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Old 06-26-2019, 03:47 AM   #21
AnyOtherName
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Originally Posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
But... at least you got the notes to decide if you agree with them [manager], no? What I'm missing?

Having said that, yeah, whatevez, I think if you have the balls to "KNOW!" your shiz is perfect as is, I guess go for it. Just, odds are it ain't. No?

I'm WAAAAY less confident than I used to be... (don't listen to me, new writer. I don't trust this town. Not joking. I don't get it.)
I'm all for feedback! Gets reads from your peers, from pros, from trusted friends! Listen to notes, take what's useful, discard what's not! Rewrite!

What I'm against is a practice that seems to have developed over the years wherein young writers are expected to do endless free rewrites for wannabe producers-- sorry, "managers"-- who refuse to do the job they've been hired to do until they feel sufficient attention has been paid to their (frequently bad) opinions.

I've honestly never known anyone who rewrote a script for a manager and then sold the script, though I'm sure it's happened, sometime, somewhere. On the other hand, I've lost count of how many people I've known who've wasted years of their lives rewriting scripts for managers, watching their savings evaporate, their spirits dwindle, and their careers fail to launch.
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:05 AM   #22
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post
I've honestly never known anyone who rewrote a script for a manager and then sold the script, though I'm sure it's happened, sometime, somewhere. On the other hand, I've lost count of how many people I've known who've wasted years of their lives rewriting scripts for managers, watching their savings evaporate, their spirits dwindle, and their careers fail to launch.
I don't understand this statement. It seems very cynical. If this is the true situation of what the outcome will be after obtaining and working with managers, then why should a writer even bother seeking a manager's representation?

Is that what you're advocating? Don't seek representation from a manager? They'll suck the life out of you.

By the way, you did catch where I said from a writer working with and following a manager's guidance, he sold his screenplay? I'm sure this isn't an isolated incident, or there wouldn't be so many managers making a living in the industry.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:33 AM   #23
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Default Re: Querying studios

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I disagree with this advice in the strongest possible terms. I'm not sure how many managers you know, but in my experience, the idea that any given manager "know[s] the market and what they want" is, frankly, hilarious.
“hilarious”? Really?

I’d like to remind you it wasn’t only about a year ago a member asked if anyone knew of a manager that knew the market for his screenplay (which only would appeal to a specific niche audience.)

You, AnyOtherName, entered the thread, knowingly and confidently, and threw out a list of managers who knew this market.

In a past thread, you told the members that managers have the ability to get a writer on the Black List.

In the past you described to the members the process of working with managers as the following:

“You pitch new ideas, the manager picks a few that seem commercial, you outline them, everyone discusses them, an idea is picked, you spec it, you re-write it -- and either it turns out well (in which case they send it around) or it doesn’t (in which case you move on to the next script).”

To new writers:

Are there bad managers? Sure. Anyone can call themselves a manager. This is why you do your due diligence in selecting a manager to represent you, such as, does the manager get his clients repped at agencies that are respected by the industry; has the juice to get his client on the Black List if a screenplay is worthy; get his client studio assignments; get his clients’ films into respected festivals; does the manager have the personality and work ethic that you’ll be able to work with; does he work well with producers; does he feel strongly about the type of material you write; do your peers say they had great, or bad experiences with this manager, etc.

Even if a writer does his due diligence in selecting a manager, there's a possibility the relationship doesn't work out as well as the writer had hoped. If this is the case, then look for another manager and keep looking until you hook up with -- THE ONE.

There are writers who have a beef about managers who produce. If this is you, then look for managers who don't, or agents, producers and entertainment attorneys. Problem solved.

I suggest that a new writer add a manager to his team. USUALLY, a manager will be more involved in a writer's growth and script development. USUALLY, an agent’s focus is all about the sell (scripts, assignments, etc.)

Last edited by JoeNYC : 06-26-2019 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:06 AM   #24
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Originally Posted by AnyOtherName View Post
I'm all for feedback! Gets reads from your peers, from pros, from trusted friends! Listen to notes, take what's useful, discard what's not! Rewrite!

What I'm against is a practice that seems to have developed over the years wherein young writers are expected to do endless free rewrites for wannabe producers-- sorry, "managers"-- who refuse to do the job they've been hired to do until they feel sufficient attention has been paid to their (frequently bad) opinions.

I've honestly never known anyone who rewrote a script for a manager and then sold the script, though I'm sure it's happened, sometime, somewhere. On the other hand, I've lost count of how many people I've known who've wasted years of their lives rewriting scripts for managers, watching their savings evaporate, their spirits dwindle, and their careers fail to launch.
Oh... holy hell... I fully agree with you on the free rewrites into infinity thing. I wouldn't recommend that either, unless you saw validity in their notes.

