My projects over the next couple of months are shaping up nicely.
-Finish overhauling the outline for the comedy spec and convert it into pages
-Some more fine-tuning on the pulp sci-fi (courtesy of a steady influx of good notes)
-Maybe one more pass on the western. Yeah, I know. But I recently got some keen insight on a few parts which could do with a little improvement.
The potential is still strong for all three, both in terms of contests and queries.
I have to say that this time around, my analytical and editing/proofreading abilities feel a bit stronger. Not that they’re the pinnacle of perfection, but at least slightly more developed than, say, a few years ago. That’s a definite plus. Nor would I hesitate to take full advantage of the sage advice of my squadron of savvy readers.
I feel a bit more prepared now, as well as a little more confident about ending up with a triad of really solid scripts.
That’s the hope, anyway.
Another part of my enthusiasm comes from seeing the results of some of the major screenwriting contests, some of which I entered and didn’t fare as well as I’d hoped. I’ll work on these scripts, send ’em out and hope for the best.
On a brief side note, I recently read the comment on an online forum – “Waiting for notes. What should I do to occupy my time?”
I suggested “Start working on your next project.” It’s what I would do. Can’t think of a better way to get your mind off a finished script than starting a new one or digging into the archives and touching up an older one. Gets the creativeness pumped up and really does help pass the time.
Anything that lets you flex your writing muscles while adding to your arsenal of material can only be seen as a good thing.
Once again, the latest round of sending out query letters is underway.
My attitude about the whole process is eloquently stated via the title of the song above by Mr Brooks. This is only because of my experience in dealing with it over the years.
I’d explained this mindset to a friend, who felt I was being too negative and pessimistic.
“Not at all,” I responded. “I send these out, definitely hoping at least one of them clicks. Sometimes that happens, and someone will ask to read the script. Maybe even a handful of requests. Those usually end with “just not what I’m looking for,” and the rest are silent passes.”
There are countless reasons a script gets a pass, so trying to figure it out is a waste of time.
But I move on, determined as ever.
You’d think all of this would make me a lot more jaded and cynical, or at least left with a bitter taste in my mouth after putting myself through this over and over again. Maybe in some ways I am, but I’d also say I now take a much more realistic approach.
Despite the odds being stacked against me, I’ll keep at it. Researching potential recipients. Revising the letter itself.
I send ’em and forget about ’em. If they’re interested, they’ll contact me, which could be anywhere from five minutes to a year, or longer. If they’re not, they won’t, and that’s the way it goes.
I’m also not going to sit around waiting to hear back. I’d rather spend my time, y’know, actually writing (a lot of which is coming along nicely, thank you very much).
My aforementioned friend understood where I was coming from. They’ve also read (and really liked) my scripts, and remain very, very hopeful that something good will happen for me soon.
Me too. It would be nice.
But until then, Mel’s song remains the status quo.
And since I prefer to end things on a high note, here you go…
In this week’s previous post, I wrote about the necessity of how a writer needs to enjoy the actual writing part of being a writer.
A few colleagues piped in, saying while that part of it holds true, they also find the business aspect (i.e. the marketing of YOU) to be significantly harder and much more challenging. Taking it one step further, lack of progress on that front adds to their frustration.
I can’t argue with any of that. I’ve experienced it firsthand many times.
“…this should resonate with most of us that are doing the same thing as you are. However, one of the keys in trying to be a successful writer is spending a fair amount of time crafting query letters, answering ads or attempting to make contact with industry people anyway you can. Many writers fall flat in this area. One should definitely spend as much time as they can trying to promote and sell their work, as well as taking joy in the act of writing it.”
Simply put, marketing and promoting oneself is a necessary evil that a writer has to be willing to undergo and endure as many times as it takes if they want to succeed. Sucks, but it’s the truth.
After working on a couple of scripts and building up my arsenal of materal, I’ve decided to take the plunge again.
I’ve put together what I consider to be a pretty effective new draft of the query letter. Gone through the list of managers, agents and production companies, researching who might a good match for each script.
A few queries have been sent, so the waiting and hoping for a positive response begins yet again. All the while, working on more scripts. It’s all I can do.
My efforts to improve my networking skills have also paid off. Every once in a while, a colleague will send me a listing that seems tailor-made for one of my scripts. Even though none of them have worked out, it’s made me aware of more opportunities than I would have been able to find on my own.
We all know this is not an easy path. It’s extremely tough and really puts your endurance to the test. The question you have to continually ask yourself is “Am I willing to keep working at this until I get the results I want, no matter how long it takes, how frustrated I get, or how impossible it seems?”
I can only speak for myself.
