This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 081: David Garrett Talks About The Importance Of Relationships To A Screenwriter And How To Make Those Relationships.
Ashley: Welcome to Episode 81 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger over at sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing David Garrett. He’s a writer and producer, and a lawyer. He’s written such films as Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and Corky Romano. He’s a real hustler and we talk in-depth about how he sold many of his projects. And for the most part, all of these sales came without the benefit of an agent. So, if you’re a writer without an agent, you’re definitely not going to want to miss this episode. Because he goes into some real solid detail about how he got his scripts sold just really through sheer hustle. So stay tuned for that.
If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes, or leaving a comment on Youtube, or re-tweeting the podcast on Twitter, or liking it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast so they’re very much appreciated.
A couple of quick notes, any websites or links I will 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 the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcasts and then just look for episode number 81. If you want my free guide ‘How to Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks’, you can pick that up by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free. You 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. How to write a professional log line and query letter, how to find agents, and managers, and producers who are looking for material. Really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
Just want to mention two things that I’m doing at selling your screenplay to help screenwriters get their scripts into the hands of producers and sell their screenplays. First, we’ve created a monthly newsletter that will be sent directly to producers. Every member of SYS Select can submit one log line per newsletter. This can be a feature film log line, it can be a television pilot log line, whatever you’re working on. I went and emailed my large list of producers and asked them if they would like to receive this monthly newsletter of pitches. So far we have well over 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 producers who are looking for scripts, sign up at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select.
And secondly, we’re now fielding leads from producers for screenwriters. We’re doing a lot of outreach by trying to bring in requests from producers for screenwriters. Last week, I think we had more than 8 paid screenwriting leads. So, this is just a great way, again, to find producers who are actually looking for material. Again, these leads are from producers who are requesting material. They’re coming to us and they’re saying, “I need a script like this.” Some of them are very, very specific. They need a specific genre, they need a specific script for a specific actor or actress. So these leads are very, very specific. You may not be able to submit to every one of them but, in some ways, that’s the good news because they’re so specific. A lot of other writers are not going to have a script that fits their needs. So when you find one that actually fits their needs, they only may have, you know, eight or ten script submissions. So your chances of actually getting read and getting you know, seriously considered are quite good because these leads are specific. And part of my whole strategy as you know, if you listen to this podcast, is writing a lot of material. So hopefully, you have three, four, five, maybe even eight or ten scripts that you’re out there selling. So no matter what someone is looking for, you will hopefully have something that might come close to fitting their needs.
Again, these are leads from producers seeking material. They’re very, very specific. And if you have the right script, it’s a great way to get that script into the hands of someone who is really looking for something like exactly what you have.
So if you want to sign up for this service, again, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select. Again, that’s www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select.
So now let’s get into the main segment. Today, I’m interviewing David Garrett. Here is the interview:
[START OF INTERVIEW]
Ashley: Welcome David, to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show.
David: Thanks for having me!
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can take us back to your childhood, to college, and kind of just bring us through to those decisions and things that happened in your life that led you to becoming a professional screenwriter.
David: Hm. I do remember even in first grade or second grade, we would get these assignments where we would have to read a book and do a synopsis of the book. Sort of write down and answer questions about it. But instead of doing that, I would write these long, elaborate stories on my big sheet tablet, like fifteen pages, and they would be very inappropriate for my age because they would be about monsters killing people and gargoyles and things like that. And I just remembered the teacher saying, “You know what, if you want to be a writer, just go write things. But this is school. You need to learn. This is not the place to learn how to write stories.” And so I was “Oh well, I like writing stories.” So, that’s how I got into it.
Ashley: And at what point did you start to say “Gee, this could legitimately be a career”?
David: well, it’s funny because, I’m from Texas and people are very practical there. And I think a lot of people come from, back people say “Well, you know what, Hollywood, that’s just a place for highfalutin and people who are different.” Nobody wants to hear what a kid from Texas has to say or what you have to write. So you have to, wherever anybody’s from, somebody might be from Ohio, they might be from wherever, and everyone there is going to tell you, “You know what, just leave that to the professionals out in Hollywood writing. You don’t need to do that. Get yourself a normal job and settle down and that.” And so, I had to fight my way out of that. Because a lot of people told me that. And then that sort of made me more anxious to get out here, to try and make it. And what actually got me out here, it was sort of funny because I graduated from college and my brother was a pilot. And when you’re a pilot, you get a job [gap 6:37-6:42] tomorrow, for the assignment. And my brother came in and I literally graduated from college five minutes before. And my brother said, “Hey, I just got a job in L.A. flying planes. You want to go move out there with me?” And I was like, “Sure.” So I jumped in the car, packed one suitcase, and just came out here.
Ashley: Huh. And at that point you had no aspirations to be a screenwriter?
David: I thought about it. It was one of those things that I.. tangible. I thought, “Well maybe. I knew people who movies and I knew that I liked movies. I didn’t think that there was a connection between me writing movies and actually being able to make a living doing it.
Ashley: And so what was your major in college?
Ashley: Okay, okay. That’s a good business decision, you went to Hollywood. So the bottom line though is you didn’t know anybody in Hollywood and you had not read or even read any script, much less written any scripts.
David: Exactly. But I knew I wanted to do something in Hollywood. I got here. I thought it was a sign, you know, I have to wait it out here. I started taking acting classes at UCLA Extension. Then I went by UCLA, I was in the campus, I went by the Law School and I picked up an application, and I actually took the LSAT. I applied to Law School at UCLA. I figured, “Well. I’m out here, I might as well see if I can get into Grad School.” But I knew I couldn’t get into the film school because I didn’t have any film undergrad. But I got into the Law School. And so, in a strange, weird, weird way, it helped me. Because I learned entertainment law, the business of entertainment before I started screenwriting.
Ashley: Huh. So did you actually graduate with a law degree and practiced as a lawyer?
David: Yes. I graduated from UCLA. I passed the bar. I started working in business affairs. You know, business affairs is that part of the legal business where you negotiate contracts for writers or for companies. I started working at a company called National Lampoon. And it was sort of a small production company. It was in the 90s. It came out, they did Animal House and all of the big movies in the 70s. But it’s sort of fallen on hard times. And I started writing because I was doing the deals for the scripts they were buying. And I was reading the scripts and I was like, “You guys are paying money for this piece of shit?” I was like “I could write a script better than this!” And so I started talking to the interns and the other kids around there and I said, “Hey, I know we could write a better script than this.” So I sat down with one of the interns there, and we wrote a screenplay, and we ended up selling it.