Although, as we know, it can happen with REAL producers too. I mentioned in another thread that I got trapped in development hell for OVER A FRIGGIN YEAR with a top tier producer. Think a Rudin type (but not him). I lost count of how many drafts I did. Yet, my first meeting was probably the best I'd ever had. In fact he called my rep and said it was one of his best meetings as well, it was a good "hang." His words "I fukkin love this script, I wanna live here!" High praise. I'd never worked with a producer that big up to that point (save for maybe Stoff). So, ya know... I tried to make it work. I'm a nobody. But, nearly a year in and, yup, my savings was dwindling (my rent 5k, money I made from selling other people's scripts. Burned through 100k with zero dollars coming in. Dumb!). I'm like WTF? Why are we still rewriting a script you initially were EMPHATIC was AWESOM? But... that dangling carrot kept me rewriting and rewriting, the list of A-List directors he promised we'd go to if we could just get it there was all the top people. How could I walk away? We're so close, I assumed. Maybe this draft. Nope! Maybe this draft? Nope! Told me if I were Aaron Sorkin this would sell for a million bucks. So I kept going. Finally he pulled off the project. An entire year wasted! The script never went to ANYONE! NO ONE!

Here's what I think happened: He read it himself. Loved it. Sent it over to CAA for second opinions. 3 super agents. He said I want them to help us. I believe they read it themselves based on who he is. I believe they discussed it in house and didn't like it. I think they got in his ear and told him it sucked (which I still don't believe). I think they then did coverage, after the fact, sent it to him. I think that made him second guess. Then he split.

I'll NEVER do that amount of free work ever again. Lesson learned the hard way. So, yeah, I fully agree with you on that part. No matter who it is. Currently (no matter who it is) I'd tell them upfront the amount of time I will do free writes, which is a max of 2 weeks. Save for a manger, I'd go a little longer for a manager, so long as I believed in their notes, seeing as the drafts are so fresh and untested.

Although, I still gotta side with Joe on the other stuff. Seems reasonable to me.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:21 PM   #25
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Default Re: Querying studios

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“hilarious”? Really?

I’d like to remind you it wasn’t only about a year ago a member asked if anyone knew of a manager that knew the market for his screenplay (which only would appeal to a specific niche audience.)

You, AnyOtherName, entered the thread, knowingly and confidently, and threw out a list of managers who knew this market.

In a past thread, you told the members that managers have the ability to get a writer on the Black List.

In the past you described to the members the process of working with managers as the following:

“You pitch new ideas, the manager picks a few that seem commercial, you outline them, everyone discusses them, an idea is picked, you spec it, you re-write it -- and either it turns out well (in which case they send it around) or it doesn’t (in which case you move on to the next script).”

To new writers:

Are there bad managers? Sure. Anyone can call themselves a manager. This is why you do your due diligence in selecting a manager to represent you, such as, does the manager get his clients repped at agencies that are respected by the industry; has the juice to get his client on the Black List if a screenplay is worthy; get his client studio assignments; get his clients’ films into respected festivals; does the manager have the personality and work ethic that you’ll be able to work with; does he work well with producers; does he feel strongly about the type of material you write; do your peers say they had great, or bad experiences with this manager, etc.

Even if a writer does his due diligence in selecting a manager, there's a possibility the relationship doesn't work out as well as the writer had hoped. If this is the case, then look for another manager and keep looking until you hook up with -- THE ONE.

There are writers who have a beef about managers who produce. If this is you, then look for managers who don't, or agents, producers and entertainment attorneys. Problem solved.

I suggest that a new writer add a manager to his team. USUALLY, a manager will be more involved in a writer's growth and script development. USUALLY, an agent’s focus is all about the sell (scripts, assignments, etc.)
I have a manager! He's a great, trusted business partner and a good friend. To be clear: I don't have a problem with managers.

What I have a problem with is this idea that writers need managers to "help get theirs scripts to the next level" or whatever. Managers are business partners, not creative partners. Most managers I know are people who were like A/B students who kinda did whatever until college, at which point they decided the entertainment industry sounded like fun, at which point they became junior execs, at which point they realized they'd probably never advance much in that job, at which point they decided "Hmm, what's next? My cousin said he could get me an offer to be a project lead for a startup, or I could always become a manager?"

There's nothing wrong with that! Managers can serve useful functions! They can be second agents, they can help with the juggling act when you have lots of demands on your time, and they can definitely, as I/you said, help wrangle votes for the Blacklist. But with rare exceptions, these people aren't born artists; they're just Joe average dudes who have never written a script and never made a movie. There are probably thirty thousand people in America who would be vastly more qualified to weigh in on a spec script than almost any literary manager.

