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Ashley: Welcome to episode #82 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashly Scott Meyers, Screenwriter and Blogger of www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing Eric Bork, he’s a writer and producer. He’s credits include: A couple of HBO shows, like: Band of Brothers. We talk about his career and how he got started and how he eventually got on to writing and producing the shows that he worked on. So stay tuned for that.
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A couple of quick notes, any of these hints and websites that I mention in the Podcast can be found on my blog and in the show notes. I also publish a transcript of every episode incase you’d rather read a show, or look up something later on? You can find all the Podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/Podcast and then just look for the episode #82.
Do you want my free guide? “How to Sell Your Screenplay in 5 Weeks.” You can pick that up by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide It’s completely free, just put in your Email address and I’ll send you your new lesson once a week for five weeks. Along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. How to write a professional blog and quarry letter? How to find agents and managers and producers who are looking for material? Really it’s everything for you to know to sell your screenplay, just got to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
Just want to mention two things I’m doing at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com to help screenwriters get their scripts into the hands of producers, than sell them their screenplays. First, we created a monthly newsletter that will sent directly to producers. Every member of SYS can submit one log line per newsletter. I went and Emailed my large database of producers to ask them if they would like to receive this monthly newsletter of pitches? So far we have about 120 producers who have signed up to receive it. These producers are hungry for material and happy to read scripts from new writers. So, if you want to participate in this pitch newsletter, and get your script into the hands of lots of producers? Sign-up at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select.
And secondly, we are now fielding leads from producers for screenwriters. We are doing a lot of outreach to try and bring in requests from producers for screenwriters. Last week we had more than ten page screenwriting leads. These are producers from production companies who are actively looking to buy material, or are looking to hire a screenwriter for a specific project. If you sign-up with SYS Select, you will get these Emailed directly to you several times a week. Here are a couple of real examples from last weeks’ leads.
We had a British company looking for an emotionally charged, limited look motion short scripts. They have a budget of 350 pounds, which is a decent amount of money to be paid to a writer for a short screenplay. We had a New York production company, looking for scripts in any genre. They are about to begin production of their latest feature film. And now they are trying to get their next project in motion. We had a production company looking for screenwriters who were fluent in Swahili. Obviously this isn’t everyone, in fact, probably no one listening to this Podcast. But this is a good example of the sort of very specific leads that come in to us. While this lead may not be for you? There are often very specific needs, which a producer is looking to fill. And the great thing about these very specific needs. Sure, you can’t respond to them all. But in fact you can’t respond to most of them. But when you can respond to them. Your chances are actually landing a gig are quite high. My guess is that this producer will be lucky to get one or two responses, if any? And that’s if he really spent things on spent time getting this lead out to other people and services. Like I said, I don’t think I have any writers in, “Selling Your Screenplay.” That speak Swahili, but he’ll go about putting that lead out on other services and going about getting word out there that he’s looking for this. And my guess is, if he’s lucky he’ll get one or two responses. So, if you’re one of those one or two that respond? Your chances of getting this gig are incredibly high. It’s not a lead where this guy’s going to get 500 responses and have to sift through every writer. You can actually fill this lead? Your chances of getting a paid writing gig, are very, very, good. So, that’s the whole point for these leads, is yeah, they sound very specific? Again, you might say, who would ever respond to that? But eventually there is going to be some special skill? Or some special experience that you have that will be applicable to one of these leads. And that’s what you really want to acquire. Because then the pool really shrinks down. I’ve seen leads, you know where people play specific sports you know, people that have lived in a specific place, a specific area of the country. And people that have, you know, some specific knowledge on it, a historical fact, or a historical character. And those types of leads as I said. If you can finally fill and a lot of people are responding? So those will be perfect for those types of leads. Swahili, I got to say, is kind of an extreme example of that. Anyway, this is just a small smattering of these from last week. A lot of them, these leads are still very much active. So if you join SYS Select now you can still submit to them. And of course we’ll be bringing you more new leads in the coming weeks as well. So, to sign-up just go to –
A quick few words about what I am working on? I mentioned “My Mom”, the action thriller a few weeks ago? I’m slowly starting to get some responses on that. So far I haven’t had even a producer step forward and want to option or buy it. But I have gotten some good feedback on it. Some people have definitely seemed to have liked it. I got my black list reviews back. My first review was a four, which is up in the pretty abysmal score. Or, and the reader just thought it was absolutely garbage, just basically trashed the script in the notes. But the second review, I paid an upward of the script and bought two reviews. So the script second review was an eight, which was a very, very, good score on the black list. It’s an eight out of ten scale, and I’ve never gotten a score as high as an eight out of any of my other scripts. So, I got a four here and an eight here. And the reviewers seemed to have really, “Get it.” He mentioned a lot of a more films, which I thought the film was sort of in the same vein as? Similar tone, you know, a kind of action, lead, thriller, with a little bit of comedy? So I was pretty encourage by this, he seemed to get it, to understand what I was going for. I also, I also try to take this as a good sign. It’s sort of what I talked about a couple of weeks ago on the script.
With my writers group, oh, a lot of people in the group didn’t get the material. But there was a few that really did seem to get it. And I think that’s what really did it for me with the script. I don’t want a bunch of people to read something and to be luke warm, even somewhat positive on something. You want it to find just a few people that really, really, really, like it. Because that person that really like it? That’s going to be the person who’s going to be persistent in being at it in production. So with a score of four, and eight, that gives me an average of six obviously. Which is enough to put me into some of the top lists. Like the top upward scripts of the week. The top open scripts of the week or the month. So, I’m hopeful that will start to go some downwards. So far no one has downloaded any, so, we’ll see? I’m going to keep the script out, but probably will keep it up for another month, just too kind of see what happens? I think it’s $25.00 a month. So I’ll probably just spend it, the $25.00 extra too. It took almost three weeks to get these reviews done, once I uploaded the script. Author reviews I think it took two or three months, weeks to get these reviews done. So my month is almost up, so I’ll probably run it for another month? Not another month. So I’m starting to lose faith a little bit, in the “Black List.” The other scripts I’ve uploaded have not made it on to the top list. So, I always thought, well, gee, I guess that’s the problem. You just got to get on the top list and them maybe you’ll get some downloads. It seems like it’s very hard, so it, I’ve gave up on a bunch of scripts. I think it’s very hard to get a high score on the “Black List.” Which is understandable, I mean, you’ve got to find those readers that respond to your stuff. So you want something like that going on. But now I’m not really so sure? Because this is, the thing made the “Black List.” But it hasn’t had any downwards, I think I’m on my second review on Thursday last week? So now it’s been five days and zero downwards. As I said, I’m going to leave it online for a month, but I’m just not real sure how much value the “Black List.” Really has? Especially considering those notes, to the script from that “Black List.” You’ll see the notes are all pretty useless. But even if you make it, and you get a good score. It really doesn’t seem like it, doesn’t do anything? I think so, you know, you’re not going to get notes. You’re either getting them a good score still doesn’t guarantee getting some downloads. I’m not sure what the value is, this service is? So, anyways, I’m going to run, I’m going to refer for it back. I’m definitely going to let it go. As I said, I’m going to push it into the next month. And just see how many downloads this ends up getting? So that’s pretty much it for what I’m working on now.
