Thursday, July 28, 2011

Opie loses his job?

It seems Ron Howard got passed by for the new Dan Brown film The Lost Symbol for a "hotter" director.  It didn't matter that our Opie has made some of the most profitable films around and some even won awards.

No, Ronnie (I can't help calling him that) is only going to be a producer and that's the kind of job where he drops by now and then to have lunch. It almost sounds like retirement. 

And then he lost the new Bourne movie to Brit Paul Greenglass.

Now I'm not particularly worried about Ronnie, he's not Nicholas Ray who eventually had to sleep at friend's homes and run up phone bills. This from the director of Rebel Without a Cause.

Or Orson Welles who ended up doing wine commercials and anything else he could find. And even John Huston had to move to Mexico where living was more affordable than California.

But the best one, or at least potential best one was Allan Dwan, who started in silents and made millions of dollars before income taxes were introduced. Again,  living with friends as so many Hollywood directors seemed to do, Dwan barely survived. When asked why he lost all his money his alleged answer was simple: 

"I must have made, in my life, $50 million in my career, but I spent $75 million." 

I always wondered why it was directors who seemed to end up broke, not actors or writers. At least not in such big numbers. From the books I've read one thing many directors did back in the old days was drink, gamble, drink, gamble and buy race horses. Dwan, in 1913, was making $1500 a week.

And of course, being of retirement age myself, I again bring out the one thing that writers have over everybody; they can write till they die. I'm going to post that question on WritersAction, a website for WGA writers, many of whom are "older".

As you know, I seem to have a fountain of youth in terms of ideas, working on at least 5 or 6 things at the same time, and I see nothing that would convince me to quit doing it because I don't know how to quit.

I'm curious about this; I'll let you know what other writers think.

And something else, I'd like to let you tell me what you think. Are we baby boomers gonna hog everything until the last one is gone? Or is there room for all of us?

After all, all any writer needs is one thing; a good screenplay.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Does a writer matter?

                                  " You'll never work in this town again... 
                                         or at least until we need you."
Those were the exact words my favorite agent Frank told me once after a prodco exec told him that they would have a "sour taste" for me after I asked for money that was due me. Luckily WGA was also behind me and I did get paid. If you read my blogs you know the story.

And the Snow Leopard above, I bought that for $1000 (it's a Bateman for those who are curious) and I bought it for one reason. I saw it years ago when I was broke (a common situation I might add) and it really spoke to me in that artistic way. But not because of how good it is.

No, it was because I immediately identified with the snow leopard, that might as well have been me on that ledge with the wind-blown snow whirling around. Because that was me in the film business. Alone, cold, hungry, looking for a job and nobody to help me. And when I got some money I bought it as quickly as I could and I look at it every morning to remind me of one singular thing in this life...

Nobody cares.

Writers are arguably the most disposable in the entire film industry. Who else gets replaced on a film by anywhere from one to a dozen or more? There's an old story that goes like this; A producer gets a screenplay and his first words are, "This screenplay is amazing, fantastic, one-of-a-kind." The he pauses and adds: "Who can we get to rewrite it?"

Then there's the joke, "Did you hear about the Polish actress? She slept with the writer."

Why do they get replaced? There are lots of different answers but I think it all falls down to a couple of things:
The producer has a writer friend who needs a job.
The producer doesn't like the original writer.
The producer and his flunkies don't really know if it's a good script or not and the best way to "make it better" is to hire someone else. And maybe someone else after that to "punch it up". And maybe a few more writers to make it even better.
And the producer may have a secretary or assistant who wants to be a writer.

And I know at least four people who became screenwriters because of one or two of the above.

I fall in between the lines on those situations, I've rewritten a half-dozen screenplays and in each case, a full page 1 rewrite, meaning I began rewriting on page 1. At least 3 times the producer and even the continuity person wondered why the original writer's name was on it as my drafts were completely different.

