This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 415 – Breaking In By Writing A TV Movie .
Welcome to Episode 415 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyer screenwriter and blogger with sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I am interviewing Canadian screenwriter Roslyn Muir. She’s written a number of Hallmark and lifetime type movies of the week. In fact, she got her start winning a contest with a movie of the week that went on to get produced because she had won that contest. She’s a Canadian screenwriter, and she’s built an impressive list of credits all while living in Canada. So, another great case study of how to build a career as a screenwriter living far away from Hollywood and without any connections in the industry. So, stay tuned for that interview. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or retweeting 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’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mentioned 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.sellingyour screenplay.com/podcast and then just look for episode number 415. If you want my free guide ‘How to Sell a Screenplay in five weeks’, you can pick that up by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free. Just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons. Teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. 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 is everything you need to know how to sell your screenplay. Again, just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. Also, I do occasionally get screenwriting leads from producers. And I will email them to that list as well. In fact, we had one last week for a producer who was looking for shark scripts. So, every once in a while, I will get a lead where a producer wants something super, super specific that I can’t find through the SYS select members. And I will open it up to the selling your screenplay with just my larger email list. That is the one that you will be joining if you sign up for the free guide. So that’s always a little extra bonus that sometimes does come through that email list as well. Now let’s get into the main segment. Today, I’m interviewing Canadian screenwriter Roslyn Muir, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Roslyn to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Roslyn: Thank you for having me. I’m super excited to be here.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? And how did you get interested in the entertainment business?
Roslyn: Oh, sure. Yeah, well, I’m actually from Vancouver, Canada, which is on the west coast of Canada. I started out as a theatre major and an actor in town. And when I was doing that the film business was really starting up here. And we do a lot of service production for US films and also independent production as well. And it just seemed to be in this sort of, you know, in the air that suddenly everybody wanted to write screenplays and all my theatre friends were suddenly like, hey, let’s try to write a screenplay. And I sort of got bitten by the film bug, you know, it’s like everybody I knew was doing something in the film industry. And I started by writing some shorts and they actually produced a couple of directed and produced a couple of shorts. That will remain nameless, but one of them I actually made with, I had a yard sale, sold a whole bunch of stuff and made about $600. And I made a short. So that was kind of how we started. And then it just kind of progressed into okay, maybe I have an idea for a feature. And so, I wrote features for a while. And as I was doing that, it was also I was networking in town, there was a lot more production companies opening and I ended up working at a small, independent production company who did feature films. And so, I sort of made my way up in the company and became the manager of development. And I really, you know, it was a really great training ground to learn about the business. One of the producers who and who was also writer, Peggy Thompson, who wrote a very famous Canadian film called Better than Chocolate. She really mentored me and was really kind to me, but she kept saying to me, you need to write a TV movie, you need to write a TV movie. So, I finally did it after you know, three times call to action do it and then I just seemed like, you know, there were a lot of opportunities for writers in my area in Vancouver. And that was kind of how I got started.
Ashley: Okay, so and let’s touch base on a couple of those things. You said you got this job in this small company and worked your way up to some sort of a development executive there. How did you get that initial job? I know there’s a lot of people exactly in your position where maybe they’re theatre majors, they don’t have like a lot of practical skills coming out of college. So how do you actually get that first job, that you can potentially work up and do exactly what you did, which is really just learn a lot.
