This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 106: Screenwriter / Director S. Craig Zahler Talks About His New Film, Bone Tomahawk Starring Kurt Russell.
Ashley: Welcome to episode #106 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast, I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and Blogger over at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing Director and Screenwriter Craig Zahler. Craig recently wrote and Directed, “Bone Tomahawk” starring Kurt Russel. We talk about how he got his film made as well as how he got started in the business, so stay tuned for that.
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A couple of quick notes, any websites or links that I mention on the Podcast can be found on my blog and the show notes. I also publish a transcript with each episode, in case you would rather read the show, or look up something else later on. You can find all of the Podcasts, and show notes at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast. And then just look for episode #106.
I continually build up the SYS Script Library, Terry Phillips did a bunch of horror scripts, include “Anna Bell”, “Ouija”, “Valentine”, “Insidious”, “Insidious 2”, and, “I Know What You Did Last Summer?” Thank you Terry for sending those in, it was very much appreciated. If you have a screenplay that you do not see in the SYS Screenplay Library, please do let me know? Send me an Email with it, the SYS Script Library is completely free, we have over 1000 scripts in the library. Hit movies and award winners, and television shows. All the scripts are in PDF format so you can download them and read them on whatever device you use. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/library.
If you want my free guide, “How to Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks?” You can pick that up by going to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free you just put in your Email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks. Along with a bunch of free bonus lessons, I pitch the whole process of how to sell you screenplay in that guide. How to write a profession log-line, and quarry letter, how to get agents, managers and producers who are looking for material. It really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
A quick few words about what I am working on, the same projects I am basically pushing forward. I’ve been talking about both of these projects for quite sometime. I’m still looking to continue read out parts on my spoof comedy. I’ve got another draft basically done and ready to send off. I’m just going through less a couple of days, two or three days. Just going through and trying to beef up the comedy. Just more comedy, it’s I think I mentioned this? The big note from the producers. Is they really want it to be more, “Naked Gun” (esk)? So, just more gags, more jokes per page. So I’m really the structure and the basic story I think, is all laid out. But, I’m just going through now and just really trying to a, just anywhere I can introduce a joke or a gag, I’m doing it?
I’ve got my “Kick-Starter Campaign” basically all ready to go. Again, this is another I’ve been talking about for a while. Been talking about this for six months, time has finally arrived to push it out into the world and see what happens? This Podcast episode is going to air on Monday, it’s going to first publish on Monday January 11th. And then the Kick-Starter Campaign will go live in a week later. So, the Kick-Starter Campaign will go live on Monday January 18th 2016. So keep an eye out for that.
I spent a good deal of time on the teaser/trailer, that was by far, probably the biggest piece to this. There’s just too big a peace, producing that, editing that, getting all the sound worked on, on that. And I’ve been talking about that throughout the Podcast. But anyways, through the tease/trailer was a big piece of this. That’s going to be on the Kick-Starter Campaign, I’m not going to release that earlier. I want people to check-out the whole thing, the Kick-Starter page, so, again, in one week, I’m going to launch that. I’m curious to see how people take the trailer. Definitely spend some time and energy on that. So, hopefully, people enjoy the trailer. It’s actually a scene from the movie. It’s just like a one scene from the movie, if the teaser/trailer. So, we’ll see how people like that? Anyway, wish me luck, and as I said, keep an eye out for it, my Kick-Starter Campaign, next week.
So, now let’s get into the main segment, today I am interviewing, Craig Zahler, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Craig, to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show with me.
Craig: Yep, thanks for inviting me on, I’m looking forward to chatting.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you could give us a quick overview of your career, kinda how you got started, in the entertainment industry, and eventually worked your way up. And became a professional writer.