That was the deal I made. They brought me in and paid me to do this work and take various credits like Creative Consultant, story editor and a few others.  Meaning I didn't get a "written by" credit. But I got to live in Europe, Mexico and Canada for several months and it was a lot of fun.

And I was rewritten once. 

By the same producer who said he had a "sour taste" for me. And it was his friend who did the rewrite.

And there's another reason why writers are replaced.

Because there's always another writer willing to step in and take over. We are whores sometimes, don't like me, get someone else, and so on.
So do we matter at all? Does anyone care about who writes what? Sometimes the screenplay does need work. Mostly it's adding bits, like better dialog and some character "stuff" as they say. Some writers are better than others in certain areas. My worst area is plot, I do lousy plots but good characters. And I write well for women's roles. Really good.

When you sell a screenplay, they love you. You get expensive lunches, joke with the producer who tells you how great the screenplay is and lets you sit at his desk at the studio when he's gone and even park in a special spot.

Until you're replaced and all of a sudden, calls to him go unreturned. It's like you don't exist.

Until they need you again.

And that does happen.

There's another story about this business, supposedly told by Peter Hyams and it goes like this;

"Being in the film business is like being married to a beautiful woman but she cheats on you and you know it. But sometimes when she dresses up and you go to dinner and you look across the table at her, you decide it's all worth it."

And I admit  to have thought that many, many times.

At least I'm not the guy who cleans up after the elephants who when asked why he does that awful job, answers; "what, and give up show business?"


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mystery Producer

This past Monday, in my desperation, I put an ad on Craigslist for a producer who can raise at least 50% of the budget for Ghostkeeper. Counting today, Thursday, I have had only one possibility.

Someone with an odd name. Wat. 

At first I dismissed it, but after a few days of nobody else coming in, I replied to him/her. Wat responded, wanted to see more, so I sent Wa the detailed proposal which includes the top sheet budget.

Wa said he/she would make some calls. 

So do I think this is real. Who knows? My initial feeling is no, but stranger things have happened and so I figure why not go with it. At the same time, I'm moving forward to contact every distributor that's ever made a horror/suspense/sci-fi/supernatural film.

I'm not going to the majors, ie: Paramount, etc, because they really don't handle low budget films, that is unless I have a great movie that's already been made. They make money from $100 million movies, not $1.8 million. 

Once in a while they take a plunge into the Blair Witch Project genre, Blair cost about $15,000 and made well over $100,000. But as I've said in the past, that's a "non-recurring phenomenon". The sequel to Blair didn't do as well.

To my advantage, I have a film that is a sequel of sorts to an older film, this gives me a bit of leverage as the original has been made and is getting some attention. Well, a little bit of attention. Got 306 viewers on Youtube and add about 10-15 each week.

And the new screenplay is a lot better than the original, I'm a better writer than I was in 1980. And I have half of the cast back and the DP who did such a great job.

And I'm more experienced in every aspect of filmmaking over the past 30 years. All of this has to be at the very least, interesting to examine for a distrib.

On the other hand, as of now, I have no money raised. And that's the tough one. If nobody has put in money, then nobody else wants to for one simple reason; 

Nobody wants to be the first in. 

Kind of like who dives off the cliff first.

You see lots of deals where one party gets half and the other gets the other half. But usually this means that the original party has no money in yet. And these deals often have neither party wanting to go in first.

The reason, mostly, is that each party really isn't that confident about the other party, "you got half and I got half" is the most often abused expression in the business. Kind of like playing blackjack in Vegas, the house shows its cards last.

You might not think that it would be an advantage, but it is.

There are as many deals as there are movies made and one that works for me might not work for anyone else. Bottom line is that I have to find the "first money" and this could also be a distributor.

How much first money? Not necessarily a lot. $50,000 is a good start. It could get $50,000 from another investor or two. They add up. Once around $200,000 of the budget is raised it gets easier. Those who don't have full confidence now see that this movie could actually get made.

