Screenwriting : No joke. This is my friend's manager's office. by Regina Lee

Regina Lee

No joke. This is my friend's manager's office.

I just saw this photo on Facebook. It's no joke. This is literally my friend's manager's office. Here's the caption that accompanies the Facebook post: "Here's a corner in a management office in Hollywood. And these are the scripts that had loglines interesting enough to find a place in this pile to be read. Eventually. Maybe. Hopefully. Just putting things in perspective...."

Cherie Grant

god damn. that's an eye opener. I never imagined a pile quite like that. Definitely puts things in perspective for you. Note to self: DON'T BE BORING.

Dan Guardino

That is probably a tiny fraction of the number of scripts floating around Hollywood on any given day.

Owen Mowatt

And that's just the, Save The Cat pile! This is why I advocate that you do it yourself. You could be writing for years and not know if it's even good enough to get into that pile. However, once you see your work produced, it gives you an understanding that can never be learned otherwise.

Travis Henry Watkins

What do you think of My logline ?

Fiona Faith Ross

Staggering. Thanks for posting, @Regina.

Pierre Langenegger

Your friend's manager hasn't caught up with the times? Don't they believe in PDFs?

Richard Gustason

That is an eye opener. Thanks for sharing that Regina. Oh and Pierre, some places still ask for a hard copy print out of a script. Some big studios still use that format. Yeah, the PDF's are a wonderful idea considering it's 2016 but if the model for those studios still wants the hard copy and it's worked for them, why fix something that isn't broken.

Fiona Faith Ross

I hate to say this since I love pdfs, but a pass through the script on physical paper reveals so much. Same with a fiction manuscript. You pick up issues from ink on paper, formatting, typos and other glitches (like duplicated lines of action, things that escape editing) which you never see on screen. Some editors in publishing still insist on a paper copy for that reason.

Dan Guardino

Owen. I don't think that pile is just the Save the Cat pile. Maybe that pile are the ones that didn't use Save the Cat beat sheet.

Annie Mac

Thanks for the uplifting information and visuals. What's the moral of the story, guys?

Kevin Little

If nothing else, it's inspirational ... right?

Annie Mac

Wow! In what way does it inspire you, Kevin?

Annie Mac

thanks Bill for the uplift ;o)

Richard "RB" Botto

That one 3rd from the bottom in the 4th row to the left looks meaty. Pretty incredible, Regina.

David Taylor

Seems that has been wasting a lot of people's time? Why call for so many without resources to read them?

Bill Costantini

David - how is it wasting your time if a producer has asked to read your script? 500,000-ish script inventory...2,000-ish producers....with maybe a dozen or so projects perculating/in consideration at any given time...a couple dozen or so potential scripts for any one of those potential projects...that picture seems about par for the course for most producers, whether writers realize/like it or not. And the same situation exists for book publishers and music producers. At the very least, a producer requesting your script means that they were interested enough in your spin on a premise that interests them. That's a pretty good first-step-on-the-ladder accomplishment for a writer. And if you and I owned a production company, we'd do it the same way. That's kinda the reality for most producers.

Doug Nelson

Think of all those hapless trees that gave up their lives!

Annie Mac

Certainly food for thoughts when we're not busy writing/rewriting our own, or reading other people's screenplays. Thanks Regina! I never had such a clear picture. I guess The productions companies I visited had good storage space ;o/

Dan Guardino

That is where all my unsold specs ended up.

Alex S. Garcia

Wow. Scary :-o

Emily Ann Jefferson

Holy crap....

Brian C. Harnick

And even with all of that we just keep getting remake after remake and sequel after sequel.

Dan MaxXx

unfortunately or fortunately, the remakes & sequels are 10x or 100x better than the pile of scripts in the office. scripts by unknown writers, no fame, no Movie Star attachments, no money, no one pushing their scripts other than US mail carriers, they end up in huge piles all over Hollywood. 20 years ago there were bigger piles (before Internet, email, PDFs) but the business of making movies have not changed. If writers want to see their ideas/paper scripts turned into a MOVIE, go make your own movie . STOP WAITING FOR PERMISSION. shoot a short movie. there are Kids using cell phone cameras and editing on home laptops. Maybe Regina Lee can add about her experiences but I heard Managers/Junior agents are watching/searching Internet for short movies. They're looking for the next big talent. sell the house, car, Rolex, credit cards. raise money. that's how all filmmakers start; they did not sit at home bitching about Hollywood. they did not ask for permission.

Annie Mac

Patricia, you are an inspiration! The very best in your ventures :o) DAN, I agree, go and shoot a short movie, you'll learn a thing or two that no amount of reading can do. Dis you see the post on my wall about that?

Doug Nelson

Dan is right - just go do it!

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Looking at that makes me want to give up screenwriting for telemarketing.

William Martell

Those were the ones with the great loglines... Gives you an idea of how many people are fighting for the same job.

Robert Rosenbaum

Perhaps it is time to produce my screenplay myself...

Jeff Yates

So, how is it that most of the comedy movies I see are so bad? :-)

Carl Plumer

All those trees....

