This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 091: Lee Jessup Gives Advice For Both Professional And Emerging Screenwriters.
Selling Your Screen Play Podcast #91
(Typewriter Keys Tapping)
Ashley: Welcome to episode #91 of “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers – screenwriter and blogger, over at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m talking with – Screenwriter Career Coach, Lee Jessup. We talk about her book, and we talk through a variety of career strategies for screenwriters at various stages of their careers. There is a lot of great information for screenwriters, no matter what level you’re at, so stay tuned for that.
If you find this episode helpful, please help me out by giving me a review in ITunes. Or leaving me a comment in YouTube, or retweeting the broadcast on Twitter, liking us on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread the word about the Podcast. So they’re very much appreciated.
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 and in case you would rather read the show, or look at something later on. You can find all the Podcast show notes at –
www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast, and then just look for episode #91.
I just want to mention too, a free webinar I’m doing on Wednesday September 30th. I’m basically redoing the webinar I did in August. I had a lot of people who weren’t able to attend, so I’m going to do the exact same webinar again live. It’s called, “How to Effectively Market Your Screenplay and Sell It.” I’m going to go through all the various online channels that are available to screenwriters. And give you my unfiltered opinion of them. I get questions all the time, like, does the “Black List” work? Does “Ink-Tip” work? Which contests should I enter? I’ve played pretty much every marketing game channel available to you, as screenwriters. And I’m going to give you my unfiltered opinion about each one and tell you which ones have worked for me. Again, this webinar is completely free, don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live event. I will be recording this event, so you can sign-up, if you sign-up and can’t attend the event, I will send out a link. So you can listen to the event later on at your leisure. To sign-up just go to –
www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar. And “Free webinar” is all lower case and all one word. I will of course link the webinar in the show notes. So, if you can’t remember all that, just check out episode #91 of the Podcast on – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast.
A quick few words about what I am working on? So, last week I’ve been very, very, busy rewriting the project I wrote the previous week. I mentioned that last week that I wrote this script in a week. Well, now I’m going through and doing rewrites on it. I got onto the set with where they’re going to be shooting. This was valuable, as it allowed me to go, back into the script. I was able to go down to the set. To see what the actual rooms looked like, that we were actually shooting in looked like. And then I was able to go back into the script, and really tighten up the script. And make it so that scenes were written specifically for this location. And that’s going to have a lot of advantages when they start shooting. I hope that, understand though, a lot of the technology takes place in this one big scene in this room. I understand this space, I understand sort of where different people will be in this space. There will be some closets, some hallways, there’s some other rooms. And I can write all that stuff in. And not only is it going to make it easier. It’s going to take really maximize what I am able to use. There goes a desk over here. Oh, there’s a little bunch of seat chairs over here. I was really able to see how corners work. And I was able to see how I am going to write that into the script. I am able to maximize their value, every square inch of the room. Because I was able to see it now, once you write it in. And the same thing for the rest of this set. It’s a big warehouse down in downtown L.A. that they have converted into a movie set. And the main downstairs, this is where this movie takes place. In downtown at a hospital. So they got this very elaborate hospital set, patient rooms and an operating room, and waiting rooms, a pharmacy, hallways. Just a whole bunch of nursing area, nursing station. An area where beds, hospital beds, all this stuff. And an emergency room among all this stuff they had in the first four of this big warehouse like building. So it was really good, I was able to really write this stuff in there. There’s a nice staircase, there’s an elevator, and these things may seem strange? There’s a ER set-up upstairs and there’s a whole bunch of other rooms, there’s a classroom, there’s a police station, there’s some more offices. And again, I was able to get ahold of and look at these things. Write them into these places, there’s a nice big lobby. So all this stuff we’re able to use, once we’re renting the building. We can shoot anywhere in this building. So we’re able to use every single room. And that’s just gonna add production value. If I hadn’t gotten a look at it? I never would have written this police station into the set. But they had a whole big room, like a, like one of those police rooms. Sort a, a police operating room. These guys are sitting at their desks, working on computers. A whole big set-up, it looks pretty good. And I was able to write that in. But I never would have written that in as, if I hadn’t actually seen it. Because it would have been like, gee, define the set? But knowing what sets we had access to. Then I can go back into the script, and really tailor it to what we have. And I think a good example of that is? There’s a few more scenes I had written outside, like a cemetery. And but inside this room is this, like this building they had a coffin. I’m starting to think, you know, we could actually convert one of these rooms into the interior of a funeral home. Instead of the exterior of a cemetery. So it just saved production a lot of money. They’re not going to have to take the whole crew, and go to a cemetery and shoot a whole scene. They’re going to shoot this whole thing, everything’s going to be shot there. There’s a bunch of scenes in the parking lot. I have a good sense of that space. So all that stuff is great. And if you’re writing a low budget feature film. Really doing that, thinking about where you’re actually going to shoot this? And writing for a specific occasion, is very, very important.
A movie I wrote a couple of years ago, called, “Ninja Apocalypse.” Did the same thing, the producers knew the location they wanted or were going to be shooting at. So, we knew what production sets we had. And again, we wrote all those into the script. And it gives the movie a much bigger feel. You know, a much bigger production value, because you got all these different sets. No body that is watching the movie is going to think all these different, completely different sets would exist in one building. But they do, because it’s specifically set-up for that.
So after we were on the set, I was there with the director. We went to lunch we had a nice long meeting about the script. He gave me some good notes. So that’s where I spent the past weekend really; Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Spent the last few days going back over the script, as I said. Tweaking it for a specific production elements and incorporating the director’s notes. I sent him a new draft late last night. So, hopefully he’s ready to go, we’ll see? He seems to be getting the production moving, it seems to be moving forward pretty well. I’m very hopeful that this will get into production soon.
Also, if you listen to this Podcast regularly, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. That I was meeting with just some distributors. I was really, from my perspective. I was meeting with the distributors to try and talk about my own film that I’m producing. But they wanted to talk to me about the things they are working on, which is fine. So they had a couple of ideas that they were kinda bouncing around. And we got to talk, and they called me last week. And I’m going to meet with them again tomorrow. To just specifically talk about one project that they want me to write on. Sounds like we’re pretty much ready go, even though I still have a contract that still needs to be signed. I think, they need this script pretty quickly. And I don’t want to write it out in a week, but a, they need the script in about a month. It’s the middle of September now, and they need it in the middle of October. So it’s gonna be a good clip to write another feature film script. And as I said, I’m right in the middle of the other one. But hopefully that’s going to take throughout this week. And then I can ramp up into this other script from last month. So, that’s what I am working on now, these two writing assignments.
