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Old 01-24-2010, 08:21 PM   #1
cmmora
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Default At times this Business sucks the life...

out of you. As a primer...

I've been pursing a screenwriting career for more years than I like to remember. When I first starting writing, I talked myself out of writing for T.V. since it's almost impossible to break in as a staff writer. So, I dedicated myself to learning the feature script world. Learning the craft. Now after 5 feature scripts, numerous shorts and 4 short scripts I have written and directed, I think I'm hitting my stride. Hopefully, one day I will get repped. It's been a long road, but I have enjoyed it. I love to think up stories from the either.

Now this Sunday I'm sitting here watching the Game (Go Saints) and a commercial comes on for a new series. The plot and even a scene inthe pilot episode looks very smiliar to a feature script I wrote many years ago. My heart dropped. The first thought I has was if I send out my script to anyone they will think I ripped it off from this series. Frustrating to see an idea I've been thinking about for years done by someone else, and not that I am God's gift to writing, so I am sure they did a better job at the premise than I did.

But still, I am looking in from the outside and it's annoying seeing someone else get the golden ring.

I even thought about contacting the show runner and try to get my script to him to see if he has any freelance assignments for the show. I would do a kick butt job with this premise. But, with so many experienced T.V. writers out of work, I'm sure this is a long shot. Which is why I've been doing the feature script route in the first place.

Oh, well. As I always say... Just keep writing. At least I enjoy the process. Even though the process hates me.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

there's really only one thing successful screenwriter's have in common - PERSISTENCE! if you give up then no one will come knocking on your door.

btw - maybe one reason so many tv writers are out of work is b/c they're old school and have nothing new to offer. if you can kick their ass with mad skills then so be it. it's just business.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

All writers MUST learn this eventually -- no matter what the idea is, 99% of the time someone just sold the same thing or is working on it or a big star will sell it as a pitch the day after you finish it. Or you write it and three years later, the same premise sells.

The script we just went out with, well we thought of the idea in 2003, wrote it and then a movie/tv show with the exact same premise came out within a few months of us completing it -- so we shelved it thinking it was dead. It was the same script that got us repped in 2009, that a producer/agent are working on setting up as a movie today. Long time... yes.

Ideas are always out there. It's more than that, it's the execution/your voice/ and luck.

We could all take the same idea "boy falls in love with girl" and make a billion stories. And no matter how specific we get "blind boy falls in love with seven foot girl during WWII in 1945 in Texas" all writers will make it their own.

It's a waste of time to worry about such things and you have to expect it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

I hate to say it but come out to LA ( which goes against every bit of advice i WANT to give ) and get to know someone..ANYONE in the biz. slowly get to know people. You will ONLY get your stuff read if you know someone.

Sad..but true. It really is all about "who you know"
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

Quote:
Originally Posted by beerbeastredux View Post
I hate to say it but come out to LA ( which goes against every bit of advice i WANT to give ) and get to know someone..ANYONE in the biz. slowly get to know people. You will ONLY get your stuff read if you know someone.

Sad..but true. It really is all about "who you know"
Yes, so true.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

Quote:
[there's really only one thing successful screenwriter's have in common - PERSISTENCE! if you give up then no one will come knocking on your door.
I'm just reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and he says the common denominator with many sucessful people is that they have practiced their craft for 10,000 hours whether it be Mozart, Bill Gates, classical violinists, sports men/women or fiction writers. He also says that e.g. with violinists at a certain point the talent is no longer the differentiator and the trigger to success is the amount of hours practiced, the more succesful violinists simply practice more. He even talks about the Beatles and how they honed their craft in clubs in Hamburg playing for hundreds of hours, playing live sets far more often than other bands back home so that when they returned to England they were a much tighter outfit.

10,000 hours. Mmmh....

I make that roughly 2 hours and 45 min per day over 10 years.
Or with 4 hours a day it will take you 6.85 years.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

I guess even a Mod messes up and puts a thread in the wrong area. My question was more about the business (thus this section) than about TV as I had it before. Thanks for catching this fact my Peeps.

I hear you Beer. L.A. would be ideal to go to and network and all. But at the moment, it is not possible to go and live there. Funny... born and raised in L.A. County and now it may take me a lifetime to get back.

But I do visit the folks often. I guess I will have to do a better job of power networking the times I am there.

Bono... so true. Thanks for reminding me.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmmora View Post
out of you. As a primer...

I've been pursing a screenwriting career for more years than I like to remember. When I first starting writing, I talked myself out of writing for T.V. since it's almost impossible to break in as a staff writer. So, I dedicated myself to learning the feature script world. Learning the craft. Now after 5 feature scripts, numerous shorts and 4 short scripts I have written and directed, I think I'm hitting my stride. Hopefully, one day I will get repped. It's been a long road, but I have enjoyed it. I love to think up stories from the either.

Now this Sunday I'm sitting here watching the Game (Go Saints) and a commercial comes on for a new series. The plot and even a scene inthe pilot episode looks very smiliar to a feature script I wrote many years ago. My heart dropped. The first thought I has was if I send out my script to anyone they will think I ripped it off from this series. Frustrating to see an idea I've been thinking about for years done by someone else, and not that I am God's gift to writing, so I am sure they did a better job at the premise than I did.

But still, I am looking in from the outside and it's annoying seeing someone else get the golden ring.

I even thought about contacting the show runner and try to get my script to him to see if he has any freelance assignments for the show. I would do a kick butt job with this premise. But, with so many experienced T.V. writers out of work, I'm sure this is a long shot. Which is why I've been doing the feature script route in the first place.

Oh, well. As I always say... Just keep writing. At least I enjoy the process. Even though the process hates me.
Wait a minute, this is a great opportunity for you to try and get your material into the hands of folks that may be predisposed to reading it and could have the ability to hire you on something.

What are you waiting for? Get that script to someone involved with the show.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SBScript View Post
Wait a minute, this is a great opportunity for you to try and get your material into the hands of folks that may be predisposed to reading it and could have the ability to hire you on something.

What are you waiting for? Get that script to someone involved with the show.
I'm researching this as I type this note...
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: At times this Business sucks the life...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidcharlemagne View Post
I'm just reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and he says the common denominator with many sucessful people is that they have practiced their craft for 10,000 hours whether it be Mozart, Bill Gates, classical violinists, sports men/women or fiction writers. He also says that e.g. with violinists at a certain point the talent is no longer the differentiator and the trigger to success is the amount of hours practiced, the more succesful violinists simply practice more. He even talks about the Beatles and how they honed their craft in clubs in Hamburg playing for hundreds of hours, playing live sets far more often than other bands back home so that when they returned to England they were a much tighter outfit.

10,000 hours. Mmmh....

I make that roughly 2 hours and 45 min per day over 10 years.
Or with 4 hours a day it will take you 6.85 years.

There's also the belief among many that you have to write a million words before you get good enough to write professionally. Granted that came from the world of novelists where you're talking 50,000 to 100,000 word manuscripts... but even in comparing the ratio, you're talking 10-20 complete works before you're good enough to write that type of work professionally.

Either way, whether it's hours or words... I've still got a ways to go.
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