This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 137: Producer, Director, and Screenwriter Lou Simon Talks About Her Latest Film, All Girls Weekend.
Ashley: Welcome to episode #137 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, Screenwriter and Blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Lou Simon, she’s an independent writer/director and producer. We talk through her career, and how she got started as a writer/director/producer. And we also talk about her latest film, “All Girls Weekend.” So stay tuned for that.
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A couple of quick notes, any links or websites that I mention in the Podcast can be found on my blog, in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode. In case you would rather read the show. Or possibly look something else up later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast. And then just look for episode #137.
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, Just put in your Email address. And I’ll send you a new lesson, once a week for five weeks. Along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. How to write a professional log-line and quarry letter. How to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for new 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 this week. Well, it’s been well over a week now, since I completed shooting my crime, action, thriller script, “The Pinch.” I met with the editor last week and he is busy just getting things organized. We shot in 4K Braw, using a Black Magic camera. And we ended up with about six terabytes of footage. So, it’s taking a bit of time for the editor to get things organized. He has to go through the sync. to sound. And he has to go through and create proxy files, which are basically low residue files of what we shot. So that he can actually start editing in that. And then he’ll add at the end. He basically creates a high rez. Version. It makes the editing process go much quicker. Because your computer is being taxed with the incredibly long and large film/video files. That’s just been taking a little bit of time. But hopefully he’ll start cutting, and hopefully by the end of this week I’ll get to see a scene or two? If not this week, then certainly by next week hopefully we’ll have a scene or two cut. And we can really start digging into that. So, I’ve written up a nice recap episode on “The Pinch.” Basically I go into all sorts of details about how I produce this. Sort of my thoughts on it. I’ve got it all written out, I’m just going to publish it probably in October. I basically got the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast” booked up until mid-October. So, I’ll try and squeeze in an episode in the middle of October, with this recap. Again, I’m just going to run through the production. What I think I did well, what I think I could do better on the next one. So, keep an eye out for that in mid-October.
I’m starting to think about a new spec. script to write as well. I’ve got a couple of ideas. The first one is, kind of a low-budget action film. Probably not something I would produce or direct. But it’s an idea I’ve been checking it out, kicking around for a little while. I think it’s an idea that produces really, really like. It’s got a couple of elements that I’ll, a lot of producers I’ve talked to, talked about recently. I’ve said, “Gee If it does this, that, and the other thing.” And I’ve combined a few of those things into this DSL. I’m probably going to start writing on it that, in the next week or two. I’m still kind of letting things with “The Pinch” settle down. There’s still quite a bit of work on that. But, starting to put together this. An outline maybe next week? I’ll get to start working on an outline, one for this spec. script. So, anyway, that’s what I’m working on.
Now, let’s get into the main segment. Today, I’m interviewing Director/Producer/and Screenwriter – Lou Simon. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Lou, to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Lou: Thank you so much for having me.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can give us a little over view of your background. Kinda how you got into the entertainment industry? And maybe even back it u before that, as a kid were you really interested in movies and becoming a screenwriter. Just all the way back as far as you can remember? Kind of where you got this kernel of an idea to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Lou: Well, to begin with, first I grew-up on Annapolis. I mean, I was writing since I was very little. I was writing before I was writing before I was inventing stories and stuff like that. But never thought of putting them down. So, I was about ten years old, that we had to write like a short story for a class act. But before that, I was like, remembering recording stories for my mom. On like, a tape deck. I’d play them back to her. Because I thought it was so funny. But once I started writing, I started writing regularly since I was ten. Went to college even, and studied creative writing, with the idea of being an author and novelist. And then you know, the reality of, well, okay, how do I pay my bills until I get discovered, kinda hit me. And so, what I ended up doing was, I convinced myself, that if I went to law school, in New York. You know, and be a, like if you will, of publishing. I’d be able to write, so I went to law school. And then I’d be discovered. I never actually had to practice law. But the reality was I, you just don’t have time to write in law school. So, pursuing that career, whatever I can, I put writing aside. I kept, you know, kept trying to go back to it. I’d write a little bit. And then, I’d get frustrated, writers block, or I’ll get afraid of you know, what it’s like to put yourself out there, to have people read, you know the most. You know, your baby, the thing that means the most to you. And have them be rejected. It got so bad I had to, I actually said, “You know what?” That was just like the most dream that was reality. I’m just going to give up on it. And then in 2009 I met a very nice person who, thanks to him. And helping him work on a screenplay that I’d been working on. I discovered that law, wow screenplays are a lot easier to write than a novel. And so, once I had, had helped him. Then I started to write on my own. And I kept writing, writing, and writing. And I’m still, the idea was, okay, I’m going to be a screenwriter. And I started submitting, it seemed very, very, hard to get anybody to read your screenplays. So, after a while I said, “Alright, well, is it’s that hard, I’m just going to have to start giving them my cell.” So, it moved from just being a screenwriter, to becoming a film maker.
