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Old 07-18-2010, 02:17 PM   #31
dirtbottle
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by mrjonesprods View Post
It's not about getting screwed over, it's about it not really ever happening. Has it happened, probably. But, in my opinion, it's so rare it's a waste of time.

For those that think querying a production company is a better use of time than reps, please give me all the examples of big six figure deals you've seen writers get with just an entertainment attorney on board. Or, list the deals that have happened as a result of naked query letters to production companies.
Ok, so you didn't get your sale from your manager either first time out of the gate. He managed to get your script read and eventually after it failing to sell you got to continue on in your process because you were now a known quantity to the producers who had read your earlier work. So basically your manager did the exact thing that I did in terms of getting reads only you paid for it and I didn't. Mine haven't led to a sale yet either but they have led to 2 options. Just because I don't happen to have ready access to every sale ever made to verify the source of those sales in no way denigrates the point I'm making that it's the getting read that matters. Not where it comes from.

They're not "MY" books by the way, they're books on the market. And very few of them counsel you to only approach managers and agents. Feel free however to show me your statistical data of all the sales that I'm sure you have handy since you guarantee it's true. I can tell you for sure there are a number of stories of people getting read by a producer from a cold call and then having that producer recommend them to an agent or manager which then lead to a sale.

The bottom line, and I think it's foolish to argue is, that exposure and reads HOWEVER THEY'RE GOTTEN are not bad - especially when you have something good for people to read. You think a producer gives a rat's ass where the next Inception comes from? Seriously?
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:39 PM   #32
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Ok, so you didn't get your sale from your manager either first time out of the gate. He managed to get your script read and eventually after it failing to sell you got to continue on in your process because you were now a known quantity to the producers who had read your earlier work.
Dude, really?

I think most people understand the difference of a deal coming about while repped vs. being unrepped.

You would have an argument if while I was repped I was sending out queries to production companies on the side and I set something up - but that wasn't the case.

But allow me to tell you how my manager was a big part of getting my sale that I didn't mention in the previous post.

When the production company came back to me, they wanted me to originally write their idea for free. My manager put his foot down and said they would have to pay. He reminded them that they had worked with me developing a project. They've read my other sample. He argued I would be able to execute their idea.

The company agreed and threw out a low ball number. My manager countered with a significantly higher fee that would involve studio approval.

That meant I would have to come in and give the company my take. If they liked my take, the company would then need the studio to read my sample and sign off.

I think my manager earned his 10 percent.


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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
So basically your manager did the exact thing that I did in terms of getting reads only you paid for it and I didn't. Mine haven't led to a sale yet either but they have led to 2 options.
No, my manager didn't do what you did. My manager had a relationship with these people - you're cold calling them. Big difference. And because my manager built a certain level of trust from material he has previously sent, the production company was more inclined to give my material a fair shot. They held me in higher regard because I was repped at a place they already respected. On top of that, my script was read by decision makers.

On the other hand, let's say you have a cool idea for a script and you hook a read at a production company. What I think you fail to understand is, the first thing that goes through the producer or exec's mind is, why doesn't this person have a rep? They probably assume the script lacks solid execution. The exec gives it to an intern or reader hoping they're wrong. But they almost never are.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Just because I don't happen to have ready access to every sale ever made to verify the source of those sales in no way denigrates the point I'm making that it's the getting read that matters. Not where it comes from.
But show me a few... I don't need every single one. If a writer sent a query letter to a production company and they set the project up at the studio - it would be a great story that would be in all the trades.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
They're not "MY" books by the way, they're books on the market. And very few of them counsel you to only approach managers and agents. Feel free however to show me your statistical data of all the sales that I'm sure you have handy since you guarantee it's true.
Uh... okay.

http://donedealpro.com


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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
I can tell you for sure there are a number of stories of people getting read by a producer from a cold call and then having that producer recommend them to an agent or manager which then lead to a sale.
I'm sure there are. But again, my point is that writers looking to break in should spend more time querying managers rather than producers.


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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
The bottom line, and I think it's foolish to argue is, that exposure and reads HOWEVER THEY'RE GOTTEN are not bad - especially when you have something good for people to read. You think a producer gives a rat's ass where the next Inception comes from? Seriously?
I think it's foolish to imagine I said reads are bad. I never said that. We're talking about cold calling and querying producers. My point is that if you can't hook a manager or agent, your script probably isn't ready. Why is this such a difficult argument for you to understand?

I do think if you've truly written the next Inception, you would have ZERO trouble getting an agent or manager.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:07 PM   #33
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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I do think if you've truly written the next Inception, you would have ZERO trouble getting an agent or manager.
Really? Because every manager is just going to bend over and spread their cheeks because you tell them "Hey I've got the next inception!!" right?

Listen, the point I'm making about your manager is he generated reads by producers. He may have done it by existing relationships but it's the end result that is exactly the same. Either way you slice it you could've queried managers until Christ came to Moscow and never have gotten a read let alone a sale unless the manager was willing to guarantee he'd buy it if no one else did.