There's another old saying in Hollywood, it's easier to raise $30 million than $500,000. And this is usually due to the fact that for $30 million you can get name actors, director and a studio behind you. For $500,000 you barely have enough to cover non-union crews and actors lower on the totem pole.

So at $1.8 million we're in a level that is harder to define, can't afford the big guys, can't really afford union crews like IATSE and DGA. And we get breaks from SAG and WGA.

Wonder how much Wat will bring in. 

(Mon: Name cast or not)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Survivor's Guide to Screenwriting

A few months ago I decided to get a cat. I like cats and had a few of them. I like the idea of a fellow creature whom I didn't have to pick up it's waste with a plastic bag. And of course, it's aloofness which I admire because I don't have any.

My best one was Dweazel, seen above, whom I appropriately named after one of Frank Zappa's kids, who as it turned out, spells their name differently. Dweazel was born at the base of a TV station where I worked as a writer/producer so it was meant to be. She traveled with me everywhere, loved long drives and even flying. But that was years ago.

I finally gathered the courage needed to entertain a life change and went to a veterinarian office on Ventura Blvd., which had several cats in the window, ready for adoption. I was greeted by a somewhat cold and suspicious woman who looked at me with narrow eyes.

"I'm thinking of adopting a cat, maybe a kitten".

She studied me like a customs agent and then said: "Cats can live up to 20 years."


In other words, the cat would most likely outlive me, considering the average life span in America is around 75.

So where is this going?

I've been writing for at least most of my life, professionally since 1985. I had written commercials before that and documentaries but don't include them.

And now, at the ripe old age of 64, I have no intention of quitting.  Novelist Dean Koontz recently said that he will stop when his head falls on the desk. I've often said that I'll stop when my face hits the keyboard.

And then, I want my laptop buried with me because I might just get a good idea. You never know.

If you are truly a writer, there is no end in sight, you will write until you can't anymore. And even then you will imagine.

I have never been as active as I am right now, I had the Christmas movie last year, now have a new Christmas screenplay with 2 producers and am working at the Ghostkeeper sequel which I hope to do in December. Also I'm starting to develop 2 series, one based on spies and the other on a former TV star who now is raising a daughter.

And there are other ideas I'm working on, including two new screenplays which I have yet to start and a documentary I'm editing on Highway 50 in Nevada, dubbed "the loneliest highway in America", with footage shot over the last 5 years.

The key word here of course, is survival. I know writers in WGA who have written one screenplay and never were able to write another, and of course, others who have written more than I have.

People have asked me what the secret is to stay so long in a business when you're presumed finished at 40?

All I know is this; I never quite writing screenplays or coming up with ideas. It was difficult at the beginning, in fact it took me a good 4 or 5 years to really write something that was reasonably ok.  I now have about 35 spec screenplays on my shelf, and am adding at least two more by the year's end.

And I show my screenplays to anyone who wants to read them. You never know where a contact can come from. I get so tired of new writers who are afraid someone will steal their idea. I have learned this; every time I get a fantastic idea I know that at least 4 other writers have that idea, two are considering writing it, one is in development and one has already had their script made.

One thing is true, writers write. No matter if you have a job or not. You've heard me say this often, and it begs repeating; the best thing about being a writer is that you don't have to have a job to write a spec, you just have to have an idea.

Everyone else in the business needs to be hired. Everyone. But writers can write anytime and anywhere. I wrote the Christmas screenplay as a spec in 2007 and it hung around until 2010 until it was made.

Am I worried about taking away jobs from younger writers? Not at all, I don't write like them and they don't write like me, and nothing really counts except the story.

Because it's not about age, it's about a compelling story that holds the reader and the audience and no one writer has a monopoly on that.

Even William Goldman doesn't win every time. 

(Thurs: An ad for producers)


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Are there any new stories?