Ashley: Huh. Okay, so take us through that process. I mean obviously, having a legal background, that probably gives a lot of the business savvy to go out there and you probably were making contacts. But just take us through that process. So now you’ve written a script, and how did you actually go about selling it?
David: Well, the way you go about selling it, it’s different if you live here, it’s different than if you’re not from here. And also, social media makes things a lot easier now. Back in 1994, when you wanted to sell a script, you literally every night, have to go out to a bar or to a party and meet people. And at that point, what you would want to do is you want to meet agent’s assistants. You couldn’t really meet agents, but you’d meet their assistants. And the assistants are hungry to get new material and they want to make their way and find a new, hot writer. And so what I did is, I wrote this for a script with my friend Brian. We started just talking to everybody we knew saying, “We have a new screenplay.” And one of our friends was an assistant to a director. Another one was an intern at a production company. We xeroxed our script for a bunch of people to read. And we got three or four people interested. Three or four production companies called us after reading it. And then a couple made offers on it.
Ashley: Okay. And so what ended up ultimately happening with that script?
David: The script, it’s still kicking around, they bought it, it was funny. It never got made. It was about a.. It’s called Rubenesque. It’s about a fat woman who goes back in time and becomes a supermodel. She goes back in time, you remember in 1600 when being fat was like the hot thing? And if you were fat, the fat women on paintings, the naked, fat women, that Rubens painted. So it was sort of our take on beauty, because if you were, back then if you look like Giselle Bundchen, if you were tall, thin, and tanned, that meant you were servant, you worked out in the fields. You were thin because you couldn’t afford food, you were tanned because you were outside. And so if you were pasty, fat, and very like that, then that meant you were hot. You were super hot. So it was the story of a supermodel and her fat assistant, who go back in time and they switch roles. So it was a switch-type movie and it just never came to fruition. But I still, even recently, the producer, I spoke to the producer of the people interested. You never know. Twenty years later, stuff can still happen.
Ashley: Yea, yeah, yeah. Okay. So you had a leg up, being a lawyer negotiating the contract. Did you negotiate that contract or did you at that point try and get an agent-manager, maybe take us through those actual steps. What happened as you got through that first sale?
David: Okay. Well, it’s.. And once again, being out here in L.A. is different than if you’re elsewhere. Being out here was.. Literally when I moved out here I’m not a party person. But every night, I would go out to bars, go to parties. You just have to meet people. You have to meet as many people as you can. I’m trying to think of who I met, actually, I met a guy who was an agent’s assistant. And then he got bumped up to being an agent. And I went to him and just said “Hey can you work on this deal? Help us with this deal?” It’s very important that you, sort of as a writer, you figure out, be realistic about how you want to approach your career. It’s interesting with me, because I wasn’t, there’s certain types of writers who, you know, they lock themselves in a basement, and they write their script. And they don’t leave six months. There are artists and no one’s going to change a word on my script. That sort of writer, I’ve never even been that sort of writer. I’ve been sort of the writer, the realistic sort of producer-type writer that I know. I’ve got to get out there and bust my ass, and market my scripts. Because I promise you, the best idea on the planet, and I’ve done this before, this is the most unique idea on the planet. Walk in the pitch, and the executive says, “You know what, look over in that shelf. There’s five scripts by five different writers; the exact same idea.” And so, you can’t sort of, you can’t count on the uniqueness of your idea selling it because it’s probably not that as unique as you think it is going to be. So you have to find a way to present it. You have to find a way to anticipate the market, sort of make sure things are timely, and make sure they’re not chasing a trend. Its [inaudible 14:48 – 14:51] on a, on like a raging river, rapid.. something sold.
Ashley: Mmhm. So you had this friend who goes from a junior agent to a full agent. Did he then become your full-on agent and start getting more work, getting your scripts out there?
David: Oh yeah. It was a guy named Phil Raskin who’s now at William Morris. He was an assistant. And I just knew him socially thru friends and when that agency started, he called me and said, “Hey I’m now an agent in Endeavor. Do you have any projects?” And we brought him over the script and then he helped us get it going. And that’s sort of the way, it’s weird, unless you’re out here sort of day-to-day doing it, you don’t realize it’s all about relationships out here. And relationships that take some time, years, to develop. Me as, now, I’ve been doing this a while. I’ve mentored younger writers and sort of helped them because from my, when you first start, you’re the new, hip, young, hot writer. And then you’re in the game for a while, then you’re sort of the mid-level guy who’s been around a while. After that, you’re the guy who’s been around [inaudible 16:15 – 16:21] nominations, and you’re sort of half of it. And so then, now, what I do is I team up with younger writers, to keep me relevant, and to help them. And it’s sort of, it’s just all about just recognizing [gap 16:35 – 16:39] much as the creative part of it. Does that make sense?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Sure sure. So let’s keep the story going. So okay, then you have this agent, you sold the one script. What does the career look like? I think a lot of people, especially when they’re starting out, “Man, once I get that first sale, it’s just off to the moon.” And I find, with a lot of writers is, you get that first sale and things can kind of level out or they don’t go up nearly as quickly as a lot of people might think. So take us through sort of the next step, what was the next phase of your career?
David: Well, it took me three or four years to sell that screenplay. I literally, it’s the first completed screenplay I’ve ever written, but I wrote it with a guy who is really a great writer. And so he taught me everything, writing, so he gave me lessons. And I was like, “Oh wow, this is easy. You write a script and then you have three different companies bidding on it? Wow.” So it took me about four years to sell another script but in the meantime I was working, doing a lot of TV, and doing every type of gig I can get at. Gigs other people would turn down. Writing wrestling, writing reality shows back when it wasn’t cool to do reality shows. And just learning the business and keeping, that’s sort of the trick out here, you have to stay in the game, you have to stay relevant. Because you can’t force things. You can’t force a good idea. You can’t force the market. Like for example, I have a friend who, he’s a guy who went to prison when he was eighteen. He was an ex-con. All he writes are hard-hitting sort of, tough, hard-boiled crime characters. Underground crime guys. And so for ten years he couldn’t really get work. He taught college classes. And then all of a sudden, Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, starts happening. And then he starts working a lot on all of those shows. Because that’s his style of writing. You know? He had no jobs for nine years because it was all about sit-coms. And in the early 2000s it was reality shows. And then all of a sudden he’s on Sons of Anarchy, all these shows. So you’ve got to stay in the game, figure what it is you’d like to do, and then take advantage of things as they happen. Take advantage of opportunities.