The buyer is still the producer, and the producer for the most part is easier to get to read material than a reputable manager or agent.

As for him helping your sale with his foot planting negotiating skill, there's absolutely no doubt that any good attorney can bargain in the same fashion.

But I don't feel like arguing. How you got there is great. But for those of us that aren't afraid to pick up the phone or e-mail producers I'm here to tell you it's definitely worth the time and energy to do so.

As for a guy who sold a script to a studio without representation check out Going the Distance by Geoff Latulippe with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.

Granted he was a reader for 4 years but the point is you don't need a manager or an agent to make connections on your own and make some magic happen.

Here's another. Michael Elliot claims he did the exact same thing. I'm sure if I continue to look I'll find many others. But who cares right? The bottom line is they all got read by a producer.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:32 PM   #34
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Really? Because every manager is just going to bend over and spread their cheeks because you tell them "Hey I've got the next inception!!" right?
That's exactly my point. It's about execution. The reason most people can't get repped despite being able to pique enough interest for a production company read is their script isn't ready.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Listen, the point I'm making about your manager is he generated reads by producers. He may have done it by existing relationships but it's the end result that is exactly the same. Either way you slice it you could've queried managers until Christ came to Moscow and never have gotten a read let alone a sale unless the manager was willing to guarantee he'd buy it if no one else did.
Of course being repped doesn't guarantee you anything, but you increase the chance of selling your script and getting future work if you are repped.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
The buyer is still the producer, and the producer for the most part is easier to get to read material than a reputable manager or agent.
Actually, the producer is not the buyer - the studio is. Producer's don't have money. Very few have discretionary funds anymore.


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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
As for a guy who sold a script to a studio without representation check out Going the Distance by Geoff Latulippe with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.

Granted he was a reader for 4 years but the point is you don't need a manager or an agent to make connections on your own and make some magic happen.
Latulippe didn't cold query anyone.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:32 AM   #35
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

Okay, first of all. Thank you DIRTBOTTLE! Thank you so much for that awesome post about how to phone-query and work your way up the reading ladder. Much appreciated, seriously. That's invaluable stuff there. Though I must admit it's a ton of work for a questionable payoff, seeing that the script will likely get passed on due to the nature of the beast.

Secondly. HOLY CRAP MRJONESPROD! You. Are. The Man. Very cool story about your first sale. Thanks for sharing that again (though I'd never read it).

This has been a very informative thread so far. I'd like to chime in to let y'all know that I cold queried 15 managers and 2 producers last week. Plus one phone-call pitch. Shot down on the phone (granted this was before I read DB's How To Query on the Phone post). Of the 17 e-queries, 1 of the 2 producers requested TWO OF MY SCRIPTS off a single cold-query. Granted, it's a small outfit, but I was stoked to say the least.

Anyways, good stuff guys. Keep it comin'.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:59 AM   #36
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Really? Because every manager is just going to bend over and spread their cheeks because you tell them "Hey I've got the next inception!!" right?

Listen, the point I'm making about your manager is he generated reads by producers. He may have done it by existing relationships but it's the end result that is exactly the same. Either way you slice it you could've queried managers until Christ came to Moscow and never have gotten a read let alone a sale unless the manager was willing to guarantee he'd buy it if no one else did.

The buyer is still the producer, and the producer for the most part is easier to get to read material than a reputable manager or agent.

As for him helping your sale with his foot planting negotiating skill, there's absolutely no doubt that any good attorney can bargain in the same fashion.

But I don't feel like arguing. How you got there is great. But for those of us that aren't afraid to pick up the phone or e-mail producers I'm here to tell you it's definitely worth the time and energy to do so.

As for a guy who sold a script to a studio without representation check out Going the Distance by Geoff Latulippe with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.

Granted he was a reader for 4 years but the point is you don't need a manager or an agent to make connections on your own and make some magic happen.

Here's another. Michael Elliot claims he did the exact same thing. I'm sure if I continue to look I'll find many others. But who cares right? The bottom line is they all got read by a producer.
I love how you make huge, general claims, and then point to specifics to back them up, i.e., you can do it on your own without a rep and get the same result, look at LaTulippe!

You are wrong about a couple of things, the read you get with a cold call is not the same as the read that a decent manager or agent gets. Not even close. So stop saying that "any read is a good read" because it's not really true. Let's say you cold call someone at Screen Gems and you manage to get a read (even that is unlikely). In all probability, the script goes to a reader or assistant rather than the exec you talked to. They pass. Boom, your script is dead at that company forever. Now a decent manager or agent who loves the material is going to skip a couple ladders on the rung. If I take something to Screen Gems it goes to a SVP, not a mid level exec and certainly not an assistant or reader. In some cases it might go right to the President of the Company. So, a good reader skips over a couple of levels of people inclined to NOT risk pissing off their boss with a recommend that their boss will pass on. And, when that material comes in the door, they already have a level of trust with the rep and their taste that they don't have with some cold query piece of material.

That's the difference, right there.