Doug Nelson

Jeff – that’s easy to answer. Most of the comedy movies (all movies) are based on really poorly created scripts – bad writing, bad story, bad everything. But Hollywood is a business so that it either makes movies or it closes the doors and that would put a lot of overpriced people out of work. So it trudges on, making transformer movies for 11` year old boys and scary movies for 15 year old girls – and Mom keeps buying tickets. If you had to read through all those scripts in Regina’s post, you would understand the miserable state of screenwriting today. The natural evolutionary up-tic rests in the Indie Filmmaker’s world. We just haven’t figured out how yet – but keep the faith; we’re workin’ on it.

Doug Nelson

Yeah Robert - just go do it.

Annie Mac

Couldn't have said it better, Patricia.

Doug Nelson

Patricia – what you say is true but what I say to you is that there are a few of us out here workin’ on it. Progress is slow and I often feel like throwing in the towel, but I keep plugging away. The biggest problem is the filmmakers themselves.

Michael Jordan

Mad House :/

Dan Guardino

Katie. If you want to beat the odds be prepared to be in this for the long haul because it is the one toughest businesses there is to break into.

Pierre Langenegger

@Katie, what have you got at stake if you don't sell? 'Since October' is a very short time to have been plugging away in this industry.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Robert- After the anatomy of a Table read and your post here. If you read Dov S-S Simmons blog post about how to make a full length feature for $5000 in a weekend. You might be able to make ":The Manny" or my script "Grandpa, Grandma & Gefitle fish" right in Delhi. I think I'll be living up there full time by September(I hope)

Cherie Grant

lol since october. thats' nothing.

Dan Guardino

People don't normally sell a screenplay and break in they usually break in and then they sell their screenplays.

Robert Rosenbaum

Steven- I actually TOOK Dov's course years ago. It was great. I will make The Manny if I don't sell it. I think first, this summer I will produce a few shorts.

Annie Mac

Amazing how an image can trigger such angst and inspiring thoughts. I'd say continue to do what you are best at, putting in your heart and guts, enjoy the process. To all of us, may Lady Luck shine our way regardless the odds! I have made several shorts on close to ZERO budget, using all available resources. It's fun, instructive, and humbling. How's that for unflappable optimism ;o)

Regina Lee

Here's another thought -- This manager is a very successful manager/producer at a smaller-sized company. I'm guessing that a younger, less "in-demand" manager might not be receiving quite as many new scripts. (I could be wrong.) Therefore, if you can show that you are at the top of the amateur heap, you might face a less daunting challenge (than the one pictured above) in being read/considered by a younger manager who is less "in-demand." That said, it's never easy. People write about "rejection" in the Lounge. Look at the photo. It's not personal, so don't take it personally. Entertainment is an industry with a lot more supply than demand.

Melissa Willis

At first I thought this was intimidating and disheartening. Now I kind of feel inspired and unstoppable. We writers are a weird breed, man.

Regina Lee

Manage your expectations. But know that new writers are signed every single day. Be strategic. Build a brand and credibility for yourself. Are you doing everything you can do to present yourself as well as possible? I ask myself the same questions every day. We all must do so.

Regina Lee

Anyone with almost any kind of dream should be given a chance to pursue it. It may not work out the way you want it to, but you should have the opportunity to try to make it work out. To live a life without major regrets, thinking, "why didn't I at least try?" For some people, pitching a script, having it requested and read will go a long way toward satisfying their desire to pursue the dream. And I am thankful that Stage 32, Virtual Pitchfest, in-person pitch fests, query letters, etc. have given people the opportunity to at least fulfill a part of their dreams.

Sid Grey

Anyone have advice to a new writer how you would even find people to help make an indie or shortfilm? How would you find a director, film people, cast, post-production that doesnt cost a lot?? Also, random thought - why not just have that firm hire a few interns to come in and power through those scripts and pick the best ones out? Wouldnt take more than a week....

Doug Nelson

Katie - since October of what year?

Jody Ellis

Okay my first thought is the same as Pierre's. Who the hell sends scripts out via snail mail anymore? I don't know that I'd be interested in such an archaic management company. And such a waste of paper. I get the analogy but question just how "real" (or recent) this pic is.

Regina Lee

Hi Jody, I'm not here to argue. Hard copies can be printed from e-files (not snail mail). Here's what happened - a person whom I don't know posted the photo and caption on Facebook. I assume he posted it after visiting the office. My friend and former Universal colleague replied to the post saying, "This is literally my manager's office..." And then another friend and former colleague replied concurring it was true. I believe the photo is real and current because I don't see why they'd all be lying. Nevertheless, the image is the image, you don't know me or my colleagues, and you can take it all as a metaphor. Or you can dismiss it as all malarkey. Up to you all! :-)

Talece Brown

I have no idea why I am laughing so hard. I should be throwing myself in front of traffic. And I know I am not even in that stack.

Jody Ellis

Regina I'm not saying the concept isn't real, I'm sure that image only represents a fraction of scripts circulating at any given time. And of course I understand that scripts can be printed out from e-files. But what an unnecessary waste if this is a current photo. Kind of disgusting.

