This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 099: Screenwriter / Director Trey Nelson Talks About His New Film, Lost In The Sun, Starring Josh Duhamel, And How He Got It Made.
Selling Your Screenplay Podcast – #99
(Typewriter keys tapping)
Ashley: Welcome to episode #99 of “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast, I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and blogger over at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing director and screenwriter – Trey Nelson. Who recently wrote and directed, “Lost in the Sun.” Which stars Josh Demaul, so stay tuned for that interview.
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A couple of quick notes, any links I mention in the Podcast can be found on my blog or in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look up something later on. You can find all the Podcast show notes at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast. And then just look for episode #99.
If you want my free guide, “How to Sell a Screenplay in 5 weeks.” You can pick that up by going to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free, just put in your Email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks. Along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. How to write a professional log-on, and quarry letter? How to find agents, managers, and producers who are looking for new material. It really is a beginning to know how to sell your screenplay. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
A quick few words about what I am working on? I got the audio in place on my teaser/trailer for my crime, action, thriller project. This is the one I’m planning the Kick-Starter campaign for starting in January. So, I also did a rough edit on the part where I talk into the camera, and pitch the project. It’s mood is just basically me talking into the camera and telling people about the project. The teaser/trailer is the one of the first, it’s about a minute. And then there’s about a minute of me talking into the camera. Me pitching the project, talking about the project. Trying to keep it to two minutes as a whole. It’s a little bit over two minutes, so I’ve got to cut it down a little bit. But, hopefully I’ll get it down, to about two minutes.
Last week I did a quick Podcast on the spoof I wrote in October. I’ve been talking to about this project. I’m about to broad cast the last few weeks. My guess is that I will have to do a couple of more passes on them. But I’d say the lion’s share of the work is done. I spent quite a bit of work trying to get the notes implemented through. But I think, a, that there will definitely be some One Note. But hopefully they won’t be overly difficult to implement. I went over this script for let’s say, the first twenty pages up in my writers group a couple of weeks ago. It went over pretty well in the group. So I’m thinking about what else I could write that’s similar? Basically another broad comedy.
I actually don’t have a spec. script like this that’s sort of a very broad ulna proof comedy. And it was pretty easy to write, I mean, I talked about this in the Podcast. I basically wrote the whole thing from start to finish in about 5 weeks. So, it was pretty easy to write. And I think it would be a good spec. to have. So, I’ve been going through my idea of I could try and come up with some ideas for broad comedies. Very, very broad ulna of spoof comedies. One thing that was interesting, and perhaps a little disheartening, is the last two projects I put up in my writing group. Both went over fairly well. And they are both scripts that I didn’t spend a lot of time on. I guess there’s this no accounting for taste. A lot of time what’s the disheartening is, the amount of time I spend writing a project? Seems to have virtually no correlation to how it is received in the writers group. Some people, sometimes love my stuff. Sometimes they think my stuff is garbage. But the amount of time actually writing it, does not seem to effect that. As I said, these last two projects, I put up? They went over pretty well. But the one before this went over pretty well. This one went over, I would say, very well. And people seem to think this one was very funny. And was a good writing sample. But as I said, I wrote it rather quickly, and some of the projects I have put up, I spent a lot of time really tweaking and rewriting. They have gone over like lead balloons. So I’m not really sure what to make of all of that? One thing has occurred to me these last two projects, are both ideas that were brought to me by producers. They were writing assignments, so I didn’t come up with the idea. I just wrote the script based on their idea. So, perhaps I’m not great at coming up with an ideas? This is something that I’m thinking about. I’m kinda looking at these ideas and wondering why these ideas were easy to write? Why these ideas went over pretty well, in the writers group. But neither idea went up big, and man did I think either idea was particularly great? Both of them were fairly simple, and very forward. And perhaps my ideas get a little bit too confusing, or too ambitus? I’m not really sure, but, this is something I’m thinking about. Because like I said, these last two projects went over pretty well compared to my project before that I spent a lot of time with. I would say didn’t go over that well.
