Rewriting Procrastination

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  • Rewriting Procrastination

    I'm currently rewriting my spec again for new producers who have notes. So I'm at that stage of excited, but burned out by the rewriting a spec to please X who gets it to Y who now I have to please to get it to Z who will of course have notes... and this would be awesome if I was at the paid writer stage, but this is at the fun doing it for free stage.

    So first this is a heads up to some writers who haven't been through this that good news -- even your perfect specs that win awards will gets notes from reps and producers and actors and directors... it just never quite ends.

    How do you guys and gals reach down deep when it's your 10th rewrite of your spec that you know is good (can always be better) and you don't know if this will lead to anything?

    Figured might get us talking again at least. One of my tricks of course is to come here and get the juices flowing by talking about writing.

    I've been avoiding it for a week. Today my goal is to put my spec in revision mode and just slowly start to do anything.

    Another issue for me is that it's my favorite time of year, but my mind is 100% on horror movies not on this comedy. I don't know about you, but certain things come easier during certain times of the year. My comedy specs will be funnier in May or June than they are in Jan or Feb as I'm more depressed around that time.

    Again, if I knew there was a paycheck at the end of this -- the rewrite would have been done already. It just takes more soul sucking energy each spec I write as I realize I'm a middle aged dad and not 20 anymore like I act.


  • #2
    I'm excited for you that the producers are continuing to push it forward. At least it's still on the radar!

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    I've been avoiding it for a week. Today my goal is to put my spec in revision mode and just slowly start to do anything.
    I think this is a good strategy. Just start by doing something easy, which will let you have juice for the harder things and give you a sense of accomplishment to tackle those.

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    Another issue for me is that it's my favorite time of year, but my mind is 100% on horror movies not on this comedy.
    Control the things you can -- like psyching yourself up for the rewrite despite the fact that its horror season! You can do it, Bono!

    Originally posted by Bono View Post
    Again, if I knew there was a paycheck at the end of this -- the rewrite would have been done already. It just takes more soul sucking energy each spec I write as I realize I'm a middle aged dad and not 20 anymore like I act.
    Why defeat yourself before you've even begun? Take that **** and put it on the back burner. THIS is the here and now. Focus on this. Take a walk. Clear your head. Brainstorm. Write. You wrote it to begin with, and that means you have the power to fix it, and/or address concerns.

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    • #3
      Congrats on getting to the point where producers are working with you again. But I can understand being less than thrilled with writing for someone else who isn't paying you. I won't even take a movie gig if I don't like the pay rate (which is still a lot more than a lot of people are used to being paid). It's hard to stay motivated when you don't feel like you're getting fair value for your labor.

      Whenever I get notes that are constructive and productive and not just meant to be a putdown for the sake of being discouraging like those I used to get from my ex and a particular Done Dealer I used to talk to, I like to take it as a challenge to see how I can incorporate the note. So maybe don't look at it as a rewrite as much as generating new content as a test of your abilities? Show 'em what's what. Find a way to make it fun for yourself.

      But now get that you mention it, the comedies I write during the winter are often a bit more murdery than the rest of my stuff...

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      • #4
        My question is why are you rewriting for free? If a producer wants you to rewrite hen get them to pony up first. Your time deserves it and it shows they're serious.

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        • #5
          Yes, although I was talking about my situation -- I was just trying to hear how others push through their 10th rewrite of their spec when all there is hope and no pay. But i appreciate the specific encouragement on my own work.

          I actually did a good two hours of the rewrite yesterday -- see the notes aren't even that much and I already know what to do -- but even that is sometimes hard to get excited for as then you turn it in and hope that the rewrite will be enough to move forward in the process.

          I'm at the spec stage -- so I've found these producers who were on the look out for bigger producer to help the project out -- and that's who I'm writing for now. I don't know what kind of money writers think you get paid for at this stage, but most don't pay anything or very little. It's all about the idea that working together will help us both out.

          Once I got an option for 2000 bucks for my spec for a year... guess what -- never got 1 penny of the money. So I stopped worrying about that long ago... producers in general don't put up the money -- they try to set projects up so they can make money.

          So more successful person can explain their experience, but I think too many writers on here are unaware of the sad reality of when writers actually do get paid. It's a very bad business to be in if you want to be valued for your time and effort.

          Reason I write for free for producer X and Y is I hope they keep pushing it up the hill to get attachments and then sold to a buyer.

          So I'm not worried about the 100 dollars they could pay me for an option, I'm hoping that this will lead to the real prize of getting a spec sold and the biggest prize of getting an actual movie made.

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          • #6
            I don't really have any strategy advice here except to say that I don't do this anymore. When it's done it's done, and anyone can take it or leave it until there is money on the table.

            That's my producers rule, but if a rep wanted some changes I might be open to it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by muckraker View Post
              I don't really have any strategy advice here except to say that I don't do this anymore. When it's done it's done, and anyone can take it or leave it until there is money on the table.

              That's my producers rule, but if a rep wanted some changes I might be open to it.
              I like that idea, but doesn't it close more doors than it opens?

