Packaging question

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  • Packaging question

    Howdy folks... Yep, I've had a few of these types of questions over the last year, as I continue to live in the hellish waiting game that is packaging!

    Now, I've no idea if there's a right or wrong answer for this one but would love to hear other dd'ers thoughts.

    Let's say (hypothetically) you have a tv project set up with an A-list producer. As a writer you're not big time, at best a working one. Said producer wants to attach a major director to the material to help sell it to buyers. So the producer approaches an agent they have a great working relationship with at one of the big 4. This agent has an impressive client list. Producer is keen on a particular high profile director repped by this agent. A week later the agent comes back having read the script and loves the materials but the director in question is all tied up on other projects for the foreseeable. The agent then suggests a handful of other options, ones who are available and are decent tv directors. Some have shot a few pilots, others created/ exec'd their own series etc. By no means A-list but with some impressive tv credits under their belt. However, Producer still wants to try a few more big hitters first, so approaches other agents that they have strong relationships with.

    My question is this... If the agent of the high profile director loved the material so much, then why did they suggest clients with less clout, given they rep a decent amount of high profile directors and knowing the producer of the project was after a certain level of talent? Seems odd that they didn't suggest some of their other big named talent. Or am I missing something here?
    Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 11-28-2020, 02:07 PM. Reason: Added tags

  • #2
    Could be for the same reason, they're all tied up with other projects. If the producer wants to take a few more swings with bigger names, then let him/her.

    That said, a director doesn't do much to move the needle in the TV world (unless it's a top tier name). An A-list actor or showrunner will.

    Which begs the question, is this a non-writing producer? I'm guessing yes.

    Good luck.

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    • #3
      Well, look at it realistically. Your material may not be high profile enough, in that Agent's eyes, to give to his A-list directors. But might very well be a great way for an up and comer to break out. That isn't necessarily a bad move. The Agent should be looking out for ALL his clients. He works for them, not you. If you were Sorkin, your results might vary.

      What is your ultimate goal? To attach an A-list director? Consider the pros and cons.

      As far as a TV project, isn't the showrunner the more important player than the director? Is this a limited series or a series-series? Network? Cable? Streaming? I don't know, just speculating from what I've read. If it requires a showrunner, maybe target one that has worked well with these second tier directors? Have you had a strategy conversation with the producer? Why not ask him what he thinks. Your question seems valid to me.

      I'm a nobody, so just food for thought here.

      Good luck, Mintclub!
      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=docgonzo;n1198671]Could be for the same reason, they're all tied up with other projects. If the producer wants to take a few more swings with bigger names, then let him/her.

        That said, a director doesn't do much to move the needle in the TV world (unless it's a top tier name). An A-list actor or showrunner will.

        Which begs the question, is this a non-writing producer? I'm guessing yes.

        Good luck.[/QUOTE

        Thanks Doc,

        Yep it’s a non-writing producer. I’ve been open to bringing a showrunner aboard and have said this during our meetings (as although I’ve written on existing tv shows, I’ve not had my own yet) but the producer hasn’t been too fussed about bringing one on. Producer has a track record of hit shows so I guess I have to trust the approach. But I’m still left a little puzzled by the agent’s suggestions, as like you say, most directors aren’t likely to move the needle so why offer them up?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
          Well, look at it realistically. Your material may not be high profile enough, in that Agent's eyes, to give to his A-list directors. But might very well be a great way for an up and comer to break out. That isn't necessarily a bad move. The Agent should be looking out for ALL his clients. He works for them, not you. If you were Sorkin, your results might vary.

          What is your ultimate goal? To attach an A-list director? Consider the pros and cons.

          As far as a TV project, isn't the showrunner the more important player than the director? Is this a limited series or a series-series? Network? Cable? Streaming? I don't know, just speculating from what I've read. If it requires a showrunner, maybe target one that has worked well with these second tier directors? Have you had a strategy conversation with the producer? Why not ask him what he thinks. Your question seems valid to me.

          I'm a nobody, so just food for thought here.

          Good luck, Mintclub!
          Some fair points there, Finalact4, appreciate it.

          There's been a fair bit going on with the project, leading up to this point. We'd had multiple producers wanting to take it on and who were/are still keen on it. To the point where my agents wanted to pull it from the current producers (there's more than one involved) after they'd spent 5 months chasing an A-list actor -- who finally read the material only to pass on it. That actor's agents, who also loved the project, then suggested other well known actors off their list but the producers weren't keen. So now they want a big director. It's frustrating to say the least. And yep we've had a few strategy meetings. Lists drawn up etc only for them to pivot to someone completely different each time.
          Last edited by Mintclub; 11-28-2020, 09:49 AM.

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          • #6
            You know what drives me crazy? The idea that someone thinks they can hold up a project for 5 ****ing months. What? They're too busy? A-list or not, it's rude. I say, give 'em 30 days, they don't want it?Move on and find someone that does. I know, I know, it's easy to say, but it's not like there's a ****-ton of projects in production, are there? Industry pros need to get stuff moving now, so in six month's time they have a project ready to go into production.

            In my business, when someone offers you a deal, you look at it or you miss an opportunity. First come, first served. I wish it worked that way in film/TV.
            Last edited by finalact4; 11-28-2020, 04:27 PM.
            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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            • #7
              FWIW, I agree with producer in not wanting to go with non A-list attachments - any attachment that doesn't help get it made is keeping it from getting made.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                FWIW, I agree with producer in not wanting to go with non A-list attachments - any attachment that doesn't help get it made is keeping it from getting made.
                Thanks Jeff, appreciate the input. And I totally agree on that front.

                Guess I just found it odd that the agent offered up decent but less high profile/ game changing alternatives. Surely they'd know these particular client suggestions wouldn't move the needle.

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                • #9
                  I can understand taking extra time to go after the A-List actor attachment. The big-name director who slaps their name on a show and then holds everyone hostage to their creative whims . . . well, ask the Mindhunter staff how that worked out for them

                  https://variety.com/2020/film/news/d...ix-1234834648/

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                  • #10
                    That's too bad, I was looking forward to the next season.
                    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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