This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 025: An Interview With Literary Agent Babz Bitela.
Welcome to the episode 25 of sellingyourscreenplay podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Myers, screenwriter and blogger over at sellingyourscreenplay.com.
In this episode’s main segment I’m going to be interviewing agent Babz Bitela. She’s an agent at the ‘Silver Bitella’ agency. She offers some great advice to writers who are looking for representation, so stay tuned for that.
I’d like to thank this episode’s sponsor – Screen Craft. Screen Craft is dedicated to helping screenwriters master the craft of screen writing and succeed in the business of Hollywood. Sign up for free education and inspiration at www.screencraft.org
If you find this episode valuable please help us out by giving us review on ITunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or re-tweeting podcast on Twitter or liking it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread the word about the podcast;
I’d like to thank Alex F., April J., Sharnell D. who left me some nice comments over on YouTube, and thank you Craig F. and Joshua M. who re-twitted episode 23 with writer-director of Jennifer Steinman of Desert Runners. Thanks for re-twits.
A couple of quick notes:
– Any websites or links that I mention in 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 podcast notes at www. Sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcasts
– Also, 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, you just put it in your e-mail 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; how to write a professional LOG ON COVER LETTER; how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material; it really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay- Just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide
A quick few words about what I’m working on; I’ve talked about my Sci-Fi thriller on the podcast a couple of times. I optioned it late last year. The producer has a relationship with two fairly well known actresses so we’re trying to tweet the script a little bit for them to see if we can get them interested in it. It’s actually a pretty simple quick pass at the script so it’ll probably take only few hours. Hopefully it’ll pay off. These are the sorts of practical issues you face as a screenwriter. Obviously this is unpaid work and if these 2 actresses don’t sign on the project I’m not sure the work will have value. But it’s easy enough and I think it’s worth a chance. So we’ll see..;
A film I wrote called ‘Ninja Apocalypse’ is screening at this year’s Comic Con in San Diego. The screening time is set for Thursday, July 24 at 8p.m at the Marriot Marquis. So if you are planning to going to this year’s Comic Con keep an eye out for it. I don’t think I’ll be attending. I have a 4 year daughter so it’s hard to get away but I’m thinking that by next year she might be old enough to appreciate going to something like this and I know I always wanted to go so..; maybe next year I’ll make it. We will see.
So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing agent Babz Bitela from the ‘Silver Batela’ agency. She’s got some straight, very forward advice for writers who are looking for an agent. It’s a fascinating look of the business from agent’s perspective. Here is the interview;
Ashley: Welcome Babz to the ‘sellingyourscreen’ podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Babz: O thank you so much for having me Ashley. It’s long overdue. I’m happy to be here.
Ashley: So, to start out, I wonder if you could just give us a quick overview of your career in entertainment industry, how, kind of how you got to becoming an agent.
Babz: Sure. I started out as a rock signer on the road doing some material on the East Coast, and I was an assistant for a girl who worked for paparazzi in New York and I had a shoot for her in San Francisco because she was overbooked and I fell in love with the West Coast. So I packed, move up here and I got to Los Angeles, took a job as a receptionist for none other than Henry Roger’s son, Ron Rogers, from Ron Rogers and Associates. That was corporate PR, corporate public relations. I had a job as a receptionist at ‘Rogers and Callen’, their publicist press release order, you may know, you probably know them. They actually invented real form publicity.
So as I started to do that a publisher said to me – punch up this press release, just take a look at it and I re-wrote it. And she said – ‘you’re a writer, you’re not a secretary.’ And that started me looking at my writer bones. Turns out I was a really great ghost writer, a really good editor, a really fast editor; I had a good ear for dialogue.
So I penned a couple of novels, I still publish them, and Ed Silver was retiring. Ed Silver was Marvin’s financial guide. He represented Toto, he represented James Coburn, I mean the guy has been in this business forever. He handled the mocks brothers’ financials and the guy is still alive and kicking and the guy looks sixty, he looks and says listen I’m seventy and retired why don’t you take over the agency you’re book all mornings, terrific, let’s see if we can get that shot as a feature so a gal flew in from England, wrote the feature, were shopping that and I figured well if I can try to hustle one script, let me see if I can hustle some more.
