Saturday, May 13, 2017


Yes, we go to the movies with the intention of getting great entertainment.  We go alone or with friends and/or family.  It can be a great date event.  We consider the cost of going to the movies.  I can hardly believe the cost.  The movie itself is so expensive, at many theaters we must pay to park our cars, any popcorn or candy and a drink will burn through our wallets.  But we go. 

We settle into our seats with great expectations and wait for that great music that arrives with the Studio's logos.  We have shut off our phones and are careful not to spill our drinks.  Now the movie begins.

Uh oh, it's a stinker!  What the hell happened?  You want answers. 

Well here's what happens.  First let's assume it started as an option on a great spec script.  The first thing the studio lawyers and  deal makers do is to try to pay the original author as little as possible.  The writer may receive a $2,500 or $5,000 option.  Then they will sit in meetings with development executives whose job it is to find things wrong with4 the script.  The writer will shake his/her head in disbelief at the changes that are now required.  The rewrite is done and handed in.  This triggers another payment, probably WGA minimum plus ten percent for the agent.  Now the original author is thrown out of the mix. The Producer has a writer that they've used before, or is a friend, or he owes someone a favor.  This is the next writer.  They will get a bigger pay day but they won't have the same view of the script that the original creator did.

After a few more rewrites the Studio people are not happy so they hire 3, 4, 5 or more writers to fix what started out as a very good script. 

Now they hire a director.  The director wants lots of changes in the script.

Now they cast the main actors.  These people get hired for many reasons.  Many of those reasons are not very good.  The best actors for this piece are already booked for two years, the second tier want to much money, the third tier gets hired.

The two main characters may hate each other so there goes the great chemistry that is needed.  They also want changes to the script.  Half way through the shoot it is discovered that one of the main actors is overdosing on drugs or drinking too much.  All of this must be dealt with by the Producers, Agents, Managers, Studio Executives and Doctors.

These things I have mentioned are not rarities.  They happen all the time.  The truth is that we are very lucky when we get a chance to see a great film or even a good one.

Remember folks, this is a business and millions of dollars are at stake. 

Sometimes the original writer is so good that they get to do all the rewriting and a wonderful director is hired and the stars are terrific.  This gets the original writer offers of other work, or they get to pitch their other ideas and get a deal to get paid to write them.  These writers can become highly sought after and very highly paid.  It could very well be you!  So keep the faith and keep on writing.

    (Please note that is currently selling "MIND YOUR BUSINESS:  A Hollywood Literary Agent's Guide to Your Writing Career" for only $8.00.  It usually sells for $25.00 so get it now)

Saturday, February 11, 2017


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: or via  If you have any questions please email me directly at: 

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

Sunday, January 15, 2017


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.


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!!