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Old 03-23-2017, 01:29 PM   #21
mixj
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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Adding to the need for "great material" that others have alluded to [which is obviously the primary way to get noticed], you may also want to try having some room for error about these assumptions. It sounds like it's been a tough slog for you, but this is a notoriously difficult business to break into.

Having a thick skin and yet trying to keep a bit of a positive attitude may be helpful.

Hang in there and good luck to you~
Oh, I'm fine. I just find this attitude so annoying. "Just write something great!" Not to mention some of the best screenplays have been turned down by a million people before they got made, or the fact that specs are even harder to sell now than ever, this idea that you can just write something good, put it out there into the ether and people will flock to you, is not only nonsense but also terrible advice for people.
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Old 03-23-2017, 03:08 PM   #22
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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Oh, I'm fine. I just find this attitude so annoying. "Just write something great!" Not to mention some of the best screenplays have been turned down by a million people before they got made, or the fact that specs are even harder to sell now than ever, this idea that you can just write something good, put it out there into the ether and people will flock to you, is not only nonsense but also terrible advice for people.
people come back to it because it's the only true thing that has been proven out over time. yes, "great" is always in the eye of the beholder -- i aim for "undeniable" in that even if something isn't for every reader, they have to admit the quality of it -- but everything starts with getting the script to that point and there is no shortcut to it. if there was another way, everyone else would be taking it.
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Old 03-23-2017, 06:56 PM   #23
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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this idea that ... people will flock to you, is not only nonsense but also terrible advice for people.
Yes, agreed. But I actually don't think this is "a thing," at least I've never heard of people flocking to some unknown writer with one or two strong samples (generally speaking.)

You will have to write something great and you will have to work just as hard to get it out there, and you will have to face a lot of radio silence and other crap. And it will not be easy--nothing worthwhile ever is.

But you know that.

Perhaps you could try something new? (For instance, in a recent thread here someone talked about having greater success going straight to prodcos than managers/agents.) After all, why do you want to get repped anyway? just to get your stuff out there? You know you can do it yourself. And of course, it will be hard.

Maybe this thread will help you find some new inspiration or a different direction. I hope so. Again, hang in there.
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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Oh, I'm fine. I just find this attitude so annoying. "Just write something great!" Not to mention some of the best screenplays have been turned down by a million people before they got made, or the fact that specs are even harder to sell now than ever, this idea that you can just write something good, put it out there into the ether and people will flock to you, is not only nonsense but also terrible advice for people.
That's in order to try to get a rep -- it doesn't mean it will land you a career.

A great screenplay doesn't always equal a great movie or even a good one - that's why there are great screenplays that never get made. This is a business to make money, not charity art.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:13 AM   #25
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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Oh, I'm fine. I just find this attitude so annoying. "Just write something great!"
What people fail to also say is that in most cases, that sentence is incomplete. It should be "write something great AND marketable that reps think they have a real shot at selling!!"

You might have the best small, intimate, lesbian-love-story-set-in-Victorian-England-dramedy ever written in the history of cinema, but good luck getting that one read. Not very many reps are going to see that in their IN BOX and think "YES! Score! Exactly what I've been looking for! I can't WAIT to read this and try to sell it and then when it doesn't sell use it as a writing sample!"

I mean, it's not impossible, but the odds would be stacked against a script like that more than they already are with more commercial genres.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:30 AM   #26
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Assuming they read those queries, assuming you get a decent blcklist reader (which you probably won't) and assuming you place in the top, top, top % of screenplay competitions
Which do you think is more common? Scripts that are unfairly treated by a blacklist reader, or blacklist submissions that the reader treats fairly but that maybe aren't quite as good as the writer thinks they are?

If I was a bettering man, I'd say that the latter outnumber the former by at least 30-1, if not 50-1.

And yeah, you know, it's tough that you have to be in the "top top top %" in a screenplay competition - but that's the business you're in. If you can't get readers to fall in love with your material when it's going up against a bunch of amateur competition fodder, how to you expect readers to fall in love with your material when it's up against a bunch of other pro scripts?

It doesn't get easier. As someone who once won the Nicholl fellowship, I can tell you - the moment you win it, you realize that you were just the MVP of the minor leagues, and that the bigs are a lot harder.


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Oh, I'm fine. I just find this attitude so annoying. "Just write something great!"
The thing is -

Most people don't write something great.

The vast majority of people who come around and ask the question you asked, "how do I get rep?" come in with the unspoken assumption that their work is already good enough, and it's not.

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Not to mention some of the best screenplays have been turned down by a million people before they got made, or the fact that specs are even harder to sell now than ever, this idea that you can just write something good, put it out there into the ether and people will flock to you, is not only nonsense but also terrible advice for people.
But the thing is, if you haven't written something great, then no other advice matters.

Control what you can control: the material.

And when I responded earlier, and I talked about evidence, I wasn't just fluffing. I don't know if most managers are great at identifying great scripts. I think they're great at identifying a future paycheck.