Ashley: Let’s start out with just some questions. I get a lot of questions and I just thought hearing them from an agent’s perspective would be very interesting. The number one question I get and I’m sure you get it even more than I do is, you know, how do I get an agent? I’m a new screen writer, I’ve written a script or two how do I go about getting an agent? I wonder if you can give us just sort of your take on that?
Babz: Well I can give you my experience Ashley, based on what I’ve learned and remember I’m only six years into this. Based on what I’ve learned, and I learn every single day, it’s something unique about this business because it’s counter intuitive to a regular business, business model. What I’ve learned is the agent actually is the least important facet of the transaction. That is to say the script has to be terrific, so that means if I’m a writer, I write a bunch of shorts and try and get them shot and get some credits. I write a low budget horror, thriller, you know, some footage gem that gets the attention of a director who’s trying to make it his bones. I don’t sign anything, if I get an offer then I say to an agent at WGA, I go down the list, I see a couple of people who I like. I don’t go for the biggies obviously because I’m a small fry. I’m trying to break in, I’m breaking my teeth on a short and I want to protect my rights. Here’s why this is important for a short, it’s huge. Let’s pretend for the sake of this discussion, you as a writer wrote a great short and you come to an agent; I really don’t think I need an agent for this because I want to give it to the guy, ’cause I want a credit—good—that’s the right attitude but if we can get a hundred bucks out of him let’s do. Here’s why, it shows that the guy or gal has the skill of the game number one. Number two, it also shows that they might actually shoot it, you know what I mean, it shows that they’re kind of committed.
This is more important than anything else what if you create a Luke Skywalker, what if you create a Hannibal actor, in short what if you create a franchisee character that’s so enigmatic, so interesting, so funny, so depressed, so brooding, so lively, what if you create a Mrs. Doubtfire and don’t even know it. That’s where an agent comes in because the agent is going to look at the contract and go, “I want to make sure you get prequel rights if somebody makes this into a feature”. You know actually shorts end up becoming features, articles end up becoming features. You want to make sure prequel rights are protected, you want to make sure sequel, you want to make sure as a writer, I Joe Blow writer, have the first right to refuse a writing assignment if it goes to feature and that’s where the agents comes in, now speaks to marketing.
Agents can market material but in truth we’re trying to trap lightning just like you are, it’s not different. Yes I can call the big guys, yes I get my calls returned, yes people are nice to me but people hang up in me too even though I’m WGA and why? I haven’t met them. It’s really a role of the dice, you Mr. and Mrs. Writer you do not need an agent until an offer is coming your way. Do not sign anything. Your audience now has an agent, that’s me, anything your audience sends me. Script is there, I’m going to make a phone call. If the script is not there, I’m going to put the script down instead of picking up the phone. Just happened this weekend, guy heard about what I was looking for and I was looking for something very specific for a buyer, the script happened to be terrific. How odd is that? That’s like freaking’ hitting the lotteries.
The writer should not worry about getting an agent because as soon as you call an agent and say ‘Hi I have an offer on the table can you write it for me?”. You’re going to get their attention. Why? Because we have to work for free just like you do as a writer.
Ashley: Let’s talk specifically about some of the current writers that you have in you stable and how you actually found them. I mean I know a couple of your writers but I wonder if you can just go down your list, of you know, two or three of your best writers and tell us exactly how you found that person and how you signed that person on to your agency.
Babz: One of my first clients is Richard Broadhurst who’s a play writer and I learned more about dialogue from Richard Broadhurst probably than anyone other than Craig Bright and Jason Borst. I happen to know him through Ed Silver, so I met him that was one of my first clients. Debbie Scott who pinned full moon morning for me that was shopping to try get that period piece done that’s never going to happen but who knows, you know lightning strike.
Craig Clyde and Richard have gone on to doing plays so he doesn’t really need me. Craig Clyde I read one of his scripts got options on ink tip and I love ink tip. I love tracking board, I love specs scout, I love all of those sites because Ginny Barn and her whole article thing. This is where I find stuff when I’m on the hunt and so I read long shot eleven and it’s clearly one of the best scripts that’s ever been written that I’ve read. It’s very reminiscing of a very cool Sarah Plane meets an eighteenth century blind sight. The script is terrific, whoever stars in it, directs is going to knock it out of the park. When I got to know him I flew in down to L.A. And I met him there and I got to realize that this guy really could use an agent because he was a little shy about promoting his work. He was very busy in u-tour and really didn’t need me but he liked me and he liked my ear so I signed him.