Regina Lee

I was just teaching this past weekend at a small conference. The 3 mentors on my team all said we print out scripts that need our notes (it's easier to write your own thoughts or highlight lines on a hard copy), and we read PDFs of scripts that are writing samples (which don't need notes/thoughts). But I'm an environmental science major. I try to recycle everything. If I'm at a restaurant and open a plastic straw, I take the paper home to put in the recycle bin. If I were a better person, I'd also take the straw home to recycle! (The truth is I know both these items may be filtered out later, but I try!!)

Jody Ellis

That makes more sense, I just cringe when I see piles of paper like that, lol

Linda Perkins

My word! ...and as soon as I find the right one to express how the picture has impacted me, I'll share. In the meantime, my word!

Laurie Ashbourne

It's very real and that is just based on good loglines. Any wonder why so many fall to 'formula' when reading? Go into one of the top-tier contest director's office and it's at least twice that (not including electronic submissions) trust me.

Regina Lee

One last thing and then I'm shutting up on this thread - Since 2007, I've printed out most scripts in Landscape format, with 2 pages side by side (similar to a book). That way, I'm using only half the paper. 100 sheets become 50. Then if the script isn't too wrinkled when I'm done, I'll flip the pages upside down and re-feed the paper, so I can print my next script on the BACK. Usually, I can use 50-75% less paper. 50 sheets to print 2 scripts instead of 200 sheets to print 2 scripts.

Dan Guardino

Katie. What kind of television series is it? I don't have anything to do with TV but one of my producer friends is looking for one. You can private message me if you want.

Dan Guardino

Jody is right that picture only represents a fraction of the unsold scripts floating around Hollywood. You do hear a lot about how many scripts are out there that you are competing with but in reality if you learned how to write a well-written screenplay you are really only competing with the top 3 percent that have any realistic chance of success.

Jody Ellis

I saw a YouTube clip (maybe it was posted here, don't recall) where an industry exec said 99% of the scripts he receives are crap. So you're right Dan, if we become proficient as screenwriters, we aren't really competing against all those scripts as a whole.

Wal Friman

Yep, this room is for the champions of loglines. That might be a good start, but the reality is that all these writers wrote themselves into the corner.

Mindy Goldhammer

Looking at that picture is quite discouraging. I'm still forging on but will have plan B to put into place while I'm playing the waiting game. Mindy Goldhammer

Zack Zupke

Is the manager friend Fiddy Cent?

Dan Guardino

If people really want to be screenwriters they can't let the number of scripts out there discourage them. There are probably around 150,000 unsold script floating around Hollywood on any give day. In a good year maybe 150 will be optioned or sold. Eighty percent out of the 150,000 were probably written by people that didn't even take the time to learn how to write a screenplay and would have a zero chance of success. If someone takes the time to learn how to properly format and structure a screenplay that is up to industry standards they would be competing with the top 20 percent or 30,000 screenplays that have slight chance of success. If they continue to write a lot of screenplays and get really good at it they would be competing with the top 5 percent or 7,500 that have a decent chance of success. I know that doesn't sound good but it is better than when you first start out. Almost every screenplay that gets made got made because the screenwriter or their agent knew someone. If you have been writing screenplays for a long time and have 9 or 10 under your belt you will find more people willing to read them because they assume you know how to write one worth reading. That is when the odds no longer come into play. When I started out I didn't have an agent or track record and I didn't know anyone in the business which very few people would want to waste their time reading my screenplays. After a while I decided to attach a couple well-known directors to some of my screenplays and used their film credits to help market my screenplays. That worked pretty good for me. I am now producing movies so I agree that might be another avenue into the business however that isn't easy either. However, the problem with this business you never know what will pay off or when so you really have to try everything. If you never quit you can't fail.

Andrew Bruce Lockhart

and this is just the DC Comics spin off pile

Adina Sadeanu

OMG! This is depressing :(

Rick Meyer

Succeeding at this difficult task is as much about perseverance as it is about talent. Never ever quit or failure is guaranteed.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

My script is in the fourth stack from the right, 75 scripts from the bottom. The agent is working off a number system and i'm scheduled for a read in April of 2019.

Dan Guardino

Phillip. I hear he had to fire his only reader so they're going to reschedule your screenplay for sometime in 2022. But hang in there because that is like lighting speed for Hollywood.

Dan Guardino

I agree with Rick. This screenwriting takes persistence and perseverance. I don't know what other screenwriters do but it seems like most just send their script out and if they get a rejection they just go on to the next. If people are just doing that they are really limiting their chances of breaking in.

David Levy

Phillip: Thought you had about seven scripts in that pile! Persistence and perseverance. Imagine what the other offices look like.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Some make the pile, some don't.

Dan Guardino

Mine usually end up in another pile located and the nearest dumpsite.

Regina Lee

Hey Chad, I don't know the answer, but I am guessing very few. If the manager is reading your script because you're his client's girlfriend, you most likely get to skip the huge overflow stack and go straight to the higher priority "weekend read" list.

Doug Nelson

Peter – I’m not sure how to do this, but I’ll try to post a photo of my little stack of scripts that I’ve received since Monday (today is Wednesday). There are seven so far and these have all been given a “consider” or “recommend” by readers in two agent’s offices. I’m about as small-time a producer you can think of and I try to remain incognito as much as I can. This is my weekend reading stack and it will grow by Friday but I want to spend some time with my grandkids. What do you think is the right thing to do? I’m going to read every one of them and provide the best feedback to the agents and writers as I can. Out of my short stack, odds are that I’ll find one to “consider”. Every writer is entitled to have his script read – even if it is just crap (most agents have interns for that first read.) So what’s right Peter? I can pick a random number and only read that script. I think that would be a terrible disservice to the other writers. Sorry Peter - it didn't work - maybe someone can tell me how to post a photo.