Anyways, let’s a, get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing Lee Jessup, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Lee to this edition of “Selling Your Screenplay – Podcast.” I appreciate you coming back on and talking with me again.
Lee: It’s a pleasure to be back, thanks for having me.
Ashley: So we talked originally, I guess it’s now been a year and a half. It’s episode #14. I asked you a lot of questions, about sort of your beginning career as a screenwriter space. So, if anybody is interested in that? We’ll refer them to episode #14. And then today we’re going to dig into some new stuff. So,
Lee: I’m sorry, episode #14? What’s this?
Ashley: This is a? That’s a really good question? Probably around 90ish, something like that, yeah. I’m sure we’re pretty close to 100. So, when I record the episodes, honestly, it’s kinda a couple of weeks out, so I honestly don’t know what the episode number will be. I think published, it’s like about 86, as time goes on it’ll probably be about 90? So you recently wrote a book called, “Getting it Right.” And I wonder if you could start out by just sort of pitching that book. And telling us, what that book is all about?
Lee: The book is really meant to be a practical guide into the business side of the screen writer’s life. I felt that there wasn’t enough information from the very, very basic, answering questions, building up of a portfolio of work. All that, all the way through to some actual stuff. Partnerships and setting those up. So, I wanted to deliver some, I guess, more information to writers. Hopefully to get them some answers, questions and various answers questions. And the writer with information and understanding of the business and how does it work? That’s the good news and the bad news. I certainly have run into “Hope” my publisher, about wanting to keep it honest. And wanting to keep it realistic. Not wanting to make any false promises about how easy it is? And luckily they are there for me to respect that. So they allowed me to write the honest perspective I don’t have. On what it takes to become a working screenwriter.
Ashley: Yeah, no. It’s a very unique book. As I said in the Emails. I’ve never read anything quite like it. So it’s a good primer for anybody who is thinking about getting into space. I mean, there’s a ton of books on how to write your screenplay. And this is a very unique book on how those were the nuts and bolts of this stuff. You would have had no way of knowing it. If you didn’t work in the business, you would have had no way of knowing this stuff. And the good stuff that would have get you up and. So, let’s just talk about, some of the things. I was reading the book, I wrote down some questions, so? One of the things that came up was a bunch of variety online services for screenwriters. You’re really soup to nuts, and at one point you sort a called them. I think you even called them, “Qualified Services.” And we don’t necessarily have to get into like, the specifics of what services are so called, “Qualified Services.” But I get this question all the time is? Hey, is this service any good? You know, is this service worth doing? And so, how would you sort of arm a screenwriter, in a generic sense? If they are wondering? Should I check out this service? What should they be looking for? And what should they do? To figure out if that is a reputable service? Not even a regular, but a service that might potentially help them?
Lee: Well, I think, first of all, because the help space for screenwriters is so overly saturated. Right, and I’ve see the space grow for six and a half years. More of the luxuries that I have of doing that is? A financier at the time, and so I was allowed to do a lot of market research. And I would sit back and watch the numbers grow. How many cover services are out there? How many competition services are out there? And in just over a year, as specifically as the industry would progress following the recession, all of those things. So I think it’s really important for writers to really figure out what works and what doesn’t, and who’s worth their money? You know, I always crowd source my information. So I always go to my writers. And I’m lucky to have an army of writers that I work with. That I can go back to them and say, what was this person? What was that person’s appearance like? Not everybody has that? You might not believe this? But I have a resource guide, but it’s kinda built up of what I had from where it started in the book. It’s been updated, year over year, so it. If anybody wants that, feel free to Email me – [email protected], I’m more than happy to send it out. So I keep that for myself, as a reference. But really do your research. I find Twitter to be a great resource. I find Swissmags to be a great resource. You know, more than finding one, interview or one offer. Probably what you are looking for. You want to see what is that exact person or services footprint in the industry. Are they active? Are they present, are people engaging with them? Is there general feedback that can forwarded? Can you connect with somebody they are working with? For example, one of our writers was just offered entry into a program that is supposedly started by a branch manager. So he found a way to contact other writers that participate in that program. So, sat them down and say, okay, what is your experience? Truly, was it good, was it bad? It’s truly important to do that research because they’re just? You can start spending money today and not stop until you’re utterly broke. So it’s really important to do comprehensive research, never go off of one thing. But rather see if you can make a composite of information to inform your opinion and your own decision.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure, that’s sound advice. So one of the things you talked about in your team is, or in your book is about writing teams. And sort of a team that a writer would assemble. And I wonder if you would talk about, first off, what that writing team looks like. And then we’ll kind of get into maybe how to actually assemble that team? But, what kind of a team does a writer need as they progress in their career?
Lee: Well, the thought behind that particular perspective, is that in any other skill based profession. Or one has to continue to improve, and their rewards are that the riches in the end. There is a support team in place. If you’re a tennis player, you’re chef, if you are an architect. There are mental therapists, there are teachers. There are, you know, in really every in every scenario. You know, somehow we got dumped, since things have been developed. That philosophy quite as well in the entertainment space, you know, actors certainly have their coaches and their teachers and their mentors. So for me, a writer should always have a story consultant, or a story analyst. Somebody who is, more senses they are, or somebody who is, really understands story, or is a proven voice in that space. Who will always be able to give them sound, reasonable, vetted advice. Understands what they are trying to do, etc… I’m a big believer in classes, so teachers become a part of that team. People that you can refer to later. Your community can become part of that team, if there are writers who are ahead of you. And their careers, who can support you. People like me can become support. Because we are there to provide information support, inside guidance, all of these things. And all of that, can hopefully keep a provider going. Ultimately this is not friends. Getting a career going, is unified years at minimum, most people would say it’s, five to ten. So, you really have to figure out how to survive then, on year seven. And be prolithic and have been motivated and consistent. And be executing, it depends on how you get through the month. Anybody can get through the first month, I promise that. But once rejections starts rolling in? And disappointment, and challenges, and changes, it is an industry that can be hard to return to. How do you feel about that?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So where do the agent and the manager fall into that? That part of that team? At what point do you recommend that?
