As I begin my search for representation, I am constantly reminded that all of my ideas and hard work can easily end up lost in the ether, or regurgitated back to me like spoiled meat. It’s a painful recollection, and one that nearly stops me every time. It’s daunting to think that any degree of success I may come to enjoy is entirely up to a relative handful of people who may never share my vision as they continue their search for the next “film that is almost like something they’ve already seen that has made money”. In short, I’m reminded that filmmaking is at its core a business, and for every ambitious idea from an unknown writer that sneaks in between the cracks that execs are willing to take a chance on, there are loads of other ideas from so and so’s friend’s half-brother’s classmate that will do just as nicely. Not bitching, really, just stating the facts. Okay, and bitching. A little.
Of course, with the internet, there’s at least the appearance that the gap has closed between the unknown writer and possible buyers and/or representation. Through the mighty world wide web, the bridge has been lowered a bit further over the moat of anonymity with sites dedicated to getting work read, contests that will shout your name and databases for simple stuff like addresses to industry movers. All of them cost a bit, of course, but to be truthful I probably wouldn’t bother with a service that didn’t. Still, after shelling out a few hundy to have my work reviewed, I can’t help but feel a little like an easy mark. Just what industry am I fueling here: the one that gets writers work or the one that makes a tidy living off of our delusions? I have to assume there’s a little of both realities at work, and therefore it’s up to me to take my chances wisely.
So I prepare my query letters and try to stay away from articles about how query letters are so fiveminutesago-dot-com and that no one has the time to read them, pay my fees to sites that will put me in their exec search engines knowing that the scope of my listings most likely put me out of the immediate running, and enter a contest or two realizing that the 50 bucks I shell out will probably buy me more doubt than clout. However, inside every shell lies a tiny nugget of wisdom from which I can draw. And I have to think that if I keep trying, others will stop, which is something I will never, ever do. So I’ve got averages on my side, provided the work is above average. Great work would be better, and that takes time, as well.
And while I wait for that warm industry hug, I’ll start on my next screenplay. With this one I’ve kept in mind to make it easy to produce and full of lots of scary fun. I’m excited about it, actually. I’ve learned quite a bit and I think I’ve come up with an idea that will definitely perk up ears by being reminiscent of tales told before, but with an entirely fresh and original spin; which, of course, is what they’ve been totally waiting for me to do.
Fine. But if they want it they have to let me pitch the other stuff at some point, too.