Anyway, speaking of my writers group? I always like to mention this on the Podcast. We meet every Tuesday night at 7:30p.m. at Sherman Oaks. But if you live in L.A. we are always looking for a good new writers. Check out – www.junkies.com, a link in the show notes will give you, that’s – www.junkies.com. You can come in and just audit the session for free. Just any Tuesday night you’re available just come on out. As I just said, 7:30p.m. in Sherman Oaks. Just sit in and listen to one of the sessions and see if you think it would be a good fit for you. And then you can talk to Adam, who is at every meeting. He’s the one that runs it. You just submit a project if you like, if he likes he lets you in. It’s really encouraged to come and audit a couple of classes. Do leave notes to the other writers so you can kinda get a feel for the kinda notes you’re going to give. They will read a writing sample and then you can get in. So, if you’re in the L.A. area, even if you are not in the L.A. area? And enjoying the writers group, it’s a great way to workshop your stuff. Even if the jokes are working, see if the dialog is working? See if the structure is working. Just to hear it read back by actors is an excellent exercise.
Anyway, the other thing I’m working on, which is sort of screenplay related. It’s the “Selling Your Screenplay.” I’m putting together a real live webinar. It’s called, “How to Effectively Market Your Screenplay and Sell it.” It’s the same webinar that I’ve run a couple of times before. But I’m going to run it again. As people seem to really get a lot out of it. People have asked me why, do I run this free webinars? First I can tell a hundred people attend them. I’ve had over 100 people call in and come to the webinars. In the past one I did, I think I did it in September. And I think I did it again, another one in August.
As both of them had over 100 people. So, they said it was over all pretty well attended. And that is an indication to me that there is a need for this one. I know that there is an interest in that content of the subject matter. Secondly, I also can tell from the feedback that I also get. I usually get Emails after the webinar, people just saying, “Hey, I appreciate you doing the webinars a lot.” So I have a lot, it’s gratifying, just getting those Emails then. And feel like you’re actually doing something. That is having an impact on people. But obviously the main reason I run them is? It is the same reason why I run them, those Podcasts. It’s a platform to market my screenwriting services. It’s called, “Content Marketing.” You see lots of people in companies doing it, this day and age. I try to keep my content low-key. So I don’t bombard people with sales and messaging all the time. Mainly I’m not a very good salesman, and so that’s part of it. But also the key to “Content Marketing” is to give a lot of value. And so, people keep consuming your content. So, hopefully that’s what I’m doing with this Podcast. And hopefully that’s what I’m doing with the webinar. And so the whole idea is that you give out a lot of value. People listen to it, they think you have something interesting or smart to say. And hopefully they come back and you need the services you offer and come back. And they will purchase your services. So, you know, there is no obligation to purchase services. And listen to these Podcasts free. But, um, you’ll notice I’m picking my services. And it’s the same thing in the webinar, there’s a little bit pitching in that. Hopefully this isn’t a surprise to anyone? That people think these things are done just out of the goodness of my heart. I mean, everybody has to have something, for some reason for doing it, something at the end of the day. And you know, www.sellingyourscreenplay.com is a paid services.
So I’m going to go through just a little bit more about the webinar. I’m going to go through all the various online channels that are available to screenwriters. And give you an unfiltered opinion. I get questions all the time? Like, does the “Black List” really work? Or does “Ink Tipped” work? Which contests should I enter? I’ve tried pretty much every marketing channel available to me. Screenwriters, and I’m going to give you my own filtered opinion on each one and tell you which ones work, and which ones don’t. And I promise I won’t spend a lot of time pitching my own services. The whole webinar will be about two hours long. And less than five minutes of it will be pitching my services. So, don’t get too worried about that. So, if you are interested in attending, it’s going to be December 9th 2015. And Wednesday December 9th at 10:00a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Don’t worry if you can’t actually attend the live webinar, I record these webinars. And then I do send them out later. So you can sign-up and you’ll be on the list, and you’ll get an Email later on, telling you the link so you can listen to the recorded webinar later on. Anyway, as I said, December 9th on Wednesday December 9th 10:00a.m. just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar. Again, that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/freewebinar to sign-up. Again, even if you can’t sign-up, don’t worry about it, just sign-up. Anyways, and then I will Email you after the webinar with the recording.
