This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 405 – Filmmaking in Thailand .
Ashley: Welcome to Episode #405 of the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger over at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I am interviewing producer Daemon Hillin. He’s an accomplished producer with dozens of credits. This week he comes on to talk about the film he recently produced called Apache Junction. He’s a real hustler, and he talks about the early part of his career in the entertainment business and how he was able to transition into the role as a producer. And of course, we talk a little bit about how he find scripts to produce and what he recommends for writers. So stay tuned for that interview.
Also, I had an email exchange this past week with a nice guy in Hawaii who’s written a pilot script and wanted to know my thoughts on what to do with it. He’s won a bunch of contests and just kind of had some questions. So I have some thoughts on that at the end of the podcast as well. My answer might surprise you, I think it surprised him a little bit. So stay tuned for that as well. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving me a comment on YouTube or re-tweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast. So they are very much appreciated.
Any websites or links that I mention in the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast and then just look for Episode Number #405. If you want my free guide- How To Sell A Screenplay In Five Weeks, you can pick that up by going to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free, you just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks, along with a bunch of bonus lessons.
I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. I’ll teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter and how to find agents, managers, and producers who are looking for material. Really its everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I am interviewing producer Daemon Hillin. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Daemon to the Selling Your Screenplay podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Daemon: Yeah, thanks for having me, Ashley. I really appreciate it.
Ashley: Hey, no problem at all. So to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where’d you grow up and how did you get interested in the entertainment business?
Daemon: I started about 15 years ago in the entertainment industry. I was more on the fashion side of things. I was like in front of the camera. I did fashion shows in Italy, Germany, Greece, and then I went on to do some TV work in Japan for three years.
Ashley: As a producer? You were producing?
Daemon: No, no, no. I was talent, and I realized that’s not for me. So I didn’t have the passion for it. It was cool and I was able to travel, but it wasn’t what my heart wanted. So I knew I wanted to be in entertainment, but I didn’t know what in entertainment I wanted to do. I needed, I wanted to do business and something in the entertainment field. So producing kind of just fell on my lap. I one day had an investor come to me and just say, “Hey, Daemon, I wanna do something in Hollywood.” I said, “Okay, what do you wanna do?” They said, “Let’s make a documentary.” So I said, “Okay, let’s do it.” I had no clue what I was doing. Literally I had no clue.
So I turned to Craigslist and I just started putting up posts. And posts like, “I need a camera person.” Then the camera operator would then say, “Well, who’s gonna be running DIT?” Then the DIT would say, “Who’s gonna do this?” So I’m just, you see me there putting up, like, it’s just Craigslist posts, Craigslist posts, and that’s how I put together my first documentary. I followed these cowboys across the United States and we ended up finding a story within that documentary that got picked up by an EP. Then we got very close to getting picked up on network, but it was just, it had to deal with roping, team roping. So at the time the network, the advertisers were frowning upon the team roping because it’s like roping cattle.
So it was, it’s kind of crazy. But I learned, I didn’t know anything about production. I learned, I need to figure this out. If I wanna be in this kind of career, I need to study it. So I was introduced to a producer named Ryan R. Johnson, at the time, Pretty Dangerous Films. He’s done over like 50 films. And Ryan, my mentor, he took me under his wing and he sat me down and he broke down how does like a single purpose vehicle work, a special purpose vehicle work for like a film? How is it, how is the ownership split? How do you break it up between the creative and the investors and then how do you sell it? How do you… all the small details with just the company, then the packaging side, then how do you put in offers and sales companies?
So I was learning from Ryan for almost five years and I was working in a bar. It wasn’t until 2012 where I said, “You know what, I can do this. I love this, I can do this.” I went out and took on my own project myself, and that was A Stranger in Paradise. And that had Stuart Townsend in it, you know? So that’s where I met Stuart and that was the start of my producing. My like, start of my feature producing career.
