Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More questions about how to get read

I'm gonna reach into the ole mailbag and pull out a question from "First time writer guy."

Dear Zuul, since you will put your foot up my ass if I send you a script, how would one go about proving to you they are going to send you something tasty to read and not another pile of dog poo?

That's easy. Either know me personally or convince someone who knows me personally that you've got what it takes.

Here are ways to NOT convince me:

1) Tell me that this is your first script. No one's first script is EVER any good.

2) Have a shaky command of the English language. If you can't get through a query without mangling basic syntax and grammar, I'm not going to have much faith in your ability to make a 120 page read worth my while.

3) Address me as "Bitter Screen Writer" or "Bitter Script Writer." Here's a tip - the name is at the top of the blog. Get it right.

4) Boast about how well your script is doing on Amazon Studios.

5) Somewhere in the query either insult me, or include language along the lines of "If you don't want read my stuff then you really don't know anything. Or maybe you just can't handle how AWESOME I am!" When you ask someone to read your script, you're asking for a huge favor. Manners apply.

6) Enclose racy pictures.

7) Whine about how no one is going to give you a break and how everyone in this industry seems to be working against you. Instead, be positive. Be someone who I want to help.

I got a similar question from Bob:

You're brave to add your email adress. [sic]

How can so many syndicated movies be so flat, yet no one will glance at new ideas and stories? "The wall" seems equally thick from both sides.

Why not just ask for tag lines and charge to read them? Charge to read quarries too. Can a few hundred a day extra hurt? Ha

Maybe we need a list of connected readers, with genre interests noted, (aka managers?) we can trust. You sound real enough.

I don't think it's a very ethical practice to charge to read someone's logline or query letter - whether you're charging as a way of screening or by offering some bogus service where you offer to help someone develop their loglines or queries.

As to the last question, while I know some readers make their names public, I've heard plenty of horror stories about agency readers who got tracked down by an irate writer after slamming their script in what was supposed to be an internal coverage report. I don't blame any reader for wanting to stay under the radar after that.


  1. darnet, i was counting on 6

    j/k ;P

  2. Um, why are you discouraging racy pictures?

  3. Take your pick:

    1) Reverse psychology (because trust me, ALL of those other requests are going to be ignored.)

    2) the type of people who send racy pics through email are so NOT the people you want to get them from. That and I've read many a bad script that sent along concept art of a scantily-clad female character in the hopes of enticing a read. (Rule of thumb - the nakedness of the girl in the concept art in inversely proportional to the quality of the script.)

    But I'll tell you what, in honor of Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth be with you"), I'll make a one time exception for Slave Leia pictures - with the stipulation that whatever you send me, I might post to the blog just to goose my google hits. (Little known fact - Star Wars fans love the internet and half-naked women.)

    Interesting that of everything I posted, those three words got the most attention.