So, now let’s get into the main segment today, I’m going to be interviewing Trey Nelson, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Trey, to the, “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Trey: Yeah, thanks for having me, Ashley.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you could just give us a little bit of information about your background? How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
Trey: Sure, um. I got started a little bit late. I watched film, would always inspire me. At the age of thirteen, watching some show for the experience. But, a, I really didn’t get started into the nuts and bolts of film making until I was 25. And that was after a short career in the corporate world. I worked for Zack Incorporated for years. And then, left, and then did some traveling. And then came to New York City and started out working in the film industry in New York, as a P.A. and been doing that for the past fifteen years here in New York. And now in L.A. and all over the world.
Ashley: Okay, okay. Let’s dig into some of the specifics of that. So you can get to New York. How did you find that first P. A. job?
Trey: (Chuckling) I don’t even know that I even considered it a job? Sort of like volunteer work? I don’t think I was an assistant. You know, that was like 2001. And I think, I don’t really know anybody in the industry when I started out. I maybe knew a guy who P.A’ed an order. And the mainland. Who was one of the AV’s who was a CPA, or an AB. And you know, I begged him to put me P.A. on the bottom on order on that entire set. I finally got made, and then was fired. I wasn’t the best P.A. Let’s just put it that way. I was a better story teller, than I was at that stuff. But, it’s really important that for people in the industry that want to learn the craft. That they start on the bottom, I don’t think it does any good to get through any of the hoops you have to get through.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. okay, okay. So, you worked as a P.A. I notice in the IMDA that you have a couple of, from early in your career, some shorts that you did. And then you started to direct some television, so maybe take us through those shorts you wrote and directed. And kind of tell us how you produced those? How you got those made? And ultimately, if they helped you with your career? Or if you went to any film festivals? Anything you could tell us about them.
Trey: Sure, absolutely. So, while I was I was working on an independent film. I knew that I needed, I knew too much, sort of the experience where I could practice my heritage, depending on who I was working for? But I also knew that I needed to write, and I needed to do stuff. So, I wrote a short film, called, “Negative No.” wasn’t particularly good, but it was recorded to get that profit, to get that first step. And I think that’s important for any new make, to get that sort of do. Just sort of do it, don’t be afraid, but, do it. That was 2004, I came across a book called, “Water of an Undetermined Depth.” And it’s by Richard Crones and there’s a short story in that book called, “Raccoon.” And I called up Rich, and I said, I wanted to adapt this short story, or short film. So, he was fine with it. I adapted the short story into a script. And I raised about $40.000.00, for that short film. And we shot it in up state New York. In the winter of 2004. I was lucky, I had two great actors in it. I had, Johnathan Toga, who you might know from CSI Miami. You know, all that. And he, this was before he was on CSI Miami. And he was just kind of a theater actor in New York, I think? He had done some other films. And then, so I made that film. That film was a great success, in terms of just?
It was the true expression of what kind of film maker I was, and I wanted to be. It was drama, and it had action, and it was usually very strong pro. And I submitted it to a bunch of festivals, It really didn’t get in to any of them, you know, “Sundance” or anything like that. But I did get it into a bunch of short stuff. That was just, you know, luck, I didn’t know anybody. I submitted it, and it got in. And then from there, it went on to a bunch of other festivals. And it was really my calling card, for many years in the film making. And it was also the, you know, the investors. We’re going to invest in “Lost in the Sun.” They looked at that short film, you know, I finally. What I had, what was funny about it, was what I had made it almost nine years prior to making, “Lost in the Sun.” Obviously I was a much different film maker nine years ago. When I had a lot more experience.
Ashley: Okay, let me just dig into a couple things you just said? So, the short you were talking about you said, was called, “A Raccoon?”
Ashley: Okay, so let’s talk about the book right. Because I get this question a lot from writers. You know, they find a short story, or even a novel. And they’re like, hey, how do I go about acquiring rights? And you just said? Today, I called Rich up, like this is somebody you knew personally. Is that the case?
Ashley: Okay, so take us through that process of calling that author up. I mean, you read the short story and you think it’s, would make a great short. But how do you pitch yourself? I mean, there’s no money in it for him. So, how do you really pitch yourself to him? Is he willing to sign a waiver to the right to the movie? His rights to the movie of the short story.