Ashley: Got you. Just real quickly on A Stranger in Paradise, how did you ultimately raise the money for that one? You’re a new producer, you don’t have a bunch of credits under your belt. So what does that first sort of fictional feature film look like in terms of your pitch to the potential investors?
Daemon: I was fortunate enough that a film company in Thailand was wanting a project, a US project to be shot in Thailand. So a company, Benetone Films who ended up buying my company, they financed the picture. So I was on the US side and this Thai company was brought to me by a friend in the industry. They loved the script and they wanted to really make something in Thailand, bring Hollywood actors to Thailand. So that was, I found a niche. It’s really important that you have to find a niche because there’s so many different projects, there are so many different people and you got to find like your niche in the industry. That’s what I did, Thailand was my niche.
Ashley: So you were able to produce, once you did A Stranger in Paradise, you became sort of a go-to person. If you wanna do production, a Hollywood company wants to do production in Thailand, you were someone that people were reaching out to. That was sort of your niche?
Daemon: Yes. Correct. I’ve done about 13, 14 movies in Thailand. That was my thing. People would come to me and they still do to this day, because I know Thailand. I’ve shot all over the country. My partners in Thailand, Rachvin and Kulthep Narula, they helped to write the tax credit in Thailand. They come out and they represent the Thai government. If you’re going to AFM and you wanna shoot in Thailand, you’ll see Rachvin and Kulthep up there. So I’ve been blessed in this scenario to find such great partners, but it took me a while to get there. It took me a long time to get there actually.
Ashley: Yeah, for sure. So let’s dig into your latest film, Apache Junction, starring Thomas Jane, and Trace Adkins. It was also written and directed by Justin Lee. Maybe you can give us a quick picture or a logline for that film. What is this new film all about?
Daemon: Apache Junction is about a reporter, Annabelle Angel, going to an old west town where there’s gunslingers and there’s just a lot of crime and it’s still being maintained by the military. The military is keeping control over the town. In this town, you find an army captain that’s played by Trace Adkins, who is overseeing everything and keeping the order and allows everything to happen in town like under his grace, and there’s rules that you have to follow. Then, so we have Annabel Angel, our reporter, that goes into Apache Junction to do a piece on the lawlessness and what she finds and who she finds is Jericho Ford, who is our gunslinger played by Stuart Townsend who ends up protecting her when the outlaws of the town gang up against her to try and take advantage of her.
So we have Jericho Ford, he has his companion, Wasco, native American, his best friend, and they’ve been in this town for awhile. Then we also have Thomas Jane, who is the local bar owner who also oversees and works with captain Hensley, played by Trace Adkins.
Ashley: So how did you get involved with this project? Justin Lee as the writer-director, you’ve worked with him on numerous projects before. How does something like this sort of bubble up to the surface? Does Justin pitch you on ideas, do you have ideas and send them to Justin? Maybe you can just walk us through sort of the genesis of this and how a project like this is… What are the seeds of that project and then ultimately, how does this sort of move along in the development of the script?
Daemon: So it’s twofold. The first is I’m always in touch with my sales company. My sales company is guiding me every day on what is selling, what the market is lacking, and they will give me the genres, which I should be looking for. Now at the same time, as Justin and I have been making films together, I would tell him, “Hey, let’s… westerns domestically are doing very, very well.” So he had had a project that he had written, Apache Junction. So I read the script and then I immediately sent it to my sales company because it’s very important to have that sales perspective on the script. Because if they don’t feel that they can sell it, then it’s hard for me to make it. It’s an uphill battle all the way.
The finance is difficult, the… you might be able to get talent, but I like being able to base my financing off the sales versus I’m just gonna go make a movie, hopefully get good talent and then sell it.
Ashley: Yeah, for sure. For sure. That’s the smart way to do it.
Daemon: So Justin, brought me the script, we read it and then loved it, and then it was a green light. It was like, “Okay, let’s package this movie.” That’s what we did, we just… I’m an independent producer, so I’m able to green-light what I want. Well, what I want based on a certain criteria from a sales company. So we really loved it. It was a great project and we knew that we could pull it off.
