Saturday, December 20, 2014


HAPPY HOLIDAYS MY DEAR FRIENDS!!  Let's make this new year a great one.  Let's make it a year of fulfilling your dreams and aspirations.

You are capable of doing this by redoubling your efforts.  The old saying of putting your nose to the grindstone is the only true way to make your desires come true.  Sounds pretty grueling, but it's true.
You will need to spend more time at your computers writing those scripts.  You'll need to read more, see more movies (old and new), buy books, watch videos and listen to podcasts on writing skills, take more writing classes online and in person.

Try to write 3 new screenplays in 2015.  I know you have jobs, spouses, families and other responsibilities, but you can find the time to hone your craft.

If you have a true calling as a writer, make this year the one where you make it all happen for yourself.

If you write small, intimate stories, you will also need to research small, low budget independent filmmakers.  If you write big youth movies, great thrillers with strong male leads, teen comedies or huge budget sci-fi, then you must spend more time researching the Hollywood Studio world.

I am now teaching an on-line class titled "MOVING YOUR WRITING CAREER FORWARD", via ESE Filmworks.  We have recently decided to offer this as an on-demand course because we know how busy you are and that money can be tight at different times of your life.  I've also decided to make the homework sections of the course as a choice for you. 

This course will be taught in conjunction with my book; "MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide To Your Writing Career".  If you are serious about selling your films, you will sign up for the course as soon as possible.  You need the knowledge to move forward.  There's no point to writing and putting those scripts in a drawer.  You must learn how to get them ready and get them to the right people.  You must learn how to find the proper management team and how to work with them.  Do you know what's expected from you as the client or an agent or manager or attorney?? Do you know how to make all of those pitch fests and weekend seminars work for you?

Lots and lots of questions like these will be answered.  I will mentor you through the 6 week course on a personal basis.  Don't let a lack of knowledge hold you back.  Learn how the system works and make it work for you.

This course is available to you over the internet so that you can take it from anywhere in the world.
Let me help you travel the complex world of making movies.

Go to: for more information and to sign up for our class.
You might want to email me if you have any questions at:, I'd love to hear from you.  

Have a wonderful time over the Holidays and let's get started early to get your life on your chosen path.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The first line in my book, MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide to Your Writing Career, is; "I love writers."  After all my years as an agent and now after quite a few years as a writer's consultant, I can still say the same thing.  Writer's have always been close to my heart.  I enjoy their creativity and I understand their pain.  I have had and still do have a blessed life because I am working so closely with these creative and imaginative people.

As an agent I loved building a big career for a new writer.  I loved making their deals and helping them choose which of their ideas they should write next.  It was a team effort and always exciting.  Being a creative consultant gives me the same thrill.  I love reading those screenplays or novels.  I love being able to see what will help make those projects better and better.  It's so fulfilling to read the next drafts and watch the talent grow and mature.

Writing a marketable project when one is all alone is pretty much impossible.  Writers need the eyes of a professional to point out the flaws as well as the good pieces.  I never try to rewrite a writer.  I only show the way to making a script better.

Have you followed the 3 Act Structure?  Do your main characters have zip?  Are you overwriting the descriptive passages?  Does your plot work?  Is your story compelling? 

Let me know if I can help you!  It's what I want to do!

Saturday, October 4, 2014


If you've written a couple of great screenplays and are not sure what to do next or if you are wondering how to get and keep an agent you should sign up for my new on-line course via the world famous Writers Store at:

You will learn an in-depth, insiders knowledge of how to keep a great agent/client relationship and much, much more!  Sign up asap.  The course will be extremely helpful to you.

Hope to have you with us.

Friday, September 5, 2014


After wracking my brain for weeks I believe I've come up with sharing some vital information with all of you writers.  Do you want to know how agents think?  Do you want to know what motivates them?  If you do then continue reading and I will explain these things.  This information will help you to get an agent and to have a great relationship with them.

