"The suggestions made for revisions will often make the difference between acceptance and rejection..."
- You really don't want to write; you just want to be published.
- You haven't read widely the kind of material you are trying to write.
- You haven't mastered writing techniques.
- You've been too easily discouraged.
- You haven't studied the market.
- You failed to follow up leads.
- You can't take criticism.
- Your writing is commonplace or lacks imaginative spark.
- Your query letters don't "sell" your idea.
- You don't revise before submitting your manuscript.
- You are too concerned with writing for a specific market.
- You haven't learned the editorial requirements of a specific market.
- You make excuses for not writing.
2. Use proper format for a submission script, (not a shooting script).
3. Keep the length under 120 pages.
4. Stick with the feature film arena.
6. Recent romantic comedies are sharp and intelligent, reflecting a contemporary lifestyle with contemporary obstacles while expanding the "rules" and limitations of the genre.
7. A "spec" script is still the strongest way to approach producers.
The hero has a team of experts in various fields behind him.
Two or more on the team must fall in love.
Two or more on the team must die.
The villain must turn his attentions from his initial goal to the team.
The villain and the hero must live to do battle again in the sequel.
All deaths must proceed from the individual to the group: i.e., never say that the bomb exploded and 15,000 people were killed. Start with "Jamie and Suzy were walking in the park with their grandmother when the earth opened up."
If you get bogged down, just kill somebody.
Published in the New York Times Magazine on March 1, 1998.
I’ve always said the difference between a con man and a visionary in Hollywood is success. Using the word “lie,” of course, puts it in a negative framework. Belief and vision and faith are the positive terms for practical visualization, where you not only see the picture but you do and say everything you can to make others see the picture until, one day, the picture is.
The producer is the one who dares to walk the tightrope between dream and reality, like the rope between the Two Towers. What makes a great producer is that he never gives up, even when the writer does, even when the studio does, even when everyone else does.
2) Figure out exactly who your market is.
3) Figure out how to approach that market.
4) Consider becoming your own publisher now rather than after five years of rejection.
5) Never give up.
That’s what we try to offer to our clients. Experience in the school of hard knocks!
I know you can say 10 times as much about your book and 50 times as much about yourself. BUT, the rule is ONE PAGE about your book, ONE PAGE about yourself. Make them beg for more. They’re too busy to be hit with the more in your first press release.
2) The writer hasn’t bothered to proofread his work. It’s filled with spelling errors, typos, and repetitions.
3) The protagonist isn’t clear after the first five pages. You still don’t know whose story you’re reading.
4) Even if you know the protagonist, by page 10 you still don’t know what his dramatic problem is—or you aren’t “involved” with him. You don’t know why you’re reading his or her story.
5) By the end of the script you neither know what the dramatic problem was nor how it’s solved by the story.
6) The obstacles to the hero’s mission aren’t strong enough, clear enough, or interesting enough.
7) The Point of View is unclear throughout the screenplay, or is “all over the place.”
8) The protagonist and antagonist aren’t written with stars in mind. Once we love the story, Hollywood wants to know: What great actor or actress will desperately want to play this role?
9) The story lacks credibility—characters don’t behave the way people like they’re supposed to be would behave in the situation you’ve created.
10) The script is filled with clichés, or with on the nose expository dialogue and narrative.
11) The script isn’t 100% visual, filled with stage directions that aren’t “visual.”
12) The protagonist doesn’t grow from the beginning of the story to the end.
13) His or her antagonist isn’t clearly defined or singular enough to make a castable and saleable drama.
14) The climax and conclusion of the script aren’t strong enough, positive enough, and/or satisfying enough to warrant the investment of the reader/audience’s time.
1. The host is giving you millions of dollars worth of publicity, but
2. Remember, “these people are not your friends.”
3. Every question is a trick question.
4. Pause before you answer.
5. Make sure you get across YOUR AGENDA.
6. Set the hook to make the audience want to read more of what you’re saying.
7. Make them want to interview you again.
8. Talk in “sound bites,” memorable short sentences.
9. Show your gratitude.
10. Don’t do the interview AT ALL if your books are not available yet for purchase.
11. Don’t assume your interviewer knows all about you—OR your book.
2. Don’t assume anything is the way it was a year ago.
3. Network--with anyone and everyone you know, and find out “what’s going on.”
4. Get contacts from contacts: always ask for three more contacts from every contact you meet.
5. Value the “insider’s” time more than your own.
6. Set "informational meetings"--more often accepted by the other side.
7. Meaning: Ask for their advice. Don’t worry, if they’re interested themselves, they won’t be shy about it.
8. Try to enter the Industry through your area of expertise--if you’re a lawyer then
9. through legal or business affairs department. If you’re a publicist, through the p.r. department.
10. Have a compelling story about your passion about film rather than your general belief that show business could be lucrative for you.
11. Be informed about the Industry, even if new to it.
12. Be informed about the person you’re meeting with. Do your homework.
13. Be willing to do anything that’s required to make your work better.
14. Be humble and willing to invest in your career.
15. Be inventive about getting your work in front of decision-makers.
16. Be patient and persistent, and you’ll find a way in—and look for sudden opportunities in this land of “right place and right time.”
17. Be flexible about jobs offered, and take opportunities. Access is all.
18. Always be positive, no matter how bad the situation.
19. Always be passionate about what you do.
20. Read up on the fields that interest you and the people that populate them.
21. Master the fine, undefined line between being persistent and being a pest.
You betcha! One of the most difficult challenges writers face today is ACCESS, and meeting an agent, attorney, publicist, publisher, or other facilitator at a conference separates you from the faceless masses. It’s a PRIME STRATEGY for taking your writing career into your own hands. From time to time, I recommend the conferences I’ve attended or found effective on my mainblog and in the daily firstname.lastname@example.org Stay tuned!
Every day I run into writers who are clueless about the shifts in the industry, both publishing and entertainment. They have expectations and demands that fit a culture that no longer exists. I can only spend so much time educating them. That’s your responsibility, as a writer who wants to cross over into the promised land of the published or produced. The internet lies before you like a vast land of dreams, yours for the understanding. Explore it thoroughly before you submit your work. Things have changed, things are changing, things will continue to change. The only thing the remains constant is the need for stories, for content, for intellectual property.