Phone meetings - what should I expect?



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  • Phone meetings - what should I expect?

    An agent at Writers and Artists has asked me to call him based on the logline I sent him.

    Being new to all of this, what kind of questions is he likely to fire at me? I'd hate to screw this opportunity up so any advice would be most helpful.

  • #2
    So all he's read is the logline, not the script? If so, be prepared to pitch the rest of the plot. Be able to pitch it concisely and make it interesting.

    Be ready to talk about what you're writing right now. If you aren't writing something right now, you should have just finished something. It should you're serious and disciplined and it give you another pitch if for some reason he doesn't like the sound of your first script.

    Have questions for him -- what's the next step? What does he think is the best genre to be writing in right now? Is he aware of any projets that sound similar to yours? etc., etc., It's not being pushy, it's flattery. Show him that you value his expertise and you want to hear his opinions.

    Ultimate goal if all he's read is your logline is to get him to read something of yours. So be ready with good pitches.

    If he has read your script, and you like him on the phone,
    ask for a face to face meeting.

    Good luck.


    • #3

      An agent at W&A responded to you just on the strength of a log-line? Are you sure it's not just the log-line but the entire query he responded to?

      How did he ask you to call him? Did he call you and leave a message? Did he send you a letter?

      Be prepared not only to talk about your script, but also about what else you're working on.


      • #4
        Had a phone interview recently for my script...


        You need to know everything about 'em...

        What they did six months ago, where they went to school, what their dreams are, if their parents were happily married, what their sexual tastes are, how they interact with others, their insecurities, who their friends are and why, what they'd rather be doing...etc etc.

        And a million other things about every one of 'em.

        Know your characters real well before that interview, along with every single beat of that script. And then, the reasons why you wrote it, and how you came up with the concept.

        PS: Have some bullet point answers handy for the questions you think they might ask. Use the boy scout's motto.


        • #5

          If they've only read your logline, you may not need to go into the specifics of your characters. But know it all anyways...

          Steve's advice is excellent.


          • #6
            How he asked you to call is important. Usually they just call you so I am guessing he left you a phone message? So you call back, probably he will be busy and you will leave a message, and then he will call you and you will play phone tag till he gets you on the phone.

            You want to give your story to him in a clear fast way. That means, 1) logline, 2) brief main character descriptions (and that is main characters only and brief), 3) what the central dillemma is, 4) three turning points, 5) the final conflict, 6) the ending. That is a down and dirty narrative pitch. You want to be able to do that, clear and fast, for the script you want to send him, any story you are working on now, and any stories you have in the desk drawer you would also like to send out.

            Also pay attention to what turning points you choose. You want very specific there is a shift in power something has changed turning points, not just brief anecdotes from the piece as a whole. Something has changed turning points and emphasize the change when you tell them.

            If the phone makes you nervous, you should outline those on paper and keep them near a phone so if he calls and you choke you can read them off that paper and not go blank on the phone.

            Also, try not to be nervous. He is on your side. He wants to discover a story wonderful and good. He wants your story to be wonderful and good. So he is on your side, hoping for the best for and from you.

            Good luck.


            • #7
              Things NOT To Do: A Horror Story

              Okay, I'll confess a horror story about my very first call to a major production company.

              Some things NOT to do:
              - Don't call or except calls after you've either been drinking or suffering from sleep deprivation.

              - Don't call RIGHT after you "finish" the script and/or pitch. Let it cool down. Become calm. At peace with the universe first. Remember your story, but don't be in one of those "this-is-the-greatest-thing-since-the-invention-of-the-wheel" type of euphorias that writers sometimes get after completing a script.

              Now, the horror story...
              After working 24 straight hours to complete the umpteenth rewrite and sucking down enormous amounts of coffee, I prepared for the big call. My very first. I had it on word from a friend that knew a friend that knew a janitor kinda thing that this major production company was looking for an action script to be used as a vehicle for a particular actor/actress. I had a great script. I was ready. I had to get the script out the next day, since my day job required me to be gone for two weeks starting the next day. It had to be now.

              Ummm, I was also suffering from sleep deprivation, shaking from a caffeine high, and the latent euphoria of completing a script.

              Now, usually in the course of my day job, I follow GIG's advice of having thoughts jotted down before making an important call, but for some really dumb reason I didn't. No notes. Nothing but a number.

              So, I called.

              Ring. Ring.

              Hello, this is so 'n so productions.

              I got a script for you. I heard so n' so was looking for an action script. I think you'll like it.

              Good. Sounds interesting.

              Things are going good. The guy is reacting to me. It's going smooth. Then...

