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View Full Version : Help - Slight dilemma with read request


docgonzo
11-05-2013, 04:00 PM
So last week, I sent out a small batch of ten queries for my latest pilot in order to gauge industry response. Got two read requests that day, and even had one read over the weekend. That person politely passed yesterday.

Since that person's response was complementary, I asked them for their ideas on how to make the script stronger. They were kind enough to respond right away with a couple of insightful paragraphs.

After some deliberation and consultation with trusted readers, I've decided to rewrite the script. Shouldn't take too long, maybe a couple weeks, but this is where my dilemma comes in. I just received a third read request and don't want to send them the script. What to do? Do I tell them that I'll give it to them in a couple weeks, or do I send the script as is? I really thought I wouldn't get anymore requests, especially five days after querying.

holly
11-05-2013, 05:48 PM
they will still read it in two weeks.

Bunker
11-06-2013, 12:21 PM
I disagree with Holly.

All read requests involve an element of good timing. You had the right email with the right logline at the right time. But even with all of that, they're not sitting on pins and needles, clearing their calendars, and eagerly awaiting your script. All you have is their interest.

And anyone who's ever dealt with sales knows that you don't want to waste a buyer's interest.

I would send it.

holly
11-06-2013, 12:33 PM
and i strongly disagree with Bunker. :)

this isn't a busness of happy accidents, its one of quality. you may only get one read in your life from this buyer. make it count. two months, two years, maybe. not two weeks.

remember they are rooting for you. they WANT to read a great script. they won't lose interest in your log line in two weeks.

grumpywriter
11-06-2013, 12:39 PM
I think Holly's right. They'd be happy to wait two weeks, two months, a year, to read a better version of the script than read an inferior version right now. I've had this happen to me many times where a prodco. gets back to me with some very helpful notes at the same time that I'm getting more requests for the script and every time I just tell those people something to the effect of, "Thanks for the request. Recently got some notes on this and am making some revisions. I'll send you the new and improved version as soon as it's ready." And every time their reply is "Sounds good!" I've even done this AFTER sending them the script but before they read it. Just don't do it a bunch of times -- in fact once is probably all they'll give you ;)

Bunker
11-06-2013, 01:11 PM
Well, fine! I strongly-times-infinity-plue-1 disagree with Holly!!!

Actually I don't really have issue with anything that Holly or grumpwriter have said. Better is always better.

But it is my belief that telling someone "I got this great script, wanna read?... Wait, wait, wait. It apparently wasn't so great, but it can be great. Gimme two weeks." hurts your read. Anytime you're trying to sell someone something and you tell them, "Hold on, I gotta send it back to the shop" you did incremental damage to the sale.

You gotta ask yourself - How much better is this rewrite going to make the script?

From my experience, I rarely see a two-week rewrite make a script significantly better. Usually, it's just the right amount of time for a writer to make some really confusing decisions that they haven't fully ironed out. It's a band-aid on major foundational issues.

But it all depends on if you think this rewrite will actually solve major script issues. If these notes were true "Ah-ha!" moments, to the point where you can't imagine anyone liking the previous draft, then I fully agree with Holly - Make it count.

holly
11-06-2013, 02:01 PM
i will give OP a slight wrist slap, however. if these are good notes, clear and concise and make the project better? Lots of smart readers would have the same notes. it is vitally important to develop a circle of trusted readers. the exec should not be the first to catch it.

docgonzo
11-06-2013, 03:04 PM
Thanks for all the input. I did respond to this person by saying what grumpy basically outlined, only they never got back. Not too worried, I'll just send the script with the release once it's ready and see what happens.

Two weeks shouldn't be a problem. It's a pilot, not a feature, and has been revised to death already. I'm just streamlining some things, since the overall note was the story was too dense and revealed too much. I've written full drafts in much less time than that.

I wasn't going wide with this. I queried only a handful of people to gauge response on the logline (3 out of 10's pretty good) and to get a take on the script with the idea that I'll probably have to rewrite. I know it's a great concept and just needs to be thinned out storywise.

docgonzo
11-06-2013, 03:06 PM
i will give OP a slight wrist slap, however. if these are good notes, clear and concise and make the project better? Lots of smart readers would have the same notes. it is vitally important to develop a circle of trusted readers. the exec should not be the first to catch it.

No wrist slap necessary. I do have a trusted circle (some low-level pros), and did receive the same note from one or two of them. Just decided to go another way with the story because that's what I thought was best at the time.

ducky1288
11-06-2013, 04:05 PM
Just be careful what you tell them or how you say it more so. If you say I'm going to do a quick rewrite, their thought is probably if it needs a rewrite it may need too much work, or why did they bother if it needs more work.

Who knows. You could just say, you will send it soon and then send it as soon as possible.

They're not aching over waiting to read it, trust me.

docgonzo
11-06-2013, 04:19 PM
I wasn't specific. Basically, that I'll give it to them when it's ready.

Ulysses
11-10-2013, 01:52 AM
OP, I think you should send the script now.

Windows can close very quickly.

And you wouldn't be the first writer who, after a rewrite, thought the original was better. Stick to your original gut decision to send it out and stand behind your work.

Otherwise, you will undermine your instincts by questioning them on top of missing a window.

docgonzo
11-10-2013, 10:19 AM
I hear what you're saying, but I actually agree with the note. I've written enough and been around long enough to not be someone who ditches their vision at the drop of a hat. The note spoke to a nagging suspicion I already had.