Now let’s get into the next main segment of the show. Today I’m going to interview Erik Bork. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Hello Erik and welcome to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Erik: My pleasure, hi everybody, good to be here?
Ashley: So to start out, I was wondering if you could give us a quick overview of your career, and take us as far back as you want. And kind of just tell us how you got into the entertainment industry? And bring us up to maybe, be like that first script sale. And then we could kind of dig into the actual sales of it after that.
Erik: Yeah, sure. So, I didn’t necessarily knew I wanted to do this growing-up. But about the time I entered college, I kind of knew I wanted to, I kinda wanted to be like a writer, or maybe a musician. And there’s something in the arts. I studied art and I eventually landed on a film production degree. Which I got a Bachelor’s Degree, in motion picture film. In Ohio, where I grew-up. And that lead me to realize that screenwriting or maybe being a writer/director, which was really where I wanted to go. Because in film school, at least in my film school, we learned Cinematography, Editing and all these other things as well. It wasn’t a really big focus on writing. There was maybe one screenwriting course. But after that I kind of decided that’s what I wanted to do. And then eventually after kind of researching it a bit. It kind of became clear that, living in Los Angeles will probably be the right step for me. This is back in the early ‘90’s. So enroute to L.A., I-91 with the intention of working as an assistant on the industry as a day job. I guess I had kind of learned what people do? I would get into networking eventually. But also just to be around people who wanted to be doing it professionally. And you know, you learn by osmosis. And it starts to become more real and confident. One thing with screenwriting, it’s such a swing-for-the-fences kind of unlikely career that I love. A list of, “See that?” But anything that helps that, you make it in your mind, seem more possible. The close more possible it helpful. And for me? It’s like teaching in Ohio that someone who was trying to do this? Seem like a total pipe dream. Working around that I felt was going to be a good thing for me. And it ended up being true. I started temping, just being a temporary secretarial assistant. The lucky thing is, I was lucky to get in there by somewhat by my typing speed and my secretarial resume kinda thing, you know? At “29th Century Fox.” And I got assigned a lot of different temp. office jobs around the studio. I’d meet with them in corporate departments that I had no real interest in, but eventually I got to work on a TV show as a Writers Assistant. Which I kinda I got because I had real inside track already being at the studio as a temp. All these different departments I just had the feel of being a temp. and the departments started to get the lay of the land kind of thing. I managed to get an interview and get a job on the show, “Picket Fences.” Which was a daily Kelly drama that won the Emmy for Drama Series, was its first year. I worked for the other writers that wasn’t a daily temp around that show. As a kind of Writers Assistant, and that great first experience in TV. Started to understand that TV writing was something a very legitimate, you know, opportunity. And there is more than an opportunity really in that than there is in feature writing in Los Angles. It’s still true. So, I was writing features on the side. And it would take me a long time to finish one. And no one would be accepting it once I did. And I wrote two or three. They were kind of like romantic comedies, types of scripts. But eventually I decided to try my hand at television. And I thought of myself as more of a half-hour comedy guy, I still do actually. My credits sort of point the opposite way. You can get into, such as romantic comedy from my own extension. And I took a few classes there. I took one specifically on comedy. And now I teach there, by the way. So it has kind of come full circle. But I teach an online class through stories that are read. The class I took on sit-coms in the mornings. That was back in the days when you would write a sample of an already existing show, if you wanted to get into TV writing. You would never write an original pilot, hardly ever. Now, that’s really flipped where people write original pilots for writing samples for staff and much more. So, anyway, I wrote a. “Frazier” script class, at least that was I began one. And I finished it after the class was over. And eventually I gave that script to a friend who was also an aspiring actor who was an assistant with me over at, “Picket Fences.” Who had just signed with her first agent. And she liked the, “Frazier” and was willing to show it to her agent.
Of course that’s the tried and true way to get an agent or manager. Is you know someone who has one or knows one? And is willing to personally recommend you. You know, that’s one of the benefits of that networking thing working in the business. I met people like, and because we’re peers, we should share contact, you share information, you share help with each other. If you try and go to someone else, way, way, above you and say, will you help me? You have nothing to offer them, except at that time your offer falls flat. But anyway, this one worked out. The agent liked the script and wanted to know if I had anything original? And I had my latest feature that no one cared about. She read that and she liked it enough to sign me. Not enough to send the “Frazier” script out right away though. She wanted me to read and run through it and gave me a bunch of “No’s.” So enough of the process where she’ll work with me much like a manager would today. Where they are really hands-on, reading multiple drafts of outlines, multiple drafts of scripts, leaving lots of detailed notes. And so there was eventually a draft that we were both happy with. And then she would send it out and have me immediately start on my next one. So, in about a year and a half I wrote a “Frazier” a “Friends” and a “Mad About You.” These were all of course on the air at the time, all on NBC. They all opened up on Thursday nights even. Anyway, those were the shows that I liked, and I chose to write? And I was getting better and better and better with each one. She was sort of kind of getting me into meetings. She does like get me into one meeting at a production company, but had another show on the air that might have other shows? It could get picked-up, it might need writers and they might consider using me? It’s very tentative. But in the meantime, my day job situation changed drastically. After “Picket Fences.” First season, I didn’t go back there. Because the guy I worked for wasn’t going back. So I was kind of back in the temp. cool again, where the Human Resources Department at Fox was this “Assign me to this?” To where there was a vacancy? It could be anything, anywhere in the studio? But at a certain point I guess I was, I paid my dues long enough that I and the temp. Supervisor liked me. She gave me, what was a pretty plump assignment of the temp. which was go work with Tom Hanks’s production company. Which had just relocated from Disney to Fox, with a new 2 year deal. And it was really, he was starting over. He just had, it was him and his assistant. And that was really the company. There was no, they went with producers and they weren’t producing anything. They went with you know, an office. As he said, a place where he could make free long distance calls. It was, you know, eventually it decided something at the time. Why is that? And I was just a temp. brought in to help him get the office set-up. Somebody who knew the studio. Had worked there as an assistant, for two years, knew my way around. Because, you know, at a studio there was always somebody there. I had all these things to set-up an office where you’re ordering, you know, you’re ordering: furniture. From this department, office supplies from that department, you’re getting pictures framed in this other department. It’s like this little city that you’ve sort of figured out how to operate from. But eventually I met Tom. For a long time he didn’t come into the office, you know? He didn’t know who I was? But eventually I met him, eventually it turned into a full time position. And he knew I was an aspiring writer. But, you know, those kinds of jobs you don’t want to try to get at your boss to get your career. You just put your head down and be the best assistant you can. So I did that for like, two years. And during that time was when he got back-to-back Oscars. So that was a really cool time to work there. I mean, he was the biggest movie star in the world arguably. With Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. And I was writing these scripts on the side, you know, or even sometimes at work. But things were slow, I had an hour every day, every day I’d be writing these half hour comedy scripts.
