Colorado Actors Scripts And Films

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Do you know why it can be hard to get someone to read your scripts?

http://www.sohh.com/2010/06/kanye_west_stole_stronger_from_unsigned...

I suspect that most people already know this.  This is exactly the liability that Johnny Depp referred to in "Do it for Johnny."

Ok, so we know the problem: What's the solution?  There are several.  The most common is to find a way "in."  Film festivals, various competitions, or the infamous connection seem to the most common.  I think self-production is overlooked.  Current distribution channels have made self-production more feasible.  It still ain't cheap and it is incredibly labor intensive, but the opportunity exists.

At least, I think that is a possible way to get "in."  What other ideas have you used or thought about to get "in"?

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I think that step one is to write a truly remarkable script. Don't get me wrong, navigating your path of exposure can still be a challenge. But I firmly believe that if you have written something exceptional, people will pass it on because then they raise their own credibility. Everyone wants to be a part of the next big thing.

No one (or almost no one) is going to care who you are or where you come from if you put something in their hands that knocks their socks off.

A few months ago I was in a workshop with a well-known screenwriter. As we talked through one of the scripts (which was very, very good but not quite "amazing"), the guy took out his phone and called a name producer, telling her she needed to read the script. He was putting his rep on the line making that call. Would he do that for anything less than marketable? Nope. Would he hold out if he thought it was great? Can't imagine why.

Too often we think good enough is good enough. It rarely is.

Should you try to discover ways to access influential and intelligent people in the industry? Absolutely.

But don't pull that trigger without something extraordinary to pass on.

At least that's my opinion.
I think you've hit a nail on the head, Jim. I've seen the paradigm in action in other circumstances, but there is something exciting about finding a damn good story and getting the chance to tell it.
Can we talk about what is “exceptional” for a bit?

When you discuss the "exceptional", and I think I appreciate what you mean for the most part, do you limit the exceptional to the unique and well-told? A unique idea told poorly cannot be exceptional. A tired rehash of the same old story cannot be exceptional.

Is there a call for the exceptionally well-told story that has been told before? I don't ask this in an attempt to delve into the "seven basic plots" concept, but to clarify what is exceptional. I also don’t want to turn this into a discussion of usage rights, copyright and/or intellectual property.

I have read stories that were told poorly, in my opinion, but had an incredible underlying story. There are dozens of examples of property “re-boots” in various mediums. To me, some of these are exceptional.

Can the “undiscovered” become “discovered” through a phenomenal treatment or retelling?
For me it just means "memorable". The reader can see it in their minds eye; can see the potential; can see how to market it; believes that it will become something that audiences will remember.

Something that stands out both in concept and execution. That could just mean a little twist on a well-known theme.

You want them to not be able to put it down. When they do, you want them to say "Holy crap...who wrote this?"
Excellent response.

I would only add that the story connects such that you can't help caring about the characters: who they are, what they are enduring, what their futures hold, and you have a solid, identifiable emotional release when the story ends.

Eventually, you are exploring the human condition and, like the obscene, people know the real thing when they see it. Fake it, and people will feel cheated--especially if you've created good characters and don't do right by them and their respective destinies.
LinkedIn is a really excellent resource for filmmakers and screenwriters. There are many 'Film Groups' and in the site, and there are some major players that can take your material to the next level. There is also 'Film Angels' groups that can help you fund your film. In total there are well over 20 film-related groups. The key is to contribute to the discussions, offer to help others in any way you can, and eventually you will be in a great position to pitch your script.
It's a good point Kim. I remember Darren Foster telling me a story years ago about how he would volunteer at festivals. Part of his responsibilities was ferrying folks around, including name actors and directors. He wouldn't pitch them, knowing full well that the opportunity to pitch was one of the main reasons why filmmakers volunteer at festivals. Something that must get very tiring for guests of the festival.
Eventually, the "names" started recognizing him and asking him about what he was working on. It seems to have been a solid, long-term strategy.
I'm not suggesting that you ignore the opportunity to pitch when you have it. I just want to echo Kim's point that there are great advantages to being someone who is known to contribute, and not just some one who asks for something.
Do you recommend any of these groups over the others? LinkedIn is a great tool, but there is a fair bit of chaff with the wheat.
I guess it helps to target who you request to read your scripts. I get sent unsolicited loglines and synopses all the time in my inbox, but the writer rarely seems to have a clue about what kinds of projects we back, and it is 99.9% not a fit, for that reason. If the writer took a second to look at our reel or read our site or SOMETHING besides flipping through the CPRG and pasting in an address, it would definitely reflect in their email and materials. Somehow writers think all they have to do is write. They need to market, too.

I  agree with Jim....  everyone in the world has an idea for a great movie and it sometimes seems as if half of them took a stab at writing it!   And it is a painful experience as a producer to be handed one and to stare down at an improperly formatted, too long, too short, contrived plot, without interesting characters screenplay and promise someone to read it.   From a producers prospective, all of those things can be fixed but it requires time, energy and money.  A sows ear may be able to be made into a silk purse if one is willing to invest enough time, energy and money but who cares to try.  I believe, no great movie was ever made from a "bad" story.    Filmmaking begins with a good story, story, story!  Which has been masterfully transcribed into a script...  It is exactly the same as an architectural wonder, say the Eiffel Tower being built without a set of blueprints....  Not going to happen!

Having said that and assuming we have both a great story and a well drawn blueprint for a script.  It seems the topic is "self production."  Absolutely,  Make the film yourself.   Want to learn about screenwriting, acting, production, story, fund raising, sales, and distribution.   Nothing is better than shepherding your movie around.  I'll warn you it is not for the faint of heart.   I think the reason we are willing to do these things is because we are "storytellers" and this is the medium in which we have chosen to tell our stories.  

 

I don't know where "In" is?  Is it walking down the red carpet at Cannes, grossing the box office of "Harry Potter" or is it the self satisfaction of creating our dreams and being able to touch other's thoughts and lives.  While continuing to be able to practice our art and craft?  I suspect it may be the later, of course it could be all three!   Happy Filmmaking!

I did write such a script.

It was read by a reputable analyst.

Most mentionable note: novelize it.

I did.

http://www.amazon.com/Justin-Time-Biblical-Travel-Adventure/dp/1453...

 

The solution to this can be found in John Waters' film 'Cecil B. Demented'.

If you're going to hand them a script, make sure you've got a gun in the other hand so they can't say no.

 

See? I'm helping.

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