Producers…Why Make Them Hate You?

In hopes of getting a nibble, a bite, or, dare I say, landing a production deal, you are probably sending your material to an independent producer. I’m sure you conjured an image of a gleamingly efficient office, a cadre of identically uniformed interns neatly cataloguing incoming treatments and screenplays (most of which are horrible, except yours) and (foremost in your mind) the producer finishing reading the most recent crappy script just as yours is handed to him by his gleamingly gorgeous assistant.

You write it, you send it, they read it, they buy it. A process that takes, at most, a week, on the outside.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

Most producers don’t have assistants or development deals. Some do, but most scratch and scrape to get by, just like all of us. If they did have an assistant, they fired him recently to save money.

Producers’ offices are crammed to the gunwales with heaps and piles and stacks of books and scripts and treatments, lobbed at them by agents, friends, and hopeful writers who waylaid them at conferences. Their offices are a disordered mess. A Matterhorn of submitted screenplays. Most of which they don’t want to read because they don’t have time and because they already know they’re mostly crap anyway.

They read this stuff because they have to.

I was with a producer recently, at his home office, and that visit served as the genesis for this little missive. Please keep the producer in mind when you write and when you submit. They are massively overworked and massively underpaid and have very very very little time for you or your script.

“I’ll get to that at Christmas when I have a little more time.” This he said about a screenplay submitted in June. You need to know it takes eons for them to plow through other people’s material before they get to yours.

Keeping in mind that they have ZERO free time, why are you going to send them a piece of material (think “time bomb” that might go off in their face) that will make them furious when they read it? I hate to sound arrogant, well I don’t hate it that much, but if you are a beginning writer and have not done the checklist in my book, you don’t have a prayer with producers or readers… or as my grandfather would say, “You stand about as much chance as a flea fart in a hurricane.”

This producer was picking up submitted screenplays, opening to any page, reading aloud horrible expositional dialogue, laughing to me about spelling mistakes, format errors, his irritation over “its vs. it’s, blue vs. blew, their vs. there” and getting really pissed off that someone would dare to waste his time by sending a script that WASN’T READY.

You must understand the producer has spent the last twenty years of his life working VERY hard to make movies. If you send something that is unprofessional because you have not taken the time to get it right, they will laugh at you at best, or more likely, despise you.

The producer hating you is not, I repeat, not a recipe for success.

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2 Comments

Filed under The Business

2 responses to “Producers…Why Make Them Hate You?

  1. Lots of tough love in this post. But you have to the reality. Thanks for the great info.

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