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Old 07-19-2010, 12:46 PM   #41
Geoff Alexander
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by MrEarbrass View Post
all reads are not created equal--
Bravo.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:09 PM   #42
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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I'm saying you're full of Sh*t about the effectiveness of other methods because you've probably never tried them because you're afraid of rejection or maybe you have tried them and it didn't work for you.

But you know what? It's working for me and it will continue to work for other people. Believe what you want but new writers who don't do anything and everything they can to get read are just wasting a lot of time and energy hoping for that lucky one in a million break.
If your method is so great and effective, why did you recently sign with a manager?
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:58 PM   #43
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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As for the six figure deal - it fell through, the book deal, got hung up on money, the mma script deal blew apart on creative differences which turned off the financiers. Such is life unfortunately.
Surely a top class salesman like you knows how to close a deal. What gives?

And why are you so excited you're about to faint just for signing with a manager? You're getting reads all over town...
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:30 PM   #44
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

Prospecting data shouldn't be any different in Hollywood vs. say, the rest of the world...one is likely to find a cold calling success rate of 2-5% with a 40-50% increase for referrals...


Anyway, when I think of Hollywood, I think of concentric circles of trust...and then I had the following exchange in a meeting last week with a VP from one of the networks:

Me: So there's no such thing as a black swan in Hollywood?
VP: Not unless they're ushered in by a white one.
Me: lol Fair enough.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:22 PM   #45
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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This is a lot of misplaced anger. Everything you're saying makes sense from your limited perspective, but you're arguing with people who know a lot more than you about how the business actually works. If you spent any time learning about the buyer's side, you would learn very quickly that all reads are not created equal--and that there's a vast, vast gulf between being read and beginning a studio career.

You're absolutely correct that there is no one route in this business. Maybe you'll cold call the right person and get your big break... I don't think MrJones or SB would argue that there's a zero percent chance of that happening. But to claim that cold calling production companies is a viable strategy flies in the face of both evidence and the reality of the way the system is constructed. You don't have to believe me. But if you're as good at sales as you think you are, it might behoove you to learn how buyers in this business actually operate. One one of the ways to learn that is by listening to people currently working in the system rather than just announcing that they're full of crap.
And you, again assume I don't know anything about producing or that I don't know any producers personally or that I don't have a clue about the buyers side of it. What you fail to realize is that I do in fact know a lot of producers. 3 in particular with whom I have good a working relationship have been nominated for or won academy awards as producers. One whom I raised money for on a project in particular who has produced films directed by Spielberg, Altman, and Hackford and currently has offices on Paramount's lot.

Oh and yes, they were all people I met VIA COLD CALLING OR QUERIES and have built relationships with over the last 5 years.

What you don't realize is that as a financial advisor I worked with a film distribution fund. What you don't know about my personal experience is perhaps epic in scope.

But to the point, could it be that MAYBE your belief system of why people buy what they buy is shaped purely by what you believe to be true in your limited experience? Could it be that maybe there are other approaches that are effective in terms of networking that perhaps you haven't the talent for? Could it be that maybe someone who is starting out with absolutely no connections might want to hear about other possible strategies for success besides the old "wait and see if I can be lucky enough to have a manager call me out of the blue" method? Could it?

I will grant that all of you may be better writers than I am but I would wager that my knowledge of the "business" of this business is on par with any of yours. Not that that matters.

The bottom line here, and the one I pointed out originally, was that the assertion that cold calling or querying producers is a waste of time is galactically false in every possible permutation.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:26 PM   #46
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Surely a top class salesman like you knows how to close a deal. What gives?

And why are you so excited you're about to faint just for signing with a manager? You're getting reads all over town...
The reason I'm excited to have a manager is simple. If my writing were better I would've sold more scripts with the reads I've had. I need someone to help me be better as a writer so when the reads come they're not wasted on a script that wasn't ready.

I have many weaknesses as a writer not as a hustler.

But hey, if you don't think getting reads without representation is helpful then don't do it. Leave it for those who want to. Just don't say it's not helpful if you've never done it nor tried to do it just because you think "it's not done that way."
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:18 PM   #47
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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And you, again assume I don't know anything about producing or that I don't know any producers personally or that I don't have a clue about the buyers side of it. What you fail to realize is that I do in fact know a lot of producers. 3 in particular with whom I have good a working relationship have been nominated for or won academy awards as producers. One whom I raised money for on a project in particular who has produced films directed by Spielberg, Altman, and Hackford and currently has offices on Paramount's lot.

Oh and yes, they were all people I met VIA COLD CALLING OR QUERIES and have built relationships with over the last 5 years.

What you don't realize is that as a financial advisor I worked with a film distribution fund. What you don't know about my personal experience is perhaps epic in scope.

But to the point, could it be that MAYBE your belief system of why people buy what they buy is shaped purely by what you believe to be true in your limited experience? Could it be that maybe there are other approaches that are effective in terms of networking that perhaps you haven't the talent for? Could it be that maybe someone who is starting out with absolutely no connections might want to hear about other possible strategies for success besides the old "wait and see if I can be lucky enough to have a manager call me out of the blue" method? Could it?

I will grant that all of you may be better writers than I am but I would wager that my knowledge of the "business" of this business is on par with any of yours. Not that that matters.

The bottom line here, and the one I pointed out originally, was that the assertion that cold calling or querying producers is a waste of time is galactically false in every possible permutation.
You are arguing against a ridiculous straw man. You have been unable to name a single writer who got his big break by calling producers. I can name a dozen writers who pass through this board who have gotten their break after getting a manager or agent. Yes, it is possible that your cold calls could lead somewhere. But we are arguing about percentages. Anything is possible in this business... as someone said, you could leave your script in a bathroom and get discovered. But you are not maximizing your chances of success when you tape your scripts to stall doors all over town.