In general (there are exceptions!), I think the "add a manager first" thing is backwards. When you're crazy busy and need someone to help manage the load, that's when you can really use a manager. But when all you really need is to be widely read / sold / employed, in my experience, you'd generally be better suited by getting an agent, as agents tend to have a wider reach than most managers.
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:36 PM   #26
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Is that what you're advocating? Don't seek representation from a manager? They'll suck the life out of you.
In general, yes, that is what I am advocating. I personally wasted years and years of my life working with managers from various well-known places because I thought that was what I was "supposed" to do. I finally got sick of it, gave up on managers, got an agent, and everything changed dramatically overnight. I have seen similar trajectories over and over and over again.

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By the way, you did catch where I said from a writer working with and following a manager's guidance, he sold his screenplay? I'm sure this isn't an isolated incident, or there wouldn't be so many managers making a living in the industry.
I'm happy for that writer! Like I said, I'm sure it's happened. But I do think it's an extraordinarily rare outcome. And I feel confident in saying that the reason there are so many managers making a living has absolutely nothing to do with their development notes or similar "guidance."
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:53 PM   #27
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Default Re: Querying studios

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I have a manager! He's a great, trusted business partner and a good friend. To be clear: I don't have a problem with managers.

What I have a problem with is this idea that writers need managers to "help get theirs scripts to the next level" or whatever. Managers are business partners, not creative partners. Most managers I know are people who were like A/B students who kinda did whatever until college, at which point they decided the entertainment industry sounded like fun, at which point they became junior execs, at which point they realized they'd probably never advance much in that job, at which point they decided "Hmm, what's next? My cousin said he could get me an offer to be a project lead for a startup, or I could always become a manager?"

There's nothing wrong with that! Managers can serve useful functions! They can be second agents, they can help with the juggling act when you have lots of demands on your time, and they can definitely, as I/you said, help wrangle votes for the Blacklist. But with rare exceptions, these people aren't born artists; they're just Joe average dudes who have never written a script and never made a movie. There are probably thirty thousand people in America who would be vastly more qualified to weigh in on a spec script than almost any literary manager.

In general (there are exceptions!), I think the "add a manager first" thing is backwards. When you're crazy busy and need someone to help manage the load, that's when you can really use a manager. But when all you really need is to be widely read / sold / employed, in my experience, you'd generally be better suited by getting an agent, as agents tend to have a wider reach than most managers.
I suppose I trust my manager's notes a bit more than the managers you're describing because he went to film school, wanted to be a director, then became a writer, then a story analyst for an agency for 6 years at a major, then an agent, then a manager.

I also trust producers a bit more when they used to be a writer, and have actually sold their own work in the past. I'm thinking of one guy in particular where we used to be writing buddies. We were both repped by CAA at the time. I'd read his stuff, he'd read mine and we'd give each other notes. He runs a Class-A prodco now. We were in the trenches together struggling, commiserating... then a few years later I find myself emailing him the night of the Oscars to say "Good luck on your best pic nom!" He was nice enough to email me back during the Oscars to say "Thanks man!"

Point: I'm an idiot for going back to writing!
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:34 PM   #28
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Default Re: Querying studios

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I also trust producers a bit more when they used to be a writer, and have actually sold their own work in the past. I'm thinking of one guy in particular where we used to be writing buddies. We were both repped by CAA at the time. I'd read his stuff, he'd read mine and we'd give each other notes. He runs a Class-A prodco now. We were in the trenches together struggling, commiserating... then a few years later I find myself emailing him the night of the Oscars to say "Good luck on your best pic nom!" He was nice enough to email me back during the Oscars to say "Thanks man!"
Look, I know a few producers/execs who are extraordinarily good at development, and I'll work with them on anything, even when it doesn't make perfect "sense" from a business standpoint. But I do feel they're the rare exceptions.
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:39 PM   #29
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Default Re: Querying studios

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Look, I know a few producers/execs who are extraordinarily good at development, and I'll work with them on anything, even when it doesn't make perfect "sense" from a business standpoint. But I do feel they're the rare exceptions.
Agreed. But, I agree with Joe too. I'm not sure both of your points are all that related. Two separate things in my mind. Which is why I'm able to agree with both of you.
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:50 PM   #30
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Default Re: Querying studios

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I have a manager! He's a great, trusted business partner and a good friend. To be clear: I don't have a problem with managers.
Let me quote: "I don't have a problem with managers."

Fifteen minutes after this post, you answer my question of "are you advocating for a writer to not seek representation from a manager" with the following:

"In general, yes, that is what I am advocating."

Which is it? Do you, or don't you have a problem with managers?

These two polar opposite opinions, within minutes of each other, not years, don't make sense and makes me suspect any advice from you.

Also, when I mentioned that managers know the market, you called me out saying, "the idea that any given manager knows the market and what they want is, frankly, hilarious."

In the past, there's proof that you stated yourself that managers know the market, but I don't see you owning up to the fact that you were... "confused" we'll say.
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