HOW TO HUSTLE YOUR OWN SCRIPT.
You WROTE IT BUT YOU CAN'T SELL IT? I read an article the other day, which maintained that writers could not easily hustle their own scripts. IT warned that studios, indie prods don't want to know unrepresented writers, as they're a lawsuit threat.
The article's author maintained that the average unrepresented writer had one chance in a thousand of getting through the system to even get his script read. It was over at a SCREENWRITER LIST at Yahoo. The article described how hard it is to sell a script not only as producers fear loose cannon, litigation prone writers but as all indie prods want a star pre-attached to a script. (Or a bankable director). You as Joe Blow Writer can't get to stars and directors easily --- that much is true. But fine scripts are what indie prods or big studios use to ATTRACT stars, directors. SO YOUR interesting them in the script's high concept, getting THEM to read YOUR SCRIPT, is all you have to worry about really, cuz if the script's hot, they'll option it.
A fellow on my SCREENWRITING list at YAHOO said: I'm not trying to sell a script right now but if I were here's what I would do. I would contact the Directors Guild of America and a copy of the "Directory of Members" book. I can't remember what it cost but I know it's not very much. Then I would contact directors that I thought might be interested in being attached as the director. Once you have a director attached you can use their connections and credits to help market your screenplay. I've done this before with some success.
As I hear from wannabe writers, the hardships mentioned in that article on writers un-successfully hustling scripts are over with. We have a whole new breed of producers out there and they have large staffs of readers. What happened is this: The right wing of our town funded Melissa Gilbert to become head of SAG and then they spearheaded (thru her) the movement to override, historical SAG objections to actors agents/managers entering the producing field. NOW you can send scripts to agents, managers too as they're functioning as producers which they never could before! That continues, a decade later.
This implies that your possibilities for SUBMITTING AND SELLING have just doubled! It ain't just studios and indie prods any more. THE LIBERAL LEFT end of HOLLYWOOD, the SMALLTIME actors ---lost out. They no longer have any power and can no longer stand in the way of the big THEATRICAL AGENCIES becoming producers. That SEPARATION OF STATE AND CHURCH (which I felt was FDR SOCIALISM, anti-DOHENY TRUST in its thrust and scope. ) That FDR filmland age began early sixties when the USGOV threw MCA Universal Corp a kind of Sophie's choice.....dump one kid or the other. One kid was a new producing corp over in the Universal City area, on the UNIVERSAL LOT. Its name was MCA. The other was their mature, fully feathered adult talent agency. They chose to dump the latter even though it had the biggest names in town, buy the whole studio and call it MCA UNIVERSAL.That was 1962. For the last forty one years you couldn't produce art and also hustle the artists, you were ENJOINED from it. MELISSA GILBERT ended all that. She was funded by the Mike Ovitz crowd who wanted to produce movies AND hustle talent --which would automatically make them the new packagers. i.e. those who owned the talent and hustled the talent and who now could now use that talent themselves in their own productions. AN END to TEN PERCENT! Truly the maniacs have taken over the insane asylum. We always knew they wanted to. Now that they have, expect an era of VEHICLE flicks to come. Films tailored to the personae of specific stars.
These Greedy agents ... wanting to get their hands on the film itself --- these artless cuff shooting, number crunching agency demons, have put an end to that pristine age of separation of church and state so the face of film may change. THE AGENT mentality will rule. Which is useful if you write vehicles, i.e. flicks targeting a certain big star.
The left wing, (think liberal leftists or the Church) led by Valerie Harper, felt that if this ocurred, it would put a small cabal (think state, governors, think witless untalented bureaucrats!) in the catbird seat. Which it would and did. IF a producer KNEW a star close up, i.e. managed him, or knew a director, a bankable director, managed HIM, that producer/manager would be able to create projects, package, attract financing, do all the jobs, and get all the revenues even maybe exhibitors' revenues which STUDIOS now earn depending on how octupussy he felt that week.
Well, the good news for writers is that you sure do not have to get a star attached. You can just target the manager of the star and leave the rest to him. Managers love to read new scripts from new writers. SO TARGET AWAY. Get the HOLLYWOOD CREATIVE DIRECTORY, see who's out there, doing strings of films with the same star, meaning they manage the guy, or the same director....or call them and ask...
YOU WILL HAVE no trouble getting these corporations to read your script. Studios loved to read scripts too in their day. VP in charge of DEVELOPMENT at Paramount, Dawn Wells aka STEELY DAWN wrote in her autbio that development execs counted themselves luckiest when the most writers/new scripts came to their desk in a single 8 hr span.
NOTHING happens in Hollywood, no revenues, no hits, no blockbusters and no premieres and no execs getting laid -- without sharp, knowing, commercial scripts. The producers give the MOST attention to testosterone flicks, the male, action flick scripts, like this week's hit THE RUNDOWN. They give SOME attention to contemporary comedies involving romance or family, like MATCHSTICK MEN and have a real chip on shoulder, show me attitude about art film scripts.
