This week's answer:
the Script, Please
J.J., I suggest that you stop playing
football in the PFT (Producers Football League).
Oh, you mean THOSE kind of passes.
The kind that we screenwriters truly don’t look
forward to. Did you ever wonder why they, the producers (not the ones in
the PFT), say, “I’m going to pass on your script”?
Are they playing cards?
Why don’t they just say, “I’m not going to
produce your script”?
That’s what they’re saying, aren’t they?
Or they could say, “I don’t like your
we could really hear the truth, they would usually be
saying, “I’m not producing your script, which I barely
I know it can be very, very disheartening to keep
receiving passes. (Although,
remember when we used to want passes, passes at school to
get out of class and walk through the halls when all the
other kids had to be in the classrooms.
What freedom. Or how about when a “pass” for a grade let you know that
you hadn’t failed a subject?
Or how about when we got free passes to movies or
amusement parks. Those were the good ol’ days of passes. But, now that we’re screenwriters, we don’t want know
stinkin’ passes, Mon.
But you find that getting passes is part of the
trouble is, if you let them get to you, you can start
doubting your screenwriting skills, can start believing
that you’ll always get a pass.
Taking passes from producers personally (hey,
that’s some nice alliteration, if I do say so myself),
can even lead screenwriters to give up entirely and stop
writing. And a screenwriter who doesn’t write... Well, then what is
he then? Just
a screen. And
nobody wants to just be a screen.
Before you know it, Uncle John will be showing
slides of his family’s European vacation or Alaskan
cruise on you. Just
remember: Some of the best and well-known (and well-paid) screenwriters
also got a whole bunch of passes before somebody bought
their first or next script (or the one after that).
How’s that saying go?
leave before the script sale happens.
Well, something like that.
Think of your next pass as an indication that
you’re getting closer to selling a script.
It’s like Thomas Edison.
(No, he didn’t sell a screenplay.
I think.) He
said that every failed experiment to invent the light bulb
was one more way to help him know what not to do to
succeed in inventing it.
Every pass you receive (not the ones on the
football field) can be viewed in a similar manner.
Every pass can be one more way to show you what not
to do to write and sell a screenplay.
Isn’t that just wonderful!
You could actually look forward to getting passes
from producers! Now,
you may not be completely aligned with this idea,
especially if you recently got another rejection letter
– I mean “pass” -- from a producer, so much so that
you’d like to give me a piece of your mind and call or
write me (or come to my house) to inform me of your
opposing views on the subject.
And if that be the case...
I’m going to have to pass.