Ashley: You mentioned some of these TV work you were doing, writing wrestling and this kind of stuff. Maybe you can tell us a little bit sort of how you got those gigs. Was that just a function of having a good agent who was getting you in touch with those producers and getting you hired?
David: 99 out 100 times, the jobs you get are your own doing. Not agents. Because agents sort of, you have to consider the stuff they’re getting is, everybody in town’s sharing it. The way that you get a job is just by getting out there. Here’s a great example. A friend of mine saw an ad in Craigslist. It said, this is about two years ago, it said a new show needed someone to do their social networking stuff. Twitter, Facebook, whatever, and it said low pay. So he applied for it and he started doing the show. I’m not, I wont say the name but it’s a syndicated comedy show. He started doing their Twitter and Facebook stuff. And they said, “You know, you’re pretty funny. Why don’t you come in and write some jokes for the host?” so he started writing stuff for the host. The network, as they were watching the rough cuts, they heard him behind the camera pitching out the jokes. And they said, “The guy behind the camera is funnier than the host. Bring him in.” So they put him on camera as one of the hosts. And then the next year, he got higher to executive producer of the show. And that’s, stuff happens. It’s just, you have to just be there, and you have to do your part, have a great attitude. And people will come to you with jobs if you’re here. And that’s, it’s completely different, you know? It’s frustrating because is ay if you’re here. Well, here is New York, or L.A., or wherever the jobs are. If you’re not here then you have to approach your career in a completely different way. You have to approach it as the outsider. And you’ve got to not just write screenplays, but you’ve got to do a blog, you’ve got to write a novel and publish it yourself. So you have IP because you don’t have the opportunity just to go day by day, and do jobs, and meet people. Does that make sense?
Ashley: Sure, sure. So maybe we can dive into some of these specifics, and you can kind of talk about how you got this specific job. So, I mean on IMDb, let’s just start with the first credit that you have. It’s called Family Challenge. It’s a TV series. I think this will be interesting. I get a lot of people asking about TV, and you’re laughing at the assignment. But I’m sure there’s a lot of people listening to this that would kill just to get that professional credit. So, maybe take us through something like that. Exactly how..
David: I will. Speaking of killing, that show was so bad that the host killed himself at the end of the run of the show. And you can look that up. His name is Ray Combs. It was kind of sad. The way that I sold that show, it’s, I was working as a lawyer at a production company. And I was super desperate to get out of there because I didn’t like the legal work. And producers would always come in and be pitching. And so I literally, after they pitched because I wasn’t allowed in the meetings, I would chase them down into the elevator and go “Hey, I know you just had a meeting here. But I’m a writer also, and I was wondering if you were looking for any more projects?” I would do that every day, I would look at the president’s little calendar and then I would follow them. And it just so happened, one guy I ran into was a producer at ABC. He said, “Yeah well ABC’s looking for a family game show. If you can come up with some ideas.” I said “Well what are the parameters?” He said, “Well, ABC.” And so my writing partner and I, that night, sat down and we wrote out a ten page outline for this show. And we faxed it to him. And he called us the next morning. He said, “Okay, you guys are crazy. But I liked what you did. I’m faxing it over to ABC.” Then he called about a day later and he said, “Guess what? They want to shoot a pilot of this. ABC does.” And what was without an agent, without anything. It was just because I was just desperate. And so then we shot a pilot of it, and ABC turned it down. But then another channel, it’s the predecessor to Fox to ABC Family was Fox Family. It was one of those called a family channel. They picked it up and did a hundred episodes.
Ashley: Wow. And you never were concerned about just getting fired as a lawyer if your bosses found out that you were..
David: Oh, no. I did quit. After the show got picked up, I quit. So.
Ashley: I had a friend that worked in radio. And he’s one of the sort of the producers of the morning show. And people would come through there. He would pitch them, and they would reprimand him for trying to do that.
David: Oh yeah? Well, you’ve got to know what your goal is, your long-term goal, and sort of, if you have fear, this is not a good business for fear. People with fear. Because if you do, you’re going to get stuck. Because everyone’s going to tell you you can’t do it along the way. And you can’t do that and don’t go talk to that guy, or do anything. I’m just the opposite. I will go and talk to whoever and just sort of introduce myself, not in a stalkery sort of way, but in a business-like way. And that’s another thing is you have to do your homework, as a writer. A lot of writers are now, are sort of clueless, and you’re standing there and you’re like, “You know what? That’s the, the producer of Homeland is in the elevator with us. Say something.” Say hi or whatever. Most writers don’t notice it. They’re sort of in their head, complaining about everything, and the person that can get them a job is standing right next to them.
Ashley: Mmhm. Yeah yeah yeah. I want to take a step back, just for one quick moment. Because I know there’s a lot of people listening to this that have other careers, maybe they’re a lawyer, accountant, or whatever. And maybe you can talk about that transition. Obviously you were being very aggressive pursuing screenwriting. But maybe you can talk about that transition. Just some of the fears. I’m sure your family was like, “Gee, you just spent all of this money at a UCLA Law education and now you’re just going to throw it all away and go try this half-baked dumb idea being a screenwriter. So maybe you can speak a little bit to that. Sort of what your thought process was and how much money did you save? How much money.. Did you ever get to the point where you were close to returning to being a lawyer?
David: Well, you know I’ve never really stopped being a lawyer. And that’s something that everyone out there who has a first career has to realize. Use what you do as a first career to help you in your screenwriting career. So, for example, when I was first starting out, I would go to all the comedy clubs, I would talk to the comedians, and I’d get to know them and say, “Hey, if you need any legal help or anything, let me know.” And so a few of the comedians, for example Jamie Kennedy, I met him early on and he actually wrote a book called Wannabe about his first ten years in Hollywood. And you know, Jaime did Malibu’s Most Wanted and a bunch of TV. And part of his chapter in his book is about how I used to represent him when he would do road gigs. But it would literally be when he first started like, okay now Jamie’s going to get three drinks instead of two free drinks and he’s going to get dinner and I noticed that he’s in a motel six, but instead I think he should be in super eight or whatever. But I would do that, and you have to just sort of think about out here rather than, a lot of people think, “What can I get? What can I get from Hollywood? Who can I get to buy my script?” Rather than thinking that way, I think, “What can I give to other people that’s going to help them and elevate them so they can help me?” And for example, Jamie and I have done several TV shows together. And it’s all based on that early, the early relationship where I helped him on some of his gigs. And then when he got his TV show he called me and said, “Hey, you know Warner Brothers wants to do a new TV show. Let’s come up with some ideas and then we pitch them a show. You know, the three seasons of it.”
