In the previous installment, I’d written about receiving the following email in response to a query letter sent to a manager:
My friend and business associate XX (the manager) forwarded to me your query (SCRIPT TITLE) in case you might be interested in my consulting service (website). XX and I worked together (I as a studio executive at XX, XX as the producer) on the film XX, starring XX. My service offers you my experience having worked with countless writers during my 35 years as a studio executive. Here’s what I do: I analyze what you have written – in this case your screenplay – from a creative standpoint to start with, and if I feel its quality and potential are apparent and strong, I will try to attract for you an agent or manager. I will also develop a strategy to sell your work and will offer it to producers, a director or cast in order to position the material for acquisition by a financing entity such as a studio. My fee for this is modest by industry standards, and it will depend on how much time I judge it will take to do my job.
Please let me know if this triggers any interest on your part.
I had a lot to say about it, mostly based on skepticism and suspicion from receiving letters of this nature in the past from “consultants” with questionable qualifications.
I then received this email from the same person.
First I do want to tell you that my fee is $350, which is about the median for script consultants. I feel that I would be giving you the benefit of my long years as a buyer at Universal and Paramount, offering more than just script notes but a strategy for selling your work.
One thing I can assure you is that I am honest. When I say I will “try” to get you an agent or manager, this is what I will do. For me to guarantee landing representation for you would be dishonest, simply because today these people just don’t read. Yet I know enough of them going back many years, so I have been successful getting clients agents. (MANAGER), by the way, does not manage writers, only actors. As for the testimonials I’ve been at this for only a couple of years, and setting up movies is a long, long process. Hence, clients only talk about my help with their screenplays. You should know, however, that one of my clients is now being represented by the United Talent Agency and another has a screenplay currently being considered for financing by Warner Brothers.
I wanted to set the record straight with regard to my email to you and my website.
I happily stand corrected.
So the consultant in question is Peter Saphier, and his website is saphiermediaadvisors.com.
I wrote back and told him how much I appreciated him following up with more details to reinforce his qualifications (he played a key role in getting JAWS made!), experience and what he can offer. I mentioned to him, like above, how there are a lot of scam artists out there more than eager to take advantage of naive writers.
So if you’re a writer who thinks their script is ready, contacting Peter might be something you’d want to consider.