Communiqué from the front lines: Pushing your projects farther up the mountain……
March 24, 2014 § 1 Comment
As I’ve mentioned before in my blog articles, even with credits or not, a screenwriter’s job never ends with regards to either creating new material or constantly meeting, pitching and building an ever-expanding network of your “fans.” It’s days, nights, weekends as your mind is always working. Even with credits, you’re always looking for your next gig. A famous screenwriter once said, “You’re always on assignment.” It’s true. The first three months of this year have been busy for me with a new assignment job (my 12th of my career) and pushing my other projects closer to production.
On the screenplay assignment side, I landed a new job from a producer to write an indy feature. It’s my twelfth screenwriting assignment of my career and will be my twenty-seventh written feature script overall. I completed the treatment and just received my orders to start the screenplay. I just typed: FADE IN: and it’s five pages a day for my month’s deadline. Every time up to the plate is a different and unique experience and I never take it for granted. I respect every trip back to the creative well and I’m humbled and grateful.
And of course my entertainment lawyer handled the contract specifics. It’s always a good idea to enlist the professional help of a lawyer to make sure you are protected in your contract. It’s just what professional screenwriters do to “handle their business.” Producers will also respect you more when their business affairs department has to deal with your lawyer. Screenwriters get screwed if they allow it. You can always say “no” and walk away from a deal that is not in your favor. Meeting half way is always the best way because the longer you’re working in this business, you’ll realize there is a long line of eager and willing screenwriters to take your job. The most important thing is that you scored the job. Nothing else matters except doing the best job you can and building your reputation as a team player.
In addition, I just completed a three-day polish on a feature script with my partner who will direct our film. We’re in the process of looking for financing and today through our Academy Award® winning executive producer, the project was just given to a legendary veteran producer with over 400 credits. Fingers crossed, but who knows? My example is that you’ll do everything you can to push every project farther down the field and hopefully closer to financing and production. You’ll also need four or five projects to be moving along the field at any given time for one to stick. Many times it will take years, but if you have more than one project in play, you’ll always be busy and not look to just one project to change your life. You must always be working on your next piece of material.
And, last weekend, my partners and I had a table read for the first season of our new web series that I wrote. It was an enlightening experience having actors read the parts while my partners and I took notes on the nine episodes and heard how the season played out. It’s my first experience writing a web series and I really enjoyed the process. It feels like we’re on the right track and it’s out to investors.
So, dig in deep and get your latest project finished. That is the first and most important step of the journey. After it’s completed, every project travels on its own journey and no two projects will ever be the same with regards to getting made. The process will always take more time to move forward than you’d ever expect. So, continually work on your pitches, treatments, loglines and completed scripts as each projects finds its way. You’ll need more than one project to standout and make some noise. Take meetings and build your relationships. When you do secure a job, do your best regardless of your payday and build your reputation as a team player.
It’s all part of the process of being a working screenwriter. No romantic images of fame and fortune just the reality that it’s all about the work. Rinse, lather, and repeat. When it does finally happen, if it hasn’t already, you’ll take the meeting that launches your career and they tell you they’re buying your script or hiring you to write a project. Your screenwriting career is not a Dali-esque delusion, but the result of work, talent, focus, sacrifice, patience and luck.
And luck is a prepared screenwriter who meets an opportunity and delivers the goods.
Keep writing and keep the faith.
Did you just finish your latest screenplay? Click the blue icon below for the link to my website and more information about my screenplay consultation services.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”—Pablo Picasso
“Believe me that in every big thing or achievement there are obstacles — big or small — and the reaction one shows to such an obstacle is what counts not the obstacle itself.”—Bruce Lee
“It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”—Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary, 5th Century B.C.
“When the last dime is gone, I’ll sit on the curb outside with a pencil and a ten cent notebook and start the whole thing over again.” — Preston Sturges
“But the Artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don’t believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer his whole life. In the hierarchy, the Artist faces outward. Meeting someone new he asks himself, “What can this person do for me?” “How can this person advance my standing?” In hierarchy, the Artist looks up and looks down. The one place he can’t look is that place he must: within.”—Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”
“If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.“—Bruce Lee
“It’s a long, tedious, tough, frustrating process, but never, ever be put aside by the fact that it’s hard.”—Rod Serling