Roslyn: Yeah, well, it was totally a networking thing. I had joined Women in Film and Television, Vancouver, and for women, there’s, you know, those chapters all over North America. And I saw I would go to any kind of event, and I will just get talking to people. And I met a woman who was actually currently working at this place, but she was leaving for another job. And she said, oh, you know, if you’re looking for a job, why don’t I, you know, get you in for a meeting. And she basically recommended me. And it sort of started out almost like an office PA kind of job. And they were just filling finishing posts on a feature documentary. And so, I knew nothing. I was just like, winging it. But I could answer the phone and I could type. So, you know, so it was real immersion thing. But yeah, definitely, it was all about networking. And just, you know, those jobs are around. And if you can get into a company, that where your interest lies, it’s a really great way to meet people. And they actually eventually even optioned a couple of my scripts and did some development on them, even though they didn’t get made. So, it was a really great experience for me starting out for sure.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Sounds like it. So, you got out of college, you’re a theatre major, and you’re starting to write feature length scripts. And eventually, you wrote this TV movie, it sounds like that was sort of a change in your direction. What were these original feature scripts that you were writing? What were they sort of about what was sort of their genre? And what did you do to try and market them? Did you send them out to agents? Did you send them out to producers?
Roslyn: Well, I didn’t have an agent early on. And what I did was I just, yeah, I just network with producers, you know, local producers. And one thing that we have in Canada is that we have a pretty good financing system. So, producers here can access development funding through Telefilm Canada for features and there used to be a lot more funding, like through broadcasters as well. So that’s dried up a bit now, but I think it’s because more people are, you know, moving into the TV sphere, because that’s really where we are, you know, you can make some money. So, yeah, so my features were, you know, most of my, I think my work is really focused on female driven stories. And I did end up getting a feature made called The Birdwatcher, and I was again, able, the director, I met her through Women in Film again, and at a networking event, and we just kind of were chatting about, you know, like our careers going nowhere. You know, let’s make a short. So we made your short together. And that was sort of our like, you know, like, do I like her? Can I work with her? So we sort of stuff each other out. And then I said, well, I happen to have a, you know, a feature script. I don’t know if you’re interested in it, but and when she read it, it was kind of odd, because she was like, oh, this is so strange. I actually know somebody who’s going through this experience, and it was a good friend of hers. And The Birdwatcher is about a woman who’s dying of cancer, it’s not actually a cancer movie, but it’s about her trying to find her birth mother, because she has two children and nobody to leave them with. So, it kind of touched both of us really, personally, you know, the story. And I really, for people who are, you know, trying to get features made, they tend to get out there, and they’re like, trying to push to producers and all that sort of thing. But trying to, you know, meet up with a director who is really interested or touched by your story, I think is a really strong place to start, especially in the indie film world. And, you know, if it’s a low budget kind of film, and it’s a new director, you know, and you’re a new writer, there’s some really good partnerships, I think that can come out of that situation. And that was how we got, we made a short, the short did really well. And through that, you know, we applied as a team to this funding program and got some money to make it I mean, we made it on with $100,000 cash, and about 200,000 worth of services that were donated. So, it was really difficult, but I think it’s worth it for your you know, your first if you’re really into doing features that can really help make your career. But writing TV movies can do that as well. And it’s kind of the thesis of my book is that, you know, it’s everybody wants a TV show now. Or they want a big budget feature. But you kind of have to do baby steps and really start, you know, like, could you just start with a, you know, with a couple shorts and then get into indie feature a low budget feature or what about trying to be movies like, and the reason I think TV movies are so prevalent is like, you know, people are really eating them up right now. Like, they’re entertainment. They’re fun to watch. And it seems like everybody’s making them. Everybody was broadcasting them, and they need writers, so it’s a good area for sure for new writers, or emerging writers.
Ashley: So, let’s talk about that for a minute. So, it sounds like you were going along writing these I because I said the way you describe The Birdwatcher, like when you say TV movie, maybe we could define that to start out, I think of typically like sort of Lifetime movies. They’re sort of a genre, the hallmark of the Lifetime movies, as opposed to Netflix. I mean, now I think people might even say Netflix is doing TV movies, and I suppose they’re doing some in that same sort of vein as Lifetime and Hallmark. But they’re doing them in a different way where you don’t need like the nine-act structure for commercials and blah, blah, blah. So maybe you can define that. What was that? Number one, what do you consider a TV movie? And number two, how did you decide to actually make that change in your career? Like, what direction did you go? Or how did you actually pick that up? Like, how do you just make that change? Did you watch a bunch of them? And start to try and write one? Did you have some contacts? But maybe just walk us through that process a little bit.