Craig: So, I went to film school, I went to NYU. And there I studied “Animation” and “Cinematography” were my preferences. I studied a little bit of writing, for the most part, I didn’t get much out of it at first? I didn’t have any ideas of my own at the time. And I took the a directing school. I actually took a couple of acting courses. That lead to the directing, so, I knew I didn’t have any interest in acting. And, I myself, and so, I was half-way through school I was assigned a first year role, and I was a Cinematographer, on some indie foreign independent features. And shorts, seldom, 15 or 16mm. And this was the year before they were big business as right, the late ‘90’s I was talking about for the most part. And, at the same time, I started writing a little bit darker theater pieces. Implied was a little bit odd which was forming, me being like, fairly, you know, certain stuff? About, so I pitched all of this, and a little bit at the same time. And the thing is you would work a few years as the Cinematographer was. All the movies that were not complete weren’t good or both? And it wasn’t like a lot of fun for me? And there’s a point, probably around the time, “Star Wars” came out. I watched that movie and I didn’t think it looked good, I thought it was a great movie. And I just started to see it was more and more, the most important thing that was probably missing was possibly not how it looked?
But it was the process of the script. And then the performances were delivering it at that level where? So, I started focusing more and more on writing. I had a course in screenplays, but I could see the writing in college that I was quoting for the assignment. And you know, I wrote a bunch of other things, Shakespearian, a raunchy Shakespearian comedy called, “You Were a Juggling Monkey.” Are all over the place, different dramas, and it’s four months old. 4 pieces in the pile up? Like the Personna called, “Highways.” And this was called, “Coochy Spine of the Midnight Collaborator.” So, we were writing for all genres. I was on my day job as a catering chef. And really good friend of mine was there since childhood. And once the colleges was there and I was in it? He was out of Los Angeles at the time. And passed along a couple a more screenplays, who granted asylum. And that takes us to “Vertigo.” Who’s business was loyalty, networking, Japanese movies. And selling them and turning them into American movies. Putting on the gloves, that sort of stuff. And so, I got into this side, in-particular I and Davidson. And developed a with them and eventually got to a point where? I thought we were going to get a piece of Hollywood? At the time, I was probably 2008 and 2004? I was also working on a massive fantasy novel. And nothing went anywhere. So, I was, you know, you could, a give me to work on some use it. And I worked on and it turned out be a fantasy novel. And then the “Vertigo” that again, had an interested in one of those pieces called, “The Mayor of Phrase.” Showed it to an agent they worked with. His name was June Jaun, he saw the movie and he was from an out of town agency at a department there. And the first thing he said to me was he asked if he could read it? You love craft, don’t you? So, I was glad that he recognized that. And he was the movie that was. And second, he and I had a really good conversation. And so, it wasn’t that long after that, that I wrote what one that was called, “Bridge over the Brama Gorge.” Which went around, that got me a free picture at Warner Bros. And with the top script on the “Black List” for that year, in 2007, maybe 2006? And between now and then, and “Tomahawk. Sold, or had optioned about twenty trips. It just went up to twenty-three or twenty-four. Actually, none of them believed in Hollywood. So, very frustrating though, for me. And you know, a lot of what else we did during “Tomahawk.” But it’s just like, I don’t know, actually how many people, are coming that many pieces sold, and some pieces I’ve sold have optioned multiple times. And were all aboard, like me, maybe three or four times it was optioned, until finally sold. So, if I knew you could make it on that amount of money? Have a lot of business in that industry. And I have nothing to do with that actual movie. And this is frustrating, much frustrating for me. Because I make albums when these come out. And I write novels when there’s troubles. So I get great satisfaction and weave it, and publishing. But, not really movies until now. You know, that is the things that is generating income. And every time I put on blinders and predict that this movie is going to get made? And you know, feel like opportunity sits with you, deeply. But, it’s, you know, who would have thought that, that many pieces go, and the amount of different celebrities, actors, directors. Who have been involved with these pieces. That they would abandon them. You know, it’s, a tough industry.
Ashley: Yeah, to say the least, huh? It’s good summation. So, let me just go back on a couple of things you just said. Briefly, you know, you mention these first jobs right out of film school working on the cinematography. People are kinda asking me, how can you break in at the bottom end level. Maybe you could just tell us a little bit of how you got those very, very, very, very, first jobs? Where they connection through film school, did you send your resume randomly into places? How did you kind of get those first, very, very, first jobs in the business?
