Monday, November 28, 2011

What did and didn't happen in 2011

Well, it wasn't a great year for me, I didn't make much money, about $2200 in residuals but I didn't sell a spec script in spite of having a fresh credit for 2010. Fresh credits are important to the creative people in the film business, notably being writers, directors and actors.

Anyone whose credits are 3-5 years old will find jobs hard to get. Anything after 5 years and you might as well be dead. 

And I mean that in the nicest way.

Any of the above-the-line people, aka "creative" want to keep their credits current. That means you're working and it's easier to find a job if you have a job. In the same way as it's easier to find an agent when you have one.

The other way to find a job is to know someone who's working.

What didn't happen? I didn't get Casualties of Love made like I thought I would. I did the reading with actors but afterwards something didn't feel right about the script. One could consider this a "writer's block", maybe it is. But it just doesn't feel real.

Emperor of Mars didn't get made as a film, however the book is almost ready to go, I'm getting the 2nd proof version Tuesday and if it looks good, my first book will step out into the real world.

I didn't get much further with my Ghostkeeper sequel and the re-release of Ghostkeeper 1980 will happen in February. It's actually making the rounds of potential buyers but the DVD itself will "drop" February. I've already got a handful of inquiries so I know we'll sell at least 5 or 6 DVDs.

Would be nicer if it was 500-600, but who knows.

I did get a serious offer on another screenplay of mine and at the moment it's being looked at. And given that the town is winding down, I expect to know more by the middle of January. And I still have a few meetings before I leave for Canada so that's a positive.

My Christmas Carole movie didn't catch on in 2011, but oddly enough I have 3 solid production companies in town who all like it. It would be nice if they optioned it, but in this current climate, nobody wants to put out money if they don't have to. One of the companies has asked to take it to two networks so again, I'll probably hear about it next year.

But the Christmas script has also gotten me interest from 2 new agents, which is always nice. However the catch is that since the company above has taken it to 2 networks, the new agents are in a holding pattern.

So all in all, it's been a productive year, especially for the book, but also for a list of a dozen new ideas for 2012, of which I've already started one.

It's a funny thing about ideas. I heard Sting (of Police fame) say that as he's reaching the age of 60 (yes, 60!) he is getting more ideas than he's ever had. I know the feeling.

I come up with at least one new idea or concept every day, sometimes 2 or 3 ideas. Not that all of them are good, of course. Most of the time the ideas fade after one night. But a few of them hang on. I've got a great idea for another Christmas script, you could say "it's out of this world", as the 60's slang went. My idea is literally out of this world.

It's so different that I'm going to register it with WGA and WGC in the next 2 weeks. More on this later.

Also another book; on screenwriting.

Yes... another book on that subject to join the list of around 250 books on screenwriting. But it'll be a little different. For one thing; it'll be written by a real writer with credits (and a recent one too!),  not writing teachers who've never sold a screenplay nor seen a screenplay of theirs make it to the screen.

Believe it or not, there is a difference. When I taught at UCLA extension, most of my students took my class because I was a working writer. I've said this before, Frank, my favorite agent at Paradigm, said to never mention I was doing part-time teaching. Why?

It's the kiss of death.

It means you're finished in the business. You know, those who write, write. Those who can't teach.

Now of course, to be fair, that's not always the truth. But coming from an agent is enough to make you worry about it.

But that's going to be another blog.

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