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Q&A Forum Archives

Records 6 to 10 of 18 Records found

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Topic: Should a potential screenwriter write while in school?
Since I want to go and be educated in screenwriting, what should I do before all of schooling is accomplished? I have four years ahead of me of schooling, should I start putting my ideas into my own screenplay format until I learn the real deal? Or should I just wait? What should I do?


There's no doubt you will learn a lot of great things in whatever screenwriting program you attend. But every good writer will tell you that the best way to get good at writing is to write. Write a lot and, in between, read a lot. If your passion is to write, four years of school shouldn't stop you from beginning. Learning technical aspects like screenplay format won't take long and, if film is truly your passion, studying screenplays and cinema will continue for the rest of your life. So what are you waiting for? Write! Let whatever ideas you learn in school catch up with your practical experience as a writer. Finally, and most importantly, learn to observe and experience life - that's where your stories will be found.

Rob (About Rob)

Topic: Can/Should a writer have multiple agents?
Can someone tell me what the ethics are with regard to multiple agents? Example: I have been contacted by one agent wanting to rep me for a novel manuscript, and almost simultaneously by another agent wanting to see and possibly rep screenplays. Is it therefore ethical to deal with both of them as they represent different types of writing?


Congratulations on your seemingly abundance of good fortune. We should all be so lucky. First and foremost keep in mind that and agent works for you, not the other way around. However, you want to build a strong relationship with some who has a lot of industry contacts and can position you where you want to be. You're right in that book agents are separate from screenwriter agents. But it might be tricky to have two represent you. Does the book agent work for an agency that reps screenwriters? If it is a bigger agency you can have a team on your side. Same question for the screenwriter agent... does someone in their place represent novelists? It puts you in a stronger position to be with one agency because what happens when you want to sell the film rights to your book? Don't be afraid to ask these kinds of questions of your potential agents. If they value your talent they'll make sure you're taken care of. You want an agent who is passionate about your work. You have to do your job by researching their powerbase and providing them with plenty of material to shop around.

Scriptfxr (About Scriptfxr)

Topic: How Long Should You Wait For A Response?
About six weeks ago, I got about seven requests for my script. I sent them out right away and have only heard back from two agents/producers. One producer asked me to email the first ten pages of my script, then emailed me back right away saying, "Ok, I like it. Send me the rest." That was well over a month ago and I've heard nothing. An agent even wrote me to let me know that he got my script in the mail and that he would be in contact in about a week. That was also over a month ago. My question is, should I email them back and (politely) ask about the status of my script? Or should I wait a bit longer. What is the "average" amount of time one should expect to wait for an answer?


Two out of seven in the big leagues is a .285 batting average and that's very respectable. It only takes one interested party to get things going in most cases, so I wouldn't get too caught up in numbers.

As for response time, 6 weeks is still below the average. 3 months isn't unheard of and if you still haven't heard anything at that point, then an e-mail isn't out of the question or a phone call to the assistant - don't ask to speak to the agent or producer in question.

You're going to have to learn patience and approach the submission process in a kind of detached way. Get stuff out there and don't think about it. Get to work on your next script and don't sit by the phone. Next time around, you may bring your batting average up with an even more accomplished script.

Rob (About Rob)

Topic: Adapting The Storyline of a Novel
I have a favorite "tween" book that I'd love to make a script out of. Maybe not as an adaptation, but using it as a guideline to make a movie. Do I have to get permission to avoid committing plagiarism or can I simply use the storyline of the book as the idea for my screenplay?


This is a tough call. Obviously if you are making an adaptation of the book you will need permission. It is not advisable to write a spec based on a work of fiction (or true story for that matter) unless you have the rights. Of course, if the work is in the public domain (like Shakespeare) then you can adapt away. When you speak of borrowing the story idea, it depends on how much you really are borrowing. If two kids get lost in a carnival funhouse and must fight their way out, well that's pretty generic. But if you get into specifics of character types, conflicts and relationships then you might be headed for trouble. Technically you can't copyright an idea, only the execution of the idea. Think of how many movies have been made about a lone gunman who stands up to the bad guys all by himself. That could be HIGH NOON. It could be OUTLAND. It could even be DIE HARD. When trying to find your own voice and impress potential agents and/or producers, it is best to start from your own imagination. Certainly you can borrow themes and situations but put your own spin on the story. Make it stand out. The last thing you want a reader to do is comment "This script is too much like "Whatever" and makes me wish for the original." Good luck.

Scriptfxr (About Scriptfxr)

Topic: Screenplay Submissions To Actors
Is there a book that list the agents/managers of actors?

Some one suggested that I identify an actor who would suit my main character
in my screenplay and then try to contact his agent with a query letter.

Is this a worthwhile approach??


Among the many approaches to submitting screenplays, submitting a query to an actor's rep is certainly a good one. There is no book, per se, that lists who agents or managers represent, but you can call the Screen Actors Guild's main line at (323) 954-1600 and ask for the information. They will refer you to a service within SAG that will give you the representation for up to three actors per call. Once you have the agency, I would suggest calling that agency first and asking if they accept query letters for any of their performers.

Rob (About Rob)

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