Ashley: Mmhm. And I wonder, when you’re back in these comedy clubs, was there any kind of filtering process? Like you saw Jamie Kennedy, you said “That guy’s funny. Well let’s get to know him.” You must have gotten to know dozens of comedians that didn’t make it. Take us through your thought process there. I’d be curious to hear. I mean did you see that he was really talented from the early on? And that was why you fostered that relationship?
David: Oh, yeah. I mean, the first time I saw Jamie, I said that guy’s a star. He just knew right when he went up on stage, he just had a different presence than anybody else. And I actually did stand up for several years. I was just really bad. I was not very funny. And the other comedians would come up and go, “You know Dave, I don’t know if you’re caught up doing stand-up, but can I have that joke about blah blah blah.” And they all would, I would write jokes for people even though I wasn’t funny. And then I realized, you know maybe I’m more of a writer than a comedian. But you know, it’s funny because I was watching a documentary and this will make a point. The lead singer of Iron Maiden is named Bruce Dickinson and everybody knows him as the lead singer of Iron Maiden. But he’s also a very successful businessman who owns a company that deals in aviation parts. Because flying around on tour as Iron Maiden, he got interested in planes. And he started flying, and then he started being the pilot when they went on tour. And then he opened up his own aviation company. The thing is, you can do more than one thing. You know Tom Clancy, he was a successful insurance salesman until he wrote his novels. And so I think people have to realize that just ‘cause you.. Don’t think, “Oh I’m trapped in my day job and I’m never going to get out of this.” Think of it as “The fact that I have this day job, I’m making money. That gives me freedom to do what I want to do. I’m blessed to have my job, and that gives me freedom. So now I can write, try to sell my script, and do that.” I don’t know. I forgot where that came from, that was just a side thing I was thinking about.
Ashley: Okay. Yeah yeah yeah. So you’re still practicing law? And you still have clients that you work with as a lawyer?
David: Yeah, yeah. Check my IMDb. You can see. If you check other credits, you’ll see I’m legal production. Legal on a bunch of different films.
Ashley: Huh. Okay.
David: And the reason being is, as a writer, you‘re not always going to make a living. Some years you’re going to do great. Some years you’re going to not do well. And I’ve had both. And so what you have to do is get to think of it as a long-term career, a life-long career as opposed to “I’m going to make all my money. I’m going to make a living writing all the time.” Because it’s just not going to happen. So it’s better to have something to fall back on just to keep you going. And also to keep relationships.
Ashley: Yeah yeah. For sure. Your candor in your story is absolutely, it’s awesome. It’s very, very inspiring. I think people are really going to get a lot out of this. I wonder if we could dig in to a few more of these credits. I mean Jeff Foxworthy show. I mean your story is so great about pitching the guy in the elevator. So maybe you can tell us some of these other great stories for somebody on the credits. How did you get the job on the Jeff Foxworthy show?
David: Foxworhty was interesting because it’s sort of a cattle haul. Tons of writers going in, and they would ask you, “Now why should you, how can you write on this show?” And I knew from other friends who’ve gone in they would say “You know what do you know about Jeff? What do you know about southern humor?” And so before I went in, I had been in Texas, and I got my mom, my mom is this sort of crazy, southern woman. And I said, “Mom, can you tell me a couple of funny stories about growing up in the south?” And one story she told, well first of, Bonnie and Clyde stole her grandparents’ Cadillac in 1934. So that was the story. And then my mom was, I don’t know if she was born yet, but her sister always talks about that. The second story was how my mom used to chase rats around the house with a baseball bat. And so I went in and met with Jeff and Matt and everybody. And they asked me that same question. I said, “Well you know what? I think that my stories are going to, a bunch of great stories but not from me. These are my mom’s stories. I played it a couple of them. And they were dying laughing. And I was like, “You know what? There’s a million of those where that came from.” And they were like, “Great. You’re hired.”
Ashley: Huh. And back it up just a little bit. How did you get in a position where you were brought in on that cattle call?
David: That was after I’d sold the screenplay, I sat down my writing partner and we wrote a bunch of spec pilots. I mean spec TV comedy shows. So back then it wasn’t cool to write a spec pilot. You would have to write your Seinfeld and write your whatever. So we just wrote a bunch of half-hour specs and we sent them to a bunch of show runners. Just sort of got addresses and sent them out. And people would read them. And then you know, just keep getting random calls. “Hey. Come in and interview for this.”
Ashley: Was it like your agent, you would get the address and packaging but your agent would make the submission? Because you always get that “We won’t take this unless you have your agent submit it.”
David: Yeah, I can’t remember specifically, but I never really go by that “We don’t take unsolicited submissions things.” Because you just have to sort of, if you approached people in the right way, you’re going to get someone to read it. So for example, say someone has a screenplay. What I would do is I would take my screenplay and I would pick the ten production companies or fifteen that would do this movie. And the way to do that is watch movies that are similar to this, see the production company at the beginning. A blank blank production. So and so productions. Then go on IMDb, look up that company, and find the lowest person at the company. You know there’s president, VP, director of element, creative person, and then assistant to the assistant. And I’ve done this before. Find the lowest person and call that person up and say, “I know you guys probably don’t take unsolicited submissions, but I just want to see if you would take a look at my script?” Sometimes, I’ll do this think like, “You know what, I’m in a screenwriting at blank school or I’m taking this course and part of my assignment is I have to interview three executives at production companies. Now can I interview you?” And then you interview them, get to know them and say, “I’m not going to pitch anything. I just want to interview you. I want to ask you eight questions about being an executive.” You do that. They love to talk about themselves. Everybody does. Then you do your report, in a month later you go back, “I really appreciate it. I got an A on my report. I’m not going to bother you now about my script. But in the future if I have a script, could I send it to you?” Then that. And then you know, a month later you say, “hey I finally got that script finished. You want to look at it?” I mean that’s how you do it. You just have to sort of, you have to build a relationship with someone any way you can
Ashley: Yeah yeah. How many, so now you’ve been at this for twenty years, how many, in your roll of decks, how many of these relationships do you have? Like if you were to finish a new spec or a new pilot for a TV show, how many people would you have that you could pick up the phone and call and really know you and get it out to?
