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Jake Schuster
01-16-2010, 07:22 AM
Right here. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703414504575001271351446274.html)

kidcharlemagne
01-16-2010, 10:06 AM
Thanks Jake. Interesting.

jyangwrites
01-16-2010, 12:43 PM
Great article. Things just keep getting tougher and tougher...

EvilRbt
01-16-2010, 01:04 PM
Excellent article. Thanks for sharing it, Jake.

It's inevitable that as the world's population grows exponentially, there will be more and more people competing for the same jobs, opportunities and careers in EVERY field. I've seen the odds for aspiring writers plummet in the last decade alone, so I hesitate to even guess what it will be like in 2020. :(

Bono
01-16-2010, 01:36 PM
I blame the 80s. That's when I grew up. And our generation and the current one now believe that people should care what we have to say. That we can all fullfill our dreams. That we deserve what we want and should be able to get it. And even more frustrating, that people care what we have to say.

I remember when TIME magazine said the person of the year was YOU. That's our world now. Twitter, facebook, message boards, comment sections.

If there were 100 writers in 1990, there must be 10000 now due to blogs, etc.

There was 1 or 2 screenwriting books, now there are at least 200.

People need to hear more "no." It's the people that shouldn't be writers that ruin it. Hard truth is some of us shouldn't be doing this.

In Math it's easy to see if people get it, but in the creative world, if people don't get you, you're an "Artist."

People don't want to be doctors today, they want to be famous. And with technology and focus on "me", we'll you get a slush pile that could fill the grand canyon.

jyangwrites
01-16-2010, 01:43 PM
I blame the 80s. That's when I grew up. And our generation and the current one now believe that people should care what we have to say. That we can all fullfill our dreams. That we deserve what we want and should be able to get it. And even more frustrating, that people care what we have to say.

I remember when TIME magazine said the person of the year was YOU. That's our world now. Twitter, facebook, message boards, comment sections.

If there were 100 writers in 1990, there must be 10000 now due to blogs, etc.

There was 1 or 2 screenwriting books, now there are at least 200.

People need to hear more "no." It's the people that shouldn't be writers that ruin it. Hard truth is some of us shouldn't be doing this.

In Math it's easy to see if people get it, but in the creative world, if people don't get you, you're an "Artist."

People don't want to be doctors today, they want to be famous. And with technology and focus on "me", we'll you get a slush pile that could fill the grand canyon.

I absolutely agree with you. I am glad that "me first" parenting is starting to go out of vogue. Although, the current generation of kids seem to be afflicted with it much worse than kids of the 80's (which includes me).

I would also like to add that it's a global thing too -- since technology and information is becoming more widespread, there's a lot more competition in film from foreign countries. South Korea is heating up, especially with stuff like the Host, and then there's District 9 which came from a South African, and New Zealand obviously has Peter Jackson and a fast-growing film industry there.

The pressure is mounting...

joe9alt
01-16-2010, 02:16 PM
Don't bother reading the article.

All it basically says is that it's hard to get read and all it will wind up doing is discouraging you.

There are numerous writers that regularly post on this board (just off the top of my head....ihavebiglips, telly, bono, XL, myself) that have obtained major agency or management representation without any prior industry connections.

Focus on the success stories....Ryan Condal, Jay Simpson, Gary Whitta, OGWAVES, mrjonesprods and know that you can do it, too, if you work hard enough and never stop believing in yourself. Corny but TRUE. :cool:

Jake Schuster
01-16-2010, 02:48 PM
I saw this article not via a screenwriting blog or site, but through a publishing/trade site. The fact that publishers are no longer hiring readers--almost always in-house--means that everyone who wants to break into fiction must have an agent. And my own agent tells me that he now declines 99% of what he receives outside of his client list, which I know is commensurate with what other agents are posting.

doubler83
01-16-2010, 02:52 PM
Closing Final Draft for the last time. Shredding all those scripts I wrote.

cvolante
01-16-2010, 07:39 PM
Since I didn't solicit that article, I'm not gonna read it. Time is money!

