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Saturday, October 30, 2021

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Calling It

This entire post reads like a serial killer's manifesto. Between this and your appearance, we're one-severed-head-in-a-fridge away from completing the picture.

As for your actual point... No, you're wrong. When people (not just a singular person, but several people) say something is difficult to read, listen to them. They are right. There's no conspiracy here, no confederacy of dunces against you.

Stop. Overusing. Crazy. Fonts.

"B-b-but Final Draft has it as an option. Why would they have it as an option, if they don't want us to use it?"

Yeah, that's true. Also, you could've written Parasite, Get Out, and Lady Bird* on Final Draft, but you didn't. So, don't pretend that you don't understand the concept not using everything the software is capable of.

If you want some actual advice on being "discovered," first get your script evaluated on the Black List (https://blcklst.com/). Next take the feedback you receive, and revise your project. Repeat the previous two steps until you end up with an average score of "8" or higher. To avoid spending too much money on hosting, get your script evaluated by trusted friends in exchange for reading their stuff, typically before submission. Make that sucker bulletproof.

Now that you have an average of "8" or higher, reps will either contact you with interest via the Black List, or, more likely, you'll send a series of inquiry letters to reps with your score prominently mentioned. With the latter, you may or may not get a meeting, but it's a more traditional/proven way to get some traction in the business.

I wish you nothing but the best of luck. Also, it's "sound effects," not "sound affects."

*Commercially/critically successful movies written after you began your wildly unsuccessful writing career.

E.C. Henry

Thanks for taking the time to post a reply, Calling It. You're welcome here anytime.

I have no intention of ever doing anything with a Black List ever again. And could care less about any script on there. They hosted one of my scripts once and did NOTHING to grant me access to those who make movies, which is what I'm after.

As for my post. I tried to explain the aesthetic as best I could not using fonts, but then afterwards making the post fun by using colors.

I love the lit expression and will keep working to make it better and better. If you have have any suggestions for improving it, by all means, share.

Calling It

My suggestion for improving "lit expression" would be to abandon it. Your scripts will seem unprofessional and slapdash, whether or not that's the actual case. Don't give gatekeepers anymore ammunition to keep you out. If that means writing exclusively in black 12pt courier, then that's what you do.

Not a single professional screenplay is written otherwise. Standardization helps producers get an accurate sense of a film's relative length. When you screw around with formatting too much, their rubric for this goes out the window, preventing more practical concerns like budget and packaging from being settled. Remember, it's a business first and foremost.

Going back to the Black List, I'm sorry that you didn't get the results you sought. That being said, people in the movie business DID have access to your script, but they chose not reach out because your script was either poorly rated, difficult to market, or both. But they DID have access. What exactly did the Black List readers say about your script? And then what happened with it?

My advice on breaking in is for you to start writing inquiry letters to like-minded managers and agents. Mention a couple of projects in the same genre you've done, and why you think that specific rep will like them. If they're interested in what you've got, they'll get in touch with you. Guaranteed.

E.C. Henry

Thanks for the response, Calling It,

Yeah I'm pretty excited about the lit expression. I don't have any of the reservations about it that you mentioned. I think this style of screenwriting is a welcome evolution of screenwriting. Screenwriting of the 1930s, doesn't look the 80s. Sreenwriting of the 80s doesn't look like screenwriting of 2021. I'm doing something exciting. Welcome to the world where art meets commerce. Welcome to the world of lit expression! Welcome to being Inside the Brain of E.C. Henry.

Calling It

Hey, man, I'm trying to help you with real advice. Otherwise, your career is going nowhere fast.

Posts like this (https://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/2016/09/back-to-the-scene-of-the-crime.html), this (https://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/2016/08/expanded-persona.html), and this (https://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/2016/08/twitter-fishing.html) indicate a disturbing lack of self-awareness. This one in particular compelled me to respond again: https://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/2021/04/ec-henrys-expanded-persona-pitch-to-taylor-swift.html

If you don't seek some mental health treatment soon, I fear your blog will become a resource for people trying to understand the origins of "Neon Revolt: Redux."

Please, take care of yourself, and consider a more rational approach to working in entertainment.

E.C. Henry

Sorry to read you're so down on me Calling It.

Thanks for reading my posts.

It's very hard to get any traction in today's world if you're a creative. When things go south the arts and church giving suffer. Hopefully we'll get better government and the economy will turn around.

A rising sea floats more ships!

Still looking for my "big break" and likeminded creative people to connect with. Now that you know me a little bit, if you know people that might respond favorably to the lit expression or me as a person or writer send them on my way!

I'm ready to connect with people!

JS

What exactly happened with your Black List experience?

E.C. Henry

Thanks for stopping by and even going so far as to ask me a question, RS.

The nature of your question makes me think this is a carryover from Carson Reeves' Scriptshadow site, where Scriptshadow regular, andyjaxfl, asked me the same question.

First off, what's it to you what my experience with Black List was?

Secondly, I'm not going to discuss that with you for the same reason I declined andyjaxfl: it makes no sense for me to badmouth anyone; I'm a prepro screenwriter looking for an "in". You have NO IDEA how many shut doors I have faced.