Ashley: So you literally found him off of ink tip?
Babz: Yes I found him off of ink tip. Good question and I hope that helps you there. I actually taught a class at American River College for a day and the guy said to me, “thanks for doing there’s a writer I want you to meet him, his name is Jason Borst. He’s really terrific; he had an agent but whatever”. I read Jason and script was so rock solid I actually thought someone was punching me. It was such a great story and it was so interesting and well voiced and well crafted, formatting perfect, may be one typo. One letter was off, I mean it was perfect. I was utterly, I want to present this to an agent, it was perfect and I called him up and I said please let me run this around for him and finally after four years I recon this guy we’ve finally got an option for him.
Then there’s Craig Saben, I mean the guy, talk about shops HBO, Disney, you name it his got it. Again doesn’t need an agent but doesn’t understand the formality of what we do and so very shy about promoting his work. I’ll work the phones; I’ll do emails, just like a writer should do. I’ve actually trained all of my clients to do that because I don’t operate in a vacuum. I have to have help, I don’t have secretaries, I have two interns that I love they volunteer because when the cake and ice cream comes their going to be on tab.
Ashley: How did you meet Craig? How did you meet Craig Saben?
Babz: Great story. I signed Richard Broadhurst and he said, “I have a friend who you should meet”, so he drove up to Sacramento from L. A.shook my hand and said, “I really want you to rep me”. I read his script and I said, “Thanks, I have to. The script is fantastic”. It’s called ‘over kill’ and it’s been auctioned many times and right now it’s in front of some very big eyes and we’re waiting for casting to happen.
Those are my top three and then I have Pia, I met her through screen play through Micheal Cornetto who’s the producer of my show ‘Babz buzz’ simply scripts the sight. I read her vampire movie, ulterior motives and I loved it. This chick is so talented, I mean I met so many people through the show that I did. I host ‘Babz buzz’ which is try to pay it forward and be an agent to the world, to reach me from around the world. That’s how I find folks and that’s how I found the rest of my writers: Robert Powers, Tonya, Beshmen, all the people that I’ve signed right now, you can see it on ImDb; Most of them are there
Ashley: Okay great. Let’s talk a little bit, this is another very common question I get and I’m real curious to know what an agent has to say. What do you think about contest? I mean the Nicole fellowship and even sort of a second tier contest, the blue cad and some of these other contest. What do you think about that and should writers spend their money in entering contest?
Babz: that’s what I love about listening to your show and I hope people who are listening will like you in Facebook and comment because it really does help spread the word for people like Ashley and me to pay it forward. You guys and gals who are listening.
Ashley: Thank you.
Babz: Welcome, no, thank you. You are really helping but your question is so timely because this week it’s on the tip of my tongue and I didn’t talk about it on Bev’s buzz but I’ll talk about it now. I have no idea, contests to me are so peculiar. I have read so many contest winners and the scripts just don’t do it for me and hell if I know why. Seriously out of the hundreds of scripts I’ve read, maybe five or six—one of them happens to be Craig Saben—it’s very good called karma that really are terrific. Death book, one of the best scripts about I’ve read about the guy about the black Indian a hero of Chuckie over there, fantastic script written by James Wons. It’s rare that I find a screen play and here’s what I think it is. I think I’ve figured it out, it is, there’s a difference between a well-crafted story and market ready screen play.
Market ready screen play literally takes the story and presents something that a director can get their talents into rather than just reading it for the sake of being entertained. You tracking me? The best example I can use would be horror, I’m not a horror fan but I had to, my writers need a paycheck so there it is but I don’t love it. I will tell you this, I read insidious before I saw the feature and the screenplay was to me, terrific. The movie was good, the screenplay was so good. What I read was something that a director could go, “Oh I could party with this”. Horror scene during daylight hours? Who does that? Nobody. He’s brilliant.
Same thing with Jason’s script. I’ve seen contests come and go and here’s why their good. They get the writer ready to criticism, most writers don’t like that but it’s a necessary evil because you know you listen can always erase that.
Ashley: Do you feel like if a writer approaches you, do you feel like it peaks your interest a little more if they can say I’ve won this contest or placed highly in that contest. It sounds like your experience is not that great with reading the scripts.