Roslyn: Sure. I mean, I think you’ve kind of answered what is the TV movie, the big, you know, sort of here that right now are Hallmarks for the rom coms and Lifetime for the thrillers and rip from the headline stories. So, they’re movies that are made, they’re two hours, and they’re made specifically for a TV viewing audience. And both Hallmark and Lifetime are subscription based. And they have commercials as well. And so that nine acts structure is totally built around those TV, commercial breaks. And Netflix has … a lot of their movies, like that look kind of MWe they have nine act structure as well, like you can actually go through and you can count all the plot points. And I think it’s because they, I’ve heard that Netflix has been trying to, you know, get the same kind of audiences Hallmark and Lifetime like they want those people watching these kinds of movies. And so, they are bringing in writers who have been successful writing these kinds of movies. And so that reflects that once you start writing the nine act structure, it’s hard to go back to like a three structure with a feature because with 9 act, you’re giving us action all the way through. And it’s actually a really good structure to learn. Now, when I started, it was just before The Birdwatcher that they started writing TV movies. And when I did that, so that was like in 2013 – 2014. Oh, yeah, just over 10 years ago. And at the time, it was a seven-act structure. And so that’s the structure that I learned in basically, yeah, I just watch TV movies, I broke them down. And this is kind of what every writer does. And so that’s why I wanted to write the book was because, you know, hey, here’s the formula, you don’t have to keep defining yourself. So, I started writing these TV movies, thrillers, female driven women in peril for Lifetime and for other Canadian networks. And I just found that I really enjoyed writing the thrillers. And there was just something about them that I found that it just seemed to be a niche for me that I could understand how to make them and I knew what worked, you know, in story. And so, I have several produced TV movies, and I really recommend them for new writers as a way of sort of, you know, getting in there and learning a different kind of pacing and structure. And it really does teach you a lot when you do it.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so let’s just walk us through that. So, you started writing these TV movies, how did you actually go about selling them? You were at this company? Did you have connections in that sort of space? You knew some producers by this point that could produce these movies, but what were those things? You started to write these women in peril, thrillers, but what did you do with those scripts once they were done to actually get them sold?
Roslyn: Yeah. Well, it was kind of a funny story. There were a few. At the time there were, you know, several companies that were making them and I started to, you know, chat with some of the producers and one of the companies, they decided, they were like really trying to ramp up production and get more scripts and not a lot of people were writing them. So, they had this contest, this local contest, looking for TV movies. And so, I submitted a script and I won contests. And apparently, I was the only person who actually out of like, I don’t know how many submitted maybe about 50 or 60, I was the only person who actually had it in the seven-act structure, which was what they were looking for everybody else had submitted features. And so, what the prize was, was that they would consider my script for production. And they actually did end up producing an Anatomy of Deception. So, it was the first one that I had produced. They also sent me down to AFM in LA. And so, I went there to pitch one of their producers, and they shot it down there. So, it was kind of a really cool little thing. I was like, wow, I’m going to LA I have made it. And so, it was kind of just one of those feelings of, you know, this has got to be, you know, me on my big career. And then I made a couple more with same company. And then I started pitching other people as well, and made a couple more with some other producers. And, yeah, so it’s really… the thing I find with pitching producers, TV movies is… maybe you can answer this is the same in the States. But I find that we have production companies who just do TV movies. And so, what happens is that once you get a writer in there who’s written a couple, you get a couple of long form credits, and then you move on, because as you really want to have a career in TV or features or something. So they tend to do a couple and move on. So, the producers are always looking for new writers. Also, they’re often done non-union. So, they’re looking for writers who are emerging, who know how to write in the structure, but also are non-union. So, it’s an excellent, like, sort of like starting ground, proving ground for new writer to try these types of movies.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, that is interesting. And yeah, for sure. There are production companies down here that do specialize that and it’s exactly what you’re talking about. I had a guy on Richard Pierce. In fact, he won our contest. And it was one of these Lifetime movies that they ended up making at Mar VISTA and it was exactly what you’re saying. He’s been able to turn that into other work they like to script and so now they’re hiring him to do that and I suspect exactly what you’re saying, he’s not going to be happy necessarily doing that forever he’ll want to do TVs or features eventually but yeah, I think it’s a sort of a similar situation down there.