Brian Koppleman has a couple of great blog posts on the subject.

https://briankoppelman.com/2013/12/0...sked-question/
https://briankoppelman.com/2014/07/2...-get-an-agent/

His Rounders story is relevant. Agents rejected it, and only after it sold did they realize it was good.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:20 PM   #27
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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What people fail to also say is that in most cases, that sentence is incomplete. It should be "write something great AND marketable that reps think they have a real shot at selling!!"

You might have the best small, intimate, lesbian-love-story-set-in-Victorian-England-dramedy ever written in the history of cinema, but good luck getting that one read. Not very many reps are going to see that in their IN BOX and think "YES! Score! Exactly what I've been looking for! I can't WAIT to read this and try to sell it and then when it doesn't sell use it as a writing sample!"

I mean, it's not impossible, but the odds would be stacked against a script like that more than they already are with more commercial genres.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The script that changed my career forever came about when I stopped trying to chase the market and wrote a rather UNmarketable script that I poured my heart into. It struck a chord in the town, and I've been working non-stop off of it ever since, (even though that particular script never actually sold!). I firmly believe writing a great but unmarketable script helps you more in the long run than writing an okay script that chases the whims of the market.
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Old 03-25-2017, 01:59 PM   #28
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. The script that changed my career forever came about when I stopped trying to chase the market and wrote a rather UNmarketable script that I poured my heart into. It struck a chord in the town, and I've been working non-stop off of it ever since, (even though that particular script never actually sold!). I firmly believe writing a great but unmarketable script helps you more in the long run than writing an okay script that chases the whims of the market.
Well I did say it wasn't impossible, just probably harder since some scripts are just tougher sells. But even in the harder-to-make-bank-on category, there are likely some genres that will fare better than others.

Anyway, what's ridiculous I think is to say there's one way or another to get in. I think it's just like everything else in life, where a bunch of different elements have to line up at the same time: high quality material with high likeability factor, great timing, great networking, Lady Luck and more.
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Old 03-26-2017, 12:41 AM   #29
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Default Re: Agents and Managers - HELP PLEEEASE!!!!

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. The script that changed my career forever came about when I stopped trying to chase the market and wrote a rather UNmarketable script that I poured my heart into. It struck a chord in the town, and I've been working non-stop off of it ever since, (even though that particular script never actually sold!). I believe writing a great but unmarketable script helps you more in the long run than writing an okay script that chases the whims of the market.
Thanks Professor. I've always thought the same thing but it means more coming from a pro.

I've been writing and telling stories since I starting reading. So, around fifty-five years. I've been messing around with screenplays for close to twenty years. I've never actively tried to sell anything I wrote and probably never will. I have won and placed in some smaller screenplay contests, but I know I've got a long way to go before I'd call what I write anything close to pro quality. It's like I reached a plateau years ago, and I'm not getting any higher. And since I don't support my family with my writing, I have the luxury of not really caring.

I like to entertain myself. I read stuff I wrote thirty years ago and sometimes I think: "Hey -- that guy was pretty good." More often I read something I "remember" as being pretty good and think: "Hmmm... let's bury that one back in the cat box!"

So, I write for my entertainment first, then for my family and sometimes on screenwriting boards or for small contests. Writing has always been fun for me. If I felt like I was slamming my toes with a sledge hammer I'd quit doing it. I don't "suffer" for my art. I write something just about every day and I always get to write what I want to write.

A few years back someone on a newsgroup, who liked my eerie ghost/twilight zone type stories thought I should write a vampire script, because vampires were the "thing" then. I hate vampire stories. In my whole life, I've probably made it all the way through two vampire movies and that was mostly because I was too stubborn to quit watching. He insisted that's what people were buying. I told him that mine wouldn't have a chance of selling because they would suck (no pun intended) because I hate vampire stories. But even if I loved vampire stories and thought i had a great one, Hollywood would be on to the next "thing" before I got it done. So what's the point?

If you want to tell stories, tell the stories you want to tell. (Well, at least until you're a pro and get paid to write or re-write stories other people want to tell.)

If you don't have any stories to tell and you think writing (specifically) screenplays that chase the market is your highway to riches, you're seriously deluding yourself. And you're not fooling anybody else either. It's easy to crawl into the skin of a character you love -- your character in your story -- a story that you really want to tell. It's a lot harder to crawl into the skin of a character you have no interest in. If nobody's paying you yet, tell the story you want to tell, don't worry about whether it's marketable, or what its budget is, or am I infringing on a copyright, or any of that other minutia that kills the fun of creating your story. The only way to get someone excited about your story is if you're excited about it.

Sorry for the long rant about what should be painfully obvious.

Just one more thing about vampires. Even if I was paid to write a story about one, I'd find a way to kill the SOB -- for good -- on page one.
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:13 AM   #30
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Yup to all that. Cool to hear where you're coming from personally in your writing too. Good luck!

One reason always to write the script that moves you is that the option/sale isn't frankly as important as it getting passed around and remembered by the town. The ongoing work you contend for and the rooms you get into with a great (if unmarketable) script is how a career gets going. An option for a decent market-chaser script gets you some cash and a blurb in the trades, but then you're back to square 1.5. People like and remember heart.
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