Craig: It was people in film school and then recommending me back through other people. Like, at that time, we’re talking 1996? So it wasn’t kinda like, from a website interview? That put off and has my demo reel? And I’m using it for cinematography, as a photographer in
1996-97. I took psychology in 1995, I was in the position to have a reel. I got out of school, and I tried as much stuff as I could back then, as a BP. So, I got out of film school and I only had a cinematographer’s reel. And I could show someone before I was able to do, with very little money. Because, you know, you’re shooting big screen film, you’re not like. I’m probably also lone me setting up the lights or sharing some of these reasons. And so, a that was how I got my jobs. Was with, for the most part I was grazing for more, and I, once you get farther and farther away from, you know, film school people, you know, you’re on the set with someone somewhere? And doing a good job and someone on that set sees you, and they recommend you for another job. That’s pretty much a fair amount of my stuff. Then, was those recommendations, you know, I had my reel, which was VHS, you know, lead-up stats that I would give to people. Who were interested in taking a look at? But not really some broad base advertised. You know, while I was looking for a career as a cinematographer, and briefly as an animator. I always had day jobs because I was a graphic designer as a living a while. And for most of that time I was a chef at a catering company, you know, doing it then. And so my grounding was, I came out of film school with material, I was good enough to get me hired on a low-budget movies and then shoot low-budget movies. And then get me serials from there. Good enough, you know, to get me, you know, other material here. You know, get me other jobs, once I had a job.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, now let me ask you just briefly too? You mentioned you got this three pitched deal. Whenever I talk to writers about these types of deals? They have, always this sort of great about who exactly, maybe you can just describe what a three picture deal is and what that looked like for you?
Craig: What a three picture deal was?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Maybe you could just describe sort of the ins and outs of it? And what exactly that means?
Craig: Mine was strictly, and didn’t really go according to plan. I think it became apparent early on, almost everybody who works with me? That I was very ready. And to think most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood was very good. And really wanted to get stuff my way. And not at any cost, because first of all, that it was there, in terms of the idea of playing ball to get your movies made. Somewhat of a steal. It was putting the drama boards up inside of Warner Bros. Then I was on board to write these movies where there was a famous actor was involved, like, Papa Deliodus. With the project, and I was like hired to write that movie, and there was a producer involved, who left it. And then there was a third there, that was an original Christmas time. So that third piece was an original script, I originally sold it to Warner Bros. pictures. You know, how many peoples own property? And of the 45 scripts, 4/5 of it in total? When a lot of these require things, maybe 4? Because I’m definitely an original guy and not a property guy. I hear you talk about 30 ideas I could write about? Depending on what I have, whether it be a book or television, or a movie. I think people like properties, Hollywood, and certainly if I’m not close to being an original property here and there? It has a chance of getting made.
I understand that and perceptibly that if it’s not something I am living up to? Look like, you know, I’ve got people to discussing the idea of remaking, “Days in the Field” which was already remade. Who are, “Deliverance” and stuff like that. Like those movies are already remade, already are there. Something that
Ashley: Yeah yeah.
Craig: Something that, if it’s a case like a generally known property? Like stick with this kinda thing, it’s a different thing. So, I’ll, at the time, I was a huge Anime fan, watching. Since it’s on video out of the back of some dude’s trunk? I grew-up in Miami, and pry around my house with all these idiots that seen pretty shady with a back on it. You know, it’s my honest to get these Anime movies translated. But I’m a huge animation fan. And that’s the way I grew-up then. And memorized a friend of Japanese movies, you know, I couldn’t translate for you. But most of these properties don’t go such things. And, a directed by if some of these movies. Put a sale on some of my favorite directors. And now that the property that I could see, so I could see that there was a way to do this. The guys who have Japanese, you know, half caucasion. And these is a way to do this well. And so I was trying to get that going. I figured the people who dealt with getting the rights out of Japan? Particularly, a long, some of the property, “Golden 13” Who can tell you, what a nightmare it is! So, Warner Bros. episodes can be really, really complicated. Can be here Japan thing, that is a little bit. So, I did, and it was crumpled, and what it was.