OGWAVES
01-16-2010, 09:26 PM
You guys really focus on non sence! I'm with Joe, FK these articles, focus on success!!! All my successful writer friends say 90% of the stuff on these boards are BULL ****! Keep reading these article, I'm working on my next spec!

montevideo
01-16-2010, 09:44 PM
Bypass the bu11sh1t and send your scripts to talented aspiring directors! Or direct the sh1t yourself. There's nothing like a decent story with very good direction.

Don't let that bu11sh1t article throw you off. Who cares about the statistics of landing an agent or manager or whatever. Just do the best you can with what you have and be honest to yourself. yeah, look yourself in the mirror and ask is this the best I could dish out. don't waste your time by fooling yourself...

One thing I can't stand are people telling you how hard it is! bu11sh1t!
make it happen!

Bono
01-16-2010, 09:48 PM
You guys really focus on non sence! I'm with Joe, FK these articles, focus on success!!! All my successful writer friends say 90% of the stuff on these boards are BULL ****! Keep reading these article, I'm working on my next spec!

I'd say 99%.

OGWAVES
01-16-2010, 09:51 PM
Bypass the bu11sh1t and send your scripts to talented aspiring directors! Or direct the sh1t yourself. There's nothing like a decent story with very good direction.

Don't let that bu11sh1t article throw you off. Who cares about the statistics of landing an agent or manager or whatever. Just do the best you can with what you have and be honest to yourself. yeah, look yourself in the mirror and ask is this the best I could dish out. don't waste your time by fooling yourself...

One thing I can't stand are people telling you how hard it is! bu11sh1t!
make it happen!

No, please focus on that the stuff! Spend all your day and nights focusing on how HARD it is!! The rest of us, people like Bono and Joe and others will be writing specs that will sooner or later break through!

Be negative, it clearly seems to work for you!

mrjonesprods
01-16-2010, 10:27 PM
No, please focus on that the stuff! Spend all your day and nights focusing on how HARD it is!! The rest of us, people like Bono and Joe and others will be writing specs that will sooner or later break through!

Be negative, it clearly seems to work for you!

Uh... Unless it was sarcasm and I missed it, I think Montevideo was agreeing with you.

joe9alt
01-16-2010, 10:39 PM
He gets a lil worked up sometimes, Jonesy. No worries.

OGWAVES is our WOLVERINE!!!!

:mpopcorn:

Bono
01-16-2010, 10:57 PM
1 -- I liked the article, so no need to attack it. Read it or don't. But we're all wasting time on this message board no matter what we say.

2 -- If you want something, you keep trying no matter what to get it, no matter what anyone says or the odds against you. If you need a pat on the back to do that -- then you don't really want it as bad as you think you do.

We all get down on ourselves and need a pick-me-up from friends/family, but I never once have said, "I'm done writing." Frustration is different than giving up.

3 -- My point was people like me are part of the problem. We encourage people that SHOULD NOT be encouraged. Some Frat Boy googles "screenwriting" and our posts on DD show up -- "Sure you can be a writer buddy. All it takes it hard work." I think I should start posting DEAD INDUSTRY -- BECOME A TEACHER INSTEAD.

Because I believe to make it you need to keep on trying and never give up. But you must have the chops. You can learn many things including format/etc -- but being a professional writer is not for everyone. Nor is any field really. I might like medicine, but I would be the worst doctor in the world, no matter how hard I tried. I don't have the skills to do it.

I think in a way, blind encouragement, is the reason the doors are harder to open because so many people think they can do it and they muck up the system.

4 -- If I have discouraged you from pursuing your dream by reading this -- then you didn't want it.

joe9alt
01-16-2010, 11:22 PM
1 -- I liked the article, so no need to attack it. Read it or don't. But we're all wasting time on this message board no matter what we say.

