This is half-lark, half-serious. I just got through a week where I had several sub-par scripts. These weren't just "PASSES" they were "Ohmigod, you should be embarrassed to waste someone's time by sending these out!" I've gotten used to seeing these over the years, but they're frequently the product of someone deciding to answer a query or perhaps someone in the company submitting something that a friend gave to them as a favor.
All the scripts I'm speaking of came into the various companies I read for through agents. That's depressing on two levels. First, these incredibly shitty writers - and I assure you, the scripts were inept not only in concept, but in basic story construction, dialogue, character depth and development and pacing - actually managed to impress someone with their writing enough that an agent actually took them on as a client. Secondly, that agent, when confronted with a complete turd of a writing sample then got on the phone and convinced some schmuck at my company that this was worth two hours of their time.
There's a lot one could take from that, but I think two things are at the top of that list. If this happened repeatedly from the same agent or manager, that person would lose ALL credibility with me. I wouldn't trust anything they said was awesome because their submissions in the past would have shown they wouldn't know awesome if it walked into their office and stripped down to slinky lingerie.
The second point is one more relevant to writers out there - guys, there are lit agents with clearly ZERO standards or taste. If those schmucks can get repped, anyone can.
Here's the half-lark: what if I spent the next six months or so keeping track of agents and managers like this? What if I invited other script readers to do so and at the end of that, we publish the list. We'll call it "The Shit List." If you wanted, you could query these guys in the hopes of getting repped. Now that comes with a fair amount of risk, for even if you could get a rep, would you want one who isn't known as a connoisseur of fine material?
Hmm... perhaps a side project could be for you fine readers to come up with deliberately terrible query letters, which will then be submitted to Shit List honorees. It'd be interesting to see which, if any, result in script requests.
I can see an argument against this being that it's negative and bound to piss off agents. I can see that, but if this list gained any credibility, perhaps it would shame some agents into being more discerning about the material they foist upon others.
2 weeks ago