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    I had sent a script to a certain producer, who shall remain un-named, and he e-mailed me back that the script was a pass but he'd like a call. Apparently he was interested in me "as a writer"---but not in my writing. I called him back and was somewhat shocked by his conversation, though I suppose I ought to get used to it. His feeling was that I needed a hip, cool, slick, hungry, young, big script suitable for "a movie star" (he mentioned George Clooney), before I would get anywhere with my writing. He proposed that I pitch him my best ideas, and allow him to work with me to make it "hip and cool", and then he'd take it around Hollywood and take a percentage of the sale. I told him I've been writing fiction a long time, and that my style is something personal to me, whether it's the Next Big Thing or not. That didn't go over well. I guess my only conclusion is that the real path to success in Hollywood lies not in superior story-telling, but in the ability to inspire people with the imagination of a sea-slug that you are, indeed, "that thing". Hype is king.

  • #2
    I don't think you should generalize Hollywood by this one experience.

    Now, on the other side of the coin - just to play devil's advocate - maybe this producer thought you had talent, but not the hipness or coolness (I'll assume he's talking style) for today's market.

    Or maybe this guy's a joker and we should all avoid dealing with such people.


    • #3
      Not your writing?

      I think the fact that he wanted to talk demonstrates that he likes your writing.

      The rest sounds like he's second (or third) rate, and is just looking for a score.

      Plus, it is entirely possible that your style is in fact NOT hip or cool. So what?

      Don't sweat it, just as there are writers with different styles, there are producers whose approaches to business are just as varied. Find the one that fits your needs and appreciates your work just the way it is.

      And stop generalizing. At best, it makes you sound bitter. At worst, it calls your intelligence into question. Either conclusion would be unfair to you.

      Good luck.


      • #4
        Producers do not take "a percentage of the sale." Producer's are paid a producer's fee by the studio. Anyone who claims to be a producer and does not know this is questionable.


        • #5
          A Likely Hack

          That was my first impression. Especially, the part about wanting a percentage. Proceed at your own risk.



          • #6
            Re: A Likely Hack

            Why be so tormented over a foolish Hollywood idiot? There are gazillions of them. I agree that it would be unwise to generalize your experience with this fool to characterize Hollywood in general. There are agents and producers with excellent taste and respect for a writer's prerogative. This person just doesn't happen to be one of them. Your job is to write in your own style and find the people that "get you" as you are without trying to turn you into something you're not. Also - be certain to turn a rigorous eye to your own writing - even though his critique was stupid, what is it about your script that could be better? How could the story be more internally congruent? How could the characters be fuller? It's always worth turning back to the one thing we can control -the writing..


            • #7
              you have a voice that he liked, he just didn't like that particular script. it sounds like he wanted you to write something "saleable." since this is an elusive quantity, i suggest you write what moves you first. then, if you think you want to cram your work into the gears and pistons of the hollywood machine, do your best to refit it then. if they don't want it, then it's their loss. go on to the next idea you scribbled down.

              it sounds like he wants you to write what's currently playing in the multiplex...and we all know that once you bash your head into your keyboard and hammer something similar to the celluloid that's running through the projector, it won't be playing anymore, and you'll have to move on to the next hot genre. just write what moves you...


              • #8

                Yes, it's true, I'm not very hip. I think what impressed me most about this particular encounter was the producer's total disregard for whatever it was that might actually make me unique as a writer. He seemed to feel that it was only himself and an elite cadre of like-minded geniuses, who knew what "worked" and what didn't, and that guys like me with perhaps an eccentric style should go jump off a cliff. In which case I can only wonder why he doesn't write scripts himself. And as for whether or not he would take a percentage of the sale, that was exactly his offer (not sure if that would be in the form of a fee or not).


                • #9
                  Re: Forward

                  Your experience is exactly the reason why I made the decision to be mighty selective about who I query and why I say all opportunities are not "opportunities." If you can't pick up who's a scammer or a hanger-on, you can get your hopes up only to have them dashed.

                  I have been selective from the start and still have gotten weird calls from my queries being passed around.



                  • #10
                    Re: Forward

                    There are many warning signs in that conversation. The first is the guy asked you to call him. That's unusual. Most people in the industry can afford to pick up the phone themselves. He dropped a very big name. George Clooney. If this guy could get George Clooney on the phone he would probably not be corresponding with baby writers on the internet asking them to call him. He said he'd work with a writer on a script for a portion of the sale. That's not how the industry works. Producers work with writers on material, sure, but their payment comes from the studio and is a producer's fee. Not a give me half the sale price I cannot even make because I am a bozo but hey I am hip fee. Some people are managers/producers, and they sometimes take both a commission form the writer and a producer's fee from the studio, but then it's a managerial commission from the writer and a producorial fee from the production company. Which is different. So this guy does not know how the business works. And that is a very big warning sign. All of which means --

                    This guy probably has no credits, no connections, no knowledge, and no ability to help you get a movie sold let alone made at all. People like this are out there. I have no idea what goes through their pointy little heads or what is up with them and the charades, but they are out there. Watch out for them.

                    And do not listen to anything they say. They are bozos. Their opinions mean nothing. Everything they say is lies. Ignore them and keep going.


                    • #11
                      Re: Forward

                      Do you know how much it costs to say you are a producer in California? $25

                      Anyone can be a producer. But, being a successful producer is a whole 'nother ballgame. So just saying he's a producer and dropping names means nothing.

                      Just thought I'd throw that tidbit out there for those that don't know.