first... so just enjoy it as a chance to get to put a face to a name, a chance to see the place you will be emailing, writing and calling in the future. Make sure to drive by (bus-by) CAA, ICM, etc., to see what these places look like and to get a clearer picture of what "the biz" is all about.

But most of all, don't be discouraged if you don't sell anything, etc., just be proud of yourself for making the trip, and have fun! :)

BROUGHCUT
01-04-2007, 03:06 AM
So showing up unannounced with an accent gets you in to pitches?

I never even came close to suggesting that, but all things being equal you probably stand a better chance than the unannounced yank with no script.


I'll wager bangers to mashers

:confused: PASS!

Pull Back Reveal
01-04-2007, 03:27 AM
I never even came close to suggesting that, but all things being equal you probably stand a better chance than the unannounced yank with no script.

Blimey!

GreatOz
01-04-2007, 05:59 AM
I agree with the poster that said take a hit on your ticket and reschedule. You need an education -- come out for the Screenwriter's Expo in the fall. You can meet people, pitch, take great classes by industry professionals and really get a sense of what's needed to open the door for you.

And get some COMPLETED scripts.

Priya
01-04-2007, 06:02 AM
Someone once suggested Writer's Boot Camp to me (disclaimer-- I have NEVER tried it, and it may have been a sale-pitch for all I know), but I know they do "immersion" courses for 6 day screenwriting sessions, which, I was told, is a great way to network (again, I don't know this from personal experiece).

This is great advice. Actually all of it was, but this is the best. I've never done Writers' Boot Camp, but I have taken classes at UCLA Extension, and I think that would be a great thing for you to do while here for three months.

Now to the rest of your posts:

You say that you've been working on your craft for a long time. Honing it, etc. That means to me that you have a bunch of completed scripts already, or at least two, right? With those, you can starting querying agents (which is the answer to your question). If you don't have a couple of completed scripts, use this trip as sparks advised: as a scouting tour for your next trip. A first pass script will get you nowhere.

Now, I came out to LA with no scripts, no concept of how to write a good script, no nothing. I just knew that I wanted to be a writer and that LA was the only place I could do that. BUT! My husband graciously supports me in my endeavors -- meaning, I don't have a "day job" so I can spend my days writing. And the poor guy's stuck working and paying the bills till I can. Not many people are this fortunate. If I didn't have this, I'd have stayed where I was and written a bunch of specs before I came out. Which is what people are advising you to do.

But, you're gung ho about coming out, and you don't want to hear anything anyone says about that (even though I believe it's a mistake to try to find an agent, get producers to read a first draft, etc when you don't seem to be ready for that).

The best I can say is: good luck!

Pull Back Reveal
01-04-2007, 06:16 AM
BUT! My husband graciously supports me in my endeavors -- meaning, I don't have a "day job" so I can spend my days writing. And the poor guy's stuck working and paying the bills till I can. Not many people are this fortunate.

Boobsie, I'm patiently awaiting word on that au pair position ...

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 06:31 AM
Quote:

If I were you, I would use January to get a first draft script done from one of my treatments.... I would then call or email the logline in February (whilst polishing the first draft). If I got any bites, I would email/send the script with a message about my upcoming visit.

Sorry to sound ignorant, but what's logline's web address? I can't find it. Is it something on this site?

To follow on - I do intend to get a script out this month.

I've also heard that being a tea drinking cricket player can help in LA, but that's not something I would seriously trade on. It's the script.

I've spent many years writing, and have never wanted to come to LA until my script was perfect. This is never going to happen. There'll always be improvements needed. So, although I have a short amount of time now, I'm make my work as perfect as possible. I am aware that first impressions count and don't want to deliver rubbish, but I can only do my best.

I also get teh idea that agents are very good, as are producers. I think I'll tackle both with my cricket balls.

Are there any good networking events for producers, writers, directors, actors you'd recommend? Anywhere where I can meet people informally.

I could do a course or event while I'm in LA too. I know there isn't a pitch fest in March. Anything else?

Off to play with wizards now...

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 06:45 AM
I have been writing for many years, however, I spent two years on one project that didn't happen, then two on another which is still under option. So I have no pile of scripts.

The reason for my original treatment approach was so that I didn't have all my eggs n one basket, which has been the case in the past. I'd redraft and redraft one script with a producer.

I want more scripts, but can't blast them all out. The treatments would be to test market ideas. See which ones get the most interest and then write those. Maybe that could still work in some capacity. When I'm in LA I could runs these other treatment ideas by people, judging their responses, while only pitching/arranging meetings for the script.

I was going to come to LA in Sept last year, but put this back. I've booked my March tickets and I'm coming. I understand that this may not be the best business move, but I feel coming out will be good. If there's no expectation then everything is a postive. I guess coming over is something I feel I need to do, psychologically. Get it out of my system. Once I've got my baring, then I can come a second time better prepared and with a real feel for the place. Having visited will also connect me better to LA when I do all those long distance calls. I'll feel the town, which is really important.

As regards boot camps, I've done several boot camp 6-7 day script development courses here in Europe, so I think I'd be looking more at networking in LA. But everything I do will be an education.

I will endeavour to make the best script of my lead project and see what interest I can get.

Plus, there's Cannes in May, so I can follow on there too.

I have to thank everyone for their comments so far. Already I feel so much more aware of the business and practicalities of the industry.

Thank you.

Jake Schuster
01-04-2007, 07:17 AM
The funny thing is that I did the exact opposite--when I couldn't establish a career here in the States, I moved to London, found an agent for my scripts in under a month and another to handle my novels. Five years later I moved back to the States to commence my career there. It was all a series of calculated moves

But back then there was a real opportunity to write scripts for TV at a time when it was a writer's market and everyone was beholden to the Dennis Potters, David Hares and Tom Stoppards who wrote regularly for the medium. There was opportunity for new writers, and the venues to accomodate them ("Play for Today", "Play of the Week", et al.).

Were I in your shoes I would sit tight, write three or four solid scripts and then start querying via email or phone. If there's interest, if people like your work, the meetings will follow.

magicman35
01-04-2007, 07:19 AM
As long as your expectations are realistic, which they seem to be, I don't think there's any harm at all in heading out to LA to get a feel for the place. If you can get some meetings all the better, as long as you don't think it will lead to anything beyond, well, a meeting.

The one piece of advice I would give you though is that you have to up your work rate if you want to make a go of this. Writer's write and I would guess the median number of original scripts that film or television writers pen before they make their first sale/significant option/land their first assignment is considerably more than two.

I'd also give serious consideration to Priya's suggestion about taking some classes at UCLA while you're here. Beside the educational value it would be a great opportunity to meet people and further develop your understanding of the business.

Finally, you also might want to consider approaching agents in London.

Best of luck.

santino2699
01-04-2007, 07:45 AM
Am I the only one not taking this poster seriously?

c'mon.

It's a new user, folks.

It's a joke.

They asked for "logline's web address".

It's probably vig having some fun in between drafts of his latest three gambling scripts.

S

kidcharlemagne
01-04-2007, 08:06 AM
Hi Live,

I've done what you're describing a few times but normally I've packed in about 20 meetings in a week so it was pretty intense.

I echo the sentiments expressed here. Flying in with treatments is not the best plan.

The ideal plan is this:

1) Write a script that has been filtered through tried and trusted sources who have told you that a) it is commercial and that b) it is market ready.
2) Find a US agent/manager that loves script and wants to rep you.
3) Agent/manager goes out and sells script or Agent/manager doesn't sell script but prod. co.'s like your writing and he sets up meetings for you to pitch new ideas THEN you fly out to LA.