Trey: Yeah, actually. I think it was truly important for any young film maker out there. To acknowledge the fact that anybody has a story to tell. And even writers, some writers might get lucky and get their stories made into films. You have to feel for the ego, okay. But also you have to, you have to have the confidence to say to the person that you can do their story justice. So, those are the two things that are really important. The other thing, you just can’t hurt to ask, right? You need to ask, otherwise you won’t get an answer. So, if there is a story out there, like a couple of months ago? There was a story in the New Yorker, I was like, you know what? I wanna, I’m working on a lot right now. You know, commercials, some television. But, you know, sometimes you just want to make a, something that’s creative, wonderful, and maybe it needs to be abstract. Because you’re an artist and you want to experiment with something? And then you get a story and the New Yorker. And I was like, heck, you know what? I’m going to try to find out who this writer is, luck. Or if there’s a way I could reach this writer directly? And you do research, online. You know them, maybe you didn’t? Enter, maybe you don’t? Maybe put them in touch with their agent? Maybe you get lucky and you get an agent. You know, short stories for the most part there is no money in it for anybody. So, you’re doing it for arts sake. So, I think it’s a great way for any sort of film maker just starting out. If they want, if they can’t find it in themselves to write something that comes from them?
There’s no shame in going out there and adapting something. And creating it, and making it their own. In the world of the motion picture
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. I had a friend that recently, I’d like your take on this. Maybe he just wasn’t ready? Or just wasn’t persistent enough? It was, he was in a similar situation. He found a short he wanted to adapt it. When he contacted the writer, the writer just said, “Yes, talk to my agent.”
And you know, this friend of mine who’s a writer, he was willing to give from a couple thousand dollars, you know, for the rights. But it was like, you know, I mean, as you said, there’s no money in shorts. But the problem he found, was that the agent, there just wasn’t no. So, what made you attempt for some 10% / $200.00 huh? It was such a miniscule amount of money for the agent. But the agent just basically wasn’t even willing to bother dealing with my friend. And I’m just curious, what you would say? Would you just move on to another project, in those cases? How did you actually get to rich at it dealing with the agent?
Trey: I actually had to go through it, an agent. But I got to Rich first. But I think that you can get the writer. Because at the end of the day, the agent is not going to make that decision. The writer is going to make the decision. Because it’s, you know, you need to get to the writer. And you need to make sure the writer believes in your vision, that’s the first thing. They are happy to go through the agent. If you have agent, that’s the part of the business. But I am a firm believer, if you accept the first answer, and that answer is, “No” then shame on you. Than you’ve actually lost than. There are so many doors that have been planned. And so many great person’s faces. Than if you walk away than the first door slammed in your face. Then you’re not going to be very successful student of this business. This is about perseverance. And there are a lot of people out there that want to make movies. And, generally the ones who are successful are the ones who don’t take “No” for an answer. And I also believe, that asking for forgiveness, more than asking for permission?
Trey: If you ever find that you have need to get the rights properly, that you know, any of those rights getting it. A writer, getting a writer behind your vision is really important.
Ashley: Let’s talk a bit about, you said you raised $40,000.00 for this short? I mean, for a short film that’s a lot, a pretty decent budget. So maybe you could just walk us through the steps exactly how did you go about raising that money?
Trey: Well, half of it was mine, that I put up for parts.
Trey: And the other half was, back in the day when you couldn’t do online fundraising. So, I will raise the funds through family and together, you know. A hundred dollar donations from here, and there. I scrapped together another $20,000.00. It is not easy, but, the one thing that is important in the processes of film making. That you are always going to be asking for money, and you’d better get used to it.
Trey: Why? Because you’re always giving people that vibe to always buy into your vision. Because the first skill you lead in, in film making. If you cannot sell yourself, you cannot sell your vision. Then you’re going to have a hard time making films.