One of the common things my film friends and I talk about are about the lack of new, fresh stories for movies. I rarely go to a movie theater anymore, preferring to wait till the DVD release or getting a screening copy.

I should add that most of my friends are film people, directors, DP's and some writers. To balance it a bit, I have regular friends also, business people, Dan who works the newsstand near me and neighbors.

 One thing in common with all of them is this; there's not a lot of good movies out there anymore. It seems that studios are sticking to the safe method of choosing projects; that means repeating whatever has a big opening. If Fast and Furious makes a ton of money, it's guaranteed that a sequel will do reasonably okay, and a sequel on a sequel will make enough money too.

(Incidently, I could not post "Fast and Furious" in the labels box as it's not allowed)?

And repeating the same plotline for romantic comedies works sometimes but more often than not, unless it has Steve Carrell in it, who seems to always attract an audience. But Seth Rogan is beginning to wear thin on audiences. And Jennifer Aniston, who reportedly made $28 million last year for movies very few go to see, is the luckiest woman on the planet, having no talent whatsoever.

So what's the problem?

I've always thought that having lived as long as I have, and my peers, we've seen almost every storyline, plot, twist, idea, concept and treatment that exists. When you've been on the planet as long as I have, you've seen a lot of movies. And I started at 4 years old.

So it must get harder to come up with a fresh idea that we boomers haven't seen. But the odd thing is that I hear this from kids too so maybe there is a lack of good ideas out there, or at least ideas that a studio wants to take a chance on.

I watched a movie last night called Skyline, which was directed by two brothers who worked on James Cameron's Titanic and Avatar. The CGI was incredible, but there was no real story and no real ending, it just stopped. It had a group of B-level actors hired more for their looks than their acting ability who ran around a condo in the Marina being chased by world class CGI aliens.

It was just like Battle - Los Angeles. And a dozen other movies.

While the special effects were spectacular, you would have thought the two brothers who did Skyline would have asked Jim Cameron for some tips on story. Apparently not.

And guess what, Skyline 2 is already in the works.

One of the creators of the 100-plus cable/satellite channels was interviewed recently and said that their hope for the 170 or so channels was that it would create work and new ideas for niche audiences and would be a wonderful thing.

But what happened instead is that a lot of these channels filled schedules with old TV shows and anything to do with Hitler and of course, more reality TV shows, some of which last a few episodes before they're cut.

In his words, what he felt he and others created was not a new age of ideas and stories, but rather what they created was mediocrity. His words.

Then I saw Midnight in Paris. Woody Allen.

I enjoyed Woody's earlier movies, didn't mind the middle ones and passed on some of the recent ones. Until Paris.

Midnight in Paris was the kind of movie I used to see a few dozen times a year back in the 1970's and 1980's.

It entertained me. I didn't want it to end, I wanted to stay with Owen Wilson (arguably the best stand-in for Woody ever) and I wanted to go to Travelocity and book my flight to Paris immediately.

And I wasn't the only one. In fact anyone I spoke to who saw it had the same reaction. In fact it looks like it might make the most money of all Woody's movies. It was everything, fresh, inventive and charming.

And Woody's 76 years old.

And he had to get European financing because nobody in the U.S. wants to fund his movies.

The LA Times had an article that told how Sony execs "sold" Woody's movie, how they tested and tracked and did all that stuff that shows how smart they are.

But they're wrong. Midnight in Paris is successful because everyone who saw it told everyone else. Word of mouth. The oldest and cheapest promotion you can get. Real people.

And I saw another film I liked, Super 8, which was interesting because when I saw it the audience was almost all between 30 and 40. Granted it was a matinee but the theater was a third full even though the film has played for several weeks.

Then I realized why; it was the exact remake/duplicate of Spielberg's 80's movies, very similar to ET and Close Encounters. Shot for shot directed by JJ Abrams and exec produced by Spielberg.

