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Old 01-11-2010, 02:22 PM   #81
joe9alt
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

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Originally Posted by carcar View Post
I'd love to get something like this. Seriously.
Join the club....we all would.

You'd also get to join the much more exclusive WGA "club", too...not a bad perk!

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But if I were repped, at present, just coming into the professional world, I think I'd leap at the assignment, if I thought I had a good take on it. It seems like a great job to cut your teeth on, and if it were page one, I think you'd probably stand a good chance of getting the credit in an arbitration. As long as my name was on it, and I got paid enough to think about leaving my day job... (I'm not saying actually leaving that job.)
You'd have a shot at getting a shared credit possibly but that wouldn't by any means be guaranteed as the original writer typically gets preference in the process. Regardless, I'd never take one of these jobs expecting to get credit. I'd try for it but that would never be the reason I'd take one of these gigs because odds are you're not gonna get credit.

Unless you're single and have a rich uncle or something, you'd probably NOT gonna be able to quit your day job from one these but you'll be on your way. They say the first job is always the hardest and once somebody takes that first chance on you it could lead to a second and a third and maybe then you can wave goodbye to your cubicle???

That's the thing and that's where I somewhat relate to corduroy's frustration. Getting repped is only HALF the battle...then there's getting PAID to do this stuff...and that takes work...it's jumping through hoops...it's doing a lot of free leg work to develop takes to get turned down for jobs that they were probably never gonna hire anybody on anyways, or at least somebody "new" like you.

The thing where I somewhat disagree with cord on is that one of these days you're gonna turn over another rock and it's gonna pay off.

That's the plan, anyways.

Until then just gotta suck it up and drive on.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:37 PM   #82
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

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Join the club....we all would.

You'd have a shot at getting a shared credit possibly but that wouldn't by any means be guaranteed as the original writer typically gets preference in the process. Regardless, I'd never take one of these jobs expecting to get credit. I'd try for it but that would never be the reason I'd take one of these gigs because odds are you're not gonna get credit.

Unless you're single and have a rich uncle or something, you'd probably NOT gonna be able to quit your day job from one these but you'll be on your way. They say the first job is always the hardest and once somebody takes that first chance on you it could lead to a second and a third and maybe then you can wave goodbye to your cubicle???
That's why I said think about it... I like thinking about it, most days.

My particular cubicle isn't too bad, as far as film-industry friendly day jobs go. And at this point, I wouldn't care too much about the credit, although it would be nice if insiders knew I did a rewrite. But money, credit... both good carrots for this little donkey, and a little would go a long way.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:49 PM   #83
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

My writing partner and I landed our first assignment this past year and we never sold a spec. We had a couple specs go out that got us some buzz, but no sale. So yes, it is possible. The assignment got me into the WGA and a new agent. Good luck everyone!
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:10 PM   #84
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

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My writing partner and I landed our first assignment this past year and we never sold a spec. We had a couple specs go out that got us some buzz, but no sale. So yes, it is possible. The assignment got me into the WGA and a new agent. Good luck everyone!

Awesome! Huge congrats.

Any more insight into the process that led to securing the assignment?
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:50 PM   #85
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

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This sounds very pessimistic and borderline depressive.
THAT sounds depressive and pessimistic to you? Have you actually hung out with any writers? Dude. I'm one of the sunniest people you'd take a meeting with!

But I'm not a moron: I don't buy the lines about how if you just never give up you will def. get there, and it does mildly annoy me when people flat-out lie - by omission or otherwise - to aspiring screenwriters about how few of these jobs there actually are. There are some things (primarily financial, like "find a higher-paying day job" and "look into this 401(k) business") I would have done differently if I had realized before my signing meeting that being pretty good+having an agent does not necessarily equal rolling around in my money.

(I mean, I guess I could, but pennies are so hard!)
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #86
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

I've been writing assignments for some time now, well, at least if you go by the definition of assignment as 'paid work for hire' but if the definition includes full WGA rates then no they're not but then again they're not specs based on producer's ideas either. Maybe we should talk about WGA and non-WGA assignments?

Going by today's exchange rates I get 13K dollars per script with a nice fat pay day if the films gets made (% of budget with floors and ceilings).

It's not the full brass ring but it certainly has pushed up my confidence as a writer to the next level and given me experience in adaptation work (incorporating historical research and interviews). The money's been useful in funding my producing activity: going to Cannes, New York etc paying lawyers, funding a short etc. I was also offered another paid assignment recently (another Cannes meeting) but that has been stalled due to a cash flow on the producer's side so we'll see if that happens. I make my own contacts as a 'writer/producer' and then handle the contracts with my entertainment lawyer. I met another producer from NY (again, in Cannes) who was looking for a European writer to adapt a book. I ordered it from Amazon. Gave my 'take' which he liked and then I never heard from him again. C'est La Vie.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:58 AM   #87
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

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I don't buy the lines about how if you just never give up you will def. get there
I don't say that word for word but I do say if you never give up you'll either succeed or die trying.

Either way you're not gonna ever feel like you failed.

I'll take that.
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:10 AM   #88
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

Same here, Joe.

Same here.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:09 PM   #89
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

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Originally Posted by joe9alt View Post
I don't say that word for word but I do say if you never give up you'll either succeed or die trying.

Either way you're not gonna ever feel like you failed.

I'll take that.
Indeed.

If you don't give up, you have a chance of succeeding...but along the way, you still have to LEARN. That's the most important thing. If you can spot mistakes before you make them, your chance of success doubles. People need to be able to understand the strength of a concept at the logline stage, write a logline that promises a solid story full of conflict (helps if your idea is somewhat unique), and then deliver on that concept through structure, character, etc. People need to be able to read a screenplay and be able to see what works in it, what doesn't and why. People need to establish industry connections, grow to understand as much about the business as possible, and use every resource, every avenue possible. People need to develop a thick skin, be able to take thoughtful criticism and see it as an opportunity to come away with a better product instead of viewing the comments as an insult to one's ability.

Never give up LEARNING.
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:02 PM   #90
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Default Re: Assignments -- Can NEW writers without a sale really land them?

Speaking as a writer who landed an assignment last year that got me into the WGA, the stress of writing with a boss and a deadline is something to consider while developing your skills.

When writing my spec, I should have given myself deadlines and make sure I hit them. A lot of people say it is fine to take as long as you want to write a spec, a year, 8 months, etc. I'd consider self-imposed deadlines. There is something magical that happens when you are writing with a time crunch.

If you already like to work under pressure, it may not be an issue.

I think that if you write a quality spec that gets into enough hands, the odds of getting a paid assignment are pretty decent, as long as you nurture the relationships you make along the way.

A producer that like my spec pitched me a concept he had for a feature. It came down to me and three other writers. In the end, he said he chose me because he thought I would be the most fun to be around during the process.

I love being in the room, I'm super passionate, and passion is contagious.
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