Last week, an old friend of mine sent me his script to read.
He's been writing scripts off and on for a while, and most of them haven't been very good at all. Ironically, once he even wrote a play, that was never performed anywhere. But a friend turned it into a movie, with a couple of name actors in it, which I come across every once and a while on cable.
So sometimes things happen.
Anyhow, he sent me this new screenplay to get some notes on it from me, while also stating that he'd already contacted Sandra Bullock's production company about it, and they want to see a copy, which he wants to get to them, you know, yesterday.
So I read his script, which he wrote with a younger writer, and it's actually not bad. It has an interesting hook, it has some laughs, it has some potential.
It has a long way to go, though, to transition from "not bad" to "nailing the story". I gave him a lot of notes.
I have the feeling the script will probably be going to Sandra Bullock's company without any major changes.
I've probably made this rant in various forms before, but I'll make it again here:
You have to learn patience in this business.
You have to realize that your script is unlikely to get any attention at all unless it is really, really good. Or unless it is generally good, with a drop-dead killer commercial premise.
You need to get your script in the best shape possible, before sending it out to agents or production companies.
I get scripts all the time from people hiring me for $60 notes, who say in their e-mails "I already sent this out to such-and-such contest, but I know it needs work, so I want to get your notes."
If you know it needs work -- even $60 worth of work -- it's not ready for a contest.
Timing is everything in this business. Go out too early, and you can blow opportunities. A script that's not there yet, that circulates around town even a little bit, will soon get the taint of something that no one wants.
Send something that's only partway there to an agent, and he'll probably be less inclined to read the next draft, much less the next thing you send him.
You want people to think you're a great writer? Everything you send out, to agents or managers or producers or contests, should be great writing.
If you are an unknown writer, trying to get Sandra Bullock to star in your movie? That's such a longshot, that your script better be drop-dead amazing.