David: I have a lot. But everyone shuffles around and shuts around. So the person you know in one company could be gone next week. So you just have to sort of, try to keep in touch with people. What I try to do, it’s funny because people kind of know me as a screenwriter. But also whenever anybody has a problem, they call me. And I don’t why but, like people know, if I have a problem, like a guy called me and said, “You know I really need to, I need to get an immigration attorney because I have to go to Canada and blah blah blah. And everybody knows that I know how to solve problems. So they call me. And it’s funny. That’s how I get more jobs than submitting things. Because everyone calls me up and “Hey blah blah blah” and then you do favors for people, and then they will later on remember you and they’ll say, “Okay well you know, they help me out.” And I don’t know many names but for example, there’s a kid who was an assistant at a studio and he got fired from his job. And I called him and said, “Hey man, I’m really concerned about you. I haven’t heard from you in a while. Are you doing okay?” And he was like, “You know what, you’re the only person who’s called to check on me since I got fired. No one really cares.” Since I can’t do anything for him anymore. I was like “Well you know what, dud you let me know. I’m looking out for jobs.” And as it turned out, it’s five years later and he’s produced a ton of movies. And he always calls me and says, “Hey what are you doing? Want to come in and do a re-write? You want to come do a punch-up on a movie?” And things like that. Just because I was sort of, I didn’t just look at him as like “This is the guy I’m looking to get me a job.” I actually genuinely was concerned about him as a human.
Ashley: Mmhm. Now that is just absolute great advice. Okay, so take us through like some of your feature work. Just scanning your IMDb page, was Corky Romano your first script that you wrote and sold? And as a feature, was that the first feature that got produced?
David: Yes. And so that’s a great story because my writing partner and I, we couldn’t get a job. We were literally, completely, just unemployable for a year. And we’d worked on some really crappy TV shows. The lowest rated shows on TV. And then we even got fired for those shows. And so we decided, if we’re going to leave Hollywood, we’re going to go out in a bang. So we decided, “Let’s make the most offensive short film we can make and send it to everybody in town and see what happens. And so we made this short film. It was seven minutes long and it was called Sunday’s Game. And it was about these five old women who get together every Sunday and play Russian roulette. And throughout the course of the short film, they all kill themselves. I guess it was also sort of part of our frustration. We were trying to make something that would piss everybody of. And so we’d literally made hundreds of copies and sent it to everybody in town. And we’re like, “Okay, well I guess our careers are done.” And then all of a sudden we started getting calls from people wanting to hire us for things. And you can go online and still see it. It’s called Sunday’s Game. We got a deal at Fox to do two pilots based on it. And then we got a deal on Disney. We got a deal at Disney. They called us and they wanted to do, us to pitch stuff. We didn’t get a deal. We just got a call to go pitch something. And we knew they wanted to do something that’s Chris Kattan. And so we just said ok. What are the ten most unlikely situations Chris Kattan, as a person and as a character, would be in? We were going down the line. Well, we would think of different things. And then we started laughing. We thought about the movie Donnie Brasco, ‘cause I think we’d just seen that where the FBI sends someone undercover in the mob. And we’re like, “Why doesn’t the mob send somebody undercover in the FBI?” And we started laughing about that. And we said, “Well you know the worst possible place for Chris Kattan to ever be would be the FBI. And so that’s how we came up with the idea. We just said, “Okay, Chris Kattan undercover in the FBI.” And that’s sort of where the idea came from. And the reason that we sold it and it got made was there was this actor strike being threatened. There’s always a strike being threatened. And I guess that year, August 15th was the last day before the strike. And so all the studios were trying to make their movies really fast. And so they were like, “Okay, we’re going to buy this pitch from you. But you guys, if you don’t write..” They bought five pitches for Chris. And they said, “Whoever finished their script first, and it’s the best script, we’re going to make that movie.” And so, my writing partner and I, we checked into the motel six in Carpinteria, which is north of L.A.. We had somebody drop us off without car keys or anything, as long as we finished the script. And so we wrote the script in like ten days, we sent it to the studio and they greenlight it. And what happened is they, we started it May 15th, they [inaudible 42:13] June 1st, they started shooting July 1st, and then they finished August 14th. And so that’s how the movie got made. But it was all, I can trace back to the making that short film got everbody to notice us.
Ashley: Yeah yeah. And maybe you could just elaborate a little bit. You said you made the short film Sunday’s Game and then you sent it out, what exactly does sent it out mean? Did you just go on IMDb and pick random people? Did you have a rolldex of people you already knew? So they were watching it and they kind of had some context?
David: It’s a combination. We went on IMDb and sent it to some people we wanted to work with. Like we even sent it to David Lynch. We sent it to some strange, you know, sort of people. We just sent it out to a lot of people we wanted to work with and sent it to people we had worked with. And we just put our phone number on it. The funniest thing about it was we would get these horrendous messages like, “I just watched your film and it’s the worst, most evil film I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I feel sick to my stomach. But I was wondering, could I get four more copies? Because I want to send it out to a couple of friends.” And this was back when we sent it out on a VHS. It was 1999, it was VHS all the way.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, again, just to be absolutely clear, you literally put a phone number in there? You didn’t put your names? So even the people you knew, they didn’t know who this was coming from. They didn’t know credits that identified you?
David: In the film, it had our names. But we just put Sunday’s Game and we put our phone number. Because we didn’t want people to know our names or anything until they watched the movie. Because the thing about the movie was, it’s seven minutes long, but the first four minutes are boring as shit. It’s just five old women talking about playing bridge and going to the grocery store. And so a lot of people watched three minutes and go, “I don’t understand this movie.” At five minutes the women all start shooting themselves. It was sort of a, it was a test to see if people actually watched it, or if they would watch it. You got to check it out because I know NYU film school actually includes it in their curriculum.
Ashley: Okay, I’ll definitely dig it up on Youtube and I will link it to the show notes so that people can find it. I’ll definitely take a look at that. so I wonder, taking a step back sort of maybe it’s a more philosophical question, but do you see, after working in the industry for a while, like what does separate those guys that are at sort of the top of the pinnacle, essentially the A-list writers that, I always say, you really haven’t made it until you have enough money in the bank to live for the rest of your life and never work again. Those are really only people that have truly made it. But there are definitely some writers that reach those pinnacles. And do you think they are born with more talent? Do you think they get a little bit more luckier? Where is that mix for those guys?
