a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Representation Game (Part I)

So when the list of Nicholl quarterfinalists, semifinalists and finalists came out 12 days ago, for a little while I felt like a wallflower who had just woken up with boobs. Suddenly all the guys were showing interest.

(Okay, that's probably not a good analogy, since I'm a straight man. But you get the idea. I hope).

First, I got a call from a guy at a production company (which I ironically did a little reading work for a few years ago, though that had been long forgotten by them) who wanted to read my script. Then the e-mails started flooding in. Mostly from manager/producers; everyone is a manager/producer nowadays.

It was nice, for a while. But then the flood shut off.

For the record, my script being on their list of Nicholl semi-finalists got me 1 phone call and 11 e-mails so far. Not a single one from from an agent, even a cheesy one.

Still, there are some good management companies on that list. Not all 12 requests are solid ones, but enough are.

Some wanted the script e-mailed to them, and some wanted hard copies snail-mailed to them. Some wanted me to sign dire-looking release forms (and for a couple, I did); others didn't care.

So, armed with some good advice from other writers who had been through this before (who warned me, among other things, not to send out my script too wide, and to avoid the small management companies who really only want to attach themselves as producers, and not build your career) I sent my script out to the more legit-looking places.

And now it's all about the waiting.

Though I've seen more action than most to this point. A low-level exec at one of the companies I read for passed my script with his recommendation to a couple of managers he has dealt with and liked, one of which had also requested it from me. So I got a quick read from them, and a meeting with a manager last week.

Just coffee, not lunch, a getting-to-know-you thing, but it went well. A very good vibe. The manager liked the script, needs his boss to read it, and then I'll meet with both. They are a small company, but they have sold a lot of stuff, don't attach themselves to much as producers, and are very focused on career-building. So it's all good so far.

Naturally, being in the L.A. area helps with this whole process. A lot.

So as I wait to see which ball drops next, I'm putting the finishing polish on my supernatural thriller, which no one in Hollywood has seen; it's nice to be able to dangle something that no one can get their hands on yet.

I've been trading e-mails with an impromptu circle of Nicholl semifinalists, swapping representative-seeking advice and the names of companies contacting people, so we can see which places are asking for everyone's script (which probably guarantees a huge pile of scripts on the floor of their office, and a long turnaround time) and which are being more selective. I'm even having drinks with a couple of these fellow writers tonight.

Ultimately this is just all very interesting to me. The whole Nicholl experience has gotten me writing again, and jazzed about the possibility of a career, and hopefully it'll keep me in active mode rather than the passive mode I too often find myself in, particularly when it comes to trying to be proactive about my writing career.

So... things are in motion. The game is afoot. I can't wait to see what happens next.


At 7:45 AM, Blogger taZ said...

Great man! Best of luck, it's your time now!

At 8:26 AM, Blogger wcdixon said...

watching with interest - keep us posted...

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Scribe LA said...

Neat, Scott. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Nicholl and with gaining representation. Keep up the great work!

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Naila J. said...

Good Job!!! Keep doing your research, I think it makes a huge difference when you know what to expect... and what they're talking about! :P

At 12:16 PM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Maybe the big dogs are contacting finalists first, then the semi's because guys don't ask wallflowers with boobs to dance until they've been rejected by the hotties with boobs. Of course, they then fall in love with and marry the wallflower.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Portnoy said...

best of luck to you! i would say to trust your instincts on the advice cause a lot of it - well intentioned - sucks.

but if you want my advice I would say to start drinking in the AM. this impresses them.


At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Blair said...

"I'm even having drinks with a couple of these fellow writers tonight."

And that's why it sucks to not be in LA. Nuts.

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous danny said...

Way to go, Scott.

You better still update your blog when you're winning Oscars and scoring billion-dollar pay days.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Brett said...

Hmph. I'm stuck out here in the hinterlands, trying to get one more completed project read-ready before I start the ugly and degrading process of looking for representational love in all the wrong places.

We'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, if you run across an agent or manager type who says "what we're REALLY looking for is a locable yet murderously hostile and caustic asshole who likes explosions and romantic finales," remember who your friends are.

But remember me, too.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Brett said...


short bus B

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous EM said...

Thanks for the update. Good luck!

At 6:17 AM, Blogger suzbays said...

Have you thought about creating your own list of agents and managers and calling them?

"Hi, I'm Scott the Reader and my script was a Nicholl Semi-finalist."

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Suz --

If nothing comes from this initial wave, then that's absolutely the next step.

Timing-wise, it's all about finishing my latest script, which is just about polished.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger writergurl said...

Go, boy, go!

At 1:31 PM, Blogger wcdixon said...

Just sitting over here, watching with interest...

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny's right... once you make it, and you will, please keep this place going for us schlubs on the lower steps (wink)

At 5:50 PM, Blogger S. A. Petrich said...

Well, best of luck to ya, mate!

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Sounds like you are working it just right. Prepared and ready. The impromptu semi-finalist exchanges are powerful and magnifies the feedback - making everyone more informed and more prepared should the tap on the shoulder come.

And the bait of a new script unread will no doubt prove irresistable to one or more agents/producers/managers. Me first - no, me first. No, me FIRST.

Good luck.

Keep us posted - we are all learning from your experience.

Signed Contract, baby.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Fun Joel said...

Hey man! Sorry I've been slow to pick up on this, but congrats on this step forward! Hope to see you soon.


At 7:54 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Hi Scott,

Nicholl QF here from Wisconsin. Gotten 12 e-mails and one phone call about my script.

What are the odds I could get in on that e-mail circle you're talking about? I don't have much to contribute being from out of town - but I'd love to know which of those e-mails to avoid.


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