It was a throwback to the past, thus the audience who were probably kids when ET came out. Now in their 30's and 40's they recognized the nostalgia factor as well. And it was a pretty good movie.

Are there new stories out there. I'm sure there are, but they're harder to get made. InkTip is a website where producers hunt for new material but from what I've seen they want cheap copies of whatever is big now. One producer posted a line that read "Idea must sell us in one sentence and if you can't do that, don't bother". 

Do they really think they'll get that great idea with that posting? You don't get the new Midnight in Paris by demanding that it has to sell in one sentence.

All I want is to be thrilled and excited again, to walk out of a movie with the feeling that I had a good time, and that it made me feel better.

More Transformers doesn't do it for me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

When is good good?

Quick update on my new Christmas screenplay, one producer wants to hang onto it, however two others are still interested. My main concern is that the Christmas movie market, at least for Hallmark, has closed; they already have their quota of Christmas movies.

What's left is Lifetime who seem to specialize in woman-in-jeopardy stories about bad husbands. And ABC Family which is a whole other story. And of course, straight-to-dvd is always an option although dvd sales are slowing down. 

Anyways, when is good good was the question.

One of my UCLA extension students once asked me when I knew if my screenplay was good. Simplest answer is when someone buys it.

Okay, that's the hard, cold answer. But let's consider what makes a good screenplay and what doesn't. It can be a comic book, a pirate movie, a romcom, a horror movie or anything else. There's no restriction on genre. There's even no restriction in non-genre (if you don't know that term, I'll explain it later).

Take my last Christmas screenplay, the one I wrote in less than 4 weeks last winter/spring. It literally poured out of me, I knew what to write almost every day. It came, as they say, naturally.  I knew it was good.

I passed it around to two director friends. They said it was good. Then I passed it to an agent, he said it was good. He passed it to 3 producers and two liked it and one didn't. And that was the producer who didn't like my writing on a 1-page synopsis. I knew he wouldn't like the screenplay. Can't win 'em all.

Why was it good?

Because when you read it, you feel like you were in a movie, you forget that you're reading it. Stephen King writes like that most of the time. You read page one and all of a sudden you're at page 98. Time flies by. 

And my screenplay had that feel. All of the above people read it on a week-end and they get a lot of screenplays to read on the week-end. And this was the best one. When it's bad,  you tend to say "I'm only on Page 33? It's gonna take forever!" 

When it's bad, you struggle through every page, you know you are reading.  Sure, it's subjective but generally when you think you've spend 5 hours reading a script, it's not good.

One more thing about good.

It doesn't mean it's going to sell. Having a good screenplay is one thing; having someone who wants to buy it is another. Everyone loved my Emperor of Mars, but nobody wanted to make it. I wrote it in 1989 and it wasn't until 2003 that a handful of people actually attempted to make it (and failed each time).

One thing I've always said about my writing, you may not like it, but it's not written badly. So how does that work? A good writer will still engage the reader, even if they don't like the story but ultimately the story isn't what they want, need or expect. And when that happens, you can't argue with it. You just keep showing it to anyone you can find.

So, before I chase you away with arrogance and hubris, not all of my screenplays are good. In fact a lot of them aren't good. They're not bad, just not that good. So why the inconsistency?

I write what is called non-genre screenplays; this isn't a special category, it's just a description for screenplays that aren't action, horror, romantic comedy or sci-fi. And that is what most movies are.

I have written all of the above, but very few got sold. Non-genre screenplays are generally those odd movies, ones that don't fit a category easily. The King's Speech is a good example; it doesn't really fit into a genre. 5 Easy Pieces is another example.

Many indie films are also non-genre,  Wendy and Lucy, Frozen River, same as Winter's Bone.

My best screenplays are in that genre and they're my best because that's the thing I do best, tell offbeat, personal stories that generally end in an ambiguous ending.