And the rewrite does nothing to change the concept or story; it's really a matter execution. I revealed nearly a season's worth of story in one script. All I'm doing is pulling back and simplifying, which is giving me more space to explore the characters. A lot of the scenes are the same; it's just structured a bit differently.

8bit Llama
11-10-2013, 10:44 AM
I think you did the right thing holding off. Two weeks is nothing. Writers revise all the time, no one assumes the draft you're handing them is perfect. I would say try and send it to them asap though. Take a day off work and bang out the rewrite in one long session or something. Staying fresh in their minds never hurts.

docgonzo
12-04-2013, 07:20 AM
Bumping this for an update and a question. I did the rewrite and sent it off to that person I mentioned in the original post, but haven't heard back (though it's only been about a week).

That said, another manager really liked it and wants to meet. Someone prominent and well-connected, which is good. That means, at least I think, the rewrite was the right choice. So thanks to those who encouraged me.

Which leads me to my question: Would it be a good idea to go back to the person who suggested the notes in the first place (not the same person who waited two weeks for the script) and ask if they want to read it again, especially since it's generated interest from other people? Maybe thank them for the great notes and say something like, "I just wanted to give you an opportunity to read it again since other people are interested in meeting."

That a good idea or should I just forget that person? Personally, I think it's worth a shot, but want to see how others feel, especially the reps on this board.

Thanks all.

holly
12-04-2013, 09:41 AM
congrats.
i think it is absolutely a great thing to do to go to reader one. not so much to get another read, but to establish a relationship. it was great of them to request it quickly, read it quickly and give you great notes. they should be thanked for that. they will be happy to see you took them seriously, so much so you did a rewrite, and they'll be happy that "they were right" and you're getting a great response. it will feel good for them to hear this, because they went a bit out on a limb to give you notes.

i think if you express this sincere and specific appreciation, and thats the point of your communication, (as opposed to wanting something from them) they will automatically ask for a re read. youve shown them what it would be like to work with you. you're attentive, you're a pro, you're a hard worker, you take notes, and you're grateful. thats who they want to be in business with. and if they dont want to read this, they will appreciate your appreciation and they will be someone you can contact or ask questions of in the future.

Joaneasley
12-04-2013, 09:43 AM
I think it's polite to thank them, tell them, and give them a shot at it if they want one.

Geoff Alexander
12-04-2013, 10:05 AM
Great response, classy and strategic.

congrats.
i think it is absolutely a great thing to do to go to reader one. not so much to get another read, but to establish a relationship. it was great of them to request it quickly, read it quickly and give you great notes. they should be thanked for that. they will be happy to see you took them seriously, so much so you did a rewrite, and they'll be happy that "they were right" and you're getting a great response. it will feel good for them to hear this, because they went a bit out on a limb to give you notes.

i think if you express this sincere and specific appreciation, and thats the point of your communication, (as opposed to wanting something from them) they will automatically ask for a re read. youve shown them what it would be like to work with you. you're attentive, you're a pro, you're a hard worker, you take notes, and you're grateful. thats who they want to be in business with. and if they dont want to read this, they will appreciate your appreciation and they will be someone you can contact or ask questions of in the future.

docgonzo
12-04-2013, 01:14 PM
i think if you express this sincere and specific appreciation, and thats the point of your communication, (as opposed to wanting something from them) they will automatically ask for a re read

And that's exactly what happened. Great advice, holly.

reiverx
12-05-2013, 06:42 AM
The note spoke to a nagging suspicion I already had.
At first I was thinking you should leave it as is, but that one line spoke volumes to me.

Good luck!

Susanlbridges
12-06-2013, 11:04 AM
I kind of had this same problem, except I'd already sent the script to a manager.

IMMEDIATELY after that, we received some notes and, in the course of figuring out the "note behind the note" as people like to say, we realized a big problem that needed fixing. Like, it was common across all three sets of coverage that we had, and we just didn't realize it until right then.

So we fixed it. And then I had no idea what to do. Should I resend the new version? Would it weaken our position?

Instead, we stuck the new version up on the Black List site. And we just got an 8/10!

So I e-mailed that manager again and said, "Hey, our script just got 8/10 on the Black List site. Here's an updated draft for you." And I attached it and sent it along.

I'm guessing they haven't read it yet, so I'm hopeful they'll review the new draft!

docgonzo
12-06-2013, 02:21 PM
So you just resent it without contacting them first? They didn't request the rewrite? I'm guessing they might not be too pleased with that.

Susanlbridges
12-06-2013, 05:59 PM
So you just resent it without contacting them first? They didn't request the rewrite? I'm guessing they might not be too pleased with that.

Since I only sent them the script a few weeks ago, I'm guessing they haven't read the first one I sent. Our e-mail exchange so far has been casual and cordial, so I saw no downside. Of course it's a gamble, but as gambles go, I saw it as a minor one. And I really did want to get the better draft into their hands.

EdFury
12-06-2013, 08:07 PM
I kind of had this same problem, except I'd already sent the script to a manager.

IMMEDIATELY after that, we received some notes and, in the course of figuring out the "note behind the note" as people like to say, we realized a big problem that needed fixing. Like, it was common across all three sets of coverage that we had, and we just didn't realize it until right then.

So we fixed it. And then I had no idea what to do. Should I resend the new version? Would it weaken our position?

Instead, we stuck the new version up on the Black List site. And we just got an 8/10!

So I e-mailed that manager again and said, "Hey, our script just got 8/10 on the Black List site. Here's an updated draft for you." And I attached it and sent it along.

I'm guessing they haven't read it yet, so I'm hopeful they'll review the new draft!

Brilliant. Smart problem solving.