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iknownuffin
04-10-2011, 10:35 AM
Here's a hypothetical. I'm not saying it's me, I'm just saying.

Through an email query, a manager (or agent or producer) reads your script. He likes it so he gives you a call.

The conversation's going well but then out of the blue he asks your "Age". Seems innocent enough except you suddenly remember wearing a Ringo Cap as a kid (it was pretty cool).

You're hesitant to answer cuz you heard about the ageism thing, but you don't want to be untruthful.

What kind of a diplomatic response can you give without pissing him off?

emily blake
04-10-2011, 10:38 AM
"Old enough to vote"
"I still get carded, if that's what you're asking"
"You first"
"A gentleman never asks a lady her age" - this works best if you are a lady
"I'm young enough to know who Chris Brown is"

These also work best if you have a Southern accent.

NikeeGoddess
04-10-2011, 11:26 AM
"A little bit older than my teeth."
"Are you flirting with me?"
"Old enough to eat cornbread without choking."

Hamboogul
04-10-2011, 11:27 AM
I think if you are in the 25 to 45 range, you're fine. If you are over, you should have a fascinating background that relates to the genre or material you write. And if you are under, I HATE YOU.

iknownuffin
04-10-2011, 11:41 AM
I like the answers so far. Thanks.

PS. Who's Chris Brown?

AJ_FIN
04-10-2011, 11:57 AM
Hamboogul, don't hate the player, hate the game. :)

TBEagle
04-10-2011, 12:28 PM
And if you are under, I HATE YOU.

:(

been wondering what i'm going to say when/if this happens to me.
my reply will probably be
"old enough to write a 100 page story"
idk

Ronaldinho
04-10-2011, 05:54 PM
Old enough to know better than to answer that question. :)

hscope
04-10-2011, 06:42 PM
I find the following response usually works:

"Huh? What's that? Speak up, sonny!"

Which reminds me; I must buy one o' them new-fangled hearing thingummywhatsits I bin readin' about.

catcon
04-10-2011, 06:49 PM
Agent or Manager, ha ha, I understand they may care about this.

Producer, why? They want to make movies (not careers).

They'd probably be happy to hear I had a Beatles card collection (wish I still had 'em) because they know I'm ready to do a one-time job and then move on. No commitments. Not necessarily, anyway. :cool:

ducky1288
04-10-2011, 07:43 PM
I remember when I told my manager how old I was... he didn't ask my age but I was introducing myself in an email on New Year's Eve after he expressed interest in the script.

He asked if we had any big plans for New Year's Eve and I replied, and I quote...

"...No huge New Year's plans for me this year. I'm just going to keep it low key, maybe eat dinner with my fiance and have a beer or two and just enjoy the fact that I'm 21 and can legally drink in public now lol..."

I figure there are two statements in that sentence that would make him think wtf? lol Luckily he didn't run off. Now I'm one year wiser but would probably still say the same stupid $#!T...

:rolleyes:

Terrance Mulloy
04-10-2011, 08:10 PM
Ask Ron Aberdeen.

Terrance Mulloy
04-10-2011, 08:11 PM
I'm kidding.

Hamboogul
04-10-2011, 08:18 PM
I think he was an extra in Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer.

one seven spectrum
04-10-2011, 08:35 PM
Patronising at the least...

If anyone asked me my age, making it a factor in their weighing up whether to take on one of my projects, I'd politely tell them it's none of their business. I've got nothing to hide by telling people my age, but if they think this is an age game and use it as criteria, then they need to stop living in the past.

IMHO, you'd be best to politely ignore the question. If they ask again, ask them why they insist on knowing your age. If the answer you get seems iffy, move on to someone who is interested in your project and not your hairline. Maybe they are looking for long term commitment, of which being 75 might not give them? Or maybe they are looking for "something more"...

Also check you aren't corresponding with them from your TeamEdward_4life hotmail account :D

Terrance Mulloy
04-10-2011, 09:07 PM
Patronising at the least...

If anyone asked me my age, making it a factor in their weighing up whether to take on one of my projects, I'd politely tell them it's none of their business. I've got nothing to hide by telling people my age, but if they think this is an age game and use it as criteria, then they need to stop living in the past.


Yeah, but Hollywood is an industry that's completely age obssessed. And I mean obssessed with a captial "O". From a screenwriting perspective, I agree, it shouldn't matter - although I suspect to some degree it does. How exactly I couldn't tell you.

We know there's plenty of actors out there who are over 50 and doing perfectly fine - but from a literary perspective, I'm not not sure how exactly that translates - if it actually does? I mean if you were an agent or manager working in the trenches, would you be willing rep an elderly screenwriter? I suppose if they had an amazing script, then yes. I dunno, I don't think there's any rule or industry norm because I suppose it all comes down to the script, and the individual(s) involved.