The first thing you need to realize is that the job of being an agent is work.  It isn't fun and play time in Hollywood.  It's very hard work with long hours, huge disappointments, heartbreak, and even mental abuse.  Being an agent is not a secure job with the receipt of a gold watch at the end of a long career with one company.  They don't always get health insurance and retirement packages.  They often work on commission and must survive and support families through strikes and bad times.  Agents often get fired for political as well as financial reasons.  They are often replaced by younger people with good connections.  Do you get it?  It ain't easy.

The first and most important thing that pushes agents is to sell.  They must make deals to make a living and keep their jobs.  If their clients do well, then they do well.  It's actually a wonderfully symbiotic relationship.  Agents want their clients to work and to make tons of money.

They are often very bright and well educated people yet they live in fear of losing their clients who sometimes change agents the way other people change their clothes.  Small agencies often do the hardest work because they build up new writers.  The boutique agencies are the ones that clients leave so that they can go to big prestigious firms.  Those big firms invariably disappoint these clients because they have so much inter-office politics and pressure that they can not give individual writers the time they need.

Very often agents get personally involved with their clients in that those clients tell their life stories and problems to their agents.

Agents are often thrilled to find new and great writers who they can work with and mold into big and important careers.  But they also know that those people, for which they work so hard,  will someday leave them.  It is simply that clients feel that if their careers start to slide it is easier and emotionally safer to blame their agent than to take responsibility for their own failures.

Believe me agents are most often the good guys and gals in your life.  Hope this helps.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Working in Hollywood

It seems that everyone wants to work in Hollywood.  It doesn't matter if they live in Los Angeles or Timbuktu, they think they can become a (fill in the blank) in the entertainment industry.
They write letters, join web sites, direct 5 minute short films or write a 10 minute script.  They call people they don't know and they ask strangers for referrals. 

I've been in the Hollywood mainstream for over 25 years and I can tell you that it ain't that easy.  It's time to face reality and get to go to work on a positive and pragmatic design to make your dreams come true.  Yes, they can come true.  If it happened for me it can happen for you.

I didn't have relatives that owned a studio or 15 great screenplays.  I wasn't strong enough to be on a film crew and I didn't want to direct.  I had two things going for me; I could type and I lived in Los Angeles.
That's it, that's all I had in my favor.  When I began there were no women executives in any facet of the business, I had no connections and no particular talent, except that I loved the movies and I loved to read.

The first truth of getting in is to live in Los Angeles.  If you don't live here no one will wait for you to move here.  You must come here first, then try to get your career moving. 

The second thing you must be able to do is to have enough money or rich relatives to work for free or next to nothing.  That's right.  It's all about paying your dues to get in.  You will need to work your butt off trying to get an internship without any pay at all.  You will have to be a driver, messenger, assistant to an assistant (who might be younger than you).  You will have to do and learn things fast.  You must act as if you fear nothing.  You must make yourself seen and heard in a crowd of very formidable professionals.

There is no school that gives you a degree for becoming an agent or personal manager, or part of a film or television production.  Everyone learns on the job.  Getting in is the key to moving up to the particular arena for which you strive.

To become a writer you will need to have written half a dozen scripts.  To be a director you will need more than one 5 or 10 minute short films.  You cannot direct a film without dialogue or actors.

Get here, make contacts, give, give and then give some more.  Ask questions, remember to thank people and always behave ethically and morally.

Go get 'em tiger!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


OK, here's what's on my mind today.  If someone wants to be a writer of scripts or novels, etc. why don't they take English classes to improve their spelling and grammar?????  I can't stand it.  The mistakes that I read are appalling.  I'm a member of LinkedIn and a sub group on that site called "Aspiring Writers".  The people who write questions and comments on that site are wannabe novelists.  They often can't write a decent sentence.  I find that infuriating.

Is it our educations system?  Is it our lack of good parenting?  I suppose it's these things and many other reasons that our people are almost illiterate today. 

