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Old 03-25-2015, 09:37 AM   #21
grumpywriter
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Default Re: General boredom

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Originally Posted by UnequalProductions View Post
You're confused? I'm probably even more confused.

The first pilot we wrote got a really great response when it first went out. We met with production companies until we decided who we wanted to go with. They had a first-look deal with a studio. Then we met with WME who repped our producer. They all "helped" us with our pitch, and when it was ready, we started hitting networks. Pitched everywhere. Didn't sell.

We did tons of rewrites both of the pilot and the pitch for every person along the chain. Never got anything out of it. Not even an option.

Since then, we've written a handful more pilots. Signed on with a lit agent. And now we're getting meetings again.

We met with an executive with a studio, and he said "We like to see writers in with just their projects. Having a bunch of producers attached is a major turn off."

Every time I think I understand part of the business side, someone else tells me something completely different.

All I want to do is write. Went to the coffee shop last night with nothing particular to work on, and just started writing scenes. Felt so much better than worrying about all this other junk.
Amen to that! That's why my approach has ALWAYS been to have a day job that pays the bills, is relatively stress-free, and still gives me time to write. I've been lucky enough to be in that situation for the last eight years and it frees me to write and not worry about what happens (or doesn't happen) with any of my scripts. I just write what I like, send it out via my manager. If someone bites, great, if not, who cares...
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:57 PM   #22
Bob Smargiassi
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Default Re: General boredom

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Amen to that! That's why my approach has ALWAYS been to have a day job that pays the bills, is relatively stress-free, and still gives me time to write. I've been lucky enough to be in that situation for the last eight years and it frees me to write and not worry about what happens (or doesn't happen) with any of my scripts. I just write what I like, send it out via my manager. If someone bites, great, if not, who cares...
That's advice I'd give to any young aspiring writer. Learn a skill that the marketplace actually wants then write on nights and weekends. Get a nursing degree, learn to code. Then come out to LA and build your writing career off that stability.

And yeah generals suck.
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Old 03-26-2015, 05:20 PM   #23
UnequalProductions
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Default Re: General boredom

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That's advice I'd give to any young aspiring writer. Learn a skill that the marketplace actually wants then write on nights and weekends. Get a nursing degree, learn to code. Then come out to LA and build your writing career off that stability.

And yeah generals suck.
I would go beyond that to even say, "Don't go to college and major in screenwriting." Take those classes as electives, but study another subject. Make yourself a more rounded person. It'll help bring a reality and diversity to your writing.
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Old 03-27-2015, 05:33 PM   #24
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Default Re: General boredom

The meetings you are describing later in the thread don't sound like "generals" to me. Sounds like people have read your pilots and are specifically interested in those scripts. Which is good news, btw! Generals are more that they read something and for reason x, y, or z it's not for them, but they liked your writing so want to meet you to hear about your other ideas or pitch you something they have on their development slate.

If you are meeting on a pilot and they want to hear your thoughts for the series - that's a specific meeting to sell your series. And, unfortunately, you need to sell more than just the script in the room. You need to sell your concept of the series, its viability/potential over at least 5 seasons (you don't need to have this mapped out but should have lots of ideas that make them believe you've got 5 seasons worth of show) and probably most importantly you need to sell yourselves as potential show runners.

Although you'd probably be teamed with a seasoned show runner at first, you guys have the creative vision of the series - not him/her. You need to convey that vision and convey yourselves as capable of working with/leading an entire staff. Of course I haven't been in the room with you, but it sounds like from your dislike of the experience that this is your achilles heel. No matter how much someone loves your pilot, if they don't think you have the vision/chops to lead the show, they won't move forward.

It's also an attitude issue. You're griping about having to take time off of work - perhaps that attitude is somehow showing in the meetings. BTW, most people here would probably kill to get in some of the rooms you are complaining about. You might consider taking stock and getting some help honing your in-person presentation (BTW, I don't do that so this is not an elaborate sales pitch.)
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:49 PM   #25
wsaunders
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Default Re: General boredom

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I'm getting pretty tired of these General Meetings.
If you want I will go in your stead.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:25 AM   #26
UnequalProductions
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If you want I will go in your stead.
I know. I feel horrible about griping about things that other people would kill to gripe about.

I think a lot of it comes from that mentality of "I just need to do X, and then my career will happen."

I just need to win this contest, and my career will happen. Did that, it hasn't.

I just need to find a manager, and my career will happen. Did that, it hasn't.

I just need to sign with an agent, and my career will happen. Did that, it hasn't.

Though the way that I look at forums has changed a lot over this process. I read messages from people who are looking for the secret to quarrying managers. I just want to tell them to focus their energy more on writing and networking.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:38 AM   #27
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Default Re: General boredom

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The meetings you are describing later in the thread don't sound like "generals" to me. Sounds like people have read your pilots and are specifically interested in those scripts. Which is good news, btw! Generals are more that they read something and for reason x, y, or z it's not for them, but they liked your writing so want to meet you to hear about your other ideas or pitch you something they have on their development slate.