Babz: I want to turn it around, when it comes to me it doesn’t peak my interest? Right, it doesn’t but I have a B game. You have to remember I’m a salesman. I’m no different really than a real estate agent, a hundred calls a hit. That’s what I do all day long, a hundred emails a hit that’s where I use you. You have spread the word about our agency in such a positive way, we actually have people looking to me now going, “hey man what’s this about”.
I have a B game, if I read a script and I love it, I can say to my buyer, “and by the way this person is a nickles this or a blue cat that or a specs scout this. You see what I mean?
Ashley: What do you think, you’ve mentioned ink tip earlier, what do you think of ink tip and the black list? Should writers know those types of services?
Babz: It’s the most inexpensive way to have a publicist. Everybody needs fingers in the pie, the fastest way you do that is not through an agent but through all the blogs, Geniebarenman site, your site, the shortest distance between two points are bodies, right? I love screenplay university, that new site, they’re really my kind of site. Ink tip, I sold my first feature that got shot on ink tip, I love those folks. In fact I like them so much that when I start to push something, you’re the only person I have not met face to face, I’ve met everybody. I know of you, I know your reputation and so we’ve kind of gotten to know each other that way. I flew down to L.A. and met with the owner of screenplay readers, I met with the owner of ink tip. I met with these owners, I sat down and said, “look I’m from a tiny shop in Sacramento, that’s really all you need to know but if I fall in love with a script get out of my way so I need help”. They showed me their machines and I used them, so if I used them the writers should use them. Their inexpensive, their manageable, frankly it gives the writer a really great sense of what the business is and what it isn’t
Ashley: Another question that I get that if you’re going to use something ink tip and you even mentioned that you sold a script on ink tip. Another question I get is of writers, especially new writers feel like, “hey why would give an agent ten percent if I’m out there selling my script myself?”. Can you speak to that a little bit?
Babz: I agree with them. Why would you? But here’s the N game, you have to understand the N game. The buyers going to get as much out of you as they can. I well bet you 60% of your audience didn’t think about live streaming. I well bet you 60% of your audience didn’t think about prequels and sequels. I will bet 80-90% of your audience did not think about “franchisable characters” Right? They don’t think that way. They say, “I got a sale, I got a credit”. They’re pretty much in the moment—good-stay there. You be the balloon, I’ll hold the string. Don’t sign anything that you’re not sure of because—you can ask Pia, she did a great interview—people steal stuff all the time.
You have to remember there is transfer and copyright that a lot of writers are not aware of. Once the producers buys your work he owns it, now you’re getting paid for that. You’re getting a credit for that but they own it. You have to prove to them that you own it so that you can sell it. What happens is that in the short that you’ve just shot, you don’t have the right to a prequel or sequel and all of a sudden you see out of this particular short an ‘ironman’. The original writer is going to end up in court, you do not want that, that’s why you pay the 10% so that the agent now, I should give this cavy out so if you’re listening stay up. As it happened we’re not lawyers but we’re very savy as to the current environment. We will put a hold harmless and everything but we don’t want to be sued but we will tell people, there’s terrific lawyers that you can get for three hundred bucks an hour, have them take a look at it; it won’t kill you.
In other words if you’re going to be a business professional don’t shirk the agent for the 10% because their literally, here’s what happened once an offer comes in I do a lot of work. There’s a lot of back and forth, I’ve got to print, I’ve got to sign, I’ve got to proof, I’ve got to print, I’ve got to sign, I’ve got to proof. And it comes to this sort of paper volleyball game. The ten dollars that I earn on the hundred dollars you’re going to make for your credit, I busted my ass for that. That’s why I don’t like doing these things for free, I want to see a little skin in the game. I don’t do it for the ten dollars, obviously please give me a break. What I do of course, my hope is that, the producer will knock it out of the park so that I can say back to my client, number one. Number two my client will come back to me and go, “Guess what? They’ve got funding for a sequel. They got funding for a prequel. They got a million dollars on tap and they want to do a feature. They want to take my characters and do it”. Now the writer goes, “I’m so glad I had an agent for that”.
Ashley: Let’s talk about some of the most recent scripts sold and maybe even give us a little bit of insight, you know, quickly on how you actually got that script sold?