Ashley: Okay, okay. And how did you make that transition? I mean, it’s easier said, than done. Than just saying, hey, I’m gonna go and do my movie. Did you, were you able to raise money? That’s the obvious first step, do you redirect this first film. And I assume at that point you’re talking about Hazmat. That looks like your first movie credit on IMDb. Was that the first film you just wrote, you couldn’t sell it, so you just going to go out and produce it?
Lou: No, that’s actually my second. I made a movie before that.
Ashley: Oh, I see.
Lou: Yeah, it’s called, “The Awakening.” And it was my, I guess some can call it my film school. Because that’s where I learned to do it, everything else I, you know, I didn’t know before. And it didn’t do too well. But you know, it’s enjoyable enough that it went to a bunch of film festivals and stuff like that. It just didn’t get distribution.
Ashley: It was a feature film, or was it a short?
Lou: Yes, actually, I didn’t know that I just started by doing shorts. Not being completely new to the film industry. I didn’t know that’s how people normally do it. So, I just started making features because I thought that’s what it was? That’s what you did? So, I mean, it was just one of those things. You know, your reader know, articles you know, you read enough. Advice, I can get different advice from people. And they particularly say, don’t force, it’s so hard to break into Hollywood. That somehow, that sometimes the best thing you can do is? Just making your own film stuff and hope that someone will discover your talent from there. So, that’s how I made that transition. And it took raising money to make film. And learning all type, you know, all the other areas of pre-production, production, post-production. So, I had to learn everything. Like, for a person who, had been practicing law for a very long time, was quite a change.
Ashley: And were you in a position to do some of the financing yourself? Or had you go outside and raise outside financing?
Lou: No, we raised outside funds and we completely set out.
Ashley: Now let’s talk about that for a minute. Maybe just talk a little bit about steps. There’s definitely going to be a lot of screenwriters listen to this. Thinking, gee I would like to make my own movie. But they don’t necessarily know how to go about raising the money. Hopefully we can talk to that just a little bit about what you actually did to find people that were interested. Especially on a first time writer, first time director. How do you convince them that this is actually a smart investment, if you will?
Lou: Well, I think in a way, things happen for a reason. And I think ironically, not that I had this long, site, a career, before I went back into writing. Really helped, because being an attorney first. I think people put more trust on you, than they would a
21-year old. You know, that just came out of school. And number two, I had a lot of connections. And I had, you know, clients, and people who were professionals that, you know, you could say, hey, you know, you wanna, we’re giving you a couple of thousand dollars to make a film. And it was nearly the end of the world to them. You’re not pitching to, you know, young twenty something year old’s that are in the same position as you. So, I was very lucky in that in regard that I had those connections. I was able to pitch, and I think that, that’s probably, if you’re going to be pitching to people, to raise money. That’s probably the ideal audience for you because, you know, professionals, doctors, lawyers, that have. Those are people who have the kind of money that say, well, $2000.00 isn’t going to be in another world. But at the same time, you know, they might want some excitement on their life, you know. That’s out of the norms professional life. It can be quite boring and tedious and so. It’s more than people will, a lot of money, you know, because people still tend to have a lot of experience in their life so, they’re not really looking for games, you know, to do something different. Plus, that’s probably how they got rich, right?