If you are meeting on a pilot and they want to hear your thoughts for the series - that's a specific meeting to sell your series. And, unfortunately, you need to sell more than just the script in the room. You need to sell your concept of the series, its viability/potential over at least 5 seasons (you don't need to have this mapped out but should have lots of ideas that make them believe you've got 5 seasons worth of show) and probably most importantly you need to sell yourselves as potential show runners.

Although you'd probably be teamed with a seasoned show runner at first, you guys have the creative vision of the series - not him/her. You need to convey that vision and convey yourselves as capable of working with/leading an entire staff. Of course I haven't been in the room with you, but it sounds like from your dislike of the experience that this is your achilles heel. No matter how much someone loves your pilot, if they don't think you have the vision/chops to lead the show, they won't move forward.

It's also an attitude issue. You're griping about having to take time off of work - perhaps that attitude is somehow showing in the meetings. BTW, most people here would probably kill to get in some of the rooms you are complaining about. You might consider taking stock and getting some help honing your in-person presentation (BTW, I don't do that so this is not an elaborate sales pitch.)
Yeah, I accept that I am mixing and matching my meetings here. Though to be fair, I don't think these people are actually interested in buying the series we are going in to talk about. More, they're trying to get a feel that we can talk about our series on a larger scale. That we're capable of more than just writing a good pilot.

That or our agent is sending us in knowing there is a very low chance of them buying the series just to get us in front of these executives so they know our faces when our next project is ready.

And don't get me wrong. When these meetings are happening, I'm having a blast. I love going in and talking to people. It's not until after everything is over that I have this feeling that I'm wasting my time. And our agent keeps telling us that we're killing it in the room/people love us. Granted, I take that as 80% blowing smoke up our asses (as I do with most of the things representation tells us), but if we were coming off like we didn't want to be there, I'm sure our agent would have no hesitation in telling us that.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:49 AM   #28
UnequalProductions
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Default Re: General boredom

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Originally Posted by ScriptGal View Post
Although you'd probably be teamed with a seasoned show runner at first, you guys have the creative vision of the series - not him/her. You need to convey that vision and convey yourselves as capable of working with/leading an entire staff. Of course I haven't been in the room with you, but it sounds like from your dislike of the experience that this is your achilles heel. No matter how much someone loves your pilot, if they don't think you have the vision/chops to lead the show, they won't move forward.
Also, we've been through all of this. Our first pilot got snatched up by the production company of a pretty well-known producer with big credits both in film and television. Has multiple series on the air right now. We developed a much longer pitch with them and took it through the studio they had a first look deal with and their agency, rewriting to everyone's notes. Then we went out and pitched it to a dozen different networks. No sale.

Everyone regrouped. They found some experienced show runners to work with us. We developed a whole new pitch. But by then the production company had a deal with a new studio, but our series conflicted with something they already had, so we never even got to use the new pitch.

Basically what I learned through all of this is that no one really seems to know what they're doing. No one could guide us while we crafted our pitch. All they could do was tell us what we were doing wrong. It was like trying to put together a puzzle in the dark.

Though I think you hit the nail on the head. It all comes down to the fact that we've never sold anything. We're an unproven quantity. People seem to love reading our stuff and impressed by us in the room, but no one wants to spend money on us until someone else has already spent money on us. And that's why I feel frustrated that all I seem to be accomplishing is using up all my vacation days. I had hopes of going back to my high school reunion this summer with crazy tales of my experiences in Hollyweird. Now I probably won't have the time off to even go.
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:11 PM   #29
UnequalProductions
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Default Re: General boredom

I'm starting to think I should write a blog called How NOT to Break into Screenwriting.
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Old 03-30-2015, 08:21 PM   #30
ihavebiglips
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Default Re: General boredom

Generals can pay off, but yes — 99% of them are a total circle-jerk in which low level execs get to look productive.

That said, my bro ended up scoring a rewrite gig off of the very first general meeting we ever attended... because we did our research, knew the project was in development, and brought it up ourselves. Also, we made the guild by writing a script we successfully pitched Zac Efron — a deal that had its origins in a general with his exec in which we were casually passed a Wall Street Journal article and asked if we could come up with a story based off of it.

So, when you go into generals: try to keep an open mind, do your research (and definitely bring up **** they have in development that you want to gun for), and focus on conveying that you're a cool, capable person others will wanna work with.

But yes... most, without fail, will lead to nothing. Ever. But they are a necessary evil. That said — always have something ready to pitch, and always be grinding on new material that you can follow up with. The most pointless generals are the ones you never work to turn into anything.
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