Ashley: Yeah. So, as I mentioned, you’ve worked with Justin a number of times, a number of projects, what is it that you like about him? Is there, and maybe even start with like the writing, is there some things about his writing that really stand out that you could kind of pass on to other screenwriters?
Daemon: Yeah. So Justin Lee has a great sense of action beats. He knows where to put the action. And that is great for distributors because distributors will read these scripts and Justin is hitting the beats that we need to hit. He’s also combining action with comedy. So we’ll have a lot of these one-liners that he just throws out there. And combining the action and this humor, it’s been keeping the reader and the distributor very engaged, and that is also leading to the ability to attract cast. So, yeah, it’s just so important to be able to get cast.
Ashley: Yeah. So let’s talk about that a little bit. What does the process of getting cast on a script like this look like? It sounds like you had some, at least financing in place because this sales company wanted a Western. Do you then try and get the cast before you get the money or do you get the money and then you try and track the cast?
Daemon: So I’ve just been blessed that I’ve been able to pay deposits. So over my career, it’s just accumulating, understanding the industry, and knowing that when I go to talent, I needed to be able to say, “Here’s money.” I’ll do deposits to hold the talent. Now, Apache Junction, I had very good relationships with two of our leads, Stuart Townsend and Scout Taylor-Compton. I was also very friendly with Thomas Jane, so three. So with those three people, it was, everything was personal. Then it’s the personal phone call, it’s sending the script. Then after they say yes, always going to the agent because there’s a point in negotiations, even though they’re your friends, you wanna keep that friendship and you could lose friendship by trying to negotiate with your friends.
It’s better to deal with their people, and then if you’re having any kind of problem, say, “Hey, look, this deal’s gonna get, die. So can you help me push this through?” That was the process.
Ashley: Got you. Got you. So let’s just talk a minute about genre, obviously it’s a western. It sounds like you had your sales company kind of telling you, “Hey, these westerns, we could potentially sell it.” Conventional wisdom on indie films is not to do a western or a period piece, and you’ve certainly done a lot of action thrillers. Maybe you can speak to that a little bit. As a screenwriter, what should screenwriters be writing if they wanna break in? What do you recommend to screenwriters who wanna get some of these scripts sold? These sort of AFM type of films that we’re talking about here?
Daemon: I recommend writing for production, like being able to produce the movies, and this is from a financial standpoint. Because you could have a script that has too much action, that’s overly blown out with like helicopters and explosions, and as an independent producer, we’re not gonna be able to make that for one and a half million dollars, two million dollars. You need a, you need to write with production in mind. If you’re looking to get into AFM, like if you want a film that is going to track very well, it’s action. Action. Action. Action. All day long, action. Sci-fi does well, action does well. If you’re looking for a, like a bigger domestic, like a domestic play, westerns will do well. But westerns don’t track as well on the foreign market. So you just have to take that into consideration.
Ashley: Got you. And just, I’m curious. Why did Justin, if he’s working with a guy like you, you’re very in tune with the markets and the sales, why did Justin happen to have a western sitting on his shelf? Like why did he write it, I wonder?
Daemon: So Justin, Justin loves westerns. He’s been a big fan of westerns. This isn’t his first, he came off a badland. Then there was one other that he did beforehand. So I knew he had a passion for it and he had a love and that’s really important. When he presented it I knew that he can pull it off. I knew he’s a great writer, and when you have that passion and you have that talent, I knew that we would be able to deliver.
Ashley: I’m curious, how did you meet Justin? Where did you guys originally meet and how did that relationship sort of bud?