Lee: Agents and managers will come in on a later date, before 2008, a time where managers they stepped in at an early stage than this in development. The managers, they spend a large time developing their clients into development. Because part of the change in the industry. We were not quite seeing that so much anymore. Such is looking for writers with at least more complete work. It’s very rarely so much anymore. We like the voice and try and get as much work for that voice. People don’t even see it on the page. Very few managers, have the bandwidth. We really develop these parents, without any success either. And under the time itself. Certainly they come in later, but to me agents and managers are effectively the ladders climb that the writer has to satisfy. And them being the writer’s clients I don’t have to be somewhat of a professional façade, a professional face on. In order to keep a relationship steady and powerful and effective for the long term. So, to me a manager and an agent is not the person to have among them. All writers will have not found. It is not the place to take your crappy ideas, that maybe go, but maybe not so much. There is one low client the writer has to satisfy. Ultimately because competition is just so high in the states right now. Everybody has a loaded list, everybody, every agent and manager that I know anyway? Every writer’s competing to get on that agent or that manager list. So, those relationships have to very careful considered and maintained.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And I think it’s interesting what you’re saying. And I think so many writers have this idea, that I just need to get an agent or manager and then things will be golden. And they don’t realize it, exactly what you just said. Hey, getting some wings under you, but before that actually is a big part of that process. And maybe you can talk a little bit about that? What percentage of sort a clients, or even just writers you know? Sell or option or win or have some big successes before they get an agent or manager. Because I think most people, they come into this, the first step is getting an agent or a manager. What percentage would you say sells something before they get an agent or manager?
Lee: Well, I don’t necessarily say, “Sell something” before an agent or manager? But definitely there, for the majority. I mean, I have one writer, who just got signed, literally had one as a success story to his name. And it was a very scary moment, because you got to write it all out with a great script. And you go, “Man, I really hope?” I mean, everybody will be willing to overlook it. And the material was strong enough for that. But I know how rare that is. My writers when they get signed? Oh, other than the one. I’ll have some mutter free to them. So, television follows shed, odd jobs I’ll have one writer who does write sports. A list directors in this town. So, there is someone I think a mission is there, relationship is there. It doesn’t necessarily have to go all the way out for that sale. We are looking for that contest winner, or contest place. To have one of my clients just placed “Top 5” in “Trapping B” and that got a manager. You know, we’re really looking for those types of success stories. In order to get the writer out there. And, you know, we really are in a place where writers don’t understand, is that you get an agent, get a manager. And I am not a big believer in getting a manager for writers. And maybe not a believer in an agent. Not that I don’t believe in them, as people. Just in that stage of a career. What most people don’t understand, is that we get a manager the clock starts ticking. This is the time when you’re going to have to work the hardest. When the feedback, hurts most. Like, you’re going to have to create the up script. You’re going to have to prep for meetings. You’re going to have to consider to impress. I have two clients with the same manager. One is delivering every six months. We reinvest and reinvent fantastic work. The manager is thrilled, and he’s working hard at this. The manager doesn’t see the hard work, right, the manager only sees the work out. He doesn’t see, the conversations about ideas, and content development, and outline that had to be rewritten from scratch. Episodes, pilot episodes that had to be thrown out in order to create new ones. He just sees the work, the sellers work, you know, because the writer is always prepped for meetings. The other writer, has been struggling with the writing. Has been feeling a lot of pressure since, the first script that got him out to some managers. I think it has been about, thirteen months now? Since the manager sent something out on his behalf? And the truth of the matter, is the manager is now not reading the work. And with the same priority. Now, when this matter sends in work, he read something else a while back, didn’t like it that much. And he’s probably a month out from reading a new draft from his writer. Because he has to put up with priorities at this point.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I wonder, just again? Just sort of casually with the numbers again. I just feel like a lot of people feel like, “Hey, once I get myself a manager, it’s all smooth sailing.” And how many people do you think you see that get that first age that manager. You said that the clock is ticking, gotta impress, gotta give. And how many people kinda reach that level? But then end up having to take a step back whether it, an agent actually drops them and they kinda have to start from scratch.
Lee: I would say, sadly, Um, and this is collected information from a lot of writers that come to me after the fact? But I would say, there’s about 30 to 40 writers. Who get signed, get hyped and then get dropped, fairly quickly, within a year or two years. You know, they’re just really bad odds on that. And end up finding something else? And there’s no response, 9 to 6 months later you get the call. I’m cleaning my list, it’s that time, I really need to focus on my other talent, the times, yada, yada… I don’t think it’s the right fix. You quoted this conversation.
Ashley: (Chuckling) Yeah, yeah, yeah. And another question that comes to mind. And this leads into, my next question kinda leads into what we’re talking about here. And again, I get these Emails a lot, so, curious to hear your take on it? When is it time to just pack it in and quit? At what point do you tell a writer, maybe this isn’t the right career choice for you. Is there ever a good time, or is there ever a time you recommend that?
Lee: A, when they don’t want to do it anymore. I know it sounds really complicit, but, I know when I’m sitting down with a writer, who is just disgruntled, and bitter, and pissed off. And, you know, I know, I usually know the flip side of it. I’ve seen them happy, and the bottom line is, they don’t want to do it anymore. Or they are making every excuse in the book why they can’t do it, or haven’t been producing. You know, I had a conversation last week, with a writer who swears that she really wants to write, and is working really, really hard. And is a very talented writer in her own right. But is just not finding the time for it. And we had to have a conversation. Do you really, actually want to write? Do you like the idea of your name up in lights? Or do you like the idea of sitting down, day in and day out, retired from your full time job and doing this? Because that’s what it takes. Those are the times where conversations come up. And I do because I look at it as a type of behavior as part of my job. I look at how much writers are saying they want to write. What their dreams and aspirations are? But also what they are doing in practicality.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah.
Lee: And it’s in practicality that they are not producing? They are not writing, they are not prioritizing the writing. Then it’s time to figure something out.
Ashley: Okay, is it time maybe just for a break? Or time for a totally?
Lee: I don’t take a break.
Ashley: (Chuckling) Okay.
Lee: I’ve worked with writers, who sold materials, had materials produced with big, big titles. Who got disgruntled and left the industry, five years, six years, eight years. Coming back is, man, I mean, that’s starting ever best in, I mean, it’s really, it’s such a track to come back. And there is that form and industry questions? You had all the success, what happened, you been in a coma? If the answer is, “No.” Then you’re just not going to be taken seriously. I don’t, you wanna go through, take a vacation? Go away for a month. Have a home on the beach, golf, have martinis. But taking a break, I don’t believe it.