Trey: If they were all good at that? You know, it took me a while to get good at it. That, it, took a lot of it. I would tell film makers, you know, don’t get hung-up on, you know, being the rhetorical film maker who’s got their short film into Sundance, and that’s all they’ve done in fact in years. That’s a waste of your time. You’ve made one short film in five years. That’s not learning the craft of film making. And that’s not learning the craft of stories and telling the story. I suggest young film makers out there, work. All you need to do is work. No matter what it is? You can do PAing, you can do Aping, production managing. You can, in some cases, you can be directing, but just do it. But sitting around and crossing your fingers and hoping, quite frankly a system that is not built in your favor. But it is very built in the favor of people who have connections working. It is not the way to go, grab it and make stuff. Because if you’re making stuff, you’re doing something with your time. And you’re telling your story, and it’s a lot healthier than sitting around twitting your thumbs.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about your transition from your? You have your short film, “Raccoon” and it got into a bunch of festivals. And so you’re doing well with that. Let’s talk about that transition, now that you’ve become a professional director. You mentioned commercials, you’ve got a bunch of credits on IMDB for directing TV. So just take us through that process. Did you get an agent from “Raccoon?” Were you able to land an agent? How did you get those first actual paid professional directing gigs?
Trey: Yeah. I think, that when I was making “Raccoon” I was actually a Production Assistant on a show on Broadway, called, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Do you remember that show?
Ashley: Yeah, I do, I do.
Trey: Okay, so I was a Production Assistant on that show. And I made a lot of compact so much of some of those people went on to make other television shows. That were being made in New York at the time. And this was in the mid-box, in New York City. And when reality television was just getting started and getting its feet under it. And a lot of it was being made for not a lot of money. So there was a lot of opportunities for young directors to get in the opportunities to direct, and that’s what I did. And you know, I, you know, there’s some are like 8-9 years ago. It became the pine that I made “Raccoon” and I made “Lost in the Sun.” That was almost 8 or 9 years ago. You know, I had two kids, and I needed to work. Because I had to pay for two kids and we were living in New York City. So, I built a reputation as a, I was a very hard worker. But also, you know, I tried to take jobs meant something to me. You know, and tried to take jobs that I was passionate about. You know, I did a lot of television. And then that lead to actually directing, I directed four feature documentaries as well. And that lead to directing commercials. Because, you know, it starts building on it. So, because people start tracking you. It’s hard to get people to trust you with their money. But if you have a resume and reel and you can build on that, where it keeps getting better and better. Then people will start trusting you more.
Ashley: But, I mean, there’s a big leap between, you know, PA and directing an episode. So, maybe just take us through some actual logistics of what exactly did you have to do? Did you bring in your first short film and say, “Hey, this is what I can do.” How did you actually land those jobs?
Trey: So, I went to the Line Producers on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” His name was Jerry Goldberg. He became a show running out of a television show for VH-1, called, “The Agency.” “The Agency” lead a television show, a reality television show about the modeling agency. I, Jerry knew of that, “Raccoon” which short film. Which I showed it to him, and said, “Listen, I really want to direct.” And he said, “Well, I’ll give you an Associate Producer job on this “Agency” show. And I did it. And whenever there was an opportunity to direct anything, because a Field Producer wasn’t around. I would go out and direct something. And then what I did was, I would go into the edit room. I would grab the clip that I had directed it, and I cut something together and I showed it to the next person. And then the next person hired me, and then the next person that hired me is Matt Dimberg, who is now an executive with the History Channel. And Matt hired me for a short show called, “Ink.” Which was a rowdy television show about a tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. And I lived in Las Vegas and I was the director, verses two directors, Matt Branderson and me. And I lived in and got married in 2005. And right after I got married I went out to Las Vegas to live in Las Vegas for four months. And directed a television show. And the sacrifices you have to make, and it’s that push you have to do to make that route. You have to make sure people know what you want. If you can’t tell them what you want, then they’re not going to know? And ya’ll have to go and make something good, ya know? And then, you know, if you make something good people will trust you. You’ve got to get it in their hands. But the only way to be in that position? Is to maybe take work, you know, this may not be where you’re at in your head, as a creative person. But it’s where your at in reality. And if you keep pushing, and you’ll get those breaks, you earn those breaks, you earn that buck.
Ashley: Okay, that’s sound advice. It just sounds like small baby steps. Slowly you got to the point where you could actually direct. So, let’s dig into, “Lost in the Sun” starring Josh Jamal. I just watched the film, I realized I enjoyed it, so, well done on that front. I just want to get a quick log-on if people haven’t seen the trailer or seen the movie yet? Maybe you could just pitch us, I always link to the trailer in the show notes so people can find it. But maybe you could start out by just giving us a quick log on for the film?