              What's it about?

              Ummmm... ahhhh.... ummmm...

              PRODUCER's ASSISTANT
              We are kinda busy.

              (rapid fire caffeine
              injected dialogue)
              It's. It's. It's about... this Special Forces guy.

              (growing disinterested fast)
              Um --

              I heard so n' so was looking for an action role. This could be it.

              Um --

              It's. It's. It's full of guns 'n stuff.

              Um, sir --

              I look forward to your reading it.
              (gasps for air)
              Will you?

              Ah, go ahead and submit it through your agent.

              Ummm, I don't have an agent...

              Sir, we can't accept your --

              I can sign a waiver. I'll send it in with the script.

              Ummm --

              That should be acceptable, right?

              Ahh... Okay.

              Thanks. I'll send it right away.

              Sure. Bye.


              My eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep, my hands slighty shaking from the caffeine overdose, and...

              I sounded like an idiot. A complete idiot. Not a good impression to make on your potential reader. Ugh.

              But they did read it and got back to me in one week. I now had my first writer seeking-to-be-read call under my belt. But never again will I make those same mistakes. Damn, if I had only known GIG sooner, I might just have remembered my usual routine. Think of the advantages you have in hearing all this advice.

              Now I will go back to my cave and suffer the snickers,


              • #8
                Re: Things NOT To Do: A Horror Story

                Oh, of course they said "We'll pass". I wonder if it had anything to do with that phone call? Hmmm...


                • #9
                  Ahhh, Tom,

                  You've got quite the sweet-streak in ye, dontcha, boyo? Well, don't feel so bad; you didn't do as badly as a sitch that I saw (first hand)...

                  A writer/artist team had queried a "Major" comics co., at the outset of the Pol-Correct movement (no jibes, Smurph!). They'd gained interest because they had an indie director interested in their work, and had worded that cleverly in their cover-letter. They'd written/faxed their story ideas/pitches, to a major editor, and had received great encouragement. The editor asked to meet with them at the biggest convention of the year to discuss a possible deal, maybe even with them retaining copyright/trademark rights. He asked them to show exactly how much they understood of the alternative-lifestile... and bring samples.

                  (Now, that means one thing to one person, and another to... well, you catch my drift)

                  So they show up, but decide to show up in the middle of the day, infront of everyone...

                  Dressed in spiked-leather-collars, butt-less leather chaps, with the writer wearing a leather-harness, holding the artist in tow on a dog-leash. They walk right up to the editor and say,

                  "Hi! We're the guys you asked to speak to, personally, about work in the alternative realm!"

                  In front of all the editor's peers. And bosses. And fans.

                  How do you think THAT interview went?

                  By comparison, I don't think you did all that badly... :lol


                  • #10
                    great advice guys....thanks

                    Thanks for all the input - I think it helped because the call went really well. Girlin - your tip about writing it all down was spot on - made me less nervous knowing I could refer to my notes if needed. The result is they're reading it at Writers and Artists - so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


                    • #11
                      KOSK, All I Can Say Is...

                      :lol :lol :lol

                      That was a funny story.

                      Now, what's this crap about me being sweet? I'm not the one in love with froggies

                      Now, I'm off to stomp on some squirrels and kick some doggies just to prove what an a** I can be.

                      (just kidding. really, just kidding)

                      Best to ya,


                      • #12
                        Expat in LA

                        Though I'm a little late to the party, it's good to hear your phone call went well. However, I think you should you do as everyone else suggested and prepare as if you were preparing for a face-to-face meeting. Where I differ is, I expect them to like what I have to say and offer. What do you have to lose? I have gotten material read all over town, phone calls returned from the highest levels of the most prestigious companies (agencies and production), and I am currently in the midst of pitch meetings all over town for four original projects for TV and film. Most of which are not yet written but are in pitch or treatment form. Believe it or not, there is a formula to it all that can deliver you to the door and have it open for you. From there you have to determine how to get them to welcome you through to the other side. My suggestion is to ACT as if you belong. BELIEVE IT. If you do, more often than not, they will also. Remember, this is the business of writing: Business and writing. Of course, this info will only help you the next time around. If you got an agent at W&A to respond simply with a log-line, there will probably be a next time. God Bless.


                        • #13
                          Give it up, expat

                          Hi, expat. I was with W&A until January of last year (when I left to startup a dotcom - great timing, huh?) and would love to know who contacted you, and how it went. If you give me the genre, I can probably guess who it was, but on first blush, I'd say either Rich Freeman or Angela Chang.

                          So, expat, give it up!