Speak for yourself, Bono.

I'm using this site to stockpile good karma.

When I do blow up (not if), it's gonna be like the ****ing 4th of July up in this mutha. :smokin:

Terrance Mulloy
01-17-2010, 01:28 AM
There are numerous writers that regularly post on this board (just off the top of my head....ihavebiglips, telly, bono, XL, myself) that have obtained major agency or management representation without any prior industry connections.

Ditto. ;)

Heck, I don't even live in the US.

joe9alt
01-17-2010, 01:30 AM
How could I have forgotten you, Terrance?

My bad. :o

C.C.Baxter
01-17-2010, 02:06 AM
There are excellent readers here in the board discussion on coverage. Find out if your script is crap or not. Most of what's floating around in the system is garbage. That's no legit competition.

Develop mentors, coverage people with contacts, win contests. All kinds of ways to get out of the slush pile.

Remember Julie Gray (The Script Department) in her interview with Gary Goldstein (think it's on Gary's site for free) saying most writers write two scripts and last two years. Most writers that break in take ten years and ten scripts.

Most of what's out there are first or second scripts, which generally suck (though there are the lottery odds exceptions). Most writers don't go deeper than a couple of drafts and they haven't vetted their work.

After the 80s screenplays replaced 'the great American novel' as the hobbyist writer format of choice. People read stories of million dollar spec sales and said, "Hey. I can do that!"

Someone without a true passion that's in it for the money or in it for a year or two year hobby is not real competition.

Writers also think to much in terms of 'this script is it.' Some magic screenplay stumbled upon will break them in. It's the process and developing your craft. It's a skill honed from a modest amount of talent.

Reject the negative. Persist. Create 1,000 opportunities for good things to happen and "luck" will come your way.

Keep writing!

adieu
01-17-2010, 02:25 AM
To most in here the article is old news.

I still have a lot to learn and always will... but if it wasn't difficult, what would be the point?

Development Hell
01-17-2010, 05:54 AM
Uh... Unless it was sarcasm and I missed it, I think Montevideo was agreeing with you.

I think he was using reverse psychology.

And good post, Baxter.

josvanbrussel
01-17-2010, 06:18 AM
There are excellent readers here in the board discussion on coverage. Find out if your script is crap or not. Most of what's floating around in the system is garbage. That's no legit competition.

Develop mentors, coverage people with contacts, win contests. All kinds of ways to get out of the slush pile.

Remember Julie Gray (The Script Department) in her interview with Gary Goldstein (think it's on Gary's site for free) saying most writers write two scripts and last two years. Most writers that break in take ten years and ten scripts.

Most of what's out there are first or second scripts, which generally suck (though there are the lottery odds exceptions). Most writers don't go deeper than a couple of drafts and they haven't vetted their work.

After the 80s screenplays replaced 'the great American novel' as the hobbyist writer format of choice. People read stories of million dollar spec sales and said, "Hey. I can do that!"

Someone without a true passion that's in it for the money or in it for a year or two year hobby is not real competition.

Writers also think to much in terms of 'this script is it.' Some magic screenplay stumbled upon will break them in. It's the process and developing your craft. It's a skill honed from a modest amount of talent.

Reject the negative. Persist. Create 1,000 opportunities for good things to happen and "luck" will come your way.

Keep writing!

Thanks for this, Stephen. It's easy to get demotivated doing this. Of course it's important to know the odds but there's a difference with wallowing in negativity. A realistic idea of the possibilities and hurdles with a healthy dose of optimism goes a long way.

LIMAMA
01-17-2010, 08:02 AM
Look, if this article discourages one wannabe no talent hack, I'm fine with that.

thatcomedian
01-17-2010, 08:16 AM
1 -- I liked the article, so no need to attack it. Read it or don't. But we're all wasting time on this message board no matter what we say.