I know it sounds really work ethic-ish, I get that. But I’ve seen what happens, when a break is repaired. And it’s so difficult, and most writers would never recover and truly come back.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, I wonder if you ever run into clients that? Geared basically that they are truly not enjoying the work and it’s time to reconsider? But do you ever find clients that seem to be enjoying the work, and putting out the work and producing pages. But you look at it and say, I just don’t know that this person has the talent to ever succeed? Do you ever find yourself just? And I get a lot of these, people just sending me random scripts and then it like. I sometimes wonder if there is some God given talent that you need. And some people, they like the writing, but maybe this isn’t really the career for them.
Lee: Well, I certainly see some come to me with a beginning of a perfect script and said, can I be a total success? And I always say, “I can’t tell the future, or your future work. But based on what I see in front of me. If we want to go that route, it’s going to take a lot of work. Ya, know, if you want to believe that? There’s learning involved, and a very important aspect of screenwriting is a challenge learning. Taking classes, finding people who will challenge your work and you get better over time. There’s definitely people who haven’t produced the work yet? I will never say, there’s just no chance in hell you’ll get there. Because that’s really not for me to say, not for me to judge. It’s for me to give them the direction into what will help them. But, you know, just two weeks ago, somebody wanted to come work for me, and sent me a script. And I ended up Emailing him in the middle of the night, after reading the script. And saying, “I want to refund you, your money. Because you are in no place to discuss your career. You need to work with a script consultant. You need to figure out screenwriting basics. Before we can even have any sort of long theoretical conversation. And I felt it was a disservice to him, taking his money. Because clearly he didn’t need me. And any thought that he needed me because somebody talked to him about a career and how to build it, is entirely aspirational. Because he has no idea, the script wasn’t there.
I just want to hit on one thing? We talk about enjoying the work? And I think it’s important to make the distinction between it, and enjoying the day-to-day of it, the work. Because writers, who basically hate their life writing. And for me, you hate every job at moments. But hopefully, you love the jobs, which is the writing, more than the job. Because lots of you love the job more than you hate the job. Then you should keep at it. When you get to a place that’s making you miserable, and you hate the job all the time. That’s when you go work at “Starbucks.” You’ll be happier.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this. One of the things I’ve been wondering myself? And as I do the Podcast now, we’re almost up to one hundred Podcasts now. I’ve kinda gone back now, and looked up the screenwriters that are, that I’ve interviewed. I’ve done some now: Doug Richardson, who wrote “Die Hard 2” and John Jerro, and just, I look by the mark, Jihad, they’ve had some pretty big screenwriters on. And one of the things that I would say, seems to be, like, you talk about doing the work, and this kinda thing? And I have no doubt, all these people worked incredibly hard. But it seems like most a, most of the most successful screenwriters, they didn’t have just years and years of toiling, and you know, maybe there was a year or two. But they pretty much broke in and had some success and at least got their career going.
And John Jerro I interviewed him extensively, he’s maybe the one exception now. I had a very long interview with him and maybe he’s just more honest about it? But he had, like, seven years, a real struggle. He was living in a 400sqft. Apartment down in Venice, you know, $700.00 a month. There were some really lean times for him. But, other than that, I, as I said, Mark Lorence, I interviewed him, it wasn’t years, and years, and years of struggle. Doug Simpson, it wasn’t years and years of struggle. And so I wonder, if, I don’t know? Maybe those guys just have it a lot of talent and they are able to break in because they have the talent? And so where does that play into that. Because just to hear. You’ve seen a lot of screenwriters, the successful ones just give you, your opinion on how people fit in and how much toil the successful people have?
Lee: Well, I guess there are a few different things to discuss here. One, is that the industry has changed, aggressively in the last ten years. Then, back in the ‘90’s where material was moving like hotcakes, and people were selling stuff, and all new concepts, and you know, it was a free for all. I mean, Joe walked out of the back, and within two weeks he had sold a script. Where in the world does that happen at now? That doesn’t exist in our industry anymore. And so the industry has changed, you know, you look at Sato & Zander & Sandzuki they haven’t come out of USC and suddenly build a script. We don’t hear those stories anymore. And if we do they’re out law buyers.
The second thing is that it’s very easy to romanticize, how it happens. Melissa Hillferds, wrote a script, and sold it. Called, “Undone” earlier this year. So, it was sold in March and set down. And there were comments, and a deadline article about the script sale, and how she was a litigator in New York. And somebody made a comment, “Oh, she’s selling the script on the side, and made more.” And this is all bullshit, I know Melissa, she worked her ass off! She’s the hardest working person I know! Always reaching out to be treated. Be stuff, she wrote that script in three months. But this was not her first script, or second script. She worked her butt off, there was just this really fun idea of like, there was this litigator who was this, you know, at night after she was done in court. She selling scripts, that’s not the story, that’s far from reality. So, writers that I see, with success, that break today, or break in the last five years, did work. Everybody loves the story about the insurance agent who, you know, those scripts. Some to death while rowing calls. But ultimately they, those stories don’t happen a lot. And I do find that for people that keep working and breaking today. Which is just my audience, my people, my writers, it is a lot of work. There isn’t that magic formula. And there’s that moment when it’s really hard, where it feels like anybody got anything, and then it’s a drop of the hat. Something in the wind changes, and you have to work with that. And so, it is a work profession, one of the hardest working professions. The writers who are the studio with, which are very few writers. Have a different life, different game, but they broke a while ago. They been on those ropes, ten years, twelve years. And they’re getting those jobs, front and center. They’re pitching off of those stairs, and selling those pitches. But those are not writers, who are breaking today, or trying to break today.
Ashley: I’ll be talking, like in using this moment you just mentioned, in some respect. Are we talking two to three years, of like hard work? Or are we talking five to ten years of hard work? Because I think there is a big difference? I think, like, especially. Like, when I moved to out to Hollywood. I got here and there was like a sort of two or three year period where as like you said. Anybody can make it through sorta that period. But, once you hit that two or three year period, I had a lot of friends then. They had showed up in Hollywood the same time I did. After two or three years, they started to drift away. And there’s people that don’t make it. So, there seems to be a sort of point. There’s a difference between three and five, then ten. Because I will be curious where you’re talking about?