Daemon: Yes. So I met Justin through Jeff Fehey. He’s a wonderful, amazing actor, a very dear friend of mine. We all sat down for like a brunch to discuss a much bigger movie. It was like a five to $10 million movie, and Justin was at the table and Jeff, and then a business partner of mine [inaudible 00:18:51]. We all sat down and were talking about this much bigger project that’s gonna take much longer to make. And Justin and I were sitting at the end of the table and he, and I just started like talking about smaller, much more contained films. From that moment, we were like, “Hey, we might have something here. It might not be what this initial meeting was, but there’s something special here I think that we can do together.”
After we left that meeting, he sent over Final Kill, which was the first film that we did together. It was called Almost Paradise at first. So he sent it over and it was great. It was the first script that I read from Justin and the script, it literally had all the points that I’m looking for. It had the action, it had the witty humor in it, it was an exotic location. I love shooting in exotic locations. He had the mindset like, “Hey, we can make this at a very effective cost point,” and that was very enticing. So when I go back to what writers should understand is, how do you create action and how do you write for production? Because it’s very important that you’re able to write for a budget, especially a budget like this. And that was the first movie we did.
Ashley: Got you. So give us a couple of tips. Just let’s get a little insight right there. How can a writer write for budget? What are some things that you read in scripts that are maybe, writers are not getting right? They don’t understand. Because it seems to me some of the things you mentioned like an exotic location, those are very typically more expensive. Like you said, you liked the exotic locations, but that definitely would increase the, or potentially could increase the budget.
Daemon: Right. So what’s very important is if you’re talking about an exotic locations, is to limit your locations. If you’re having too many locations, now we’re talking company moves, company moves are expensive. Like it’s gonna cost money to take your whole company from one location to another location. Every time you move it costs, there’s a location cost, there’s gas, there’s this, there’s that, you’re missing shooting time because you’re having to move in the middle of the day. So locations are very important. You want to limit the amount of locations you have. So Final Kill, a lot of it took place in a house and that action took place around this house.
So that’s a big point right there. Now, another point is what kind of action are you talking about? Are you talking about a gunfight, are you talking about hand-to-hand combat? There are different types of action. Now, you don’t wanna write about car crashes or too many car crashes, things that are very, very expensive. There’s ways to imply when you’re shooting something like a car crash. I mean, you could shoot partially the scene and insinuate something, but that doesn’t really do well for the distributor. So what you need to do is you need to show the action. And the hand-to-hand combat, it does really well. Gunfights, they do well as long as you’re not getting too extreme with if like how many blinks do you have, and are you tearing up a house with gunshots?
There’s, you really got to, you have to be very precise with how you’re writing these scenes so that the people budgeting and scheduling it aren’t going to blow your budget up. You got to keep it contained for these kinds of movies. You got to keep it within a certain budget range, because you have to reverse engineer it from a production standpoint. You have to look at what is the cost of the movie? What is the cost of the talent? What is the cost of the post? And then you have to back into, what is the sales company saying that you’re gonna get on the film? So there’s a formula when you’re dealing with these kinds of films. It’s a writing formula, it’s a production and a finance formula.
Ashley: Got you. Just in general, how can a screenwriter get the attention of a producer like you? What is the best way for screenwriters to try and reach out and meet and network with producers like yourself?
Daemon: Okay. So I think the first point is having a great pitch. A great pitch that’s not too long and too wordy. I get sent things all the time, and if there’s just too much information on what somebody is sending to me, I sometimes don’t even look at it. Like I wanna be precise. Just get me the pitch. If the pitch is good then we’ll go ahead and start taking a look at the script. But giving me too much information at first, you got to get people interested. What is it? Stick with the genre. If you’re gonna pitch a producer, pitch them projects that they make. Don’t pitch an action guy a drama, because it’s not gonna happen. Or like a sports movie. You got to stay within the genre of what the producer is making, and then you’ll start seeing more meetings. You’ll start getting more reads and more feedback.
Ashley: Got you. Got you. How can people see Apache Junction? Do you know what the release schedule is gonna be like?