And, as far as LaTulippe, he was a reader at New Line, dude, where he was and still is good buddies with the guy who was the Director of Development at the time, whose life story Going the Distance is based on, and which he and LaTulippe developed together, so your trying to apply this nonsense about "selling material without a rep" or getting a "good read without a rep" is just complete and utter nonsense.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:59 AM   #37
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

Whoa, Geoff. Thanks for chiming in on that. Makes perfect sense.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:37 AM   #38
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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I love how you make huge, general claims, and then point to specifics to back them up, i.e., you can do it on your own without a rep and get the same result, look at LaTulippe!

You are wrong about a couple of things, the read you get with a cold call is not the same as the read that a decent manager or agent gets. Not even close. So stop saying that "any read is a good read" because it's not really true. Let's say you cold call someone at Screen Gems and you manage to get a read (even that is unlikely). In all probability, the script goes to a reader or assistant rather than the exec you talked to. They pass. Boom, your script is dead at that company forever. Now a decent manager or agent who loves the material is going to skip a couple ladders on the rung. If I take something to Screen Gems it goes to a SVP, not a mid level exec and certainly not an assistant or reader. In some cases it might go right to the President of the Company. So, a good reader skips over a couple of levels of people inclined to NOT risk pissing off their boss with a recommend that their boss will pass on. And, when that material comes in the door, they already have a level of trust with the rep and their taste that they don't have with some cold query piece of material.

That's the difference, right there.

And, as far as LaTulippe, he was a reader at New Line, dude, where he was and still is good buddies with the guy who was the Director of Development at the time, whose life story Going the Distance is based on, and which he and LaTulippe developed together, so your trying to apply this nonsense about "selling material without a rep" or getting a "good read without a rep" is just complete and utter nonsense.
The only reason I used specific references is because I was asked for people without representation selling a script SPECIFICALLY. Listen, I know you think your **** doesn't stink but the reality is that I'm not dealing with low level readers and "dead at the company forever" is a crock of crap.

I'm really tired of you pussies who are afraid to try picking up a phone or sending out queries telling people it won't work. If I spent all my time listening to people say "it won't work" I'd have quit writing a long time ago.

I'm not saying you're method is wrong.

I'm saying you're full of Sh*t about the effectiveness of other methods because you've probably never tried them because you're afraid of rejection or maybe you have tried them and it didn't work for you.

But you know what? It's working for me and it will continue to work for other people. Believe what you want but new writers who don't do anything and everything they can to get read are just wasting a lot of time and energy hoping for that lucky one in a million break.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:31 PM   #39
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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The only reason I used specific references is because I was asked for people without representation selling a script SPECIFICALLY. Listen, I know you think your **** doesn't stink but the reality is that I'm not dealing with low level readers and "dead at the company forever" is a crock of crap.

I'm really tired of you pussies who are afraid to try picking up a phone or sending out queries telling people it won't work. If I spent all my time listening to people say "it won't work" I'd have quit writing a long time ago.

I'm not saying you're method is wrong.

I'm saying you're full of Sh*t about the effectiveness of other methods because you've probably never tried them because you're afraid of rejection or maybe you have tried them and it didn't work for you.

But you know what? It's working for me and it will continue to work for other people. Believe what you want but new writers who don't do anything and everything they can to get read are just wasting a lot of time and energy hoping for that lucky one in a million break.
Here is your basic proposition as you put it to Mr. Jones; "my getting read by cold query is the same thing as you getting read by your rep."

This is simply false.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:34 PM   #40
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
The only reason I used specific references is because I was asked for people without representation selling a script SPECIFICALLY. Listen, I know you think your **** doesn't stink but the reality is that I'm not dealing with low level readers and "dead at the company forever" is a crock of crap.

I'm really tired of you pussies who are afraid to try picking up a phone or sending out queries telling people it won't work. If I spent all my time listening to people say "it won't work" I'd have quit writing a long time ago.

I'm not saying you're method is wrong.

I'm saying you're full of Sh*t about the effectiveness of other methods because you've probably never tried them because you're afraid of rejection or maybe you have tried them and it didn't work for you.

But you know what? It's working for me and it will continue to work for other people. Believe what you want but new writers who don't do anything and everything they can to get read are just wasting a lot of time and energy hoping for that lucky one in a million break.
This is a lot of misplaced anger. Everything you're saying makes sense from your limited perspective, but you're arguing with people who know a lot more than you about how the business actually works. If you spent any time learning about the buyer's side, you would learn very quickly that all reads are not created equal--and that there's a vast, vast gulf between being read and beginning a studio career.

You're absolutely correct that there is no one route in this business. Maybe you'll cold call the right person and get your big break... I don't think MrJones or SB would argue that there's a zero percent chance of that happening. But to claim that cold calling production companies is a viable strategy flies in the face of both evidence and the reality of the way the system is constructed. You don't have to believe me. But if you're as good at sales as you think you are, it might behoove you to learn how buyers in this business actually operate. One one of the ways to learn that is by listening to people currently working in the system rather than just announcing that they're full of crap.
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