Lee: Week three or four, everything’s as before. I met her about two years into the journey. We’re talking about something three or four right now? I believe, I could be wrong? In fact I’m viewing this, I could be wrong? I’m sorry, but you know, this is also a person who wasn’t litigating anymore. She was the person who was writing full time. You know, this is not something that you do. She was doing it at night, when the muse struck her. So, the hours, if you looked at the hours that she put into her writing. I guarantee that if you compete with anybody else’s hours, working a full time job, and working at it for ten years.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lee: And as I said, “Sir, yes, I agree with you. But there is people who show up with a lot of intention and a lot of motivation, right out the gate. And then they’re off. For a Michael Haggar, this is a game of tenacity. And you know, I did it, and that’s where my point of view comes in. Which is, it’s a marathon. You have to train for the marathon. You have to treat it as a marathon, you have to accept the marathon. Miracles don’t happen. One writer who broke, in six months. He went to “Great American Pitch Fest” a few years ago. He pitched to somebody who was only liked his work, it was license wars to be a sign on. He ended up getting an appointment from them to do a movie, it was to be shot six months later. And when that happened, I had to sit down with him and say to him, “Just so you know, it’s going to get much tougher for you.” Because that’s how this world works. This is an outlawer, this is the exceptional story. And then it did get tough. Of course he’s writing more movies, for the signed amount. He is having great success, he’s writing and doing some casting over there as well. But this was an outlier, he knew and I knew it. And you know, we have to just kinda take that in and still prepare for a hard work, and tough battles that he has to fight.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so one of the ideas I thought would be interesting? You kinda talk about career coaching, you know, writers of all different levels. So I thought it might be interesting to run through some of the different levels and maybe talk about some of the common problems that someone at this level is making. And potential, some fixes for those people that are at that level. So let’s start out with, you know, beginning writers. What are some of the mistakes that you see beginning writers make? And what are some of the things that they could do to shore those mistakes up?
Lee: The first mistake is always, I wrote a script, my first scripts, my first draft after my first script. And it’s so great, and I’m gonna get it to an executive and it’s going to get made. A lot of first time writers don’t understand the process, then the concept of rewriting. Don’t understand the importance of being the offender of the work. The importance of a really good idea behind the work. As opposed to, oh it just happened to my mother, so I just thought I’d write about it. Because those have been in my heart, since way back when. So, really picking your ideas better, betting the work, getting into writers groups, but finding a mentor can work with and have a great reputation. A class that you can get into. To really make the work as strong as possible. A lot of writers, and this has happened to me for years. So, I’ll talk to a writer and they’ll say, “Oh, I have a script made, 80 pages.” And I’ll say, “Well, so, how’s the script?” “Well, it’s pretty good.” I mean, I made it, I’m a writer, I’m just so brilliant. And there’s one thing for a first time writers, new writers with me is? What’s on the page, has to match what you believe today. There is no, “I’m a great writer” but on the page, “Oh, its okay?” (In a high pitched voice) And then we have “Okay,” So that’s a big thing, reading along on the script. Understanding how the industry works. How writers, first time writers that come to me and say, “I wrote an animation script. Now I want to sell it.” And then you have to have that conversation of why you can’t sell an animation script in Hollywood. Well, because they are all developed by someone else. And what happens is, very, very rarely. So what you have to understand, this machine you are trying to become a part of. It’s never too early to start forwarding, it’s never too early to start screenwriting. Screenwriting belongs on commentary, all that sort of stuff. To understand what is that living, breathing, ever changing industry that you’re trying to break into.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so let’s progress one step further and talk about some of the mistakes that writers, maybe they’ve won a contest. Maybe they’ve optioned something. Maybe some how they’ve got an agent. But they haven’t quite sold something yet? But they’re definitely past those early beginning stages. What are some of the mistakes you see them making. And what are some of the things they could do to fix some of those mistakes?
Lee: Well, we talk about it when we mentioned the two different parts of writers. So, let’s break it down a little bit, the contest script, show me the model, the final draft. Because, since I am a coach over there at the final draft contest winners. He always sits me down, and says to me, “Can you explain to them the difference between a contest script and the real script?” And so we have to have a conversation about understanding that you specifically won a contest. Often times it’s not judged by the same criteria as the script that sells. It’s that simple, read for different reasons, even without considering budget. Without considering audience marketability without considering them a national market, without considering a whole slew of things that come into consideration, when purchasing this film. So writers always have to really consider whether their contest script is worth the money and is truly viable, market viable. And if not start working towards that one. It’s better writing with agent letter, that maybe on options there. There is a whole slew of mistakes there. To me, the biggest mistake is not starting on your next great script right away. Having that next piece, you know, you get a manager, you get out there generals. You get some generals. If you get some generals on the merits of the script, but not in the door. Everybody likes the writing, let’s meet the writer. And most likely, but not always will lead to a purchase. They want to know what the next thing that you have is? What’s your new shiny toy, that everybody’s been excited about, talking about that? The writers that don’t have that to talk about? They’re going to be selling a huge disservice. A, I have a writer right now, who’s out in generals on one pilot. And it just so happens, he happens to be finishing a movie pilot, but since it’s about a month out. So he’s already out pitching the next thing. And getting his fan base really excited about it. So he can deliver it, the next thing, to ones who aren’t even eager to see his work. And you know, the last thing I’ll mention. Actually I’ll have two last things I’ll mention here.
One, is the wrong measure for success. A lot of writers talk about opportunity. So see, when I see that stuff for a million dollars. First of all, set yourself up for a million dollars in today, doesn’t seem very often at all. Secondly, not very many scripts are selling. So, how do you measure success? You have to measure success by general meetings by finance, by things that are put up for you as a guest after job. As opposed to, just selling that one individual set. We are going to be selling you less than 100 sets this year. So selling a set to him, would be the measure of success for us further. We have more than one world, we have 3000 working writers. Does that mean that those three, whatever it is? Does that mean those 2999, and twenty writers in all failed? No, they’re all working, they’re getting paid. So, it’s finding the correct industry appropriate measurement for success. As opposed to the outside of the industry measurements for success. Which is when you going to win your Academy Award. Or, when are you going to write that blockbuster. The last bit of mistakes that I see out there often times. And clearly there’s no perfect science. To make the highlights for you, writers who write a script, get an agent, get a manager, and then just sit on their hands. I did my job, you do it now. And you know, one agent said to me, years ago. Grant said, “You know, I get 10% of the money, so therefore I’m doing 10% of the work, and that’s it. And in reality of building a career? No, it takes a lot more than 10%! In this climate we’re talking about 20-40% so see, you got to be writing your next. Your next, you’ve got to be taking responsibility for writing your next working piece, or for getting connections, certain getting out there. So accepting the agent, manager providing, take the horse, you know, and take the whole thing and run with it. Is a very long expectation. And that’s where we go back to what we talked about earlier, writers doing well.
