Tuesday, July 22, 2014

30 minutes a day to success

Thirty minutes a day.
That is my challenge. 
No, not exercising silly. 
Film hustling.
That's my big takeaway from Gary W. Goldstein's book "Conquering Hollywood:" If you want to go from being a good screenwriter to being a successful screenwriter, spend 30 minutes a day networking and building relationships with people that can help you be a Hollywood success.
The book -- which I did as an audio book -- assumes you're already a polished screenwriter. That's a huge assumption, but as he points out there are plenty of books about the craft of writing. His book is about the behaviors and techniques needed to be a successful Hollywood screenwriter.  
It deals with networking, creating a database of people you want to meet, cataloging contacts, pitching a movie, working a room and building relationships. But if you forget everything else and just enacted his 30 minute suggestion you'd be well on your way. 
The pessimist would say, "I'm not in Hollywood so how can I meet people at Hollywood parties."
I'd love to be eating cocktail weenies with Denzel and Hallie too, but it doesn't mean you can't start until you get there. 
To get from here to there, you join the local professional organizations, attend the local film festivals, yes both, you use social media as a networking tool, you attend conferences and when your film marketing tools are sharpened you to reach out to the agents, producers and managers in a position to help your career along.  
For me this focused on my goal of seeing "Pink" playing on movie screens across the country and beyond. 
Logline: A free-speech-loving exotic dancer battles a small-town sheriff and bares it all to convince a jury that her "bottomless" dance is art worthy of protection in this sexy courtroom dramatic comedy based on an actual 1969 case.
If seeing it to be big screen is the mountain before me, I've reached a fast moving river to be traversed before the serious climbing begins.
It's the "Is It Done Yet" Phase. 
I've work-shopped it with my CFAA screenwriting group, I've fanangled a table read, I've sought input from locals who have experience in screenwriting. 
I'm now considering whether I should seek professional "coverage." Coverage are notes provided by people who used to be a front line script screener for production companies. They read your script and tell you what to fix. It seems like a bit of a crap shoot to me. How do I know my reader and I like the same movies? But the big question I suppose is: It this good enough that you'd send it to your boss.
What one doesn't want is to burn bridges with Hollywood types because you're sending out a script that doesn't meet an acceptable level. When studios pass on your script they are not going to send you a nice note explaining why.
That is where the script consultants come in. So is $300 a reasonable expense? 
Another other way to determine whether people think your script is any good is to submit and win scriptwriting contests. 
To that end, I entered the International Screenwriter's Association's "Emerging Screenwriters" Contest and and Cinequest Film Festival's screenwriting contest.
I won't be waiting idly by waiting for the results, but do wish me luck.


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