Saturday, February 11, 2017

QUESTIONS ON BECOMING A WRITER

For quite awhile I've been trying to figure out what most new writers are concerned about.  There seem to be a few issues that come up quite often when I have a Q and A session at one of my Seminars, or things that come up repeatedly via Facebook writing groups.  Many of these issues you should not even think about, much less spend time worrying about them or asking questions of other new writers.

One of these issues is whether or not you should attach actors and/or a director to your script.  I've gone over this in a previous blog but I want to remind you that NO you should not even think about attaching actors.  First of all you don't and can't know which actors are liked and which actors are hated.  You don't know who has a drug or alcohol problem or if they still mean anything at the box office.  If the actors you pine for are famous, great talents and star in films quite often, then you will never get to them.  There agents and managers are the gatekeepers and they do keep those gates locked. 

Remember that to become a working writer in Hollywood, whether via major studios or independents, all you need are a few wonderful scripts and a willingness to work well with others. 

I also think you need to plan your writing career.  Do you want to sell one script that is close to your heart?  Do you want to have a full blown writing career in Los Angeles, with major studios?  Do you want to direct your own films?  Are you dying to get jobs that have you rewriting other writers or be hired to write the film adaptation of a book?  There are a lot of choices to make.

Many of you now run as fast as you can to pay good money and get into writer's contests.  The problems with this are many.  Film contests don't get your film made, they don't make you famous, they are not considered important to major film makers.  A couple of them may be a bit prestigious but they are only one line in your query letter.  If your scripts are ready for contests then they should be ready to go out to agents and managers.  That's where you need to spend your time.

Lastly I want to advise you dear people that giving your precious scripts to other new writers and expecting good notes is a big mistake.  Your writer friends might be smart and nice but they don't know how to judge your material.  They are only guessing. 

Send me other questions you have and I'll try to answer them.

REMEMBER that my online course, "HOW TO BREAK INTO THE SCREENWRITING BUSINESS" is presented by the wonderful Screenwriters University.  The course begins on February 16th and is limited to a small amount of people  Sign up now at: www.screenwritersuniversity.com or via www.writersstore.com.  If you have any questions please email me directly at:  writerconsultant67@gmail.com. 

As always I work to help you enjoy a successful writing career!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

LET'S GET GOING

Since the first of the year I've been noticing a rather remarkable transition for many, many writers.  I belong to quite a few writers groups on Facebook and have lots of wonderful friends on both Facebook and  LinkedIn.  There is now a slow but steady stream of optimism for your writing careers.  I'm so delighted to see this.  Prior to the beginning of the year, it appeared that everyone was so depressed and frightened by the forthcoming election outcome that no one seemed to be working on their projects.

Well, I'm thrilled to see that so many of you have climbed that mountain and are back to paying attention and working on your projects.  I've started to hear from many of you and I'm so excited about working on your scripts or being able to advise you, etc.

President Obama talks about the "audacity of hope" and I believe in that.  You must be strong and determined and willing to do the impossible to achieve your goals.  Yes, I certainly hear a lot of complaints about how tough the entertainment business is and  how hard it is to sell a script.  Having once been an agent, I know the drill from both sides of the desk.

Remember that you have only one thing to be concerned with now.  That is the quality of your writing. I have always found that really good writers are always found and pursued.  They get agents, managers, deals, offers and that's just the beginning.

Once you have reached that stage, please avail yourself of my book to find out what the next steps are in your careers.  It's the best 20 bucks you'll ever spend.  I want to help you get ahead and to fulfill your dreams.  I'd love to read your scripts and help you make them studio worthy. 

Let's keep moving forward and keep a positive attitude.  It has always stood me in good stead and I've been through the many wars of the business.

The book is "A LITERARY AGENT'S GUIDE TO YOUR WRITING CAREER" (www.amazon.com). 

You can succeed if you do the work and don't overcomplicate your material.  Make those characters interesting and loveable.  Do not try and write something that no one has ever done.  That's not what the buyers are looking for.  They are looking for dedicated writers who've studied their craft.  Make that you!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! 

To all you dear people who have been reading my posts for these past few years, I want to say that I feel very gratified for your readership.  Like all writers, I torture myself before writing each new post.  I wonder if I am being too honest and you will feel it is too brutal.  I wonder if you will take to heart all or even some of the advice I give.  I hope it has been helpful and illuminating to learn the truth about the screenwriting business.  Sometimes people disagree or question my blogs.  They don't think that what I say applies to them.  It's a shame when that happens because I try very hard to give you the unvarnished truth and to help keep you excited about your writing career.

I shall continue to scribble my thoughts and even some of my stories with you for awhile longer.  I feel you out there and wish you all well. 

Hoping you all enjoy family and friends, good dinners and great company for the Holidays.  Keep warm and don't forget to give of yourself to others.

All my best to you,
Michele

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

WANTING A CAREER IN SHOW BUSINESS

The first question you must ask yourself is how much you want to be in the Entertainment business.  To succeed in any arena of Hollywood you absolutely must want it more than anything else in the world. 

This business will beat you to death and you will still want to be in it.  It has ruined numerous marriages (including some of mine) and relationships.  It has caused people to drink and do drugs.  After all, it ain't easy being nice to people you can't stand, but you will have to do it.  There will be years when you won't earn a dime, but you will have to keep doing it.  Your years on the top of the ladder are finite.  The saying goes that the only job that lasts in Hollywood is being an Agent.  Everything and I mean everything else throws you out once you make a bad enemy, age out of the system, start relying on your talent or agent or luck to keep you on top.

There are important people in Hollywood that will eat you up and spit you out.  They will use you and abuse you.  Your agent will stop returning your calls.  Your producer will fire you off of your own picture and hire someone else.  You will simply grow cold and may never know why.