Roslyn: And of course, right now the Christmas rom-com is just like, being you know, like, there’s people are writing these and, and I get, you know, whenever I contact producers now, I’m usually trying to pitch my thrillers and they’re like, don’t you have a rom com? I really want a rom com. Like, no, I don’t have rom-coms. So, that’s really the what’s hot right now everybody’s looking for the, you know, the cute Christmas movie, but they also make movies that that are in other seasons. So, you can have the Valentine’s rom-com, the Spring Fling, the summer romance, you know, the harvest, you know, all these times throughout the year that that Hallmark is, you know, they’re very much into marketing. They’re you know, what the season is. So, they love that. And they also like, it’s not just…
Ashley: Are those like teen and young adult stories or those like people having romances, and it’s geared toward an audience of, you know, 30 plus people, who is the audience for those types of romances?
Roslyn: Yeah, the audience for a Hallmark rom com is, is women from like 24 to about 55. But they, you know, they’re pretty squeaky clean morally, like they don’t, you know, usually they don’t get past the first kiss, or, you know, maybe they’ll have two kisses in the movie. Like, they’re very, very tame. And the reason for that is because they like co viewing so they want the viewer to have their teenage daughter and their grandma there, and everybody’s watching it like family movie. Like if you watched a similar movie on Netflix, you would see that they’re a little different. They’re a little bit more contemporary. And you know, they often have sex and instead of just the kids you know, so things are a little bit you know, more like sort of what I say normal but that’s just because they know their audience, you know, and whereas if you look at thrillers say on Lifetime, they don’t want their characters to be squeaky clean. They want their characters to be you know, have shady paths and be dangerous and you know, for the thriller, it’s totally different. But Lifetime also does the rom coms like they shut down all their murder stuff for the Christmas rom com in November and December and then their rom coms are very much like the Hallmark ones where their characters are fairly squeaky clean morally, and you know, they only get to the kiss. But the great thing about both lifetime and Hallmark now is that they really been through public pressure, they’re really have opened up to diversity. So now we’re seeing, you know, gay and lesbian movies, we’re seeing multicultural characters. So really getting a lot of like real world, what the real world looks like, you know, casting in there. So, I think that things are really progressing in a good direction.
Ashley: Yeah, I’m curious, all of this information that you have. I mean, it’s great to hear and it’s fascinating. How do you stay on top of all this stuff? Like knowing Okay, instead of the 7 acts structure, we’re going into the 9-act structure, you know, okay, they’re being a little more, you know, they want a little more diversity, they’re pushing a little more in the diversity direction? How do you stay on top of this stuff? Is it a matter of just talking to the producers that you’ve networked with over the years? Is it a matter of just watching the movies? How do you stay on top of all of this?