Babz: Okay. I found a script through a writer, she was working with Sydney. Her name is Maureen Lacey, she was partner at a great American speech fest. I liked her very much and she had a screenplay that I just loved but it needed some work but the concept was there, it was rock solid writing. She just really needed a spit shine and we took it upon ourselves to help her with that and we gave it to her and we said, “here it is, are you okay with this?” and she said, “absolutely” so we ran with it. Sure enough we got a bite on it, now I want to digress a minute so if I get to a point reel me back in Ashley okay? Because this is important.
Writers have to stop thinking that a screenplay is a lottery ticket. Not every screenplay sells for a ginormous amounts of money, most of them sell for about ten grand. That’s a thousand dollars for my company so let’s do the math. A thousand for me, I have to split five hundred with Ed, five hundred for me. Half of that goes to Barrack, so I get two hundred fifty dollars, it’s a pair of shoes and a bag. You better believe, I better love that story because I’m pretty much working for nothing. That said, I get that script sold her, she likes the number, I like the number, everyone’s happy. She comes back to me the next day, sellers remorse, she says “no, the screenplay is worth ten times that”. I said, “Listen to me very carefully because if you’re listening this is important. A house is only worth what the appraisers say it is, a house is only worth to them what somebody’s willing to buy it from them. This producer has this much money to spend on this shoot, do you want the job or not? Yes or no. don’t sign the paperwork ’til tomorrow”. I ask every writer I deal with to sleep on it.
Ashley: Where do you come up with this ten thousand dollar number you’re saying, that’s like on a three hundred thousand dollar movie budget.
Babz: I’m pulling that number out of the air, so hypothetical. We’re walking on a fifteen million dollar budget right now at WGA. That means that WGA across the board, which means we shoot three and a half to four percent of the final principle [UNCLEAR 22:36] budget. If the budget is ten we’ll probably go from three on that they’ll probably counter for two and a half and we’ll settle somewhere in between. Plus we try a little bit in the back end when the funding is that big. That particular script went solo shot and aired on television. She gets no loyalties because she’s not a union member. She wasn’t happy about that but let me tell you what’s cool about that every Christmas people see her name, every single Christmas because it’s aired and that’s exciting because it got her an ImDb credit and got her attention.
Fast forward to another feature I just sold in Mexico, this is so cool. I sold this for twenty five thousand bucks, that’s what the writers are getting paid. The shoot is total two hundred fifty thousand so it’s kind of nice. Writers are happy, this is so neat, this is so different. This producer has allowed us to change the names of the characters, change the title and two character arts. Re copyright it under another name and resell it in America. That’s how decent these people are in Spain and in Mexico when they’re buying stuff. They realize that you may be able to flip the same script but it’s not really the same, we get it but you have to copyright if of course. We just sold that one, I just sold another one for a thousand bucks that was just a straight out sales. She said I want it, give me the money, where’s the money. We sold another one for twenty five hundred bucks, give me the money, write it up. What’s important about these tiny little nickle and dimes, writers going to get credit, they’re getting experience. I get wonderful experience. It was very helpful to me, I am still coming to McDonald or whatever but I still have this two big pictures out there waiting to fund. What does that mean? Well by the time they fund it’s not going to be a lot of money for everybody but I”ll tell you what it’s going to be, it’s going to be a big opening weekend.
Ashley: I have a question sort of based on that. I have a producer in India who is interested in one of my scripts and he is willing to just buy the Indian rights and let me resell the script to an American producer. One of the concerns I have though, one I’ll be curious to hear your take on this. I’m concerned with that because I don’t think an American producer would want to buy the script where the movie has already been made and distribute it even though it is a market like India and there might not be that much crossover between America and Europe and that kind of thing but I’ve been concerned to get involved with that. What is your take on something like that?
Babz: I just did it and I can tell you that we have to have a lawyer with the paperwork but with three or four hundred bucks will be worth it because the buyer might not get another deal. It’s not the same script, you know how this is, it’s really not. There’s a hundred vampire movies and their all pretty much the same. When you get right down to it that’s the kind of documentation that what we do we absolutely run it by a lawyer because we don’t want to hear about it later.