Trey: Sure. Um. It’s a story of a career criminal, who kidnaps a newly working teenager. And ends up using her to rob convenience stores and banks. To rob their way into Mexico.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. So, where did this story idea come from?
Trey: Um. So, after I quit that corporate job in California. I went hiking through Central America. And I was in Central America, backpacking and hiking with a pack of wild dogs. And, it sounds like the movie, but it was a bad movie.
Ashley: I know you talk about wild dogs.
Trey: Wild Dogs!
Ashley: Wild animals, wild dogs? Okay, okay, wow.
Trey: I came, I came back to the United States to get rabies treatments. That’s where I knew I had to get it, that’s where I chose to get it. So, when I was in the United States getting the rabies treatments? It takes a while to get the shots. From the field, you know, you’re helping. But the lot of waiting I did. I rented a car and drove throughout Mexico. And packed my way all the way back to Texas. And that’s really where we got the idea from. How it came to me, was during that time of healing. And I didn’t start writing it until 2006. And that was while I was just starting to work a lot of a director and filming television, mostly television. And it took me a while to write. And I said, I wasn’t really done with it till 2009-2010. And you know, it kept changing, even after Jeffery Orrot attached to it. But that’s really where it started. It took me a while to write it, mainly because I was working. You know, I was directing. So, in between my free time, you know, I was trying to finish the script.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, I always like to ask this, question? Of why, what came first with this I mean this is a kind of character study of about this guy, and the boy. What came first? Was it the character, or was it the story, the idea, you know, sort of, two guys running around the southwest robbing convenience stores. Or was it just this character?
Trey: Um. That’s a good, great question? I think it was, it was probably like all of my stories start with a tone, and a space, and a place. And that’s how my brain thinks? My brain thinks very individually, I don’t think in terms of characters. So, when I get to a stage in a place? And I get an idea of what that space in place is? Then I will occupy it with characters. And what type of characters I want in it? Then after I’ve got those characters, then the structure of the story starts forming. So, I think character came first. After kind of knowing what the space in the place was.
Ashley: A-huh. So, take us through the sort of steps. You’ve written a script, now it took you a few years, you’re working full time. Take us through the steps of once you have a finished script you feel good about. What do you start to do with it? Obviously at this point, you have a lot of contacts in the TV Industry. But, just start taking us through that process of? You’ve got a finished script and now you want to try and get it produced.
Trey: Sure. So I got a finished script. And I try to find a producer or production company through to help me get this thing made. I was working for a production company, in New York. By the name of Atlantic Pictures, and Chris Marsh. Chris Marsh, went through same college I went to, in up-state New York. And I was put in touch with him, and Chris had a film that went to semantic reading in 2011. And did very well, and the sales agent on that film. Asked was ITM. And ITM asked Chris for, you know, other scripts that they were interested in making. So, they passed along, “Lost in the Sun.” And ITM and they did go with a list of actors that were on it. And at that time, Paul Sneed, who at that time who was the lead, one of the casting directors, on, “Lost in the Sun.” Him, who was a friend of mine from New York. Who was working in New York City, and he looked at the list and said, “Listen, I think, Josh would be great for this role. And I think it might be something probably he would want to do. Because he hasn’t done anything like this?” So, we offered the script to Josh, and Josh read it. And then I came out to L.A. and we met and then in 2011. Josh verbally attached himself to this script, and we tried to raise the money for two years. We tried to raise the money and we just couldn’t do it, trying to find the financing.
Ashley: A-Huh. I’m curious, did he sign a letter of intent, and there was no, you know, pay-or-play deal? Or just he liked the script enough to just get on aboard? With out any kind of?
Trey: Yeah, he did, he just gave me a verbal, like, listen I want to make this movie with you. And, you know, and if an agent was on-board with it, and everybody else was sort of on-board with it. But at that point, we said, we could go out and try to raise the funds for with verbal attachments with it. But not, if there’s an investor who wanted a letter of intent. So we had to get the letter of intent from Josh’s agent as well. And we ended up doing that. But that came later, because we had such a hard time raising money for the film. We didn’t actually, Atlantic Pictures, fell out of the picture, and then Clayton and Age Shay came into the picture very vicariously and in 2013. I got an Email from Shay, basically saying that she had a film that a, was going to be at “South-By-Southwest.” So, a, I sent her the script, and she loved the script. I want to say, like, two or three years ago. And she knew right away. She was like, “What the hell? I love this script!!” And I basically, I completely agreed that we would try to get this film made. And she came, and Clay came along. And then they brought an investor. And then in 2013 like, in August of 2013, they brought investors. By the name of Clay Picorn, and he came in with most of the money for the film. And we were shooting by January 2014.