Okay, this clearly ain't going to happen since you've already booked your flight.

Since you don't have a script ready now then the chances of you rushing to write a great script out before you leave for LA are I'm guessing, pretty slim. Scripts take time to mature and require several drafts before they are ready for the market and sending out an early draft of a script in a rush as your first impression is a VERY BAD idea. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

So what's left? Your flight is booked and your hell bent on going so I would try and set up pitch meetings with the production companies. I'm assuming you've got a bunch of great high-concept ideas. Ideas that you've already pitched to other people who have said, "Yeah, these are great movie ideas."

As the other guys have said, don't expect to sell a pitch, those days are over, don't expect to sell a treatment, ditto, but if you're smart and professional on the presentation side and are very good on the phone and you have great, high-concept ideas you could try and set up pitch meetings. And yes, as Brough says, the flying in from the UK thing can work in your favour.

If it's animation then if they really like the idea they will read the treatment BUT if it's live-action the most you can hope for is, as Hasil said, a "I'd love to read the script when it's done". That way you leave LA with a bunch of industry contacts that you can send your polished, well written script to when you are done. If you can't get an agent get a lawyer to do this. If you get that far you've done very well.

At this point in time there is no point you wasting energy on trying to get your treatments to agents and managers. Sure, if you can get a meeting with a manager and pitch him your ideas then fine but you'll need to deliver a well written script for him or her to take you on.

As for Cannes, no, most of LA isn't in Cannes. Cannes isn't full of dev. execs from major US prod. co's it's full of US sales agents and the sales arms of major studios who are looking for finished films or at least packaged projects to buy or sell. That's not to say that you might not bump into some development execs or Harvey Weinstein!, you can, but don't get the idea that most H'Wood dev. execs fly to Cannes - they don't.

Good luck, you'll need it!

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 08:44 AM
I get what you're saying. Yes, scripts do take time to mature. All my ideas are live action and are high-concept sci-fi/action/horror and commerical.

So let's say I don't have a script ready, and don't use treatments. Then, as you said, all I can do is pitch and meet.

However, what would be the strategy with setting up pitch meetings? I'd check out the companies I feel are right, find the devel exec and try to set up a meeting. In theory I can pitch down the 'phone, but seen as I'm coming over I can pitch in person.

But what am I asking for? I need to be very clear why I want to pitch in person. I'm not pitching to sell the pitch. So I'm pitching to open the door for them to read the script. I show my face, so I'm a little more than an email and 'phone number, and ask if this is something they'd like to read when it's ready?

I guess with agents I could do the same, and show them what other ideas I have that I'm developing.

However, if I feel my script is ready to show - then I'll use that. I have already been working on the idea for some time and have gone through several treatments, so the core is already well worked out. It's just the full-bodied script that needs doing.

If the people I meet in LA happen to be in Cannes, I could then meet them over there - otherwise, I send the script when it's ready and only return to LA once I have serious interest.

I've just booked myself on a 2-day pitching course at UCLA to give me a helping hand.

Thanks all.

Bellabell
01-04-2007, 09:29 AM
I'm not pitching to sell the pitch. So I'm pitching to open the door for them to read the script. I show my face, so I'm a little more than an email and 'phone number, and ask if this is something they'd like to read when it's ready?




Why would you waste their time like that? They will remember you, but not how you're expecting.

kidcharlemagne
01-04-2007, 09:49 AM
Why would you waste their time like that? They will remember you, but not how you're expecting.

How can you say that this is a waste of time? If you can get in the door and form a relationship with these people and they like the ideas and are willing to read your script via a lawyer then sure it might all come to nothing but you can't say this a waste of time without trying first. Let's face it most meetings set up by agents and managers with dev. execs. even where they like the writer's work come to nothing but you can't discount such meetings from the outset.

What I would add however is that you should at least have a cracking writing sample, even if it's a low-concept script so that way they at least get a feel for your writing. I pitched the DOD at Disney and they asked me for my rom-com as a writing sample. The sample doesn't neccessarily have to be in the same genre you are pitching.

If you don't have a great writing sample or don't feel that you are able to follow up on the pitch and write a good script then yes, it may well be a waste of time.

kidcharlemagne
01-04-2007, 10:02 AM
But what am I asking for? I need to be very clear why I want to pitch in person

You're asking for a meeting. 15 minutes max. It's bold I know but that's what you want.

My feeling is that this might not be so easy though. Do you have any industry interest? Anything going on in the UK that would induce a dev. exec. to meet with you. You need to be giving the impression that you have various projects set up outside the US and now you're flying out to LA to introduce yourself and discuss new projects.

By the sounds of it you don't seem to have that much set up so I think you'll have to be very creative to get through the doors.

You know the reality is that I've met screenwriters who've lived in LA for years who can't get their scripts read never mind get meetings so just being in LA won't be enough. Either you need to have grabbed their interest beforehand or you need a smart, creative way to present yourself.

Bellabell
01-04-2007, 10:49 AM
How can you say that this is a waste of time?

However, if I feel my script is ready to show - then I'll use that. I have already been working on the idea for some time and have gone through several treatments, so the core is already well worked out. It's just the full-bodied script that needs doing.

If you were a busy exec and some unrepresented writer comes in with a treatment and not even a script to show, wouldn't you feel like it's a waste of YOUR time? The general consensus is to finish the script.

Jcorona
01-04-2007, 11:20 AM
I was also thinkin' you might not be real as Santino suggested. But if you are, then here's my thoughts for what they're worth.

I'm with Bella and with you, but moresoe with Bella at this point. Here's why.

I'm with Bella 'cause I always try to look at things from the other person's POV and then proceed with a plan. That's just me. I might miss a few golden opportunities by out-thinking myself, but if it stops me from leaving some bad impressions then I'll take the fewer golden opportunities and not leave the bad impressions. I don't want anyone remembering me and associating negativity with my name. Sure, some people will appreciate you going down, but I'm sure some won't. That wouldn't be worth it to me.

Now I'm with you 'cause you say you'd show your face. Hell yeah! Make sure it's like this :D and not like this :mad: or this :dunce: or this :love:. I believe that once they see you and you leave your card or if you get lucky, you leave your script, then they'll remember you and hopefully you will have separated yourself from the others. But you better have the goods . . . twice. First, when they ask you for the script, you better have the script, and secondly, when they read the script, it better be good, like in you know what you're doing. It's all about the material in the end anyway.

I'm a few hours drive from LA but I haven't gone 'cause I've been getting ready for the last few years by writing multiple scripts. I'll soon be querying, send my stuff and hopefully get some meetings. Then when I go, they'll be glad to see me coming . . . I hope.

But whatever you do, good luck.

Corona :)

Priya
01-04-2007, 11:41 AM
I'm really confused. How would this person get a meeting with anyone *as a writer* without, you know, any actual scripts?

That's kind of like, uh, well, I don't know...

Someone mentioned being creative. I think this person is going to have to be veryveryveryvery creative, and I think they won't end up getting veryveryveryvery far, no matter how creative they are.

Because, uh, they don't have scripts.

I think we can agree that a screenwriter without scripts is like a something without the something that absolutely defines that person's profession! Heh.

Also, I wanted to mention that I'm in one hundred percent agreement with magicman's agreement with me.

Finally, I really hope this person's just yanking our chains. I reallyreallyreally do.

santino2699
01-04-2007, 12:18 PM
I think we can agree that a screenwriter without scripts is like a something without the something that absolutely defines that person's profession!

well said.
;)
I still stay this is a joke.

