Nicholl: Big 4, Major 3

So, when it comes to agencies in LA there are basically “Big 4:
CAA ·ICM · UTA · WME
And the “3 other majors”:
Gersh · APA · Paradigm

13th: From one of the big guys:
I am an agent here at *** and would love to read BIBLE CON.  Attached is a standard release form that I just need you to agree to when responding to this email with the script attached.  Lawyers! They ruin all the fun.  Seriously, kudos on your achievements and look forward to reading your script.

This guy is triple classy in that the script’s title was in the subject line, my name and script were both in the body, and he sent me an e-mail thanking me for the submission less than 60 seconds after I sent it in.

Nicholl: Anyone heard of Script Funnel?

The ScriptFunnel team would like to congratulate you on your Nichols Fellowship achievement. You are undoubtedly being contacted by managers and development execs alike and we wish you all the best during this exciting time.

We’d also like to ask for a small moment of your time so we may introduce you to our service. ScriptFunnel’s mission is to bridge the gap between entertainment professionals and writers like you. What does this mean? Look, we know that your achievements have garnered you and your project some attention, and let’s face it, you deserve it! That being said, wouldn’t it be great to reach an even wider audience of agents, managers and execs? ScriptFunnel is home to over 800 working industry professionals who listen to what we have to say about the material that is funneled (aka vetted) through out site.

Working with ScriptFunnel is a no-lose situation. You join our writer community, submit your film or television script, and we vet it through our coverage services (you receive back two pieces of coverage from two different Industry Analysts). If your project receives a “consider” grade or higher (averaged between the two pieces of coverage) we alert our professional contacts and they can immediately request your material. Furthermore, if your script receives a “consider” or higher grade, we will refund the cost of submitting your script. ScriptFunnel isn’t here to make money off of coverage services…that’s just our vetting process. The reality is, ScriptFunnel is a budding eManagement company whose services are two fold – working with you to develop your script, and getting your script in front of the eyeballs that matter.

I’m going to do their logline competition because it’s free.  But to submit your script is 125 dollars.  Way, way more than it cost to submit to the Nicholl…

Responses; Who uses mail anymore?

12th: Thanks so much for providing us with a logline for your feature screenplay BIBLE CON. We’d love to take a look! Please fill out the attached Release Agreement, and mail a hard copy of that form and your script to the address provided below. Please note we cannot return the copy of your script you send to us.

Again, congratulations, and thank you for the opportunity to take a look at your material.

Frustrating because it costs money to print out 100 pages, find time off work to go mail something, and pay for the postage.  I mean, I can’t complain too much because they do want to read it, it’s just difficult to actually get it to them this way.  I, of course, may be the only one who prefers to read scripts on my computer screen to trying to flip through a hard copy; and I feel better about the not wasting paper.

I sent an email asking if it has to be a hard copy, but they wouldn’t have said it if it didn’t.

EDIT: Compromise: Fax the agreement, e-mail the script.  Huzzah.

9th: Thanks for letting me have a look.  I’m a small company so my interests in writers are quite specific.  I generally like to see three completed features before considering representation.  When you’ve completed something new, if you’d like, you can get back in touch.  Regards and congratulations on your placement!

This is the person who asked for 20 pages.  I find it interesting that she didn’t ask to read the other script I told her about, or for the remaining pages of Bible Con but she does want me to get back in touch if I have a third script.  Not sure what that means.  But of course, I will surely contact her some day (long from now, no doubt) when I have three features.

Nicholl: Two more contacts brings me up to an even dozen

11th: The very cool, very mysterious, very recently arrested at an airport for being a groomsman Cine-a-Craze asked to read my script.  I’m counting this.

12th: A pretty cool management/production company that has something to do with comics.  More, I will not say.  It’s not who you think it is.

Congratulations on your acceptance into the semifinals of the 2009 Nicholl Fellowships competition!  At ***, we continuously strive to find and represent the most talented writers in the entertainment industry.  We are writing to request a logline of your script BIBLE CON, to give us a sense of whether your script falls into one of the categories of material we excel at representing.

We appreciate your time in reading this, and once again, congratulations on your achievement.

A Day in the Life of a Reality TV Story Assistant

Get to work at 10 AM.  The Company Head Editor (CHE) comes to talk to the Story Producer (SP).  SP arrives a little late, usually.

CHE (to SP): Your editor won’t be back for the rest of the show.

Me: I can edit.

CHE ignores me.  Continues talking to SP.

CHE: So I’m going to start making calls to people.  See if you can find someone to come in.

Exit CHE.

Me: I can edit until you can get someone in.  You’re already using my cuts.

SP: Thanks so much!!  We’ll set you up in the editing bay!

CUT TO:

Me in editing bay, no problem.  SP enters.

SP: Development Editor (DE) will also be editing, but we can use all the hands we can get.  He’ll do the packages, you can do the deleted scenes.

Me: Sure

A little disappointed, I wanted to be the hero editor (Pay raise plz, kthx), but cool.  Also, DE is doing the job I was doing provisionally (for free) a few months ago, but then the Head of Development remembered that she loved DE and wanted him to do it instead.  So, didn’t get that promotion.

