On Writing : Is "Hollywood" different... do you PAY to pitch and submit work? by David M. Salkin

Is "Hollywood" different... do you PAY to pitch and submit work?

HI all... while I've been writing professionally for ten years (I'm a full time novelist, and now screen writer), I'm always learning. Since delving into screen writing, I started reaching out to "LA Agents" etc to discuss film projects. I had a larger ("real") firm contact me and want to read a script. They wanted to charge a reading fee. I was appalled. In the literary world, only hacks and crooks charge to read your manuscript. It APPEARS, that this isn't as uncommon in the Hollywood world, as I now see folks charging to read your pitch, or read your work. Maybe I'm just old school, but in my world, The Talent NEVER pays. EVER. Are things so different in "Hollywood", or have I just come across a few nefarious characters? Dave

Evelien And Dorien Twins

No reputable company or agent should ever charge you a "reading fee"; giant red flags going up. We wish you the best in reaching out!

David M. Salkin

and that was always my belief as well... Always! But then as I'm learning my way around this website, I see folks charging for "pitches". I didn't understand... it's out in the open here, so it must be "acceptable"..??? I'm missing something I think?

Dan MaxXx

it's like speed dating now. pay to pitch. the old catch 22, if u don't have a connection, u gotta pay $$$ to play. name the firm who asked for money. most Agencies and Prod companies signatory to WGA don't ask for money. They just won't accept or read your 'unsolicited script." Paying to pitch is something else.

David M. Salkin

Dan... I feel a little funny being a "tattle-tale"... but she had no problem telling me "she was worth her time and money." I respectfully declined, which apparently she found surprising. This is the firm, who LOOKS legit and fairly large: http://www.bknelson.com/

Deborah Rose

Very interesting, David, thanks for the heads-up.

David M. Salkin

Eveliendorien! Good catch! Thanks... yes, I always trust my "Spider senses"... they were tingling... LOL

Dan MaxXx

Writer's Guild of America has a list of signed Agents, managers, Prod Companies. Another way is to track Writers close to your Writing style. Seek out their Reps. IMDBpro is good at listing Writers & Producers and their Reps

Kay Luke

Anyone who request your work and then wants to charge you a fee is a poser. If you ask them to read your work and they charge a fee that's different.

Maroun Rached

It's a question of offer and demand: there's a lot of scripts going around and so many people to read them. Also, it takes time and effort to examine and evaluate a script: that's why people pay to pitch I guess, and executives' time is precious. The best thing is to enter a competition with feedback; this way not only you see how you rank among other screenwriters but you also get constructive comments. Good luck!

Danny Manus

David, BK Nelson is a fraud. She is quite infamous in some circles and does this to a LOT of writers. No one should submit to her. She has no standing in hwood and she continually runs these scams on writers. Beware! ive had a number of clients tell me about her. That being said, yes, there are legit companies that do use coverage services to weed out shitty scripts. And paying to pitch is very common in hollywood but its thru pitchfests or online services like stage32 or others. But thats different than what BK does. Paying to pitch us what writers without any other options occasionally do and it is part of breaking in sometimes. But again, thats diff than BK's scam.

David M. Salkin

Thanks Danny Manus... yeah,, like I said, I trust my gut, and didn't like her vibe. We ended our brief communication with her in a huff because I told her "I'm old school... the talent never pays..." On to the next... I'm waiting to hear back from 3 different agents who all seem interested, so we'll see what happens. Lots of irons in the fire at the moment... but like most screenwriters and authors, half our life is spent "waiting" !! :) I appreciate everyone's feedback. Really enjoying my first week on S32 ~

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

David- I agree with Maroun . Entering the top screenwriting contests are a good way to get your work evaluated and at the same time you kill two birds with one stone because it could lead to a deal. I have been a screenwriter and member of Stage 32 for the last year or so. And even though I only have (2) copyrighted scripts so far (no sales yet) I know if I stay close to this fellowship I have a shot. BTW -The top screenwriting contests as per Dov S.S Simmons: Nicholl Fellowship, Page International Screenwriting Awards, Final Draft/Big Break, Blue Cat, Sundance Screenwriting Lab. They all charge you an entry fee but it is well worth it. And the fees are modest (between $50- $75). I wish you success on your path to the screen..

David M. Salkin

@Steven I actually DID enter the Final Draft competition... ;) No word yet... fingers crossed

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

David- That's great just keep writing and keep pitching. Good job!!

Kay Luke

Kevin-- works for me.

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