Daemon: Yeah. We were in about 30 screens throughout the US and that came out on the 24th of this month. Then right now you can find it on, of course, like the iTunes and the Amazon and the Hulu, all different streaming… It’s the transactional streaming right now. So that’s where you’ll be able to find that, or within the United States, there’s 30 different markets that we’re playing theatrically.
Ashley: Perfect. What’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Twitter, Facebook, a blog. Anything you’re comfortable sharing, I will round up for the show notes.
Daemon: Sure. It Instagram or Facebook, either/or, @daemonhillin is my handle on both Facebook and Instagram. Then always follow the website. We have different, we’ll have our different films that are coming out. We try to update it as much as we can. So those are the ways to get, take a look at what we’re doing and also contact us.
Ashley: Perfect. Well Daemon, I really appreciate your coming on and talking with me. Fascinating interview. Good luck with Apache Junction.
Daemon: Hey, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Ashley: Thank you. We’ll talk to you later.
Daemon: Thank you. Bye bye.
Ashley: Thank you. Bye.
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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 to a production company or agency. We can provide an analysis on features or television scripts. We also do proofreading without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and give you the same analysis on it. So if you’re looking to vet some of your project ideas, this a great way to do it. We will also write you a logline and synopsis for you. You can add this logline and synopsis writing service to an analysis or you can simply purchase this service as a standalone product.
As a bonus, if your screenplay gets a recommend or a consider from one of our readers, you get to list the screenplay in the SYS Select database, which is a database for producers to find screenplays and a big part of our SYS Select program. Producers are in the database searching for material on a daily basis, so it’s another great way to get your material in front of them. As a further bonus, if your script gets a recommend from one of our readers, your screenplay will get included in our monthly Best Of newsletter. Each month we send out a newsletter that highlights the best screenplays that have come through our script analysis service.
This is a monthly newsletter that goes out to our list of over 400 producers who are actively looking for material, so again, this another great way to get your material out there. So if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants. On the next episode of podcast, I’m gonna be interviewing writer/director/producer, Randy Van Dyke, who wrote and directed a new horror thriller film called Like Dogs, which is about a social experiment gone wrong, where a group of people literally treat another group of people like dogs. He’s done a number of short films that helped him work his way up to this.
We get into some real detail about how he got this new feature film produced, and then of course, we’ll talk about some of the shorts that led up to this. So keep an eye out for that episode next week. So I had an email exchange with a nice guy from Hawaii this past week. He had written a pilot, a TV pilot that had won or placed highly in a number of contests. I get similar emails like this quite often from people just kind of asking for sort of general advice. He was sort of putting it in the context of, what services do you have at Selling Your Screenplay that might be able to help me promote this? One of the things he was real clear on, is that he has a career that he likes, he’s been doing for 25 years, and he doesn’t have any in like moving into a new career as a TV writer.
He just wrote this one TV pilot, he’s got a little bit of traction from these contests and kind of wants to just get it out there. So one thing you really have to remember, is just as with everything, in one of the emails he sort of mentioned agents and managers and sort of leaving some of the business side to that. One of the things you have to really remember about agents and managers is that they’re looking to network with writers that wanna have a career in this, that they can work with for many years, if not decades. Like that’s how they make a living is, it’s not a one-off sell of a TV pilot script that they make their living. Really, they make their living, having a stable of really good writers that they can get work for over and over again and build that relationship.
So I’ve had a good number of interactions with agents, had a number of agents and managers over the years, and I can tell you when they read a script of yours that they like, the first thing they do is not, “Hey, let’s go sell this script.” The first thing agents and managers are gonna wanna to do is, they’re gonna say, “What else do you have?” They’re gonna wanna see, are you, was this just one lucky script that you wrote, or are there some other projects that you’ve written that are also pretty good. They wanna see sort of a body of work. So if you’re just sort of a one-off guy, you’ve written a pilot, I don’t know that there’s a lot of purpose in pursuing an agent or manager.