David: I mean, I think it’s a combination. It’s a combination of talent and luck. Because you don’t know you write a script or you make a movie if it’s going to be a big hit. But, if it is a big hit, and you’ve got your head on staright, you’ve got a little bit of talent. You can parlay that into another gig and if that’s a hit, you can keep doing it. You’ve got to just be persistent, because I know people that I started out with, some are super A-level showrunners, and some people quit the business ten years ago and left town. And when I say that the top-level guys have more talent than the low-level guy, the guys that left, I couldn’t say that. But I can say that there’s a certain combination of talent and perseverance and personality that will get you there. And it’s the little things, it sounds dumb, but I had a friend who worked on sitcoms with me. And he was a good laugher. And when we would have run-throughs on stage, he would be out there and he would laugh really loud at the jokes. And he was just a writer’s assistant. And pretty soon, the producers started putting him at the front, to laugh. And pretty soon they were like, “You know what, he’s supposed to be writing. He’s a writer’s assistant.” And so he’d literally, because he had a good laugh and a great attitude, he worked his way up to becoming an executive producer in a short amount of time. It’s that intangible thing that gets people to notice you.
Ashley: I mean, you mentioned like seeing Jamie Kennedy early on in his career and you felt like there was definitely some sort of a magic to him, he stood out amongst these other comedians. And I guess that’s what I’m getting at. Do you feel like, in all these writers you said who packed up and left town, is there anybody that stands out that you say, “Man that guy just really was talented. But for whatever reason he never made it.” and maybe even vice versa. Someone who’s like, “That guy’s very talented, he’s going to make it. And sure enough he does.
David: Well, a lot of people, I know people who are talented but they short-circuit themselves. They do drugs or alcohol, or just simply bad attitude. You have to, if you look at my IMDb, if you look at my Razzie nominations, you’ll see I’ve had ups and downs in my career. But I’m really not a different person when I’m up or when I’m down. But if you let those ups and downs affect you to the point where it changes your personality, then you’re in trouble because when you’re down here, you’re really down. When things are bad and nobody wants you, it’s a really bad feeling and it’s a tough town to be in. so if you don’t have a good attitude, you’re screwed. I mean, it just, you’re going to be miserable. And some people are miserable when they’re doing well.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And I wonder, if that’s the person, I wonder if you get on to the actual work and you would look at that. I mean obviously at this point you’ve got a long list of shows you’ve worked on. Movies you’ve worked on. Was there any sense with the ones that maybe were, you even described that first show as terrible, is there a sense when you’re doing the work that you know the show is terrible and unsellable? Or is there sort of mystery? Because you’re talking about, you know sometimes you have a hit and you don’t really know why. Is there a sense on these projects when you’re working on them that “You know I think this is actually pretty good. It’s got a shot and this things headed for the Razzies”?
David: Uhm. Yeah, you can sort of tell sometimes. It’s frustrating as a writer, it’s frustrating. When you’re sitting on a set and I don’t want to name names or even movies, but when you’re on a set, you have a script you really like and then you realize the director doesn’t get the jokes. And the director is sort of, you know, he’s shooting the set up but then leaving out the punchline. He’s changing the script to take out everything that’s funny because he just doesn’t get the humor. And it’s frustrating. And you’re like, “This is going to be a disaster. But maybe he knows what he’s doing. Everyone tells me he’s a great director because he directed a Skittles commercial or whatever.” But then it turns out you were right. And you’re like, “Okay, am I the only one that thought it sucked?” It’s a weird situation to be in because so many people out here telling you, “No no no no. Trust us. Trust us. Trust us.”
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So one question that occurred to me as you were talking earlier on. I just want to ask, what you’ve done, as I said this has been a great interview, it’s inspiring to the writers. Because I get so many people email me, “Hey man, how do I get an agent?” And I was like, “Listen. It’s not going to be that easy even if you get an agent. They think that, I got to get the agent.” And has your agent sold anything for you?
David: I’ve had several agents, and it’s funny because getting an agent, writers should not focus on that. Don’t even worry about it. When you need an agent, you’ll get an agent. They’ll show up when you sell a project to get their 10%. Some agents have got me jobs. However, if you want to have a career out here, it’s all about you inventing yourself. Inventing your persona, creating relationships, and creating bridges to people and to companies that will create your own jobs. When an agent, when they get open assignments a thing, and they see there’s an open writing assignment at Dreamworks. There’s fifty people or more are being submitted for that job. It’s very difficult for you to get that job. The way you’re going to get a job is if you develop relationships. And you can do that by going to film festivals. I know more people who’ve gotten jobs at the Austin Film Festival than they’ve gotten jobs out here in L.A. just hanging out. Because in Austin, Shane Black goes and hangs out there. Top agents go there. Top managers go there looking for undiscovered talent. So if you go there and you hang out at the Driskill Hotel lobby, you’re as likely to meet an agent or an agent’s assistant than if you come out to L.A. That’s my advice for, don’t worry about getting an agent, but what I would do is submit to film festivals, go to film festivals, and just start talking to people. Just start talking to producers and get to know as many people as you can and let them do the work for you out here, since you are not out here.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. For sure. For sure. So as I said Dave, this has been a great interview. I mean, we can go on for hours, I do want to wrap it up. You’ve been very generous with your time. I always like to just end the interview with asking is there some way for people to keep up with you? If you have a Twitter account, you can mention your Twitter handle. If you’re on Facebook, just something, anything you’re comfortable sharing where people can kind of you know, just reach out and follow you and keep up with what you’re doing.
David: Sure. My Twitter is @DavidCGarrett. Pretty easy. And then I have a blog at Screen Writing Magazine but I have to [ gap 53:17 – 53:22] exactly the URL. Scriptmag.com David Garrett.
Ashley: You’re one of the writers on Scriptmag?
Ashley: Okay that’s perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. So I will gather all that stuff and I’ll put it on the show notes and the link to it. as I said, it’s been a great interview, it’s been inspiring for me just to hear someone out there. You have a lot of hustle and your success is not by accident. So well done.
David: Thank you. Thank you. And I like your podcast. Thanks for having me on.
Ashley: Thank you man. We’ll be in touch.
David: Okay, good.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
Ashley: A quick plug for the SYS screenwriting analysis service. It’s a really economical way to get high quality professional evaluation of your screenplay. When you buy our 3-pack, you get evaluations at just $67 per script for feature films. Or just $55 for teleplays. All the readers have years of professional experience reading for studios, production companies, contests, and agencies. You can read a short bio of each reader on our website. And you can pick a reader who 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: concept, character, structure, marketability, tone, and overall craft which includes formatting, spelling, and grammar. Every script will get a grade of pass, consider, or recommend, which should help you roughly understand where your script might rank if you were to submit it to a production company or agency. We provide analysis on feature films and television scripts and we also do proof-reading. So if you don’t want an analysis but you would like a professional reader to give you notes on just purely the typos, the spelling issues, the formatting issues, we do offer that as a service as well. As a bonus, if your script gets a recommend from a reader, you get a free email and fax blast to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same blast service I use myself to promote my own script. And it’s the same service I sell on my website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of lots of producers who are looking for materials. So, if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out, www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.
