SimplyScripts.Com Logo

Friday, May 30, 2014

Notes from a Veteran Writer – A Million Ways to Lose Money as a Writer – Part Two* (P.J. McNeill) - posted by P. J. McNeill

A Million Ways to Lose Money as a Writer – Part Two

 

(Note: This entry was originally supposed to be a direct continuation of the last entry and explain the time I lost 400 or so dollars trying to make it in film. By the time I got to that portion of the story, I realized I had already written quite a bit. In an effort to keep these posts reasonably-sized, that story will have to wait until next time. Just imagine this as a bridge to the next story, because it will pick up right when I got to LA.)

I moved out to Los Angeles in 2008, unemployed and ready to start working. Problem was, I didn’t really know whereto find a job, let alone a writingjob. I realized I had absolutely no clue how to find work as a writer, as I came to LA with no connections and no leads on work. So I made the first mistake (of many) right out the gate: I turned to Craigslist and looked for any work in film. In my mind (and in the minds of a lot of wide-eyed, wishful thinkers venturing out to the Golden state), it was important to simply find a job in film and the rest would follow. Pre-production, production, post-production: it was all the same in my mind. It was one big world of film, and I just needed to get inside. The rest would follow.

What followed was 6 years working at a post-production house, gaining absolutely no access whatsoever into my field. (Any access I achieved would be done on my own time.) Don’t get me wrong: the job was great. I excelled quickly, was promoted numerous times, earned a good salary, and most importantly: I got to work with big studio films. It was hands-down the most glamorous, exciting, and bizarre job I’ve ever held. (I could write an entire book on that job alone.) When I was sitting in the lobby for my interview (pinball machines to my right, cappuccino machines to my left), a guy skateboarded around me multiple times, while talking on his cell phone. Having come from a background in government work, I couldn’t comprehend what kind of boss would let their employees skateboard around the office. Turns out he was the boss. So, that’s the kind of environment I was entering.

Over the years I made a lot of connections. I can’t even count the number of times someone would say to me “If you ever need a job or a recommendation, let me know.” But here’s the problem: they were all in post-production. No one could help me make the leap to where I really wanted to go. Sure, I was climbing the ladder, but I was climbing the wrong ladder. I was doing all the work I should have been doing as a PA or a writer’s assistant, but I was doing it in post. And I’m not going to lie: at a point I felt trapped. I had invested so much time in the post-production job, that it seemed horrifying to me to start back over in another sector of film. Was I really willing to quit my current job and go work for $10/hour, doing menial tasks at outrageous hours with a family to support? No. I wasn’t.

It’s hard for me to tell you to do otherwise, because I would probably do the same thing again. When you have a family, it’s really hard to weigh anything else against that. So, I can’t say “Take a risk! Quit your job.” But I can say to exercise caution before you leap into a particular field that’s unrelated to what you want to do. Examine what that position can do for you now, and what it can do for your future.

And most importantly: don’t think of film as one big, all-encompassing field. Think of it more like a bunch of little islands, with really bad communication between one-another. But I guess I can’t really complain. My island had a pinball machine.

About the writer: A talented writer and 10 year veteran of the industry, “P.J. McNeill” has seen it all (and he’s ready to kiss and tell.) Got a question, a comment or just general bile /praise you want to spew? Email PJ at pjscriptblog@gmail.com. New to P.J. readership?  Click here for more articles!

** STILL not related to Seth MacFarlane in any way, shape or form

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Leaving Las Vegas screenplay - posted by Don

Leaving Las Vegas – February 8, 1994 unspecified draft script by Mike Figgis (adapted from the novel by John O’Brian) – hosted by: Daily Script – in pdf format

Ben Sanderson, a hard-core alcoholic, drives to Las Vegas after being fired from his film production job and divesting himself of all possessions. He plans to drink himself to death within four weeks. He meets Sera, a prostitute; they fall in love and he moves in with her. Each pledges not to try to change the other’s chosen destiny, and they carry on a romance over Ben’s last weeks.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More Scripts on the Movie Scripts page.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