As for the OP's question, I doubt it would matter if he or she is over 18. But then again, who knows?

one seven spectrum
04-10-2011, 09:11 PM
I spent a couple of years as a Development Co-ordinator at a state funding agency here in Oz and I was continually given the gaze down the nose from the oldies. But once you prove you've actually got a brain, it all stops.

It's happened for generations in a multitude of industries, not just film.

Terrance Mulloy
04-10-2011, 09:15 PM
It's happened for generations in a multitude of industries, not just film.

Which is weird because look at all the big novelists out there, Clancy, Koontz, etc. All old guys.

Same with guys like Michael Straczynski. He's what, 57?

one seven spectrum
04-10-2011, 09:22 PM
Agreed.

Good Luck, OP.

Brice
04-10-2011, 10:46 PM
I know nothing about managers and agents, but I have found ageism to exist from a broader perspective. Being slightly outside Hamboogul's "you're fine" range (on the younger side, that is), it does seem that older people often don't take me seriously since they expect I'm not mature, driven, etc.

But if people in the industry place a premium on finding the next great script, why would they care who wrote it? Especially if it's somebody who should have a longer shelf life, you'd think that would make a prospective client all the more enticing (or maybe I'm just saying this to make me feel better about my chances).

LIMAMA
04-10-2011, 11:20 PM
The screenwriter who just won the Oscar for THE KING'S SPEECH, he's what, 75?

Scriptonian
04-11-2011, 07:05 AM
We know that there is age discrimination in all industries, and usually that unlawful prejudice is against the elder and in favor of the younger. It was rampant in L.A. not so long ago, and older writers were getting no work. The industry was sued and a multi-million dollar settlement was the result.

I think it wise to try and turn the age question around, with light humor if possible, and to put the burden for the inappropriate question where it belongs, on the person asking the inappropriate question: "Well... after you read my screenplay I'd like you to tell me how old you think I am...."

It is lawful to tape-record any conversation you are a party to without giving notice to the other party to the conversation. Protect yourself from unlawful discrimination. If you believe it's being exercised against you, regardless of your age, gather your evidence.

catcon
04-11-2011, 07:23 AM
Which is weird because look at all the big novelists out there, Clancy, Koontz, etc. All old guys.

Same with guys like Michael Straczynski. He's what, 57?

GOOD G?D!!! He's liable to keel over before the first rewrite! :bounce:

NikeeGoddess
04-11-2011, 07:48 AM
The screenwriter who just won the Oscar for THE KING'S SPEECH, he's what, 75?the brits have more respect for the elderly and ugly people. prince charles will probably be 95 when he becomes king. you think we'd ever elect a president that age? and why is betty white still working and not abe vigoda?

Hamboogul
04-11-2011, 09:14 AM
For what it's worth, I have never been asked this question.

The closest they've come to asking me something age related was if they knew someone from one of my two alma maters and ask "Did you know So-and-so? Class of 1219." "No. I was there during the Bubonic Plague. So a few decades after."

Geoff Alexander
04-11-2011, 09:49 AM
Here's a hypothetical. I'm not saying it's me, I'm just saying.

Through an email query, a manager (or agent or producer) reads your script. He likes it so he gives you a call.

The conversation's going well but then out of the blue he asks your "Age". Seems innocent except you're old enough to remember wearing a Ringo Cap as a kid (it was pretty cool).

You're hesitant to answer cuz you know that ageism exists, but you don't want to be untruthful.

What kind of a diplomatic response can you give without pissing him off?

I'd just tell them. Why dance around it?

Personally, I have never asked a writer how old they were.

NikeeGoddess
04-11-2011, 10:00 AM
lobster - NO!

adding to the list from page one responses:
"how old do you think i am?"

odocoileus
04-11-2011, 10:07 AM
Bill Martell on Writing Over 40.
(http://www.scriptsecrets.net/tips/tip207.htm)

http://www.scriptmag.com/2011/04/04/primetime-am-i-too-old-to-become-a-screenwriter/ (http://www.scriptmag.com/2011/04/04/primetime-am-i-too-old-to-become-a-screenwriter/)

First of all, is there “age bias” in Hollywood?

Unfortunately, it seems so. In fact, last year, a ten-year-old lawsuit alleging age discrimination against 24 major studios, agencies, and networks was settled… awarding $70 million (plus accrued interest) to writers who had been denied work for being over 40. (A similar claim against ICM was settled in 2008 for $4.5 million.) You can learn more about these cases at these links:

* TV Writers’ Cases
* TV Writers Age Cases

So yes… age discrimination exists.