2 -- If you want something, you keep trying no matter what to get it, no matter what anyone says or the odds against you. If you need a pat on the back to do that -- then you don't really want it as bad as you think you do.

We all get down on ourselves and need a pick-me-up from friends/family, but I never once have said, "I'm done writing." Frustration is different than giving up.

3 -- My point was people like me are part of the problem. We encourage people that SHOULD NOT be encouraged. Some Frat Boy googles "screenwriting" and our posts on DD show up -- "Sure you can be a writer buddy. All it takes it hard work." I think I should start posting DEAD INDUSTRY -- BECOME A TEACHER INSTEAD.

Because I believe to make it you need to keep on trying and never give up. But you must have the chops. You can learn many things including format/etc -- but being a professional writer is not for everyone. Nor is any field really. I might like medicine, but I would be the worst doctor in the world, no matter how hard I tried. I don't have the skills to do it.

I think in a way, blind encouragement, is the reason the doors are harder to open because so many people think they can do it and they muck up the system.

4 -- If I have discouraged you from pursuing your dream by reading this -- then you didn't want it.
I totally agree and I think you found yourself a new username: DEAD INDUSTRY

jyangwrites
01-17-2010, 08:24 AM
I don't think the article sounded that negative at all -- it basically says that the old avenue of success for the amateur, the slush pile, is gone due to legal issues and cost. But the article also notes recent successes, like Stephanie Meyer of Twilight, and offers suggestions on alternate ways to get noticed, like contests.

This just seems to be a reminder that the old ways of breaking in as a writer (in any field really) are disappearing and people have to try a bit harder and get a lot craftier to establish themselves.

Jake Schuster
01-17-2010, 08:47 AM
I don't think the article sounded that negative at all -- it basically says that the old avenue of success for the amateur, the slush pile, is gone due to legal issues and cost. But the article also notes recent successes, like Stephanie Meyer of Twilight, and offers suggestions on alternate ways to get noticed, like contests.

This just seems to be a reminder that the old ways of breaking in as a writer (in any field really) are disappearing and people have to try a bit harder and get a lot craftier to establish themselves.

This seems to me a measured and intelligent response to the article. The piece simply lays out the changes in the system, both for publishing and screenwriting, which demands that new and different strategies be created to break in. Ten years ago my literary agent said, "It's a terrible time for publishing." Then he laughed and added, "But of course it always is."

Perseverance is the key, especially if, as you fail, you start to fail better and people start seeing you as promising. I was in this predicament when I started off as a novelist. I had to write twelve books (and move abroad) before I could get published, but I consider that my apprenticeship, which is never a bad thing to have behind one.

WritersBlock2010
01-17-2010, 10:18 AM
Perseverance is the key, especially if, as you fail, you start to fail better and people start seeing you as promising. I was in this predicament when I started off as a novelist. I had to write twelve books (and move abroad) before I could get published, but I consider that my apprenticeship, which is never a bad thing to have behind one.

This really speaks to me, Jake.

This has been my personal experience, journey, and is what I also believe separates the wannabes from the truly dedicated.

It's also what amazes me when you use the term "pay your dues"... The newbies go ape sh1t and think you (I) am talking down to them.

Paying your dues is a concept I don't believe the younger generation, "Generation Me", (Z & Y) has any clue about. Because they don't think it applies to them to be blunt.

They are children of the internet and technology. Those same two things have fooled them into thinking they know everything when they know next to nothing at all. This is where paying your dues... The learning process... Plays a vital role. But a lot of them just don't want to do it, or think it is "beneath" them and they are entitled to just "be" where they want to be without working for it.

Well, these are the ones who aren't going to make it, IMO. Or, who are going to take a lot longer versus had they humbled themselves and realized "they know nothing" and started to learn and improve from a much earlier point in time.

thatcomedian
01-17-2010, 10:39 AM
This really speaks to me, Jake.

