Your questions answered by a  Hollywood professional

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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: 

A producer told me he’s really interested in my script, but I haven’t heard a word for weeks.  What should I do, DcH?

Barnaby from England

This week's answer: 

Word Waiting

I appreciate you contacting me, Barnaby.  It’s not easy to wait for producers and “the word.” Or even “a word.” Especially when you haven’t heard any words for a long time.  You’re going to have to find a way to be patient and not get too bent out of shape waiting for word from a producer.  Because, not only can it take a long time “between words,” but there can be many different words.  

You can get word that the producer has decided to option your script.  You can get word that the producer has decided on where he’s going to go looking for the money for the script.  There can be word about attached actors, attached directors (and the word is that, even though actors and directors are attached, they still are often known to "attach" themselves to attached or unattached others). There can be word about distributors, marketing, shooting dates, delays, and, of course, the dreaded word:  “rewrite.” Or, even more dreaded, “rewrite without pay.” (I know those are three words, but, when you hear them, your mind sloshes the phrase together so it doesn’t stay imprinted in your cranium too long and therefore sounds like one word:  “rewritewithoutpay.”)  

And, unfortunately, there can be the word, “passing,” which often accompanies “we’ve” and "decided" "to“ and “the” and “project.”  Definitely not words you were waiting for. And could have waited for forever.  (Isn't it amazing how truly patient we can be when we set our minds to it?) And “greenlight” is always a nice word to receive from a producer (unless it’s in a sentence similar to “I thought it was a green light, but it was red, and I ran it and got a ticket that raised my insurance premium, which I’m going to have to pay with money that I was going to use to pay you for the option for your script.)

You see.  Some words are just not waiting for.

There is a way to avoid the tension that emanates from the aforementioned problem.  Here’s what you do:

                                          Become a producer.

Then you can send yourself scripts and immediately answer yourself.  Or, if you really get into the spirit of being a producer, you can send word that you’re interested in your scripts and then make yourself wait for weeks.


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