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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions (often with a humorous eye) about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

Dch, I sent a logline to a producer and he said he wanted to see the synopsis.  So I send the synopsis and the producer tells me that my screenplay isnít the kind of story heís looking for.  What?!  He said he liked the logline!  Why didnít he at least want to see the script since he said he liked the logline?  I donít get it.


This week's answer: 

Screenwriter In The Hole!

Welcome to the world of selling screenplays, Carson.  The first thing to know and remember, which will keep your bills down for taking extended ďvacationsĒ at your local rubber room hotel is that there is nothing to get.  Thereís nothing to try and understand except that thereís nothing to understand.  I know that might sound too NewAge-Zen-TheScecret-Geru-ish to you (it does to me), but thatís the best way I can put it.  To try and figure out a producer and his or her thought processes is like trying to figure out why Zeus throws thunderbolts at us.  Or why my girlfriend likes to watch movies about girlfriends who donít want to be and then want to again be girlfriends.  (Didnít we get enough of that storyline with Lucy and Ethel?)  Or why Einstein was so positive that E equals MC Hammer.  It canít be done.  (And, in my girlfriendís case, it shouldnít be done.)

I have found that every time Ė and I mean ďeveryĒ Ė you try to second-guess a producer, expect a certain response, youíre catapulting yourself into a surreal, insane, topsy-turvy place.  Think of it as falling down the rabbit hole.  And when youíre not a rabbit, or even Alice, for that matter.  No, youíre a screenwriter falling down the rabbit hole.  And the world awaiting you is never what you expect.  Thatís the secret:  Donít expect anything.  and I do mean "anything."  Donít expect a favorable response.  Donít even expect a negative one.  In fact, never even expect any response at all.  Donít expect.  Let anything that happens in regards to reactions and responses to your screenplay be a complete and utter surprise.  Train yourself to be awed by any response whatsoever.  Try to observe these responses or ďnonresponsesĒ from a distance in your mind (not the crazy part that wants to find out where the producer who responded unfavorably or didnít respond at all lives), the serene part of your cranium that can not be phased by a letter or e-mail that ďsadlyĒ informs you that ďtheyíve decided to go another wayĒ (hopefully towards a cliff or pier, says that less than serene part of your mind) or a phone call that informs you that somebody wants to buy your script for half a million dollars.

A Half a Million Dollars!!


Now you must stay calm.  Even that kind of message can push you towards more expectancy, which eventually can lead to another disappointment.

Yeah, but Iíll be RICH and disappointed!

Yes, but you must remain centered and not be fooled by the illusion that money is going to make you happy.  Donít get caught up in that high, which will only lead to a comparable low.   Just stay with your art, have no expectations and youó

Shut up.  Iím rich.  Who needs your advice any longer.  I can buy you ten times over.  I think I will.  I think just to shut you up Iím going to make you an offer you canít refuse and buy Script!  Name your price, DCH!

Iím sorry if I gave you the idea that I could be bought, regardless of the amount of money you might offer me.  Iíve learned to not be swayed by exterior events that shake my calm and--

 A hundred thousand dollars.

Iíll take it.  Bye, everybody.  Happy screenwriting.  Oh, Whimsical Font, Iím going to need that in cash.

Iíll write you a check.

Iíll see you all next week.

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