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Old 07-17-2010, 11:37 PM   #21
Lounge Spartan
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

balls my friend...if you can pull it off, you're better off in selling on wall street...you'll certainly make more money...

anyway, i would imagine if you're gonna walk into someone's office and interrupt their business, your pitch had better be stronger than death...or at least as effective as this sales pitch and probably half as long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suRDUFpsHus

good luck at your next meeting
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:36 AM   #22
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

@DB: When you say, "right contact info" do you mean cell phone number?

Because every office has a person who answers phones. And then you have to ask that person for the person you want to speak to. Then the person anwering phones asks what this is about. What's your answer to that last question?
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:43 AM   #23
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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@DB: When you say, "right contact info" do you mean cell phone number?

Because every office has a person who answers phones. And then you have to ask that person for the person you want to speak to. Then the person anwering phones asks what this is about. What's your answer to that last question?
Well getting a cellphone number never hurts that's for sure albeit that can be very tough to come up with. But the answer to your question actually deals with another thread someone posted about mentioning other producers in your query so I'll address it here as well.

In this game it's very much about using something as a springboard. First off and I've said this a million times there are ALWAYS people you can talk to at prodco's who will listen to a pitch on the phone. That's their job. You just have to have something worth pitching. So, get IMDB. Go to a prodco you want to pitch, call someone down the line like the svp of development or the vp of something else, or the head of production or whatever you want that's NOT the head honcho. But that's NOT the main number to the front desk and assistants. In fact, you can even choose someone not even in the production chain who will be surprised and perhaps delighted to have been included in this process and pitch them. You'd be surprised what will happen.

I often call someone who's a bean counter or marketing person and say, "Oh, I was trying to reach so and so, I must have got the wrong number do you have his extension or can you transfer me to their office?"

Now, when you try that you're going to get some no's obviously, but so what? Keep trying. Eventually you'll get a yes. Now the NEXT person you call you can say as I mentioned in that other thread, "I just finished my script and it's being read at select production co's like (name prodco who said yes) but because of your excellent reputation/body of work especially on (name film) I wanted to make sure you got a copy as well yadda yadda yadda..."

Now I say "cold call" but I also mean cold query. You can do the same via e-mail as well if you're phone shy. E-mails ARE easy to find. Especially with help on this board. Then it's up to your logline and e-mail writing skills.

The other approach is to actually find someone who's not THE big cheese but is a big cheese at something else. That means find a LINE producer vs. an exec producer or a cinematographer or a guy was the second AD or something like that. They're usually easier to find contact info on and often open to reading something. Then pick their brains for who they've worked with who might like material like that. Then use their name with the person they worked with.

Getting someone like this in your corner is worth its weight in gold because then you have that name to drop to get PAST the gatekeeper when they start their whole thing about we only take submissions from agents blah blah blah you can say, "I understand. However, (line producer) read the script and when I asked who he thought this might be a fit for he mentioned (big producer person) with whom he worked on (big movie they did together) so that's why I called... blah blah blah (make sure to end with a question)

Or something to that effect. Now again, a lot of people on here are going to say this doesn't work but they're wrong. It does work. In point of fact right now I'm in this exact situation. Found a line producer from some HUGE movies e-mail. E-mailed her and she e-mailed back "You know I'm a line producer and not a producer producer right?" I said yes I know but would she have a look. She agreed to read. LIked it. So, then I said I really feel like I need a good director to help make the material tighter. Are there any you know who might be a fit for something like this who might be open to reading it (Knowing full well she had worked with 2 directors who I wanted to get the script to)? She agreed and has been kind enough to send the script out HERSELF to one of the two very big directors that I stood no chance in hell of getting on the phone without her.

When I started I literally knew not 1 single person in this business. Not 1. Everything I've gotten has been via phone and e-mail. So it obviously works. Start lower down the chain, build up the base of people who like what you write then use that momentum to get up the chain.

Make sure you have great stuff to read though first. You only get one shot with people and you can't send crap or they'll never deal with you again.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:22 AM   #24
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Well getting a cellphone number never hurts that's for sure albeit that can be very tough to come up with.
Trying to get an exec's cell phone number is crazy behavior and is borderline stalking. There are so many legitimate channels to have your script read, do not bother people on their cell phones. What's next? Show up at their house?


