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Old 08-03-2009, 10:55 AM
 
8 posts, read 18,269 times
Reputation: 10

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My brother and I have written a couple of spec screenplays and are working on wrapping up two more together in the forthcoming months (among probably 12 other ideas or drafts to start on), and I mentioned in another post we were planning on moving to LA from Virginia, hopefully sometime by the end of next summer. We are planning on (hopefully) lining up gainful employment before we leave and are beginning to look for areas to live, trying to be prepared as much as possible with having "regular jobs" while we go after the dream.

My main question is, is it recommended, in screenwriting, to up and send a unsolicited sheet of loglines (and/or phone call) to literary/talent agencies, here from VA, or is it recommended to move to LA, attempt to meet with industry contacts and potential representation? I hear different stories from books, websites, et al., but would like to hear from some current, former or other aspiring screenwriters on this one if possible.

I know the adage is "if you're good, they'll find you no matter where you are", though does this hold the same weight with this field? Granted, I know the larger agencies reject unsolicited mail and probably wouldn't take on new screenwriters anyways, regardless of how good the idea/script is, would they?

Thanks for your replies in advance, and any other advice.
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Old 08-03-2009, 03:43 PM
 
47 posts, read 171,792 times
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If you want to be a screenwriter, you MUST be in LA. Meetings can be thrown at you with little or no notice and a writer who isn't serious enough to drop everything and move to LA is not considered someone that producers, studios, directors, and agents are willing to talk to.

That said, I've heard tons of conflicting stories on how people get into the business. Usually it's because of someone you know, have met, or will meet. Good, commercial writing is looked for by Agents, good writing is looked for by managers (they feel they can cultivate good, commercial ideas), and commercial ideas are looked for by producers/studios.

Unfortunately, agents are most people's first steps, so you have to learn to be a good writer and ahve commercial ideas before someone else will look at you.

It's still customary to send a query letter to agencies, but be sure to include a SASE or you won't hear back, unless they are completely all about your idea.

I lived around Blacksburg, VA for a few years before coming out here, and came because I got into USC's screenwriting program this past year. After a whole year, contacts are still at a minimum, and quality specs are still not pouring out of my portfolio.

It's a tough business to attempt, and a VERY small percentage of people who try actually even marginally succeed, let alone eek out a living. Of course it's possible to make it if you're a good writer full of ideas, but there's more to screenwriting than writing. People skills are a must, thick skin is a must, and a very strong work ethic is a must.

My two cents.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:54 AM
 
1,158 posts, read 3,438,082 times
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Good luck with your screenwriting career. Getting your foot in the door there is tough. Keep your eyes and ears open for networking opportunities and hustle like nobody's business.

This doesn't really have anything to do with your question, but just as an entertainment consumer, do you have any ideas that aren't based on tv shows, remakes or geared to an audience of 14 year old boys? Serious films for adults seem to be in such short supply because Hollywood seems to be out of ideas now (well, not now, more like the last 20 years or so). It would help if you can fill a unique niche ideawise that isn't already being addressed by the industry.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:07 AM
 
8 posts, read 18,269 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobE View Post
This doesn't really have anything to do with your question, but just as an entertainment consumer, do you have any ideas that aren't based on tv shows, remakes or geared to an audience of 14 year old boys? Serious films for adults seem to be in such short supply because Hollywood seems to be out of ideas now (well, not now, more like the last 20 years or so). It would help if you can fill a unique niche ideawise that isn't already being addressed by the industry.
Funny that you asked that as more than half of my ideas are original and adult-based; serious films for adults, and most of the others are geared across demographics.

Thanks so much for the advice; I'm always working to fine tune both my ideas and writing to make this a reality.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:23 AM
 
8 posts, read 18,269 times
Reputation: 10
Default Advice for Aspiring Screenwriters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvdevindavis View Post
If you want to be a screenwriter, you MUST be in LA. Meetings can be thrown at you with little or no notice and a writer who isn't serious enough to drop everything and move to LA is not considered someone that producers, studios, directors, and agents are willing to talk to.
Thanks for that advice; it makes more than enough sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvdevindavis View Post
That said, I've heard tons of conflicting stories on how people get into the business. Usually it's because of someone you know, have met, or will meet. Good, commercial writing is looked for by Agents, good writing is looked for by managers (they feel they can cultivate good, commercial ideas), and commercial ideas are looked for by producers/studios.
I was an athlete agent previously; its so interesting the way twists and turns can have you in front of clients, prospective clients and other contacts. I'm looking forward to a new challenge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvdevindavis View Post
Unfortunately, agents are most people's first steps, so you have to learn to be a good writer and ahve commercial ideas before someone else will look at you.

It's still customary to send a query letter to agencies, but be sure to include a SASE or you won't hear back, unless they are completely all about your idea.

I lived around Blacksburg, VA for a few years before coming out here, and came because I got into USC's screenwriting program this past year. After a whole year, contacts are still at a minimum, and quality specs are still not pouring out of my portfolio.
VT? I lived outside of Roanoke for a good while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvdevindavis View Post
It's a tough business to attempt, and a VERY small percentage of people who try actually even marginally succeed, let alone eek out a living. Of course it's possible to make it if you're a good writer full of ideas, but there's more to screenwriting than writing. People skills are a must, thick skin is a must, and a very strong work ethic is a must.

My two cents.
Thanks so much for your insight; I definitely plan on keeping at it, getting a decent day job and knocking down the door.
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