So, just a quick note, last week in the podcast I mentioned that this week I was going to be interviewing screenwriter Alan Trezza who wrote a film called Burying the Ex. The film is actually going to be released on video on demand in late July. So the producers asked if I could push that podcast episode back a couple of weeks. Which obviously I’m happy to do. So I pushed that episode back to July 27th. So I’ve already recorded it. And I recorded it probably three to four weeks ago. So it’s in the can and it’s definitely going to come out in a couple of weeks. But then again, we’ll just go try and time that release of the podcast to the release of the film. Hopefully it can help promote the film a little bit. and so, keep an eye out for that episode on July 27th. Again as I mentioned last week, it’s a pretty interesting interview. This guy Alan, he’s a guy much like David from today. He’s a guy who is a real hustler and really put this film on his shoulders and did a lot of the producing, got the director attached, and really carried it across the finish line. And he talks about that whole story, really how he wrote the script, sent it out, and ultimately helped to get the thing produced. So keep an eye out for that episode. Again I think that’s going to be July 27th, late in this month.
So to wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with David. There was a lot of great take-aways from this, but as I was thinking about the interview, some of the great take-aways, the great things he said, I just jotted down a couple of notes. I’m just going to touch on a few of those. I think there was just a lot of great information on this interview.
One of the things I think was really interesting and I encounter this all the time myself is, you know he made the comment about original ideas and just you know, just being in an office of an agent and they just got a stack full of super original scripts just sitting on the shelf. And I think that’s one thing that newer writers, especially newer writers really fail to comprehend, is that the idea that you think is so, super original, and so marketable and you show it to your friends. “Oh that would make a great movie.” And it’s like they just don’t realize the volume of people out here who all have creative original ideas. I mean, the smartest, most creative people on the planet are trying to do this. They’re out here in Hollywood. Literally it’s the smartest, most creative people out of the six billion people on the planet, a high percentage of the really smart ad creative people are here trying to do this as well. So it’s like, there’s just so many great ideas floating around there. There are so many great original concepts that people have. And newer screenwriters, they so often over-value these ideas. And that’s not really what’s valuable in Hollywood. A great idea, you want your script to be based on a great idea. Yes. But what’s valuable is a great idea well-executed in a fully flashed out screenplay. That’s actually quite rare. But just to have a great idea, it’s not going to get you that far. And I get a lot of emails from people running, selling a screenplay. I get a lot of emails. People just stumble into my site and they send me emails. “I’m not a screenwriter, I don’t want to be a screenwriter. But I’ve got all these great ideas. How can I sell my great ideas to Hollywood?” And I’ve written a post on this. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But the short answer is there’s no real market for great ideas because there’s tons of great ideas. And again, what’s valuable is a great idea executed well in a screenplay. A fully, flashed out screenplay. That’s what’s valuable. Just having great ideas, I mean there’s just not. First off, the ideas are not usually not nearly as great nor original as this new writer thinks. But even if they are, it’s very difficult just to sell an idea unless you have some sort of a track record or some sort of inside track on studios. You can get neat things on studios and pitch stuff. And I think that’s really worth considering if you’re a new writer is thinking about how are you going to stand out from the crowd? How are you going to differentiate yourself from the other smartest, most creative people on the planet? How are you going to stand out from that crowd? You know I think what David is suggesting, getting a job like what David has a lawyer where you can tie in your writing with your day job. And leveraging your day job to help your screenwriting. I think that’s brilliant. That’s an excellent way to do it. Because you’re not spending time, I guess you could maybe meet someone waiting tables but not really. You know if you’re just working some sort of a day job completely unrelated to the entertainment circle. Completely unrelated to screenwriting, you’re spending eight, nine, ten hours a day doing something that’s not in any way, even subtlely moving your screenwriting career forward. And I think that’s a mistake. I think being strategic like what David has said is having these legal skills. I mean those are always, as long as there is an entertainment industry, there’s going to be a need for those skills. And he’s going to be able to make connections, make relationships. And that’s so important. Frankly it’s not that dissimilar to what I’m doing here at Selling Your Screenplay. Obviously I make a little bit of money thru Selling Your Screenplay, but it’s also subtlely helping me. I wouldn’t even say subtlely. It’s probably less that subtle. It’s really helping me as a screenwriter. I’m meeting a lot of people. I’m interviewing on this podcast. I learn so much just from doing these interviews. So I’m leveraging some of my day job running the Selling Your Screenplay with writing secreenplays and becoming a better screenwriter. Just being on the front lines of doing these interviews, asking the questions that I want to ask. It all is sort of tying together. So I would really urge you to consider that, especially if you’re considering making a big move to Hollywood. You don’t live here and you’re going to move in there. Really think that through. And consider carefully what you’re going to do once you get here. You can work in entertainment. So you can get a job as a production assistant, that’s the lowest job in the entertainment industry. Basically you’re just an assistant to someone and doing whatever errands or odd jobs they want. And those jobs can be good. And you can definitely network with them. But the problem with those jobs is some of them will literally pay $50-$60 a day for a ten to twelve hour day. So you’re working enormously long hours. And you will be paid basically peanuts. So it becomes a very difficult scenario to get yourself in a position where you only have to work seven hours a day and then you can spend a couple of hours every day writing and pushing that into your career. So really consider this carefully. What it is you want to do and how your day job could potentially leverage, you can use it as a leverage to help your screenwriting career. I think if you come out to Hollywood and you think, “Well I’m just smarter than a guy like David. I’m more creative than a guy like David. And that’s going to be the thing that differentiates me from the rest of the pack. Just my raw talent and raw creativity.” I think you’re probably in for a rude awakening. There’s very few people on this planet that just have that much creative talent. I’m not even sure that there’s really anybody. I think most of these people, even the people at the top of the game, I think you would find that they’re pretty hard workers and pretty persistent and they’re doing a lot of networking and the marketing. They’re doing a lot of these other things that David talked about in his interview.