And now for the second part of the deal. The third part of the deal. Was put one of those lear factors involved. It became a process of so many meetings of something to talk about from it. And I think these people were kinda shocked? That I am walking away from a project with a profit view. Or, if you knew what I’m talking? It’s not as if we happened into another writer, were involved? But I say, there’s an instinct, of what we could get and what we feel it. We want to have talk about it? And it’s a trip, and you know, and the process can take forever. You want a profit and not looking for it. But that’s not what I did. I decide for other kids, but 30 years later it’s still with me. And if everyone wants to sit around and brainstorm. I can leave that room, and leave that project. Now, it’s not my profit. I am sure there are a host of great things that have been written. And it’s a bunch of people sitting around. I can tell you what should be working and what is not higher function. So, I walked away from that. Certain parts of the contract deal. Plus, that didn’t really find the walls up. So, it probably was with certain people involved. But that was with Warner Bros and myself. And so, because I really slowed them and noticed I really didn’t want to have a four months full of a handful of not originals. Which I’m dealing with which Toby McGuire perhaps? A, and then I sold them into a group on Stanston Street. And I sold them a script “Raw Knuckles” which was one of my favorite couples ever. That prohibition days, and so, I got a lot of things, I’ve had a lot of business there. But, there is such a thing, and then if you walk away from the one there’s that second picture. You know, you’ve never ever going anywhere.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Now, let’s talk about “Tomahawk” for a minute, starring Kurt Russel. Now that’s your latest film you wrote and directed it. Maybe to start out you can just give us a quick Log-line for the film. So people could kinda figure out what it’s all about?
Craig: It’s generally a group of people who live in a town called, “Bravos” on the western frontier. And there’s still some wild things out in that area. And a group of people are kidnapped from that town, and a husband is one of the kidnapped people, and a group of other people, including the Sherriff, go out after them.
Craig: That’s all that I’d like to say, prior to someone see the movie.
Ashley: Sure, sure. Okay, so many you could tell us where did this idea come from? Was this an original idea?
Craig: Yes, it’s an original idea. The benefits of the team was. I was watching a lot of low-budget, like Michael a bunch of horror stuff at the end. I lost a lot of it for many years. But the of 2011 in and around there, I was really digging in deep there with Michael and horror stuff. I did this like movie with Bryan Collins and Film Process Studios. The first tag movie, the plot of the movie sort kinda flopped. I probably promote one of those, I sold, I think at that point for me. For bits and pieces I sold a lot of options. You know, a bunch of TV pilots, a bunch of different scripts. You know something to publish, but mostly specs. Or mall pushes. And, I just wanted to see some made, because stuff was financially full filling, but career was not full filling? So I had all these blue prints for unmade movies. Okay, I did a bunch of Michael horror movies. And I talked to my team, to doing nothing before my agent. And Dallas Sonny, he’s my Manager. The colluse end of and they suggested, how about I do a western? Because that was, at that time I already had two westerns novels all published. And the western script that was sold. And frankly it’s something I think I’m better at doing than horror. Most of my pieces have horror elements in them. Crown pieces of science fiction and there my westerns did do like tons of depth of depravity. Violence of certain types, some of those felt that horror was a description of my work. Or just works of my pieces of my work. Those are comedies that I think they should use, would he a human component. But that’s what came from that conversation. But at the time, I had a, my second western book,which was my favorite out of all of them my westerns. As the book is called, “Place the book at my end. And that thing is really, really violent, far more so than “Tomahawk.” But huge retail, the validity of that thing, branding of that thing a large sum of money. But the size of it, the battle sequences is huge. And so, it wasn’t like Dallas suggested that I adapt that book. Yeah, that book would be a great movie series, or a three-and-a-half hour movie. That costs a minimum of about $50 million dollars. But, a I don’t want to take something that is, you know, let’s say, roughly 90,000 words and put it into a script. Which in the larger side, 30,000 words. I want to cut out two thirds of it. Then you’re writing an original western that likely sort of, “Broken Land” would be the rescue mission western. And deeply do something that fits the parameters of a low-budget western. And that’s how those “Tomahawk” came into battles. I knew I was gonna play it before, that concerns the antagonist before I wanted to share something. Meaning that people who hadn’t seen it before? Westerns and that’s the benefits of the antagonist. Is that the antagonist, he will be the charger heist. That the inception of this was, you know, would he be something that, let me write something up. As in the finalist before he make. And, once before we make anything, before all these actors on board. We work really hard for it to become real.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And let’s talk about this, that just briefly for a minute, how did you guys go about getting the finances for this?
