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)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Michele. I kind of stumbled over your blog today. The first post I read was on "Query Letters", posted on Sunday, January 9, 2011. Thanks for the tips. I will visit your site for others. Cheers.