Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Selling yourself

I have just ended a writing job, or at least I think I have. And I wish I have.

A director and producer here in L.A. read a screenplay of mine which was basically an action-thriller with a budget of at least $10 million or more. So these two culprits decided to ask me to write a screenplay similar, but for less than half a million. 

This is how it works with some of the low-budget people in Hollywood. How they decide that a story based on a family in the woods that is just as good as the $10 million script I have, I don't know.

They're only suggestions were these words;" cabin in the woods" and "family in jeopardy. "
Oh and could I insert some of those nifty hunter's cameras, the ones that hunters and others nail onto a tree so they can see if any animals have come their way.

And that's pretty much all of their ideas for their great movie to be.

But first, the pitch.

"The Pitch" is one of those things I truly hate, in my book, "Working Writer's Screenplay," I include a few pages wherein my producer friend and I went to CBS to pitch a movie. And I repeat, I hate pitches. And the dirty secret is, you don't always need to have one. Or you get someone else to do it.

And that's what I did with my friend, he was a producer at ABC years ago and even optioned a screenplay of mine, that's why I call him a friend. And he is a great guy, knows the business far more than I do. Or care.

We divided the job; he was the color guy, the guy in the booth at a football game, and I was the side man who would jump in when there was something specific. Like "the family is stuck in nowhere."

I had the beginnings of a screenplay based on a real-life story that happened to me and my ex-partner and her three kids.

So Norton (the pitcher) went at it, he stood up, moved around, swung his arms, really good. I wish I could do that. My part was when he'd turn to me and say, "What happens next."

And I say; "They're stuck in a small town in the middle of nowhere. In fact the name of the town was Nowhere." Then Norton would pitch again. Eventually the woman we pitched to was "a big fan" of both of us. That meant several things; that she liked the story, or she liked it but didn't "have a home" for it, or "what else do you have."

In this case, she liked it and would present it at the next meeting. 

Which is good. 

But it turned out that CBS was doing bio-pics (true-life stories).

So back to the two producers with hunter cameras, etc.

They wanted a pitch, which I sort of wrote and wished Norton was around. They read it and wanted more. At this point, I really didn't like either of these guys, they were supposed to give my agent an "executive producer" position and never did, and they gave me a deal that was really bad.

So I quit.

Or they quit. 

I never responded again and they didn't.

Oh, I forgot, one of them wanted me to write a screenplay about a family in jeopardy. This was about 15 years ago. And he wanted me to write it for free.

But I had one over him, because I wrote the script but never signed the contract and got an option fee on them if they wanted to show it around. 

They were mad.

I had $2000.

Isn't this business great?

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