Ouch! (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:G5CqJ9hXYz8J:blog.sheldonbull.com/2010/11/11/those-im-over-thirty-and-trying-to-make-it-in-hollywood-for-the-first-time-blues.aspx+%2B%22sheldon+bull%22+%2B%22thirty%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com)

If you are over 30, and you are not already a produced and successful playwright with an Obie Award, or a published (not self-published but actually published) novelist who has been given a cash advance on a second or third book deal, or a hot blogger or tweeter who has been contacted by a Hollywood agency, or a successful and recognized comic book artist or graphic novelist who has been invited to Comic-Con, or a stand-up comedian who has been on Comedy Central, or an actor with an agent who knows some real big-shot Hollywood producers, then you probably aren’t going to make it as a TV writer, nor are you going to sell any of your ideas to anyone in Hollywood who isn’t your cousin. I’m sorry, but there it is.

anmegrl
04-11-2011, 10:46 AM
It is lawful to tape-record any conversation you are a party to without giving notice to the other party to the conversation. Protect yourself from unlawful discrimination. If you believe it's being exercised against you, regardless of your age, gather your evidence.


Actually, that depends on the state and in many states recording a conversation without notice whether you're a party to the conversation or not is a crime (a Class IV felony in Illinois - need everyone to consent). California, if I remember correctly, is the same - issue came up with with previous job. Oh, and even if you could, odds are it's not admissible evidence in court. Another one of those ask an attorney questions.:p

Regardless, that's a nice way to engender trust and practice business: "Excuse me but do you mind if I tape this conversation just in case I need to sue you later?" Forget about age - no one would get within 3000 miles of you even if you had the next LOTR in your laptop.

Just be honest and straightforward. Tell your age but drop hints in the conversation on why it's an advantage. I would suppose just like with any industry, people are more interested in what makes you a competent, reliable asset. I wouldn't even make light of it -to me, that would tend to show you feel uncomfortable about your age and that they don't /shouldn't want you because of it.

sc111
04-11-2011, 11:02 AM
Hey - older writers breaking in -- great PR story. Practically writes itself.

Scriptonian
04-11-2011, 11:53 AM
anmegrl is correct in that there are twelve states that now require the consent of all parties to any tape-recorded conversation where the party being recorded has a reasonable expectation that the conversation is private and confidential. If the tape recording were made in a public place, that party would not expect that the conversation wouldn't be overheard. Numerous exceptions are contained in the state statutes giving permission to record to law enforcement and others.

The twelve states are: California; Connecticut; Florida; Illinois; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Nevada; New Hampshire; Pennsylvania; and Washington.

Although Illinois is a two-party state (requires consent to record), the courts have made an exception in recordings between private individuals; there is no violation. In California, a beeping device that the party being recorded can hear eliminates liability for recording the conversation without consent.

In the majority of states you can tape record any conversation to which you are a party. In all states you cannot record the conversation of others where you are not a party to that conversation. Tape recordings made for the purpose of showing a violation of law, such as age discrimination, are generally admissible as evidence in administrative proceedings before such agencies as EEOC and state human rights commissions that enforce the discrimination laws.

In some states that make it a crime to record a private conversation to which you are a party, the courts have upheld the law and in others the courts have found the law overly broad. A call to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in your state, or the Attorney General's office, will provide you with free legal advice on court rulings in your state regarding the tape-recording of private conversations.

MargoChanning
04-11-2011, 01:25 PM
Jesus. The Question.

What about answering: "Does it matter?"

odocoileus
04-11-2011, 01:30 PM
I just lie like a rug.

"I'm twenty-five. I just had a rough childhood. My mom fed a me stick of butter and a fifth of scotch every day before school. Sure, I aged fast, but I really, really liked school." :bounce:

BurOak
04-12-2011, 06:32 PM
Hey - older writers breaking in -- great PR story. Practically writes itself.

Except that everyone in America wants to hire toddlers (or better yet, fetuses) these days.:confused: :shifty:

Alliebro
04-12-2011, 08:04 PM
So now I know I'll never get an agent, or a manager due to the age trap. Only hope is with a producer, which is a wild hope at best, in and of itself. I'd think a producer would attach more importance and recognize value in the work than be concerned with the age of the writer. After all, it's buy it if you like it and then he'll be gone.

And, I'd also think if such work made it to production and you gain credit, you'd have a much better chance with your second offering. Possibly with the same producer, no matter your age.

