Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

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  • #31
    Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

    Books and scripts -- they follow different paths, for sure.

    But it doesn't explain why the publishing agents seem to be more aggressive, at the query stage, when it comes to digging a bit more deeply to see what's there.

    The direction of this thread over the past several posts wasn't about the full screenplay. I think it was about the query, and how it's passed on or accepted by no more than a log line vs. a few pages of the script or a synopsis.

    JeffLowell mentioned the "poster" analogy of the log line ie. immediate impact. Is that really the way, with a query in front of you, to decide whether or not to start the process of spending $100M?

    I could throw a Bob Kosberg-like log line out there that turns out to not even have a script attached, or that has a poor script attached.

    But if I "pass" on a log line because, oh, it's 4:59:57 and "there'll be another 200 queries tomorrow", I'm not so sure I'll be able to sleep too well at night -- if my job depends on finding that "next great thing". Especially the way these things are shopped around, or tracked, and it turns out I'd passed on the one that sells and makes a mint at a competitor.

    Yet "something" makes the publishing agents a bit more patient or aggressive when it comes to trying to snag that hidden gem, before the other guy does.

    (Does it matter if we're talking agency readers or prodco readers here? I don't think so, at least this time.)

    So, if I ran an agency or prodco, I'd really put more resources into the query evaluation stage of things. At the very least, if I am able to get the synopsis or script read by my team, I'd ask my marketing folks to redo the tag or log -- which they probably do anyway, am I right?

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    • #32
      Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

      What you fail to understand is that 99% of the scripts out there are not good enough. And, it's every Tom, Dick, and Harry that has a laptop and a copy of final draft that thinks they are a screenwriter that ruin it for everyone.

      So, if given that 99% of the scripts are not good, then what is the contributing factor to reading a script? Liking the idea of the script, which is conveyed through......a log line.

      Like has been said a thousand times, if you write something great, it will find it's way to the right peoples hands. If you've had it read by 50 people, and they all pass on it, go back to the drawing board.

      Query evaluation stage? lol

      Originally posted by catcon View Post
      Books and scripts -- they follow different paths, for sure.

      But it doesn't explain why the publishing agents seem to be more aggressive, at the query stage, when it comes to digging a bit more deeply to see what's there.

      The direction of this thread over the past several posts wasn't about the full screenplay. I think it was about the query, and how it's passed on or accepted by no more than a log line vs. a few pages of the script or a synopsis.

      JeffLowell mentioned the "poster" analogy of the log line ie. immediate impact. Is that really the way, with a query in front of you, to decide whether or not to start the process of spending $100M?

      I could throw a Bob Kosberg-like log line out there that turns out to not even have a script attached, or that has a poor script attached.

      But if I "pass" on a log line because, oh, it's 4:59:57 and "there'll be another 200 queries tomorrow", I'm not so sure I'll be able to sleep too well at night -- if my job depends on finding that "next great thing". Especially the way these things are shopped around, or tracked, and it turns out I'd passed on the one that sells and makes a mint at a competitor.

      Yet "something" makes the publishing agents a bit more patient or aggressive when it comes to trying to snag that hidden gem, before the other guy does.

      (Does it matter if we're talking agency readers or prodco readers here? I don't think so, at least this time.)

      So, if I ran an agency or prodco, I'd really put more resources into the query evaluation stage of things. At the very least, if I am able to get the synopsis or script read by my team, I'd ask my marketing folks to redo the tag or log -- which they probably do anyway, am I right?
      twitter.com/mbotti

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      • #33
        Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

        And a logline is... writing!

        - Bill
        Free Script Tips:
        http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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        • #34
          Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

          Originally posted by michaelb View Post
          ...99% of the scripts out there are not good enough. And, it's every Tom, Dick, and Harry that has a laptop and a copy of final draft that thinks they are a screenwriter that ruin it for everyone. ...
          Sorry -- there's a difference here to 99% of the crud written for publishing? That's not what we're denying or admitting.

          Plus, anything poorly written can only make the good stuff look "gooder", so what's the problem there?

          Signing off for the rest of the day, so knock yourselves out rehashing this. I got my idea for my next spec while showering today, and I'm diving right in!

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          • #35
            Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

            I'm confused.

            So catcon and NYNEX basically want an open window to at least submit a synopsis/preferably their entire screenplays to whoever they want in the industry whenever they want?

            Aren't they the same people who would then sue whoever they submitted their work to under the pretense, "I sent them a serial killer script and then three years later they made a serial killer movie!!!"

            I think the root of the problem is people that don't have the goods (yeah, this is subjective but when you don't have the goods, it's pretty obvious) looking to "cash in" -- why don't you both just become script consultants?

            I can see NYNEX's pitch now..."get your work critiqued by an ivy league grad whose work has been discussed by WME, CAA, and screenwriting great John August."

            Just what donedeal needs...another frankenstein monster.
            "I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.- - Don Draper

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            • #36
              Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

              Why does publishing and film have to have to same rules? That doesn't make any sense. If you want the easy access that books provide (and if you read the link I provided, you'd see that is a fantasy) write books. Simple.

              If you want to be a designated hitter, you play for American League teams instead of National League teams. Simple.

              But in reality, this isn't baseball vs. baseball, it's more like football vs. golf. And making the team for a pro football team is not the same as playing pro golf - so why would you expect the rules to be the same?

              - Bill
              Free Script Tips:
              http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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              • #37
                Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                We must not have any comedy writers on this board. I left this morning with the comment about being in the shower when I came up with an idea for my next spec, and I figured that'd inspire at least a half dozen remarks! Nary a one!

