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Old 01-23-2019, 02:51 PM   #1
MargoChanning
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Default "Is it Financed?"

Will, if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to redirect me.

Hello guys,

I queried a noted actor's production company for a new project and received a very kind reply to the affect of "Thanks so much for reaching out. Please forward this to (actor's) agent.

I did so and got a one line reply: "Is it financed?"

Ok. Is this REALLY the way that things are now? If so, how do any of us writers have a fvcking shot?

Please. Illuminate me here, as I am seriously wondering what these people are snorting.

For fifteen years, I'v believed that a writer's contribution should be a great story. Now we're either supposed to pony up, (from where?) or obtain financing on our own? (Again, from where?)

This business gets more ludicrous by the week.

Your thoughts, please, and thanks.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

It's not only the way it works now, but it's the way it's pretty much always worked. But here's the thing, they are not expecting money from you, per se, but rather from at least someone, otherwise they don't want to bother. It's not "writers are expected to pay," it's just someone better be ready to have money for a budget and make it an attractive package.

Actors, production companies, producers, directors, etc. don't want to be bothered by every Tom, Dick, Sally or Sue with their scripts. If they took in every script ever queried to them, they'd never get anything done.

When you write an actor's company, unless you are truly somebody with some kind of track record, in most cases you will be referred to their agent, as in don't bother us, bother "my agent." The agent then runs interference. I worked for one director for four years, and we'd send people to his agent at ICM on various occasions, so we wouldn't be bothered by it all or even run into legal issues. The agents vet these projects so their client doesn't waste time. And don't forget the actors usually have pet projects they are already developing themselves.

The vast majority of talent/actor agents out there will pretty much always ask if there is money. They aren't expecting it from you, but it better be out there from someone. Agents field offers. That's their job. Or to put a client up for a paying part.

This is fun and funny, but it's true: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NjrwB3mXXc

No one is expecting you to really have the money. Not you, a writer, who generally has no money. What they want is a producer who has money to offer their client a real paycheck to be in a film based on your script. It's a simple way of getting out of taking material in and in the vast majority of the cases, it's a pass. The agent doesn't want to work for free and the actor's company isn't really interested in being bothered at all. Granted you may have written the greatest script ever. Truly. But everyone that queries thinks that same thing about their script whether it's true or not. In 99% of the cases, it's not. Thus, it's not worth the energy to search for that needle in a haystack. It's easier to get vetted scripts & books from agents or be approached by other companies to do co-productions, etc. Not to mention the fact that even then it's tough to ever get something off the ground. People want the "surest" thing they can before they are going to spend their time worrying about it especially if they have to find the money for it too.

It's a numbers game on many levels: Big paychecks offered. Small pile of material to go through.

If the actor's company loved your query, they might have said, here's a release and send it in, but that's very rare. I think we did that maybe a half-dozen times a year at most for the director/producer I worked for. Most again got passed to his agent at ICM so he/we weren't bothered by it. That might all sound tough, but it's about surviving since you already have six other scripts on your desk to look through that week alone. Even scripts for him/the director would go through his agent first to filter out real offers vs. unknowns with no track record.
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Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 01-23-2019 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:57 PM   #3
CrissCross
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

When I first started writing I would often query a writer's production company or even an agent. What I found is that you look like an amateur doing this. Get a solid manager and have him/her do the pitching. When a script comes from your rep it simply has more juice and is looked upon differently.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:30 PM   #4
MargoChanning
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrissCross View Post
When I first started writing I would often query a writer's production company or even an agent. What I found is that you look like an amateur doing this. Get a solid manager and have him/her do the pitching. When a script comes from your rep it simply has more juice and is looked upon differently.
I have a rep. Shes not in love with this particular script, and I refuse to let it die in the vine. That was a while other thread, by the way.

Thank you, both.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

think of it this way, an actor has a specified number of days they can work in a year. they want to secure (book) income for as much of that year as possible.

so, if they have a choice of reading a script that comes with money attached and one that doesn't what would you do?

it's the exact same thing as a writer being presented with two writing assignments: one pays and one doesn't. you which one would you choose?

the one that enables you to eat and pay your bills.

it's not personal.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

I meant on the vine. ****.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by MargoChanning View Post
I meant “on” the vine. ****.
You can always just click on the EDIT button in the far right corner of your post to update it. No one will really no the better as to what you corrected or tweaked.

And as for all of this, I would like to note, I didn't post what I posted to be discouraging or suggest giving up. But I do want any and all to be as aware as possible as to what they are up against so they can best strategize.

I'm not sure from your original post if you are ultimately reaching out to this actor because you hope they will be in your movie and/or you just think they are an amazing producer. (I'm going to assume it's the former.)

In either case, be smart about it. For example, look up the actor's credits. See what companies they have worked with in the past in terms of acting roles. Query those companies; and particular try to focus on some maybe a little earlier in the actor's career that they worked with which might be smaller to medium size companies. Work on those companies & producers to see if they will show interest in your script. If they do, then at an appropriate time you can "casually" note, "You know, I always thought this would be a good fit for Tom (or Julia), what do you think?" Then they can say, "Yeah! We worked with them on a film before and have an open door relationship with them. We'll send it over. Great idea."

You are frequently better off getting a mutual "friend" or associate to introduce you & your material then going it alone, if you have no rep, money or connections. Don't be disingenuous or tricky about it, but use what means/creative ways you can drum up to reach someone.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

"is it financed?" is the easy/polite way for the actor's prodco to pass on things without having to read them. even if you said "yes" to that question, there would likely be further similar questions to throw up additional roadblocks. don't take it personally
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:03 AM   #9
MargoChanning
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
think of it this way, an actor has a specified number of days they can work in a year. they want to secure (book) income for as much of that year as possible.

so, if they have a choice of reading a script that comes with money attached and one that doesn't what would you do?

it's the exact same thing as a writer being presented with two writing assignments: one pays and one doesn't. you which one would you choose?

the one that enables you to eat and pay your bills.

it's not personal.
I know its not personal. Frustrating, is all. Im frustrated with myself, too, as I probably should have given novels a shot. Oh, well.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:08 AM   #10
MargoChanning
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Default Re: "Is it Financed?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
You can always just click on the EDIT button in the far right corner of your post to update it. No one will really no the better as to what you corrected or tweaked.

And as for all of this, I would like to note, I didn't post what I posted to be discouraging or suggest giving up. But I do want any and all to be as aware as possible as to what they are up against so they can best strategize.

I'm not sure from your original post if you are ultimately reaching out to this actor because you hope they will be in your movie and/or you just think they are an amazing producer. (I'm going to assume it's the former.)

In either case, be smart about it. For example, look up the actor's credits. See what companies they have worked with in the past in terms of acting roles. Query those companies; and particular try to focus on some maybe a little earlier in the actor's career that they worked with which might be smaller to medium size companies. Work on those companies & producers to see if they will show interest in your script. If they do, then at an appropriate time you can "casually" note, "You know, I always thought this would be a good fit for Tom (or Julia), what do you think?" Then they can say, "Yeah! We worked with them on a film before and have an open door relationship with them. We'll send it over. Great idea."

You are frequently better off getting a mutual "friend" or associate to introduce you & your material then going it alone, if you have no rep, money or connections. Don't be disingenuous or tricky about it, but use what means/creative ways you can drum up to reach someone.

Duh. After all these years, youd think Id have noticed the editing option.

And Will, I certainly didnt take your (always good) advice in a negative way. I truly appreciate your candor. We writers need that, so thank you.

I was actually looking for the actor to produce, not star.

Thanks, everyone.
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