(Originally posted May 9, 2013)
In this week’s blog, we continue with some of your questions about Roger and the screenwriting business.
Any recent news that Roger types are still alive and active?
Yes, most definitely. I read an article just yesterday in the film blog WRAP about one of the largest talent agencies in Hollywood and their agents who represent writers. A short while ago, the agency sold part of its business to an investment corporation. The first thing the new guys did was to get rid of the “dead weight”. That meant get rid of five agents there who were too easy when it came to green-lighting projects. Each of these agents now has to fend for themselves in securing employment at another agency. To do this, they will have to swear on their mother’s Bible that they will be a true and active ROGER. Yes, being a Roger is still the major way for one to get ahead in the film business when it comes to writing. Yikes!
Are there any ways at all one can buck the system?
Yes, of course. Roll over in bed and see who is lying there next to you. If it is a gorgeous person with no connections, then you and the Titanic have a lot in common. If the person next to you is ugly as homemade sin but their aunt owns a studio, you might have a great chance of bucking the system. Another idea for you is to send your script to one of the screenwriting contests. It costs about 60 bucks a pop. This means that a frustrated screenwriter found a way to bring in at least sixty thousand dollars off of others’ frustration and hope. So, start your own contest or send them 60 bucks. Even if you win, so what? Look at who is occupying the other half of your bed. Just as a practical note: Don’t send anything to producers and big- time agents as they will return it to you unread. That especially regards manuscripts but they won’t even look at an innocent flyer. About 20 years ago one out of a hundred people might reply but in today’s Hollywood, you had just as well send your thoughts to the dead-letter office directly.
This is awfully cynical. Surely it can’t be that bad.
Sorry but you should not use the word “cynical.” It makes you sound super naive and amateurish. The word you want to lock horns with is “truth.” You should take romance lessons and learn to be a writing lover. Yes, it does sound cynical—but it’s not. You must realize how limited your chances are in the screenwriting business. Take it from me, the only way through the door is via someone who likes you more as a person than a writer.
You survived. How did you manage to get a toe into the business?
Definitely I’m not going to name names but yes, it was who I knew—and that includes from when I was a budding playwright in Paris up until I met the person who got me into the WGAw. (Writers Guild of America, west). I wish I could say hard work and talent were my guiding lights but if I did that, I’d just be serving you a tall order of toro poo poo.
Actually these last two blogs were to let you have it squarely between the eyes of what it takes to get to first base in screenplay writing. The next blog will begin a series of what it takes to do a first-class job of screenplay writing. Even though you have to hook up somehow with Mr. or Ms. Right, it doesn’t hurt to have a good product to peddle.
Work on that rhinoceros skin. It’s the only thing that will steel you against all the truths out there—and stop using the word cynical. It just slows you down.