And Kid...you know I respect you and I'm aware of all the meetings you've procured in your visits to LA, but I'm in agreement that this guy walking in with a pile of treatments and no scripts is a waste of time.

How many people do you know get meetings without FIRST getting a quality script into a manager/agent/producer?

You said it yourself, think about it from the other side of the phone. And my guess is they'd be thinking..."Oh geez, another cuckoo that thinks he's the next Paul Haggis wants to meet with me."

It's a bad plan from pretty much every angle.

But it doesn't matter, cuz it's a hoax.

Again..."What is logline's e-mail address, I couldn't find it."

PULEEEZ, what optioned writer has never heard of a logline?

S

Pull Back Reveal
01-04-2007, 12:41 PM
Poster said he has two scripts developed over several years -- one that bogged down with a producer, another that's "under option" in U.K. Sounds like he does have what we're all saying he needs -- matured writing samples with some pedigree. Does he have a U.K. agent as part of those deals? Could refer to some LA agents, etc. They'll want something finished they can sell before taking him on, but far as putting faces with names and getting invitations to submit, that's more likely if he can pitch his concepts/treatments and show them his developed scripts (proof he's not just a blowhard).

As far as milking the Britishisms for charm value, be sure to drive rental car on wrong side of road (or even freeway) -- could land on evening news. There's no substitute for buzz.

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 12:47 PM
Okay. First of all, I am real. (Why would I seriously waste my time and yours doing this?)

The logline question (I did actually say - this might sound stupid) was a misunderstanding on my part. Yes, I know what a log line is. I simply thought the line was refering to a particular website. There are the odd bits of US terminology that go by me, for now...

Maybe I've been a little naive in booking my flights already.

No, my script isn't ready now.

Many of you probably think I sound like a fool who doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

This is my first real foray into the US/LA market. My reason for this is that I am tired of UK producers who mess me around. I'm sure they exist everywhere, but at least in the US there's a real industry. Also, I know I can write - despite my present lack of scripts. I've had plenty of feedback and done plently of course and read plenty of books. Though that in itself means nothing.

I came to this site for answers. And I've got many. I apreciate every one. Thank you.

It's obvious that I need a script.

I've booked my flights. There's no going back.

I don't want to make a bad impression either with an unready script.

So...

I can only write as hard and quickly as I can.

I can only try to find an agent and producers who might be interested before I come over using this script. I have to. It seems coming over without a script and just to pitch is a real waste as I can do that over the 'phone.

It only makes sense to have meetings with people who I've already pitched to over the 'phone - and may or may not have read the script before I arrive.

Again, I'm aware of the difficulties in doing this... but we all have to start somewhere and this may not be ideal scenario - but when do we ever really have one?

As I've said before. I've spent a long time working on script, redrafting and redrafting, waiting for them to be perfect and ready to send to LA agents etc. However, a month or so passes, I read it again and it's not good enough. We all go through this. So I've drawn a line. I've set and deadline and booked flights. I'll take whatever I've got - though I'll do my damn best to make it the best I can.

Considering I'm arriving on 10th March, when should I start contacting agents and sending out scripts? I know many of you might say now - but when's the latest I might start? Early Feb? That's six weeks before I arrive.

I really do appreciate everyone's responses. This has been a real education.

And I am real! Bloody hell!

magicman35
01-04-2007, 12:48 PM
I'm really confused. How would this person get a meeting with anyone *as a writer* without, you know, any actual scripts?

That's kind of like, uh, well, I don't know...

Someone mentioned being creative. I think this person is going to have to be veryveryveryvery creative, and I think they won't end up getting veryveryveryvery far, no matter how creative they are.

Because, uh, they don't have scripts.

I think we can agree that a screenwriter without scripts is like a something without the something that absolutely defines that person's profession! Heh.

Also, I wanted to mention that I'm in one hundred percent agreement with magicman's agreement with me.

Finally, I really hope this person's just yanking our chains. I reallyreallyreally do.

I concur with your agreement stemming from my agreement.

Pull Back Reveal
01-04-2007, 01:04 PM
Crikey!

Should query or do phone pitches as close to your arrival as possible. If someone's interested, they won't want to hear "I'll be there in 8 weeks, do you have your calendar handy?" Also may be more likely to respond quicker if you're arriving from England in a week or two. If your query or phone message doesn't sit in a slush pile for months. Use your British contacts to get referrals. If you've been working with producers and development execs in U.K., they should be happy to provide a few. Put together your best versions of the two scripts you've had in development and have them ready as writer's samples. And finish one script from your treatments. Two months isn't a tight deadline for that.

Steady on, old chap.

Priya
01-04-2007, 01:49 PM
I can get stuck in, and in the next month or so have a first pass draft.



This is the part you're missing, pullback. He doesn't have a script ready. And, two months is not enough time to get a *good* portfolio in order.

Liveveryday,

You're not tied to that date of coming out. You can pay a little bit of money and get your flights changed to later in the year. You should be able to cancel whatever hotel/housing you've booked with this much notice.

I recommend cancelling this trip, writingwritingwriting, and coming out in October or so. Failing that, I just don't think you're going to have the kind of trip you're dreaming of having. I just don't foresee people of any stature meeting with you at this juncture (agents nor producers).

I really don't mean to rain on your parade, as you're very excited, as well you should be. I just think that you're sort of leaping without looking, and it's not going to end well. No matter how much you're saying that you're not expecting anything, you're clearly (at least) expecting to get a few meetings. And, well, I don't think that will happen.

As a wise person once said: it's a marathon, not a sprint. Spend a little extra cash, get those flights changed and get a-writing.

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 02:07 PM
I'm coming if only to get it out of my system. That may be expensive, yes, but I'm coming - and I hear everything everyone has said. Thank you.

As with life, I'm just going to make the most of what I've got and run with it, or keep on with the marathon, because I have been on this marathon for many years already - and probably many to come. But that's fine. That's life.

All I'm really asking you all is help with strategy and approach. And you've all told me a lot.

I'm exposing myself here to look stupid and ignorant and foolish (to the extent some people think I'm not real) but that's fine. I'd rather look an idiot here than in a meeting.

If I'm fully aware of what I've got - aware of my limitations - then I am in a better position than pure ignorance.

So, as before, with the time I've got I'll do all I can. If I've got two months rather than one to work on my script that's even better.

How late before my arrival can I send my script an expect people to have a chance to read it? 1 - 2 - 3 weeks?

santino2699
01-04-2007, 02:30 PM
Okay, look.

I'll back down on the "you're not real" stuff and take you at your word, here.

There's one thing you're totally overlooking...you can't just send your script out before you come. The town is NOT waiting for your arrival.

You must do the following:

1) Write an awesome script. Not a half-decent script. Not a decent script. But a script that is better than at least 50-75% of everything they read. Because these are the only scripts that they'll want to meet the author of.

2) Then, you have to come up with a killer logline/short synopsis of said awesome script.

3) Then, you need to solicit managers and agents for reads. You can't just send out scripts blindly. And guess what - this part is almost as hard as the other two parts. Because they're inundated with other hopefuls like you.

4) Then, you must receive the okay from a small (and I mean small) percentage of your queries or phone calls to send the script.

5) You send it off, while polishing up your other treatments and turning them into very short 2 minute pitches that you can colorfully whip through in a meeting.

6) Then you must get the e-mail or phone call that says..."Hey, your work is fab. Wanna come in for a meeting?"

This is how you get a meeting.

Of course, you may be able to circumvent number six by telling them that you've already booked the flight and would like a chance to meet with them while you're in town. But to be honest, if they haven't read the work - I don't think that will go over well.

Look, I do wish you luck. For all I know you're a much better writer than I am and you're just a little overzealous.

But if I were you, I'd be planning to just do some site seeing while you're there, and anything else that happens is icing on the cake.

Best,
Santino

hscope
01-04-2007, 02:47 PM
It's Hollywood, Liveveryday, the Land of Dreams.

Whatever you don't have, you can fake.

Good luck.

Liveveryday
01-04-2007, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the break-down.

This is the kind of info I need - and which I'm starting to realise.

Hasil Adkins
01-04-2007, 03:16 PM
Shouldn't you be writing?

BROUGHCUT
01-04-2007, 04:45 PM
I've booked my flights. There's no going back.

okay. My 2 pence:

forget about formally pitching your project if you don't have an urushed script completed.

Call around the prodcos, smaller agencies and management firms you would like to pitch (and if it comes to it, those you wouldn't) and try to find some sort of work placement. This will be difficult but easier than setting up a pitch with an exec, and in the long run probably more beneficial. This is where being from the UK should elp.

It's technically speaking illegal to "intern" in any capacity without a visa (and at such short notice you can prob forget about the established internship progs at studios), so you would have to keep quiet about it and do it on a tourist visa.

EJ Pennypacker
01-04-2007, 07:41 PM
I would go with paying the 50 quid and changing your flight times to another time. Cancel hotels (costs nothing).

It sounds like you're putting the cart before the horse. And accidents happen that way.

You need a good dose of passion, persistance, and patience with your writing career.

Sounds like you're missing on the last one :(

EJ

Priya
01-05-2007, 04:08 AM
I'm exposing myself here to look stupid and ignorant and foolish...

These are your words. My word would be naive.



How late before my arrival can I send my script an expect people to have a chance to read it? 1 - 2 - 3 weeks?

You can expect up to three months before recieving a response (even with monthly calling to "check in"). Agents/producers have offices filled to the gills with scripts. Yours will be at the bottom of the pile.

I think you're jumping the gun in coming out. I don't think you're being realistic in your expectations. You can tell me (us), till you're blue in the face, that you have zero expectations. That anything that happens is gravy. But, you keep talking about meetings. And, trying to set up meetings. And, networking. And... if you're going to expect nothing: expect to not have any meetings. Expect to network with a lot of out-of-work actors/screenwriters (ones with actual scripts)/directors. If you happen to get a chance to network with some bigwigs, I predict the encounter will go something like:

BIGWIG: What have you written?

YOU: Blah blah blah, this great journey, outer-space, sea-monkeys save the world...

BIGWIG: Wow, sounds great -- I love the concept, so fresh, so original! Sounds like something we've already got in development -- but, with jellyfish. What else have you got?

Awkward pause.

Maybe it will not go like that. Maybe he'll be so enamored with your idea, and your treatments, that he'll be all:

BIGWIG: Susan! This is THE kid! This is who we need to infuse some life into our draining market! AND he has a first draft!!!

Then he'll turn to you.

BIGWIG: Normally, I'd tell you to call my office, and then I'd blow you off till you got the hint. But, I see something in you, kid. Something that reminds me a little of me. And I like me. A lot. So, instead of giving you my office number, I'm going to give you my home phone, and my cell, and my private line at the office. Actually, I'm so worried that you'll slip through my hands and end up at frickin' Disney... you're coming home with me. You'll sleep in the guest house, where my man-boy will wait on you hand and foot while you write your opus! You don't have a computer? Oh, we'll buy you one. You don't have a car? Do you like Porsches -- I have a whole fleet of 'em that I'm not using!

Then he'll check out your a$$.

Yes. Things could end up going swimmingly. Or, they could end in tears. And, because I'm not really in the business of crushing one's dreams, I'd just like to reiterate that changing your plans at this point would not be failure. It would be you being smart. It would be you writing your scripts (all four treatments), it would be you querying agents and producers. It would be you making informed decisions.

You say you're in a marathon (I guess in response to my marathon comment), but you're not. You're in a sprint. You need to step back and really take in the advice everyone is giving you. No one's saying NEVER COME TO LA. Everyone's saying, give yourself a little more time to maximize the three months.

Why set yourself up for a trip that will most likely end in regret?

Oh, and I agree with magicman's agreement with my agreement with him in his agreement with me.

Liveveryday
01-05-2007, 05:11 AM
Okay. It's three weeks, not three months.

Everyone's saying that I don't have the time and goods to get meetings. Wait... Okay.

As I said. I'm not cancelling. I'll just do what I can... and if thinks are going slowly, then I'll take a trip to Vegas, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon...

Changing flights is expensive, and coming over will be more expensive too.

Now that I've established the mood, my lack or preparation etc - all I need to know now is what CAN I do in the time I have.

No more requests to cancel. I just want to know what I could do.

Several people have suggested pitching to small agents/managers etc, which sounds good.

I can always try as many networking events as possible.

Even if I come away with 100 business cards, if I get one genuine person interested, that's something I didn't have before.

There's a lot of conflicting info I've been getting too.

One person suggested contacting agents/companies etc as late as possible, "I'm flying in from the UK next week etc... can we meet?"

While others are saying it takes at least 3 months to get the script read.

These both can't be true?

Liveveryday
01-05-2007, 05:14 AM
In quick response to the last person again questioning my honesty...

Please.

I have better things to do.

I've been writing for many years, though not necessarily in the business as such.

That's why I'm asking for help and advice here.

Thanks.

TidalWave
01-05-2007, 05:40 AM
So here it goes... just an idea.... no flaming please....

Go on Social networking sites such as MySpace and have people to meet once you get to L.A. If nothing else works out, you might at least get some nookie... and no, that's not a web site. :rolling:

yeehi
01-05-2007, 08:12 AM
I predict the encounter will go something like:

BIGWIG: What have you written?...


:)

yeehi
01-05-2007, 08:16 AM
Liveveryday, do you know what a throughline is, or how to identify the start of the second act, or any other industry-speak?

Becoming fluent with the lingo would be a good step as part of your preparation for the trip.

EJ Pennypacker
01-05-2007, 09:05 AM
Changing flights is expensive, and coming over will be more expensive too.

How is 50 quid expensive? It's nothing compared to the 300 you've probably already paid.

That said I wish you luck with this venture. Do keep us posted on the results. :)

EJ

le kilt
01-05-2007, 09:34 AM
I have been writing for many years, however, I spent two years on one project that didn't happen, then two on another which is still under option.

you may be able to get some meetings if you already have any industry contacts who can give you a *referral*, ie refer you to an agent/manager/producer/development exec. your industry contact would need to personally know those concerned, or at least be known as a legitimate player. and ideally they would need to directly contact them on your behalf too. and, it goes without saying, they would need to have read something of yours that impressed them.

who optioned your uk script?

and how about the earlier project? were you dealing with anyone significant who now might help you, or was it a solo effort?

if your uk script has been optioned by a *big* uk player, that too would improve your chances even if you went the cold calling route.

is there a well known director/actor attached to your uk script?

your optioned script can still act as your main writing sample, to show people what you're capable of, until you have something ready that's considered stronger.

Priya
01-05-2007, 09:59 AM
Here's the thing, I'd assume three months, but then I'm pessimistic. A friend of mine (with some major contest placements and wins and some actual existing scripts) queried around now. He got a meeting three months later. Another friend queried around now, she had similar resume, she got three meetings within a week. There's really no way to answer your question as there's no definitive answer.