                Originally posted by joe9alt View Post
                Aren't they the same people who would then sue whoever they submitted their work to under the pretense, "I sent them a serial killer script and then three years later they made a serial killer movie!!!"
                Nope. Not me. I want to be in charge of who sees my material, so I've disagreed with the tracking board business talked about here. But I'm happy to tell anyone I won't sue them... unless they steal my script. Because that's what it's going to be - I won't just GIVE it to them: Here's a snippet from a release I was sent recently, requesting a read:

                That in no event shall I assert against you, your affiliates, subsidiaries, licensees, assigns, officers, agents or employees any claim or action based on plagiarism, idea theft, infringement, confidential relationship, implied contract, unfair competition or any other theory arising out of your examination of the Project or any alleged use or exploitation by you of the Project or any elements of the Project.
                Needless to say, I did NOT send them my script.

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                • #38
                  Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                  Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
                  Why does publishing and film have to have to same rules? That doesn't make any sense. If you want the easy access that books provide (and if you read the link I provided, you'd see that is a fantasy) write books. Simple.
                  Excellent point. Industries are different. Talk to an inventor who invents across industries and s/he'll tell you submissions are treated in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are simply company-to-company differences, but often the differences are by industry. Some will say, "Sure, what ya got?" Others want an issued patent, an anti-NDA ("By signing this, you agree we will keep nothing secret and we may use any of your unpatented ideas without [even] paying you."), and a sigmoidoscopy. Oh yeh... And, some just say, "No."

                  In some industries they'll pay you if they use your idea - even if it's not patentable; others will only pay you to the extent that your idea is patentable.

                  Did Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" take into account the policies of other carry-out places in his neighborhood when devising his own? I'd guess, no. Did he maximize his profits by being a soup Nazi? I dunno. But he did what he did, like it or not. "Next!"

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                  • #39
                    Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                    Wait. How do I get to be a designated hitter again?

                    HH

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                    • #40
                      Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                      Another small difference between the industries:

                      Movies released theatrically in 2010: 534

                      Books published in the U.S. in 2010: 288,355

                      So perhaps not surprising that they use different methods to finding material.

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                      • #41
                        Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                        Originally posted by NYNEX View Post
                        MacH, in publishing, agents not only have the time to read queries, they typically also accept synopses and the first three chapters and/or the first 50 pages.

                        And they accept this on an unsolicited basis. So since literary agents in publishing can deal with all these unsolicited submissions, there's no real reason why this cannot be done in film as well.
                        So write a novel and leave the film biz to people who have talent and thick skin.

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                        • #42
                          Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                          Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                          Another small difference between the industries:

                          Movies released theatrically in 2010: 534

                          Books published in the U.S. in 2010: 288,355

                          So perhaps not surprising that they use different methods to finding material.

                          Holy crap, is that real? That's amazing. I had no idea THAT many books are published per year. That's like 1% of the entire U.S. population published a book last year. I'm sure published in the US doesn't also mean written in the US, but still, it's a staggering figure.

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                          • #43
                            Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                            Link. (Yes, it's wikipedia, but it links to sources.)

                            And as you can see, those are just the U.S. numbers. (I was off a year - those were 2009 numbers.) There are another 200,000+ published in the U.K., so around half a million books published in English every year.
                            Last edited by JeffLowell; 08-21-2011, 10:19 PM.

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                            • #44
                              Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                              Originally posted by NYNEX View Post
                              This is generally true, nearly all literary agents in publishing take some sort of unsolicited submission. Different ones have different requirements, but almost all deal with some sort of query (and others want additional materials, like synopses, X number of pages, chapters, etc).

                              There's no reason why film literary agents can't do the same thing.
                              You realize what you're asking for here? You're asking for the major agencies to read the winners of all the open call contests. That's all you're really asking for.

                              So they contact Scriptapalooza and Screenwriting Expo and read the winners and runners up. (They already read the Nicholl winners, typically. )

                              Then what?

                              Insofar as I'm able to tell, none of your scripts would make it past the first round of Expo or any of the other major contests. So where does that leave you?

                              Plenty of agencies have gone out of business or been swallowed up by others over the years. Don't you understand that the surviving major agencies have a business model that works well for them, and they will maintain that business model until they have a good business reason not to? If there were any money in operating the way you'd like them to, they would have done it already.

                              So what if they pay somebody to read every sh*tty script that comes over the transom? How does that help you or anybody else?

                              Do you really think a publishing industry-style slushpile would be any different than Scriptapalooza or Slamdance?

                              Nicholl is open call. So are the network fellowships (except for Disney). If you haven't submitted to these, why the hell haven't you? If you have submitted, and you haven't advanced, why do you think agency readers would be any more receptive to your work than the readers for the contests and fellowships?
                              If you really like it you can have the rights
                              It could make a million for you overnight

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                              • #45
                                Re: Jim Vines aka Working Screenwriter Interviews Me

                                Confucius say, "Just because you write screenplay does not make you screenwriter."

                                If your sense of entitlement wasn't so damn insulting to actual professionals who have had their ability and talent recognized and vetted by "the system," your story would be pathetic rather than infuriating.

                                Justin, this has really been the longest, most awkward American idol audition I've ever witnessed. Even Paula has her ears covered now. Security has been called. Keep singing that terrible cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It won't make you a singer.
                                Reaction time is a factor, so please pay attention.

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