Ashley: Okay, great. So, how can people see, “Lost in the Sun?” Do you have the movie schedule? Do you know when it’s going to be released? Video on Demand, and Leaders?
Trey: Yeah, it could be released, November 6th of DoD, and then I think it’s going to be enforced market, and strictly it’s going to be New York, Dallas, where I’m from Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.
Ashley: Okay, okay, perfect. And I always just like to round up the interviews with by asking the guest to tell us if people want to follow you? Or contact you, what’s the best way to do that? Anything you feel comfortable sharing? Maybe a Twitter handle, or a Facebook page if you have a blog or something like that. And I round all this up and put it in the show notes. Anything, for anybody who for people to just follow. And try to keep up with what you’re doing?
Trey: Yeah, they can, I’m on Instagram – TreyNelson_ They can follow me there. I have a Twitter handle – TreyNelson_ But I’m not a big Twitter guy. Um, Facebook, is mostly my personal stuff. So if they want to reach me on Instagram, that’s the best way to do it.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. And I’ve seen, “Lost in the Sun” as a Twitter page. And a Facebook page as well.
Trey: Yeah, “Lost in the Sun” has a Facebook page, they have a Twitter page and an Instagram page, so? I think the Twitter handle – @movies and I think if you just search? And on Facebook if you just “Like” it?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, perfect, perfect. Great, well then Trey, it’s been a very enlightening interview, lots of great information. I really appreciate you coming on and talking with me.
Trey: Absolutely, I enjoyed it.
Ashley: Me too, me too. And good luck with the film.
Trey: Thanks Ashley.
Ashley: Thank you, talk to you later.
Ashley: I just want to mention two things we’re doing at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com to help screenwriters find producers who are looking for new material. First, we have created a monthly newsletter that will be sent directly to producers. Every member of SYS Select can now submit one log-line per month, per newsletter. I went and Emailed my large database of producers and asked them if they would like to receive this monthly newsletter. About pitches, so far we have about 170 producers who have signed up to receive it. These are hungry for material and are happy to read scripts from writers. They specifically sell their work for material and they specifically want pitches from some of the screenplay writers. So if you want to participate in this pitch newsletter, and get your script in the hands of lots of producers. Sign up at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select.
And secondly, we publish one of the premier paid screenwriter leads sub laments so we can publish their leads to the SYS Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from a partner. Recently, we’ve been doing10-12 high quality paid leads per week. These are producers and paid production companies who are actively looking for, or are looking to buy material or are looking to hire a screenwriter for a specific project. If you sign-up for SYS Select, you’ll get these leads Emailed directly to you. So, for four times per week, these leads run the gambit. From production companies, looking for specific types of spec. scripts to produce. Producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up on of their own ideas. We have: Shorts, features, producers looking for teams, web series, and pilots. It’s a huge a-ray of different types of projects. And these leads are exclusive to our partner and to SYS Select members. Just sign-up, go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select. Again that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/select.
I recently set-up a success stories page. For people who have had success through various SYS Services. So if you want to check out some of the other people who have tried the SYS Services are saying, just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Again, just go to –
www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. And I have listed a whole bunch of people with quotes who have used our services and have had some success with them. Also, if you’ve had some success with us and SYS Select Services, please do let me know. It’s inspiring to hear these stories. So, I’d love to share your story on the success page. But even in a Podcast interview. So, again, just send me an Email if you’ve had success with any of the SYS Select Services. I know I don’t catch-up with everybody I know? I know there’s more people out there? That have had success and I haven’t necessarily gotten in touch with you.