David Levy

Click the icon in the lower left corner under the comment box across from where you hit "Post A Comment".

Doug Nelson

Peter, I thought I made myself clear – I’m not an agent or manager; I’m an itsy-bitsy producer (and a writer) that reads for a couple of agent long time friends as a favor. Their readers filter out the crap so that I only see scripts rated “consider” or “recommend”. I read and respond to each and every one. I’ll likely have ten by Friday, so I’ll randomly pick only one to read this weekend. Next week I’ll randomly print out only one script. Perhaps you can explain it to the nine writers who didn’t win the reading lottery, eh? (p.s. I ain’t gonna do that.)

Regina Lee

Hey Peter and others, sorry I have not had time to read all the posts above. May I please ask if you have a suggestion as to how we can alleviate this pain point? Is there any practical way to help the cream of the crop rise to the top, be read, get signed, and start making in-roads in the "Business"? Is there something that we can do to give more access to the best of the amateur bunch? I'm being 100% serious. I want to help, but I have to be strategic about how best to spend my time just like everyone else. I know there are multiple factors - access, filtering, open-mindedness, luck, timing, etc. Is it possible to mitigate this pain point? The resources have to come from somewhere, right, but where? Someone above said hire more interns. It takes a significant amount of time to recruit, interview, and train interns, and then reading their coverage takes a lot of time too. Does someone want to donate $50k-$100k to the cause? If so, I will try to help put together a nonprofit program to help the cream rise to the top. I'm just throwing out a number that would allow us to hire some fairly experienced readers, manage submission release forms, etc.

Regina Lee

For example, the A3 Foundation has created multiple fellowships in an attempt to help the cream of the Asian crop rise to the top. http://www.a3-foundation.org/programs/

Regina Lee

Btw, many of you know I volunteer for the CineStory Foundation. I'm not paid a cent. So I do a small part to help mitigate this pain point. Are you also doing your small part to help? I really believe many of you are by reading each other's work!

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Regina: Is Cinestory International Film Festival related to Cinestory Foundation?

Regina Lee

Hi Phillip - no, they are unrelated. Thanks.

Regina Lee

Hi Peter - "access" or in-roads into mainstream Hollywood representation and business opportunities if if if that is the person's goal. There are plenty of people whose goals don't include getting his/her script into that huge stack (pictured above) for management consideration, packaging, producing consideration, or sales. Thank you.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Regina: Thanks for the clarification.