Craig: What is that?
Ashley: Getting the finances, before this film?
Craig: Oh, the finances? The financing, tough. The reality is, Dallas, my manager and my friend, and briefly in this film, wrote check for half of it. The rest was foreign finances. But it was not a single company, in all the companies that put up. And all the wonderful American ones, you could see. But it was balanced for this. And that was when we had the talent on board. Kurt Russel at least being the big name stay. And some of the other people came over the phone. But the finances for this was pretty promising. But I can take some credit, you know, it in terms of private difficulty there. Because I wasn’t in equal cutting up some of it. And I wasn’t in particular interested in some young punk, you know, who I didn’t think could act. And I wasn’t really interested in easily being other than what I originally thought it as. So, yeah, we got as coming from you know, England, you know, Germany and France and all these places. But the companies and the United States. Wanted creative say, and I remember the last time I was interested in it? That we dealt with and we made, without giving it some financing. You know, they gave it realistic things that they needed to control. Like, casting, hiring in similar for all the floor stuff. And we could already see the profits. A couple of problem with a couple of other things. And list of things I wouldn’t do? Didn’t fit into a single one of them. And so, that’s how it happened. Dallas had fun with it, there was no look as. There was no one person who risked more and worked harder or did more on the movie than I did, that guy. And so, there was no normal way of getting a movie like this made. Because no one has some of the things about it. Everyone said, “I can go.” All of the time in the, all those characters, and all that space. Everyone respected space and said, “I’ll be good. In so many misses, in so many ways. And again, all this eventually would make it become a commercial movie. I can go in, since ten hours of waiting, and tomorrow will probably get turned into a more commercial movie. It’s very obvious how to do it, I just, I’ve never taken to doing that movie. But for me, the version of the movie I thought would be the best. I’ve got the one to make, is the one I personally liked the most. And I want people to like it. But I’m not making quick rash decisions about that movie, or like it. Yet, in the first 45 minutes, I’ll cut out 20 minutes. Yes, if I find a lot more amusing in there. Yes, if I move some of the stuff now for ET? Yes, I’ll put in a lot of, well, if I make a cut here? And whether or not the close-up, there’s no laws to make it more normal. But see the long struggle to get it there. I wanted to make something different. That’s the whole reason for doing this. I’m not trying to make a movie you’ve seen before. So, up to the financing was face-value a different type of tactic, again and again, and again. And personally we had package of including we had actors that failed to be the movie. Might have been the last cause, the package that was Kurt Russel and just Chris. And a, you know, in a foreign seller better off on a commercial market. And how much money was there. And that was about half the budget for the movie. And then Dallas made it out of her pocket. It really isn’t anything or any advice for people because I was just fortunate to have someone who believed in the project than that. The finances that way and not that we lose everything and all the stuff people raised, without change. Yeah.
Ashley: Let’s talk about your novels? It’s just, we’re going to wrap up here in the next couple of minutes. Let’s talk about your novels just for a second? How can people find those and potentially buy those? If they want one, check out more of what you’ve written?
