I'm so sick of stupidity in Hollywood!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chad R, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 1999
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    Chad Rouch
    I have been trying to break into Hollywood as a screenwriter for some time now. My writing partner and I currently have a manager (agent), and have signed one or two contracts with production companies (not studios) but have never received one dime for any work we've done.

    We're not happy with our current manager and are currently looking for a new agent/manager. We've got scripts out to a few, and recently got one back with this note attached:

    "Great script! Great writing! But, historical movies don't sell well. Do you have something more high-concept we could look at?"

    Grrrr! Arrrgh! (To steal from Joss)

    For the uninitiated, high-concept is one line that can sell easily, like "a teen-age Fatal Attraction" (for those of you like me who suffered through that trailer in front of "Minority Report").

    A) This was our high concept movie! It's a big action movie, that does take place during the civil war but isn't about the civil war. And what makes me laugh is that everytime a big historical movie is released it does well! Even the abyssmal "Wild Wild West" made a $100 million! Our current manager similarly refused to handle this script because it's historical!

    B) If the script is good, and the reader liked it, why do they think that no one else will! Is there no one in hollywood willing to take any risks anymore? (rhetorical question #1) Is there no one in Hollywood intersted in making good movies, or are they all interested in just making money? (rhetorical question #2)

    C) Agents are almost a thing of the past. No one is interested in handling a writer's career. Instead of thinking, "Hey these guys can write, maybe I should sign them and then get them work" like they used to, all of the agents are now managers. The diference is according to California law an agent can't produce a movie but managers can. The problem is that none of these managers want to get the little buck of setting a writer up on rewrites or adaptations, just the big "Scream" like sale for the fast, big cash.

    So, next time you think that everything that comes out of hollywood sucks, and like was posted in another thread about screenwriters being brain dead; it isn't the writers, it's the damn executives that control the money.

    Thanks for letting me rant. But, I don't feel much better because I'm so sick of stupidity in Hollywood!
     
  2. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2000
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    0
    have you considered funding the project yourself, with loans from family, friends and other small business fund raising areas (even VC firms?)

    for example, you could start a production company to film/market your first film. Figure out that production costs required to accomplish it and see if you can raise the cash to get it done.

    What is the amount of $ you need to finance your film? Is there a way to minimize the financial needs (i.e. limit the amount of special effects, etc.) to keep the budget on the picture small.

    There are many, many independent films being done, many on next to no budget. If you have a good idea, and you have the talent and tenacity, I think you can get it done!
     
  3. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 1999
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    Chad Rouch
    Not this picture. Its big, historical and will be expensive.

    Many, many, many films are produced independently, financed on credit cards, and never make a splash. It's not worth the financial risk, trust me. For every one "Clerks" there's about a thousand movies you've never heard of that are languishing on shelves, unseen, that not even the Podunk, AK Film Festival will screen.

    It's a good suggestion, but just not the route we're looking to take. We don't write small, talky movies. We write big movies that need to go the road we're taking them. It's just a long, glass filled, mine filled road.
     
  4. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2000
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 1999
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Real Name:
    Jasen
    Chad-

    I have never blamed the writers for the plague that has infested Hollywood. As I man who has wriiten several screenplays that will never see the light of day, let alone be seen by anything resembling a human, I can sympathize.

    Hollywood is less-populated by risk-takers as it is marketing monsters. If only films could be produced more often as art rather than an investment. What a world that would be.

    Maybe you can shop it around yourself. Make up a press kit as if it were going into production and hype the hell out of it yourself.
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  7. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2002
    Messages:
    1,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup writers get screwed, bottom line. And when you finally do sell a script someone will go and screw it all up to hell. My uncle wrote the script for the movie Xchange and it was a really intelligent well-written script. When HBO bought it they rewrote it several times to dumb it down, cut out about 1/3 of it and hired Stephen Baldwin in one of the crucial roles. Then they hired a director who further changed things around, added a bunch of spx, explosions, and sex. The movie was absolutely horrible. I couldn't believe how such a promising script and premise could turn into a total crapfest. Oh well.
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    What Jason said.

    Not to be discouraging, but do you have any idea how many scripts come tumbling into every single studio, both major and minor? Work the ropes. You can't go all-out without any credits listed on your resume.

