This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 434 – On the Writer’s Struggle To Get Read .
Welcome to Episode 434 of the selling your screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Myers, screenwriter and blogger over at sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I am interviewing screenwriter DeAndra Stone. She entered a screenplay into last year’s SYS Six Figure screenplay contest with her sci-fi screenplay relative state. And while she didn’t sell the script, one of our industry judges read it and really liked it. And he liked it enough that he hired her to rewrite a project that his company was developing. So, I have her on today to tell her story, how this writing gig came about, and how this writing gig is going. So, stay tuned for that interview. SYS Six Figure screenplay contest is open for submissions, but our regular deadline is May 31. So, if you’re listening to this before May 31, definitely enter as you can save a little bit of money by entering before on or before May 31. After that we have our final deadline on July 31. We’re looking for low budget shorts and features, I’m defining low budgets as anything that’s less than six figures. In other words, less than 1 million US dollars. As mentioned, we’ve got lots of industry judges reading scripts in the later rounds, we’re giving away 1000s in cash and prizes. And this year, we do have a short film category as well. So, if you have a short script, 30 pages or less, definitely enter that I’ve got a number of industry judges who are producers that are looking to produce some short scripts, so hopefully we can find a home for some of these short scripts as well.
If you want to submit or learn more about the contest, you can go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. Also, this year, we are running an in-person Film Festival in Camden with our screenplay contest is for low budget films produced for less than 1 million US dollars. We have a features and shorts category there as well. Lots of industry judges will be looking at those films in the later rounds as well. The festival is going to take place in Hollywood, California, from October seven to the ninth if you produce a short film or a feature film, by all means definitely do submit it, these shorts are very easy to program, I can run two or three of them where I can even create like a whole block of an hour or two of just shorts. So, the shorts are very easy to kind of fit in between the features. So, I’m really encouraging people to submit shorts, I’m a big proponent of short films just as a good stepping stone away of learning. So, I want to showcase as many shorts as possible at the festival. And as I said, I should have the opportunity to do so we’ve got a lot of screen time. And so far, we don’t have a lot of feature films that have submitted. So, a good number of shorts have started to submit. But as looking now, as I said we’ll be screening the vast majority of the shorts that are submitted. Again, if you have a finished film and would like to submit the film, just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/festival you will see on there sort of a description of the contest, industry judges all of that sort of stuff, but then there’ll be a link to actually make the submission on Film Freeway. So, if you’re already on Film Freeway, you can find us there and it’s just SYS Six Figure Film Festival and Screenplay Contest. So, you can find us and enter there. We are just taking our submissions for the film festival through Film Freeway. You can submit your screenplay if you’re just submitting the screenplay through our site but with the film’s it just goes through Film Freeway. So once again, just check that out if you have a film that you want to submit sellingyourscreenplay.com/festival. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leave me a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast so they’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mentioned the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also, publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast and then just look for episode number 434. If you want my free guide “How to Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks”, you can pick that up by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide It’s completely free just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per 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. I’ll teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter and how to find agents managers and producers who are looking for material, really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. So, now let’s get into the main segment today I’m interviewing screenwriter DeAndre Stone here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome DeAndre to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
DeAndra: Thank you for having me.
Ashley: So, to start out maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grew up? And how did you get interested in the entertainment business?
DeAndra: Oh, okay. Those are two very vastly different things. I actually grew up in Oklahoma. I lived on a farm when I was young and then when I turned eight, we moved to the city, to Oklahoma City. But I went to college in Southern California. And it was actually a media crit class that got me interested in screenwriting. I ended up taking a script writing class, I read Lu Hunter’s “Screenwriters 101”. I think that I still have it here. But I read that and I just fell in love with the craft. I believe that Goodwill Hunting was the thing that kind of got me obsessed with it. But the project that I wrote my media crit paper for was a goodwill hunting. And I had to really analyze the script and the way that it was produced, even down to like the coloring that they used, and imagery that they used. And I was just so fascinated by all the aspects that went into storytelling, that I got excited about it. And then I had to write for another class, just like a five-page script. And I got a lot of great feedback. And I was like, wow! this kind of comes very easily to me.