10,000 B. C. screenplay - posted by Don

10,000 B. C. – January 23, 2006 unspecified draft script by Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser (revisions by Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser & Matthew Sand (Revisions by John Orloff (Current Revisions by Robert Rodat))) – hosted by: Daily Script – in pdf format

A prehistoric epic that follows a young mammoth hunter named D’Leh’s journey through uncharted territory to secure the future of his tribe. When a band of mysterious horse-riding warlords raid the Yaghal camp and kidnaps his heart’s desire – the beautiful Evolet along with many others, D’Leh is forced to lead a small group of hunters south to pursue the warlords to the end of the world to save her. Driven by destiny, the unlikely band of warriors must battle saber-toothed cats and terror birds in the Levant.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More Scripts on the Movie Scripts page.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Empire of the Sun screenplay - posted by Don

Empire of the Sun – undated, unspecified draft script by Tom Stoppard (based on the novel by J. G. Ballard) – hosted by: Daily Script – in pdf format

Based on J. G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel, tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp, next to a captured Chinese airfield. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More Scripts on the Movie Scripts page.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Original Script Sunday - posted by Don

On the Unproduced Scripts page there are fifteen original scripts for your reading pleasure.

– Don

Breakfast at Tiffany’s screenplay - posted by Don

Breakfast At Tiffany’s – June 22, 1960 Second Draft script by George Axelrod – hosted by: Daily Script – in pdf format

Struggling writer Paul Varjak moves into a New York apartment building and becomes intrigued by his pretty, quirky neighbor Holly Golightly. Holly’s lifestyle confuses and fascinates Paul; in public she flits through parties with a sexy, sophisticated air, but when they’re alone she changes into a sweetly vulnerable bundle of neuroses.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More Scripts on the Movie Scripts page.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Get Him To The Greek screenplay - posted by Don

Get Him To The Greek – October 1, 2008 first draft script by Nicholas Stoller – hosted by: Daily Script – in pdf format

English rock star Aldous Snow relapses into drugs and booze after a break up and a disastrous record. In L.A., Aaron Green works for a record company stuck in recession. Aaron’s boss gives him a career making task – to bring Aldous from London to L.A. for a concert in 72 hours. That day, Aaron’s girlfriend Daphne tells him she wants to finish her medical residency in Seattle. Aaron’s sure this ends their relationship. In London, things aren’t much better: Aldous delays their departure several times, plies Aaron with vices, and alternates between bad behavior and trenchant observations. Can Aaron moderate Aldous’s substance abuse and get him to the Greek? What about Daphne?

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More Scripts on the Movie Scripts page.

Goldeneye screenplay - posted by Don

Goldeneye – January 1994 first draft script by Michael France – hosted by: Daily Script – in pdf format

When a deadly satellite weapon system falls into the wrong hands, only Agent 007 can save the world from certain disaster. Armed with his license to kill, Bond races to Russia in search of the stolen access codes for “Goldeneye,” an awesome space weapon that can fire a devastating electromagnetic pulse toward Earth. But 007 is up against an enemy who anticipates his every move: a mastermind motivated by years of simmering hatred. Bond also squares off against Xenia Onatopp, an assassin who uses pleasure as her ultimate weapon.

Information courtesy of imdb.com

More Scripts on the Movie Scripts page.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Notes from a Veteran Writer – A Million Ways to Lose Money as a Writer* (P.J. McNeill) - posted by P. J. McNeill

A Million Ways to Lose Money as a Writer

 

What’s the one thing all of us writers have in common?

There are any number of facetious responses to this question, but the serious one is this: at one point or another, someone has most likely tried to get money out of you with the supposed aim of “helping you”. If you’re lucky enough to be able to say “Not me” or even luckier to say “I haven’t given it to any of those who tried”, keep doing what you’re doing; but allow this post to act as a further cautionary tale.

