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Old 12-19-2016, 10:52 PM   #1
lbs101
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Default Producer wants to talk... now what?

I recently had a Black List review with an overall 7 score, but enough component 8's to generate a little attention.

A producer with a impressive IMDB page reached out to me, saying he loved the script and wanted to know when I was free to discuss.

So what should I be prepared to talk about? What kinds of questions should I be ready to answer? What questions should I ask him?

What's the "normal" outcome of these types of meetings? Something like "We love your work, what else you got?" or can I expect something more than that?
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:47 PM   #2
DavidK
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

These initial meetings are usually basic get-to-know you meetings. He'll be interested in your take on your own script, but as much as that he'll want to know what you'll be like to work with and what your strengths are. So be on time, be yourself, be polite, and interested without overdoing it.

There's no normal outcome. He might want to do something further with the script in question, and/or see something else you've written. Don't see this meeting as too much more than initiating a working relationship. They'll make it clear if they want to buy anything but see this mostly as a chance to introduce yourself and your work.

If you do a search in these forums you'll see lots of good advice and examples of other people's experiences. Good luck and try to enjoy it.
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Old 12-22-2016, 02:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lbs101 View Post
I recently had a Black List review with an overall 7 score, but enough component 8's to generate a little attention.

A producer with a impressive IMDB page reached out to me, saying he loved the script and wanted to know when I was free to discuss.

So what should I be prepared to talk about? What kinds of questions should I be ready to answer? What questions should I ask him?

What's the "normal" outcome of these types of meetings? Something like "We love your work, what else you got?" or can I expect something more than that?
Agree with DavidK.

Let the producer see you are smart, sane, and ambitious. Don't be a weirdo. Don't suck up all the air in the room and don't disappear. Don't try to hard, don't play cool.

What you most want to portray is someone who has a sense of destiny. That you're someone who is going places.

The producer will get excited if he/she hears that you have a bunch of ideas, that you are pursuing them regardless, and that you are pursuing them with some sense of who you think you can be in the market....as opposed "I'm a crazy genius with a ton of ideas that are all over the place."

You don't have to tell the producer all your ideas, if you do things right, it will come out naturally.
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

The only thing I would add is that, one potential goal of this meeting is to agree on a vision of the project that he would produce that you would be enthusiastic about.

The best version of this meeting is one where you're just completely on the same page, and every note he says you think is great, and inspires you with interesting ideas that the loves. Needless to say, that's not super common, but it does happen.

The thing you want to be careful about is saying "no." I've literally been in a meeting where the producer asked a question, and my writing partner said, "No," and you could feel the air go out of the room. And it was frustrating because it was a note we could have worked with. "Yes, and ..." is your friend.

eg., in that specific case, the producer talked about the idea of romance between the preteen leads. And what we should have said was, "Yes, and it's really a romance about power, not sex. He feels powerless in his life and he's drawn to her blah blah blah."

And what my partner said was "No, it's not a romance."

In my opinion, the gap between what we wanted the script to be was much smaller than the gap between the words we used to talk about it. They didn't want a script about preteens making out and neither did we.

This doesn't mean agree with everything he says. But if he says something you have a visceral reaction against, things like, "That's interesting. I'd have to think about ways to make it work," or "I like that idea but it presents some challenges like X, Y, and Z" are responses that keep the conversation going and make the producer feel like you're working with him.

You don't have to have all the answers. You do want to sound like someone who wants to find them. And sometimes you can't end up working with someone, but don't assume that's the case just because they give you one note you dislike, and find ways to keep the conversation flowing.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

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Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
This doesn't mean agree with everything he says. But if he says something you have a visceral reaction against, things like, "That's interesting. I'd have to think about ways to make it work," or "I like that idea but it presents some challenges like X, Y, and Z" are responses that keep the conversation going and make the producer feel like you're working with him.
My strategy if I get a note that really freaks me out is to say, "Hm. So you're saying..." and then summarize the note back to them. It buys you some time to formulate a nice, polite response like the ones Ronaldinho mentioned. (And sometimes I misunderstood the note, so that's always good to clear up quickly.)
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

Thank you everyone for your input. The call went very well and we are now in the process of negotiating the option.
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

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Thank you everyone for your input. The call went very well and we are now in the process of negotiating the option.
Congats. Your lawyer should negotiate the option for you.
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

lbs101,

Congrats! Let us know how things shake out as they progress.
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Old 01-02-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

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Congats. Your lawyer should negotiate the option for you.
Congrats, lbs101, good to hear things are going well.

Ronaldinho is right, let your lawyer do the negotiating. This allows you to keep your emotions out of it, but more importantly it keeps a good "creative" relationship with the producer.

Good luck with the option.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Producer wants to talk... now what?

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Congrats, lbs101, good to hear things are going well.

Ronaldinho is right, let your lawyer do the negotiating. This allows you to keep your emotions out of it, but more importantly it keeps a good "creative" relationship with the producer.

Good luck with the option.
Thanks for all the input. My attorney took a crack at it, I negotiated the terms myself with the Producer, and everything worked out. We changed some wording around and added in some rights regarding potential sequels. Most of the other terms, like purchase price, were fair from the get go so there was no change there.

Hopefully something comes of it, but in the meantime I'm not going to quit my day job.

Now off to write the next script!
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