A person in the biz told me another way to try to break through the barrier is to enter your script in contests. Entering them doesn't require you to reveal your age. I think it's a logical way to go. Imagine a producer reads your script in one of those contests and really goes ape for it. Do you think he'll drop it when he later finds he's dealing with an older writer? I'd have to think not.

catcon
04-12-2011, 09:42 PM
I think the only problem with this thread is that I have to keep opening it so I can find out what the "A" word is. Damn. I keep forgetting.

So now I know I'll never get an agent, or a manager due to the age trap. Only hope is with a producer, which is a wild hope at best, in and of itself. I'd think a producer would attach more importance and recognize value in the work than be concerned with the age of the writer. After all, it's buy it if you like it and then he'll be gone.

Hopefully. It's the path I'm taking. As my latest query blitz yields results, I now have 14 scripts out for current reads, my highest # ever. All producers. You just never know!

And, I'd also think if such work made it to production and you gain credit, you'd have a much better chance with your second offering. Possibly with the same producer, no matter your age.

Absolutely. That first credit (or option or sale, which actually precede the "credit" designation on the movie) is key. It's your ticket to whatever you may be looking for in the biz. Good luck to all!

A person in the biz told me another way to try to break through the barrier is to enter your script in contests. Entering them doesn't require you to reveal your age. I think it's a logical way to go. Imagine a producer reads your script in one of those contests and really goes ape for it. Do you think he'll drop it when he later finds he's dealing with an older writer? I'd have to think not.

Arrgh, don't get me on contests. Lots of threads on that. But good luck regardless.

The key is, whether you target agents, managers, producers, contests, don't sit around and wait once you send them in. I know, at our "age", it may be easier to shuffle on over and pile onto your couch for a siesta "reward", but you have to just keep writing, and working twice as hard as the youngsters.

A young lad or lass with 2 scripts, or an old geezer or geezerette with 10 scripts. Gotta work harder to show 'em what you're made of! :D

NikeeGoddess
04-12-2011, 10:13 PM
I think the only problem with this thread is that I have to keep opening it so I can find out what the "A" word is. Damn. I keep forgetting.a true sign that you're getting old :shifty:

The Road Warrior
04-13-2011, 04:40 AM
Somewhere between 0 and 100 but it's difficult to be sure.

Ron Aberdeen
04-13-2011, 08:19 AM
In a very deep masculine voice just reply, “Don’t you know it is rude to ask a lady her age?”

Ron Aberdeen
04-13-2011, 08:24 AM
I think the only problem with this thread is that I have to keep opening it so I can find out what the "A" word is. Damn. I keep forgetting.

A = Autism or Alzheimer's, I can’t remember which.

AJ_FIN
04-13-2011, 09:15 AM
I'm foreign so I can always say that I don't understand the question.

catcon
04-13-2011, 02:32 PM
Originally Posted by catcon
I think the only problem with this thread is that I have to keep opening it so I can find out what the "A" word is. Damn. I keep forgetting.

A = Autism or Alzheimer's, I can’t remember which.

Ha ha, no, actually I initially took the subject to mean a$$h0le, so I was expecting a debate on profanity. ;)

MHS
04-17-2011, 09:19 AM
"Old enough to vote"
"A gentleman never asks a lady her age" - this works best if you are a lady

Haha!

catcon
04-17-2011, 09:55 AM
An extract from one of my scripts:

VAUNDRA
My name’s Vaundra. "Mister" to anyone younger than my shoes.

He leads her eyes down to his raggedy runners.

Ron Aberdeen
07-26-2011, 04:36 AM
Age, gender, ethnic minority, religious beliefs, poor education, wrong background, poverty, disability, nationality, even laziness are excuses I am sure unsuccessful writers use for not being successful.

catcon
07-26-2011, 07:21 AM
Age, gender, ethnic minority, religious beliefs, poor education, wrong background, poverty, disability, nationality, even laziness are excuses I am sure unsuccessful writers use for not being successful.

You're right. Don't let anything hold you back.

Yesterday I read a big hunk of the MBA (http://www.wga.org/subpage_writersresources.aspx?id=1610), concentrating mostly on the rights-of-authors, separated rights, respect for screenwriting, and all that cool stuff. Excellent targets, even if their execution leaves something to be desired. Anyway, there was also important mention of discrimination issues, including age.

BTW, this thing should be mandatory reading for screenwriters, even those nowhere near their first sale/option. It helps explain how much a business this is. Good stuff.

VanceVanCleaf
07-27-2011, 02:51 AM
Haha, I thought it was a debate about profanity, too...

Well, some funny interesting questions to this question =) Like them.

As for me, I give my website in emails etc., and so they should already know my age. Considered what I've done and published so far, I'm not that old LOL. If someone still has a problem, there's nothing I could do anyway.