Roslyn: Yes, it’s a bit of both. Like I said, before, where I, you know, I would often pitch the thrillers, and then I’d hear no, we’re looking for rom coms. Like, if I’m ever in touch with the producer, I will try to find out what is it you’re looking for? And another thing that a writer can do, you know, when they’re approaching producers is instead of just like, you know, here’s my script, it’s like; Hi, can we have a general meeting, so I could find out more about your company and what exactly it is you’re looking for, what types of movies do you want, because there’s always some sort of, you know, change going on within Hallmark or lifetimes they… Yeah, it’s hard to hear about. So, but it just trickles down through the producers. The other way, of course, is doing research and looking at websites, of course of Hallmark and Lifetime and see what it is they’re coming out with like, in I guess it’s like September or October, you can Google it, I can’t remember the website, but it’ll be like, here’s all the Christmas movies that are coming out. And you’ll be able to see all the stories and the log lines and who has been cast and gives you a good sense of what people are doing. But I also just kind of hear things like I have a lot of writer friends of lunch, a lot of writer groups, and I’m always hearing, you know, this company is looking for this. And they’re looking for stories that are about, you know, different cultures, or they’re now looking for, like Hallmark generally has their protagonist is like between 25 and 35. But now, they’re moving where they want some older female protagonists, so women in their 40s and 50s. And that was actually the head of Hallmark who was on YouTube a while back little sort of interview she did, where she talked about some of the things that they wanted coming up, and it was more black stories and more women, older women stories. And so those kinds of things trickled down. Also, recently, there was something about more romance drama, as opposed to just rom coms that people are looking for, you know, more sort of moving and true dramatic stories. So, it’s really listening and kind of just like zoning in on you know, the writers’ groups and any information that you can get about the genres.
Ashley: Yeah. So, these writers’ groups, or these like Facebook groups, or these groups in your local area that you meet in person? How would one find one of these writers’ groups to join?
Roslyn: Yeah, it seems like even though there’s so many so much social media, it seems like Facebook is a really good place for groups because it’s easy to organize and post and just have an administrator, you know, that sort of thing. But Twitter’s also really great for writers because there’s so many writers on there, but it’s sort of denser, it’s harder to you know, just go through it and find those sound bites, and then you can follow like screenwriters and all kinds of hashtags on there as well and get your stories that way.
Ashley: Gotcha. Gotcha. So, one thing I’d be curious to hear your take, it sounds like even to this day, you do an enormous amount of just reaching out and staying in touch and pitching to producers. At what point did you get an agent in this process after you got Anatomy of Deception produced? Did you get an agent but at what point did you get an agent and how much has an agent helped you get some of these scripts sold and get some of these writing gigs?
Roslyn: Yeah, for the first couple movies. I didn’t actually have anybody representing me. But then I did a approach an agent, and the best time to get an agent is when you have work. And I know it sounds like but no, I want an agent to get me some work. But really an agent there. Yeah, it depends on who they are that you know, but they’re really there to just like vet your contracts and you know, often they will do pitching and intros and meetings, all that kind of stuff. But I think when you’re starting out, you don’t want to just go, Yeah, I got an agent, I don’t have to do any of this networking anymore. I don’t have to call anybody anymore. But you still do. So going into an agent with a contract is like a really good way for them to go, Oh, okay, you’re getting work, you’re, you’re hustling, I want to sign you, or perhaps for the first time, you might just like vet your contract and make sure it’s okay. And then say, okay, you know, we’ll consider you, you know, send us a bunch of stuff, send us your scripts. So that’s a really good way to get an agent. So, I did get an agent in Vancouver and then I was recently working in Toronto, and I switched to an agent in Toronto, then the pandemic hits. So, I came back to Vancouver, but I still have my agent in Toronto, and yeah, they do like they will, like I’m working also, like, I don’t just write TV movies, I I’m also writing, I was working on a TV series called Ransom for a while where I was a writer on that series. And so, I’ve developed some other TV series pilots. So, I’ve been writing pilots and pitching them and I have a couple that have been optioned, so really working in that it’s still thriller based, but still, you know, trying to break more into the TV sphere. But yeah, the agent is also like talking with them about like what are people looking for, what’s happening, definitely meeting up with them on a regular basis to see what’s going. But that said, I mean, you know, finding out what’s popular is not necessarily I never think that you should go you know, right to market what’s popular, I think you need to write from the kind of story you want to tell, the kind of story you love. That’s because if it’s a really great gripping story doesn’t matter if it’s popular with whatever, somebody is going to like it and want it.
