Nicholl: 14 and counting

14th: From a management/production company

Congratulations on being chosen as a semifinalist for the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship.  This is a very prestigious honor and quite an accomplishment.

I am a literary manager at ***, a full service management/production company with deep expertise in talent and literary representation.  We represent some of the most prominent actors, writers and directors across all platforms (film, television, new media).  Our production arm has partnered with *** in Michigan to produce independent films and has projects set up at studios such as *** and several TV networks.

Should you be seeking representation, I would love to read your screenplay, BIBLE CON.

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.

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!

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.

Nicholl: Responses from 2/8

I sent the first act of Dyke for a Day out to the manager I’d been talking to before the Nicholl thing.  He probably won’t see it til Monday.

Two responses so far, neither of them surprising.  Mockumentaries aren’t for everyone.  Although I think it’d be pretty easily produced, I imagine it’s not something Hollywood is necessarily looking for.  Indie markets are different.  I’m excited that the manager liked the writing, but I guess I really need to get on getting D4aD finished.

1st: Thanks for sending this over, ultimately it wasn’t for me.

4th: Hey Ashley,

Hope all is well. Thanks for letting me have a chance to look over BIBLE-CON. Definitely a fun read. I’m a little on the fence about the material — as mockumentaries aren’t the easiest thing to set up around town. Regardless, I was impressed with the writing. I’d love to read more of your work. Do you have any other feature specs? How long til Dyke for a Day will be ready?

Fill me in.

My response:  Dyke for a Day will probably be finished in the next couple of weeks. I have a polished first act that I’m sending out to another manager who’s asked to see it, would you be interested in that or should I just get in touch when I’m finished with the entire draft? I also have my TV script if you’re just interested in further writing samples.

Mockumentaries are tough, they really work better in the indie feature world in terms of raising the capital for them; the nice thing is that it could be pretty low budget. I originally wrote it with the thought of trying to get investors behind it, but I decided I just didn’t have enough contacts and producing experience to do that on my own.

Thank you for reading it, and I’m glad you enjoyed the writing.

Definitely send me the script when it is finished – assuming you’re not repped by then.

Nicholl: OMFG! please SEND via email! thx!

4th:
Congrats on your achievement in the Nicholl Fellowship Competition!

Formerly a producer with *** and lit manager with ***, I now run my own mgmt/prod co. Currently, I have client specs with *** and others attached/packaging them. Representing writers from every top contest, I discovered former Nicholl’s quaterfinalist *** and set his project *** up at ***.

I would love to learn more about you. Has your material already been exposed to the industry? Please also let me know if your repped or looking? I’d love to hear about your fellowship script…as well as the loglines to any others you have.

I sent my logline, as well as the loglines for other things I have.  I explained that I’d sent out the script to a couple managers, agents and productions.

Hey Ashley,

Good to hear from you and congrats again. Wow — how did those other people get the list so early? It just came out today. Would love to see the script. Can you send me a pdf.

5th:
First, I would like to say huge congrats on your Nicholl Fellowship semifinalist placement!

My name is ***. I am a producer:*** I own a new production company by the name of ***. I was mentored by ***, who produced *** and *** among other films. I am simply seeking out great, well-executed scripts to option/purchase, attach elements to (directors and actors) and set up at the studios.

My company recently received the Nicholl semi-finalist contact list as we do every year and we would love to take a look at a logline or short description of your script. If it is something that is up our alley, we will request the script and read it for our consideration.

About *** Prods:
*** Prods has several projects in development and pre-production and one film in post-production, ***: ***. Three of our projects were discovered through The Nicholl Fellowships. *** and *** are attached to star in our quirky comedy, Academy Award-winning director of *** and the *** franchise, *** is directing our biopic based on the life of ***, *** is attached to play the lead in our horror/thriller and three other projects we are producing with *** at *** Films.

We are looking forward to taking a look! Please send loglines or short descriptions in the body of the e-mail; no attachments please.

I sent my logline

OMFG!
please SEND via email!
thx!

6th:
Congrats on placing in the Semifinals! We’d love to read your script. Our company has found a lot of clients in the Nicholls and we’ve helped them achieve great success.