Mike Freze

Haha. Brilliant thread Regina! A lot of people in the comments talked about not letting this photo be discouraging, some were even inspired. And there was a lot of talk of the numbers game in Hollywood. This photo made me think of the Hollywood "dream." I'm on my path there, like all of us, and it's a wonderful path, but I thought I could add some new thoughts to this conversation based on the things I've learned over the last decade. The truth is, this photo only shows one person's office and is not representative of the industry as a whole. The industry archive would be a Costco sized building stacked air tight with millions of scripts. What's the number... 50,000 new scripts registered with the WGA every year? And those are the solicited scripts. Unsolicited, there's probably 10 times that. Will Smith famously said, "I don't have a plan B, because it makes more room for plan A." That's great... if you're Will Smith. Will Smith is also physically gifted and he had a lot of extraordinary breaks. I used to love to repeat that Will Smith quote. But I was wrong. You have to have a plan B. If Will didn't have the breakthrough success he had in the 90s, and was just starting out today, I guarantee he wouldn't say that. And he certainly wouldn't have the money to fund his Scientology habit. The point is, the only advice you can really take is from Bill Goldman, "Nobody knows anything." You have to do your best, yes. You have to work hard and you have to create your own path. Looking at a room full of scripts like this shouldn't compute (if you're a real professional) aside from entertainment value and perspective. The perspective is- you have to have a backup plan, or you will eventually become disillusioned and jaded. That pile of scripts in the room is actually very modest. The reality is literally what the stereotype suggests: The land of broken dreams. Hollywood was built on broken dreams. Make no mistake about it. I can't believe I'm writing this now, as I've always been an optimist and will always be. But now, facts and data are more important than the fantasy Hollywood is so good at advertising. If you're not doing this purely for the love of doing it, than it is only a fantasy. Yes, you need to get paid for your work. Yes you deserve to have a career just like every other screenwriter, actor and filmmaker. If you work hard, are talented, meet the right people and get some lucky breaks with timing, you will succeed. Hard work trumps talent always, when talent doesn't work hard. In the entertainment industry, dreams are kept alive by long shot dreams (instead of relationships with actual industry players). It's well understood that only about 1% really "make" it. Most wind up in the pile. However, if only 1% make it, that's still a LOT of people making it. There's hundreds of thousands of NEW people flooding into LA every year with hopes of breaking in. So if 1% of say... 200,000 break into this industry substantially every year (or get on the 5 year path to do so); that's still 2,000 people a year making it big time. That's a lot. In a decade, that's 20,000 new people with substantial industry careers. That's way more people who play in the NBA and NFL combined over a 10 year period. The industry is large and has a lot of room. But there are just too many people. As this photo that Regina posted shows, it's a numbers game and it is true that you can easily get yourself into the top 20% of that game with hard work, focus and networking. But even that group is still a numbers game to a large degree. So be happy you're even in this game no matter what level you're at because following your passion into an entertainment career takes thick skin, focus, courage and lots of hard work. Always be proud of yourself for doing your best, because here it can happen for anyone, unlike in sports. Just don't get caught up in the illusions and delusions that subsidize the industry. A few good points of advice to keep in mind while facing the insane numbers game is to focus on building meaningful relationships with quality people- especially assistants (the real rock stars of the industry). Keep your bs meter on high (one red flag is usually enough to move on from someone. Ignore your gut instincts at your own peril). And add value to people you want to associate with before you ask for favors. Do your best, but don't expect the industry to give you success. A big problem with this industry, at least in Los Angeles, is that there are so many people who are full of shit. SO many people tell you they know so and so... or they have this happening or that happening... but the truth is, if they are spending their time actively (or over actively) engaging with you, you have to understand that 9 out of 10 times, they are full of shit. That sounds harsh, but you really can't spend your time going down rabbit holes with wannabes and sociopaths. Real people who are working in this industry are usually busy working. They have to be. They don't hang out at networking events or spend their time getting shit faced at bars. Some do. Not that networking and getting your party on are bad, but most people who are really working hard in the industry don't have time to do that outside of real industry events. Think about it. So it's just the pot odds that 90% of Hollywood hopefuls will fall into the webbing of bullshitting circles. Pipe dreams keep those circles alive and exciting. So like a lot of comments suggested on this thread, making your own movies is really the best way to see your art completed and get the attention of others who are actually doing what you want to do. And if you get a screenplay sold and carve a career path on your writing talent alone, that's amazing! It happens all the time. And people win the lottery all the time. People do win all the time. Just know the odds you face, and do it because you love it and don't be afraid to engage plan B when things don't work out. Because things CAN work out for you even if you had to engage in a backup plan. But don't ignore the actual data and don't get engaged with other people's dreams too much when they don't work hard. Aside from preparation, focus and hard work, most of this business leverages on timing. And time is all you have. If you're prepared when opportunity arrives, you'll be doing the best you can.

Bill Costantini

Mike - Beautiful work on Majestic Manatee. I look forward to seeing All Seasons Become One. Diana Wong...mmmm....she's some special stuff. Keep up the great work, Mike....you're a great artist.

Doug Nelson

Regina – I appreciate all that you do to put a little positiveness into the wannabe writer/filmmaker world in spite of the naysayers. I too do the best I can with what I’ve got where I am - you just have to learn to ignore the downers. Keep the faith.

Doug Nelson

Mike – thanx for injecting a little truth serum into the fantasy; it’s nice to hear from someone who knows what he’s talking about (even if he is from Montana).

Tom Stohlgren

Mike -- nicely stated. As a scientist, I understand the odds. As a screenwriter, I work to defy them. Cheers, Tom

Dan Guardino

I always knew the odds but I also knew I could beat them if I never gave up trying. For me it was probably less about writing screenplays than it was proving someone wrong.

Jody Ellis

@Dan I think perseverance is a big part of it. So many writers give up after a handful of rejections.

Doug Nelson

I run into people all the time who espouse what I can’t do. My response is maybe I can’t or maybe I can but just please step aside while I give it a try.

Dan Guardino

Jody you are right. Perseverance and making connections is everything!!! I know you have been making connection and I know it is going to pay off for you.

Stephen Barber

Hey... Does anyone else look at this picture Regina posted here and say to themselves', "self, that looks like my morning thoughts." Just wondering?

Laurie Ashbourne

I look at it and think, I wish my office was that neat.

Dan Guardino

Peter. I don't know about managers because I just have an agent but they will sell try to sell their client's screenplays to anyone not just mainstream Hollywood film makers. Also I am pretty sure these are stacks of screenplays not manuscripts. By looking at your bio I thought you would know there is a big difference when it comes to marketing a novel versus a screenplay. Agent can get a screenwriter's script read by just about anyone and a screenwriter has a difficult time getting anyone to read their screenplays. Again, reading your bio I would think you would already know that. Are you really a screenwriter or are you here for some other reason?

Doug Nelson

This thread has wandered around aimlessly far too long already. It’s obvious that some of you try hard to inform and aid neophyte writers – thanx. Give yourself a pat on the back. There are a few obstructionist in here who exude some bad vibes – to them, I say just go out in the garden and eat worms. Most of us are unimpressed by pseudo intellectualism. Momma taught me that it’s pointless to argue with a fence post. Doug has left the building.

Dan Guardino

Doug. I love this discussion. It is one that deals with a problem all new screenwriters face.

Dan Guardino

Peter. You are right you just posted your background here. You claim you are a Author, Director, Editor, Screenwriter and Script Consultant. I assumed that was true.

Laurie Ashbourne

Yes, Patricia! Audience review panels don't work at this level.