Ashley: I want to just talk about one thing that you kinda just mentioned. Was a very humerus story in your book about a writer who won a contest? And then like two years later, he got back in touch and said, “Okay, I’m ready.” And so, and that’s obviously a thing. A career example of what I could do? But maybe you could talk about, what, realistically if someone wins one of the bigger contests? What should they do? What can they really expect? Again, I get these Emails, and it’s exactly like what you’re talking about. People think they are going to win. And even the nickels fell ship, you don’t look at the rest of it, the script. So have won that, But have not actually made it in the production, and that’s the top of the key. So, what could people realistically expect, and what could they and should they do with even the quarter finals. And goals are a finalist in one of these bigger contests.
Lee: I think we are speaking to something very truthfully happening out there. I’m going to run a contest and it’s all going to fall into my lap. Whether the organizers do it for me, or the script does it for me, or whatever it is? It’s just gonna come to me. For me personally, contest allow me to know about pedigree. They are all about creating some time for a script. Here’s why you should read my script, and not the other hundred that are coming in through Email right now. But that means you have to get your script up. That means you have to realize, read when. And then a credibility to get other people to say to people. They are the people, “I got an “A” on the Black List” I was a finalist in “Nickle” I was top 3 in “Final Draft.” So you really have to use that one, first of all. Rather than wait for the organizers or facilitators to get material out there and work with the winners of the Theta Contest from last year. And they would have embraced it. That serious time period piece and they came and took it and ran with it. And that’s exactly what you should do. They didn’t rely on the contest organizers to do all the leg work for them. Every contest is going to do a little bit of leg work. Because ultimately getting your script out there and getting signed. And occasion of getting material discovered, picked-up.
And that’s what happen to “Matriarch” through “Launch Pad.” That’s what happens sometimes in “Final Draft.” Or sent, that’s what happens exactly. Of course that there is the conduct credibility. It makes it more relevant in the industry. But the organizers also to know, it’s not gonna happen every time now. So they’re going to do what they can. And then they are going to move on to their next contest, or their next effort. It’s clearly up to you, the contest winner, or the contest placer, to take that and run with it and make the most out of it. It’s also hard for you to understand whether it’s the script that you love, or fond of, or contest script, or whether it’s a market viable script. Edwin Dorriety won the “Script Pipeline Contest” and wrote and went on to write, “Snowy and the Huntsman.” He was discovered through that. But ultimately, he was just discovered that way. It was then that he met up with a manager who confided in about, he positioned him for other success. But it wasn’t that contest script. He had to figure out whether that contest script is not just enough to attract you attention. But to be a viable market sample. You know, of key scripts, with you know, those things you notice. Are never going to happen in real life, since trying to get established. Screenplays that are all eight year old kids. That get really far in a contest. It’s a great script and a writing sample, but it’s never going to get made. Especially not when the building is falling apart. Because it’s just not a wise investment. It’s still a built up contest script. But you have to figure out whether your contest script is market viable. And if not, what does that miss idea need. Is it really ready, and talk about that. As soon as you enter that contest. And as soon as you get that package opened. But that’s really, really important stuff.
Ashley: And just to clarify, when you basically say you’re hoping to win the contest. Build your pedigree, and what exactly does that mean? Clearly letters, it doesn’t mean cold calls, you are cold calling a production company, you can say, I just won this contest. What exactly are those market generals that these writers should be using? It’s all – “Ink Tip” “Black List” all of the above.
Lee: It’s many of them find that are approved and then avenues into the industry. I believe in target clearing, reaching out to people you are a huge fan of. Managers that let’s say like the one here on this broadcast. I hear you speak on pre-broadcast, and you said, “Please read my script, and that.” And was a finalist in “Page” And I love what you said. That’s pedigree right there. Oh okay this is not just a working writer, and I didn’t say that. And then he said it begrudgingly. But a writer that doesn’t have a credibility. I don’t have very little time, whether it’s good or it’s that or I’m gonna say yes I’ll read their script or they’re going to hound me. They’re going to call me, they’re going to eat on me, they’re going to bother me until I read their script. If it’s a really bad script? Do I want to have that conversation? Do I have to avoid them. So, agents and managers are looking specifically, since sometimes, managers it can be tough to look. And looking for pedigree the, those effectively sign-off. You know, they utilize the contact from the “Black List.” And set down with the solving service, and then these vetting services to identify those good material, within, roughly 60,000 vetted, getting registered with the WGA every year. How do you find the really great 500? That’s the question? You know, let’s say, 5000 of those close, we’re talking 50,000 scripts that you potentially have to sift through. How do you pick stuff, all of these particular road blocks that have been placed there by the industry. So that a contact, or a good score from the Black List, all if it can be used in a targeted clear, can be used in a picture then. And where’s that picture at? Or production art services? Anyone of those, to say, “Look at me.” I’ve got to make, I’m a fine and this big contract. Only the contest matters. Most contests do not have that vibe kinda pedigree. Yeah, but use every available resource.
Ashley: Okay, so. Let’s move along to writers that are a little bit more seasons meet. They made and sold a bunch of stuff. And I put myself in that category. I’ve sold a half dozen feature film scripts optioned lots more. I still feel like I’m a long ways from being a studio screenwriter. If you could give some advice for people who are in sorta my book. And I get a lot of people on my, coming through my sight. They have sold some stuff. And they actually do have some credentials. But again, they’re a big gape between selling a half dozen scripts and that I know. And actually selling something at that studio level. Maybe you could give some advice to people like myself?
Lee: The first thing for me is, a lot of writers who have some success. Have a tendency to let their network down. Say, they met somebody at a party two years ago. But they never connected with them? Little did they know, it was somebody who could help you moderate to that next level. But it’s really important to keep taking care of those industry contacts.
My writers are on a schedule, you know, we have a software chief. They know where they had coffee last, when they reached out last. You know, they’re saying the networking, effective networking in some. In the spirit of generosity, so I like to see my working writers specifically across the board networking. And making it about the other person. Buy everybody coffee, buy everybody lunch and ask them some questions. Rather than, I read a script and can you read it, can you help me? I’m trying to get them anyway, I’m planning on a new manager. I’m trying to get some bla, bla, bla. You happen to know them. When networking is done, out of generosity, then opportunities are offered back up to you. So, it is incredibly important to keep your network primed. To constantly keep in touch with them. With everybody you know, so, you don’t reach back out to them five years later. When you found out they went from, you know, a lonely kind of life time executive, to an executive to run Warner Brothers TV. You want to stay in touch, people in this industry move so fast. And, you know, I was coming up twenty years ago in the industry. We joke about, how it would be nice, to slow down the system today. Because they would be running the studio. And that’s absolutely the truth. You know, it’s nice to have everybody keep in touch with everybody. So, coffee and be assistance to everybody. And you just never know how it’s going to happen. And the important thing is to constantly re-invent yourself on the page. Constantly challenge yourself, don’t repeat what you did before, because you already did that. You already have the customers and the biggest thing that people watch for, with repeat nighters? Is, oh I’ve been doing the same thing all over again. Now it’s a western, but now it’s the same story in space. So it really is about inventing yourself. And find ways of challenging yourself once. I find myself, with people who are selling, need to be on top of what’s on the screen, what’s on the page. That much more so than anybody else. Because that’s the patience that you really earned your “A” now you have to keep your “A.” So you really have to stand over then.