In the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Allister LaGrand and Luke Harvest. Who recently wrote a horror film called the, “Diabolical.” I was actually supposed to interview them for today’s episode, but, Trey Nelson’s film is actually coming out before Allister Luke’s, so those two episodes got flip flopped. So, that will be the next episode. Actually, I take that back, the next episode is the special 100th episode. And then episode with Allister Luke Harvest. So, next keep an eye out on that one. I’ll be answering a whole bunch of questions that people have sent in. Through, what people have sent in. That’s a whole bunch of questions we’re going to go through, and get those special answer episode. And then in addition? I’m just gonna talk about sort of talking about the highlights from maybe 100 episodes I’ve been in. We have had all these people, I’m gonna try and build down some of the lessons. And just kinda guide you through some of the episodes that, I’ve done. So keep an eye out for that 100th episode.
Drop things off, I just wanted to touch on a few things from today’s episode with Trey. The big take away for me, is, the take away I get a lot with the popular episodes I do. I love how Greg just went out and knew things had to happen for himself. He was working in the industry, and just still went out and optioned the rights to his short. Then went and made short films. I would really encourage you to look him up on IMDB. When you listen to this guy’s story, it was more about doing the work and slowly advancing. Than ever having that earth shattering moment. Where you, “Break in.” There is not a lot of luck in his story. It was just a lot of hard work in small increments, and small improvements. This story is not like an overnight rags to riches super rich inspirational story. I think people will get kinda hung up on those stories. But his story is exactly what could actually work for a lot of people. I get so many Emails, you know? From people that are like, hey, can you get me in touch with this producer? Or, could get me an agent, can you get me a manager. And I just feel those people are looking for that big, sort of earth shattering moment. They’re putting their emphasis on the moment. This agent signs me, this producer buys my script. And that’s going to launch me into the top level screenwriting assignments. And I suppose that does happen for a small number of people. But I think Trey’s story is a much more realistic approach. As I said, it’s not the super sexy, you know, overnight success. This, you know, everyone wants to buy your script so you can it turned into a movie and the talk of the town. Those are the types of stories that catch our attention. But those are the minority of successes. Trey’s story is exactly what can actually work. I’ve mentioned that several times on the Podcast. I wrote a Podcast where I went and tallied up how everyone who’s appeared on my Podcast. How they broke into the industry? The number one way, by a landslide, was networking and the subcategory under networking was working network level jobs. And working your way up the industry. So Trey was doing that. But, another way to break into the industry, totally separate, while was during short films. During independent feature films. Will advance your career on their own. Trey was also doing that too. He was working both angles. And that’s what’s so important to consider. These things have a way of building on each-others snowballing. He was making industry connections through his day job and he was also out there on weekends and nights shooting shorts and films. And that’s the key, he got some synergy there, ya know? He had the connections to show these short films too, and that was impressive. One would not have worked without the other.
In this case I don’t think, you know, it’s? You can be working and in the industry. In the industry I want to be a director, I want to be a writer. Or I want to be a director, will you help me with these connections? But if you be and you haven’t actually written anything? Actually as a director, I should have directed something? I don’t know how seriously they will take you? I mean, everybody working in the entertainment industry wants to be a writer or director, producer. Everybody wants to get to that top level. Um, so actually having some stuff that people can watch and see, I think is essential. And as I said, he was working both of these angles. Keep in mind too, these production jobs of his, he was talking about from P.A. all the way up working this television production jobs. They’re incredibly labor intensive, you work grueling hours: 10, 12, 14 hours a day. So, it would have been really easy for him to just go home from work. And say, “Eh, I’m tired.” He could have rationalize himself while working in the industry. I’m building my Rolodex, and that’s enough, but he didn’t. He continued to do his own stuff. He continued to make stuff on the weekends. And now what has happened, he’s writing and directing a movie with Josh Dumaul.
Anyway, I hope that was good with some of the people who were listening. There really is no room to have anything to do crook hand and should be doing to break in and getting your career going. I can tell you though, write scripts and then sending out a few scripts to a few people. And doing a few contacts. And then sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring. That’s not gonna cut it. So, really listen to his story, and what he did again. It’s not the super sexy overnight success that’s sometimes people like to get highlighted. Just some of those overnight successes are the ones we hear about. But it’s the inquest, the people that are incrementally soar, slowly building up their careers, and getting better and better. And getting bigger and bigger projects. That I think is a much, much more realistic way for all of us to advance.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.