So, then I took the script writing class got more and more encouragement there. And then just decided to go for it. And that unfortunately, it was 20 years ago but you know.
Ashley: It’s a long road. Yeah. So, is there anything you can tell us about Goodwill Hunting any screenwriting lessons that you remember from that paper? It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but you know generally consider, I think it won the Academy Award that year for screenplay. So yeah, any lessons from Goodwill Hunting that you remember?
DeAndra: At first glance, I don’t think people would see the symbolism that they used in the film to show Will’s journey. For instance, one of the things that sticks out in my head for some reason is the last shot is just a simple car, driving on a road, and it’s Will going to get Skyler. And for so long throughout the film, all he could do was look at his past, look at his past look and it was affecting everything that he did, and he couldn’t move forward in his life. And then in the final scene, he’s no longer looking in the rearview mirror. He’s now looking through the windshield at what lies ahead of him. And that really, when that clicked in my head, I was like, oh wow! that’s really cool. And also, the character development is really well done, in my opinion, with Will, with Skyler, with Sean, and I don’t even remember the name of Robin Williams character at this point. And in in doing that script, I also found out that Robin Williams did a lot that it wasn’t necessarily written in the screenplay, some of the things that he said, but just the development of his character, and even the backstory that they put in for him and little tidbits that affected his life that in turn affected the way that he communicated with Will. It just all that weaving together, I was just like, wow, this is there’s so many more layers when you actually look at it and pay attention. And I at that point was like, I want to write like this.
Ashley: So, let’s dig into so you get done with this college degree. What were some of your next steps then to actually turn it into, sounds like now you were inspired you wanted to kind of break into the business? What were some of your steps that once you got out of college actually turning this into a career?
DeAndra: Well, I wrote my first screenplay at age, 22. I finished it at age 22. And I started to enter screenplay contests and even send the letters to agents and just trying to get I even did this thing where my letter, my cover letter looked like a ransom note with the with the magazine cutouts. And it was like this screenplay waiting to be set free or something like that. And just trying to get an any agent or managers attention to look at my script. And of course, I got all the letters of we don’t look at things unless they’re solicited. And I did that for,
Ashley: Now, this ransom note idea that sounds really clever and interesting. Did you get some responses from that at least people read the script?
Ashley: No, well.
DeAndra: No. And I just got the standard we don’t look at things unless they’re solicited. And I mean, as I got older and learn more about the industry, I understand now because of people saying they saw my idea, but it’s just so hard. It’s so hard to get anybody’s attention in the industry. I feel like from my experience, unless you know somebody, unless you’re connected by a relative or you know that person who works for that director or this person who works for that manager, it’s just really difficult to get anybody’s attention.
Ashley: So, what were some of your steps I noticed on IMDb, you’ve done a couple of short films, maybe just talk about that. So, what were your sort of career steps after college?
DeAndra: After trying to get representation, I just decided just to keep writing, and meeting people. And I had the idea to kind of go in the back door and maybe get in on the production side, and then get to talking to people on saying, well, I actually write you know but that proved difficult. In the meantime, I had friends who are all filmmakers, and they knew I wrote. So, they were like hey, can you come on board for this project? Can you come on board for this project? and I was just, I ate it all up. Because in my writing classes, in my reading, I learned, you just got to flex your muscle. You always need to be flexing your muscle you need to be writing, you need to be reading you need to be watching. And so, that’s what I just continued to do. And that got me into the few short films that I’ve done. One of them, which is more recent, 10 years ago that I did, actually won a couple of awards in London. The director is from there. So, that one of a couple of words over there. But I’ve really just been writing for the past 20 years, I continued with life. I met someone I got married, I have kids, but I just kept writing. And I have four full-length features one musical and a handful of shorts, all under my belt. The shorts are the ones that have been produced. And the others are just kind of sitting up on the shelf waiting for their day.