And eventually, his assistant, who was above me. Recommended or suggested it or something, that I should give Tom my “Friends” or my “Frazier” scripts. And that he might get a kick out of reading that? Which is I cool I wouldn’t have been the one to ask that. Because she asked that, it was very kosher. And so he did, and I guess it’s, and I guess she knew I was ready? For months before that, it wasn’t as big as asking someone to read a flick? And expect them to read that? An original feature, you know? And to me it’s like it wasn’t that big of an in position in a way? Because you know, characters usually know and like and hope it’s funny and short. And you don’t have to say, I don’t question your whole premise, you know? Just say, “Well hey, I thought last time? It was cross?” (Laughing in a funny voice) No, but anyway, he more enthusiastic than that. He said, “He thought I was going to be a big TV Writer someday?” I used to read those a, you know, definitely a fan of those “Hey, kid you got talent.” Moment. Which was cool. But I still thought that those, was just giving me my day job and wouldn’t turn into anything else. Okay, it didn’t seem like there was any other way for it to turn into anything else. But eventually, he called me into his office, for what I call my, “Big break.” This was 20 years ago this month. “Apollo 13.” Had just been a hit and he. I have a credit to his assistant, that’s the Assistant to Mr. Hanks by the way. The only movie you can see, he gave me credits for being his assistant. He had pitched this idea from a mini-series to HBO, “He Came From the Earth to the Moon.” Which was 12 one hour episodes. Dramatizing all the other Apollo Missions that weren’t exciting, like Apollo 13. That we would have to find something, find a story, something, find stories for in terms of the dramatic hours on television. And HBO has spent a lot of money on this. It was their first big, historical mini-series. And now they’ve done a lot of those with him. But that was the first one. And he gave me this wonderful promotion based on agree to help him try to figure out what the episodes should be about? Kind of stirred this outline of liable for the whole thing. And so I worked with him and to create that document in the, this would eventually lead to. And I was eventually tasked with helping these other producers that were on board to find writers that were to write the scripts for other episodes, for all the episodes. So I was, you know, reading, writing, and samples like a development executive or something. I stood out like a Junior Development kind of job. Basically, this company, I was no longer just an assistant. I had an assistant, it was really, really cool illusion in my life. But eventually that lead to someone suggesting I should write one of the episodes myself. So, again, it wasn’t me asking, it was someone else requested it? So, Tom was okay with that. The crew was okay with that. So, I then wrote one of the scripts myself. It was very bad for a long time and then drafts until I finally kind of figured out what the hell I had in a mentor named Tom. You could tell he was the person of really be the day to day producer, Co-Producer of the series, non-writing producer. Really helped me kind of find my voice and figure out how to make the most of myself. For too long Tom had given Tom and HBO. So, eventually my script became one of the scripts where the script was working out okay. And I got asked to re-write some of the other scripts as we headed towards production. And then I just got to be junior producer basically on the whole thing. I think I put up with a Co-Junior Producer credit. But I got to be kinda part of that inner circle, very much the junior member. For over the course through choosing directors, through casting, being on the set, being I don’t even remember? It was like a crash course in producing and also writing something for someone in production and reading and re-writing things as they are being made and all that kind of stuff. So that was like a three year odyssey. And end up winning the Emmy and the Golden Globe and all the big awards that year.
For a mini-series it got its fair share that year. As I had that Producer/Co-Producer title, so? There was like, ten of us, that got to accept the award. And so that’s really what started it, my career. And then the thing I’m best known for is, “Band of Brothers.” Which is a couple of years after that. Kind of embarked on a similar, like three year process, with some of the same Writers, Producers and Directors, and some new different ones. Most notably Stephen Spielberg, Executive Produced that one, with Tom for HBO. And I again, like, wrote on multiple episodes and was a kind of creative producer, you know, played ball on kind of the whole thing. And those two credits are what really cost me. Because both of them won all the big awards. And then I got to the point where I was sort of more marketable as a writer beyond just working on things with Tom and HBO. Which then there were other projects as well, that didn’t get produced quite a few that I worked on for his company. Which later, picked, “Play tone.” And has produced a lot of things since. But those were two that got made, and then I went off and made and worked on staff on some other things, drama series, and I worked on some other things. And some features on assignment. Some things through him, some not through Tom. And then eventually started inching for years for drama series and writing pilots for original series so, quite a varied things since then. But that’s kind of where it all started.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. I mean, that’s very clear. I think that’s an excellent description. I wanted to just touch on the couple of things you mentioned? Like you talk about this job as an assistant, like you knew Century would potentially get you into the room with somebody, some good people that you would want to be in the room with? So, how exactly, I got to understand doing temp. work, and just doing a good job at that temp. work service. So that you get the better jobs. But maybe you could sort of elaborate on exactly how you got that first assistant job to that writer of “Picket Fences” because that’s, there’s a lot of people that do temp. work that are never able to land those plump assignments. So, maybe you could speak to that a little bit? And actually that’s an excellent tip. When I first got to LA, I sort of messed around as well. Someone finally suggested, hey, you should do some temp. work. And it was kind of a revelation, so that’s kind of definitely something there to work when there’s temp. work. So that’s an excellent tip that I assume it still goes on?
Erik: Oh, yeah.
Ashley: In much the same way? That’s an excellent tip, but maybe you could just elaborate on a little bit? How did you get that actual job as the assistant to the writer on “Picket Fences?”