But this is too big for one post. There is no way I can cover the number of ways people have attempted to bamboozle me in the past 10 years in just one post. There is no way I can cover the humiliation, panic and anger that comes with someone taking something you’ve worked so hard to get in just one post. This is going to be a series. I am going to share my personal anecdotes of how I have lost thousands in the past 10 years. And it’s going to be embarrassing. You know why? Because it’s difficult to admit that you’ve been had. No one wants to do that. It makes you look and feel stupid. And it makes others look at you condescendingly, thinking to themselves “Well, that would never happen to me.” But it could. Because it comes in many forms, and it preys off the desperation you can’t help but feel in this business. (I’ve already covered something as simple as the e-mail blast services for query letters. The promise of your query letter in the high-powered hands of hundreds of producers: for the low, low price of $100. It’s just that easy.)

It’s even tougher when you’re green and you don’t have anyone to ask “Hey, is this right?” Let’s flash back about 10 years ago to a younger, greener P.J; before I moved to LA. I was querying my first script and didn’t know a thing about how to do it. I was learning as I went. So, what’s the first thing I did? I used a shoddy e-mail query service. (::coughScriptblastercough::) I was immediately out a hundred bucks and didn’t get a single read off of it. So I started cold querying. And that’s how I met Mr. Eddie Kritzer: an “agent”. (I’m using his real name because the more Google hits Eddie Kritzer gets, the better.) Eddie Kritzer immediately broke the number one rule I would develop later on: Always judge someone by their website. (Says the guy who a couple entries back said not to speak in absolutes. Well, I’m taking a risk here.) It’s hard to “teach” someone how to spot a bad website; it’s really something you have to develop. But sometimes you just look at a website and you get that gut feeling that it’s bad. The organization is terrible…they’re still using Word Art for their titles…or it lacks basic information and just has a lot of flashy language. Simply put: if you have to convince yourself the website looks good…move on.

Mr. Eddie Kritzer personally called me after reading my script. He said he loved it. I asked him what he loved the most about it, and he told me he really liked the ironic ending. “Ironic ending?” I thought, “That’s odd…I didn’t know I wrote an ironic ending.” (I didn’t.) But I was still flattered. Ironic meant smart, right? So I took it as a compliment, not an obvious skirting of the question. He then went into a big spiel that ended with him saying that if I wanted him to represent me, I’d have to pay him $500. I don’t know why, but I distinctly remember sitting in the parking lot of the local Hallmark when he told me this. I guess you don’t forget the first place someone tries to screw you. I’m not going to lie, I came close to giving him the $500. But this story has a happy ending: I didn’t. I did my Google searches, asked a few people “Hey, are you supposed to pay your agent BEFORE they sell your script?”, and came to the conclusion that: No. No, you are not. So I didn’t. I saw Mr. Eddie Kritzer eating a bagel in Santa Monica about 5 years later. It took everything I had not to smack it to the ground.

The next time, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be so lucky, and I’d end losing roughly $400. But that’s another story…

About the writer: A talented writer and 10 year veteran of the industry, “P.J. McNeill” has seen it all (and he’s ready to kiss and tell.) Got a question, a comment or just general bile /praise you want to spew?  Email PJ at pjscriptblog@gmail.com. New to P.J. readership?  Click here for more articles!

* Not related in any way, shape or form to Seth MacFarlane

Search with Google

    Custom Search SimplyScripts

Award Season Screenplays - New!

Great Vocab

Subscribe to the SimplyScripts mailing list

    Email Address

Featured SimplyScripts Blogs

ScriptSearch

Advertisement

More Navigation

Latest Entries

Categories

Script of the Day
December 13, 2017

    Fifty by Vin Conzo (Conz) writing as One Ugly Dame

    When a mysterious Girl shows up in California looking to complete her lifelong obsession, a well known Psychiatrist fights to change her mind.
    Discuss it on the Forum

    *Randomizer code provided by Cornetto.

Advertisement

Donate


Advertisement



Writers I dig

Search Amazon

Search Sheet Music




SimplyScripts Logo