Ashley: Do you mind telling us what the budget of that first film was, awakenings?
Lou: It was the awakened, and it was $50. Grand.
Ashley: Okay, okay. So, can you talk, I just like to get a sense of the scope of what people have done. So, you’re out pitching these people that you know professionally, roughly, how many people would you say, you pitched, verses how many people actually contributed money to the project? And I think the reason I ask this is question? Is so many people, they go out and pitch 5 or 10 people, it doesn’t work out, and they get discouraged. And a lot of the times I have film makers on and they talk about you know, many years pitching hundreds, if not thousands of people, because it takes a lot.
Lou: Yeah, it wasn’t, I guess I’m one of the lucky ones? Because it wasn’t a lot. I mean it was basically, I would say we had 50%, you know, success rate. You know, it was pretty good. I probably had I don’t know, probably pitched, I don’t know, 50 people, 60 people, something like that? About half of those you know, gave.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, perfect, perfect. Okay, so let’s dig into your latest film,
“All Girls Weekend.” Maybe to start out, you can just give us a log-line or pitch of that film?
Lou: Okay, well, “All Girls Weekend” is about five friends that have kind of fallen out of touch. And they decide they are going to rekindle their friendship by going to the mountains. And spending a weekend together. And you know, it’s supposed to be more of an adventure thing? Where they are going to be going zip-lining, and kayaking and whatever. But, they decide to go hiking. And what’s supposed to be taking a couple of hours? Turns into a complete nightmare when they get lost. And then really, really strange things start happening. And as they day progresses, you know, it’s winter. And it starts getting colder and the rain. And they obviously haven’t packed for the food, or the water, and everything starts going wrong. And on.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. And so, where did this idea come from?
Lou: It’s kind of a, I’m a huge environmentalist, it’s very, the environment is a very big thing with me, and I love the outdoors. You know, I love, hiking, motor craft thing, whatever, what have you. So, I really wanted to do something that spoke to that. And then I also, you know, all I do is horror, or somewhat, you know, thrillers, super natural thrillers. So, I wanted to put those two things together. I wanted a film, that was an
all-female cast. I’m a huge fan of the movie, “The Sense.” And I wanted to do something similar, but smaller, I’m on a much smaller budget. And I also wanted something that was completely, something that was different. Than the usual, if I was in the woods with a guy with an ax, you know. So, I came into tell you what encouraged all those things together, come into this story. Because you know, us writers will tell you outside, it’s just there, you don’t even know where he came from? But, it makes all those things that I wanted to accomplish, you know, into one story.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, let’s talk a little bit about your writing process? I’d be curious to just know, how much time you spend, like outlining, verses actually opening “Final Draft” and writing a script.
Lou: I spend, I spend time thinking about it most. I think about it for a while. You know, it depends on the story, and what’s going on in my life. Like if I’m in the middle of something else. Or, post-production, or something else like that. And I only have time for write, so I’ll just have to story. And then make in my head, and I’ll make notes, as something comes up, you know, as an idea comes up. Then the actual writing of the underline with parlay, I would say, a day or two. And then the writing, I average about anywhere between 20-30 pages per day that I sit down. So, it could be 3 days, it could be 4 days to finish a script.
Ashley: Okay, wow. So that’s quite a, you’re able to crank them out pretty good. And what is your development process it looks like. So, then you have this rough draft. How many erases do you typically make? And we can talk specifically about,
“All Girls Weekend.” Just how many drafts, how much rewriting do you do?