Erik: A, first of all, the people all, there were these certain temp. Agencies that service the entertainment industry. And if he just Googled, “Temp. Agencies – Los Angeles Entertainment.” You will immediately get at like the first page will be pretty much all those places. And anybody, I think, a while now, I think anybody can pretty much apply to one of these. And anyone cares whether you went to film school, or want to be a screen writer? They just care, whether you will be a good assistant. You know, you’re going to answer the phone, you’re going to be on a computer, and you know, you’re going to be on board and all that stuff. So, but once you’re in and your, I worked on a long term temp. assignment in Fox home video international distribution when I first got there, I wasn’t even an assistant, I was like a file clerk basically for a long time.
But that was a good sort of starting point. After I done that for a while though, I realized this is just turned into a permanent job. I really want to get into production and development and be around people and making movies and television. So I kind of asked to be put back into the temp. pool at large. Which means I could be assigned one day, two days, a week, two weeks, whatever? Anywhere they needed somebody and a lot of the assignments were not in places I really enjoyed being or wanted to be? But some of them were. And one of them was, I worked in the Business Affairs Department for the television studio. Assisting for like a few days, or a couple of weeks for like some of the top executives at the studios. The ones making deals on all the new shows for all the writers and everything. And so, that’s one assignment were I really, really learned. Just by being an assistant on the desk, what shows Fox or 20th Television, which studio side of the. They have the Fox Network that work with the studios that produce shows that weren’t necessarily on their own network. And “Picket Fences” was one of them, I think it was on ABC, but it was produced by 20th Television. And so that was one of the show that was getting picked up. You start to realize, oh, in May, that’s when one of the up-front’s happening. They announce the schedules of the shows for the fall, like all the networks do. And this still goes on, although cable networks still sometimes have their own calendar? Still the bulk of the TV production is those up-fronts? And in May you hear about it, and you know all those shows. So now they start hiring: writers and they hire assistants. So, I kind of figured all that out by working at the studio and working in different offices and places where I started to understand how it all worked. And about reading the trades, and like, “Hollywood Reporter.” And “Variety.” Come to the office every day, no matter what office you were in. And you pretty much subscribe to the daily trades. And so I just identified the, “Picket Fences” was a show that was picked-up and they were going to hiring some assistants. And so, there was a process there that at Fox that it was like a union secretarial position I was in as a temp. Part of a union, a secretary union. And I think they had a deal at Fox that people that were already in that mean, at that studio. Writer first opportunity, to apply for other jobs at the studio. I think technically it, I think it fences job was, in terms of what personnel department would categorize it? It wasn’t really a status change for me, it was more like a longer term temp. establish in a way? I don’t even know if I got an increase in income from that? It was more, just, hey, it just this nine month long job which can be shorter, right? Because shows get canceled all the time. It is there, but you interview for it, like most temp. positions. So, I just figured out what the application process was by kind of being an insider there at the company. I just applied and I actually interviewed for another job for a different producer, on another show, a non-writing producer, that I didn’t get. And I’m glad that I didn’t because working for a writer without obviously the better fit for me. So, I think that answers that, this?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It definitely does. So I’m curious too? You talk about this sort of first break were Tom calls you in to the office and then you’re working with him. It’s maybe and describe exactly what that process was like? I’m curious, like, so you would like come in, in the morning and you and Tom are just like sit in a room and there’s a white board and you’re spit-balling ideas. And you were going home and coming up with ideas and just maybe walk us through that actual process?
Erik: As far as, we had the rights to the book, “Man in the Moon.” By Andrew Chapin. Which was the, became the credited source material for the mini-series’. For the new approach, telling us the story of all of the Apollo astronauts and all the missions. So I read that book, and it was kinda like, yeah, my own time I was kinda like go off and read a chapter. And come up with my own thoughts and ideas. And I remember Tom and I met for a series, as a breakfast meeting, at restaurants and maybe sometimes at the office, or at the studio. Over the course of, I don’t know, a few months. And yeah, I think I would come in with ideas, then he’d have ideas. I’d write it all down and then go off, and it was like, type it up into something of a coherent format for him to read. And it was just kind of like, you know little three page pictures for each episode. First it was kind of finding what it would be the take on each episode? Because you couldn’t just make every episode, the, whoever the commander astronaut at that flight was always going to be the main character. It was always going to be about at least the flight going to land on the moon or not? That would be boring and they all would all pretty much be without a hitch, except for Apollo 13. Which had already been done very well, by Ron Howard and Tom. So, some of them was like, maybe this one should be from the point of view of the guys that work on the pad, or the launch pad, or this one? This one should be about a, what’s another example, of one that wasn’t? This one should be about this astronaut who was like, really had no business being on the crew going to the moon because he’s the new guy. And it was about his point of view, which was an interesting perspective, you know? And so eventually, the ideas sort of formulated for what the take would be. And those might change later, but? They coalesce enough for us, for a need for me to type-up a, like this 50 page document that went to HBO, and that they liked. And we could give back to any, to the agencies. And maybe did because that was Tom’s like their pathage, you know? This turned out to writers so that they would understand who, or different episode you were doing? So you can come into me and talk to me about which episode you might be interested in? If they liked your stuff enough to want to meet with you kinda thing.
Ashley: So you mentioned that you had a number of other projects that did not make it to production? And I think it’s important for people to realize, it’s always good to hear and sort of that brand? People see its successes and that they don’t realize in that one success one might get ten failures to get to that one success. So, maybe just tell us, what were some of those other projects? And how many of these other projects were, that you worked on? As anybody that’s been in this business, it’s like there is so many false starts, there’s so many scripts that get optioned that never get produced. And people don’t realize that, outside of the business. That they see the stuff that’s finished. And they don’t realize that there’s this dozens if not hundreds of projects that just fall by the way side.
Erik: Yeah, I think that the story as a screenwriter and movie, if you were trying to document way too early side? Someone who does get into the business professionally? But has well typical experience? Would be, you know, the first few scripts that go in were just get optioned, but not sold. Then they sell them, but it doesn’t get made. Or they sell another one and it gets made if they get picked-off and fired and re-written by somebody else. That’s because eventually, 3rd opt. of the movie is finally a movie to get made. But not only do we get our TV series, not only did it produce, but they were a producer on it, it went on to win the Emmy Award. They made out to win the Emmy Award.
