This week's Answer:
I appreciate your question, Wanting to Know. Let me start my reply with
the words that make me cringe when I read them in a query or
introduction: ENJOY THE READ. Urghhhh!
I actually receive
submissions from screenwriters by various ways, including Inktip.
And screenwriters make cardinal mistakes, which will turn off a
producer faster than they can type the words, "FADE
OUT." Or more apt words would be "SMASH CUT"
because that's how fast and hard they can lose PI (Producer
number one: Telling the producer, in so many words, what a great
choice the producer will be making if he chooses the writer's script,
and giving him the reasons why.
number two: Telling the producer how to produce the writer's
script and informing him about such things such as demographics,
casting choices, recent popular films like the writer's script,
budgetary and production needs.
number three: (The narcissistic trap) Bragging about his past
successes and mentioning or indicating how lucky the producer will be
to join the writer on his voyage to the stars.
number four: (The film critic trap) Telling the producer how to
react to the writers' script, such as telling him how funny it
is. (As soon as a screenwriter tells me how funny his comedy is,
I immediately have an urge to not see the material as funny and here
my internal voice say, "Okay, make me laugh." One of
the major abilities that most successful comedians share is that they
don't laugh at themselves -- and let the audience do the
laughing. So, let the producer do the laughing.
(hopefully all the way to the bank if he chooses your script for
production). In fact, let the producer make ALL the decisions;
let HIM produce. Geeesh!
if you noticed I'm used two exclamations, urghhh and geeesh, which
should tell you how strongly I am reacting to these writers' mistakes.
Gawwwwd! There's another one.)
number five (Posturing). Snobbishness, superiority,
condescending... the "I know the business" speak... all
death knells for me (unless, of course, the screenwriter has his own
company like Pompous Productions. Then I get it.)
a writer needs to understand is that it's not just what's on the
page. Movies only start with the screenplay. It's a long
trek. And if a producer is in a project, on another journey to
MovieOz, he's going to want his Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man, to be
people he likes and gets along with. Even, preferably, people he
likes. (Nobody wants to see a flying monkey at the catering
table at 7:00 in the morning.)
know who my favorite screenwriters are who approach me when I'm in
search of scripts for production? The humble ones. The
ones who don't go into a lot fluff or hot air or misdirection.
They contact me and inform me they have a script, giving me the log
line. They might tell me a little more about themselves or the script,
but they do it succinctly and don't expect me to read a treatise on
them or their works.
they thank me for my time and attention. When that happens, I
feel an immediate connection with the writer and find myself wanting
to read his/her material soon and, even more importantly, wanting to
like the script. I'll say that again. Yes, there is a
natural urge that comes to me to want to like the script.
It's positive prejudice. I'm already leaning in the writer's
I hope my words on
this subject have been helpful and that...
enjoyed the read.