This has been my personal experience, journey, and is what I also believe separates the wannabes from the truly dedicated.

It's also what amazes me when you use the term "pay your dues"... The newbies go ape sh1t and think you (I) am talking down to them.

Paying your dues is a concept I don't believe the younger generation, "Generation Me", (Z & Y) has any clue about. Because they don't think it applies to them to be blunt.

They are children of the internet and technology. Those same two things have fooled them into thinking they know everything when they know next to nothing at all. This is where paying your dues... The learning process... Plays a vital role. But a lot of them just don't want to do it, or think it is "beneath" them and they are entitled to just "be" where they want to be without working for it.

Well, these are the ones who aren't going to make it, IMO. Or, who are going to take a lot longer versus had they humbled themselves and realized "they know nothing" and started to learn and improve from a much earlier point in time.
I can't imagine why anyone would accuse you of talking down to them.:rolleyes:

WritersBlock2010
01-17-2010, 11:24 AM
I can't imagine why anyone would accuse you of talking down to them.:rolleyes:

A lot of the newbies... And when I say, newbie I mean those in their 20s who are just starting out and who may, or may not be in this for the right reasons... Really have a hard time believing that instant success is not going to happen over night. It's not confidence, but hubris. Arrogance. A feeling of entitlement just because they are trying. That's the difference I am trying to highlight.

Now, of course, you take offense to this.

You might be the exception, but a lot of them are the epitome of what I said, and it is those who I direct my comments at. I will not apologize for it because they know who they are and what they need to do to "earn it". That's all there is to it, IMO. Whether they "man up", or not is up to them. End of story.

If it makes you feel any better...

I remember sitting in a class in college and the professor basically saying the same things to me and my class that I just said here. I felt the exact same way you did.

Who does this guy think he is?

Maybe what he says is true for some, but not me!

I'm the exception!

I'm the brilliant one!

The rules don't apply to me!,

I'm 10x smarter than this guy!

Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

And now, many years later, I know exactly what he was referring to. And so will you, eventually ;)

All I'm saying it is a natural process we all go through. It just depends on where you are in life and how you chose to react to it that can make all the difference in the world, IMO.

joe9alt
01-17-2010, 11:46 AM
I'm curious, Writersblock....what exactly are these "dues" you speak of? How would you describe them?

The only due you have to pay that I'm aware of is writing a script that the right few people perceive as great.

thatcomedian
01-17-2010, 11:56 AM
I'm curious, Writersblock....what exactly are these "dues" you speak of? How would you describe them?

The only due you have to pay that I'm aware of is writing a great script.
Exactly.


I remember sitting in a class in college and the professor basically saying the same things to me and my class that I just said here. I felt the exact same way you did.

Who does this guy think he is?

Maybe what he says is true for some, but not me!

I'm the exception!

I'm the brilliant one!

The rules don't apply to me!,

I'm 10x smarter than this guy!

Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

And now, many years later, I know exactly what he was referring to. And so will you, eventually ;)
I wasn't taking your post personally. I was commenting on the fact that you said some people consider you condescending and then you proceeded to make a condescending post.:dunce:


By the way, your professor was qualified to teach, apples and oranges or maybe sour grapes.

WritersBlock2010
01-17-2010, 12:09 PM
I'm curious, Writersblock....what exactly are these "dues" you speak of? How would you describe them?

The dues will be different for everyone.

I am speaking in general terms of being more open to criticism, not taking everything so personally and demonstrating they are willing to make the effort to improve their writing...

Instead of getting all defensive, taking everything as a personal attack, etc.

I'm not saying you have to agree with *everything* another person says. But I think there is this general disrespect a lot of new writers -- regardless of chronological age -- Have for one another.

I've talked about this before over the years, so I won't go into the whole speech.

But I will say it starts when one person thinks they have to be Simon Cowell when critiquing others work because Simon Cowell is what they think being a "real" critique is like. They erroneously think destructive criticism e.g. telling-it-like-it-is, is better for the writer in the long-run versus constructive criticism.