If you’re not familiar with us, please go to our website (***) and check us out. You’ll find our submission form attached so please feel free to reply with a PDF.

Congratulations again and look forward to hearing from you.

7th:
Hi Ashley,

I’m sure you’re getting bombarded with email, so I hope this finds you well. I’m with ***, a writer-driven company based at *** Pictures.

We’ve heard great things about your script ‘Bible Con’ and would love to read it – we’re always interested in finding new material to produce and discovering new voices to work with.

Who knows if they heard anything at all, but it’s a classy touch to put my name and the script’s name in there.

I’ve also gotten an e-mail that I have yet to respond to because I can’t find any reputable info on the company and their contract makes me nervous.  Has anyone heard anything on Abbot Management?

8th:
Hey Ashley F. Miller,

Congratulations on being a Semifinalist in 2009 Nicholl Fellowships.  As you know, this is quite an accomplishment.

My name is Tim Lambert and I am writing from Abbot Management, a Literary Management company.

It is our hope that if you do not already have representation that you will send us ‘Bible Con or another one of your scripts via our submission form. www.abbotmanagement.com/screenplaysubmission.php.

We offer traditional representation and are also launching our “Buyers Login” which is further discussed on our website.

We never charge a writer a penny unless we are 100% directly responsible for the sale and welcome all of our writers to pursue alternate routes of selling their material. We also share our coverage with the screenwriter free of cost regardless of our decision.

If you decide to submit, please let me know so I can skip the queue and move your material directly into the needing coverage basket.

Good and Bad; They want to read my script, hopefully I won’t vomit!

Good:
1. Email from very legitimate and known lit management company:

Congrats on placing in the Semi’s of the Nicholl Fellowship! I’ve actually judged plenty of screenplay contest before so just placing in the semis is a wonderful accomplishment, so again, congrats!!!

I’m a literary manager at *** we rep some of the hottest up and coming screenwriters and directors and I’d love to read your screenplay!

If you could email me a PDF, I’d love a chance to read your material!

2. E-mail from Legitimate Production Company

Thank you for submitting your script. We would like to read your screenplay. You can e-mail us a PDF or Final Draft file if you’d like.

My name is ***. I work with Producer *** who has a first-look deal at Warner Bros. And I also co-founded a company called *** Productions. ***’ has done various web-series and commercials. *** recently got private funding to make our first feature film. Thus, we are on the search for an undiscovered script that is affordable and marketable.

We understand the time and hard work that goes into writing a screenplay and only hold the up-most respect for writers. Thank you for being open to share your story with us.

3. Email from production company I’ve actually heard of and didn’t have to google:

Congrats on your success in the Nicholl Fellowship!  I am travelling , but I work at *** Entertainment, a management and production company in Beverly Hills.  I’d love to take a look at your script and will try and respond as quickly as possible .  Please include a logline.

Bad:
1. Nausea. Even though I finished the course of Antibiotics days ago, I’m nauseous all the time. I got caught in Dodgers traffic last night and the stop and go… Yeah, when traffic makes you vomit, you gotta reconsider the wisdom of life in LA.

2.a. The Internet is Filled with Assholes. I am implementing a new policy on my site which is that if you say something off-topic and/or stupidly mean and confrontational, I’m just going to delete the comment. Trolls are mildly entertaining, but not worth the effort. And if you really want to post something I imagine you can make sure it’s within the bounds of civilized discourse. (Exceptions obviously made for things I think are really funny.)  But this means no more people saying that gays are gross and no more people leaving vaguely threatening comments on unrelated posts.

2.b. The Internet is Filled with Assholes. Once my 30 days on this script are up, I don’t know that I’m going to use Zoetrope again. The community has a lot of good things, and I’ve certainly gotten some useful thoughts, but it’s probably best for people who don’t mind others being really confrontational and juvenile. (“You’re really immature, nener nener nener.” “Insert video of a clapping seal.” No really.)  Every thread on their discussion board devolves into name calling and even the private messages involve people being just as hateful as they are helpful.  “Sorry, I read a few pages and I was bored so I stopped.  Good luck.”  Yeah, I’d pretty much rather get advice from people who don’t have the internet to anonymize their asshattery.