Ashley: Yeah, gotcha. So, let’s dig into your screenplay relative state. Maybe to start out you can just give us a quick picture logline. This is a screenplay that you entered last year into SYS Six Figure Screenplay Contest was a quarter finalist in there. And so, we’re going to get into that a little bit. But maybe you can kind of just tell people, what is this story all about?
DeAndra: This story is about a woman who loses her husband, and in a tragic car wreck. And she goes out to start a life on her own. And she buys this house out in the middle of nowhere. And as she’s working in the backyard, she finds a portal to a multiverse. She gets through that portal finds that her husband is still alive in this other world. And the film is her journey to try to get him back. And kind of grapple with the ethics of this not truly being her husband, because it’s in this different world.
Ashley: Fascinating. And so, where did this idea come from? What was sort of the genesis of it?
DeAndra: My husband saw the documentary, Parallel Worlds Parallel Lives. And it is about the lead singer of the Eels, dad, Hugh Everett, and the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. And after watching this documentary, he got the idea for the screenplay. Originally, it had a male protagonist. And he was on this journey of he lost his wife, he gets in the new the parallel world and tries to get her back, that we got through that version of the script completely, and finalized it and had people start reading it and everything. And then out of nowhere, I was going through some old paperwork, and I found an article about the roles that Hollywood wants to see women play. And it was just the title of the article that made my mind click and go, what if we turned this script around and made our protagonist a woman? Because at the time this again, was actually about like 10 years ago. At the time this was like before Me Too before like women in film we’re trying to get more exposure and be on the same level as men in the industry. But it was still like you know murmuring of talk about getting women more exposure in Hollywood. And I was like, why don’t we do this? Why don’t I just, it wasn’t starting from scratch, because we already had our storyline and everything there. But I had to develop this character and make all of the things that happened to her work with her backstory and who she is. And then that that developed into what I entered into the contest.
Ashley: Gotcha. Now, I’m curious, you know you’re talking about you read this article, sort of flipping it on its head making the protagonist, a woman. One of the things I went and I read the script assessments that my readers did on this script before just preparing this. And one thing that they all mentioned was that the script was, you know the concept, all of them praise the concept. They also praised it for being very low budget and contained, was that sort of in your thinking as well, knowing that this could potentially be a very high concept yet low budget script, were you conscious of the budget as you were writing it at all?
DeAndra: I was. Many of the locations are actually based on areas in New England where my husband grew up. The house in particular, where she finds the portal, is a house that his dad mowed the lawn when he was growing up. And they were there often when he was young. And also, with having a background in visual effects. I knew what it would take to get certain shots to the level that they needed to be because of, you know it’s quantum mechanics, it’s going through a portal, so you’re going to need to have something that indicates oh, this is a portal, you know. And having that background, I feel like it helped me to understand yes, this is a visual effects site, yes, it’s going to cost more money, but it’s not going to cost that much. And, of course, my husband, and I have it in our head, maybe we could produce this someday. And I already have connections, you know, I just call up a friend and say hey, can you do me a solid and do the shot for me? So, that I did keep in mind as I was writing.
Ashley: I’m curious too, with a concept like this. When I read the logline, you know other films do come to mind, I think there was one even called the Time Traveler’s Wife, maybe five years ago, there have been other these sorts of different love stories. There’s one that’s coming across my desk. Now, the publicist keeps sending me the trailer where someone has some sort of a music playlist, and their spouse dies, but they can go back and listen on this by replaying this musical playlist. And so, there’s a number of movies that have sort of are similar and going back and dealing with these things. How do you make something like this original, where you have a premise that’s high concept and cool, but there are some other films out there that are somewhat similar? How do you sort of make it original? There’s that Blake Snyder, quote “Give them the same but different”. So, I think this kind of falls into that wheelhouse. But how did you get to make different the original part?
