Click here for Done Deal Pro home page

Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > Business > Business Questions and Advice
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-29-2016, 02:04 PM   #1
glrobert
New User
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 14
Default Am I crazy?

So I have a script that performed well on the Black List last year and placed fairly high in a couple 2015 competitions. As a result, I was contacted by a legit manager as well as an Emmy nominated producer. Hooray!

I met with both of them, and based on those meetings and several additional phone conversations, decided to move forward with the producer without signing on with the manager. No checks were written, no papers signed. According to the producer, the work to be done was minimal. "It's already closer to being ready than most of the scripts getting passed around town" he says. "I'm going to send it to these A-list actresses" he says. Hooray! Hooray!

Eight months and who knows how many drafts later, we're still doing the back and forth. The script is starting to take a shape that I don't love, and now it seems like he's wanting to take it even further in that direction. He's now wanting me to do things that are exactly the things I was intentionally avoiding when I first wrote the script. Boo!

I told myself back in January that I would defer to him and his experience. That I was lucky to be in this position and that no matter how hard it may be, I would see it through. But now, I am so ridiculously sick of this script I want to cry every time I open my laptop. The well is bone dry. Not to be dramatic, but I feel a little like Sisyphus pushing that damn boulder up the mountain!

I have a family and own a business that sometimes takes up 60 hours of my week. And I have several other projects in various stages that I absolutely can't wait to crack wide open. But between real life and spinning the hamster wheel with this producer, I can't get anywhere with anything else. I'm not afraid of the work. If I felt the script was really getting better, I'd stick to it. Bottom line is, I feel like this process has run it's course and I'm ready to move on. I need to focus my creative energy on something else. Considering the fact that I'm unrepresented and have no actual screenwriting career to speak of, does this make me a crazy person?
glrobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 02:46 PM   #2
DangoForth
Member
 
DangoForth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Secluded Mountain Fortress
Posts: 808
Default Re: Am I crazy?

You're not crazy. The fact is that the producer has you working for free. That's probably happened to all of us at one time or another. But eight months of rewrites back and forth is a pretty good signal that you may not be the only writer he/she is "working" with. Start on the next script.
DangoForth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 03:40 PM   #3
docgonzo
Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,038
Default Re: Am I crazy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by glrobert View Post
I told myself back in January that I would defer to him and his experience.
This is why you're in your current predicament. Never defer to someone else regardless of experience or position. Be collaborative and easy to work with, yes, but never throw up your hands and allow someone else to dictate your vision.

Like Dango said, we've all been through something similar at one time or another. It's frustrating to learn this lesson the hard way, but hopefully said lesson is learned.

And what happened to the manager? They didn't want to represent you after all?
docgonzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 03:59 PM   #4
glrobert
New User
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 14
Default Re: Am I crazy?

Thanks for the replies so far. I feel less crazy already. In regards to the manager, I just wasn't convinced that it was the right fit for me. Though it would have been nice at times to have a manager's advice/help, I still feel like I made the right decision.
glrobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 05:39 PM   #5
slupo
Member
 
slupo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 602
Default Re: Am I crazy?

Be open with the producer about how you're feeling. Tell him exactly what you said in this post.

He might react negatively. Then tell him you want to part ways. Hopefully you've been working on something this whole time. If not, start something new.

Or he might be surprised and back off. Most writers are people pleasers. He might not even know you're feeling burned out.
slupo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2016, 11:33 PM   #6
EdFury
Member
 
EdFury's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: California
Posts: 710
Default Re: Am I crazy?

You're in a position most writers have been in. Producer Purgatory. Run away. If after 8 months and multiple free rewrites this guy is still asking for more free rewrites, it'll never stop. Guys like this often have a dozen writers on the hook with their scripts, all out there thinking they're the only one and that just one more rewrite will be the one he'll love and their film will get made. Doesn't work that way.

Legitimate Producers option scripts. They have a clear idea of what they want from them and how they want them developed. They INVEST in them. This guy has zero invested in you. He has no skin in this actually being successful. Whether it works or not won't affect him in the least. They count on the fear and desperation of writers to not question what they're doing or to stand up for themselves. They lead writers on. They make vague promises about actresses, but don't name them. Or financing they can get if you just do this one last rewrite, until they need the next one. I'm not sure why they do these things. Because they can? I have no idea. But every producer needs to be on a time limit. You need to stand up for yourself. He hasn't invested a dime in you and you're jumping through hoops for the guy.

And if he drops the project? Then you're lucky. Means he didn't believe in it enough to invest in it. Even for a 500 dollar option. Talk to him. Ask him why all these changes for months. Ask him why he told you it was near ready and put you through this. And, for God's sake, give him a time limit. It's your script. It's your career. It's your business. Treat it like a business. And don't be defensive. And don't be emotional. Otherwise, this will go on indefinitely.
EdFury is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2016, 12:30 AM   #7
madworld
Member
 
madworld's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Otisburg
Posts: 642
Default Re: Am I crazy?