Plus, take into account the season we're in (Sundance) and the fact that the holidays just ended. You'll find LA fairly sleepy right now. Things get kicking up again around February. Which, you know, is a month away. And, well, as you've only got the two months before you come out, you're expecting people to read you (you, of the bottom-of-the-pile fame) within a month. Can this actually happen? Yes. Will it happen? Maybe. I'd venture not. Because...

You have, as you've said, no scripts. In order to get a meeting *as a screenwriter* you need to have scripts. At the very least one amazing script. Not just a first draft. Can you write an amazing script in that month? Maybe. You've said you've got four solid treatments, so it's totally possible.

But, at this particular moment, I don't think querying anyone will help you, and will, in fact hinder you. If, say, you get one chance per person, you're not going to impress them by telling them anything you've said here. Especially if they give you any sort of, well, good advice and you choose not to take it, you know, because you've bought your ticket...

So, my revised advice (since you're hell-bent on coming out -- and, I've come around to your words rather than my word):

Write your script, rewrite your script. In this month. (I'm assuming you've already started, right?). At the end of the month, look at your script and ask yourself if you think it's something that will sell or at least garner you attention. If you believe it will (and I believe that you will think that it will), then start contacting people.

Oh, and I'd start with agents.

yeehi
01-05-2007, 10:23 AM
you may be able to get some meetings if you already have any industry contacts who can give you a *referral*,

For sure, ask your contacts for a reefer.

:devil:

kidcharlemagne
01-05-2007, 11:12 AM
6 weeks beforehand is okay to send out a script. Also tell them when you are arriving in town. But it sounds like you have a first draft so this is not a good plan. You also don't have any strong writing samples. Not good.

Reality check:

Have you ever tried this? The standard response from agents is, "Referrals Only" and the standard response from a prod. co. is, "We only accept scripts through agents".

The way round this is to come with some finance, or failing that co-production possibilities, I'm assuming you have neither so do you have a UK agent who can set you up with meetings, I'm assuming that you don't have that either so do you have any projects that are currently being set up in the UK, any heat you can bring to the table? If the answer is no then you will have to convince assistants and agents, managers that your high-concept ideas are so amazing that they would be crazy not to meet you i.e. they should be of the Liar Liar variety.

Re. Pitching without a script - Sure you can do this, it's not ideal but if your ideas are really that great a dev. exec. will wait 2 months until you finish the script off. He's loaded with millions of other projects anyway so he's not exactly going to be sitting around waiting for your call. And if the idea was so great he'll remember you, especially if you made a good impression.

Your problem is that you are not even able to leave behind a cracking writing sample so they can see that you can write. Hey, they may never read it anyway but the bigger problem here is that it seems that you don't know if you can write a great script. You kind of need that confidence if you are going into a meeting pitching an idea with an unfinished script.

If you've never tried aproaching US prod. co's, agents etc then you might be in for a shock though. I have a friend who left film school, lived in LA and decided to send his script to agents. He phoned almost every agency in town and they said, "Referrals Only". He then tried almost every prod. co. and they said, "Via an agent only". He didn't get one script request.

He eventually got reads through friends of friends. He hung out in places were stars, agents, other repped writers etc hung out. He met one recently, a bartender who was also a young writer/director recently repped by William Morris who said he would read his script. That's the other way to do it but that takes time to build up those contacts.

Liveveryday
01-05-2007, 12:50 PM
As far as a writing example goes, I'd use the opening sequence (10 pages) of my optioned feature script. I wouldn't give out more as it's high concept and could easily be stolen. (Not that I'm particulalry suspicious.)

No, my UK producers isn't big. That's one of my reasons for coming out. I've got no real heat under me here.

Yes, the script I plan to work on this month is also high concept and I feel I can get a good draft out.

I know the tried and tested route of agents and pro.cos can be tough, that's why I still want to come, because, just as you've all said, if I go to the right bars etc I can meet people - relationships.

More philosophically, I had a long think today and really went through everything everyone has said. I did consider putting everything back till later in the year, but I also know that later in the year there'd be another reason for me to put it back again. I've already mentioned I was going to come last Sept.

So many times I've thought a script was ready, and it wasn't. They never really are. I've thought I was completely prepared for a trip. I never truly am. This then leads to disappointment.

If I know I am not prepared, aware of my ignorance so to speak, then I can't be disappointed - even if I don't get one meeting.

You can only love when you're prepared to lose that which you love.

I'm prepared to achieve nothing. In life we're never prepared. Yes, I hear that I could be better preapred with a script already polished etc, but there's always, always more to do.

So, I'm coming. There'll always be a second time - but that's not to say this first time won't count, because one way or another it will.

WritingIsArt
01-05-2007, 12:56 PM
one sequence isn't going to do for a writing sample. you say that you have a high-concept script... pitch it. Send out query letters etc etc

It's highly unlikely anyone will steal your idea.

santino2699
01-05-2007, 12:58 PM
As far as a writing example goes, I'd use the opening sequence (10 pages) of my optioned feature script. I wouldn't give out more as it's high concept and could easily be stolen.

classic.

somebody lock this thread already.

magicman35
01-05-2007, 12:59 PM
[quote]As far as a writing example goes, I'd use the opening sequence (10 pages) of my optioned feature script. I wouldn't give out more as it's high concept and could easily be stolen. (Not that I'm particulalry suspicious.)
[quote]

Producers and/or agents will want to read a full script. Anyway, it's under option, so what's there to worry about?

Enjoy the weather in LA.

On second thoughts why give them the chance to intuit your concept from ten pages. Give them the first page and the first page only.

insano
01-05-2007, 01:05 PM
People are clueless. It's mind boggling how a perfectly decent human being can be so naive. Hey liver, let me ask you a question, a relative one I hope.

I'm going to try out for Manchester united. I'm not going to bring one tape of how I play, no cleats, no resume of where I played before, sans my very first pair of cleats and a note from my sixth grade gym teacher stating I was quite a futbol player.

Considering the odds of becoming a paid, hired, working screenwriter is basically the same as me, a statesmen to grace wembley stadium and nutmeg beckman, even though I already know they don't play at Wembley.

For the love that is holy, if this works out, then you are the single greatest anecdote to this industry and I will applaud you.

Hail the queen, for she is a powerless women in a forgotten job.

Priya
01-05-2007, 01:05 PM
As far as a writing example goes, I'd use the opening sequence (10 pages) of my optioned feature script. I wouldn't give out more as it's high concept and could easily be stolen. (Not that I'm particulalry suspicious.)

I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the people this guy's going to be querying.

Priya
01-05-2007, 01:08 PM
On second thoughts why give them the chance to intuit your concept from ten pages. Give them the first page and the first page only.

Give 'em a page with only "FADE IN" written on it. No way anyone's going to steal that!!!

magicman35
01-05-2007, 01:12 PM
Give 'em a page with only "FADE IN" written on it. No way anyone's going to steal that!!!

Ignore Priya, she's clearly being sarcastic.

insano
01-05-2007, 01:13 PM
Fade in:

looks to much like other scripts, it's not original enough to get a query read.

yeehi
01-05-2007, 01:19 PM
Give 'em a page with only "FADE IN" written on it. No way anyone's going to steal that!!!

:rolling:

It is funny that agents toss scripts away like junk mail because they, "Don't have time to read them" yet if somebody puts forward only the first ten pages, they without blinking state that the whole script is required.

It is needless to say where the first 10 pages go.

Priya
01-05-2007, 01:21 PM
Ignore Priya, she's clearly being sarcastic.

Yes. Yes I was.

insano
01-05-2007, 01:25 PM
The entire freakin' script is required because of the very fact that the agent doesn't want TO WASTE HIS TIME, by reading a script that might not payoff as the first ten might have suggested or even worse isn't even written.

