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Old 10-21-2012, 09:16 AM   #1
AE35-Unit
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Default Frustratingly unmarketable.

I've finished five specs and get the same identical response from reads. Two from producers, two from Andrew Hilton and one from a rep.

Good dialog, good writing, good story, but you'll never move it.

Seems my stuff is not marketable because it's too niche and that seems to be the only reason. So should I continue to write what I want or polish up my skills on Zombie and Found Footage scripts? I'm getting kind of pissed-off here.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

It's hard to give you a good answer without knowing what you write. If you'd be willing to post your loglines, maybe we could pinpoint the issue a bit more.

Standard marketable fare for features consists of action, thriller, horror, and young adult movies. For the former three, people are generally looking for a male protagonist in his late 20's to early 30's. Comedies have always been a good bet in the past, but it seems like it's a little harder these days as comedy tends not to translate as well across the globe. R-rated comedies are apparently the exception, and with everything, people want that high-concept big idea.

Also, no one seems to be interested in found footage anymore. I keep hearing stories about recent found footage sales where the first note was to take out that very element. So you can cross that off your list. Zombies and vampires seem to be losing steam, too, although I'm confident someone will come out with a great new twist soon enough.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

"Standard marketable fare for features consists of action, thriller, horror, and young adult movies."

Yeah I know. And nothing I've written falls into those genres. I do smaller stories aimed at lower budgets. I think I've put myself into this rut thinking a smaller cap script would sell quicker but that was before the market reversed itself a few years ago and moved away from romance, sci-fi, and personal drama.

I can't write an action script for ****. Hate horror and have no idea about young adults. I've done one psychological thriller but was told there wasn't enough action.

Maybe I'll just keep adding to my stack of adult romance and down home corn-pone tear jerkers in case they come back into vogue after I die.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

Listen, selling a script is already hard. You're going to drastically reduce your chances if you try and write to the market. If you don't like horror, don't write one. Certainly don't try and figure out exactly what is hot right now and write for that.

Do you like action movies? Are you sure you can't write one? I'm an action writer. That's what we're branding me as, anyway. I didn't realize I was good at action until I wrote my sixth script. I broke in with my eighth.

Can you find a global, high-concept, genre idea and work that small, personalized story into it? A high-concept movie with bland characters is a waste. The best stories are created by people who are emotionally invested in the material. But those stories can still go big.

Above all, you need to write something that interests you. And if the only thing that fits is period-piece drama, arguably the least marketable type of script you can write, you should write it. If you kill it, people will take notice, and opportunities will present themselves.

Also, regarding what you've already written, a psychological thriller with a great concept can EASILY be marketable.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

"The best stories are created by people who are emotionally invested in the material."

I've been emotionally invested in all my stories and have told that the emotion translates well to the characters and their dialogue. I was told my style of writing even exonerates the shortcomings in my concepts but that still doesn't seem to be good enough.

I can't write to the market and sometimes I feel that is my problem. But like you say if I did try, it would probably be a definite fail.

Another problem is my age - 53. I seem to have a disconnect with the younger crowd as my material generally deals with an older audience. Would have been great if I was trying this in the sixties and seventies, huh?

I'm working on a high concept thriller dealing with international cyber-crime with a personalized hook but the damn thing is so technically complex that I'm finding it extremely difficult to translate it to the page in a way the average person can understand.

Sorry, but I had to vent to somebody who can understand my frustration. My wife thinks they're all great. Even made her cry once. I guess that's something to be proud of.

And yes I like action movies but my brain just doesn't go there on paper.

Last edited by AE35-Unit : 10-21-2012 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

I'm sure your age has a little to do with it, but it's probably much less than you think. There are plenty of writers in their 50's whose work entertains younger audiences.

I think the best advice I can give you is to perhaps spend a longer period of time coming up with the right idea. This is a huge source of frustration for me, personally. It takes me forever to come up with a good idea that's both marketable and something that I can be emotionally invested in. If I didn't have a manager to push me to do better, I'd surely be writing something less marketable right now, and possibly wasting my time.

With your cyber-thriller, maybe you can brainstorm an idea to streamline it. Although you certainly lose some interesting themes and moments when you remove complexity, it can also allow the more important themes and moments to pop in a much bigger way.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

This frustration has come up in the past, such as from Tony. The following was my opinion:

Tony says, "If the odds of succeeding with an indie drama might be close to zero, then I can't justify spending at least six months pouring all of my heart and what little is left of my soul into one."

-- Damn, this thread is depressing. (Just joking.)

Tony, I've always advocated to go with the odds when selecting stories to write, but I've always included if a writer doesn't have the passion to write in one of the popular and commercial genres (comedy, action, thriller), then go ahead and write that small, arty indie.

Will it be a hard sell? Sure, but there are other ways to break in with a well-written script, such as, winning the Nicholl, making contacts/relationships where they saw the talent and passion in that indie script, etc.

There are some great indie films that were produced over the years, and I'm glad that these writers had the balls to say screw the odds and went with the story that they were most passionate about.

My point is, is to give what you're passionate about right now a shot. If it doesn't sell, win a contest or gets you contacts, don't have any regrets in completing a story that was very important to you.

If a writerís only, or #1 reason in choosing to write in one of the popular, commercial genres is to please the power-to-be in the industry in the hope theyíll score a big payday, then it isnít gonna work.

If their number one reason isnít because they had a passion to tell that particular story, then itís not gonna be their best writing. Passion brings out a writerís best work.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

Are you interested in selling them outright, or seeing them produced? You might want to consider marketing direct to small Indie filmmakers, and see if you can get one produced film under your belt. Assuming it at least has good production values and performs well in the fests, then the rest might get easier. You never know, a good script filmed well could even pick up a distributor.

I would also suggest doing a short film version of one of them - the easiest to produce in 10 minutes or less - and get this material out there. Having five scripts that are not written for the mass-market mentality will likely sit on shelves no matter how beautiful and complete the story.



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Old 10-21-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AE35-Unit View Post
I'm working on a high concept thriller dealing with international cyber-crime with a personalized hook but the damn thing is so technically complex that I'm finding it extremely difficult to translate it to the page in a way the average person can understand.
You may know this trick, but if not... Don't try to translate it for "the average person".

Try to translate it for one particular person. Someone you know with no tech background but who is emotionally important to you. A mother/grandfather/uncle/lady-down-the-street.

Someone who you really want to tell your story to - in a way that he/she can understand it. And that gives your brain a better reason (so to speak) to find a simple "translation" for your tech stuff.

Plus, with this person, you'll have some common reference points - and so, for example, you might say, "Now this part here is like- Well, remember that weird building over by the mall..."

Now of course, your reader won't know that "weird building", but once you've come up with a way to make use of that "weird building" to explain a particular story point to this real person you know, it may be easier to "translate" it for "the average person."
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Frustratingly unmarketable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manchester View Post
You may know this trick, but if not... Don't try to translate it for "the average person".

Try to translate it for one particular person. Someone you know with no tech background but who is emotionally important to you. A mother/grandfather/uncle/lady-down-the-street.

Someone who you really want to tell your story to - in a way that he/she can understand it. And that gives your brain a better reason (so to speak) to find a simple "translation" for your tech stuff.

Plus, with this person, you'll have some common reference points - and so, for example, you might say, "Now this part here is like- Well, remember that weird building over by the mall..."

Now of course, your reader won't know that "weird building", but once you've come up with a way to make use of that "weird building" to explain a particular story point to this real person you know, it may be easier to "translate" it for "the average person."
I've never tried this, but it makes sense and sounds like a great tip.
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