Lou: Alright, it depends on, I usually have people read through. And depending on the feedback they give me? I think, “All Girls Weekend” I think they had the most revisions. I think because it was originally written, to be filmed in, now sort of in the end, And then somebody told me, “Are you crazy?” Like, you can’t film down there, it’s like so hot, and the mosquitoes, everybody is going to hate you. So, I had to rewrite it to be in the mountains in Georgia. So, that was a drastic change completely. And then it was, you know, I give it to my co-producers, read, to have feedback, we wrote that. You know, probably another draft. After that, and then after I did the casting. Since you know, you’re dealing with low-budget. It’s not like you have, you know, Tom Cruise and you know, Robert De Niro. I think it’s easier to change the script, to tailor it to the actors. So, if I find that there’s something about an actor that is very characteristic about that person. Like for example, has mat, I had a person in mind when I wrote the script. And then afterwards, when casting came about. The actor who I liked the most was a guy who had been in the army. And he would, very, very, akey, and very hard. You know, the way he talked, everything, the way he carried himself. So, I rewrote the character to be a Marine, a retired Marine. Just because I thought that his tone would fit that character better. So, it’s easier to just to tailor the script to the casting. And then you have to re-write again, and again. And then you have to find location sometimes, you know, we’re making entire worlds and locations in our heads. When you’re doing you know, film making. You’re not always going to find exactly what you wanted, for the budget you wanted. So, you do another re-write to conform, you know, the script to the locations you find.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Let’s talk a minute, just about that development process. You mentioned you had a couple of co-producers who you send the script to. And then you got note cards from them. You know, I get Emails coming in and people are always wondering if how do you decide what notes to take? What notes not to take? And just how do you navigate that. And how do you know when the script is ultimately finished and ready to go.
Lou: I am probably, and I always tell people, it’s just kind of hard when you’re not just the writer. But, you’re not just the writer, but the director and the producer. It’s just hard to find the people who will be completely honest with you, you know. They want to be hired, and they want the job, they want to get paid. So, sometimes after I get it, hey I love it. But you’re like, but do you really love it? You know, tell me now. You see a flaw in it, so I can fix it now, before we film it. So, it’s a little bit difficult for me to be honest sometimes. I always had to be, don’t just tell me what you think you want me to hear. Tell me what you really, really think. And then, you know, of course it hurts when they tell you. But, I find that, I don’t know, you know, I find that I re-watch the movies after they are done. And I think to myself, darn, I wish, I had written that differently, or I wish I’d written that line different. No, wait, hold on, that’s a huge plot hole. And sometimes I don’t catch it until way afterwards. And maybe nobody caught it, but you did. You know, now I can’t think what it is right now? But, at the time, a few months afterwards, I was like, oh, wait. That was whatever, wait, that would never have happened. No one seems to have caught it, so that’s good.
Ashley: Yeah. One other thing that occurred to me? Just about the writing of these scripts. It is, they are very much genre films for the horror, thriller genre. And I’m curious was that a genre you were very much just as a fan of movies you were into? Was there a reason you gravitated towards those particular types of films as a Writer/Director/Producer.
Lou: I mean, I love anything that’s mysterious, or there’s a mysteries to be also. There doesn’t necessarily have to be horror. But anything, I grew-up watching that, old black and white movies we’ve seen them all mysteries. My mom used to watch, ever since I was a toddler. So, but, I like anything like that. And you know, I’ll be happy as long as it’s not a drama or comedy, you know. There’s some kind of thrill, you know, aspect. But I’d be happy too. What’s good about horror, and it’s probably the genre that I like that a lot of people start out with, is the fact that it’s simple thing you can do, for a reasonable budget. And that doesn’t require big stars in order for you to be to make a film. You know, you could do it. To complete our names, you know, you can still go and be seen and go pretty far, and you know. Means we have something like, “Cardinal Activity” for example. Not one person was a known actor. So, your odds are better off at getting distribution. And be able to find an audience. If it’s one of the genre films, you know, horror, sci-fi, fantasies.