DeAndra: Something I learned early on in the writing process is your story has already been told. And as a young writer that frustrated me so much, I was like, you got to be kidding me, there’s got to be original stories out there. And most of the time, your story has already been told. But it’s more about the journey. It’s how you tell the story. And so, in ours another part of the feedback I got from the contest was about how to develop the characters. And I think that is a huge thing that can set apart your story is how your characters are developed, how your audience relates to them, and how you portray them. And not only that, but also as I mentioned your setting in which you’ve set your story. And even just like adding quirky characters onto the side, like you’ve always got your sidekick, that adds a little bit of humor to the set or to the to the film, but it’s, I feel like the way that you can set apart your story is the journey aspect of it, what you go through to make that story happen, and then your characters and how your characters are telling your story.
Ashley: And so, the other note that I noticed on these assessments was dealing with the logic and there is always really, you know potential logic problems with multiverses different versions of the same person and stuff. How did you deal with that? That’s always something whether you’re dealing with time travel or multiverse, there’s always these sort of logic problems. How did you deal with that and how did you give it an original fresh spin?
DeAndra: I actually did a ton of research on quantum mechanics because there are scientists out there who are studying, who believe that there are certain aspects of truth to quantum mechanics and multiverses. And it really like I hadn’t done science fiction at this point. And it kind of blew my mind. I just dug deeper and deeper into it because one of the things that I really want to come through in my writing is authenticity. I don’t just want to throw something out there and expect everybody to believe it. Like, for me, I’m from Oklahoma, everybody knows that the best college to go to for baseball is Oklahoma University. On 28 days, with Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen’s character is a baseball player, he wears an Oklahoma State t-shirt. And I look at that and go, somebody didn’t do their research. It’s things like that, that made me go you like, I want to be authentic, because there are people out there who knew about this stuff. And we’re going to look at it and go. Now I know, because I’ve researched and I’ve studied this. So, in researching the quantum mechanics in the really scientific aspects of it. I feel like that is where all the logic came in. You do have to like, it’s film so not all of it is reality you know and there are some great scripts out there that have holes, that people still love. So, you’re not going to make something perfect. But I feel like if you can get close enough and keep it in aspects of reality that your audience is going to buy into it more.
Ashley: Gotcha. So, let’s talk about what you did with this script once you had it done. Obviously, you entered it into the SYS Six Figures Screenplay Contest. But did you send it out to producers, agents, managers? Did you enter into other contests? Just what else were some of your marketing efforts? You mentioned that you did, right? It was with cost in mind, were you starting to try and raise some money and maybe produce it yourself? Just talking about once you got this script done, what was your marketing of it?
DeAndra: First thing is we had people, our friends who are established and film, read it and give us feedback. And then we went through to look at the most successful script writing contests that you can enter like people with the most success rate of getting into the industry. And I think there was maybe five different contests that we entered in, along with two of my other scripts. And we did that with the intention, and hope of getting exposure. But also, the majority of the, of the contests that I entered, had feedback that you could actually get from the readers, like you get the as you mentioned, the critique of your script. And I wanted that so, that I could see what someone who doesn’t know me who’s never met me before, who doesn’t know how long I’ve worked on the script, you know doesn’t know anything about me would just look at it and say, this is what I think. And to see what resonated with me, what I thought was not good advice, or what I thought was something I could take to heart and then apply to future writing projects.
Ashley: So, it sounds like contests was the major thing you didn’t start sending it out query letters, agents, managers, and that sort of stuff?
DeAndra: No, I did that. I tried that. And I have too many friends in the industry now to where I know that that is a very hard way. It’s very difficult way to get in. Like I said, unless you know someone, I have friends who are producers, writers, directors and who are like yeah, unless you know somebody they’re not going to look.
Ashley: Okay. No, I think that’s a perfectly viable strategy. Just go for the contest and it sounds like you’re getting at least some good feedback from them. So, let’s talk about a little bit about what happened here at SYS Six Figure Screenplay Contest. As I said, your screenplay was a quarterfinalist, and it was sci-fi and I knew it was low budget. So, I was able to get and just so people kind of understand. I mean, the industry judges they want to read material that potentially they could option or they could potentially at least hire the writer. So, they’re interested in reading stuff that they’re also potentially interested in producing. So, this was a script that was fairly easy for me to get industry judges to read. And one such industry judge was Jerry coding from Wave Films, and maybe you can talk through that process. He really liked the script. And then I put you guys in contact and maybe you can kind of take it from there sort of how things went with Jerry, with Wave Films?
