T-to-the-A

“I am looking for a very good screenwriter”

In Screenwriting, The Daily Drool on May 8, 2010 at 8:41 am

I got this email the other day: (You have to click on the screenshots to actually read them- I didn’t know how to make ’em fit correctly)

To which my initial response was (mentally speaking) Yeah, get in line sister.  Ain’t everyone in LA got some kind of “Life changing” story idea?  EVERYONE?!  But I wrote back- you never know what people are all about…

Her response:  (by the way, it doesn’t look like it’s here, but click on it and it will open up to read)

Wow!  Talk about a hard sell!  But there is just nothing here that makes me want to get involved.  Sounds like a lot of work for no pay, and in all honesty, if I wanted to work for free, I’ve got plenty of my own ideas that I believe in, that I can develop free from the restraints of adhering to someone else’s “Vision” and, with less drama.  Because let’s face it, doesn’t this whole letter just scream “DRAMAAAA-(tongue hanging out)-AAAAH”?

Now, is the producer I’m working with buying me yachts?  No.  But he’s taught me a lot (as did the ghostwriting job before him!) A lot about what you have to be willing to put up with and bend to when working on someone else’s material.  Most lay-people have an idea without any notion of the amount of work it takes to actually develop that idea into a workable, compelling story.  Most lay-people lack the skills necessary to ride the wave from idea (seed) to full blown dramatization (tree) – and instead you wind up trying to make something akin to a story out of a hard lump of unwieldy potential (stunted log-bush thing that needs to just be put out of its misery)  Most lay-people fail to recognize that asking me to devote months or years even, of my time to a project, for free, is like asking an architect to draw up plans for a house, a super-awesome mansion that will be the envy of the world, for free – You wouldn’t do that, would you?  And here I’ve spent my whole life amassing the skills necessary to be able to create something that (most of the time) stands tall, strong, and dramatic – how about a little respect?  (And if you’ve got a few minutes, check out this hilarious post by veeery successful screenwriter, Josh Olsen A History of Violence, on what it is like to be asked to read material all the time by people like Little Miss Email here.)

Which is to say, in all likelihood, were there pay attached, I could scuttle my own projects to the side and at least take a crack at listening to her further.  I fgured my response would either elicit a real offer of some sort, a confirmation of budget, or silence.  Instead I got this:

Now, didn’t she just validate all my concerns?

High risk… HIGH RISK?  I am living HIGH RISK of my own, why on earth would I want to absorb hers?  I moved home to live in my parents’ house so I could focus on my own writing sans LA pressures… I poured my Sallie Mae loans into a high-risk, big-dreams education with no gaurantee of return.  I handed my twenties over to a city that eats people for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  I have risked everything to get where I am now… all in the hopes that tomorrow it will all begin to work, to make sense, to fill up the coffers as it does my heart and soul, and she wants to talk to me about risk?

But no, she doesn’t want to talk to me about anything… she’s just looking for a really good screenwriter.

And really, I think it’s a pretty amusing exchange.  She’s got some guts, some determination, and she sounds like a godamned saleswoman – maybe she will find someone to help her get her project off the ground.

But it ain’t me.

Anyone want her number 😉

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  1. I love how she says “maybe you’re making a few grand a month”??!!?? Like that’s good or not enough or whatever. She does have guts. I’ll be on the lookout for PH Confessions starring Angelina Joli as Viola. i’m pretty sure her story involves aliens and she has “evidence” to back this up. In my first screenwriting class ever at UCLA extension, there was a woman who was writing about her experience finding the real Atlantis and claimed to have a storage unit full of ancient greek artifacts. When the teacher was talking about structure, she commented that she doesn’t need to learn structure because she does “automatic writing” by channeling a spirit. The teacher had no comment.

  2. Okay, I checked out her Facebook page (per her suggestion) and her life looks a lot more fun than mine. I take back the alien plot line and now think her story is about some type of mystical religious experience. I love how having a Facebook page suggests stability and sanity.

  3. Oh my, I think we all have a number of these “amazing opportunities” that come our way.

    Like this one for me:
    http://www.chasingmist.com/2010/01/27/if-you-are-looking-to-get-paid-now-this-project-is-not-for-you/

  4. I am amazed! How did you deal with it in LA where everyone has an agenda and covers their jagged little pills in so much B.S.? Yuck. Look how good you are at B.S. detecting now, though! You had her number from the first contact. 😉

  5. Stunning! How in the name of God did she get your info? Did she ever answer that one? I looked her up, too, and I am with Shanee – we’re talking mystical, religious experience here. Some kind of life energy reawakening, touched by Theta, revelation on the beach kind of thing. Reminds me of a certain UCLA screenwriting professor, I used to know well. I’m so sure her script will be huge. Absolutely huge. The nerve! Risk? She doesn’t know risk. She’s not willing to learn the craft, risk her safety and security, and write it herself! Noooooooo. She just wants you to do it for free, because she just knows it’s going to the next greatest film the world over b/c it’s “real” (what part of Avatar or Star Wars was based on real events, btw?)

  6. I was totally thinking of you when I got it because I remembered that blog post! People are crazy.

  7. Hahaha, maybe I should ask… see if I can get the juicy details. I’m betting on life affirming connections made over chemistry sets sent by Jesus, haha. And angelina jolie is such a no brainer

  8. She mentions finding me on either the ucla or usc grad list… ummm, might want to update her resources, cuz I graduated 2 years ago… and know your source, lady! Either/Or… sheesh!

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