You can be blunt in constructive criticism, but you should never make it personal, or use it as an opportunity to boost your own ego by embarrassing the writer in question.

This is the difference between real constructive criticism vs. destructive criticism. The kind of criticism Simon Cowell does is destrucive because this is what his role is on AI, and this is what brings FOX ratings.

We are not on a reality TV show.

We are not in boot camp where we have to tear someone down to make them a better person.

This is real life and how someone is treated in their initial years often forms how they treat others as they progress through their career.

I've seen this first hand and it is a damn shame, IMO, because some people wouldn't be such jerks, now, if they had more encouragement when they started out. Instead, all they received was constant ridicule and being torn down by others who though it was "the proper way to critique". Yeah, they might be a better writer on the surface, but they are a complete failure as a person e.g. someone who you don't want to work with because they lack people skills.

So, we're talking about a few things here, but to get back to the initial question...

Paying your dues... TO ME... Means not only making a personal effort to better yourself, but to treat others as you would like to be treated, too.

Like I said, I often see the worst from writers directed at other writers, and it doesn't have to be this way, IMHO.

P.S. - I agree wholeheartedly the main gist of paying ones dues is to write a kick ass script that opens doors and puts you on the inside, not the outside.

However, I just believe the way one GETS THERE is just important, too.

Maybe it is not important for others, but for me, it is important. Hence, why I value certain things over just writing a good script... Because I assume this is a given if you really want to break into this biz; I give people the benefit of the doubt and focus on more "meaningful" things I feel can be changed. Again, each to his / her own preferences.

joe9alt
01-17-2010, 12:20 PM
Paying your dues... TO ME... Means not only making a personal effort to better yourself, but to treat others as you would like to be treated, too.


That's fine and also something a writer can do from DAY ONE of this pursuit....even those little whipper-snappers in there 20's from Generation ME and Y and Z, right?

josvanbrussel
01-17-2010, 12:25 PM
A lot of the newbies... And when I say, newbie I mean those in their 20s who are just starting out and who may, or may not be in this for the right reasons... Really have a hard time believing that instant success is not going to happen over night. It's not confidence, but hubris. Arrogance. A feeling of entitlement just because they are trying.

I do agree with you about the entitlement mentality that's prevalent. And not only in young people (I'm 40 so I consider myself an old geezer). But seeing the reality of screenwriting these people don't last long. I've been slogging away since 2004 and will probably be slogging away for a lot longer before I ever manage to write something decent and salable (I'm a really slow learner). No-one who doesn't like writing and is only in it for the money keeps on keeping on just for the heck of it. Only the sloggers survive! (I like that word)

Just wanted to say with my previous post that a little optimism goes a long way. I know I need it.

Rantanplan
01-17-2010, 12:49 PM
To me paying one's dues means working your butt off, watching the rejection letters pile up, starting over, getting rejected again, making contacts, researching the biz, improving your craft etc.

Most writers do have to pay those dues before anything happens, but there are some that don't, whether because they're ten times more brilliant than the rest of us or because the first thing they happened to write was the right type of material that got into the right hands at the right time, whatever. But when all is said and done, those overnight successes are pretty rare in any artistic field and usually come after years of labor and learning. It's like actors, a handful shoot to stardom very quickly, but most people who are famous today started out on soaps, commercials, off off off off Broadway theatre, guest appearances on sitcoms and TV dramas etc. It was a loooong road to that 20 million dollar paycheck.

Obviously there are exceptions, just like there are 20 year old hotshots who sell a first script for lots of cash and get a lot of attention, or first time writer-directors who have an idea, borrow a camera, grab a few friends and make something that wins tons of awards, but generally speaking, it's sort of hard work :)

sc111
01-17-2010, 12:50 PM
I don't think the article tells us anything that we didn't know before.

