GOING BIONIC: DISTRIBUTING INDEPENDENT FILMS INTERNATIONALLY – TURKEY WEEK READER Q&A

Greetings and welcome to Going Bionic #132. Today’s continuation of our Reader Q&A series is an appetizer before this week’s Thanksgiving feast. While next Tuesday we’ll analyze the distribution trends that routinely emerge during turkey day weekend, today we’re going to answer more questions from my electronic mailbag. So, if you’re hungry for answers to some of your cinematic questions, I hope these fill you up.

I just finished a script and I’m dying to send it to agents and studios ASAP. A few of them want to read it, but Thanksgiving is coming up. When should I send it to them?
First of all, congratulations for creating a concept and writing a screenplay that agents and studio executives are interested in reading. That’s a feat in itself, especially if you garnered the interest without an agent (I’m assuming you don’t have an agent, because if you did, he or she would determine when and who to send your script to).

Since we’re headed into the annual “dead time” for Hollywood, (otherwise known as Thanksgiving through New Year’s), very little new business will be considered, much less purchased. Thus, my initial response is that you should wait until early 2013 to send your script out. Now, before you cringe and curse my name, please hear me out:

  1. It’s highly doubtful that a new screenplay from a new writer, who is not represented by a huge agency, will get priority treatment during the holidays. In other words, your script is most likely going to sit at the bottom of “to be considered” pile until 2013.

  2. If your script isn’t read before the New Year, it could feel like an “old” 2012 submission. Most executives prefer fresh, new submissions for 2013, so you could become “yesterday’s news”.
  3. Even if your script is read this year, and is loved by the eyes that read it and the checkbooks that want to buy it, you’ll have to create a firestorm of urgency for the buyer to close the deal. If you’re “pending sale” tumbles into 2013, it’s less likely to happen.

However, if you have a relationship with those who want to read your script, I’d call them and ask when the best time to submit is. Ask when they’ll have time to “give your script a good look,” and follow their lead.

I submitted a business plan for my feature film to a big investor a few weeks ago. I know he’s going to be in my hometown this weekend for Thanksgiving, so is it cool to call him while he’s here?
Are you kidding me? No, no, no, no, no, not unless you want to kill any chance of getting his investment funds. The last person any investor wants is to hear from is someone asking for money. Couple that with the fact the investor is visiting his hometown over Thanksgiving and I assure you that contacting him is a very bad idea.

What you should do is call him mid-week, the week after Thanksgiving and mention you heard he was in town for the holiday. Ask him how his Thanksgiving was, but don’t ask him if he’s had a chance to review your business plan if he doesn’t bring the topic up. Here’s why:

  1. If he has read it, he probably doesn’t want to invest in your film, because if he wanted to, he would have mentioned it.
  2. If he hasn’t read it, and he’s interested, he’ll mention his status.
  3. He’ll find your “How was your Thanksgiving in our hometown” to be inauthentic if you ask about him investing. The elephant in the room during your call will be that you and he know exactly why you’re really calling. Thus, it would serve you well not to mention his investment money. Refraining from “talking turkey” can only help you, especially if your investor is on the fence over investing.

I’ve got nothing to be thankful for this year. My career sucks, my film sucks, and 2013 looks like even more sucking in headed my way. I know this really isn’t a question, but I really think it’s time to give up on this poverty stricken, rejection filled childhood dream.
Everybody has had times when they bitch about his or her career (including me) and everybody has made at least one shitty film, (including me). But, those aren’t reasons to quit your childhood dream. Look on the bright side. Unlike 99.9% of people on the planet, you are doing what you love, and you’re probably better at it than you think. You’ve got to stop judging your success by the money you earn from it, and start judging it by how far you’ve progressed from last year. If you work hard, which I’m sure you do, you will see that you are far closer to your goal than you were last year.

However, if your career isn’t getting any traction and you’re spinning your wheels in front of an endless stoplight, then it’s time to change your strategy. Mind you, I didn’t say it’s time to quit; I just said it’s time to change your strategy. Whatever you choose, just don’t quit during the holiday season. Spend this time recharging your batteries and remembering why you fell in love this industry in the first place.

On that note, I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving. As always, I thank you for lending me your eyes, and  look forward to borrowing them again next Tuesday. I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.




Posted on November 20, 2012 in Features, Going Bionic by
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