Not that I've tried to do big action films and sci-fi material, it's just that somehow, some way, I don't seem to have the same energy nor depth. I once wrote an action screenplay and a producer said that while it was okay,  it wasn't Jim.

What? Of course it was. Me.

But what he meant is that it didn't have the feeling that my Emperor of Mars screenplay had on him. It was just another action screenplay, like all the others. And they could hire anyone to do those films. Lesson: A good screenplay can limit your future work.

But... but...

But I had to admit he was right, I admire guys like Shane Black who created a style of his own, copied even to now. And I would love to write a big action/sci-fi screenplay that would be of blockbuster status.

But it ain't me. And it ain't in me.

Has it cost me? You bet. But I know that when I wrote something of my own, something about my life, my friends life, my ex-wife's life, my small-town beginnings and every other aspect of me, it usually turns out good.

Trouble is, not everybody wants to buy it. And nobody wants to buy anything now anyways, or at least what I write and what my friends write.

So you're not gonna see my name in big lights, I'm stuck with the non-genre category, but what the hell, it's given me a not bad life.

And as my dad used to say, "you can't be rich and beautiful".

And finally, I got some interest from a screenplay yesterday that I had forgotten about. A sex-suspense-thriller woman-in-jeopardy screenplay that a director friend persuaded me to write even though I don't like writing these kinds of movies.

Go figure.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Loglines, synopsis & screenplays

About ten years ago, I asked my then agent to read a screenplay from a friend. I rarely do this as most of the screenplays I get from friends are not really very good. I'm not talking about professional writer friends, of which I have very few, but of friends who aspire to write.

This particular friend had written a very good screenplay and I wanted to pass it along to my agent for possible representation. My agent said these following words, which tells you two things;  how the business was handled 10 years ago and how it's handled now.

He said this; "I know how hard it is for a writer to write a full screenplay, so the least I could do is read the first 3 pages."

The first 3 pages?

A few weeks ago I saw a listing on InkTip where a production company was looking for a screenplay that explained everything one needs to know about a blockbuster script. All in one sentence.

And if  you couldn't describe the actors, storyline, arc, genre, action beats and a few more things, then don't bother sending anything.

First of all, this indicates the type of producer you're dealing with, someone who thinks he/she will find the new William Goldman within that wide sea of wannabe writers. And there are a lot of them on InkTip. And judging from my own experience at UCLA for 2 and a  half years, 90% of them are lacking any ability whatsoever.

But the interesting part is this;  a long time ago in a place called Hollywood, it worked like this;  A new writer would have a good screenplay that he could show around to any agent or producer who would listen. If it was good writing, the writer would probably get an agent.

The agent in turn would say to the writer that it might take 6 months to a year to get the writer known in town. Then the agent would pass the writer's screenplay to a handful of producers who would give him honest opinions without prejudice, meaning it wouldn't harm the agent's street creds if they didn't like the screenplay.

If producers liked the script, they'd set up a meet 'n greet wherein the writer gets to go on the studio lot and talk with the development executive. Sometimes the top dog of that studio or company might "conveniently" drop by to say hi.

In that meeting, the writer would get his chance to pitch ideas. Sometimes they worked, sometimes not. Sometimes, like in my case, they got writing assignments.

But the point here is this; the executives read the full screenplay. Not a logline or synopsis. The entire 100 plus pages.

The most recent screenplay I wrote was finished two months ago and I thought it was pretty good. I've mentioned it, Christmas Carole, and I showed it to the agent who read the full screenplay and said he loved it. He really loved it.

In that same week, he passed the screenplay along to two major players in town. They read the screenplay within a day and said they loved it too. But as you may remember, they didn't like the cat.

No loglines or synopsis.

They read it.

What's the difference? Well, from past experience, I've learned that writers aren't always good at everything about writing. Some write great pitches but their screenplays aren't always good. Other writers, like me, are awful at pitches, but our writing is almost always good. A rare few can do both well.