My misplaced anger comment was related to a widespread phenomenon whereby writers blame the gatekeepers. The idea that managers and agents can't see your genius, but if you could only get past them to the real decision makers that your career will be launched. But agents and managers are actually more likely to look past the flaws of a project to its potential, and their tastes--by necessity--tend to be broader. Or you could just look at the hard numbers... how many spec scripts circulate every year vs. how many are bought.

Nobody is arguing that the ability to network isn't useful for a writer. It's a great skill, and if you break in it will certainly make it easier for you to land work than your socially-inept friends. But the question is whether cold calling production companies on behalf of a script that can't attract a decent manager/agent is likely to be a useful strategy for an unsold writer, and that question has been answered by sources whose experiences in this town are 1) verifiable and 2) involve actually selling scripts.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:05 AM   #48
dirtbottle
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by MrEarbrass View Post
You are arguing against a ridiculous straw man. You have been unable to name a single writer who got his big break by calling producers. I can name a dozen writers who pass through this board who have gotten their break after getting a manager or agent. Yes, it is possible that your cold calls could lead somewhere. But we are arguing about percentages. Anything is possible in this business... as someone said, you could leave your script in a bathroom and get discovered. But you are not maximizing your chances of success when you tape your scripts to stall doors all over town.

My misplaced anger comment was related to a widespread phenomenon whereby writers blame the gatekeepers. The idea that managers and agents can't see your genius, but if you could only get past them to the real decision makers that your career will be launched. But agents and managers are actually more likely to look past the flaws of a project to its potential, and their tastes--by necessity--tend to be broader. Or you could just look at the hard numbers... how many spec scripts circulate every year vs. how many are bought.

Nobody is arguing that the ability to network isn't useful for a writer. It's a great skill, and if you break in it will certainly make it easier for you to land work than your socially-inept friends. But the question is whether cold calling production companies on behalf of a script that can't attract a decent manager/agent is likely to be a useful strategy for an unsold writer, and that question has been answered by sources whose experiences in this town are 1) verifiable and 2) involve actually selling scripts.
Forget it. You're right. I'll just ignore 100% of my experience that shows by roughly a 3 -1 margin (verified by tracking every query I've made in 5 years) producers are more likely to read than managers, just because you guys say the complete opposite is the case. As for gatekeeper anger I wouldn't know. I get past them typically.

I'll also just ignore the fact that the SECOND CALL I EVER MADE TO A PRODUCER landed an 11k vs. 250k option without representation specifically because it's not a sale, and if it were it wouldn't be your personal experience so it wouldn't count anyway.

I'll just ignore all that because I didn't do it your way.

Clearly, I've not earned the goodhousekeeping seal of approval yet because I had the audacity to waste my time approaching producers so I'll just defer to your infinite wisdom on the subject since you all have done it so much more than me and already proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that in no way could it possibly lead to a sale even perhaps indirectly.

So let this be a lesson to all you beginners out there. I'm changing my mind to get on board here. Producers - the people who actually are looking for your material - WASTE OF TIME. DO NOT CALL THEM OR APPROACH THEM IN ANY WAY.

Instead, spend years of your life perfecting your craft then more years of your life pining and hoping and wheedling to get your work somehow into the hands of one of the big 4 so a mailroom clerk can read it and decide it's not good enough for him to advance.

Oh wait, forget big 4, because they don't sign new writers without having had something sold or a referral from a respected industry type like a big producer (again DO NOT CALL PRODUCERS).

So pine for mid-level. But not managers, because too many of them are also producers now, and we already know that producers are a waste of time.

So find some small level agent who runs his shop out of a starbucks who will agree to rep anything that hasn't been used to wipe someone's ass yet.

Good luck and Godspeed.

Last edited by dirtbottle : 07-20-2010 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:09 AM   #49
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
.... If my writing were better I would've sold more scripts with the reads I've had. I need someone to help me be better as a writer so when the reads come they're not wasted on a script that wasn't ready.

I have many weaknesses as a writer not as a hustler.
And this, to me, deserves a BRAVO! for the honest evaluation of DB's own strengths and weaknesses.

It's not a question of standing at a urinal and saying "my sale is bigger than your sale". It's a matter of "getting" the read, not the quality of what's read.

DB, I sincerely hope that someday, your writing will match your hustling...But if it never does, would you consider becoming my agent?

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Old 07-20-2010, 09:19 AM   #50
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

Dude, is it fun to imagine we said stuff and argue passionately against it?

Here's what I did say that got you all hot and bothered...

IMO, querying hollywood production companies is a waste of time. There are so few examples of that ever leading to a legitimate sale out of the hundreds of thousands written annually to production companies. Compare that number with how many more sales have resulted from a writer sending a query to a manager who took their script out and sold it. I guarantee the numbers aren't even close.

Compare that with what you imagined I said.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post

Clearly, I've not earned the goodhousekeeping seal of approval yet because I had the audacity to waste my time approaching producers so I'll just defer to your infinite wisdom on the subject since you all have done it so much more than me and already proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that in no way could it possibly lead to a sale even perhaps indirectly.
At least the bolded part of your sentence below is good advice.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Instead, spend years of your life perfecting your craft then more years of your life pining and hoping and wheedling to get your work somehow into the hands of one of the big 4 so a mailroom clerk can read it and decide it's not good enough for him to advance.
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