We all know we likey need a manager or entertainment lawyer to get us an agent who in turn gets us to a studio.

But the most interesting thing I found in the article is the point made about filtering process putting managers and entertainment lawyers in the position to decide what material has potential.

This takes a lot of power away from agents and studio execs who will not read unsolicted material. Yet they seem to be fine with handing that power away.

Bono
01-17-2010, 01:00 PM
WritersBlock -- first i love the ironic handle as no one writes more per post than you do buddy!

We are saying the same thing. People my age (31) are the first generation of people that thought they could be whatever they want to be -- but we still thought we had to earn it. The younger you get, it's still the same you can be whatever you want feeling, but now that you DESERVE IT if you want it.

It's the Reality TV/Instant Feedback success generation. Anyone can be a famous singer or writer in 2010. And the sad part is a few people make it, so then everyone thinks they can make it.

Paying your dues means -- EARNING IT by hard work. 99% of first time writers that sell a script, well as you know, that was not their first spec by any means. It was their 10th, 15th.

So the difference between them and the ones that make it, is we figured out our mistakes and got better.

We didn't write one script and say, this is genius without any knowledge of how it works.

I thought my first script was good too. I was very wrong.

---
My main point was the article was about the slush pile going away and I think it's directly related people that take a shot at screenwriting/writing for a few months/a year -- ruin an opportunity for others. I never sent scripts to CAA or an agent w/o getting requested -- but others did -- usually the ones that weren't in this for the long haul.

Nobody claimed the article was new information, but maybe it's new to some people.

sc111
01-17-2010, 01:16 PM
The younger you get, it's not the same you can be whatever you want to be, but that you DESERVE IT.



But the reality of life (not reality TV) is going to bite them in the butt because major employers are complaining about this attitude among recent college grads -- even those from top universities. And they don't want to hire them.

Two years ago, one of my clients - a national engineering corporation -- asked me to write a script for their new college recruitment video.

Their main objective was for me to write it in a way that would weed out slackers. The head of human resources actually used the word slackers when I met with her.

She went on to describe that these recent grads from top universities -- whose parents paid a LOT of money for their education -- come into the job with an attitude where they did not want to work past 5 pm, ever. They took off a lot of sick days and personal days. Did not want to get involved with community service -- something this company prides itself on through many active intra-company programs doing work in the community.

She indicated that with each passing year, choosing promising candidates graduating from college has become so difficult it's at near-crisis level.

They're concerned because every company has to look at its attrition levels -- people retiring -- and they must have others coming up through the ranks to replace them eventually. The slacker generation doesn't seem to offer much potential.

Jake Schuster
01-17-2010, 01:19 PM
I don't think the article tells us anything that we didn't know before.

Actually, for novelists, it does, SC, which is how the article is slanted. The slush pile, a staple of publishing houses for decades, has disappeared, which means that for those trying to break into the fiction--in fact any genre or classification market--will first have to find an agent. And these days, as I think I already mentioned, agents are getting stricter about what they take out.

On top of that, publishers who would read an agent-submitted manuscript within two weeks are now taking several months and sometimes close to a year, all a consequence of the economy and downsizing.

I do agree, though, that what it says for screenwriters is old news.

WritersBlock2010
01-17-2010, 02:22 PM
WritersBlock -- first i love the ironic handle as no one writes more per post than you do buddy!

Notice, I also put 2010 in my username, because this is my year, dammitt! No one can stop me! I am invincible, I ---

Wait a minute? That sounds arrogant doesn't it?

Curse you, Bono! You've made me reveal my true nature! ;)


We are saying the same thing. People my age (31) are the first generation of people that thought they could be whatever they want to be -- but we still thought we had to earn it. The younger you get, it's still the same you can be whatever you want feeling, but now that you DESERVE IT if you want it.

It's the Reality TV/Instant Feedback success generation. Anyone can be a famous singer or writer in 2010. And the sad part is a few people make it, so then everyone thinks they can make it.