That’s like how mine’s started. Most people like that would be the thing you would hope to get to eventually. After many of those false starts. I had the false starts more after that, really auspicious beginning. And you think, Oooooh. So that’s how opposite direction, it’s all up and down with the writing. But basically, you know then, “From Here to the Moon” at the beginnings of my career. And those were like, gigantic successes where I was like, in a positon of power and authority, and whatever? And then after that, I had all the ones that, you know, didn’t get produced, but got sold, or optioned, or I got hired and the show got cancelled in all those kinds of things. So, as far as the ones that happened in those early days though. The first one the year after, “From Here to the Moon.” The mini-series about the “Apple” computer company. It was Tony Toes project, whom I mentioned was kinda the guy who was my mentor. And I did a lot of stuff with him, with him and or with Tom in those early days. But he eventually talked Tom and came on board as the Executive Producer of that. Where I wrote a couple of one hour scripts for HBO, which was going to be a six hour mini-series but they ended up? They liked the series scripts, but one hour script became a writing sample for me to get a lot of work beyond that. But it never got made because there were competing priorities “Apple” verses “Microsoft” on another cable network that was further along going into productions. So at least that was the reason they told me why HBO decided not to move forward. Though there were a couple of like, mini-series projects like? I’d like to say there was one other? That I can think of where based on a book and it wasn’t historical fiction. And broke more comedic which was appealed to me a lot. Because I always wanted to do? As a comedy person I always thought of myself as that? The industry really didn’t, after those credits. Thought I was this hard-nosed, you know guns and man fighting battles kind of writing, you know? So, there was the future, there was this, a comedic mini-series that a few of us wrote scripts for that never got made. There was a movie on HBO idea. Two stories about a horse racing movie about this jockey that I pitched, that Tony was going to produce, that they paid me to write. And I wrote the script and got paid and everything, and then never got made. A, what else? There were others, I re-wrote, I did a re-write of the movie, “The Great Escape” for TNT. Which means, we have the new sort of configuration of, “The Great Escape.” Which is a true story, it didn’t get made. And then, you know, there have been a lot of pilots that has been the mainstay of things I’ve had. Several, like four or five different pitches for shows that I sort of pitched. And the wrote the scripted that didn’t get made. Or I didn’t quite write the script, I started to write the script and then decided, no, let’s do something else instead. And it all kind of petered in the end kinda thing. So, there have been a lot of those.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So let’s talk a minute about your, if you had one question that you always get? I’ll let you basically answer this question? One question, I always get, is, you’re basically alright with that? That you’re at Tom Hank’s Production Company” Now you’re starting to get work as a writer completely through your own, you know, initiative, and means. And how did this play out, you know, in your, because people still ask me, do you still have to pay your agent even though you’re the one getting the work. And, you know, it’s I think people fully comprehend how little agents do, in terms of getting you work, and that? It’s kind of expected that you’re out there beating the bush and getting you work. And it’s expected that they are still going to get their 10%. So maybe you can speak to that a little bit? What was your relationship like with your agent as you are moving along?
Erik: I, I’m still with my original agent, which is with a smaller but legitimate agency of when I was coming from New York to California. And I mean, they absolutely got a commission. She even told me, maybe the first thing you’ll get professionally? Will be from somebody you know, because you are an assistant to Tom Hanks and meeting a lot of people. Than anything I do for you, but you have to understand, that she’s spent all this time, working for free giving me notes on all the sit-com scripts. We went through three different scripts, with all these rounds of notes on the drafts. And then she did talk me up and stuff, from the mouth and all that. So, I didn’t begrudge at all her getting a commission off some of the money I made from, “Here to the Moon.” It wasn’t much money anyway, for someone’s first project. Then dealing with, “Here to the Moon.” She left the business. And I decided to switch agents. And from that point she was getting CIAA. It was more accessible for me. Because I was working with them. Because they were sort of on this project yet, you know? And I wound up signing with CIAA and have been with them ever since. And obviously they have taken care of me, commissions and everything. But actually they have been supportive in mettle in getting me all kinds of work. Certainly there are somethings that those parties that were with, like Tom Hanks, and or Tony Toes. I did kind of set those up on my own. But they would be there to negotiate the deal now. But when later, instead of working on staff for other series, or pitching ideas for new series? They were really, really instrumental in me getting all those meetings and talking me up. I would not have been able to pitch any shows to any networks without them. So I don’t really begrudge the commission.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about hiring writers? There is a lot of TV writers out there who listen to this and you know, some of them have been on the hiring side of you know, producing TV. Maybe you could give us some tips on maybe just talk a little bit on what you’ve seen, maybe some common problems that you see writers make? And ultimately, how did you find most of these writers? Do they have to be represented together, do you ever take just spec. scripts, from like writers that weren’t represented? And just maybe just take us through that process?
Erik: Well, the two times I was on the hiring side, where these TV mini-series were, I have to say were a little bit different animal than normal TV series. I was never a show-liner on a regularity, you know, network TV series. I was one of the writers and producers on these unique HBO high-bred, true story adaptations in limited series. So I was a little bit different animal. We weren’t hiring you know, the normal kind of writing staff that was sitting in a writers room. Where you had the staff normal writers, and another higher level writers. And you know, they didn’t get promoted every season. Hoping succession, every season, so five, six seasons and people had vacuum points and all that kind of stuff. But none of that existed, alright? So I worked on some shows that were like that, as they write, producer level writer. But wasn’t hiring people. On the ones where I was, I was involved somewhat in the hiring process. We hired mostly writers that were more from the future world, than from the TV world is a mini-series mostly. We had written true stories, or period pieces, or things that just felt like they were sort of somewhat in the vein of what we were trying to do. And they all had agents, in fact, most of them were with CAA, because CAA was like, the feeder agency giving us all these writers.