So I cut a bunch of stuff, and spend a lot of time showing the footage to DE, not because he’s not good, he’s great, but because I’ve spent a couple weeks cutting the material and there’s a lot of it and I’ve already cut what they want but some local producer didn’t want it, but then the network did want it, so they’re reverting everything back to basically what I’d cut in the first place.

1PM SP grabs us lunch I guess because she feels guilty about locking us in the editing bays and whipping us into editing frenzies.  Not really true, but you know.

Early afternoon, I finally get the call sheet for set tomorrow and learn things such as where I am going, when I need to be there, and when it will be over.  And find out what I’m going to be doing.  And that I need a laptop.  So, you know, good to know last minute.

SP comes by 3ish to check my cuts.  Asks me to revert previous editor’s cuts to what I had originally cut, and likes what I’ve done.  Ego boost.  Wants me to get another Editor at the place to come place music on the cuts, because they’re being used tomorrow on set.  I joking (not really) say I should get a pay raise and an editor credit.  SP laughs.

I monitor the other two editors, sort of superivising them but then let them do their thing.  Will work on a cut of something new and count down the time til 6PM.

Tomorrow, 8AM call.  But I do get to meet famous people.

Why I Write for Children; Why I love Children’s Media

Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket knows that children have the best appreciation for the imagination at work.

I’m not there because I subscribe to the specious and lunkheaded notion that children are unspoiled spouters of true wisdom. (Let’s mothball that idea, next to the one that African-Americans are inherently rhythmic and Latinas can’t be on the Supreme Court.) I’m merely looking for the most interesting conversationalists. If I could find an adult icebreaking with “Last night I dreamed I was a horse” or “Tree frogs have big eyes,” I’d drink with them instead.

SAM: The little man walking down the street and he doesn’t see a dinosaur walking by.  And he eats him.  *delighted cackle*

Simple, emotional, exactly as complicated as the story needs to be.  Go watch Sam.  He likes Stegosauruses.  Me too.

Natalie Dee

Natalie Dee

Stegosaurus Car

Stegosaurus Car

Busted Tees.  Never Forget Dinosaurs.

Busted Tees. Never Forget Dinosaurs.

Nicholl: Google, it’s a manager not spam!

This one went to my Spam Inbox.  Oops!  Good thing I watch that thing like a crazy person hawk.

So, I like the e-mails that ask for more information about me, because that implies more real interest.  I don’t understand why they want me to make a special pdf of 20 pages when they could just read the first 20 pages.  But whatevs.

9th: Congratulations on being selected as a Nicholl Semi-finalist!

I’d be delighted for the opportunity to consider your work for representation.  Have a look at my company website, ***, and if you like, I ask you submit the following:

First 20 pages of your Nicholl script, in .pdf  (because if after reading 20, I’m begging you to send me the rest, I may be the manager for you).
A short bio.
A list of your other completed scripts (titles, genres and loglines).

I look forward to your response, and wish you a long, productive, prosperous screenwriting career!

100 Favorite Female Characters OnScreen

This was actually really hard.  I could shoot you off 100 dudes in no time, but I had to do a lot of IMDb surfing to find these.  So, who am I missing?