DeAndra: We went back and forth for a while about relative state. And I asked, I got to the point where I was like, is this something that you’re going to want to produce? And then they came back to me and said, actually, we don’t have the budgeting for this script right now. But we have this other script that we are currently working to get financing for. And we think that your writing style will be really good for it. So that of course, peaked my interest. And I had a meeting with Jerry the producer, Marco the director and their assistant. And we talked through the current script and where it was at and what it was about.
Ashley: In the current script that they were working on that relative state?
DeAndra: Right, the current script they were working on. But in that call, we did talk about relative state. And it’s kind of funny, because I didn’t realize that Marco had read it. So, when he brought it up, I was like oh okay, you’ve read it too. But what drew him to it was he said, the development of the characters, he said that as he was reading it, he knew what the characters were feeling. And he knew where they were at. And that’s what he wanted to bring to his script. Jerry, mentioned that one of the big reasons that they wanted me to come on was because I am a woman, and their protagonist is female, and they wanted that voice to come through more in the main character.
Ashley: Gotcha. Now, I get a lot of emails from people where they’re getting a deal, but they don’t have an agent or manager, or even a warrior to negotiate these things. How did you get through just the legalities of looking at agreement, signing agreements, and ultimately getting this deal in place?
DeAndra: As I said before, I fortunately have friends who are in the industry. At first, I spoke to a few lawyers and the amount that I’m getting paid for like the retainer their fees, took all the retainer. So, I went to a friend of mine, who is a lawyer, she’s not in entertainment, but she’s a lawyer. And I asked her for a referral first. And after I asked her for referral she said, I may not know entertainment law, but I know contracts, I can look at this for you. And it just so happened that her husband is a producer. And so, she was able to bounce things off of him and say well, what about this part? What about this part? She read it for me, she gave me her feedback. And that’s how I got through that the legality process. But in that process, I found so many people who are in the industry who are willing to help me. And that was amazing. I used to live in LA, and I got so used to you know, it’s every man for himself, it’s cutthroat. Can’t really ask for anybody to help because I’m not going to give you help. And I reached out to my friends who are working. And the majority of them were like, send me your stuff. I’ll contact people, I’ll talk to this person I know. And it was really, really encouraging. And with my friend who’s the lawyer. I told her I was like, because a lot of the lawyers said, without representation, we really don’t want to look at this contract. And I’m like, without a job I can’t get representation. And that frustration is there for so many people. And my friend even mentioned that she was like, we know that. It doesn’t make sense how things work. And so, they were very willing to help me because of that.
Ashley: Gotcha. So, how is the actual and I want to preface this too, by saying neither one of us are lawyers. So, we’re not anyway giving out legal advice. But your story I think, you are kind of you’re a little bit hesitant to suggest it just basically the lesson from your story, at least from my perspective is sometimes you got to just muscle through these things. And there is no like, it’s you may not have a friend, that’s a lawyer. So, you may have to go another direction. But at the end of the day, sometimes you do have to figure these things out. Because most of these types of independent film deals, they’re not such astronomical sums that you’re going to be able to afford $10,000 in legal fees. And so, you’re going to have to kind of at least some ways just kind of crossed that bridge and in a very precarious way. It’s not always simple. And I was definitely taken advantage of there were some contracts I signed early in my career. And again, they were just such low dollar amounts, that was no way of getting a lawyer involved. And the producers didn’t take advantage of me. But they definitely put in some things that were very favorable to them. And I would have seen now with a little bit more experienced than would have seen, so you definitely do need to go over these contracts and look at them very carefully. And if you can afford a lawyer or have a friend aware, it’s definitely a good idea. But sometimes it’s a little bit difficult to kind of get these things done with the amount of money that we’re talking about. So, let’s talk about just the rewrite. How is the actual rewrite going? Are there any surprises there? How are you finding this process and how does just the process logistically work? Are you at home, are you doing a lot of zoom meetings, have you met any at all face to face? I’m not even sure where Jerry is? Is he in the US, is he in the US, in the UK? Maybe you can talk about that process how is the actual rewrite going, and how does it actually take place?