Ashley: And again, I’m just curious, where did you get clued into that? Like you just said, you had no drama or comedy. Did your just natural instincts gravitate towards those films? Because I totally agree and I get a lot of people coming to my website and they’ve written that drama or comedy, or quarky, or dramedy. And I’m like, listen this might be the greatest script ever. But there’s virtually no chance of this thing getting produced. So, how did you kind of figure that out? Kind of coincidences those were the movies you wanted to make. So they happen to also be marketable.
Lou: Yeah, I did so much research before I ever made my first film. I mean, even just first decided to make my first film. It was all, it was after all the reading article after article about sales, what sells and what doesn’t sell. You know, what kind of films they make. I mean sometimes I get a lot of people who send me scripts. Just as a kind of, hey can you help me out? Can you read my script? And so on, and I guess some of them, they have like, one of my favorite, you know, examples. Somebody would send me a script that had like a plane crash. You know, on page 15, and Mike, you’re thinking that a small producer is going to pick that up? You know, that costs millions of dollars to do. You know it, you have to be doing stories that are much more limited than that. Because you know, there’s no way. Unless you have a big studio. No, nope, they’re not going to find, they’re not going to find a producer that has that kind of money. So, if you do enough, research and you listen to Podcasts like this. And you know, you’re going to hear that, over and over again. At first everybody thinks they’re going to be the exception. Or they hear that one guy, you know, who wrote, you know, the was the first time screenwriter. And wrote somehow a Marvel® movie or something? But you know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And there are those examples, that’s the problem there are those example exceptions out there we can all point to.
So, now let’s talk about sort of, you’ve written this script. What are the next steps for, “All Girls Weekend?” Take us through those next steps of getting that production together? How did you go about raising the money for that? And just, what were some of your next steps once you felt the script was ready to go?
Lou: Well, the one good part about having made, no, this is my, that was my forest film. Now, starting on my fifth. It that once you kind of develop the connections, it’s a lot easier. All, half of it. And do really, really well. And so, the investors from that, it was very easy to go and say, “Okay.” I gave you guys your money back. And here’s you money, and you know. Or we can invest in another one. And pretty much everyone was like, listen, just go ahead and re-invest it, you know. Part of it was you develop a very good relationship with these people. And so, they want the best thing for you, and they believe in you. And they think that you might be ending up being the next, you know, Stephen Spielberg or something. And so, they want to be a part of it that. And part of it is also the fact that, you know, they kinda gave it, knowing they would probably lose it. So, for them, it’s just the way to continue it and you know, the fun ride of being part of the whole thing. And so, so yeah, then it’s for all those reasons it was very easy really. Because I already had financing. I just had to go back to the same investors.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And are there any kind of perks you give to the investors that are not necessarily, obviously you’re going to give them an Executive Producer credit or something like that? You try and bring them out to the set. Do they get to come to the premier? Are there any creative perks come up with just? Because I get exactly what you’re saying, these are people that you know, the money’s not really the issue. They just have lives they like to sort of live by precariously through you, and this film making process. So, are there any creative perks that you could talk about, giving these folks?
Lou: I mean, yeah. Obviously, the investors are always the most important people on a set. So, if they wanted to come out, they would have. They are so busy, to be honest, that they don’t have time to go out much. It all starts, especially during, “All Girls Weekend” we were filming out, you know, out in the boonies, out in the Georgia Mountains. So, it wasn’t very accessible. But yeah, you know, definitely they want, we have private screenings, we do special premiers, you know, release parties, and then, if you go to the film festivals, we will always invite them. And you know, I would say, probably half of them go. And the other half is like, “yeah, yeah, I come next time.” And the other half never do, but that’s fine, you know, I mean. Usually they are very hard working people. So it’s not like they have a lot of free time.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, what’s sort of the end game? So, you are producing/directing all of these movies. What is sort of your ultimate goal in this this business?