    Some people I've known started out by simply getting a job--any job--at a studio, no matter how menial. Many script writers were once script readers.

    This is not exactly an easy town to break into.
     
  9. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,762
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Real Name:
    Damin J. Toell
    Not to be mean Chad, but I'm not sure it's stupidity on the part of Hollywood not to give a big budget to an untested screenwriter. Just because you like your screenplays a whole lot, it doesn't mean that the rest of the world is stupid for not wanting to sink a ton of money into them.

    DJ
     
  10. ShawnCoghill

    ShawnCoghill Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am a writer as well,and Yes I started writing a film that would be a semi-large budget film,Im not talking 100 mill,but it would be more like a 30-35 mill.Then I stated thinking,Why am I writing this? I am a new writer and this is my first REAL script,I should start small,so I ditched it for awhile and moved on to another idea I had,and this is on the other end of the spectrum,this is a 50,000 dollar movie,which I am going to make myself,its a great story,but I know there isnt to many companies willing to take it,because its small,too small for big companies,yet I knew my other script was too large. I would do exactly what Paul said earlier,star small.Then move onto the large projects,and you would be more likely to get funding,if they seen your last and dug it.
     
  11. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2000
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    0
    is there any chance of getting a preview of the screenplay for HTF members? just curious...
     
  12. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Another frustrated screenwriter chimes in, and for every lame remake announcement I see online, I grit my teeth knowing there are many decent scripts out there by First Timers. But, in reality, would you turn down a chance to work on a remake if a producer likes your work and offers you the job? I've written a dozen scripts, a novel, and consider those my 'artistic' representations. I'd take the job. Money is money and I want to get paid like everyone else. Sorry.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,962
    Likes Received:
    1,540
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
     
  14. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2001
    Messages:
    17,592
    Likes Received:
    2,106
    Location:
    Albany, NY
     
  15. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,762
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Real Name:
    Damin J. Toell
     
  16. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    8,813
    Likes Received:
    2,135
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Real Name:
    Valentino
    I don't know if the following story will help or hurt.
    I have a good friend who has been writing big budget action screenplays ever since he got out of film school. His local agent always told him that he should think small and maybe stick to trying to write for tv. He made his money during this time collecting carts at a local supermarket. He stuck to his guns and continued writing in the same manner.
    I introduced him to my brother and his close friend who are aspiring producers
    in Hollywood. Long story short, they read one of his screenplays, loved it and forwarded it to a producer friend of theirs who immediately signed my friend to a contract and got him an agent at ICM.
    In the past 4 years, he has sold many scripts, made over $3 million dollars, met and worked with Steven Spielberg, Tony Scott, Ted Demme, Jonathan Hensleigh, Roland Joffe, Jerry Bruckheimer and others. However he has yet to see one of his screenplays made into a film. They are all in development and are constantly being re-written by him and other screenwriters, put into turn around at the last minute, and deals falling through just before filming was set to begin, much to his frustration. Jonathan Hensleigh was actually just paid $3 million to re-write ONE of his scripts for Mr. Bruckheimer.
    He said he would work for free if he was guaranteed that one of these films would be made.
    He hates Hollywood and how writers are treated, and is sometimes barred from writing meeting on scripts that he has written! And although he is well compensated beyond what he ever thought he would be, he longs to have a film made.
    I guess my point is that unfortunately there are many talented writers out there who will never get the chance that my friend got because the right people didn't see his work. My advice is to do what you know, get a new agent and keep plugging away.
    Good luck.[​IMG]
     
  17. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 1999
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    Chad Rouch
    Studios don't care who wrote the script usually. You don't have to be a big name to write big movies. Studios will trust our agent/manager who will have the clout needed to get it made. Usually, they take the good script from the new writer and then get one of their bigger names to rewrite it. That's fine, I'm willing to work my way up the ladder.
     
  18. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    My advise...save your A list stuff for later and pump out thier "high concept" crap...when you have enough money and connections hit em with your real art and it might be made...even Picasso sold art just to get rent money
     
  19. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    You read my mind there, Butch C! I even have a low/no budget horror script I'm holding back to shoot myself if/when I make enough money from writing, just to scratch that "director's itch." But the way things are going, that's many moons in the future.
     
  20. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 1999
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page