-You might find these older posts somewhat relevant and worth a read.
The busy times never stop around Maximum Z HQ. Among the latest tasks being undertaken:
-Rewrite/overhaul of the low-budget comedy
-Sporadic rewrite work on the pulp sci-fi spec, with initial sets of notes being carefully scrutinized
-Crafting together some pretty solid query letters, along with researching the best places to send them
-Jotting down notes for several future projects, including a comedic take on one of my favorite genres
-Providing scriptnotes to patient writer colleagues
You’d think with all of this going on, plus the non-writing normal life, I’d be exhausted.
Actually, I am, but it’s cool.
The way I see it, keeping busy like this helps me be a better writer; continuously working on something helps me be productive and further develop my skills.
Sure, somtimes the amount of actual writing is bare minimum, or maybe even not at all, but that’s okay too. All work and no play and all that.
Most importantly, I’m just getting a real kick out of doing it. If I wasn’t, I’d be a lot less likely to want to keep going.
And there are also days where it all gets so frustrating that I want to just walk away from it all. But I like doing it to much to even consider that.
Some recent interactions I’ve had with other writers have included more than a few of them expressing frustration about their diminishing hopes of making headway with breaking in and getting a writing career going.
I feel for them. I really do. As just about any writer will attest, this is not an easy undertaking. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” right?
Even though all of our chances are somewhat slim, I suggested they keep at it, if only for the sheer joy of writing. Isn’t that what got us all started?
When I asked one writer how their latest project was going, the response was “Really enjoying working on this, even though I know nobody else will ever see it.”
I totally get that. We all have our reasons for deciding whether or not to put our work out there, but the important thing was that they were having a good time with it. And you can tell if they were by what’s there on the page. It it was a chore for you to write, it’ll be that much more of a chore for us to read. Is that really the route you want to take?
So no matter what it is you’re working on right now, I sincerely hope that it’s bringing you as much joy and pleasure as you’re hoping to provide to your reader/audience.
That’s it. I’m stumped. I honestly have no idea what to write about today.
It’s not necessarily writer’s block; more of a “want to try something new, but not sure what.”
Sure, I could once again bore you to tears with the latest update on how the pulp spec is going, but that implies a lack of originality (along with feeling stuck in a bit of a rut), and I definitely don’t want that.
Or I could regale you with a written account of my latest encounter, virtual or face-to-face, and the events that transpired, followed by the lessons learned. But my social calendar on both fronts has been on the quiet side lately, which subsequently has given me more time to write, so there is that.
Yet another alternative is to share the latest developments for that ongoing goal/dream of “someday I’m gonna be a working writer”. Not exactly a tired old chestnut, but there’s no denying it’s provided me with a lot of material over the years. One might even go so far as to say it’s inspired others to forge their own path. But then again, that’s not for me to say. I’m too busy trying to come up with an interesting topic.
I’ve been working on this blog for quite a while now, so thinking of new material can occasionally be a challenge. There are admittedly times I feel like I’ve covered as much as I can, and I don’t want to bore anybody with a dip into the pool of well-trod screenwriting topics. Seriously, how many times can you read me extolling the values of networking, analyzing the elements of a logline, or discussing what should and shouldn’t go in a query letter?
But counter to all of that, there are days where inspiration comes in and whacks me upside the head, resulting in a few paragraphs of pleasing prose/advice/assorted folderol about something affiliated with screenwriting, or at least how I stumbled onto the point I’m trying to make. That’s when the words flow like you wouldn’t believe. Before I know it, I’ve cranked out a post that could inexplicably be helpful to somebody. Without sounding too egotistical, even I’m impressed when I can pull that off.
While there are numerous other bloggers with significantly more experience than me, it’s rather surprising to see so many readers take a look at my latest offering, possibly make a comment or send me an email, and then keep coming back for more. I can’t possibly imagine what it is about me and/or my writing that would motivate anybody to read something here and then, of their own free will, return for more. Especially on a regular basis.
And then to take it one step further, they enjoy a particular post or two to the point of being so motivated as to then dig through the years of archived material in the hopes of finding anything else I’ve written that they’d consider worth reading.
Dare I even suggest that coming up with new material for this blog is in itself comparable to screenwriting? The ability to create some original material that would be considered professional, informative, and entertaining using nothing but the thoughts in my head and a moderately decent typing speed?
I don’t know if I’d go that far. But since you’re here, you can probably relate to my frustration of trying to write something when you can’t think of what to write.
That can be tough when it happens, but somehow we find it within ourselves to rise to the challenge we’ve given ourselves and actually figure out a way to come up with something and put some words down on the page.