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Now again, a lot of people on here are going to say this doesn't work but they're wrong. It does work.
IMO, querying hollywood production companies is a waste of time. There are so few examples of that ever leading to a legitimate sale out of the hundreds of thousands written annually to production companies. Compare that number with how many more sales have resulted from a writer sending a query to a manager who took their script out and sold it. I guarantee the numbers aren't even close. And the truth a lot of people probably don't want to admit is, if you can't get an agent or manager - your work probably isn't ready to be read by production companies anyway.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:01 AM   #25
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Trying to get an exec's cell phone number is crazy behavior and is borderline stalking. There are so many legitimate channels to have your script read, do not bother people on their cell phones. What's next? Show up at their house?

IMO, querying hollywood production companies is a waste of time. There are so few examples of that ever leading to a legitimate sale out of the hundreds of thousands written annually to production companies. Compare that number with how many more sales have resulted from a writer sending a query to a manager who took their script out and sold it. I guarantee the numbers aren't even close. And the truth a lot of people probably don't want to admit is, if you can't get an agent or manager - your work probably isn't ready to be read by production companies anyway.
No offense but you're wrong. Flat out 100% incorrect in every way and trying to make people believe this is just giving them a blueprint to fail.

Seriously not to be a jerk but you're absolutely wrong. I've optioned 2 things from cold calls. Gotten read all over town by cold queries. Got my manager from cold queries. Called people on their cellphones whenever I could and GOTTEN READS FROM IT. Obviously you don't show up at their houses but their phone? Are you kidding me?

As for your contention you have to have a manager or Agent to sell stuff I advise you to look at Martell. He's never had either I believe and has like 18 films PRODUCED or something ridiculous like that.

If you wait for someone to magically pluck your name from the ether and contact you you'll never ever have your material read anywhere. Sorry.

This business is about hustle as well as writing.

Last edited by dirtbottle : 07-18-2010 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:36 AM   #26
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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No offense but you're wrong. Flat out 100% incorrect in every way and trying to make people believe this is just giving them a blueprint to fail.

Seriously not to be a jerk but you're absolutely wrong. I've optioned 2 things from cold calls. Gotten read all over town by cold queries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjonesprods View Post
There are so few examples of that ever leading to a legitimate sale out of the hundreds of thousands written annually to production companies. Compare that number with how many more sales have resulted from a writer sending a query to a manager who took their script out and sold it. I guarantee the numbers aren't even close.

Okay, and not to be jerk either... You've OPTIONED 2 things from cold calls. I said SALES. But even so, were the companies you've OPTIONED your scripts to hollywood based producers? If so, who? Did they have a deal with a studio? How was the money? Probably not a significant amount or enough to get you into the WGA since you couldn't get an agent or manager to help with you the deal. (If I recall, you only recently got a manager.)


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Got my manager from cold queries.
I said querying hollywood production companies is a waste of time - not managers. I actually think if you are querying, going the manager route is the best avenue to pursue.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Called people on their cellphones whenever I could and GOTTEN READS FROM IT. Obviously you don't show up at their houses but their phone? Are you kidding me?
I still think this is crazy behavior. Sorry. It's crossing a line from professionalism to amateur hour.

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As for your contention you have to have a manager or Agent to sell stuff I advise you to look at Martell. He's never had either I believe and has like 18 films PRODUCED or something ridiculous like that.
I'm happy Bill has been able to carve out a career working in the independent world. But had those same 18 films been produced with WGA contracts, Bill would be rich beyond belief. That would mean he would have zero trouble finding an agent or manager to represent him. (Sorry to bring you into this discussion, Bill).

It's my opinion, most people here are trying to sell their stuff to studios that nets them a 6 figure pay day, WGA health and pension, etc. - not independent producers. And moreover, when I said "hollywood production companies" in my previous post - the companies I'm referring to are the ones who deal with studios.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
If you wait for someone to magically pluck your name from the ether and contact you you'll never ever have your material read anywhere. Sorry.
Again, not what I said, but if you want to think I did - go for it.

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This business is about hustle as well as writing.
I agree.
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:24 PM   #27
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by mrjonesprods View Post
Okay, and not to be jerk either... You've OPTIONED 2 things from cold calls. I said SALES. But even so, were the companies you've OPTIONED your scripts to hollywood based producers? If so, who? Did they have a deal with a studio? How was the money? Probably not a significant amount or enough to get you into the WGA since you couldn't get an agent or manager to help with you the deal. (If I recall, you only recently got a manager.)