What is more alarming that people can not figure out basic deductive reasoning skills that should have been part of one's life already.

This is the reason everybody should read FREAKONOMICS. It trains you to ask questions in multiple layers, so that an answer is something that would not have normally been deducted from a simple, or pedestrian conclusion.

Some people don't even know enough to know, they don't even know.

BOING

EJ Pennypacker
01-05-2007, 01:26 PM
As far as a writing example goes, I'd use the opening sequence (10 pages) of my optioned feature script.

:o

EJ

kidcharlemagne
01-05-2007, 02:00 PM
Sounds like your best bet is to try and meet up with some Done Dealers or other writer groups based in LA. Check out the Word Player site - They also meet up regularly. Not to ambush them for referrals as such but just to meet writers who are out there in LA who can share their experiences and maybe point you in the right direction.

All I was saying is that if you get into a situation where you can pitch someone and all you have is a treatment then don't NOT pitch them just because you don't have a finished script. If they love your pitch they will accept the script a month or so down the line. It's not that this is NEVER done. There are no absolutes here.

From your threads I'm getting the feeling that you haven't mastered the art of producing market ready scripts so it seems that you are not yet at the point where you know you can deliver on the back end what you're pitching on the front end.

Good luck in any case. Come back and tell us how you got on.:)

hscope
01-05-2007, 03:03 PM
Liveveryday,

I did what you are planning to do nearly three years ago. I was in the States for a holiday and scheduled a few days in LA.

What I had was:

3 completed feature scripts (I recently reread them, much to my embarrassment)

What I did was:

A month before leaving I emailed 150 producers, managers and agents (using the 7 day HCD subscription to find addresses).

I told them I had three SPs, 1 purchase and 2 option offers (this was true, but although I was out of work, I think I had more money than the collective worth of the companies involved) and requested meetings.

I told them I was visiting and gave them a couple of meeting times to make them think I already had other meetings scheduled (no idea if this worked).

The response was:

30 replies. 20 were standard 'thanks, but no thanks' responses.

The 10 positive responses were:

9 from Managers requesting the first ten pages of a script (one requested 'a writing sample.')

1 from a prominent executive producer who happened to be alone in his office on the Sunday night I sent my query. He asked for a complete SP.

I dutifully sent off my work and eventually got 2 meetings.

One with the producer, who 'loved' the script, thought it would make a 'great movie' and 'knew' a number of 'producer pals' who were 'looking for something good like this.' He passed the script on to an Australian producer pal and promptly lost interest. The Aussie guy wouldn't give me a straight answer as to whether he had even read the script and evenutually told me his computer had been stolen. He didn't like it when I reminded him I'd personally handed him a hard copy.

The other meeting was with two producer/managers (the one who asked for a writing sample). As they didn't specify what they wanted, I sent them the first 30 pages of each of my scripts which, for some reason, impressed them. They spent an hour praising my work and telling me how wonderful I was and how talented I am and how I had a great future in the business (I really, really enjoyed this meeting!). I then spent a year developing a new project with them from a one sentence idea to a 30 page treatment before they lost interest and stopped returning my calls.

The trip was extremely valuable and although I only had two meetings, I gained an insight into the industry, met some very interesting people and learned a hell of a lot, particularly from the development exercise.

---------------------

It looks like most people here think you are crazy, Liveveryday, and maybe you are. Maybe, after these responses, you even suspect you are yourself. However, by doing something most unsold screenwriters apparently wouldn't do, you are, in my opinion, showing some balls and have good prospects for a successful trip.

Send off your queries; tell 'em you have an optioned feature and several other projects. Polish the first ten pages of a couple more scripts. These people will want to know if you have writing ability and they can see if you do from samples of your writing. If they want to see the rest of the unwritten scripts, tell 'em you just had some great new ideas and want to incorporate them into the scripts first.

If they want to see a completed script, send them the optioned one. If they want to buy it, put them in touch with the person who optioned it.

Be upbeat in the meetings :) and leave any negativity :( in the UK. This is LA; if you so much as frown, they'll think you're a manic depressive.

Wing it. Live it. Love it.:love:

nic.h
01-05-2007, 03:24 PM
Great post hscope. What an amazing though frustrating experience! But a really good sample of the way things can/do work in LA - particularly useful for an outsider looking in.

How has it changed your approach now? Is your focus local or are you still eyeing HW? I wonder about this, because it does seem in some ways the door is more open to newbies here than HW - if you have the right kind of script, or if you can get funding. (Or are both these things the same? ;) )

Liveveryday
01-05-2007, 03:25 PM
Thank you so much. Everyone seems to be retreating my like some talenless retard. This is not the case. I have been quite open in saying there's a lot about the industry I don't know - that's why I'm here to be told.

If I live life according to what I'm supposed to do, I may as well die now.

On another note, regarding training, I've read pretty much all the books, done plenty of courses - so as far as I can seen the best way for me to improve as a writer is to write scripts with producers.

Finally, how do done dealers meet up? Forgive me once again if I sound like a retard here. Are there listed meetings? How does it work. I've looked around the site but can't find anything.

insano
01-05-2007, 03:27 PM
We are all talentless retards, we don't want anyone to do anything unconventional and make us look like drooling, talented retards.

Once you hit the drooling zone there is no coming back.

santino2699
01-05-2007, 03:33 PM
How can you say anyone is treating you as talentless?

We have no idea about your talent. If you'd like us to comment on that, by all means, feel free to post those first ten pages and you'll get honest feedback, I promise.

The reason you've gotten the responses you have is because you contradict even yourself.

For Pete's sake, just look at your last post. You claim to have read almost every book on the topic, but you aren't familiar with what a logline is?

This isn't about "living life to its fullest" and it isn't about "having balls".

I'm sorry, that stuff only matters if you're bucking a trend KNOWINGLY.
You, on the other hand, booked your flight without knowing these things. That's just good ole' fashioned naivate. And there's nothing wrong with being naive, but don't expect people to not point it out.

This place is always good for one thing and that's blunt honesty. You should be grateful of the people who are here giving it to you now because it's more valuable than you know.

S

Priya
01-05-2007, 04:53 PM
If I live life according to what I'm supposed to do, I may as well die now.

You know, I kind of assumed this was the reaction you were having to the advice that you'd been given. And, I agree with you. You shouldn't live life according to what you're supposed to do. You should, however, live life with a modicum of common sense.

Also, please note I never said you were talentless. I have no idea whether you are or aren't. I do think, as I've said before, that you're leaping before you look. Maybe you should re-read those books?

Priya
01-05-2007, 04:56 PM
... so as far as I can seen the best way for me to improve as a writer is to write scripts with producers.

On this note, you're half right. The best way for you to improve as a writer is to write scripts.

TidalWave
01-05-2007, 07:05 PM
"Everyone seems to be retreating my like some talenless retard."

That's not an accurate statement, yet your own words speak for yourself.

I hope you'r ready for this: :fryingpan: Because it happens to everyone... but in your case it might just be put on full blast.

Vaya con Dios.

IndieMe
01-05-2007, 07:44 PM
I think it does sound a little naive to travel all the way to California with no completed screenplays in hand, however, your enthusiasm is impressive. I suffer from extreme optimism myself and I often do things others won't even dream of trying, but guess what? Most of the time things work out pretty good.

I agree with most of the posts in this thread, but at the same time I wish you the best of luck and if something positive happens to you in LA, rest assure that you've made an impression here and that's part of the game in Hollywood or anywhere else. :)

BROUGHCUT
01-05-2007, 08:43 PM
still waiting for the "I've landed" post.
should be interesting.