Craig: Three of the four books are readily available everywhere on Amazon and EBay. The first of my published novels is called, “The Congregation of the Jackles.” And that was critically the lowest seed. It got a couple of awards, nominations. That thing is out of print, so, I’m looking for another publishing house to re-print it? Because it’s like, several copies of that are going for too much money, like, $100.00 bucks or more, because it sold so well. So, that one was a little trickier to get. The other three novels, there’s the western published books, were I am in that one. Literally to out of Tomahawk tones in terms of a rough view, mission western. Though none of the characters perceived are the same. And it is a victim of a larger experience. And that’s why I personally I recommend it to people, who enjoy reading “Tomahawk” to check it out. And unlike the movie where there are many, many, terms that we are dealing with in the real world. Time like it’s a broken way, and that’s found probably like a hundred times more than what I wanted it to be. There are no compromises there at all. There’s no, were running out of things to do? Like getting away, you want them to, don’t have enough money to be good. So that’s the, very clear, you know, that’s clear version of a western. What I want to do it, And then there is corporate, from corporate industries. We have found bit and piece, born out of humor probably. It would appear to disbands and then it makes it so plausible stuff. Then I would certainly touch on, side a that I grew-up on here. And then you have the novel that is absolute out there. Heated from Nancy street, which is the crime scene developing. Which is not the TV show. And you see where that land, and that thing probably has the best dialog than anything I’ve written still. It complemented a bunch of the bottom of them. “The Tomahawk” which is very much this year. Also none specific, you’ll be like that actually from North actually.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. How can people see “Bone Tomahawk?” Do you know what the release schedule is going to be like?
Craig: Well, “Tomahawk” is available through Amazon and ITunes and all that stuff, but any way you could be coming out by the end of the year? You can pre-order that now. And cool stuff is on there, that is together on there. A large chunk of the cash on there about the movie at the premier, like on the set. You know, you can see the stuff and all. And had this, interview with Kurt Russel. So, that’ll be out there soon and, you know, it’s a fantastic way to go. When I love you. This movie is a serious model. And a.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect.
Craig: So that’s out there, and you can preorder it now. And it’ll be out there, a couple of weeks.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. Well Craig, I appreciate you coming on and talking to me. This is an interesting interview. I will, I learned a lot and I wish you luck with the film.
Craig: Thank you very, very much for your support and good talkin’ to ya.
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In the next episode of the Podcast I’m going to be interviewing Lawrence Roke, who directed and Co-Wrote the new feature film, “Diablo.” It stars Scott Eastwood, this is another western. And again we talk through his early career and then this production of “Diablo.” So, keep an eye out for that episode next week.
To wrap things up I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview. Hopefully if you listened to this Podcast regularly? It wasn’t regularly, it was a surprise, and Craig said, he had sold or optioned 23 screenplays, but none of them got produced. This is very, very common thing. And I think it’s something that people who are new to the industry or who are trying to break into the industry don’t fully understand? Is that there’s people who are out there, who have full careers writing screenplay career. And literally have no produced credits. So, it’s not that uncommon for this. What Craig is talking about, to have had happen? I actually ran into something I would say similar early on in my career. I was sort of the opposite, but it was what lead me down this path, that was somewhat difficult. It was, the first screenplay I ever optioned, actually ended up getting produced. Me and my writing partner actually ended up optioning it six months later. And they got funding and they produced this film.