I mean, you never know. I mean, if the material is just knock someone’s socks off, then of course an agent or manager might sign them. But again, I’ve sent many submissions to agents and managers, numerous times agents and managers have liked the first script they read and they always wanna read a second script before they actually wanna sign you. So keep that in mind. Then on the producer side, you might be able to find a producer. I’ve certainly had, I’ve had TV pilots get optioned through the blast service that that I provide. So it’s certainly possible. I don’t think any of these pilots ever actually got produced, or if they got produced, they didn’t get picked up. They didn’t turn into an actual TV show.
They were sort of just a pilot, experimental pilot to get to see if they could get funding for the actual show. But again, I wanna really caution people, go and look at what HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, go and look at the shows and even network shows. Go and look at the TV shows that they’re putting into actual series, that are making it to an actual eight-episode, 12, 20-episode season of a series. I’ve talked about this before on my podcast. I don’t know that there’s really any good examples of a new writer creating a TV show. I’m sure that there are some examples. I mentioned this once before, and I even challenged the audience to email me if they could find a TV show set up on Netflix or Hulu or HBO or one of the main networks. Email me and say, “Hey, this is a TV show that was set up. This was a writer that had not sold anything.”
But again, go look at these shows and 99 times out of a hundred, I think you’re gonna find that the people that are creating TV shows and getting them produced and getting an order from Netflix, are people with vast, vast experience in TV writing and frankly TV production. There is a certain hierarchy with the TV writing system where you go in, typically as a writer’s assistant, you kind of get in the writer’s room, you kind of understand how that works. If they think you’re talented, if they think you’re smart, if they think you can contribute, you get promoted to a junior writer and then you work your way up and eventually become an executive producer and actually are running the show.
Even if you didn’t create it, you’re one of the people really running the team and kind of running a lot of the production elements. That’s the experience you need to run a TV show. And there’s just some sort of practical aspects to having that experience. But the biggest thing for like a company like Netflix is, TV shows are incredibly expensive. They got to invest a lot of money into making an entire season. They’ve got to invest in all the actors, all the locations, all the production that goes along with that. And it’s very difficult for them to give a green light to a spec TV pilot, even if they think it’s great, if the writer doesn’t have any experience. It’s much easier to give in order to a series from a writer that has had success before as a TV creator, or certainly as a TV writer, and they’ve got a really good pilot.
Now, obviously, if your pilot is just the greatest TV pilot ever written, you can probably ignore what I’m saying, but you have to be honest with yourself, is your TV pilot really that good? But this kind of gets to my main point about all this, is I always hear, and as I said, I got a bunch of emails years ago when I mentioned this, send me a TV show that was set up at a major network and had at least one season, one full season, by a writer that had never done anything before. Again, I know that there are some examples out there, but 95 times out of a hundred, 98 times out of a hundred, 99 times out of a hundred, that doesn’t happen. But this goes to the bigger point that I never understand, and I apologize to this fellow from Hawaii.
I think my response might’ve been a little curt and I wasn’t trying to do that. But I never quite understand why people wanna look at this and they wanna be the exception. This is sort of the lie that we tell ourselves as writers is that, “Oh, well, our writing really is that extraordinary. We’re really are that much better of a writer.” But think about this for a second, just objectively. Take yourself out of your own writing. These other people that are pitching to Netflix that are getting show orders on a platform like Netflix that have years of experience, like do you honestly think your TV pilot is that much better than these really experienced, really talented TV writers? It’s hard to imagine that it really is.
Maybe it’s as good. Maybe you’re just as talented and you’ve really come up with a great idea and really honed it and put some time. So maybe it’s just as good. But again, if it’s just as good, you’re not gonna get a show order because there’s lots of these very experienced TV writers out there. But again, I never understand why people wanna be the exception. Why not try and look at how people are actually doing this, the more tried and true template and try and go that direction. Try and do that, lean into that? Don’t lean into, “Oh, well, I can be the exception.” Maybe you can and I hope that you are the exception, and I hope it works out for you. But you’re certainly not playing the odds.
