Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What does it take to make it?

Hi Michael,

“What does it take to make it?” This is probably one of the questions least asked by screenwriters, but is one of the most important!

The more common questions are: “Is my script good enough? How is my logline? What do you think of my synopsis?” These are all good questions, but are like asking “how do I bake a cake?” not “how do I run a successful bakery?”

Rarely do we get screenwriters who ask us what differentiates the successful screenwriters from the unsuccessful? Given two screenwriters with the same talent and abilities, how come one is wildly successful, and the other one can’t get so much as a return call?

When watching a movie, screenwriters think to themselves, “My screenplay is as good as that one. How come that writer’s script is on the silver screen and mine isn’t?”

Let’s set aside being at the right place at the right time or being somebody’s nephew, since that isn’t you and certainly isn’t me.

What are the rules? How does a screenwriter navigate the waters and actually get their movies made? How does a writer increase his or her chances of achieving his or her dream?

The title of this article should probably be “Brand Awareness,” because that is what this is about. If Clint Eastwood, The Wachowski’s, Al Pacino, Stephen King, Nora Roberts or Bradley Cooper makes a phone call, people pick up the phone. Why? Because everybody knows who they are. But it didn’t used to be that way for any of them.

So, what did they do that perhaps you are not doing?

Everywhere they had the opportunity to get their face seen or their material read, they took that opportunity. Regardless of the financial risk, the potential hours of wasted of time, possible negligence to their other duties, the rejection and so on, these people made sure that their talents were made known to others. And they did it again and again.

Jeremy Renner is a good example of this. Not too many years ago, he was a starving actor, living in a house for eight months without electricity. At least that is what the magazines say. Stephen King received hundreds of rejection letters. The Wachowski’s were rejected left, right and center.

But these folks persevered. They kept pitching, auditioning, going to networking meetings, and so on. As a general rule, they never passed up an opportunity to make friends and to let other people become aware of them and their talents.

And the more they did this, the more publishers, producers, directors and so on became familiar with them. The “nobody” that a budding artist befriended years earlier is now a hot shot studio executive – and the rest is history.

When a development exec hears a writer’s name enough times, the exec is usually going to ask for a script. When other producers, directors, and people in the industry talk about a script or writer, it garners interest. When a producer or dev exec sees a writer’s name on a script, sees the writer at an event, hears about the script somewhere through a friend and so on, sooner or later that script will be read by somebody.

It is brand awareness. You are that brand. Anything you can do to increase that brand awareness is time and effort well spent. This is how you get “lucky” or somehow end up “at the right place at the right time.”

Whether you use InkTip or the Pitch & Networking Summit or not, is up to you. However, the above is something any screenwriter should take to heart and concentrate on.

It is my desire to help.

This is why I started
(Almost two hundred movies made from writers and scripts found through InkTip –

It is why we do the Pitch & Networking Summit—the next Summit is on Sept 22.
(This is where you have the opportunity to pitch your screenplays to dozens of production companies all in a single day. As a result of this one day, in the neighborhood of 30 writers will sell/option their script, get writing work or obtain representation. Movies will get made because of writers pitching at our upcoming Summit. From this one day alone, you have the chance to literally meet scores of people in the industry, further developing your “brand awareness” -

Use our services or not. That is up to you. However, you can’t buy something that you don’t know about, and producers can’t produce movies they haven’t heard about.

Brand awareness with people in the industry is a must for any screenwriter, and it can even be fun.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

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