LA, right? So worse case it should be kinda bloody "nice bmw" boring.

Liveveryday
01-06-2007, 02:47 PM
Okay. Sorry about the talentless retard bit. I just got a little frustrated with some comments. However, once again, I am extremely appreciative of everyone who has contributed to this very illuminating discussion.

I am now much more positive. My usual default setting is very optimistic bordering on naivety. Maybe very naive. But if I wasn't naive then I wouldn't even be writing.

I'm already cracking away at my script, and rest assured I will be posting a "I'm in LA!" and "I'm back from LA!" post to keep everyone abrest of developments.

rockridesva
01-06-2007, 03:41 PM
Live,
How many scripts have you written? And what's the status of those right this very moment?

Also, though someone wrote it earler, I'v NEVER heard of a professional in this industry asking for, or only accepting 10 pages of a script. It's wildly unheard of, and unprofessional. And in my opinion, if you sent someone your 10 pages, you'd mark yourself as an amateur immediately.

If I've read correct, you've optioned the only script you've ever written? If that's the case, you use that as your sample. This will help. Well as much as it can. If you intend to "pitch" anything, you absolutely need to have a sample. And said sample will most likely already have been read by those you're pitching.

You MUST have a sample. That's just pure fact in this industry.

hscope
01-06-2007, 06:15 PM
Live,
Also, though someone wrote it earler, I'v NEVER heard of a professional in this industry asking for, or only accepting 10 pages of a script. It's wildly unheard of, and unprofessional. And in my opinion, if you sent someone your 10 pages, you'd mark yourself as an amateur immediately.


That would be me you're referring to, Rock.

Like I said, I was asked to send the first 10 pages by 9 LA managers. PM me and I'll tell you who they were.

jimjimgrande
01-06-2007, 06:35 PM
I think it was Zide's people who did that ten pages thing for email queries that they liked. I suspect there were then a few copycats.

CutteRug
01-07-2007, 01:10 AM
But if I wasn't naive then I wouldn't even be writing.

Haaaaaaaay. . . I resemble that remark.


:D

santino2699
01-07-2007, 06:36 AM
I'm already cracking away at my script, and rest assured I will be posting a "I'm in LA!" and "I'm back from LA!" post to keep everyone abrest of developments.

How bout since you've generated so much intrigue about yourself here, you just post the pages so we can see what we're really dealing with. Naive genius or (your words...) talentless retard.

If it turns out to the be the former and not the latter, you may just have a few people on this thread offer to connect you while you're in town.

If it turns out to be the latter - well, then...yeah. That's that.

S

kidcharlemagne
01-07-2007, 06:44 AM
Live,

There's a thing call PM - you can receive private messages from board members.

Simply send out a message on DD saying when you are in LA and ask any members who'd like to meet up with you for a coffee to PM you.

I've seen that DD'ers have meets now and again but I don't know how often they do this.

Same with Word Player - they have regular meets or if not post a message on WP saying you'd like to touch base with some LA based writers, swop notes etc and leave an email address.

Nothing ventures, nothing gained, dude.

insano
01-07-2007, 09:08 AM
That's an intereting idea Santino. It's often the same people who can't write, who have half-wited plans about marketing their writing.

Life works like that.

I don't sense the eccentric genious within your posts, nor that inquisitve aloofness that comes from genius.

Though I do feel your pages will be servicable, but I wouldn't rule out, not very good. Even one page would give everybody on here a much better indication on telling you what to do.

For instance, if this was a board for aspiring models and the poster came on and said i'm coming to New York to pursue my dream, modeling, but i have no head shots or a spread, i'm just going to try to wing it.

The first thing I'd need to know before I past judgement, other than knowing you haven't planned this well, is if you even look like a model.

BOING

IndieMe
01-07-2007, 11:20 AM
I bet if you posted the first few pages of your script here it'd be one of the most read first pages ever. I know I would read them.

Go for it. :)

GreatOz
01-07-2007, 03:41 PM
I was 19 when I made my first trip to L.A. from my tiny hometown in Indiana. It was my first trip anywhere, first time on a plane, first time in a big city, etc... But I had to go. Somehow I made it and found the Universal Sheraton in my rental car (a long way from LAX!) and again somehow made it to Hollywood every night for a screenwriters seminar.

I was so naive I didn't know what the hell I was doing and really scared most of the trip. I didn't have any screenplays worth showing...all I knew was the drive was so strong to do what I love that I had to set foot in L.A...

That same drive has never left me...several decades and a couple options and over a dozen L.A. trips later...

Maybe you have that same desire that won't let go. I wish you all the best.

CutteRug
01-07-2007, 03:59 PM
/chanting mob/


PAY-GES!!

PAY-GES!!

PAY-GES!!



:D

hscope
01-07-2007, 04:16 PM
This is like getting an invite to the Colosseum from the lions.

CutteRug
01-07-2007, 04:32 PM
This is like getting an invite to the Colosseum from the lions.

Nawwww, we're like lil' kitty cats. As cute as IndieMe's avatar.

Reaow! Fffft, ffffft!

Kiddn. Seriously, Liveveryday. If you post pages, you'll definitely get some constructive criticism. And if you get any meanness, just let it slide off your back. :) ('course, that's really the trick, now, isn't it?)

Cheers

Jake Schuster
01-07-2007, 05:09 PM
Oz, you're not by any chance from Franklin, Indiana, are you?

TidalWave
01-07-2007, 05:39 PM
Ofcourse he wont post any pages... that would be grounding him to reality. This is just my opinion. But yeah, pages would be nice.

Anyways if you do come to LA my advice would be: Steer away from those wanna be managers/producers who talk big - "I have access to every studio" or "I'm overlooking a big contract with my attorney, which I'm about to sign" They will definetly give you meetings - but don't waste your time with hucksters. Always tell him or her to show you the money (bank statements, credits, etc.) And don't be afraid to call him or her on their Bull****.

And before coming to America go see that movie "Borat" Hm, it's just a funny movie to see... that's all. :rolling:

santino2699
01-07-2007, 05:43 PM
This is like getting an invite to the Colosseum from the lions.

That's only if you believe that this gladiator doesn't have a fighting chance. You can't have it both ways where you cheer the gladiator on and praise him for his courage, but then spare him from battle.

Okay, I think I got lost in the metaphor there.

Anyway, I for one plan to read and give whatever constructive criticism I am capable of to this person if he posts. Not tear him apart to prove a point.

And, because I think he's probably NOT at the level where he should be trying to line up meetings, I think posting pages could only HELP him.

Of course, why listen to anything I have to say...I still have a little voice in the back of my head telling me that this poor speller is the notorious poor spelling jokester...Vig.

Santino

hscope
01-07-2007, 06:37 PM
That's only if you believe that this gladiator doesn't have a fighting chance. You can't have it both ways where you cheer the gladiator on and praise him for his courage, but then spare him from battle.

Okay, I think I got lost in the metaphor there.

Anyway, I for one plan to read and give whatever constructive criticism I am capable of to this person if he posts. Not tear him apart to prove a point.

And, because I think he's probably NOT at the level where he should be trying to line up meetings, I think posting pages could only HELP him.

Of course, why listen to anything I have to say...I still have a little voice in the back of my head telling me that this poor speller is the notorious poor spelling jokester...Vig.

Santino

I don't know the guy or what his writing is like, but I still think he'd be nuts to post his work here after this thread.

santino2699
01-07-2007, 06:51 PM
I don't know the guy or what his writing is like, but I still think he'd be nuts to post his work here after this thread.

i think he'd be nuts NOT to.

if the work is great...he comes up smelling like roses and any of us who gave him slack look like cynics.

if it's not...then he gets brutally honest (but respectful) feedback that he can use to make it better before showing it to someone that actually matters.