Anyway, I'm a glass half full kind of guy. Glad you found the site. Hopefully, you'll come back and engage with me some more, hopefully next time on subjects that I care to talk about.

JS

"First off, what's it to you what my experience with Black List was?"

Because by knowing which script was critiqued by the Black List and what they said about it, a community of other prepo screenwriters could help you improve your work and help you open a door to a professional career.

So, again I ask... What exactly happened with your Black List experience?

No one is asking you to badmouth anyone.

There's a difference between saying that your script got a low rating because they're elitist, Hollywood jerks (glass half empty), and saying your script got a low rating because they didn't connect to your characters, story, writing style, etc. and you want to know what you can do to rectify that (glass half full).

"You have NO IDEA how many shut doors I have faced."

You're right, I don't. Explain to me the obstacles you have faced, and what you have done to get around them.

Maybe I can help.

E.C. Henry

Thanks for stopping by again, JS!

Like I said before I'm not interested in talking about the Black List. I know over at Scriptshadow a lot of people do talk about the Black List. And when they do, you'll also notice I leave those conversations alone.

If you want to help me what I'm looking for is a RECOMMENDATION to a production company. I'm looking for someone willing to vouch for me so I'm not going in on a a cold call query. In this industry you need someone on the inside to recommend you. If you have those kind of connections fire in the hole! Let 'er rip! If not, I totally understand. When you're not born into the Spielberg family you're at a severe disadvantage.

JS

I don't know that a recommendation from me will do you any good, unfortunately. If advocacy was all it took, then the best agents would be our parents.

In my experience, even when you have representation soliciting production companies on your behalf, that's not necessarily a guarantee that your script will be purchased, let alone produced.

What's been your experience with meetings, Los Angeles, and the like so far? There might be a way to build from what you've already accomplished.

E.C. Henry

JS,

You need an IN. Either you're connected or you're not. Sounds like you don't know how the system works, which is fine; you need a recommendation to start the conversation or you are immediately dismissed by people working in the industry.

I need a recommendation. PERIOD. Nothing else matters.

JS

Um... OK. Where to begin?

Firstly, I was saying a recommendation from me personally wouldn't get you anywhere, not that a recommendation, in general, wouldn't help. Even then so any recommendation is barely scratching the surface on the laundry list of things you need to make a career in Hollywood, which was my larger point.

As for not understanding the system...

At the risk of doxxing myself, I am a working screenwriter living in Los Angeles.

No produced credits, no big money, nothing glamorous.

But I am in the system, which, at the moment, is more than you can say.

I have agents and a manager, all of whom represent much bigger clients than me. Blockbuster-level screenwriters and directors. They represent me with the expectation that I will one day become one of those clients.

I had a script place on the Annual Black List, subsequently getting a major production company attached to that project, a host of meetings with various other power brokers, and an assignment adapting a magazine article. That last one currently has an A-list actor attached to play the lead, though there is more packaging to be done before it can be financed.

I will grant you that I have had privileges in my life that you have not. I come from a relatively affluent family that supported my goals. I attended one of the top film schools in the world, where I made connections with likeminded peers. And on top of all of that, I'm not yet 30.

I saw your comments on Scriptshadow after Carson Reeves gave a positive review to my aforementioned Black List screenplay*. You're clearly a passionate writer and movie lover, whose ubiquitous presence on that board is impossible to miss.

You're also naive, EC.

Very naive.

You don't even know what you don't know.

I came to your blog to try and help you in an anonymous, somewhat distant way.

Instead I learned that you can lead a horse to water but you can them drink...


*My SS review was not posted recently, I've just been a longtime lurker.

E.C. Henry

Hey, JS, thanks for coming back again!

Sorry to read you're so down on me. :(

Like I've said repeatedly, IF you're serious about "helping" me, what I need is a recommendation from a production company. Once I have that in, I'll take it from there.

Outside of that, glad to read that you're making some progress on your own career. Scriptshadow is fun place to hang out. Hope you're having fun over there. Maybe someday I'll get to know you by name.

JS

OK.

How do you think that would work exactly?

Like, let’s say you get a recommendation from a production company.

What would you “taking it from there” look like?

E.C. Henry

Oh hi again, JS! You're getting to be quite the regular around here. :)

Screenwriter recommendations are EASY to make. All you have to do is say a place has show interest in your work, or is looking for material and writer like you are, and suggest contacting them. SOMEONE HAS TO PUT THEIR NAME BEHIND THE RECOMMENDATION otherwise it is WORTHLESS. I have to be able to say so-and-so recommended that I contact you. That's really what it all boils down to.

So if I received a recommendation from someone willing to put their name behind it, the next step would be for me to call or mail them to confirm interest at which time I would say who recommended me to them.

Hopefully from there I would get an okay to send a script. Probably have to accompany a release with that, and off we go.

All you're doing in this process is help facilitating an avenue for someone to send a script to someone already working in the movie-making industry.

