The Creative Producer and
and the relief of One-on-one Sessions.
Writers at three different stages will benefit greatly from one-on-one sessions with a Producer: Someone with their first really satisfying script just before they think they’re going to their ‘last draft’; someone who thinks they are at their last draft and it still doesn’t feel right; Someone who is submitting and getting interest, even getting on the “maybe” pile at the production offices, but can’t get off the ‘maybe pile’. Where do you fit?
EXAMPLE #1: A serious, disciplined writing person. You write a certain number of pages each day no matter what. You went to college for screenwriting, or took a series of increasingly advanced writing classes. You’ve picked coaches or evaluators who give you good notes on your writing. You’ve avoided over-bearing gurus. You have confidence. You’re supported well by admiring writing buddies.
Where you are.
Let’s say you have a draft you felt pretty good about. Let’s say you got it into the hands of producers and/or production companies, even agents. You got interest on it. Eyes and ears perked up. It tells the story, presents good characters, has unusual turns and twists etc. They want you to come in and talk. After the meeting, either they don’t call you back or they start with “there’s good news and bad news…” they want to option it but they want to see if something can be better, can be “more-so” – and there’s another writer hovering in the hall to “fix” it. Or somebody in the company isn’t sold on it. (An agent with that look on his/her face? He/she is trying to assess if you can ever, get it ‘right’.) The industry is telling you something. You, yourself, know its worth going forward, but….
YOU NEED SOME ONE-ON-ONE SESSIONS WITH A PRODUCER.
You obviously know how to write a great story as a script. You don’t now need discussions about writing or “what-ifs” from your writing group.
You need to be able to work with a professional producer, experienced in great film writing and in the hands-on practicalities of actually making a film. You need to ask questions of and compare notes with someone adept at listening to the marketplace without damaging the writing of the script. And adept at listening to the writer without manipulating her/him. Looking at adding or taking out something or writing a scene to attract the imagination of the other “creatives” without losing your way. Without feeling dismissed.
You need to prepare and be open to the collaboration that is film-making as you leave your lonely attic.
A producer, like I am, has expertise and experience gained from producing the whole picture. There is on oft-used proud concept: “Remember, without a script, movies are nothing”…but the script has to morph into production! The script has to “become” the movie. I have ‘developed’ scripts with writers over 6 months, or taken on a script almost ready for production. I’ve prepared a script to attract the money, a director or an actor, or to get the enthusiastic support inside a studio, or, or,or. So many times, I was the producer who needed to sit down with the writer to “finish” the script, ready to tap into the writer’s smarts about schedule, locations and budget, and paying attention to script elements needed by a successful movie. I have arrived at the right script and the right film with the writer. Concurrently, I’ve been watching the market mix and change and can make suggestions about it without pandering to that market. I’ve watched as a finished film plays the film markets or the festivals and brought the observations to the next film; compared reviews with audience numbers, fought about core audiences and budgeting according to them. The list of educative experiences is long.
I’ll want you to think: Is the lead woman well imagined? Yes, but does she have a scene to show off her stuff; can you cut or add a dynamite minor theme for the good of the film; are the expensive scenes worth it?; vice versa, is there a way to add a really great scene and adjust the budget. A complete producer has the experience you need – one who can think around corners, who knows your pain and the reason you want a particular scene and can discuss with you variations and smart choices that will bump the script up. This will give you the confidence that your script will be the best it can be as it goes through the process of selling, production or casting.
I’m that person and I can help you. You need a series of one-on-one sessions. It’s a professional service.
My suggestion. I’ll take 2.5 hours to read, re-read and analyze your script. Then I need to know what’s happened with it – who’s said what to you. Then we need 7.5 hours more – to talk about making adjustments… or not. Then you’ll go away and write. You call when you want and we talk, repeat, think awhile, write, discuss. 10 hours total and that’s $1,500.
Or You Are:
EXAMPLE #2: LET”S SAY: After a week or two ‘away’ from the draft you thought was your final one, you just sat down and read it. Yikes. It is just not right. But you’re a professional. There’s something wrong with this one and you know it. But what?
You need some one-on-one sessions with a producer adept at the final stretch, a producer that doesn’t equate your script’s shortcomings with bad writing, but recognizes that you’ve lost your direction. My questions will find new directions and point out your stalls.
