Been a little bit since my last blog. Lots of stuff happening. Finished a brand spanking new, kinda based on a real thing, comedy script spec I love with a new writing partner that I love writing/working with. Multiple trips to LA. Surprising meetings with studios. Meetings with some people I want to work with and meetings with people I never want to see again let alone work with. Meetings with cool friends I cherish. New life on a dark/comedy pilot I thought might go away, which is a good thing because it’s a killer concept. Other projects seem to be moving forward, one in particular is speeding, and loads of people I respect are asking/demanding to read the new spec.
Some personal family health hurdles to get over, which they did and received a Gold Medal for. Thank You God.
Life is good. I know you didn’t ask, but I need to announce it from the rooftops.
Now, let’s talk about being the Exception.
You know, those writers who dropped their script into the lap of a sleeping star on an airplane and it was made into a hit film. Or the writer who put their script into a pizza box and delivered it to CAA and got signed. Or the writer who slid their script under a restroom stall to that big director who made it his next film. Or the writer that got a star map, printed a dozen scripts, and threw them over the walls and fences at the Stars homes and the bidding war for the script that ensued afterward. Or the writer who made like he was delivering a singing telegram to a producer and ended his song by handing his script to the producer and the joyous celebration the two of them had afterward.
Yes, these things have all happened... the results didn’t, but the writers did make fools out of themselves trying these desperate and really unprofessional ways to get their work read.
There has been nothing that hasn’t been tried unsuccessfully, many times. Nothing. You may think it’s original, but it’s not. I have heard the stories from people who have been subject to this loonyness. It amazes them, it frustrates them, it pisses them off. In Amy Poehler’s new book, she talks about this invasion of personal space with an example of the time she was asleep on a subway in New York and someone dropped a script in her lap, waking her up. She was not happy. She was not nice. And I don’t blame her.
Who wants their personal space invaded? No one. Yet some writers seem to think this is fair game because once they heard a story from someone or another who knew a guy who knew someone who gave Coppola a script on a plane and it got made. This is how urban legends live on, because people need them to be true to justify their desperate actions.
Do people throw their software ideas over Bill Gate’s fence. Or their design ideas for a new Tesla under Elon Musk’s bathroom stall? Hell no. Why is this industry any different? Well, because it isn’t.
What the writers who try this craziness don’t realize is that producers buy writers as much as they buy writing. Why do you think they want to meet with the writers before they buy or option anything? To get a feel for who the writers are and if they can work with them. You know what they think of writers who do these over the line things to get their script read? Not a hell of a lot. The line, “Get off of my lawn!” comes to mind.
Hollywood as a business is amazingly risk averse right now, as if you couldn’t tell with all the sequels, remakes, and comic book films. One of the things they are really averse to is the uptick in law suits from writers who are sure their idea or script was stolen. That’s why no one will take any script that hasn’t been requested or brought to them by someone they trust. It’s too risky and they’d be flooded with scripts. They get enough scripts the right way as it is. Why do you think it takes so long to get a read once you’ve sent a requested script?
But... But... you don’t understand, Bob. I’m going to be the exception to the rule. It’s going to work for me because I’m brilliant and my script is brilliant and my film needs to be seen by audiences everywhere.
I can't tell you how many times I've read or heard this attitude. And then when their script get no traction, it's always everything but the script's fault.
I will say what I always say and will continue to say, GREAT SCRIPTS FIND A WAY. They don’t always get made, but they can make careers. If you’re not getting traction from your script from querying or reads or contests or sites like the Blacklist, you need to take a hard look at yourself and your script and face the fact that maybe it isn’t the people rejecting the script, but the script itself. Every writer has had to face this. Every writer who is a success now. What did they do? They didn’t get mad and feel sorry for themselves or blame anyone else. They pulled up their big boy/girl pants and wrote another one. And another one, working to get that one great script to get them noticed. Work.
You aren’t going to be the exception because there are none. You hear a story about some writer who sold his first script for big money? Chances are he spent as much or more time networking and querying to get it read and then was GREAT in the room. And as I’ve said previously, networking is nothing more than developing genuine relationships with people. Something that takes time and effort. Expecting someone with contacts to do something for you out of the blue is not networking. It’s insanity. Networking is work. Just like querying is work. Sites like the Blacklist cost and not a little. You have to invest your hard earned money for maybe no results. It’s what screenwriters do when they understand the business they’ve chosen. When they don’t understand, they throw scripts over fences.
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