Friday, January 15, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: Timing

Recently I've seen writers asking questions recently about how long things take in Hollywood.

How long do I need to prep for a meeting? How long does it take for a prod. co. to read my script? Does it really take them months? What are they doing with all that time?

Until I moved to LA, I too had no idea of the pace of the development process.

So let me clue you in on what makes a new writer stand out vs. a professional:

1 - If you have a meeting with a producer, say in March, a new writer thinks she has plenty of time to rewrite.

A pro will get professional level feedback/story notes ASAP because he knows that it could change everything, even his pitch.

2 - If you submit your script and the producer doesn't get back to you in two weeks, the newbie will call and call and call week after week just to "check in." (True story.)

A pro knows you are allowed ONE AND ONLY ONE "check in" phone call on THAT project. If you are wise, you will use that call to pitch another project you have. Yes, you read that right. You do NOT need to call - they will call you if they're interested.

Trust me. If they're ga-ga over your project, nothing on heaven or earth will prevent them from hunting you down.

You should not be waiting for them to call. You should've already moved on to writing your next project.

3- The smart newbie thinks his agent will get him work and waits and waits.

The pro knows she has to drum up work. If an opportunity presents itself at an odd moment, she must seize it - or it will pass her by.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: First, you're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't master the timing thing.

Second, be prepared for this to take longer than you think. Be prepared to encourage yourself when no one is around to make you feel better. Be prepared to persevere. Many like to write, but not many are writers, i.e., people who write even when no one is around.

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