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Old 06-17-2016, 12:49 PM   #1
Darthclaw13
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Default Would you or wouldn't you?

Hi everyone!
I hope all reading this is having a great day (and to all the fathers out there Happy upcoming Father's Day this weekend).

I am sure many if not all writers here have experienced the automated response to a prodco query of "we do not accept unsolicited materials and this email will be archived/deleted without reading it, we only accept material submitted by known representatives" or some such similar response.

My question to you is this: if you were fortunate enough to own your own production company would you have an open submission policy or would you stick to the "it's who you know" thing? As a writer would you consider how difficult it is to have someone read your query, much less your script, if you don't "know" people in the business?

I personally believe there are some great unknown writers out there who just don't have the opportunity to get in the circle of certain people.

If I were that fortunate (and one day I do hope to have my own prodco), then I think I would have an open policy at least for queries. Yes I do understand that there would be an opening of the floodgates with that, but how else are you gonna find that diamond if you don't do some digging thru. (this can also be said of not only prodco's but mgrs/agents as well because many have the same "referral by someone in the know" policy too.)

So I was just curious what the consensus out there among writers would be. I thank all for reading and hope everyone is still reaching for their dreams.

Ps-In case anyone is wondering, I am not asking because I am bitter or anything due to no success. I have had some success, I am an optioned feature writer that has also written, directed, and produced a few award winning short films. I was just curious what others would do in the "other shoe" so to speak.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:55 PM   #2
omjs
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

I think it would really depend on whether I was finding "diamonds" well enough just through referrals.

Reading through a mountain of bad material can get pretty exhausting, and if it's diverting time away from other things that are making you money then it's probably not worth it. I'm obviously sympathetic to the plight of writers (since I am one), but I get why they make it so difficult to get through.
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Old 06-17-2016, 05:02 PM   #3
ProfessorChomp
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

For one thing, it opens them up to lawsuits if they ever make a similar movie as something someone submitted (since they can't prove they didn't read it). The wording of that response protects them legally.

As for open submissions being the best way to find material, I dunno. They're more likely to find good screenplays from the usual channels, since repped writers have (at the very least) proven they were talented enough to be discovered and signed. So while you might miss the rare diamond, it might be worth it to not have your limited staff buried in unsolicited material all the time. My guess is that this approach as been tried over the years and then dropped.
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Old 06-18-2016, 06:16 AM   #4
catcon
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthclaw13 View Post
I was just curious what others would do in the "other shoe" so to speak.
I only try to waste time fantasizing in my writing, not my reality, so this will never happen... unless we're talking about my own company that's producing my own scripts. Then, of course, until I run out of my own movies to make, why would I want to look at anybody else's screenplays? A producer's time and resources are pretty limited.

And yes, I do think this latter DIY scenario is a genuine possibility (not a fantasy) for me and for all of us, these days, and so I have thought about it: I will NOT accept unsolicited submissions. At least, not till we're big enough that we have the resources, maybe between productions, to take on others' IP and exploit it. And no, even at that point we'll probably not behave too differently in how we treat writers from how existing non-writer producers do, although I'd like to think that I would always respond to a read request. That is, if I ever took a script for a read I think it's incumbent to respond with a pass, rather than letting a writer hang.

(Notice that I drifted into saying "we" because this isn't a business you can run solo, but as the boss of this company I'd be the one directing the business plan.)

But your question does or should remind us of the power that we as the content producers have: The vast majority of production companies out there "need" us, as much as we "need" them, yet in practise you'd think it's a totally unbalanced equation.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

I would not have an open door policy. As much as it pains me to say that, I've seen the nightmare of the clueless, desperate, inappropriate, pushy writers through the eyes of companies I've worked with. Most of them who don't accept unsolicited material and still get inundated. Yes, you might miss a couple of gems, but those would not be worth the crap you'd have to slog through in terms of scripts and the writers who submit them.

On the other hand, have I read a great script from an unproduced friend and passed it on? You bet. Have I recommended unproduced writers for jobs or passed information to them about how to get their scripts seen by a particular company or producer? You bet. But in every case these were people I knew with scripts I read and loved. I vetted their skill and creativity. Big difference from the open door that's clogged with crap.

Last edited by EdFury : 06-18-2016 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 06-18-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

My feeling is that the rare gem will find its way to, and through, the proper channels at some point, as long as the writer is actively marketing it (via major contests, networking, querying managers and agents, etc.), so, no, I wouldn't have an open submission policy, for reasons already stated.
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Old 06-22-2016, 12:03 PM   #7
ShakeyAnderson
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Post Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

Greetings everyone,

As long as we are thinking hypothetically - an "open door" submission policy does create a great many problems. Namely by opening your submission criteria up to everyone, you will incur a flood of poor material.

One way I can see this working (and very few companies do this) is for you to have a very specific set of criteria (logline, synopsis, genre, title, locations, etc) and a VERY well thought through release form that the person submitting must include signed with their submission that covers you.

I wouldn't just accept scripts out of no where, but having a system in place that allows you to get an idea of what's coming as well as having a built in contingency via release form would be a feasible alternative.

Hypothetically, I would do this.

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Old 06-23-2016, 11:25 AM   #8
Darthclaw13
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShakeyAnderson View Post
Greetings everyone,

As long as we are thinking hypothetically - an "open door" submission policy does create a great many problems. Namely by opening your submission criteria up to everyone, you will incur a flood of poor material.

One way I can see this working (and very few companies do this) is for you to have a very specific set of criteria (logline, synopsis, genre, title, locations, etc) and a VERY well thought through release form that the person submitting must include signed with their submission that covers you.

I wouldn't just accept scripts out of no where, but having a system in place that allows you to get an idea of what's coming as well as having a built in contingency via release form would be a feasible alternative.

Hypothetically, I would do this.

Hi everyone,
Yes I should have specified a bit more clearly in my original post, for my open policy I would pretty much do this. I would accept loglines with one paragraph synopsis and one paragraph author bio with release form.
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Would you or wouldn't you?

I once sent a query to a major director/producer and immediately received an automated 'we do not accept unsolicited material etc' email. Ten minutes later I received an email from the Fox legal department (who had an association deal with the producer) asking me to submit the script through my agent or lawyer.

This led me to believe that regardless of this policy, someone looks at loglines. Just in case.

In answer to the question, I would have an open policy, because I don't like pretence.

PS: And in case you are wondering, they didn't buy the script, but it was an exciting couple of weeks while the screenplay bounced around among various execs.
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