They weren’t all, some of them came to us because, you know, one of the corporate execs visited HBO or one of the other producers on the project, like from, “Imagine” who was involved in premier, “To the Moon.” They knew a bunch of writers obviously. And they would have an idea for a writer. But these were not like “A-List” future film or TV writers. They were more like sort of middle class writers for the most part. The ones we ended up having on, not to offend anyone? Because some of them were beyond that actually. They came by to increase celebrity, “Gram Nelson” was one of them. And the other two had done, “Speed” and “Broken Arrow” and “Now Justified” and a lot of other things. He was probably the most well-known writer that came on board from “Trip to the Moon” and later did “Band of Brothers” as well. So they came from different sort of absolutely world of others and they all had agents. And I think that’s the normal process, you know, if you want to work in TV. The first barrier is you need representation, and that talent agency you’re using. The manager first, and then an agent second. And you pretty much can’t do anything until you have both of those. You know, there might be some exceptions to that. So similar agencies, not managers, less likely a manager or agent you can get a staff job. But you know, it’s a long process to get, getting you represented. You have to go through hell to get a writer or even be considered for their first job on staff as a writer for a series. I think the big jobs for the agency let alone for you as a writer introduce you around town and that. As a writer should be perceived above all the other people competing for this tiny number of jobs on staff for shows. So, there might be a period where you’re red hot. Sort of like when I came off of, “Band of Brothers” I was really hot and I got all the offers to work on several different shows on all season. Drama series, which is apparently unheard of? Although, I didn’t know it at the time. It wasn’t unheard of it’s just that there is so many, when you are brand new? When you’re young it’s unusual. You know, if you have a really great writing sample, and it really hits the right person who likes it the right way? I guess the process can be pretty easy. But, even then it’s probably would happen because your agent gets it to them. And it’s even more likely to happen if your agent is at the same agency as the show was. Because then you have that person’s ear more. So, that’s the process as I see it. I start to see that folks don’t even that people tend to make, it’s just I think the process should be shorter and easier than it is. And thinking you can circumvent everything. You know, circumvent getting everything, the manager, agent, and just get you the material directly to the right person and then that will work them. People tend to think agents and even managers and you know, executives and producers, they are like, in the way? Of them getting the work made. Like those people don’t serve a purpose. And instead I should just have my work made right away, and it’s not legitimate. But those kinds of people are hard to get to, hard to please, or are critiquing my work. In between me and my work jobs. From a certain point of view it feels like they want. Uneasy, I feel that way about my own agency. Because they are the hardest one to please sometimes. And you need them before anyone else, before anything is going to get out there. Producers, like you have them there just for show. If he doesn’t like the pitch, it’s not going anywhere. So that can be aggravating. And however, I do believe they serve a legitimate and a purpose. And a, it’s very unlikely that it was something that was unlikely to be able to get an agent or a manager. A manager is going to get sold to produce, in my opinion at least? At least on the scale of the parties that I have worked on. Which kind of mainstream studios and network projects. Can’t speak to kind of like lower budget in kind of non-budget writer’s guild. You know, soft eyes of the industry I don’t have personal experience with.
But from my experience it’s like 80% there’s kind of like a necessary part of it even. I know they drive you crazy, but the cost of getting one. And not working can drive you crazy. But I don’t see it any easy way around it. I just think, you know, save and accept that. Understand that it’s probably a long road. Get your material and writing for a place where you can get anywhere with it. With a representative, or with an actual studio buyer or network, Co-Producer.
Ashley: Yeah, so pin points. So let’s talk about some of these pitches? Again, I get a whole lot of people. Oh, man I’ll be curious to hear your idea? Let’s make when you first start out, you can just sort of talk us out about how these pitches came about? How you got these meetings? Ultimately sold it, I get a lot of people coming to me through my blog. Hey, I’ve got this brilliant idea for a TV show. How could I sell the idea? Oh, by the way, I’m not a screenwriter, I’m an any desire to write this up into a screenplay, I just want to sell this brilliant idea. So maybe we can start with some of your real life samples. And then kind of go to your advice to these people?
Erik: Yeah. I mean, you would wish that, that would work, it seems like it would work? But the reality is that ideas generally is that an idea isn’t going to go anywhere unless it’s actually written into a script by a writer, and a good script. And of course also people out there who think your ideas are great. And then if you ask the actual producer if they would write them? They would actually say, here why it isn’t great. I, a big disconnect when that those two sides of it. But, for me it was like? After “Band of Brothers” my agent at CAA was like, you know, we can get you meetings to pitch ideas. So, come up with some ideas for shows already. They sent me out on some like, general meetings. With like some production companies who had deals at studios, TV studios. Who were CAA clients, that’s the way the business worked, they keep you with their people generally. Yeah, right. Just the mutiny to drum that sort of stuff up? Done, it was like, we are brothers is what we are looking for, etc… And that was done through a few of those meetings to locate and come up with some ideas. So, I started coming up with ideas for one hour series. And I would just send, like a three sentence idea over Email to my agents, with a Bi-line for a TV series. I would send many of these. This is their advice? Just send us a couple of sentences and we’ll tell ya if it has promise? So I did many, many, many of those, most of which they shot downs. Some of them I went in and pitched to my agent in their offices and they would shoot them down. Well, they would say, well, maybe interesting but it needs guys. They see hundreds of pitches every year and they talk to the networks every day. And they know what’s selling and what isn’t and why. But they are not writers. And they are much more stylized and I suppose they know what will and what won’t have potential. They won’t stand it, on critical factors with a value and an idea as potential or not? So, I’d have to get it past them, but eventually there would be an idea that they liked. And they would say, this is a good one, we want you to meet with this production company. And they would have already had a general meeting with them and they liked it and pitch it to them. It was better if you start out with those three ones, so like a ten-fifteen minute pitch. Now you’re ever going to get to pitch things like that if you are already established in the industry. Even if you have an agent, but you’ve never, like, worked on a show, worked professionally, you’re probably never going to get to pitch something to the networks. You might write the pilot, and spec. and your agent will send it out for people to read, but even then it’s very unlikely that from an unknown writer that the show is going to get sold? But that show could be a writing sample to get you the job on staff somewhere.
But anyway, I just started going through that gauntlet. But I would come up with that ten-fifteen minute pitch from the idea my agent sort of validated. I would visit the production company, and if they liked it? Then the next meeting at their studio, if they liked it? Then the next meeting is at the network, if the network likes it? Then you got a deal and you get paid to write the pilot. So for every one of those that I have sold, there have been probably twenty or thirty or one hundred that at some point in this process, fell apart and didn’t advance essentially. But I was only, I was just able to have the right to go pitch these things to networks. It’s because I have these credits and an Emmy and I was suddenly somebody from, “Band of Brothers” “From here to the Moon” and also writing samples. You know, my agents would send one of the “Band of Brothers” scripts. The “Apple” script that I mentioned, and people liked the samples. Though the credits and the samples, the awards, and agent push, and agency push combined, helped open doors. And then hopefully have a deals. Or have an idea of things they want, or pay you to write.
Ashley: And let’s get a little closer to verification? And you said, you created at the very least, at the bottom of this sort of funnel. You just created many, many, many pitches and then their agents would reject them. Give us some rough idea, will you, we talking; one hundred, five hundred, a thousand, what was like a number?
Erik: I mean, it was like, say over the course of, there was several years where I was doing that full time. And I was like, all I was doing? I was coming up with ideas for shows and I wouldn’t end up working on the staff of a show, I was just developing. Which means, you kinda do what I did. I mean, if you sell one? Your income for a year and a decent income if you save. If you have zero, you have no income. So, it’s kind of a tenuous way to make a living. But I would say around a hundred ideas now, maybe that I would meet with, and worked on at least for a half an hour or so? Maybe, much more than that? For like the one or two, that were actual help, hey let’s go pitch this to the networks or whatever. Just a quarry not fast enough, I don’t think it was a thousand, but? Good, maybe, it might be a thousand, but I’d say, a hundred? And two hundred ideas total for the handful of one. And actually I got paid ultimately by a script for a script I wrote optioned.