Another thing, I just want to mention quickly in something that he said is, “You know this whole idea of you have to give to get”. And this whole going to the stand-up comedy clubs and approaching stand-up comedians, “Hey do you need some legal help?” That idea of giving to get. And it’s not in just a new-agey karma way. It’s like it’s a real practical way of networking with these people. And again, it’s not unlike what I’m doing somewhat with Selling your Screenplay. I’m getting to know some of these people that I’m interviewing. I’m getting to actually know them and make connections and build relationships with them. So part of this podcast is actually helping my screenwriter career. And I think what David’s doing is similar. Being a lawyer and approaching people and offering to help them out with their legal matters. Again, as long as there is entertainment industry, there’s going to be a big need for lawyers and someone with legal expertise. So he’s got skill set that’s going to be able to help him forever. And I want to really emphasize this idea of giving to get. I get so many emails from people that just, they email me out of the blue. I don’t know them. And it’s all about them. “Hey can you help me sell my script? Hey will you read my script? I just want to know if it’s good enough.” And it’s like, it’s such a turn-off. I don’t mean to sound selfish or like well it should be all about me. But it’s like, it’s such a turn-off to find people that are just takers, they want to just hey how can I help them? What can I do for them? It’s like, it’s just do I have time to just read scripts from somebody I don’t know? And it’s like I feel bad and sometimes I try to help them as much as I can. I have a bunch of gmail pattern responses setup that I can usually pretty quickly give people. Pretty customized answers to their questions no matter how ridiculous or how selfish they are. So I try to help these people as much as I can. It’s just, it’s such a turn-off when someone just approaches you and it’s just all about them and they just want to know how you can help them. And again, this isn’t like some new-age karma thing. I’ve written a podcast, I’ve written a blog post about this as well. And I mentioned this script doctor Eric who is a script analyst. He has his own script writing site. You know, when he first approached me, he just sent me an email. “Hey I like what you’re doing on the blog. I’m a script analyst. If you have a script I’d like to do it for free. Just send me one of your scripts and I’ll give you a free analysis on the screenplay. And he wasn’t asking for anything. He didn’t say “Hey can you pitch my service?” Or “Hey can you recommend people to me? I’ll give you a free analysis.” He just said, “Hey send me one of your scripts. I like what you’re doing. Send me one of your scripts, I’ll do an analysis.” And we’ve become friends over the years. He ended up joining my writers’ group for a while so we got to know each other better through that. You know we’ve talked. I ended up helping him when he did a screenwriting contest. I ended up reading scripts for him and helping him pick the winners for that. So there was just, it was just the beginning of a relationship where we got to know each other. And over time, that built. But it started by him, offering to do something for me with no expectation that there’s going to be a return. And I’m sure he’s done that to other people where he said, “I’ll read the script for free for you.” And nothing came of the relationship. And that’s part of the thing. You can’t get too caught up in that. And just to hammer this point home, the way I met David was I mentioned at the top of the podcast that I’m now doing a newsletter of producers who want to read material. And David is actually, as a producer, he’s a writer and a producer. So as a producer, he was in my list. So what I did was I sent out an email to all of the producers on my list, however many thousand that is. I said, “Listen, I run Selling Your Screenplay, would you like to be on our monthly newsletter pitch where screenwriters can pitch scripts to you. And as I said, I’ve had well over a hundred producers signed up to be in the newsletter. David was on the list when I was approaching him, and then he emailed me back. “I’m not really looking for material. I’m actually a writer myself, so I’m not looking for material. If you ever want someone to come on your podcast and talk, I’d be happy to do it.” And so, again there was no expectation that I’m going to do something for him. But he was just generously offering to help me out. And maybe we will form some sort of a relationship, maybe down the road I can help him in some way. Maybe not. But that’s not really the point to get focused on what you do for me. But just extending yourself and building these relationships, that’s how you build real relationships. Just getting to know people and doing stuff for them. And it’s not always going to pan out, you’re going to do a lot of stuff for selfish people that never repay the favor. And you can’t get hung up on that. You just have to give and continuously to be a giver. And those things will come back. And again, not in a new-agey karma kind of way. I genuinely think they will come back to you. Just because most of the people in the world are reasonable, nice people, if you extend yourself, they will extend themselves back.
So anyways, I did write a blog post on that. I will link to that in the show notes. But really consider that. As I said, David was just not talking when he said, he’s not just talking, like I really saw it in action, he extended himself and hopefully people can track him down. If they get something out of this email, send David an email. Say “I heard you on the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. Thanks for doing it.” Just to extend yourself. And you never know how things can kind of come back to you. And you can get to know these people.
I also think from talking to David, one of ththings that was interesting to me is just what a humbling experience. I mean, he’s like super smart, he’s a real hustler, sounds like a good salesman. He’s out there really trying to make things happen for him. And it’s just, listening to it is a humbling experience for me. Obviously I consider myself a hard worker. I consider myself a hustler too. But I listen to somebody like that and you can look at his IMDb credits, you can look at my IMDb credits, he’s definitely had more success than me. And it’s such a humbling experience here. I mean, how smart he is, how hard he works. And I realized, “I got a lot of work to do, you know, to get to that level. To have a resume as chalkful of success as his. I just listen to him talking and what he’s done in the past and what he does in the future, I realized I got a lot of work to do. And hopefully other people listening to this will feel the same way. And as I said at the beginning of this little talk, it’s not going to be creativity, those are not going to be the things that really get you past someone like David. It’s going to be just pure hustle, it’s going to be persistence, it’s going to be hard work. You’re going to need to be creative, obviously. You’re going to need to be smart. If you’re not smart, if you’re not creative, you’re in the wrong business. But those are not going to be the differentiating. So just listening to him, for me, I just enjoyed this interview so much. As I said, it was such a humbling experience hearing him talk about how hard he’s worked and get the credits that’s he’s had and how much work it’s taken and how much work it continues to take. He continues to hustle and continues to write. So hopefully everybody can listen to that and take that away because this is a great interview to really hear. It’s a screenwriter in the trenches doing what has to be done, this is like the really, this is the lif of a real screenwriter. The majority of people in Hollywood. It’s not the Christopher Nolans or the James Camerons just up there playing at the highest level. The Quentin Tarantino’s writing a brilliant script and going out, that’s a bit seemingly rare. And I hope it happens for you. Good luck to you. But if it doesn’t and you still want to have a career in this, you know you can do it. But it’s going to come down to a lot of hard work and a lot of persistence and a lot of hustle being out there and hustling. That’s really what it’s going to take. And I think David demonstrates that.
Anyway, thanks for listening. That’s our show for today.