The first step is a recommendation with someone vouching for you. It's not rocket science. It's just NO ONE is willing to do that for unknown screenwriters with no past credits or affiliation to the group they're hoping to connect with.

JS

Where are you getting this information from?

Because, in my experience, it's not accurate. You've put too much emphasis on something as tenuous as a recommendation.

No production company that I'm aware of would ever read, let alone accept, material that hasn't been vetted by some kind of representation e.g. manager, agent, lawyer. Mostly for legal reasons, but also quality control. Even then they still get a lot of subpar stuff.

Now if you consider representation a tacit recommendation (though I think that somewhat undersells the job of a rep), then, yes, I agree with you, it is important.

But cold calling/emailing a production company based on some random rec will get you nowhere. And that's the truth.

If you're curious, here's how I got my representation:

First, I uploaded a script to the Black List. That's where my soon-to-be agent reached out to me via the site because the project was highly rated and they liked the premise.

After being signed, my agent then sent a different piece from my portfolio to a manager that they thought would be a good fit. That manager liked it enough to sign me to their company.

The two groups, working as a team, then took a third screenplay of mine out to a variety of production companies, thus starting my career.

See, this is why I wanted to know more about your Black List experience. It got the ball rolling for me when I was, like you, an unknown screenwriter with no credits. It was a great way to become affiliated with a group I was hoping to connect with.

Are you picking up what I'm dropping off?

E.C. Henry

Hello again, JS.

Thanks for sharing your story of how you got representation. Glad to see someone reacted favorably to one of your screenplays and you as a writer.

Still looking for my "big break". Hopefully someday I'll have a success story to share. If not, I'll have a library of unproduced screenplays.

JS

But you see how the path I took is available to you, right?

How have your scripts been received when you've sent them out? What is the most consistent note?

Also, if it's any consolation, every writer - from people like you to Academy Award winning multi-millionaires - has a library of unproduced screenplays.

It's the nature of the beast.

E.C. Henry

Hello again, JS!

I'm not interesting in talking about ways into the industry. I've heard it all before, and now all I want is recommendation like I described earlier.

JS

OK, well, like I described earlier a recommendation, and a recommendation alone, is close to useless if you're serious about becoming a professional screenwriter in Hollywood.

Your best course of action might be to take the independent route, similar to a Russ Meyer or a Shane Carruth.

Have you ever considered the independent route? Writing, directing, and producing your own movies on a shoestring budget?

E.C. Henry

Thanks for coming back again, JS.

As I've specified about 10 times now, all I'm interested in is a production company recommendation with a name attached to it. All other suggests and prompts you've been making are nice -- from your perspective -- but they're outside the scope of help you're capable of giving me or what I'm looking for.

I don't know you so there is NO WAY I'm going to open myself up to you and tell you what I'm doing other than to say I'm actively looking for referrals.

If you're not willing to help me score a referral that's fine, I get it. Maybe you don't have those contacts to give anyway. Just keep me in mind if you meet someone who might be able to help get what I'm looking for: a referral to make contact to a production company with a referral contact name attached. :)

JS

WHERE, IN GOD'S NAME, DID THIS FARKAKTA RECOMMENDATION IDEA COME FROM?

As I've similarly told YOU many times, that's not how the movie business works!

Writers never, never, NEVER contact production companies. Reps do. If the company is interested in your script, they'll contact your reps to set up a meeting. It's not your job to call or email them UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!

To get in the system, you need to write queries, you need to enter contests, you need to get evaluations, you need to move to L.A., and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, you need to give up on this recommendation idea mishegoss.

None of this even takes into account the quality, relevance, and potential profitability of your material. That's A #1 when it comes to "making it."

Based on your reticence to talk about past reactions to your work, I'm going to assume that you've received less than stellar reviews. That's fine, whatever. But, if that's the case, focus on improving your writing, not on your, frankly, bizarre resistance to common sense.

Not to be rude, but I can see why you haven't made any inroads. Your idea of what a career in the movies might look like is so misconceived that your replies may as well be an elaborate bit.

There's just no way you're actually this ill-informed.

E.C. Henry

Good morning, JS

The sun isn't quite up here yet in Tennessee, but I'm really looking forward to this morning's writing session. I'm "plotting up" a new, big-idea screenplay.

Don't know why you keep writing me on this subject, when it's not ever the subject of the post (lit expression is). If you can't deliver on the ONE THING that matters in bringing up this subject: referrals to production company recommendation with someone vouching for me; from my perspective I'm ready to move on to talk about something else. You can go on and on about the movie-making industry all day, but until I have that ONE THING, it doesn't amount to anything so I don't excited about it.

If your way has yielded to you the results that make you happy, that's great! Congratulations. But like I've said since you started this conversation, I'm only interested in one thing in talking about the industry: a recommendation. Either you provide that for me or you don't. I figure you can't so why bother pushing you on the subject? And even if you could, you need to do so willingly because you believe in me.

SJ

This exchange is inexplicable…

If you’re right, good for you.

If you’re wrong, there’s always next time.

Interpret that as you will.

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