Since then, two other producers have read the Christmas screenplay... without a logline or synopsis. Then, a new producer asked for a 1 pg synopsis.

I said read the script.

He said he didn't have time.

I said to call when he did have time.

Okay, you're saying that Jim is an arrogant jerk. I'm not. What I've learned through the years and have reflected on this blog is this; if someone isn't going to take the time to read your screenplay, they probably aren't going to like it.

In other words your 1 pg synopsis is more of a reason to turn you down. And I write awful synopsis' because it isn't writing, it's explaining what you wrote. I wish I was as good as those writers who do both, but I'm not.

And what these producers are saying is that I'm only as good as the worst writer they've ever encountered. I'm being relegated to the masses, all those wannabes out there are on the same level of playing field as me.

Which means 30 years of writing doesn't mean a thing.

But I don't really give a damn. Because the good producers, the ones who are sincere (or as sincere as a producer can be) will read my screenplays.

So there.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Help me, help you - the game

I have someone who wants to take two projects of mine to an intermediary who has access to Tiger Entertainment (not it's real name), a fairly big mini-studio who produce and/or distribute feature and TV movies. They have a list of several hundred movies on imdb, mostly what we used to call exploitation movies, ie: horror, action, suspense thrillers.

This would be a perfect place for Ghostkeeper 2. But it wasn't the first choice.

I know a producer whom I'll call JR, who likes a few of my specs and who routinely puts one or two of them in one of his famous "packages". But his packages rarely get picked up. In fact none of them ever have.

But JR is tenacious. He used to be an agent so still has connections and one thing I've learned in this town, even a bad connection is better than none.

Now JR knows Morey, who is more productive than JR and who can take scripts into smaller distribs, sometimes even the majors. Over the week-end JR emailed me that he was sending Deadhead, a screenplay which seems to be JR's favorite. It's set on a jetliner that suddenly veers off towards the northern Pacific Ocean.

Tiger has a department that specializes in $1 million movies.

Deadhead is a relatively easy film to make as 90% is in a jetliner, in reality a mock-up that already exists here in Hollywood and can be rented for a good price as it's only good for airline movies.

I don't mind that JR shows Morey Deadhead, BUT... I want two more things; I want to meet Morey personally and I want to get  him to take Ghostkeeper 2 to Tiger as well. And this is where help me/help you enters the game.

Every producer wants to keep his/her connections to him/herself. After all someone like me could come in and establish a relationship with that connection and eventually will cut out whomever introduced them.

In other words, JR doesn't want me to meet Morey because then Morey doesn't need JR anymore. And he's probably right, knowing JR's record, I'd rather talk with Morey. There are a few ways to settle this and it's all based on one thing;

I own the screenplays.

If there's one thing writers have that nobody can argue with is that the screenplay they have is all theirs, at least until a deal is made, then you lose it. In most European countries and even Canada, the writer always retains copyright. But not the U.S., you lose your copyright to the studios who buy it "in perpetuity and throughout the universe". Really.

So my deal with JR is this; show both scripts to Morey who will show them to Tiger Ent. who then might decide to make one, or two, or neither.

There's a lot of if's and maybe's in this business.

And I have a lot more contacts than JR and Morey, but I court them all, sort of like Warren Beatty in Shampoo, and hope that I don't mix up names with projects or outlive my  presence.

My deal with JR is that, both projects and I meet Morey. And if anything does come from it, a fee and a credit as Exec Producer. That's why you see so many Exec Producer credits on movies, each of them is probably one person who helped the producer and/or director get one step further in financing their movie.

It was easier in "the old days", meaning up to 2003, because there were still lots of markets, VHS was over but DVD sales were huge. Now, with the potential for streaming to the average TV viewer, DVD is slowly getting smaller and smaller.

But the only way is to reinvent your methods and continue to search for anyone who can either give you money or knows someone who can.

And they are still out there.

Wish me luck.

(Thurs: Results)