Dan MaxXx

peter- Thank You again. It's a breath of fresh air that a professional with your track record gives us amateurs the real scoop of Inside Hollywood. Stage 32 members are lucky. Pros like Peter usually charge. Take his advice to heart. Can't handle the truth? Then u shouldn't be on the Wall. Zero Sum game. Insanity. Listen to the Pros with 0 credits with the Writers Guild, Producer' Guild, NY Times Best Sellers list, or even a student film credit on Imdbpro. Only Hacks want to be mentioned on their Hall of Fame alumni. http://cinema.usc.edu/alumni/notable.cfm I'm gonna watch Shonda Rhimes again on youtube TEDsTalk. Hey, Peter, how was Shonda as a classmate at USC? She seems really chill, doesn't talk down to the audience.

Dan MaxXx

Patricia- Agents & Managers know what they are doing. there is a reason for the pile of scripts in the office. The Storage Unit is packed.

Robert Rosenbaum

This thread (previous to this post) is 10,366 words long. (I copied an pasted it into Word.) My last script is 15,077 words long. Another day or so and this thread could be made into a script to be added to the pile!

Bill Costantini

I think the new film market is pretty well saturated on a weekly basis. Every week, 3 - 5 new films hit American theaters. Major studios make major films with major production/marketing budgets. Those films rarely are based on scripts from unproven writers. You can also view new films on network television; on cable; on the Internet; from entities like Redbox; and from other entitites. Thousands of independent films are also available to be purchased from producers at annual trade show events like AFMC, Cannes, and Sundance. There is a glut of cinema product available every year. Very seriously - how many new films have you (a writer trying to break into the industry) seen in the last year? I bet that most of you haven't seen many at all, since most of you never comment on new films, other than a few tentpole films

Just like in most lines of business, there should be a glut of source material available to fill that need, too. Considering the quality levels of scripts (from terrible to brilliant), it shouldn't surprise anyone that 1)producers have piles of scripts to choose from, and 2) they get to them when they can. Most producers have very limited resources, you know. That's why they raise money to make films. And maybe proven concepts (like successful novels, games and comic books) are a better and easier way to make any type of film - from low-budget to big-budget.

Writers have pretty easy routes to get their brilliant scripts discovered and purchased, thankfully. There are tons of contests that validate brilliant scripts in a generalized way. There are tons of pitching opportunities to publicize scripts in a more narrow way. There are short film/trailer strategies. There are even websites that publicize and rate scripts. I don't think there is a "problem" with getting brilliant scripts validated. I think the problem is when starry-eyed novices don't understand how business works, and how long it actually takes to get a script - assuming it's truly brilliant - noticed and sold. There are only so many films that can get made in any given year, and there are a lot more scripts and novels to fill that need than there are films that can be made. Still, there has never been a better time in the history of the world to be a screenwriter.

Erik Linthorst

Note to manager: Google PDFs, it's a thing.

Regina Lee

Hi Patricia Zell, in your query system proposal, who pays for readers to be trained and then to maintain the evaluation system? Who pays for attorney if there's a "you stole my idea" complaint? As you know, Amazon is a billion dollar business which has the money to pay readers and execs. I'm not trying to be a smart-aleck. I would really love to help push a mitigating solution forward, but I honestly don't have the resources to do so. If you have an idea that works, I will try to do my part within the community. Thank you.

Regina Lee

Hi Peter Corey, suffice it to say that I respectfully disagree with your posts here. No hard feelings though, and I hope you feel the same way because none of us are here to brew even more anger, misunderstanding, and distrust, right? We are here with the best of intentions for each other and admittedly for our own growth, or else why spend time here? Life's short. And yes, as you have rightfully stated, this thread is in the context of the "Hollywood mainstream." I started it by posting a photo of a mainstream Hollywood management office, which does the majority of its business (and primarily pays their rent) via mainstream Hollywood deals. This is not to say that I don't have compassion for filmmakers in the indie context. It's not to say that I do zero business in the indie context. Likewise, it is not to say that the management co. doesn't have compassion for or doesn't do business within the indie context. This management company has successfully produced indie movies; granted, these are "bigger" indies financed by well-established indie finance companies. I admit the greater majority of my experience is in the mainstream Hollywood context, and I'm quite sure it's the same with this management co. As you might or might not have seen in my previous posts, I often say, "it depends on your intent." To try to "break in" to Hollywood context, there are certain strategies that tend to work better. For the indie space, you have much more freedom to follow your own muse as along as you can attract financing or self-fund your muse. If you're indie, non-Hollywood, but you need to reach others for financing, then you're still in the position to conform to what your financiers want from you. That's just common sense, and every industry is the same way when/if creators look for financiers and distributors. :-) I disagree with your theory that "mainstream Hollywood is dead." But I do agree that the market has changed, primarily due to globalization. Thank you, Peter, for contributing to my thread. It takes all POVs.

Regina Lee

To everyone, thank you for contributing to this thread. Glad some of you are enjoying the discussion. Thanks again.

Regina Lee

And Patricia, loglines do matter, because some times (not always) we can tell if the concept/genre and the writer's taste is right for our own tastes and our own resources at logline stage. If someone sends me a torture porn logline, I can pass easily at that stage because it's not for me. But for other people, they are in the Hard R space, and it will be worth a look for them.