It's my opinion, most people here are trying to sell their stuff to studios that nets them a 6 figure pay day, WGA health and pension, etc. - not independent producers. And moreover, when I said "hollywood production companies" in my previous post - the companies I'm referring to are the ones who deal with studios.

.

First option was 11k vs. 250k. Second was small and as you say because it was indy. I have however, from complete cold queries been read by State Street Productions (on the lot at fox at the time), Linda Obst Productions (Invention of Lying), Happy Madison (on the lot at Sony), and many others with first look deals ALL from cold queries and any one of them could have resulted in a sale but didn't because of my WRITING not because of my approach to getting reads. There's a HUGE difference there. But getting read is half the battle obviously.

Why is a cell phone call any different than calling an office phone? That's nonsense. The L.A. times calls people cell phones for their subscription drive. Is that stalking? Come on...

Seriously however, not to argue about this because whatever works for you works for you, but the preponderance of my experience runs directly contrary to what you're saying not to mention every single book I've ever read about how to get your material out there.

With your approach out of curiousity, because you come off as a knowledgeable guy in most of your postings, maybe you chould share how you got your first sale?
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:48 PM   #28
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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Originally Posted by mrjonesprods View Post
It's my opinion, most people here are trying to sell their stuff to studios that nets them a 6 figure pay day, WGA health and pension, etc. - not independent producers. And moreover, when I said "hollywood production companies" in my previous post - the companies I'm referring to are the ones who deal with studios.
I think people tend to assume that unless you have an agent and a manager, you're going to get screwed over and make far less than what you otherwise would. But I don't think that's always the case if you know what you're entitled to in general and have a great, experienced entertainment lawyer.
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:38 PM   #29
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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I have however, from complete cold queries been read by State Street Productions (on the lot at fox at the time), Linda Obst Productions (Invention of Lying), Happy Madison (on the lot at Sony), and many others with first look deals ALL from cold queries and any one of them could have resulted in a sale but didn't because of my WRITING not because of my approach to getting reads. There's a HUGE difference there. But getting read is half the battle obviously.
I hear this a lot and it seems for all the reads people get at production companies, nothing ever happens. If you think selling a spec with a solid team behind you is hard, it's exponentially more difficult to do it alone.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Why is a cell phone call any different than calling an office phone? That's nonsense. The L.A. times calls people cell phones for their subscription drive. Is that stalking? Come on...
IMO, it's intrusive and comes off as desperate.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
Seriously however, not to argue about this because whatever works for you works for you, but the preponderance of my experience runs directly contrary to what you're saying not to mention every single book I've ever read about how to get your material out there.
What about this statement runs contrary to all these books...

"There are so few examples (sending a query letter to a production company) of that ever leading to a legitimate sale out of the hundreds of thousands written annually to production companies. Compare that number with how many more sales have resulted from a writer sending a query to a manager who took their script out and sold it. I guarantee the numbers aren't even close."

Are you or your books saying that cold queries to hollywood production companies have resulted in more sales than those from agents and managers?

Again, my point is that people should spend time querying managers instead of producers. If you can't get a manager or agent to respond to your material, chances are it's not ready.

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Originally Posted by dirtbottle View Post
With your approach out of curiousity, because you come off as a knowledgeable guy in most of your postings, maybe you chould share how you got your first sale?
Sorry to those who have heard this story before. Here's the short version.

A few years ago, I landed a manager through a query letter. That script went wide - it didn't sell, but it led to a bunch of meetings. In one meeting at a Fox based company, an exec asked what I was working on next. I told him about this idea I had and he loved it. The exec asked if he could develop my idea with me. We did. When it was finished they took the script out, but it didn't sell.

A week later, the company came back to me with a seed of an idea they wanted written. I went in and pitched my take. They bought my pitch out of their discretionary fund. That's how I got in the WGA. The following year, I sold a naked spec.
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:44 PM   #30
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Default Re: Cold Calling Production Companies--In Person

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I think people tend to assume that unless you have an agent and a manager, you're going to get screwed over and make far less than what you otherwise would. But I don't think that's always the case if you know what you're entitled to in general and have a great, experienced entertainment lawyer.
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.
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