Thursday, October 27, 2016

I Can Get You Signed... (But I Probably Won't)

Hi all, my latest article is now up at American Screenwriting Association. Check it out!


Okay, that snarky title is going to require some ‘splainin’, to quote the great Ricky Ricardo. Truth is, pretty much anyone who knows a few people in the biz can probably help get you signed -- a working writer, an assistant, an intern, whatever. Because anyone can be a passionate advocate. And if you absolutely love a piece of material, are gonzo excited about it, well, that’s contagious. And if your connection commands any level of respect at a company, at the very least the script they’re advocating for will be sent for coverage. But if they really trust that person’s judgment, the agent, producer or manager may well read that script personally. That’s the grease in Hollywood ‘s wheels-- referrals from people whose opinions they trust.

Problem is, most scripts don’t rise to the level of inspiring that sort of advocacy.
I founded CoverageInk.com in 2002, and we’ve seen a lot of scripts in that time -- tens of thousands. And while we’ve found a fistful of gems over the years, the vast majority of what we see are scripts that have potential but need a bit of work. Yeah, pretty much every single script, even the awesome ones, has some sort of problem. Of course, not all issues have the same weight. A great storyteller with voice and verve and panache, who constantly surprises the reader on every page? Heck, suddenly typos are much less important. On the other hand, a script with wonderfully dimensional characters but a weak structure is going nowhere fast, because jaded, ADD-afflicted Hollywood types are looking for any excuse to stop reading. Page 20 and your inciting incident hasn’t hit yet? You’re toast.

However, there are some scripts which we see -- not many, but a few -- which just radiate awesome. They might need a few more drafts, some rethinking, maybe a dialogue polish -- but still, they demand attention. Perhaps because of a unique, bracing writer voice. It may be a killer concept. It may be just a whole lot of brilliance on the page. But above all, it has to be entertaining. When I find a script like that, I have to champion it. I mean, that’s what we’re all looking for. (Except the assholes who will never ever do anyone a solid because they somehow think doing so will jeopardize their little fiefdom. We all know a few people like that, right?) I want to be able to call up my manager friends and say, “Drop everything and read this now.” And that’s exactly what I did with Brandon Barker’s “Nottingham & Hood,” which manager Jake Wagner (then at Benderspink) sold to Disney. More on that in a moment.

Click HERE to continue!

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