Ashley: So, let’s dig into your book, writing a TV movie, maybe give us a pitch or a logline, what is your book all about?
Roslyn: Well, I call it an insider’s guide to lunching a screenwriting career. So even though it’s about TV movies, I really my thesis is really about you know, if you write a couple of these movies are and get them produced. It’s, you know, you’ll be on your way as a screenwriter, because one of the key things is like everybody looks at IMDb, everybody in the business, they’re like, okay, you know, this person just sent me you know, a logline, is interested in working with me, I’m going to check out who are they? Oh, they’ve got no credits on IMDb, well, I don’t know who this person is, right? So, IMDb is really important as a writer, and so getting some long form credits up on the site, and you know, notches in your belt and words on your resume. It’s a thing, and very important thing. So by writing TV movies, I think it’s a way that that new writers or old writers, whatever they are, you know, emerging talents to get their stories told, and a lot of people overlook TV movies, because they think, oh, the rom coms are fluffy, they’re entertainment, you know, the corny a lot, you know, and there have been some really bad TV movies in the past, but there’s also some really good quality ones. And you just have to keep in mind that they really are entertainment, you know, a lot of them they’re not meant to be super deep, you know, moving movies, they’re there for fun for people to sit in front of the TV and relax with their family and be entertained. And there’s nothing wrong with writing that kind of movie. So, my book really introduces who is making these movies, so it focuses more on… Yeah, Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix. And it outlines the two genres that are the most popular which is the rom-com and the thriller, and talks about the genre rules and I also have a couple of chapters that actually outline to two movies, the Netflix movie and a Hallmark movie. So really go deep into the structure of the nine-act structure because it is kind of the mystical structure like people know about it, but it’s very little on the internet about it not like if you google you know how to write a feature film, you’ll get a zillion-hits. And so, I think having a guide to work through this particular format is, I thought it would be really helpful because I’ve used it like I also teach. And, you know, in film schools, they tend to teach only the feature film and the TV series. And because those are the two most popular, but they’re also the most difficult to get made. Whereas the TV movie is a little bit easier because some companies are making you know, 20, 25, 30 of these movies a year and they need scripts.
Ashley: What are some common mistakes that you see with your students or that this book is trying to address? What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people or you see writers that are trying to break into this genre make?
Roslyn: Yeah, I think it is that they’re still sort of stuck in writing a feature film, so they take act one, they take way too long to get to the story starting. And in TV movies, they start right away, like we know right away what the problem is, like the inciting incident is in the you know, the second scene, the first or second scene, and you always have in the wrong company, always have been meet cute. And you introduce the love interest as, you know, another main character. So, it’s really a two hander, it’s not just about the female protagonist, it’s about the love interest as well. So, we meet them independently of the protagonist in the first act. So, by the time we get to the end of first act, like the story is really moving. And the protagonist has already maybe gone back to the small town or gone to the castle, you know, whatever the story is about. So, not waiting to the end of act one to act like you might do in the future, you’re really moving quickly. And one of the key things like we talked about the nine-act structure, is making sure that the act out or the cliffhanger for every act has something really great that will bring the viewer back after the TV commercial. And that’s one of the key things that you need to do for this particular format.
Ashley: So, if someone buys your book, they research the genre, they watch a bunch of these, they write a few scripts that they think are pretty good. What is the next step? So, what do you recommend that they do with those scripts? Are there some contests that specialize this or there’s some particular companies that you would recommend pitching? Like, just in concrete terms, what should someone do once they have one of these scripts done, and they want to get it out? And they have no contacts, you know, maybe they live outside of LA outside of a major city, they don’t have any contacts, what are the what do you recommend?