Besides...last I checked messsage boards are anonymous.

S

jimjimgrande
01-07-2007, 07:11 PM
"I'm overlooking a big contract with my attorney, which I'm about to sign"

Yeah, definitely want to stay away from people who overlook big contracts. :D

hscope
01-07-2007, 07:51 PM
i think he'd be nuts NOT to.

if the work is great...he comes up smelling like roses and any of us who gave him slack look like cynics.

if it's not...then he gets brutally honest (but respectful) feedback that he can use to make it better before showing it to someone that actually matters.

Besides...last I checked messsage boards are anonymous.

S

That's the problem - who here knows what's great or what isn't? What will work or what won't? He'll just get a bunch of opinions, some of which may or may not be useful and no way of knowing who is giving them and how much significance he should give them.

I don't doubt you'll give him an honest opinion, Santino, but how much weight should he give your opinion? Or my opinion?

I just feel the guy is being set up up to be chopped down, all because he has the - shock, horror - audacity to try something different. He just came to the wrong place looking for approval.

(dismounts soapbox)

kidcharlemagne
01-07-2007, 08:53 PM
My first visit to LA was on the back of a script (my first script) that I sent out via a UK lawyer to US prod. co.'s. I did this 'cause I couldn't get any US agents to read my script. "Referral Only!". So I got on the phone and pitched prod. co.'s and got read requests.

A few weeks later I got call backs. No sale but they liked my writing and were willing to meet with when I went out to LA. The prod. co's included Robert Redford's company and Wendy Finerman's company. I was also invited to the home of a Hollywood producer who referred me to an agent. Wow! A referral! The Holy Grail! Nah... The agent passed on the script many months later. So nothing earth shattering came out of this campaign but it was encouraging.

The script is the thing, no doubt, but I have pitched to people like Amblin without having an actual script ready and then delivered the script a few months later. I got the Amblin meeting via a producer referral. A UK producer I was working with who the exec respected. There are many ways to skin a cat.

I'm not saying Live.e.d. is in the same position, I was presenting a range of projects, one of which was partially financed that had interest from a big three talent agent, but me not having finished scripts for every project did not result in me being laughed out of the room.

LiveE.D. You need a script. Get writing. If it's not ready, I mean really ready, market-ready 4-6 weeks before you leave to LA then don't send it out! Do what you can to meet anyone you can/pitch anyone you can (register the treatments with the WGA) and only deliver the script if a whole bunch of people apart from your mother tell you it's ready to go out. You can always deliver the script later after you get back to UK.

If you have a positive mental attitude LA is the kinda place where you can end up in the right place at the right time such as my friend who met a WMA repped writer (who's willing to read his script) in a Malibu restaraunt along with a friend of a friend, a writer, who works with a legendary director, who wasn't so keen on his first script but really loves his second script and will hopefully help him get an agent.

Good luck!

TidalWave
01-07-2007, 09:17 PM
Everyone keeps mentioning this person might be "Vig".
Can you enligthen newer members on who Vig is?

I think we are all able to relate to this thread because most of us have come across people who say they are "screenwriters" but haven't even written a script! Only in lalaland.

And no offense Liveveryday, but yeah I agree, the writing style and Grammar on these posts don't signal a great freakin' writer. If you are loopy please go to your nearest loophole.

santino2699
01-08-2007, 02:34 AM
Everyone keeps mentioning this person might be "Vig".
Can you enligthen newer members on who Vig is?



I think I was the only one that made the Vig comment.

I'm probably off, but it smelled like Vig early on and then with all the typos it had me thinking it again. He's a notoriously poor speller and prankster, but other than that a talented and fun guy that frequents the board.

Anyway...as Joe Pesci said in My Cousin Vinny, "I'm done with this guy."

S

Liveveryday
01-08-2007, 02:58 AM
Sorry for the typos. I just blast these messages out and don't always have time to read them back. My friends sometimes complain too.

As regards to posting material, I came here for business/strategy advice, so I'll keep it to that. I do have writers and script editor friends who can offer feedback. But thanks for the offer.

I am no genius or retard, somewhere inbetween. I guess we call are.

Anyway, off to write now. I do intend to get my script "market ready".

Thanks for the tips on meeting up too.

TidalWave
01-08-2007, 06:48 AM
Keep writing! And best of luck with everything. And when you make it out here - be safe and have fun. :cool:

insano
01-08-2007, 08:35 AM
It's probably a good thing that you didn't post any pages, cause you're a huge favorite for having some bad pages posted.

You'd be surprised to see how easily it is to tell if someone can write or not and I guarantee you that some of the people who will comment are 'very, very, good writers.

BAWK. BAWK. BAWK..... chicken. BAWK. BAWK.

I assure you, you would want to know, I'm always skeptical of the 'i have trusted people to read it'. It seems to me if you had trusted people to read your stuff, you'd have those same trusted people tell you how difficult your making this entire process.

kidcharlemagne
01-08-2007, 08:55 AM
Jeez. Give the guy a break. He's just a little green to the biz that's all.

odocoileus
01-08-2007, 09:33 AM
I am no genius or retard, somewhere inbetween. I guess we call are.

I'm a retarded genius.

magicman35
01-08-2007, 09:37 AM
I don't see why people are getting their knickers in a twist. First, because someone wants to take a trip to LA. And second because they decline to post pages.

If lives was uprooting his/her entire family on a mere whim, then...(oh wait, we've had that thread).

Jcorona
01-08-2007, 09:44 AM
I wrote my first scripts without knowing anyone who'd ever written a script or anything about writing a script. Yup, I sent a couple of those out and was "fortunate" enough to get feedback from a few of those people.

After I read their "your scripts suck" comments on my computer screen, I passed out in my chair and hit my temple on my DVD Gigli copies I had stacked on the ground next to me and went into a coma for five seconds. When I came to, I made sure to have a long talk with myself, so I called myself from my home phone to my cell phone and held a phone to each ear, and changed voices. Basically, "I" told "me" . . . I don't remember. I think I slipped into another coma at that point. I'm glad I came out of it. Someone please verify.

Thanks.

But bottom line, I wish I would've had someone steer me right before I steered myself wrong back then.

Is this the case here? I don't know. But I do think we're all just trying to help how each of us see it.

As Santino says on DD, "I'm done with this fry."

My regular 2 sense,

Corona

insano
01-08-2007, 09:46 AM
It's a culmative thing magicman. Separate, each desire would seem perfectly normal, however when broken down and combined as an objective, the steps taken and subsequent posts begin to knaw away at you. Knawing, until you only see the negative.

Now go bugger off.

magicman35
01-08-2007, 09:48 AM
It's a culmative thing magicman. Separate, each desire would seem perfectly normal, however when broken down and combined as an objective, the steps taken and subsequent posts begin to knaw away at you. Knawing, until you only see the negative.

Now go bugger off.


Now, now dear boy, no need to take that tone. Not that I understood what you just posted, apart from the last bit :D

Liveveryday
01-08-2007, 01:16 PM
It seems that this thread is starting to disintegrate a little, so I'll sign off here.

I've got a hell of a lot from this and will be back, rest assured. But for the time being - ciao, auf wiedersehen and bye.

Thanks so much,

Liveveryday aka Andrew.

Done Deal Pro
01-08-2007, 02:15 PM
As noted above, this thread as seem to run its course.

We'll look for a follow up report from you, Livevery.