JD Holiday, Author And Illustrator

It's the same in the book publishing field.

Dan Guardino

Peter. I think it was a good save on my part. That was my goal.

Dan Guardino

Dan M. I have a PhD but unfortunately in my case the p-h-d stands for piled higher and deeper.

Dan MaxXx

Dan G- I feel u. My dad passed investing with 2 Hippies making Ice Cream in Upstate NY. a year later they became "Ben and Jerry". I coulda been an ice cream king!

Regina Lee

Hi Patricia, this is all academic and just an FYI. "Regina, I brought up Amazon as an example of the 'program' of where a community evaluates screenplays as a similarity to what Peter was proposing--it had nothing to do with Amazon as a studio." That's not really accurate. It's been a few years, so please excuse my own imprecision and inaccuracies. Amazon's People's Production Company ("PPC") did have something to do with Amazon Studios ("AS") and what I will call the AS internal staff ("ASIS") including the studio execs and reader staff. First, Amazon spent what I'm guessing is hundreds of thousands of dollars on overhead and significant man-hours to create the PPC, with infrastructure spend on big ticket items ranging from the engineers who built the web portal to marketing expertise to liability protection to staffers. Second, the top scripts selected by the non-employee community were sent to paid readers in the ASIS, and then the readers' top scripts were sent to junior execs on the ASIS. I think the ASIS junior execs received a batch of scripts every month. If a PPC project was to go into development, the ASIS would be overseeing the development and production of the project. As you know, Miramax spent millions on Project Greenlight. So again, who puts up the money to build the infrastructure and properly staff it? For me personally, I think 50% of the time, I wouldn't be able to read a sample scene out of context and know that I'm making the right decision on either passing or reading more. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass or defeatist. I would love for someone to solve this pain point because I honestly believe that Hollywood wants to find the next Kyle Killen, Mindy Kaling, Judd Apatow, JJ Abrams, Steve McQueen (director), Brit Marling, Shonda, etc. It would make my career if I helped find a great new talent. That's why I volunteer for the CineStory Foundation, and why I answer questions in the Lounge.

Laurie Ashbourne

Kyle Killen was a young guy from Texas who had no idea how to get through the submission haze so he dressed as bicycle delivery guy and delivered his script by hand.

Dan MaxXx

hey Laurie back in the day, before 9/11, I used to sneak on the 20th Fox lot by pretending to be a messenger, I'd park my car, changed into a suit (in my trunk), hold a fake script in my hand, and walk around the Fox lot, watch Professional Crews work, study how they do it. Security never stopped me. life lesson: if u really want this Life, u will find a way to break in.

Joe Smith

Slightly larger than my "I thought this was a good idea but it's actually crap" pile.

Dan MaxXx

Peter u are absolutely correct. my bad. help me, help u. We have the same goals, right? for educational purposes, please provide a link of your produced movies, published books. I'd take a cell phone pic of a classroom lesson. I did not see your name on the USC Cinema Arts Dept. Hall of Fame website. It must be a Webmaster error. Begged for work? Sure, I don't mind begging for Producer Jerry B. (PGA union card holder). Luv me some Transformers.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz
148- I still want to be a screenwriter. I don't care if that pile reached the Moon. "Challenges make life difficult, Overcoming them make life worthwhile. "Never give up, Never Surrender.
Regina Lee

Hey everyone, let's please try to keep it constructive here. I will try my best to hold myself to the same standard. If you want to debate your credits, please start your own thread. This isn't helping anyone. Thank you, sincerely, for your help.

Regina Lee

Peter, upon a quick skim, I don't disagree with you here. I will also raise my hand and say that when I volunteer as a reader for CineStory, I'm typically reading only 5-15 scripts per year. That is my admittedly small part, but those hours I spend on Board meetings, mentor Skypes, and reading are more than only "good intentions." Today, I gave a bottle of water to a homeless man whose big smile I couldn't not notice. Whoopee. Never said I was a saint. Just another person who is trying not to suck at life. And no lie, I tried to give blood at Red Cross this weekend. I called, and they're booked until May 28 at my West LA location for regular whole blood donations. I'm Type B+, like 1 in 12 of you.

Laurie Ashbourne

So somehow having wannabe actors reading unvetted scripts on a podcast is going to alleviate the glut of screenplays that are written everyday? I can honestly say I read that room full every year and if 10% were crafted well enough that even a fledgling actor could do them justice that would be a miracle. Table reads take a half a day at minimum. Have you done one, Peter? Reading a feature and making notes to see if it's worth considering, takes 67.5 minutes and that's if you're engaged enough to read the whole thing. How do I know? Because I read that room every year. The system is what it is, you want to be a part of it, sure, technology can help you stand out but it's not going to change the system. It's going to help those who are smart enough to figure out how to use it. BOTTOM LINE: The supply is far greater than the demand -- so WRITERS need to up their game, not voice actors. If a writer is in that stack, they should also be online and pitching until it hurts and learning every detail they can about the business so when their script is picked off of that pile -- it's go time. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT PILE, THE PEOPLE WHO FACE IT KNOW THAT SOMEWHERE IN IT IS A GEM AND THEY LOOK FORWARD TO FINDING IT. FADE OUT.