A friend of mine just used seven minutes, seven seconds of public domain footage that’s out there in the world, ten years old and one guy, his face was seen on film for several seconds—that seven—and my friend was being sued. The moral of the story is cover your butt, if you’re going to spend three hundred dollars a month on coffee then take that money for a month set it aside, Mr. and Mrs. writer I love you dearly or Miss writer set that money aside please and put that aside for your retainer for your attorney. There is attorneys out there in LA that are very inexpensive, read the contract real quick, tell you what’s missing. The most it’ll probably cost you is five hundred bucks, best money you’ll ever spend.
Ashley: This is kind of a wrapping up question, as someone who reads a lot of scripts of writers who are trying to break in are there any common mistakes that you see over and over again? Some parting tips and tricks that you can give to writers who are writing those first couple of scripts.
Babz: The main thing writers do is that they over write because their afraid. Simply put Ashley, that the reader is not going to forget it. The way around that—Ms, Mr. And Mrs. Writer—is you read scripts that are very well respected by agents who are shopping them. There’s an argument that’s out there about how much black should be on page, meaning how much ink. I can tell you straight out for people like me who read all day long everyday leave as much white on the page as possible. We want to see story, crisp, fast, no typos. Don’t give me a flowery cover, give me 12 point Courier font that’s tradition. Why? because that’s how we we’re trained so it’s easier to read. Give me the characters, don’t put ‘Riley’ in the script. Remember the old days Ashley, when the villain in a silent movies and the guy would throw his mustache and go “nyahaha”
Ashley: Yes, yes.
Babz: That’s sort of what’s become known as a Riley. Say ‘Joe’ and then under joe’s name parenthesis ‘giggles’, “haha gotcha”. Don’t put that because a director could go, “I don’t see this at all, I see this as a very dark moment for Joe”. Don’t put “rileys” in anything. Don’t use ‘ING’ words, don’t say ‘skying’ when you can say ‘skis’. Don’t say ‘running’ when you can say ‘run’. Why? Fast to read, easy on the eyes. Past tense words is a drag, adjectives suck. Get rid of your ‘IL’ words, get rid of your ‘ING’ words. Make it neat. If I’m you as a writer I shoot for ninety pages, why? Because you can always add bad breath and, you know, a hair and a mustache and a car later. If an agent needs more information they’ll take it back to you and go, “hey you know what you might want to the second act right here.” That actually just happened to a script, it was 88 pages and I said, “ooh I’m gonna read this” and I read it fast. I was able to really helped the writer quickly show what El did and put it on ink tip. For me the short points for a writer is write lean and always add but cutting, here’s what happens you become emotionally attached to your own words—when I say you I mean the general you—you can’t do that as a writer. As a novelist I would hand stuff to my mother-in-law and she would hand me boxes of pages that looked like they were hemorrhaging, they had so much red ink on them. And she’d circle one sentence at the bottom and go, “you need to do more of this” and I would go, “what?” The point is write lean.
Ashley: Good advice. If people out there listening, if they would like to submit a script to you what does your process look like for that?
Babz: First go to our website silverbitelaagency.com. That for sure- do that.
Ashley: Okay we’ll link to that in the show so people can get directly there
Babz: That’s lovely. Read the pages; why? Because it’s just easy to understand what directors and producers are looking for when you’re out there. You know what? My job is to sell out period. I want to sell every seat in the house with a script that sells out. I want to sell out, how do I do that? Fist I have to sell in, right, that’s where you come in. What happens if you can, when you pitch me, only give me the log line, the genre, the page count, and your resume, that’s really all I need; I don’t even need a synopsis, if I want more I’ll ask for it.
Here’s why I want to ask for a resume, if you have shots I want to treat you with respect. If you’re a new writer I want to treat you with even more respect. Why? Because you don’t know what you’re doing and there’s nothing wrong with that. I woke up this morning, five minutes in and I wake up and I email this writer and I go, “I didn’t know that”. I learned something within five minutes of my coffee. If I’m getting bombarded with this stuff and I’m learning, what does that say about you but don’t ask the agents to teach you. You can ask one or two questions and then stop, use your head. I had to cut this gal off it was like feeding a cat right, I put the plate out,, she drinks it. By the fifth email I said, “honey, here’s the websites go do your work, it’s time now for you to sweat it out”. In other words don’t put me in a position where I have to go there and then you’ll go, “oh she’s mean”. You know what? Put your big pants on, we’re all in this together. If I pass on your script and you write the next E.T. I’m going to be the first one in there to buy tickets, put my feet up, watch your movie and clap because you did it.