Ashley: I, one of the things I wonder? And that’s all sound advice, and I appreciate that. One of the things I wonder? And I would be curious to get your thoughts on this? Now that I’ve sold a bunch of scripts, and these scripts, these movies have been made. I wonder if there’s not some, like now, it’s like, as much as these movies have been made.
And none of them have been particularly good? So I almost wonder if that doesn’t hinder me a little bit. As people kind figure, look, I’ve had my shot. And you’re talking about re-inventing myself. Maybe that just means writing something that’s completely outside of the vision of genre of what I’ve actually had success with. I don’t a…
Lee: Sometimes it’s writing outside of your brand. And you are already established some way. And you know it hasn’t. And to put words on paper, and on screen. If you feel as if you’ve gone as far as you can go sometimes. It’s stepping outside of your brand. Sometimes, it’s learning to have that tough conversation representation that a lot of other writers don’t have. How do I get on with that studio? How do I do a lot? How do I start meeting those executives? Just a general introduction kinda stuff. A lot of writers don’t push because they are afraid. Particularly if they sold themselves and haven’t made it into the kind of big, “A-Listy” you know $30-$40,000.00 a a week assignments, yada, yada, yada… How do I have these conversations with out pissing that representation off? A lot of times, it’s about doing that, which you being. Like on TV, it’s about holding up and saying, “Yes, I have opportunities to step or to go in as a story editor. And then go into public serve.” But you know, I’m going to hold off. I’m going to reject all those opportunities, and potentially not stop for a year. But I’m going to wait for a year or two. As opposed to, you know, it really is about making the brave decisions. Not the easy decisions.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And do you think just having a large number of mediocre credits. Do you think that ever becomes just a detriment? I mean I’ve had people, it’s like I don’t need them, another crappy credit on my resume. And I’ve had some people recently that have said, “You know.” They offered me something for a script and I’m looking at for. Looking at that, and thinking, they’re going to make another mediocre movie. Do I really need that on my resume? Do you think that’s a hindrance? I mean, Michael Cane had a famous saying about acting, “Forget the bad movies, just be in everything.” And he’s kinda proven that. I think there’s something to that, but I don’t know?
Lee: Yeah, but, the reality of that for every Michael Cane movie, or Johnny Depp if people prefer to forget. He was in, “Nick of Time.” And a bunch of other, here nor there movies. For every one of those, there were actors who were almost there, and didn’t make it. I think it’s real easy to say these things when you bridge the gap that he made that week. But I think that at some point, he’s starts being labeled. And we start doing this everywhere and everything. You know, it’s just human nature. I want to understand who this person I’m dealing with? And so, labeling based on the information that we have. And I’ve worked with production companies before. Well, what about this one writer? Well, he’s from “That agency” we have someone more, “A-Listy” we could go that way. So I do think that too many of those, too consistently can hurt ya. I can tell ya about one bad writing and I have found another bad writer, you’re allowed two, you’re allowed two of these. After this, you’re a silent writer, this is what you do. And not every silent writer, becomes the writer who wrote, “Sharkanado.” You know, so you do have to really consider where you want to hunch you bet.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, okay, so let’s move on to working in TV writers, maybe you can talk a little bit about, again, some of the mistakes you see them making? And what actual working writer in television could be doing, to move their careers forward?
Lee: Well, television even more so, than film. Build even more relationships. It’s about a group ingratiating yourself in every possible way, okay? With the people who are higher-up than you making those bad eyes. Being great in the room, irritating anyone in the room. And you know, I could tell you about specifically on the PA level, staff writing local. And sometimes even the pre-editor level. I will hear stories about writers who lost their cool. Writers who stepped over the toes of the EP opposing the show runner with pitches. Who had ideas of grandeur in the room. You really have to figure out where you place is? A way into the room until you get to show better. You always wait, till you know you place. There’s always a real higher archy and you have to understand it. You know, you have to have a lot of friends in TV across the board. You also have to get inside a place where you start to making a stand for the show you’re on and the show you want to write on. In the show you’re being invited to staff on, whether as a Co-producer, a show producer. So, yeah, at some point, you can say that you want to be on, “Law & Order now or a Law & Order type of show for the next ten years. If I do that, I’m like, you know, career writing on some of those shows and have access. You know, or back to the confusion, or any type of those. Instead of a more high class cable show. You know, I do see a lot of, working TV writers with their network samples, but they really want to work on cable. So, you really have to work on you sensibility to work on, to where is you think you can work on. And not being afraid to taking a stand and saying, I’m not going to staff at this level, I’m going to go to the next level, on a new show.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, okay. So let’s wrap up this section of the interview. Just talking about the studio level writers. What are some of the mistakes you see their making and what can they do to fix those mistakes?
Lee: Well, studio, I mean, more than the studio level writers are very few and far between. But, you know what I see? Where I see those things start to fall apart. Is where I have writers who develop a little bit of a “God complex.” You see, “It’s my show.” I say how it goes. I know better than everybody else. I’m the reason they are there. And they may make it off the list. You know, it’s very important to them. No matter where you go. Whether you’re CEO, ND, Stom is the messes me up. TV is more so than a writers medium. That is the director is the captain of the ship. And speed writers at a studio level, will try to assert themselves in no doubt, in front of the captain. So, it doesn’t work out. The other thing that happens is studio level writers, they can price themselves out. And I’ve seen that happen as well. The price keeps going up, and up, and up, eventually they are higher, maybe two, three pitches a year if they are lucky. And sometimes they are priced out as much better if they go with somebody who calcifies and has pedigree and reputations. So you have to be really careful as you are pushing your quota up. And allowing your agent to push that quota up. And your agents will push your quota up faster because they anticipate that at some point you’ll loose them. As usually happens with agencies. And certainly see kind of it being hot for your agents. You’re kind of a standard, they’re going to push your quota up as high as they can. Because they figure, in another year it’s not going to be possible. It’s going to be somebody else’s problem because you will have lost. Because you’re not living with agents anymore, but they got the big trump. You have to be with the mindful of what the quota is? And is it going up too high to the effect of where you are, just no longer in the market, and no longer viable for the studios.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Okay, let’s talk about, your running some line support groups for screenwriters. Let’s talk about that for a minute. And then tell us what those all are? That and how people can work, and join them?
