HOLLYWOOD LIES (Lie #2: “Your Script Is Really Good”)
by Dov S-S Simens on October 26, 2016
HOLLYWOOD SCREENPLAYS: 2 Types of Scripts (A Great Script or A Good Script)
Screenwriting reality…. Permit me to cut-to-the-chase writers.
Want to sell your script?
Let me make it simple… Then there are only 2 types of screenplays.
(You script is either great and it is bought or it sucks… don’t take any Hollywood B-Sh*t)
The first is… it is Bought-Purchased-Optioned-Financed…which obviously is what you want.
The second is… it isn’t Bought-Purchased-Optioned-Financed…but you are told it has potential…which is what you absolutely don’t want.
Why? Because there are only 3 answers. “Yes”. “No”. “Maybe”.
And one thing for sure is you never-ever want a “Maybe”. You’d love a “Yes” and even though a “No” immediately doesn’t feel good it is always 100 times better than a “Maybe” or, “We Like It” or “We’ll Get Back To You”.
“Yes” is great, “No” is good and “We Like It” is horrible.
So, what’s the difference between bought and potential?
1st: THE GREAT SCRIPT
The Bought Script: It is “Great”, it is “Wonderful” and anyone who reads it is grabbed on Page-1, can’t put it down, can’t wait to turn the page, turns the page, eyes flow down-the-page, turns to the next page, next page, next page… time flies, 5-7 minutes disappear, and he/she has just read another 9 Pages.
The first ten pages are great.
The reader is totally engrossed to the degree that he/she, takes out a pad of paper and a pencil and reads the last 79-99 Pages, with notes, in a single session, cries when he/she is supposed to cry, laughs when he/she is supposed to laugh, loves the characters, is surprised by the twists and turns and is totally satisfied with resolution.
(“Great scripts only take 60-90 minutes to be read… 10-15 minutes of notes… and 1-2 days to be bought”)
If this occurs. I guarantee you that within an hour he/she picks up the phone, calls you, asks “What are you doing with this” or claims “this must be made”, states he/she must produce it, sets an appointment with his/her attorney and gives you a cash offer to either (A) Buy it, (B) Option it or (C) Co-produce it.
Money. Money. Money.
If they love it… you will see a contract and money.
If they do not love it…
2nd: THE GOOD SCRIPT
He/she actually doesn’t read it.
Huh? He/she peruses a couple of pages, or even sends it out for “script coverage” ($65-$85), and gives you some blah-blah-blah about how they really like the concept, or the characters are truly unique but Act II is a little weak and states “It just needs a little work and he/she looks forward to your re-write”.
(“It’s really good but needs a little work”. This is Hollywood’s way of saying…..)
So why do they say “They’ll get back to you”?
Why? Because who has just read your script is just a person, a person who knows how hard you worked to write this script and also realizes that you think of it as your child and he/she doesn’t want to hurt you and doesn’t have the guts to say “PASS” (aka: “No”) and will likely say something like.
A. “This is to good for us”
B. “Act II is a little weak”
C. “Idea is great but the characters need some work”
D. “This is good with a lot of potential but….”
E. “Super good but we have a similar project…”
F. “I liked it. It’s good but have some notes and will get back to you…”
G. “Just needs a little re-write”
H. “Your script is really good but…”
Don’t let “A-H” above give you a feeling of financial success.
For, bottom-line with these comments, if you can get one, is that they are all from people being polite and are actually saying “Go away. I don’t want to buy this. It’s a piece of crap and you probably killed a tree to get the paper”.
Plus, don’t get enthused by “I liked it and really want to see the re-write”.
Because if they really liked it, they would option it (you get a checque), and they hire you to do the re-write (you get another checque)… But they didn’t. They were just being polite.
And as Kurt Vonnegut would say “So It Goes”.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: Good Is Not Good Enough
In Hollywood when you are rich and famous talent gets paid for mediocrity.
(“Gee, we really liked your script… send it to my agent”)
However, if you are not already rich and famous then your job is to get the Great Script and Hold-It-Hostage.
Again, your job is to write the GREAT SCRIPT that grabs the reader on Page-1, holds then for 10 Pages, makes them laugh and cry for the next 80 pages, with unique characters, that shocks you with an unbelievable ending that is actually believable… and always remember that Good Is Not Good Enough and yes Life Is Not Fair and your script is either great, and it is bought, or it s*cks.
Happy Filmmaking & Welcome to Hollywood,
Dov Simens (www.WebFilmSchool.com)
FILM SCHOOL (Master Filmmaking in 16-Hours)
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