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              • #8
                Producers are buyers in my mind. They actually make films. Reps are trying to get them to buy my product, and have a much wider circle of people they are effectively trying to sell to. A rep has a much larger rolodex of people to sell to than a producer, so I give them more credence in terms of what they think they can sell. Of course I can be wrong in my approach, but that's where I'm at.

                I really think the way to go is to make your own film.

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                • #9
                  For the brief time I had a manager he advised against doing freebies and that if someone is genuinely interested - and they're legit - then they'll pay for your time and effort, they'll pay an option, whereas only pretenders don't have at least a few thousand floating about to grease wheels. After all, how can anyone produce if they don't have funds? Also, insiting on being paid shows you have respect for yourself - which means they'll respect you (as much as writers get respect). When people freely throw away what power they have, that's when crap conditions becomes the norm. I don't care who you are Mr BigShot, you want my elbow grease beyond the spec that piqued your interest, show me (lots of) paper with dead Lizzie's face on it!

                  Apart from avoiding dreamers, pretenders and fakers, asking for money upfront also rules out complacency, disinterest and disrespect. It's human nature not to value people and their wares if they invest in work for you but you don't do the same in return. You can't help but devalue them in your mind which in turn comes through in your actions. You don't return phone calls, you don't take action quickly, you start to look at other, newer prospects and the original guy rewriting for free gets left on the shelf.

                  As for closing more doors than it opens - I refer you back to my first point: genuine players with genuine interest will pay. If someone hasn't got the funds or expects you to work for free then the door was never open in the first place. Sure, there's always that one in a million tale where someone worked for free and it paid off but for each one that succeeds 999.999 fail or even worse - get taken for a ride (and Hollywood is full of vultures ready to feast). Or to put it another way: you don't enter every single screenwriting contest even though technically-speaking that is closing doors.

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                  • #10
                    99% of producers don't have money for development. Studios pay for development. Producers try to get writers (and themselves) paid for setting up movies. The 1% exception are huge producers who have deals with a studio - but even then, they're just spending the studio's money.

                    Waiting for a producer who'll pay you means you'll be waiting forever.

                    If a producer has good notes, and has a track record of getting movies set up, it's fine to do a pass if you feel like it.

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                    • #11
                      Established, successful producers don't have money to pay people? Not even a couple of grand?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                        Established, successful producers don't have money to pay people? Not even a couple of grand?
                        Some have it. They just won't give it to me, you or Jeff. They are successful because they never spend their own money.

                        It sucks! I hate it. All writers hate this.

                        The issue is when the studios who pay writers, try to get free work all the time too in form of pitching and leave behind and "polish" vs rewrite.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                          Established, successful producers don't have money to pay people? Not even a couple of grand?
                          I'm sure they could throw a few thousand at someone to option something.

                          But should a writer take it? First, if they're asking for a rewrite with the option, they are grossly underpaying you.

                          And your script is tied up for 12-18 months (or years if they renew the option) for a few thousand bucks.

                          And if you do a rewrite for that money, you've possibly made the chain of title complicated if you DO get it back and try to set it up somewhere else.

                          If a producer has juice and you think the notes make it better, and you own the script if they don't set it up, it seems like a reasonable move. YMMV.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bono View Post

                            Some have it. They just won't give it to me, you or Jeff. They are successful because they never spend their own money.

                            It sucks! I hate it. All writers hate this.

                            The issue is when the studios who pay writers, try to get free work all the time too in form of pitching and leave behind and "polish" vs rewrite.
                            I would expect producers to have a business account so it’s not directly coming out of their own pocket. As for studios, maybe it would mean I’d be waiting a long time for paid work but there’s no way I’d comply to such a request. Rightly or wrongly, I believe it sets a dangerous precedent if I did and a positive precedent if I didn’t.
                            SundownInRetreat
                            Member
                            Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 10-06-2022, 02:19 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post

                              I'm sure they could throw a few thousand at someone to option something.

                              But should a writer take it? First, if they're asking for a rewrite with the option, they are grossly underpaying you.

                              And your script is tied up for 12-18 months (or years if they renew the option) for a few thousand bucks.
                              Absolutely. I was just answering in regards to a non-option situation where the producer wants you to do rewrites whilst they look into packaging a deal. Of course, I’ve no idea how realistic that situation is or whether it would always result in an option first.


                              And if you do a rewrite for that money, you've possibly made the chain of title complicated if you DO get it back and try to set it up somewhere else.

                              If a producer has juice and you think the notes make it better, and you own the script if they don't set it up, it seems like a reasonable move. YMMV.
                              Very good points which I hadn’t considered. If I agreed with the notes then I believe I would do the rewrite anyway, as it’s making my story better, but I wouldn’t be doing rewrite after rewrite when all I’ve got from the opposite side is words rather than action.

                              To go back to my question about establish producers – is it really “the done thing“ for someone like Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay, Jason Blum or whoever (multi-millionaire prodcos) to expect free rewrites?
                              SundownInRetreat
                              Member
                              Last edited by SundownInRetreat; 10-06-2022, 02:20 PM.

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