Roslyn: Well, the first thing I recommend in the book is actually to watch a bunch of as many of these movies you know, as you can, because you get the tone and you understand, but also to research the producers. So, I do write the book in terms of like location wise that even though I’m in Canada, that it’s North America wide, you know, because yeah, you can live anywhere. So, researching producers, so let’s say if you’re living in whatever state you’re in, you’re in Georgia, or you’re in California, is doing a deep dive into TV, movies and producers in your area. One thing that we have here is you probably have to have like a film Commissioner for your region. So, we have a really great database in our location, and it has all the production companies and what they’re shooting at any given time. So, you can go to the film commission, and you can look at their database. And you see like, oh, there’s six TV movies filming this week. And you can see the names of the companies. So, it’s getting those names of the companies in your location, but it doesn’t happen in your location. Like we because we’re in provinces, we have this thing we have these get a little complicated for a bit, but we have these things called tax credits. And we have to sort of pitch within our and work within our province so that we are the companies get these tax credits because we live in this province. So, I’m not sure if you guys have any of those kinds of things in the States. I mean, it’s not just why you do it. But I think trying first in your own state is a good place. But if there aren’t any. If there’s no filming going on, then of course not you need to try other locations like I’ve heard Georgia is a really busy place. And of course, California’s is one of the biggest, but it’s doing that research and you know, you can also do it by watching and you know, looking at the credits, writing down all those production companies, and then going to IMDb. Now, there’s two IMDb, there’s IMDb, IMDb Pro and IMDb Pro is where you can get a lot of credits, you can look up the credits, and you can get producer names and production company names and often contact information, or who’s in development of your company. So, I talked about in the books a way of honing in and creating a little list of who you’d like to pitch to. And then researching those people, of course, looking at their websites, making sure that you’re going to pitch your rom com to a person who’s doing rom coms, not a person who’s doing thrillers or horror or something. So really, you still have to do that research as a writer, because I can’t do it all for you, because everybody’s in different areas. But essentially, you need to sort of adhere some website, producers’ websites will say that they don’t take unsolicited submissions, or contacts. So, you would have to go through an agent to do that. But if you’re on agented, you can still find producers who are willing to take pitches, but you’ve probably just have to sign a submission form. So, I would either you could like you can email them or you can cold call and ask, who can I send my… I would like to speak with the producer about my script, or, you know, who can I contact about my submission. And generally, you don’t ever send like if you are emailing, somebody don’t ever send your script, you’re only going to send a like a query letter, like any writer would do, a query letter where you tell them what you have, you tell them who you are. Hi, I’m a writer, I’m a recent grad from this program. I’ve written a rom com, and I’d love to have a meeting with you and or send you the script. So really just putting out that, you know, maybe just here’s my logline or a little bit about who you are. And most producers, you know, a lot of producers, they don’t often answer. But if you really do your research and you find those movie of the week, producers, there’s a very good chance that you can get to talk to them.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I’m a big proponent of IMDb Pro too is most of the time, you can find somebody’s actual email address, and phone number and fax number stuff. So yeah, that’s a great tip. So, I always like to wrap up these interviews, just by asking the guest if they’ve seen anything recently, that was really outstanding. But maybe in the case, you can give us some of the you know, the really the best of these TV movies that maybe we could go and watch some on Netflix and some maybe Lifetime, Hallmark. Maybe we could track some of these down. Are there some sort of some of these movies that are real standouts in the genre that you could recommend to our audience?
Roslyn: Well, yeah, that’s the thing with giving referrals, you know, to titles. Problem is not everybody can access Hallmark or Lifetime because they have to be subscribers. So, I tend to tell people about Netflix movies. Also on YouTube, there’s a lot of movies there, some of them are old, so you have to be really careful that you could just go to YouTube and search like movies for 2021 or 2020, get the newer ones that will be in the nine-act structure. One of my favorites for a thriller is on Netflix. And it’s called Secret Obsession. It was written by a writer named Kraig Wenman who is actually a Vancouver writer. And it’s one of the top watched movies on Netflix in the past year. So, it’s very, very well paced. And a really good thriller. You’ve watched it a few times, you really get a good sense of the structure. And how well he adheres to the nine-act structure. He’s, also if you Google Kraig, I’m always using him as an example. He sold a bunch of… he’s got like 27 produced films, a bunch of them, he sold on ink tips. So that’s a really good, good place to try selling your scripts, if you have MLWs.