Regina Lee

I posted this photo so writers would see that they have competition, and I also hope that you will see it's NOT PERSONAL when you submit a script and are met with a non-response. S32 Founder RB says all the time that execs are busy, and the photo is a graphic representation of "busy" or "overloaded." Please no one take a non-response personally. Be your own best advocate. I'm going to try to stop repeating myself on this thread, but I hope people will keep talking about it constructively. Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I do believe that different POVs should be heard.

Regina Lee

Thank you, Laurie A! I just Skyped with a CineStory retreat attendee yesterday. If the next draft of his pilot is what I hope it can be, I'm 90% sure I will be able to help him sign with a legit manager. To protect his privacy, I won't go into great detail; generally speaking, the script should more clearly show whether the series is episodic or serialized. I say that in case anyone reading along might take a lesson from this post. Thank you.

Laurie Ashbourne

That's great, Regina. Writers need to hear these stories parallel to being aware of the reality of the competition. I think far many more projects are launched because of technology like Skype and Stage 32, than people realize. Oddly enough it's in part because of these other avenues that those to read piles get so large. Artists of any medium are not traditionally good marketers -- but today there's no reason not to be. Every little bit (no pun intended) helps, Regina.

Laurie Ashbourne

Trust me, I'm not the one being the dismissive snob. Yes, I do work that much -- that's what the industry takes and anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves. 16 hour days are more common than not no matter where they fall in the week -- at a studio or going independent -- I've done both. That 67.5 is for material worth it -- a logline doesn't make it worth it. Good luck with your system -- that shining personality will open a lot of doors for you I'm sure.

Doug Nelson

Right on Laurie! (My age is showing) Most truly dedicated/determined people I’ve ever worked with did indeed spend many, many hours “on the job.” I’ve lived in crew trailers for days – weeks – on end, slept in lots of cheap motels and even in tents over the years. My “job” as Line Producer was simply to get it shot, in the can, on time and under budget (no questions asked.) It was always more that a 40 hour week. I worked for myself for years, which was great - It gave me the freedom so select which 14+ hours a day I wanted to work. Now that I’m retired and into writing & producing, I get to choose which 10+ hours a day I work (between naps). Some days I’ve got a story or a project going some days not, so I get to play around in these forums. I know It’s hard to find time to write when you have a job and a life but believe me, once you’ve tasted success as a writer (you define success), the hours no longer count/matter. So, write on!

Dan Guardino

Peter's idea might work and certainly he could try it an maybe do well but personally I wouldn't want my screenplay read on the radio because any producer or writer could take my story and make it their own.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

I think it bodes well for the creativity and downright tenacity of our "Happy Writers" Fellowship. That you place a photo of a pile of Hundreds of Scripts in an office and you get record comments. This is why I know I will succeed as a screenwriter. It is so good to share it makes us ALL better writers. Thank you Regina, You bring new meaning to the old saying "One Picture is worth a 1000 words".

Dan Guardino

Peter. You are right on both counts. I just said personally I wouldn't want my screenplay read on the radio. I have an agent and I'm not looking for a manager. However, I am sure there are plenty of screenwriters out there that would love to participate. I don't know how the logistics would work but it seems like you might actually have something there.

Cherie Grant

wow this thread really kicked off. I never expect what thread will turn into a fight. Good reading though.

Laurie Ashbourne

No fight - just ridiculousness -- here's a thought, let's read the thread as podcast and see if anyone will make a movie out of it, I wonder which segments the audience would get up and go to the restroom during...

Jody Ellis

To each his or her own, but I wouldn't want one of my scripts turned into a podcast. I'd rather sell it. As a screenplay. Like, a movie. ;-)

Craig D Griffiths

I remember the promise of "The Paperless Office" when the PC first hit the shelves. I actually find that pile slightly refreshing. It is a little smaller than I imagined and a lot smaller than everyone tells you it is. What would be a safe estimate, 20,000 scripts in that pile? Say it cover 10 genres, so that is only 2,000 per genre. Now if we say there are 5 budget categories 1-5m all the way up to 300m, then my script has a 1 in 400 chance. That's if it was purely selected randomly. Better than the lottery and someone wins that every week. I can influence that ratio by having a unique voice and telling a story which is compelling. The only thing that pile tells me to do is be patient. If my work is worth purchasing it will eventually be read and purchased. The number of scripts that come before it and the number of scripts that come after it have no influence on the quality of my work - that falls on my head. Be happy that the pile exists. I see it as a beacon not a barrier. Happy writing everyone.

Cherie Grant

How Peter? What's the difference to reading a script or watching a podcast and how do you bring that to their attention? Personally I am thinking of making my comedy pilot into a webseries. Looking into it. Problem is I need a dwarf for my lead and I suspect they are hard to find where I live.

David Taylor

Do we have an updated photo showing the pile increasing? I love to see photos of cubic meters of creativity.

Anthony D Paul

Those are working writer scripts right? :)

Winter Lauzon

Ha we were just discussing if this was a real photo or not! Or rather, if it really was of screenplays. Thanks for posting!

Erik Jacobsen

Propaganda:

"Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda."

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