Lou: You know, I guess either, I just want to be, I got into this, because I want to be a screenwriter. But, now that I have been making them. And I’ve been directing them as well. It’s you know, it’s the thing I enjoy so much as well. That I’d be happy, honestly. I’d be happy if I just continue on this path, and continue making them. But, you know, ideally, you would get hired by other people who are major talents. Only just because everything doesn’t have to land them on my shoulders. Because thoroughly I work on a script, usually at least years in a row, between writing. To, you know, development to pre-production, production, post-production, then marketing. Just giving an example, I wrote, “All Girls Weekend” August 2004. And now it’s released, being released,
July 2016. And so, even after just release, which already two years after it was written, you know. I also have to do marketing, and following up, and sales, international.
Ashley: You said, 2004, you meant 2014?
Lou: Yeah, I’m sorry, 2014, okay. I’m sorry yeah.
Ashley: Yeah, just checking 2014. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, oh, okay.
Lou: I went on a, you know, a time laps back, no 2014. That’s two years. And then I still have sales internationally to worry about. And, you know, and some markets, and more markets. So, it could be another year, working on it. On top of the other films that I have done, and the ones I want to continue doing, sorry. It’s a lot of work. So, if I get hired and I can just either just write a script, or just work on a script an direct and walk away from the project. Well, then you’re not so tied to that project for so many years. I’d say this is probably the longest project you have .
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And so you’re already doing some of the distribution as well? You’re taking the film to these various film markets. You’re doing that.
Lou: Well, we have sales agents, but you know, it’s always go to go out. You never know, I mean, I can’t always, you know. I can’t bend the concept into, I found the last couple of years. It’s just, you don’t know, you could be sitting there and you make it, a connection, you know, with somebody. And they don’t meet with your sales agents. But not with, how they found out about your film three. And so, it’s always helpful, to do your part aand sell it. Obviously, the sales agent is supposed to be the person who is trying to do that for you. But when it’s so well, you know, it doesn’t hurt. Plus you learn about what’s selling now, you learn about what distributors are looking for. Because you know, it’s great to write a script, or make a phone. But, you know, if you don’t sell it, than all you’re going to have, you know, is a nice, you know, an unacceptable script on a shelf. Or a movie, you know, just sitting on a shelf. I mean, ideally you can share it with the world.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So, how can people see, “All Girls Weekend?” Do you know all the release schedule? Where it will be released? And what the dates are?
Lou: Well it releases July 12 2016 on DOD, it’s going to include Comcast, boy, I have a full list. But, ITunes, Amazon, Xbox, Full Play, a couple of other cable network, Cox, I forgot the other ones? And then the DOD will be available sometime in the fall. That date has not been set yet?
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. So, I always just like to wrap up the interviews by asking the guest if they can just talk about their Facebook page, or Twitter page. Anything you feel comfortable sharing? So that people can kind of just follow along with what you’re doing.
Lou: Okay, on Facebook, it’s you know, www.facebook.com/allgirlsweekend. A samething for Twitter – www.twitter.com/allgirlsweekend. I think on InstaGram, it’s allgirlsweekend2016. And I think that’s it for the social media. For me, everything is Mrs.LouSimon. Just because I used to get Email all the time saying, “Mr. Simon” It’s like, no, no, so I thought.
Ashley: No, I get the opposite Emails all the time, people saying, Mrs. Meyers, Mrs. Ashley Meyers. So, I never thought I’d get.
Lou: Yeah, makes sense. Well, I’ve embraced the Mrs. Part. So, those people know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, perfect, perfect. Well Lou, I really appreciate you coming on and talking with me today, excellent interview, I wish you the best of luck with this film.
Lou: Thank you, and thank you so much for having me.
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Every script will get a grade of – Pass, Consider, or Recommend. Which should help you roughly understand where your script might rank if you were to submit it a production company or agency.
We can provide an analysis on features or television scripts. We also do proof reading without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and do the same analysis on it. So, if you’re looking to vet some of projects. This is a great way to do it.
We will also write a log-line and synapsis for you, if you would like us to read your script and write you a log-line and synapsis. You can add that service to an analysis. Or you can simply purchase this as a stand-alone product. As a bonus if you script gets a grade of Recommend from a reader. You get a free Email and Fax Blast to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same blast service I use myself to promote my own scripts, and it’s the same service I sell online on the website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of producers who are looking for new material. So, if you want a professional evaluation of you screenplay at a very reasonable price. Just check out – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants, again that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.