1. Abbey Bartlett, Stockard Channing (The West Wing)
2. Ainsley Hayes, Emily Procter (West Wing)
3. Anna, Jodie Foster (Anna and the King)
4. Anne Shirley, Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables)
5. Annie Wilkes, Kathy Bates (Misery)
6. Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
7. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)
8. Barbara Novak, Renee Zellweger (Down with Love)
9. Baroness, Anjelica Huston (Ever After)
10. Beatrix Kiddo, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
11. Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
12. Brenda, Bette Midler (First Wives Club)
13. Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
14. Cady, Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
15. Carrie, Sissy Spacek (Carrie)
16. Catwoman, Eartha Kitt (Batman)
17. Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web)
18. Cinderella, Lesley Ann Warren (Cinderella)
19. CJ Craig, Allison Janney (The West Wing)
20. Clarice Starling, Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs)
21. Clarissa, Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains it All)
22. Cruella de Vil, Glenn Close (101/102 Dalmatians)
23. Danielle, Drew Barrymore (Ever After)
24. Debbie, Joan Cusack (Addams Family)
25. Eddie, Jennifer Saunders (Ab Fab)
26. Elena, Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
27. Elise, Goldie Hawn (First Wives Club)
28. Elizabeth Bennett, Jennifer Ehle (Pride & Prejudice)
29. Elizabeth II, Helen Mirren (The Queen)
30. Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth)
31. Elle, Reese Witherspoon (Legally Blonde)
32. Emily, Joan Cusack (In & Out)
33. Grace, Brenda Blethyn (Saving Grace)
34. Gracie Lou Freebush, Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality)
35. Gwen, Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
36. Helen, Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies)
37. Jane Tennison, Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect)
38. Jane, Susan Sarandon (Witches of Eastwick)
39. Jean Brodie, Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
40. Julia Child, Meryl Streep (Julie & Julie)
41. Karen, Megan Mullaly (Will & Grace)
42. Laine Hanson, Joan Allen (The Contender)
43. Lamia, Michelle Pfeiffer (Stardust)
44. Laurie, Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
45. Leeloo Dallas Multipass, Milla Jovovich (5th Element)
46. Leontine, Fiona Shaw (Triumph of Love)
47. Lisa Cuddy, Lisa Edelstein (House)
48. Madeleine Kahn (Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part 1)
49. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
50. Marge, Frances McDormand (Fargo)
51. Marquise de Merteuil, Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons)
52. Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins)
53. Matilda, Mara Wilson (Matilda)
54. Matron Mama Morton, Queen Latifah (Chicago)
55. Melinda, Kristen Stewart (Speak)
56. Merryweather (Sleeping Beauty)
57. Mia Thermopolis, Anne Hathaway (Princess Diaries)
58. Mildred Hubble, Georgina Sherrington (The Worst Witch)
59. Miranda, Meryl Streep (Devil Wears Prada)
60. Miss Minchin, Eleanor Bron (A Little Princess)
61. Miss Perky, Allison Janney (10 Things I Hate About You)
62. Molly Weasley, Julie Waters (Harry Potter)
63. Morticia Addams, Anjelica Huston (Addams Family)
64. Mrs. Macbeth, Maureen Tierney (Scotland PA)
65. Mrs. Tingle, Helen Mirren (Teaching Mrs. Tingle)
66. Mrs. Wilkinson, Julie Waters (Billy Elliot)
67. Nina Garcia (Project Runway)
68. Ofelia, Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth)
69. Patsy, Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous)
70. Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Longstocking)
71. Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
72. Princess, Mira Sorvino (Triumph of Love)
73. Principal, Joan Cusack (School of Rock)
74. Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin)
75. Rainbow Brite (Rainbow Brite)
76. Raymond’s mother, Angela Lansbury (The Manchurian Candidate)
77. Ripley, Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
78. Sally, Catherine O’Hara (Nightmare Before Christmas)
79. Sally, Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally)
80. Samantha, Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City)
81. Sara Crewe, Liesel Matthews (A Little Princess)
82. Sarah, Jennifer Connolley (The Labyrinth)
83. Scarlett O’Hara, Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind)
84. Serafina Pekkala, Eva Green (The Golden Compass)
85. She-Ra (She-Ra)
86. Susan Stanton, Emma Thompson (Primary Colors)
87. Susan, Meryl Streep (Adaptation)
88. Terry, Joyce Hyser (Just one of the guys)
89. Tina Fey (Mean Girls, SNL, 30 Rock)
90. Tommy, Pam Ferris (Death to Smoochy)
91. Tracy Turnblad, Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
92. Velma Kelly, Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
93. Veronica, Winona Rider (Heathers)
94. Victoria, Julie Andrews (Victor/Victoria)
95. Warden Walker, Sigourney Weaver (Holes)
96. Wednesday Addams, Christina Ricci (Addams Family)
97. Willow, Alyson Hannigan (Buffy)
98. Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
99. Xena, Lucy Lawless (Xena)
100. Yzma, Eartha Kitt (The Emperor’s New Groove)

Zoetrope: *headdesk*

I’m so over Zoetrope already.  I think it could be a useful tool except that 90% of the people there are either completely touchy or arrogant assholes. Or both. That other 10% is non-vocal and/or driven away by the other assholes. So far, it’s not worth sifting through the shit to get to the good bits.

On the plus side, there was the guy who responded to my really long and not necessarily positive review with this comment: Ashley – your review/remarks warrant a “10″ (out of 5) – the most thorough critique – without prejudice – I’ve received on Zoe since 2005. I was surprised because the other responses to thorough critiques, or even any criticism at all has been a defensive reflex. I get that, and I’m the same, but what you feel and what you actually write to another person shouldn’t always be the same thing.

The reviews I’ve gotten so far are, with the exception of the one this guy returned, barely longer than the shortest they can be, 200 words. To give you an idea, mine have been 900-2000 (lots of quoting, to be fair) with thoughts on construction, plotting, and character arcs. The ones I’ve gotten have mostly been notes on grammar or formatting. Not that those are bad notes, but there’s not direction, suggestions, or deep thoughts involved. One of the “reviews” basically was a guy complaining that it wasn’t his idea because he’d do it better.  Well that’s great, but how would you do it better?

And that’s not even talking about the assholes on the discussion board who routinely post things like: I’ve just looked at the scripts available on the Read pages and there wasn’t one Logline that made me want to read a script. It’s a site for up-and-comers, if you want to read professional scripts, you can find ones that got made into movies. You want too act big and mighty, why are you still hanging around a site for amateurs?

At first I found it all offensive and annoying, but now I’m just bored of it. My guess is if you know any writer in real life you’ll get better more thoughtful notes without anyone saying that they are better than you. Writing isn’t a dick measuring contest. If you can’t even be collaborative enough to offer thoughtful notes, write novels. Filmmaking involves other people.