So I definitely would really consider that in sort of what you’re doing. I’ve talked about this before in terms of my own products and services that I sell for screenwriters. The people that do the best with them are people that have some experience. Again, I don’t always know if something gets sold or optioned through my blast or through some of my services. Sometimes the writers just connect with the producers. I don’t necessarily hear about them, but a lot of times I do, and you can check out www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/success if you wanna check out some of our success stories. But again 95 times out of a hundred… so when I say that, that’s like, that’s one time out of 20.
I would say most of the time it’s, when someone has success through the Selling Your Screenplay services, it is somebody that has a good bit of experience in the industry, that’s not a complete novice. I wanna point to one real clear example that I’m frankly very proud of, and that’s Richard Pierce from last year who won the contest. He got his screenplay produced over at MarVista. And go back and listen to that episode where I interviewed him. He, number one, he had already sold a script. So he was experienced. Number two, he really understood exactly what he was writing. He understood the market he was writing for, in his case it was a Lifetime movie. But that’s not a one-off thing.
Nobody is gonna write that script one-off and just be a one-off writer, “Oh, I just had to get this story out there.” No. because when you’re a one-off writer, you’ve just got this sort of passion project, you’re probably not fitting into any specific lane that’s even gonna be that easy to find a producer that’s interested in it. But again, go back and listen to that episode that I did with Richard. It was incredibly specific how Richard approached it. He likes and watches those Lifetime movies. He knew the tropes, he knew the structure, he knew how those movies worked. Again, that’s not something just a novice is gonna do. It’s not gonna be your first script. You’re never gonna get it that right on your first try.
So again, really think about this. Think about the people that are succeeding with consistency and try and find the patterns. What are the things that people are doing, that multiple people are doing? Not the exceptions. Of course, we can always find some exception. Again, if you’re the exception, fantastic for you, but I would sort of lean in the other direction and try and be not the exception, but be the rule. Figure out what the rule is and try and be that. The other thing, and just to sort of follow up on this idea of TV pilot scripts, I do wanna mention, I don’t have a lot of experience with TV writing at all. I’ve written a few TV scripts and pilots over the years, but never really done a lot with them.
Most of my experience has been more in sort of indie genre features. But I do know that, and I’ve talked to some TV writers on here. And I know I should probably do more of this. Again, I’m just not that experienced in TV writing. So it’s not something that that I have a lot of connections or whatever, but I do know that there’s a number of fellowships that people have had success. I think Disney has one, NBC has one, but again, these are gonna be for people that wanna be a screenwriter as a career. They’re not gonna just read your pilot and then option it. These are really to place people in junior writing positions. I’m not sure if that means a writer’s assistant or just like a junior writer in a room, but there are, that is definitely a template that can get you into a writer’s room and actually launch your career.
So again, I would definitely check out that if you’re a TV writer, definitely do the fellowship stuff. I encourage you to promote your stuff to agents and managers and producers. But just understand where they’re coming from and sort of understand what they’re looking for so that you can provide that, so at least you can sort of provide that. But I don’t think approaching agent, managers and producers with this sort of attitude of, “Hey, this is the one script I’ve written. I have no interest in writing other scripts.” I just don’t know that that’s really gonna impress a lot of people. The producers are gonna think, “We got an amateur here. Probably not that great of a script.”
Then agents and managers are, I just, I don’t even know that they would even read one script from a writer like that. Because again, there’s just, there’s no long term potential for the agent or manager. The agents and managers, they wanna build relationships with good writers that are consistently putting out material. A guy that’s in another career that he likes, no aspirations to become a full-time writer, I just don’t know that that’s gonna be super appealing to the agents and managers. Anyways, just think about what you have and think about sort of the people on the other end of these services and how you can actually give them what they are actually looking for. Anyway, that’s the show. Thank you for listening.