No one is promised anything, if you did the work and you get it done, great. I am glad for you but don’t hold any agent or manager head against, “oh you passed”. Don’t do that because you never know when your going to need that person.
Ashley: What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you. You mentioned your own podcast is simply scripts maybe you can kind of tell us a little bit about what you’re up to, your twitter handle that kind of thing
Babz: you bet. My twitter handle I forgot, forgive me Ashley, they’ll probably find it. I apologize
Ashley: I’ll link to it in the show notes too so people can find it.
Babz: The best way to get to me is forum.airarena.com, you can email me there. You can just post a request on the site there and Michael takes care of all that. He’s my assistant to my show super Babz but I urge people to listen to Ashley’s show all the time every week. I love the interview with Gerald that you did Ashley was terrific, I learned so much. Thank you so much and the great thing about it was the words could sing.
Ashley: Thank you.
Babz: You bet keep it up and if they could like Bev’s buzz on Facebook, if you happen to like the show and even if you don’t tell me what I’m doing wrong and fix it if I can. It’s a growing change right along with you, Bev’s buzz is a really good show and we’ve been running it for three years. There were time where we get eight and nine thousand hits on this show and it kind of surprise me because, you know, I’m a little guy in the middle of nowhere. Now I’m really busy so I kind of have to do the show because I don’t have time to read every single piece of mail that I get but I do and I get a lot. Absolutely go to forum.airarena.com. So now you have an agent kids, so there’s no excuse. Okay? I am here. If I pass, I pass you can go to the next agent on the list. Right now you have access to an agent so don’t sweat it. You can sit back and tell your sister, “I have an agent”. Now we have to see the great script, that’s what’s next.
Ashley: Perfect. So Babz you’ve been very generous with your time and I appreciate you coming on the show.
Babz: You’re the best Ashley, you’ve helped us so much. I don’t know where to start, I’m just happy to do this.
Ashley: Thank you.
I’m going to be running another online class called “writing a great second act for your screenplay”. May scripts die quickly in the second act, even after a very promising first act. Having a terrific second act is what separates the novice writers from the professionals, so if you’re struggling with your second act hopefully this class can help you. The live class will be Saturday, July 12 at 10 am Pacific Time. Just got to sellingascreenplay.com/classes but if you can’t make it to the live class don’t worry it will be recorded and you can listen to it later on. In fact, all the classes that have been done through SYS select are recorded and are available to SYS members to watch anytime. The two most recent classes are How to make the pages of your screenplay awesome and how to write a killer first act for your screenplay so this class on the second act is following along on that series and SYS select members get access to all the old classes as well as the live classes each month.
To learn more about SYS select just got to sellingascreenplay.com/classes. I also run a general screen running Q and A before each class if you have any screen writing related questions or really any questions at all. I’ll be available to answer those questions before the class starts.
Once again I want to thank screen craft for sponsoring this episode, they are currently accepting submissions for their comedy screenplay contest. They have a great line up of contest, some of the best comedy producers in the business. The deadline for entry is August 1st check out screencraft.org if you have a comedy screenplay you’d like to enter.
In this week’s writing words section I want to talk a bit about Babz talked about. So many writers I’ve talked with asked me how to get an agent and I feel like if you have to ask that question it probably means that your not ready for an agent. One of the things that’s clear from talking to Babz is that there are agents like her who are always looking for new writers and they are willing to read material from new writers but the writing has to stand out. There’s really never been a time when getting access to the industry has been so easy. Obviously I have my own email and fax blast service which I think is great and it has worked wonders for me but I talked about a lot of the other services on this podcast to ink tip, the blacklist, specs scout. Getting people to read your material has really never been easier. There’s a ton of services out there but at some point someone has to read your script and think it’s pretty damn good and the best way that I know of to make that happen is by sitting at your desk day after day and writing a ton of screenplays. It can take years to get to the point where you have a solid, marketable screenplay and no one is going to pay you to write those first terrible scripts, you’ve got to push through those on your own. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at scripts from new writers and within a page or two I can tell the writer simply hasn’t put in the time and isn’t even close to being a professional so don’t let that be you. Spend some time mastering the craft. Obviously I think marketing is important and often overlooked but don’t forget to write a good script too.
That’s the show thanks for listening.