In the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Mark Allen. He’s a screenwriter who lives in Washington State, and has still managed to find some success with his screenplays. Like a lot of my guests he’s a guy who just started out by shooting a super low-budget feature film. And then since then he’s been able to sell and option a few scripts to various producers. We talk through his entire story from the very, very, beginnings. He was in the military. Got interested in screenwriting, went out and did this locally, low-budget film has continued to write. Has networked and made some connections, as I said, sold and optioned several scripts. He’ll tell us his entire story in that episode. So keep an eye out for that next week.
To wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with Lou. I hope I don’t sound like a broken record, I love how Lou just went out and did it. She didn’t wait for someone to buy her script. Or hire her as a director. She just went out and raised the money, produced the film, and made things happen for herself. She didn’t wait for her mission from someone. That’s one of the biggest things I see from screenwriters, they write a script, they send it to contests, they send it to the “Black List” They send it through my service. And then they just wait for producers to contact them. And sometimes you just gotta get out there and make things happen for yourself. So many of the people who come on this Podcast have similar stories where they just went out and made a movie. And that got their career started. So, I really do believe in this as a viable way to start a career. Viable way to just get yourself out there and start making things happen. Obviously I’m trying to do this with my own film with, “The Pinch.” I’ve sold many scripts over the years. I’ve been hired to write scripts. I mean, I’ve been working as a screenwriter for many, many years. But none of these experiences have been even remotely creatively fulfilling, and really listen to that from someone who has sold and optioned. I mean, optioned dozens of scripts, have sold perhaps a half dozen scripts at this point. And those experiences have really left me feeling like it’s really not worth the effort in many cases. And that’s what I’m trying to do with, “The Pinch.” I’m trying to create something, you know, that has more of my voice. And that I just have more creative control over. So, even if you’re someone who thinks, I just want to make my living as a screenwriter, I just want to sell scripts. I definitely think producing your own material is a great way to go. Having that experience, will just, it will make you a better writer. All you want to do is write. Going out and, even if it’s a short film, writing and directing, producing your own film. It will just make you understand what’s difficult. Like, gee, some of these scenes I thought were going to be easy to shoot. They ended up being very difficult. And it will make you more conscious about what you are going to write your own scripts and what you’re going to include in your scripts. And this is just a big learning experience for myself too. As I have mentioned, I have never been like the full main producer on a project. And so, now that I have really got in with, “The Pinch.” On the nitty gritty enough to bolster. You know, I am really surprised. Like, gee this is going to be hard, like every single fight scene, every single time somebody throws a punch or starts fights. You need to get that stunt coordinator on. There were a few stunts, a few times where people were kicking and punching each other. And I’m like, na, do we really need that? It’s just going to make it more expensive, it’s going to make it harder. Those fight scenes take a lot of time. And we do have some of them. Some of them were definitely needed for the story. And so we made an effort to keep those in “The Pinch.” But a lot of those things going through this experience, of really being conscious of productions. It’s like, especially on production that is this low-budget, like “The Pinch.” You know, I was very, working very closely with the costume designer, the make-up people, and the production designer. And so you get really first-hand experience with these things. Understanding what’s going to be difficult, what’s not going to be difficult. And again, if all you want to do is write scripts. If you are just starting out, I would highly recommend going and producing something. Even again, if it’s just a short film. Just to get your hands sort of in that and really mixing it up a little bit. But, ultimately, I think it’s also a very viable way to launch a career as a film maker. Hopefully, you know, you’re here because you’ve written a script. So, hopefully you really cherish it, and respect how important it is to have a good script. And then taking it to that next level, I think Lou is a great example of that. She’s just a great template, and a great role model for all of us, just for someone who went out there and made things happen for herself. So, hopefully that’s the at least one of the lessons you’re getting from that interview.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.