If you want to write professionally then you MUST learn how to write anything.  You are embarrassing yourself.  Yes, I edit for a living, but come on, an occasional mistake is one thing, but I find that these writers are way past the need for a little help.  As a consultant and editor, I don't think my job should be to re-write people's work.  My job is to help make it better and catch some errors.  You are the writer.
Pay attention and respect yourself and your work.

It's never too late to learn!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


 Becoming a successful screen or television writer is not as hard as you think it is.
"WHAT?" you are yelling.  That's right it's not too difficult.  Just follow some simple rules and grab the brass ring.  Here are a few of the rules and some advice from someone who has lived it (me):

STOP asking for an agent and START becoming a better writer.  Learning how to write a good script takes years.  You are often putting the cart before the horse by writing to me and to so many others in the Biz wherein you express your readiness for representation.

You aren't ready! Have you taken writing classes by really good teachers?  Have you read David Trottier, Michael Hauge, Blake Snyder and Linda Seger?  Have you hired a professional consultant to give you notes on your latest project?  Have you written five to ten original screenplays?  That's right, original.  No true stories, no adaptations of books or plays.  

Agents, managers and producers are looking for people who can write a basic story with interesting characters.  They want strong male leads who are in every scene of the film
They don't want you to direct the actors or to describe every scene, movement, weather report, colors, ages and looks of supporting characters, noises, who's sitting where, etc.

Every single time I consult on a project, I must edit out all  of the above.  You aren't writing a shooting script.  You are writing a spec.  It's different.

Have you spent time learning about the Biz of being a writer??  Have you spent time with professional writers?  Look around....they are often writing teachers in your area who have retired and now teach at local colleges.

Do you know how to be a good client of an agent or manager?  Do you know what will transpire if you are lucky enough to get a meeting with a development person or producer or studio executive?

If you want to know these things and much more, read my book:  MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide to Your Writing Career".  I wrote this book to help YOU.  (, book nook, book stores, etc.)

Here's a review by professional writer Alex Epstein:

    "It's about time an agent wrote a screenwriting book. In her book MIND YOUR BUSINESS, veteran lit agent Michele Wallerstein gives you a perspective another writer won't. What is an agent looking for in a script? How do you score in a meeting? How do you handle your side of a negotiation? How can you tell when your agent isn't into you anymore?
     Many good writers put all their efforts into their scripts. But a brilliant writer can screw up his own career by what he does or doesn't do. Minding your business -- and agenting your agent -- is almost as important as your screenwriting craft.
     When I was starting out, Ms. Wallerstein was one of the agents people recommended I contact. She really knows her stuff. Check it out." –

Saturday, March 29, 2014


          It seems to me that everyone I meet thinks they can write a script and make a quick sale of it to Hollywood.  As soon as they hear that I am in “the biz,” they drone on about how terrible movies are now and how they could write better pictures.  “Well,” I reply, “why don’t you?”   Of course it’s not as easy as it seems.

Just ask anyone who has really sat down in front of that computer and seriously tried to write a good movie.  Yes, it’s lonely, scary, frustrating and often infuses one with a real sense of panic, but it’s more than that.

Writing is very really, really difficult. The reason it’s so difficult is that there are some hard and fast rules that you are not born knowing.  You have to learn them!

          As a former Literary Agent in Hollywood, and now a working
Screenplay consultant, I have and do read an enormous amount of
scripts.  I am constantly amazed that so many writers have the same
problems.  They are missing the most important rules of screenwriting basics.  There are no character arcs.  The three (3) act structure is missing, the star doesn’t resolve the conflict, or there is no real plot development.   These and other script rules are ignored.  Finally I realize, as I work on these pieces, that the writers have not taken any writing classes and are “winging it.” 

          If a first time writer spends their hard-earned money on a script consultant without having studied writing, they might as well set fire to their cash.  Consultants are not Teachers, per se.  We are here to help make your scripts better and more saleable and ready to be seen by agents.  You must first know how to write a script.  We can only help to improve that work.