Quirky, offbeat scripts require success at film festivals in the sticks, so you gotta find some kid indie prod with a credit card who can make your movie....and lead it thru the festival gauntlet. That's the only category left that's going to require a writer pounding any pavement.
For the rest, a simple formula of approach. COLD CALL THEM on a hot astrological day. Suggest http://home.earthlink.net/~astrology/and click on FREE DAILY HOROSCOPE FREE STARS and get the power hours. USE one to "cold call" the studio, some manager's office. You have to have the producer's directory book to have everybody's name. http://www.hcdonline.com/ is where they offer it for sale. WONDERFUL RESOURCE. A footprint and handprint of hollywood. A NOSE COUNT!
Then, cold call the producer's development exec, (it sez who fills those boots in the Creative Directory.) Tell him you're the agent for WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE the new hot kid on the block writer, who went to film school at Columbia. Lie like a rug. Can they, will they call Columbia ? NAH, they just read what you hand them, the faxed synopsis. First the phone call, then ask permission and send a fax to him on your agency stationery so mock some up as you'll need it when you send out the script itself. Then you call him back in a half hour, ask if he wants to have the script messengered over.
Tell the VP of development that you the agent read ten scripts a day, this one sizzles, it's about ..GIVE HIM THE THRULINE. ALIEN's famous thruline. "Jaws on a space ship." Tell him you'll fax him a one page synopsis, he gives you his fax number and within seconds, you do. Either you use a real fax so stationery shows although your PC can mock up stationery in a sec! My stationery cost me a small wad at KINKOS but try to spare yourself that by creating an inside PC stationery that pc faxes to the guy! I got the stationery as I need it later for sending out the script ....as I can't print color on my printer.
You call back an hr later and say, read that synopsis? Isn't it great? Now, wanna get the script? I can messenger it out right over." Talk like a real agent. Fast and clear.
Get a delivery boy pal that will do it for 5$, some kid who looks like a messenger service, he gets in his hot rod, carries your script to the producer or development exec. So you are in another city? You need an L.A. kid ...Your ex girlfriend's dopey kid? If you are out of state, fit some kid up with a stack of scripts ahead of time.
Then, you call the development exec back real reg to get the coverage. "Did you like "ROMEO AND JULIET" Wasn't it all that I told you? This kid will let you option it for six months for only 8k. Real deal." You say knowingly. They'll give you the true skivvy on what they feel about the script as you ain't the writer. To them. YOu're the agent...THEY THINK.
Studios WALK ON EGGS with writers. THEY NEVER EVER deal with unknown writers as they a.) don't like to trounce talent, telling them script stinks b.) the big fear? LITIGATION.
More writers sue for story theft than agents ever did. NO AGENT ever did. AGENTS never sue cuz they gotta live in the aquarium, don't want to make a stink. Writers are outsiders. AGENTs are insiders. So you seem to be an agent, they trust you. So bring a pal who looks like an agent. YOU do all the faxes and phone calls, but bring your agent pal on the meeting. They may believe there is a small agency that they haven't heard of.
ANYWAY, your script will get to the right people. BE YOUR OWN AGENT, HUSTLE your own scripts. Get the Hollywood Creative Directory. Order it from them. I googled up their webpage. http://www.hcdonline.com/
You say 60$ too costly to get all of their names, fones, addresses? And only one in a thousand writers makes it? We all regularly buy lottery tickets with one in a million chances. I'll take the HOLLYWOOD CHANCE anytime when 50k is the least they can pay you for a script by guild fiat.
P.S. Bring a witness when you pitch a story, preferably a lawyer. You absolutely have to prove access or they can steal your story. See if you can google up a news story, no longer at my local paper here in L.A. entitled "STORY IDEA FIGHTS LEAD TO SUITS" by Sandy Cohen .There's an Increasing trend of story theft. End of article has tips how not to get ripped off. I knew the kid who had the atom bomb idea for SUPERMAN, pitched them, they MADE SUPERMAN III without him. He could prove access and sued. The WGA said he'd have to pay l0k for an arbitrage where many paid 'official readers" would read the various scripts. He didn't have the cash, ergo had to forgo ongoing litigation. They stole his story.
A man came to me in 1973, had me type up his synopsis for a TV series with a lot of young heroes who had super natural powers. When HEROES arrived in PRIME TIME, his name was not on it. IDENTICAL to what I typed though! Also identical to that feature with HUGH JACKMAN as WOLFMAN a big studio movie with Patrick Stewart. Let me repeat. 1973. OUCHEY! I hate when that happens!
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Get the power days in any given week from Anita Sands, and read the WRITER's PAGE at the L.A. Free Screenwriters' Co-op. Anita is found at astrology at earthlink.net
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