DeAndra: Everyone one is spread out, I’ve got a producer in Singapore, a director in Cambodia and their assistants in Mexico, and then I’m in Oakland. So, there’s been no face-to-face meeting. And we communicate through zoom calls and emails. We did our initial talking. And they asked me about my writing process. And I’m a very detailed outliner and so, I was like I have to outline. So, if what would probably be good, I do an outline then you guys read it, we have notes meeting about it. And so, that was the beginning part of it. And then I just started writing on the rewrite last week, and it’s going really well, if there’s any advice that I can give to a new writer, is to outline, outline, outline. Because when you know your story, the writing process is going to go so much faster, you’re already going to know your characters, you’re going to know what they like, you’re going to know how they respond in a situation, you’re going to you have this scene where two people are talking to each other. And you’re just writing, writing, writing, and they’re just, they’re talking to you. Because you’ve already delved so much into the story that you are that you know where that scene is going to go?
Ashley: No, well I’m curious too. In describing this project, it sounds like they hired you to develop character, you’re good with character develop character. But so often character influences story. So, then the story also gets somewhat changed. How do you deal with that, like talk through some of maybe the potential hurdles with something like that, they don’t necessarily want you to change story but if you change character, sometimes story does need to change? How have you sort of dealt with some of these issues digging into the actual characters, does it affect the story?
DeAndra: I actually got really lucky. They said, you can start from square one. They had a very loose story, because it’s a slice of life film. So, they had a very loose storyline. And they said you can cut characters, you can change characters, you can change locations, they were like make this your baby because they that’s something I so very much appreciated about this team, they knew that if I had an investment in it, that would make me write a better. I feel like I’ve been so lucky in that aspect of this being my first projects, because I do feel like I have an investment in it. It’s just not something that I’m writing for somebody else is something that I put aspects of me into, and then it will make it more authentic as a story, I that I kept the main characters in the very loose storyline that was already set. But I combined characters, I took out major scenes. I added different scenes. The he started it quite a while ago. So, there were certain aspects like social media that were not present in the in the script, and that would actually help the story to move along. So, I added that aspect of it. But I feel like I’m very lucky in that they kind of gave me extreme creative license to make the story better.
Ashley: Gotcha. And how is this all going to go? Once you have your draft turned in? Do they have financing in place, what is sort of the next steps? What are the what is the prospect of getting this movie produced?
DeAndra: The contract has been on for five drafts.
DeAndra: Five drafts, which for me as a writer, I’m not used to that few. I’m the person that have like 12 drafts. But I mark it a new draft, even if I just changed two or three lines just because I want to see those changes. But I’m not sure if they’re going to try to start to get financing before it’s finals. I do know that they said they want to get financing within the year. And once they have financing, they want to go into production
Ashley: So, I always like to just end the interviews by asking the guests if there’s anything out there that they’ve seen recently that they thought was really great. HBO, Netflix, Hulu, is there anything out there that you’ve seen, you’ve been watching recently that you could recommend to our audience?
DeAndra: The Marvelous, Mrs. Maisel.
Ashley: Okay, that’s a great recommendation.
DeAndra: It’s on Prime Video. Yeah, it’s on Amazon Prime. And if you’re a prime member, it’s free. And the writing just blows my mind so much. Because everybody’s familiar with this. Are you familiar with the “Pope in the Pool”?
Ashley: Oh, yeah from break Snyder. Yeah.