Ashley: So that’s kind of the next level. So they, out of the handful, they got two or three hundred of these pages. And then that, so then, a handful, let’s say five or six your agents liked and then the match turned into leads. What percentage actually go to that next step? Then ultimately sales.
Erik: Yeah. Agents liked it, you’re definitely going to be in that production company. I mean, almost always, it’s very rare that an agent like it enough. In my instincts of my agent who is very tough on ideas. It’s like, if he didn’t like it enough, he wouldn’t even send you out to a production company, pretty much always. I don’t think there was ever one, on where you couldn’t get a single one meeting. She believed one would get it. Some believe in large, I’ve never gotten that many before? Others he believed in a lot, that we got a lot of meetings for. That depended on his level of passion for it. But once you’ve pitched to production companies, you’re way past, you know, you’ve made a huge hurtle.
So if the agent likes it, it’s got a shot. And probably I would say, the one my agent liked, I normally get it, a production company to also like it enough to go through and pitch it to the studio, then it might die. Or then the studio likes it and then it might die at the network. And I also had some where an I wasn’t getting a good rep. from the agent, but maybe had a general meeting with a producer and we started to talk about other ideas, sort of outside of the agent and business and they liked it. We just sort of ran with it. And, but I would say, once the agent liked it, I would say maybe one out of three? Would actually end up selling that idea to the network. And others you wouldn’t. We would somehow lose it somewhere. The real hurtle was getting it to the agent to like it in the first place. And some agents are as hard as my agent necessarily was? Some of them may not be as experienced. And since some of them might be exploring every idea constantly? It kind of blends them against the wall and see what sticks. But my agent is the opposite of that. They didn’t put their name on something unless they were 100% thought, this could be a hit show.
Ashley: And you seem very at ease with this process.
Ashley: I can see it being incredibly frustrating. There must have been some ideas in this several hundred ideas, that you though? You know what? This is a really good idea, and your agent added, hey, and added, na, this will never work. How did you deal with that kind of? And did you think, back to the drawing board. Yeah, there must have been some ideas in there that you really did believe in that your agent wouldn’t get on board with.
Erik: Oh, definitely yeah. I mean, I, it’s a frustrating process. And when you’re in the middle of it, no question about it. But it’s the nature of the screenwriting game, no matter what version of it you’re doing? You’re always getting rejected, you’re always getting notes, people are not always loving your stuff as much as you love it. And I’m the kind of writer that gets easily talked out of my own ideas. Or easily gets convinced that what I thought was good isn’t, now that I heard somebody else’s perspective. Like some agents err on the side of, what? Like they won’t change anything? Whereas others I err on the opposite side. Which is more like me, and you’re looking for a sweet spot. You’re like, you believe in your stuff, but you’re also opened to new, you know. So, a, I wouldn’t say there were too many that they would say no to. That I was like, I know this could be a hit show. Today I do feel like they kinda know more than I do in a way? I can write it, I can give it life, do a lot of things they can’t do. Give it comedy, everything else. But I, the whole business of selling it, ideas, is all about concept. Even in the TV world, it’s all about the two or three sentences idea that’s fresh and original. Like my agents would never say, this is bad. What they would say is, this doesn’t have a hook, and it’s hard to sell. The hook is too similar to other things. And so, it may be executed really well, and be a great show? But it’s really hard for us to sell it with that’s something you could say in a couple of sentences a fresh idea. And I would turn out an idea that I thought execution would be hard. That didn’t have that good flow. It’s a very close feature where you’re looking at the high concept thing in a sentence where people go, “That’s a movie!” I’ve never seen that movie, I want to know what happens in that movie, like you hoped. Real easily with a concept. That’s always the goal, not easy to do.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Is this still the same process in television? A hot writer comes off at television show, and that’s kind a, you know, he gets his chance to go through a couple of four years of this? That feels sort of the same process now?
Erik: Yeah. I think so.
Ashley: Okay, okay. So let’s talk about your website a little bit? You got a lot of great content, you can mention the URL. And then you can maybe just tell us a little bit about what you’re offering on your website.
Erik: Yeah, yeah. The website called, it’s more my blog, it’s called, “Flying leslie.com, so it’s http://www.flyinglesler.com if you go to it you’ll have a little explanation for what I do with that quirky name? But, basically I started blogging about five or six years ago. And started being asked to speak at writing groups serving us. Teach, so, I was asked to read scripts for people. We would meet at writer’s conventions, like the screenwriters expo, so kinda stuff like that. I started doing one-on-one consulting, the thing is as well as teaching. So I teach at National University. And they are in the base screen write program, which is online. Basically I’m a foreign land, I teach extension as well as webinars for the “Writers Store.” And then I just have my own website through which people are looking for consulting. So I kind of juggle my time between my own projects because I’m writing and kind of helping other writers. So, this flyinglesler, there is, I have a thing I give out, it’s called, “The Ten” something I came up with, it’s called,
“The Ten Key Principle Successful Writers Understand,” and if you go to the website you can click on that area and listen and you will get those samples to you. And I also have some, there’s something else I’ve done? If you click on, I’ve created some audio classes. They are five half hour audio classes that you can download from the website. Which are, it’s just, I find reading scripts, even though I have still a lot of TV experience. I still read mostly features as a consultant. And I’m still writing features. And over the years I’ve just noticed that there are so many common things, common notes, that I have on scripts. Like the same issues that crop up again, and again. In my own scripts I want a challenge with them too, that eventually I want to. It’s almost like when I give notes on a script, I. There’s like, a hundred different notes that are in the universe and you’re just apply those same hundred notes to every script in different configurations because it always comes down to some very fundamental things. So I’ve created these audio which are kind of my downloadable talking about each of these five topics. And just kinda hitting on over the years I’ve been keeping a way as my beliefs as. Here’s what you need to know about: Story concept, point able main characters is one of them, and I have one each on the five acts. That’s acts one and two and three. So, because I just I wish that. If you really use and understand the principles is and can apply them and continue to work? Then you can, you know, move forward quickly in this. But the disconnect comes with either not know all the principles, or knowing them but not having the objective way to measure how well you’re applying them. Which is why people will have their scripts read by others. But for most people it seems to be a mysterious process of trying to move forward and why am I not moving forward as much as I would like? You know, I’ve gone through it myself, while also, you know, I’ve been obsessed over the years with screen writing. With paradigms and books and classes and trying anything that I could use to help me understand and get better some. I’m always learning and now I’m starting to actually give some of my own accumulation right here. And synthesize thoughts on that stuff for other writers.