My suggestion. I need 2.5 hours to read and analyze your script and talk with you about what you want it to say or tell. We’ll be discussing whether its doing what you thought it was. You’ll go away and write or restructure or add or throw out. We’ll come back together when you need it. 5 hours worth and the whole is $1,000.
Or, YOU ARE:
EXAMPLE#3: You’ve had the wisdom to put your first two attempts at script-writing in the bottom drawer. You were obsessed with getting them “right” and now your hiding them from yourself. You’ve moved on.
With encouragement from trusted friends and advisers, you’ve started a new story, you are pleased, you are humming along. Everything you learned in school or classes is meshing. The story seems to work. Or so the advisers and friends say when you tell them the plot. You’re thinking: a second or third draft and you’ll have it. But. You are a little uneasy.
Um….Time to have a producer check out your progress. I’ll read and analyze it and give you a certain kind of notes: 5 things to watch out for in your next draft based on what you’ve written. Maybe we’ll discuss a theme that’s threading through and going to trip you up on a ‘next draft’. How to use or abandon it. Or I’ll ask you why some character does what they do. Have you thought their motivation through. Or how exactly do you plan on having a character “realize” something in an important spot on page 80. Maybe we’ll discuss ‘genres’ and talk about other movies to analyze what others have done.
ONE ON ONE SESSIONS: Working with a producer focused and talking only about your script – a real pleasure, an advantage! A writer rarely gets that specificity at the point of second or third draft. Way better than notes. I’ll read it – that will take 2.5 hours, I’ll give you my questions and we’ll have discussions for about 2.5 hours – $500.
YOU’LL KNOW WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR SCRIPT-WRITING AND WHAT KIND OF HELP YOU NEED.
AND IF YOU WANT TO COME BACK, YOU’LL BE COMING BACK TO SOMEONE WHO REALLY KNOWS YOUR SCRIPT AND YOUR WRITING AND WE CAN DECIDE WHERE YOU ARE.
Just for a confirmation – Here’s what I won’t be doing:
I don’t want to teach you how to write your script. I’m assuming you’ve learned and you are a determined professional. If you want more theory – Read the books, feel your passion and get “10 helpful tips online for writing your log-line.” You’ve graduated.
Secondly, I won’t be pulled into a discussion of the myths that eat away at your confidence (“Hook up with an Independent group, you can control your release by distributing online. You should be thinking about that!” “If I just had an agent….” “I’ll put my film in profits through social media.” “You do/don’t need the three-acts.” “The best characters are the ones who speak to/through you.”) Check on the internet for those discussions, and, word to the wise, check out who the “experts” say they are. Learn to recognize good discussions that inform you, not regurgitate or analyze myths. On further thought, let the new producers wrangle those truths. You write.
Lastly, what I won’t be doing – This is a professional one-on-one service that I offer in order to take your script to the next level. I’m not offering, promising or looking to develop, produce or sell your project. I’m assuming you have an idea of how you’ll move to get attention for your work, find agents, producers. What I’m here with you to do is get the best script possible, ready for the world. (!)
If you are stuck or missing opportunities in a couple of these categories, that’s when your script could be attractive enough to be getting on the Maybe pile, but never off it.
My fee is $1,000 for 10 hours of work. First I’ll need to read your script to decide if I can help. So I’ll need the script (hard copy or email) and a $500 check as a down payment. If I don’t think you are ready, at least for my help, I’ll return the script and check to you.
If I think we can get to work, I’ll accept the task. At that point, I’d like to know where its been – optioned, sold, rejected, by a studio or producer, in a drawer – and your analysis of why that’s happened.
I’ll take up the first two hours by breaking down the script myself. Then we’ll talk (phone, Skype, walking – if we’re both in LA). Then you go away and think or write. We come back together, an hour at a time, whenever you are ready. 8 hours talking altogether. Including the 2 hours I spent breaking down your script, and 8 hours of one-on-one that’s 10 hours for $1,000.
This is a professional one-on-one service that I offer in order to take your script to the next level. I’m not offering, promising or looking to develop, produce or sell your project. I’m assuming you have an idea of how you’ll move to getting attention for your work, agents, producers. What I’m here with you to do is get the best script possible ready for the world. (!)
Working with a very experienced coach makes a lot of sense. If you can’t quite get your script sold, or can’t quite solidify your script’s position in the company’s slate of films, you’ll gain the gold from this process.