Paying your dues means -- EARNING IT by hard work. 99% of first time writers that sell a script, well as you know, that was not their first spec by any means. It was their 10th, 15th.

So the difference between them and the ones that make it, is we figured out our mistakes and got better.

We didn't write one script and say, this is genius without any knowledge of how it works.

I thought my first script was good too. I was very wrong.

Not to belabor the point because it upsets certain posters -- That's a joke by the way; don't tear my head off! -- But this is exactly what I am referring to.

I am also part of your generation. So I know that you know what I am referring to. I don't mean every single young person is arrogant and feels entitled. But like SC said, a lot more of them (compared to past generations, including ours) DO feel this way and it is because of some of the things you said, reality TV, instant gratification, illusion of success/knowledge due to technology, etc.

I also think part of that arrogance is because they have been conditioned to think unless they behave like Simon Cowell that they aren't proving they've really earned it, either. It's like if they aren't destroying someone else, then they have no self-worth. This is a sign of immaturity, one, and it is also damaging for a society as a whole whether people want to admit it, or not.

kidcharlemagne
01-19-2010, 05:44 AM
I don't see why such an article has to be met with extreme pessimism or optimism. Even the likes of Tony Robbins advocate a change of strategy if one course of action doesn't work so it pays to have one eye on what's going down in the marketplace. If slush piles are out then the focus has to be on getting an agent--simple as that.

2 members on this board decided to take time off from professional TV writing and write a novel. One secured an agent and then a publishing deal in a bidding war and the other has secured an agent. Cause for optimism I would say and, let's face it, writers have been rejected for years, hundreds of years. There will always be new and different challenges but there will be always be new opportunities as well.

As the business philosopher Jim Rohn said: "The last 6,000 years can be summed up in one sentence: opportunity mixed with difficulty"

Jake Schuster
01-19-2010, 07:13 AM
I don't see why such an article has to be met with extreme pessimism or optimism. Even the likes of Tony Robbins advocate a change of strategy if one course of action doesn't work so it pays to have one eye on what's going down in the marketplace. If slush piles are out then the focus has to be on getting an agent--simple as that.

Exactly. For a novelist, having an agent gives your work a stamp of approval by one who is respected (one hopes) by others in the industry. It means your work will be read carefully and considered seriously. The downside is that agents are getting much more selective than they have ever been; taking risks is simply not in the cards these days. Advances for first-time writers are much less than they were ten years ago; publishers have virtually walked away from the marketing end of thing; authors need to be proactive, be willing to do readings and signings, even if it means three people show up and none buy a copy. Book reviews in the press have either disappeared or been slashed in terms of column inches. And bookshops are reduced to co-oping with publishers (i.e. sharing the costs) to display such drivel as the latest ghost-written Sarah Palin on their front tables. Good luck trying to find that new Roberto Bolaņo everyone's talking about.

The upside is that there are a lot of very good agents and agencies. Choose carefully, check their work histories, use Google to find out whatever you can. Find the right agent for your work: if you write thrillers, don't query an agent who specializes in young adult fiction.

Be patient. Agents are overwhelmed with reading (my agent has taken up to four months to read a manuscript, simply because he has a lot of reading, especially for books that are under contract and have to be read immediately). Typical reply to time to queries is around four weeks, though some agents will reply within 24 hours. There are some very good sites where agents will post what they're looking for. And buy Steve Herman's excellent and deadly accurate guide to editors and agents (http://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents/dp/1402230001/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263910368&sr=8-1). It will help you focus on whom to query.

alex whitmer
01-20-2010, 11:08 PM
I blame the 80s. That's when I grew up. And our generation and the current one now believe that people should care what we have to say. That we can all fullfill our dreams. That we deserve what we want and should be able to get it. And even more frustrating, that people care what we have to say.

So true. Well put.