You are a little crazy for continuing to write endless drafts, yes.

But in fairness to you, we are all completely fvcking crazy for even doing this business, we are. I find cannabis drops help tremendously. Six or so under the tongue. It's maddening.

However, I've been fortunate enough to work with a couple really solid producers, people who knew what they wanted, and I never did more than a rewrite and a polish before it went to whomever. I do try my hardest to be thoughtful about the notes and not just do a cursory pass. It sounds like you have too.

But I also have to be able to get behind the notes to really deliver imo. Your name is on it. If you don't like the direction, it will be tough. Sure, we all make compromises but it will be tough if you hate the direction.

I hear all these horror stories about endless drafts and people doing what they don't want and it just seems like a nightmare. I don't think I could do it either. It's hard enough, isn't it?

I have done the merry-go-round sh1t with tv pitches though, and it's annoying too. I admire those producers who can pick a lane and help you stay in it. Those are the ones I seek. They do exist. Like unicorns. I'm kidding. They're out there. Everybody wants to work with them too.

If it were me, I imagine I'd say respectfully that I've devoted as much time as I'm willing to at this point without payment, and you feel it's time to take it out to buyers or attachments, whatever you had planned. Plus, it will most likely go through more development once buyers are involved.

As EdFury said, don't be defensive with the producer or emotional, but certainly direct. You will feel so free once that conversation is had. I hate those conversations but it's all in your approach. They tend to go a lot easier than we expect. He probably feels it too.
madworld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2016, 07:32 AM   #8
grumpywriter
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 803
Default Re: Am I crazy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
You're in a position most writers have been in. Producer Purgatory. Run away. If after 8 months and multiple free rewrites this guy is still asking for more free rewrites, it'll never stop. Guys like this often have a dozen writers on the hook with their scripts, all out there thinking they're the only one and that just one more rewrite will be the one he'll love and their film will get made. Doesn't work that way.

Legitimate Producers option scripts. They have a clear idea of what they want from them and how they want them developed. They INVEST in them. This guy has zero invested in you. He has no skin in this actually being successful. Whether it works or not won't affect him in the least. They count on the fear and desperation of writers to not question what they're doing or to stand up for themselves. They lead writers on. They make vague promises about actresses, but don't name them. Or financing they can get if you just do this one last rewrite, until they need the next one. I'm not sure why they do these things. Because they can? I have no idea. But every producer needs to be on a time limit. You need to stand up for yourself. He hasn't invested a dime in you and you're jumping through hoops for the guy.

And if he drops the project? Then you're lucky. Means he didn't believe in it enough to invest in it. Even for a 500 dollar option. Talk to him. Ask him why all these changes for months. Ask him why he told you it was near ready and put you through this. And, for God's sake, give him a time limit. It's your script. It's your career. It's your business. Treat it like a business. And don't be defensive. And don't be emotional. Otherwise, this will go on indefinitely.
THIS. Always, always, always, do things under some kind of contract that's been vetted by an entertainment attorney, and ALWAYS get paid -- even if it's just $500. You deserve it. If you look on the boards here you'll see this same story/situation again and again and again: "I'm so happy. Producer X likes my script. Wants me to work on it some more. But we're now in draft number 15. What should I do?" And then nothing ever happens with the script. Producer X is taking advantage of you and your time -- plain and simple.
grumpywriter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2016, 08:38 AM   #9
glrobert
New User
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 14
Default Re: Am I crazy?

A HUGE THANKS to everybody for the advice.

For what it's worth, he did name specific actresses. And he did have a pretty high profile project recently that was nominated for several awards (Golden Globe, Emmy, Satellite, Critics Choice, etc.). He also has a handful of projects set up around town with some impressive names attached. I even reached out to a writer who's worked with this producer and he had nothing but good things to say. On top of all that, we get along great and I do feel like he cares about the script. Maybe I'm still a little more naive than I'd like to admit, but this is why I've stuck with it for so long. That being said, I still feel like it's run it's course. I think I'm just going to respectfully lay my cards out on the table and see what he says.

Thanks again everybody!
glrobert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2016, 10:56 AM   #10
grumpywriter
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 803
Default Re: Am I crazy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by glrobert View Post
A HUGE THANKS to everybody for the advice.

For what it's worth, he did name specific actresses. And he did have a pretty high profile project recently that was nominated for several awards (Golden Globe, Emmy, Satellite, Critics Choice, etc.). He also has a handful of projects set up around town with some impressive names attached. I even reached out to a writer who's worked with this producer and he had nothing but good things to say. On top of all that, we get along great and I do feel like he cares about the script. Maybe I'm still a little more naive than I'd like to admit, but this is why I've stuck with it for so long. That being said, I still feel like it's run it's course. I think I'm just going to respectfully lay my cards out on the table and see what he says.

Thanks again everybody!
The (sad) reality is that even well-connected producers with projects set up around town and awards and big names attached still very often try to take advantage of writers, if they see the opportunity to do so - and they should know better
grumpywriter is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker