Any Specific Advice? - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I understand your time is valuable so I will try to keep this short. My name is [name that starts with N], and I am a sophomore at [university you've heard of]. I have a rough TV script for a sit-com that I've worked on, about [snip]. I have read most of your website and I fully intend on buying your books, but I am writing to you to see if you could offer any additional advice that is specific to my situation. I've read online that the chances of a production company even acknowledging an unestablished writer are nonexistent, but I refuse to give up. I am confident that my concept has commercial potential, and I intend to see it through.

I don't have the money to pay you to read my script, and I don't have the money to find an agent. I truly value your feedback if you should find the time to respond.
Dear Name That Starts With N:

Here's one bit of specific advice: do your homework before you bug professionals for advice. Many people will give you one free conversation with them, but very few will give you two. You have just wasted your free conversation with me.

How have you wasted it? Well, you haven't bothered to get my books. What are the odds that my book CRAFTY TV WRITING: THINKING INSIDE THE BOX might contain some information about your spec pilot and your chances of getting it read? I'm pretty sure it's in the library at [university you've heard of].

Or how about my blog? In my six years of blog entries, there are quite a few tagged "spec pilot" and "breaking in." You obviously haven't read through my blog posts. Instead you just figured you'd dash off an email.

Your request comes off as lazy and over-entitled. You haven't even rewritten your script and you already want me to reassure you that you might be able to sell it. You haven't even cracked my books, and you want to assure me that you "refuse to give up." It's like you're yelling "I have not yet begun to fight!" after an evening at a bar talking about joining the Navy.

(You "don't have money to find an agent"? What does that even mean?)

When you contact people in the business, do your homework. Read their books or articles or blog posts if they have them. See their movies and TV shows if they've written or created them. People like answering educated questions. ("When you were developing THE OUTER LIMITS, how did you try to distinguish it from THE TWILIGHT ZONE?") They want a sense that you treasure their input, and you've put in at least as much effort into the question as they will have to put into the answer.

That way, you earn the right to a second conversation.

UPDATE:
I apologize if I insulted you or wasted your time, this was my first stab at this. While the truth stings a bit, I believe this is what I needed.
A willingness to embrace criticism is an extremely important virtue in any biz, but particularly this one. Bravo.

Labels:

3 Comments:

Um. So does this mean you won't read my fucking script?

By Blogger DMc, at 4:05 PM  

Haha.

My response would be -- Don't ask writers how they can help you. They can't.

Producers, directors, agents, managers are all ahead of writers in terms of help.

Other writers are your DIRECT competition.

It took me a couple times talking to David Ward to get this through my skull. And it wasn't what he told me -- rather it was his inability to do so.

There are people out there that can help your craftsmanship -- and books (I'd read Alex's -- both of them. They are my personal favs) -- but there's no one out there that can give you the tools to come up with a great idea.

That's all on you.

What you are really asking for (and Alex saw through this immediately) is for someone to hold your hand and make you successful. That takes a ton of hard work and determination -- and there is zero guarantee.

By Blogger James, at 3:50 AM  

Name That Starts With N -

Look at this another way. Even if you found a writer with the time, energy and inclination to foster your career - at best, all they'd actually be able to do for you is to turn you into a carbon copy of them.

It's all the things you do fighting your way to success - the failed projects, the direct-to-DVD movies, the embarrassing moments *and* the big successes - that are going to going to shape you as a unique talent.

At least, that's what I tell myself...

By Blogger debbiemoon, at 2:49 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.