Is there a 'buying' season in Hollywood?



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  • Is there a 'buying' season in Hollywood?

    Dear all,

    I am writing from London, and therefore might as well be in Siberia in terms of the Hollywood loop - I have a question about SEASONALITY in the entertainment business.

    Is there a period when things are quiet (Christmas, over the summer?) and periods when things are especially buzzing? Are there times of the year (post-financial reporting, bonus time?) when development budgets are handed out or something else which sets the town on fire in terms of new ventures, buying sprees etc?

    I ask as I am coming over to LA for 3 months sometime over the next 12 months and I would like to pick the optimal time of the year when everybody is there/'up'/new things are happening.

    Any and all help appreciated.

    Jamyn The Limey

  • #2
    i'm not sure if there is a "buying season," probably the regulars like Mr. Martell would better be able to answer.
    ...but, i would like to say that i've heard rumors that the process is moving faster- replying to queries if there is indeed interest in proposed ideas- because of the looming writers strike this summer. and, that is only what i've heard, it's not first hand experience.


    • #3
      This is an interesting question. Most people know that there is seasonality to the business, with TV especially. Their usual hiatus period is May-July, and are back at work by mid-august for the most part. Like spring breaks at colleges, the time off & return dates vary from production to production a bit. I don't know, but suspect Films go into overdrive during summer, using the freed talent from the TV shows, and good weather. But suspect Films have less seasonality overall, since all kinds of weather and such are wanted for various scripts.
      As far as seasonality for script buying goes... I don't know, but imagine it's a non-issue, with literary agencies and studio script departments operating year round. As far as being out of the loop in London, it's really no more out of the loop than if you were in Boston, or Miami, or Dallas, Texas. All the cities have literary agencies, and London sources it's share of film scripts. If you show up in Los Angeles with a sack of scripts, it won't matter what time of year it is, or who's on vacation... because being out of the loop there simply means you don't know anyone, and your work hasn't been sent in advance by an agency. You won't get any meetings, or get anything done during your brief visit, and are destined to be dissapointed. Better to just enjoy seeing the sights, and work your local agency connections to generate interest in your work. If it is any good, worth anything, they'll want it. Simple as that


      • #4
        Shaker 7 is right about the futility of showing up for a few weeks with a bunch of scripts. Send out your query letters well in advance and let them know that you plan to come to L.A. As far as seasons, I have heard that August is pretty dead, as is December. In January, everyone is off to Sundance, so that swallows up a lot of the month with all the pre and post Sundance stuff. To give you an idea, I finished a script in October, re-worked it with may agents notes through November and they didn't end up sending it out till March (and it was all about "season" and "timing" and who was in town, etc). I had a bunch of meetings in April and May and 2 weeks ago got an actor attached to it based on one of those meetings. So set yourself up for the long haul.

        You first step should be to try to get an agent if you don't have one. Then, once you have an agent and a script they want to send out, plan your trip around that.

        Or just come to L.A. anytime for fun and don't set a lot of expectations.


        • #5
          Your fellow Brit Ben Trebilcook has done fairly well w/o going to LA. Search on his name and you can read all about him. I know he posts loglines on the website, too.

          Anyway, don't assume that you're at a disadvantage just because you're in Britain.


          • #6
            Steve is so right. August and December are vacation times. And it seems like the town shuts down whenever one of the big film festials are going on.


            • #7
              Wth feature films there are specific times of year that tend to be down times. The two main ones are the summer holiday spree, around July/August when everyone takes off for parts tropical and then there is the holiday/film festival season which starts in November around Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas and January/early February to cover Sundance and Teluride. The TV season effects feature stuff some because the agencies go crazy during TV staffing season so pretty much, you don't want to be querying agents during TV staffing season.

              What everyone else said about sending material out way in advance of heading to Los Angeles. People want to read you before they meet you, and if you get here and give people scripts it takes them a month to read and then have to set up meetings, well you have been sitting around paying for hotels for over a month just waiting on reads and you could have been getting read while you were at home and then coming out to L.A. to go straight into meetings which is better for your time and pocketbook.