Ashley: Yeah. Yeah. And we’re familiar with Kraig. Kraig was actually on my podcast years ago. So, I know Kraig. Yeah.
Roslyn: Another film that I really liked at some lifetime is called Christmas pen pals. And the writer Carly Smale. She’s actually another Canadian, and it’s a really great MLW Christmas themed and rom com of course. And if you can find it there. But yeah, Netflix has a bunch of new Christmas movies that I haven’t actually watched yet, but I would give them a look. I know there’s a new one called Single All the Way. It looks like a lot of fun. And yeah, like they’re just super popular right now. So, I would I would check them.
Ashley: Perfect. Yeah, those are great recommendations. How can people buy your book? Where’s your book available? And people get I assume Amazon and that sort of stuff.
Roslyn: Yeah, yeah, it’s on Amazon. And just one more thing about book is, in the back of the book, those writers that I mentioned, I do a Q&A with six MLW writers and there’s a bunch of tips from them in terms of how they’ve gotten where they are and how to write them and stuff. So, a bonus.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. And 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.
Roslyn: Yeah, well, I have a website RoslynMuir.com, and all my all my socials are there, you can check it out, you can find out more information about the book as well. I have an author page on Facebook, and I’m @Rosmuir on Twitter. I’m kind of all over the place right now.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. Well, Roslyn. I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today. Good luck with this book and look forward to following your career and hearing what other projects you’re working on.
Roslyn: Oh, thank you so much for having me here. I really appreciate it. Take care. Happy writing everyone.
Ashley: Thank you. We’ll talk to you later. Bye.
SYS is from concept to completion. screenwriting course, is now available, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/screenwritingcourse, it will take you through every part of writing a screenplay, coming up with a concept, outlining, writing the opening pages the first act, second act, third act and then rewriting and then there’s even a module at the end on marketing your screenplay once it’s polished and ready to be sent out. We’re offering this course in two different versions, the first version, you get the course. Plus, you get three analyses from an SYS reader, you’ll get one analysis on your outline, and then you’ll get two analyses on your first draft of your screenplay. This is just our introductory price, you’re getting three full analyses, which is actually the same price as our three-pack analysis bundle. So, you’re essentially getting the course for free when you buy the three analyses that come with it. And to be clear, you’re getting our full analysis with this package. The other version doesn’t have the analysis, so you’ll have to find some friends or colleagues who will do the feedback portion of the course with you. I’m letting SYS select members do this version of the course for free. So, if you’re a member of SYS select, you already have access to it. You also might consider that as an option. If you join SYS select, you will get the course as part of that membership to a big piece of this course is accountability. Once you start the course, you’ll get an email every Sunday with that week’s assignment. And if you don’t complete it, we’ll follow up with another reminder the next week, it’s easy to pause the course if you need to take some time off. But as long as you’re enrolled, you’ll continue to get reminders for each section until it’s completed. The objective of the course is to get you through it in six months so that you have a completed polished screenplay ready to be sent out. So, if you have an idea for a screenplay, and you’re having a hard time getting it done, this course might be exactly what you need. If this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/screenwritingcourse . It’s all one word, all lowercase. I will of course, a link to the course in the show notes. And I will put a link to the course on the homepage up in the right-hand sidebar.
On the next episode of the podcast, I have filmmaker Michael Mateo Rossi. He’s a real independent writer, director, producer. He’s been putting together projects for a while now and comes on next week to talk about his latest feature film The Handler. It’s a super contained action thriller that he actually shot during COVID. He talks through this whole process, how he found the location, kind of how he built this script to be able to be shot again during the COVID lock downs and stuff. It’s another inspiring story from someone who’s just out there making things happen for themselves and getting projects done. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s the show. Thank you for listening.