Lee: Sure. I have a big passion about writer’s community. And I know for a fact that I’ve seen it throughout my career. Writer’s side, when they are counterpart. When they have otherwise to others to talk to, and learn from, and they are here in the classroom. And any questions they don’t think to ask. Where writing is not just a hobby. You know, something that is alive. And offer them. I have about a group of writers here in Los Angles. That I have been involved with years and I have seen how those writers have grown and all have succeeded with each other before. And so I just like, decided to do an online experiment. That I was, had started, to see if I could create some energy providers from Los Angles, or to others that are. To connect them to a little bit more to the world of screenwriting. And so we have a private Facebook page. We do monthly online sessions that writes get to ask questions by request. Then I know writers in the group that are, that have some real habit extremes. Pages of bread for one another. Just today somebody was coming on say, “Hey, you know, I think maybe I’m in “Final Draft.” Good info. that somebody was a good kind of program. Somebody else was, “Oh, I won final draft in a contest.” I will give half my back to you. So there’s this instant place for writers to turn to, with the smaller things. Like, where do I get my software? All the way too much bigger things. You know, with like, what happened to the Academy Awards Nickels, yesterday? I don’t know if you heard about this?
Ashley: No I haven’t.
Lee: It’s a very negative condescending, and unprofessional remark, that was posted online. Like one of those adult meters on here. They had permission and there was a whole big “Brew-ha, ha.” About it online. And so my writers just put something together. And talked a little bit about that, and how other people would have been. That they understood how this person finally had some history. It creates a safe environment. And to learn about the industry, and talk about the writing talents. And to complain about it and such. To talk about, you know, insecurity now that I have an agent. I haven’t turned anything in months, what do I do? I really love writers most. Think ahead and think about your station. So we do these creative ribs once a month. And then anyone who is interested is welcomed to check it out on our website. www.mejessup.com. We offer a free consultation. So they know they will have to get into. So, yeah, that’s the story of my community effort.
Ashley: And is there some criteria that you would say is a great fit for this? You just mention someone as an example. Someone has an agent, in twelve months. Do you prefer writers that have a little experience? Are they new writers?
Lee: They have, really, writers across the board. Some really brand new writers. Some who just want to stand it. Writers in Australia, England, France, East Coast, West Coast. Some are, some in are a bit more advanced ones, who just got a green light on a movie. Another is has a manager, One just had a TV show that’s getting picked up. So we have all the levels. But I think part of the glory of it, is that everybody is a little bit different.
One has a little bit different perspective on it. And brings different questions. That allows writers to illuminate areas that gives them something to think about.
Lee: And it’s given a really lovely latter day community and enjoy it more.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. So I will link to that in the show notes, for sure. Hey, I always like to end the interview, just have people, they can talk about, you know, their Twitter handle, their Facebook page, really anything you feel comfortable with sharing. And we’ll share just how people can contact you? How can potential people can follow you, and what you’re up to.
Lee: Okay. Honestly I’m sounding like, sometimes I feel like I’m tired of myself? So If I talk, “Come follow me.” I wanna go, “Ah, shut-up!” A, but now my Twitter – #easyjessup is my handle, I’m on Facebook, I’m Lee Jessup there. I also have a tour page, I also have a group page. You can always reach out to me. All be it, by Email, Lee Jessup.com my website. We just dot com. I’m really fairly accessible. It’s important to me. I would say that, I don’t know how to bullshit. Because it really doesn’t pay off. I have dependable shit. I attempt to be pretty up front, to everybody and anybody. And I really do love the luxury of my job, being out with writers all day.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. While I appreciate you coming on the show. It’s a great interview, lots of great information. I have highly recommend your book. Use this, and this, and this. Watch this very, you know, practical nuts and bolts ultimate business advice. That’s a great place to start. But just check out your book as well.
Lee: And thank you for having me on again, you have been really great. Great interview subjects. And you recorded so many guests and others, really not that long ago. So, I couldn’t be more impressed.
Ashley: Forever, thank you, thank you.
Lee: Thank you.
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 a three-pack, you get an evaluation at just $67.00. per script for feature films and $55.00 per script for tele-plays. All the readers have professional experience, reading for: studios, production companies, contests, agencies. You can read a short bio. On each reader on the website. And you can pick the one that you think is the best fit for your script. Turn-around-time is usually just a few days, but rarely more than a week. The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors –
- Over all craft – Which includes – Formatting, Spelling, and Grammar
Every script will get a grade of – Pass, Consider, or Recommend. Which should help you roughly, where your script might rank if you were to submit it to a production company, or agency.
We provide analysis on features and television scripts. And we also do proofreading. So if you don’t want an analysis, but would like someone to proofread your script? We also offer that now too. We will also look at treatment or outline and give you the same analysis on that. So if you’re looking to invest on your project ideas? This is a great way to do it. Write up the treatment we have various different lengths that we look at. And then our readers will read them, these treatments and give you, again, the same sort of professional analysis of that, a treatment.
Also, we will write a log-on and synapsis for you. You can ask to add this service to the analysis so if you don’t want to write you own log-on. Or you don’t want to write your own synapsis, than this is a good way to get that done. I do recommend you do your own though, nobody knows your material better than you do. But some people have a hard time, so that’s another service that we currently offer. As a bonus, if your script gets a recommend, from a reader, you can get a free Email and Fax-Blast to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same Fax Blast Service I use myself to promote my own script. And it’s the same service as I sell on the website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of producers who are looking for material. So if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price. Check out – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.
In the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Brian Deruin, Adam Egypt, who write the film, “Some Kind of Hate.” It’s an intimate conversation on the struggles they went through to get this movie made. No, they really wrote a script, they thought was good,
Low budget. And they got a lot of positive feedback on it. But it was a real battle to get this thing made to begin with. Just a real detail, so, if you’re considering shooting your own film. Or just interested in how the process works, keep an eye out for that interview next week. It’s a real, as I said, a real recanted conversation with these guys about all their struggles that they went through.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.