And I just thought at that point that I was young enough, and naïve enough to think that, that’s how it went. I mean, sure, I guess I knew that. Not every optioned, turns into a produced feature film. But it seemed pretty routine for these guys that we optioned it too. That a little money, and six months later they bought it. They bought the script, they went into production. And now that was that, while in the meantime, I was optioning a bunch more other scripts. So I felt, gee, this is going to be easy, screenwriting is going to be easy. Because I was optioning scripts, I am still to this day optioning scripts. But, as time went on, I realized much of my life. Like Craig, for every produced script that you’re going to have. You know that a half dozen, maybe a dozen, in Craig’s case, 23, two dozen, almost two dozen in options or sales. Before you actually get a produced credit. So, you really want to keep that in mind. And I get a lot of Emails from people. You know, they just optioned their first script. And I told them, together, it’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s a real career highlight. So, I don’t want to detract from that. And I felt the same way. When you, I and my buddy optioned our first script and made, It was really exciting. We felt that we were off to the races. Unfortunately, we may not, but you may be, but you may not be off to the races. And just think and to keep your head up and continue to work, and continue to write new material. Especially if the movie didn’t get produced and get a little bit of a good buzz. You’re gonna want to have a bunch of other scripts ready to go. If you start to meet people, or people start to contact you. You really want to have two, three, four, probably five, six really solid scripts that you can start to sell that, and be ready for that. I actually after as I mentioned my own scenario with my first script. Right after that script was produced. Again, I was still not believe enough to think that I was off to the races. And things were all going to be down hill from then on. I actually went and got, this was at a point, mid to late ‘90’s. I went and got the WGA List of signatory agencies. And I think it’s like 300 or something? It’s a good number of agencies that are on this list. And literally, I sent them back again, this was maybe the late ‘90’s. I literally, it was really before Email lists. And I just got this list, and I sent a hard letter, this physical letter I sent through the mail to every single company. And I think it was, as I said, 300 and I think I only got like a handful of people that requesting a script. So, I’m saying, less than five. I think I had three, four maybe, five out of that hundred. Agencies request my script, and this was after I already had a produce credit. I only got a handful of people, and I had a bunch of other scripts ready to go. I was busy pitching some of my other material. And probably only got, you know, three or four maybe five people. Amongst the 308 agents to read the script. And none of them liked it, the scripts I was sending out. So, I did not actually get an agent at that point. It took me several years later before I actually had my first agent or manager. So, keep that in mind, just. Once you option that first script, that’s great, it’s a good feeling first step. But, definitely realize you got a lot more work to do and keep writing and keep marketing. Keep trying to meet new people. Keep trying to find new producers, and option your scripts to new people. That’s what’s really going to get the job done.
I’ve been talking to several other people, just this one time. One that Craig mentioned? The movie that Craig did, “Rapid Road” and directed “Tomahawk.” It’s come up in conversations a couple of times? Just the other producers, the other writers that I have talked to. And just completely independent, without me saying, “Oh, I interviewed this guy.” And I don’t do, and this is one of the unique because I have not seen yet? Even though I interviewed Craig. I have not actually seen the movie. People that I have been talking to, in saying that it’s a really good movie. So definitely check it out, especially if you like westerns. I think you would probably enjoy this. But, everyone’s been telling me it’s a really good movie. So, I think, someone to watch, just keep him on your radar and see where his career goes?
And also I talk, and this is probably the single biggest lesson from the business. I talk with someone like Craig and I do interviews quite often. With guys like him that worked up the industry. And after talking with him, I gradually occurs to me, I get so many Emails from people. Kind of looking for this magic bullet or something, or secret sauce? And then you listen to an interview, like I just did with Craig. And it just kinda occurs to me? Yet, the secret, the called, “Secret Sauce” except the secret is, there is no real secret. Listen to what Craig did, but there’s no magic moment, and he started, got out of college. And just started working as Cinematographer on super-low-budget indie films. And they were terrible, and he just said it was not that satisfying. But you know, that kinda got the ball rolling. Very, very little, but slowly he was able to network. He slowly started to recognize that his interests lay in reading. So he started to write. He had some connections in the industry. So, slowly, things have started to snow ball for him. It’s take, you know, he mentioned early 2000 something is when he started working on these films. These low-budget Indie films right out of college. So, you know, it’s take him 15 years or something to get to the point where he’s at. And he’s, don’t necessarily what he wants to hear? Or that they want to hear, it’s secret sauce, I just need access to this one guy. I get these Emails all the time, you know. Hey do you know so, and so? Do you know such and such an actor? Do you know, Martin Scorsese I know this script would be perfect for him, and it may happen like that, occasionally, maybe do good as extraordinary stories. But, listen to his Podcast, maybe in fact most of the people that come on his Podcast that have stories similar to Craig. There’s no magic moment. You know, they just didn’t stumble into a bathroom in New York City and, you know, saddle up to Martin Scorsese and push him a script for the next. And the next thing you know, you’re off and running. Most of the stories that come on this Podcast go like this, it’s one slow step at a time to eventually work your way up.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.