DeAndra: Yes. So, if you’ve got to talking hands in the scene, a lot of times, your audience is just going to check out because nothing’s happening. This show should win an award for the Popes that they have all throughout it. There’s from the current season, there’s this one scene, where it’s multiple characters in separate cars on a Ferris wheel, yelling at each other, having a very important conversation. And it just like you are getting information, but the back and forth and they do this thing where you’ve got your one conversation happening, but then there’s the side conversation happening too. And it’s just throwing in all this comedy. And but it keeps you engaged, even though you’re just getting information. And they did that there’s this one scene where they did the whole scene whispering to each other because there were kids who were asleep. There’s another one where there were two people on the phone. And one woman was under her covers, and then the other one was in her apartment. And they’re both trying to keep the conversation going without barfing. And so, they’re not only talking about important things, but they’re also saying don’t you barf, because if you barf, I’ll barf and so it’s like, in the pacing of it it’s just so well written.
Ashley: Gotcha. Yeah, that’s a great recommendation for the audience. So, but what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing and just kind of follow your career, Twitter, Facebook, a blog, Instagram, anything you’re comfortable sharing, I’ll round up for the show notes?
Ashley: IMDb so good. We’ll always put that in the show notes. Yeah, so no problem there at all. Social media can definitely be a time suck. Well, so what were your expectations entering our contest and all these contests, and, you know what was sort of your idea? And how did it turn out for you?
DeAndra: I’ve been trying for 20 years. So, anytime I do something like this, my expectations are low. Because it’s hard. It’s a hard industry to get into. But I looked forward to getting the feedback to knowing what regular Joe Schmo thinks when he reads my script. And I appreciated that aspect of it a lot, just getting that feedback to hone in my skills to improve my next project. And in this case, now to have a job.
Ashley: Yeah, gotcha. So, well congratulations on that. It’s just a great honor to see people go on and have a little bit of success and make some of these introductions. And I appreciate you too, coming back and actually telling me about the success story. Because I know there’s success stories out there that happened and I don’t actually hear back from the person. So, thank you for staying in touch and congratulations on this. And I really wish you all the luck in the future and definitely stay in touch. We’ll have you back on once the film is finally in production and for your next films as well.
DeAndra: Okay, thank you.
Ashley: Thank you much. We’ll talk to you later.
I just want to talk quickly about SYS Select. It’s a service for screenwriters to help them sell their screenplays and get writing assignments. The first part of the service is the SYS Select Screenplay Database. Screenwriters upload their screenplays, along with a logline, synopsis and other pertinent information like budget and genre, and then producers search for and hopefully find screenplays they want to produce. Dozens of producers are in the system looking for screenplays right now. There have been a number of success stories come out of the service. You can find out about all the SBS select successes by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Also, on SYS Podcast Episode: 222. I talked with Steve daring who was the first official success story to come out of the SYS Select database. When you join SYS Select you get access to the screenplay database along with all the other services that we’re providing to SYS Select Members. These services include the newsletter, this monthly newsletter goes out to a list of over 400 producers who are actively seeking writers and screenplays. Each SYS Select Member can pitch one screenplay in this monthly newsletter. We also provide screenwriting leads, we have partnered with one of the premier paid screenwriting leads services, so I can syndicate their leads to SYS Select Members, there are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner. Recently, we’ve been getting five to ten high quality paid leads per week. These leads run the gamut. There are producers looking for a specific type of spec script to producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas or properties. They’re looking for shorts, features TV and web series pilots all types of projects. If you sign up for SYS Select, you’ll get these leads emailed directly to you several times per week. Also, you get access to the SYS Select Forum, where we will help you with your logline and query letter and answer any screenwriting related questions that you might have. We also have a number of screenwriting classes that are recorded and available in the SYS Select Forum. These are all the classes that I’ve done over the years, so you’ll have access to those whenever you want. Once you join the classes cover every part of writing your screenplay, from concept to outlining to the first act, second act, third act as well as other topics like; writing short films, and pitching your projects in person. Once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, please go to sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. Again, that is sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. On the next episode of the podcast, I’m going to be interviewing another UK writer director Russell Owen, who just did a really cool thriller called “Shepherd”. We talked through his career he started as a storyboard artist. And then he did a few short films. He did super low budget feature. And now he’s here to talk about this latest film, as I said it’s called “Shepherd” starring Tom Hughes, really contained sort of thriller horror film. Very interesting film, so keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s our show, thank you for listening.