Ashley: Okay, that stuff sound great. I will collect all those URL’s and I will put them in the show notes. So people listening to this, they can just click over and find those. Are you on Twitter? Maybe you can mention your Twitter handle? I must be 4 or 5.
Erik: Yes it’s also flylesler@flylesler – Twitter.
Ashley: Okay. Perfect, solid for that. Well Erik you’ve been very generous with your time. I really appreciate you coming out and talking, it’s been very interesting episode.
Erik: Well thanks so much for having me.
Ashley: Quick point for the screen writing analysis service. It’s a really economically way for you to get high quality professional evaluation of your screenplay. When you get or buy a three package? Get an evaluation just $67.00 per script for feature films, and just $50.00 for tele-plays. All the readers have professional experience reading for studios, production companies, contests, and agents. You can read a short bio on each reader on our website. And you can pick the reader that you think is the best fit for your script. Turn-around-time is usually just a few days but, rarely more than a week. The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors, including: Concept, characters, structure, marketability, tone, and over all craft. Which includes formatting, spelling and grammar. Every script will get a grade, a pass, consider, or recommend. It should help you roughly understand where your script is and where it might rank if you were to submit it to a production company or agency. We provide analysis on feature and television series scripts. And we also do proof-reading. If you don’t want analysis, but would like someone to proof-read your script? We now offer that too. We are rolling out some new additions and options we now have the ability to upwards of a short script at a reduced price obviously before a short film script. We also now review any treatments where you can upload five or ten page treatment and our reviewers will basically give you the same analysis but instead on a script, they’ll give it on a treatment. This can be very helpful if you’re vetting your ideas. You can line it up in a five page treatment. Get some very inexpensive professional feedback. To see if that idea is worth pursuing? Pushing it into a feature film. So we will be unrolling that feature this week as well. We’ll also going to start having a service were, you can send us a script and our readers will write a log-line synapsis for you. This not a service I personally recommend? I really think that a, the writer is the person who should write the log-line, and write the synapsis. I get a lot of people saying, oh, I’m not good at writing log-lines and synapsis? Man, if you’re a writing you need to learn to write, man. We have so many requests for this service though, I felt well off roll it out there. And people can use it. The reader is that where I’m working with, they’re very good at this and they are more than happy to offer this as a service. But then again, I think you’re better off to just taking the time and writing your own log-line and writing your synapsis. If it’s something you want, we now offer it for that as well. As a bonus if you’re script gets a recommend from a reader, you get a free Email and fax blast to my list of things through contacts. This is the exact same blast that I use myself, for my own scripts. It’s the same service as I sell on the website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of producers who are looking for new material. So, you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price? Check out – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants
In the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Helen Tresna he wrote a film called, “I’m Burying the X” which was directed by Joe Donte. We get into some real details of how he got his career started and how he got this film produced? It’s a really great example of how a writer becomes a producer. And we’ll cover what carries this project over the finish line. I mentioned this interview a couple of weeks ago, I just got backed up, the BOD release or whatever? Try and time the interview at least to the BOD release of the film. But, it’s definitely going to go next week, so we’ll keep an eye out for that episode.
To wrap things up I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with Erik. The big take away for me on today’s show is the very straight forward path that Erik took. It’s not quick, it’s not an easy path. But you heard it from him. It takes many years, it took him a bunch of years of doing a role level temp. work. But eventually he got into it. In a position where he could work seen and start getting paid to write. I did a blog post a few weeks ago, I’ll link it through the show notes. Where I went through every Podcast in the past I had done. And wrote down how each screenplay writer broke into the business. The overwhelming majority of people who broke into the business through networking, which includes working in the business. There are a lot of other things people use, quarry letters, cold callings, contests, etc… But, most screen writers broke into the business exactly the way Erik did, described it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, again, I think this is your best real chance of becoming a Professional Screen Writer. Is following the path the Erik just described, it started out with temp. work. Maybe you know someone, who knows someone that can get you a job in the mailroom at CAA? I mean, there’s different ways to get those entry level jobs. But that’s sort of the jest of it, of networking. Starting at an entry-level job, working your way up. Networking immediately, knowing people in the industry. It’s not just the networking that is valuable. It’s seeing how projects, it’s being how the project gets made. It’s seeing which parts of the projects get made and why? And talking to, and just being that one swift that they can get higher in the food-chain. You and them explain, well, this project got made because of this? And it’s just, being around that environment will really help you take hold of your scripts and your ideas, your concepts. Two concepts that can possibly get made. So it’s more than just the networking, I believe? It’s more than just the physical networking, its knowing people. It’s, there is a certain just knowledge that you get by having those jobs. Being around the business and seeing what really happens. And what it really takes to get projects made. Again, this is going to take years, it’s not going to be quick. You’re not going to be creating your own TV shows and in three years. If you have a block and you’re writing on it, on a show, or a little less of a month. You might be a writer’s assistant on the show? And then hope way down the road we can have it, enough experience and clout to actually get out there and start pitching your own show ideas. I, again, listen to this interview, the Erik interview on the early years. He didn’t start on, “Band of Brothers” till the late ‘90’s early 2000’s, so we’re talking about a decade you know? There’s almost a ten year span where you start out slow while we work towards the thing and work towards your goal in it. This again, it is not simple easy pace. Guys, it’s not a fast path, but I do think it’s, will be the most clear concise path for you, screen writers. Now I know this path is not for everyone? It wasn’t for me, I was terrible with these sorts of entry-level jobs, so that did not exactly reflect well on me as certainly no one would ever have hired me as a writer. You know, when I couldn’t even do a good job getting them coffee?
So, you should be honest with yourself. You need to decide if this is for you or not? Everyone’s situation is different, and again these entry-level jobs in the movie/Hollywood/entertainment entry-level job is not necessarily for everyone. Again, this call put our odds way up there as a screen writer. So, if you’re in a position to get out there and try and make this work, we recommend it. But, if you are not, there are a few different paths. And again, I would highly advise you to check out the blog post on just talked about. In which I tallied up how screen writers broke into the business. You can think perhaps you can find a path that is more suited to you, your skills and your situation? Read the post and just look at all the different ways? Because I think there maybe five or six different ways people can, who broke in and how they broke into the business. Again, networking was by far the best, but there is other ways. And so, you just have to look at what other ways people are breaking into the business. And then think about your own talents, think about your own situation, think about your own skills, your personality, and try and find a method and a channel to go onto work that’s best for you.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.