Always a kick to have produced films reach a global audience…
November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
If you haven’t experienced it yet, being with an audience and watching a produced movie that you’ve written on the big or small screen is something to behold. It truly makes up for all the tenacity, hard work, and sacrifices that we make as screenwriters on our long haul journey to success. We know first hand the years of writing it took to secure the job, doing the rewrites, possibly doing on set rewrites, and now we get to experience the successful collaboration of hard work and creativity. Does it guarantee the result is always perfect? Nothing is ever perfect. It’s surprising movies get made with all the moving parts that have to work at the same time. If you’re in the film business long enough, you’ll learn to let go of any regrets you may have about the finished movie and just enjoy the fruits of your labor—a produced film distributed to a global audience.
When you write a screenplay on assignment you must please the producer first. He or she is your boss, but also has a boss to please—the studio, the network or the overseas buyers. You’re blessed if you get hired to write a movie and it’s produced and distributed. If you repeat the process it’s called a career. If the film is financially successful in the theaters or it garners terrific ratings on television, you might get another chance to work for the producers. These are the precious moments we screenwriters aspire to live—to be paid, credited and have a global audience see the finished product. I know how difficult it was to get to this moment in my career and I’ve never taken my journey for granted.
When I had my first movie produced, I thought the world was going to stop and everyone would care about my huge accomplishment and the next day life would dramatically change. Sadly, it was disappointing to find out the world kept spinning and I had to get back to work to achieve the same accomplishment—again. When I woke up the next morning after the big première… food tasted the same, bills still had to be paid, and I had to get busy and find my next screenwriting gig.
Ah, the romanticized image of the working screenwriter is shattered by the reality of staying in the game.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome experience to have a film that you write get produced and distributed to a global audience, but don’t expect everyone to consider it as important as you do—or expect anyone to care about your career as much as you do. They don’t really know what it takes to get the job done—years studying the craft of screenwriting and dealing with rejection, criticism and failure while creating screenplays that may never sell until one day you unlock the combination to Hollywood’s gates and they allow you to enter. Or the reality there are probably hundreds of writers who would kill to have the same opportunity. Those who don’t know the journey of a screenwriter didn’t sacrifice and do the massive amount of work necessary to gain experience, follow strict disciplines, and live a writer’s life while never knowing if your next project will sell—and that’s okay. We chose this life, right? It’s OUR DREAM not anyone else’s.
Our validation comes from our credit that we see on the big or small screen and knowing that we’ve beat the incredible odds where most fail to even get one film produced. After the well-deserved celebrations, it’s time to get busy as the life of a working screenwriter is not glamorous—it’s the reality of an artisan’s journey crafting new projects over and over until you secure another job.
I’ve had eight films produced and fourteen screenplay assignment jobs. Of my produced films, one film was my original spec and the other seven were assignments. I’m blessed, two of those films have been produced in the last ten months and one film premiered in Canada on The Movie Network and last September Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) premiered it in the United States.
It’s a thriller called “MOTHER OF ALL LIES” starring Francesca Eastwood and Jennifer Copping that I wrote on assignment. It’s now airing internationally in France and Spain.
“Adopted teenager Sara goes in search of her birth mother Abby, only to find the woman in prison for bank robbery and manslaughter. In an upcoming parole hearing, Sara helps Abby win release, and decides to spend the summer with her before leaving for college. But Sara soon finds herself in danger as her mother returns to her former partner in crime, Carl and when he ends up dead, both Abby and Sara will be wanted for murder—hunted by the police and Carl’s cohorts.”
My latest film, “MOMMY’S LITTLE GIRL” starring Fiona Gubelmann (Wilfred) premiered to huge ratings on LIFETIME NETWORK here in the U.S. back in March. The logline: “Finally reunited with her mother, Teresa, 10-year-old Sadie is thrilled to leave behind the life of isolation she had with her resentful, strict grandmother. But Sadie’s obsession with fitting in, both with her new family and at her new school, is disrupted by her homicidal tendencies.”
It’s always fun to have movies airing globally to audiences. It makes up for all of the hard work, sacrifice and up and downs of the journey.
Keep screenwriting and keep the faith because if you stop writing you’re guaranteed to never have any shot a success.
Follow me on Twitter/Periscope/Vine: @scriptcat
Check out my YOUTUBE CHANNEL for weekly screenwriting videos.
Did you just finish your latest screenplay and need consultation? Check out my services by clicking on the icon below for the link to my website and more information.
Need help with your screenwriting goals? Check out my on-demand webinar “A Screenwriter’s Checklist: 10 Questions Every Screenwriter Must Answer to Stay in the Game” now available as a streaming rental Pivotshare. Click on the icon below for the link to Pivotshare’s site. Parts One & Part Two of the webinar are each $14.99 and available as a streaming rental for 30 days.
“It is no small feat to get a movie made, on any subject, on any screen.”—JJ Abrams
“Just do the best you can every time. And if you’re going to stay in the movies, and you like movies—and I love them—you’d better love them a lot, because it’s going to take all of your time. If you want to be in the movies, it’s going to break your heart.”—Richard Brooks
“When you start a movie script, it’s like entering a dark room: You may find your way around all right, but you also may fall over a piece of furniture and break your neck. Some of us can see a little better than others in the dark, but there is no guaranteeing the audience’s reaction.”—Billy Wilder