          When we go the movies we see writers portrayed as people who sit down at their computers in great looking homes (often with desks that overlook lakes or the ocean) and simply begin to write for
hours at a time.  Well, this ain’t the way it works.  First you take the class, and then you read the books by Michael Hauge and/or Linda Seger, Pilar Alessandra, Syd Field, Paul Chitlik, and me, etc., then you come up with a great idea, then you write an outline, then you write a treatment, then you try to write a script, then you re-write it over and over and over again, then you put it in a closet and start your second screenplay and do the whole thing all over again.  You will find that the second script is far better than the first script and you can’t believe that you wrote that first script.  Finally, you might be ready for a script consultant.

          Now you are on your way to becoming a screenwriter.  There are no shortcuts.  It is a long and arduous road.  However, it is a very gratifying and potentially rewarding trip in many ways.  Remember that it is possible to get that great agent who believes in you and does a great job for you.  It is possible to sell screenplays to major motion picture studios that will pay you lots and lots of money for your efforts and cast wonderful actors to say your words.  It is also possible that millions of people will sit, transfixed for two (2) blissful hours, in theaters around the world, watching a movie that exists because of you.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


The question of knowing whether screenwriting was really an art form or not, popped into my head yesterday.  I couldn't seem to stop thinking about it and this is what I've finally decided.

Although this is really a very complicated question, my answer is simple.  No, screenwriting is not an art. Painting, poetry, fiction writing, playwriting, plus many other creative outlets are considered a part of the art world.  The more I ponder this, the more I realize that screenwriters are often deluded into thinking that screenwriting has a free flow of ideas, or is a world without walls that they can play and work within.  It's just not true.

Screenwriting is a craft and a business.  There are hard and fast rules that must be followed if one wishes to be successful and see their scripts on the big screen.  If writers wish to be taken seriously by the professionals then they must understand these rules as well as the business of being a writer.

When I wrote "MIND YOUR BUSINESS:  A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide To Your Writing Career", I hadn't realized the flood gates would burst open and writers all around the world would be reading it.  Now I understand why.  Most writers have little or no access to the powers-that-be in Hollywood.  They try to figure out the best way to get into and stay in the movie business by using lessons learned from other industries as well as life in general.  The movie business has nothing to do with any other arena.  It is true only unto itself.  For the most part, the rules are unwritten.  Yes, you can buy tons of books and take tons of classes on how to write a good screenplay.  That, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. 

After being an agent for many, many years, I've now been a screenplay and novel consultant (read: script doctor) for about 8 years.  I look at all of this material and I am amazed at how writers are choosing their stories and plots.  Apparently they think that the most unusual plots and stories will let them hit the jack pot.  They  excitedly tell me that "No one has ever written this before".  When I hear that phrase my usual response is: "There is a reason it's never been done, it doesn't work".

My advice is this:  Don't worry about being different in your story and plot.  A comedy is a comedy, a drama is a drama and action films will always have chases in them.  On the other hand you must worry about your characters.  This is what will set you apart.  This is what will have readers, agents and producers sitting up and taking notice.  If your main characters have good personalities, you will get a positive response to a simple script.

Listen and learn!

Friday, January 10, 2014


OK, the Holidays are finally over.  Now what?  Did you make resolutions that you probably haven't carried out?  I've never followed my New Year's resolutions in my life.  Well, I did quit smoking after about a zillion years, but it wasn't a resolution per se.  I just started to feel like an idiot for smoking.

My main question is:  Are you taking your writing career seriously?  Have you:

1.  Studied the craft?
2.  Practiced writing those scripts or novels?
3.  Hired a bona fide consultant and followed their advice? 

If you haven't done any or all of these things, you might as well get back under the covers and go to sleep.

Do you find yourself blaming the "system" in Hollywood?  Are you telling everyone that those Hollywood or publishing insiders are impossible to get to?

These are a few of the excuses that I've been hearing for many years.  Get over it and start paying attention to what really works.  Listen to speakers who have experience in the field.  Make sure your consultants are good.  Don't simply write one script and expect anything to happen.

It's all about doing the work, my friends.  It can be so rewarding and fun when you finally see the big picture and win the gold ring.