All this is to say that you really have to want this work more than everything in you life.  You must be willing to move to Los Angeles, or New York.  You must start before you are 35.  You must learn your craft better then anyone else you know.  If you are shy you better get over it.  If you are always sure that you are right, you better get over it.

By now you are probably depressed as hell.  Don't be.  Remember it is still the greatest business in the world and there's only a small amount of people who make it big.  Maybe you will be that person.  Maybe you have the talent, foresight, and determination that it requires. 

Hope springs eternal, however I hope you think long and hard about this.  Then if you decide to jump in you might make a fabulous splash!




Sunday, September 4, 2016

PRESENTING YOURSELF

Before you take one step forward in finding and having a writing career, you absolutely must know some basic but crucial information.

In my prior career as an agent, and in my current career as a writers consultant, I've seen so many people make so many mistakes in how they present themselves and their work.

There is a right and a wrong way to show who you are and how talented you are.  I've even written a chapter on this in my book,
MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide to Your Writing Career.  The right and wrong way of entering a meeting, showing your material, responding to an email and letting people know who and what you are, are of paramount importance.  Executives in Hollywood have no patience for someone who doesn't do the following things in a professional manner.

I'm not saying that you must wear a tuxedo to a meeting or have a leatherette cover bonded to your scripts.  Far from it.  But there are some reasonable rules you will have to follow to get ahead.

The number one rule is how to present yourself.  Certainly you may wear jeans to a meeting.  However, the jeans must be clean, as well as your shirt, shoes and socks.  Your hair must be clean and your shirt should have a collar.  You are not going to a Bar B-Q.  You will want to be taken seriously.  This portion applies to every type of meeting.  It could be in a fabulous studio office, or a small diner or even if you are going to a seminar, pitch fest or screening.  When I have a one-on-one conference with writers, I am sometimes appalled at they way people show up.  Shorts and a T shirt are not acceptable.

Never, ever, ever be late.  If anyone has to wait for you, your cache is gone.  Prior to meetings, be sure you have the phone numbers with you.  If some untoward event occurs, you must call and explain why you will be late and beg forgiveness.

Your scripts, treatments, etc., must be neat and clean.  All scripts must have two (2) brads and a cover page with all your information on it.  This includes the title of the project, your name, your address, email and phone number.

I know the above sounds simple and that you assume everyone does the right thing.  You'd be amazed at how many people are late and sloppy.  The moment they arrive, they have lost whatever they wanted to gain from that meeting.

Reminder:  My course, HOW TO BREAK INTO THE SCREENWRITING BUSINESS,  at Screenwriters University, is running again on October 6th.  You may take this online course from anywhere in the world.  I've fashioned my classes to help you avoid the multitude of mistakes new writers often make.  I've presented many insights and information that will help you get an agent, sell your material and move your career forward.

Go to:  www.screenwritersuniversity.com, to get more information and to sign up.  This four (4) week course can save you years of frustration and confusion about the business of entertainment.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

HOW TO BREAK INTO THE SCREENWRITING BUSINESS

Okay everyone, this is you chance to really learn how to get into the business of selling screenplays, writing for hire and moving your careers forward.

My newest course via Screenwriters University (titled above) will begin on August 18th.  You will need to sign up now since places are limited.  The course is only 4 lessons and it is packed with insider information on how you must proceed to success.  I will personally be available to all students for questions and advice, during the course.  

Since the  course is 4 weeks instead of 6 weeks it is at a reduced fee.

My book:  MIND YOUR BUSINESS:  A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide to Your Writing Career 
is required reading for the course.  You may purchase it online via The Writers Store, Amazon.com, or through me (at a reduced rate) and I will be happy to sign it.  This also should be done in advance so that you will have it on time.

Check with me at:  michelewallerstein67@gmail.com to purchase the book for $14.95 + $2.00 for shipping.

Sign up for the course and get more info at:  www.screenwritersuniversity.com.

Let me know if you have any questions!!!

I designed this course to help you get ahead faster and more smoothly.  I wanted to share my years of agenting with you so that you know how the system really works.

Let's go!!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Television Writing

What do you really know about television writing?  I've noticed that people have a huge imagination about how to get into TV writing.  I've also seen people in Hollywood speak at seminars, pitch fests, etc. and give pretty bad advice about this.

I am constantly asked by new writers how they should sell their pilots. New writers also expect to write for TV series while living outside of Los Angeles.  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?????

The people that tell you that either of the above are fine and that you can sell your new series pilot ideas in Hollywood are out and out wrong.

If you want to write for television series or even for movies and mini-series for television you absolutely must live in Los Angeles.  It won't even work if you live in Sacramento, San Francisco or Fresno.  You have to be here!  This is where your office would be.  This is where all of your meetings will occur.  This is where you will need to meet, pitch to and learn from television professionals.  They need to know who you are.  They need to know you can come to a last minute meeting.  They need to know if you might be one of those people who are perpetually late.  They need to know that you can deliver on time and with quality work.

The ammunition you will need is 3-6 spec TV scripts.  They must all be either comedies, drama.
family or sci-fi shows.  Take the writing classes in Los Angeles, because this is where the teachers are more likely to know what they are talking about.

Television is a fabulous medium.  It's constantly in need of fresh ideas, new writers and new episodes to be written quickly.  There's plenty of room for you if you are really good, can think on your feet and love the business.

If you want to know more, please send me your questions or set up a conference call with me.

GO FOR IT!!!

I have a new class starting on August 18th, via the Screenwriters University, titled:

"HOW TO BREAK INTO THE SCREENWRITING BUSINESS".