Silence means “No.” How do you deal with that?

This is annoying and would upset my mother if she knew about it. Why tell her? May as well not tell your mother, either, as it would upset her too, seeing as your grandmother probably raised her right.

Which is more than I can say about the mothers of most folks in Hollywood these days.

Used to be, you’d send a script to somebody and after a while, they’d get back to you and say, “We’ve got something like this in development. Thank you for sending it to us. We look forward to seeing your next one.” Not really easy to know what that meant exactly, since it wasn’t a check… but at least they had the decency to RSVP to your kind invitation to purchase your screenplay.

Those days are no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind…

Nowadays, the only way you know they aren’t going to buy your script is because you never, ever hear from them. Silence is the new “No.” How does that work? I mean, really? You never know how long it’s going to take them to read it. You never know if they actually DO read it. And, since you have no idea what their answer is… you twiddle your thumbs and wait and wait and wait…

You can wait until hell freezes over, I suppose. What I don’t know is, how long do you wait before you decide you’re never, ever going to get an answer and press on? A puzzlement. Is there a new rule of thumb? Three months and you agitate the gravel? I dunno. I haven’t a clue.

Perhaps I should ask my mother.

**TIME PASSES**

I didn’t ask my mother, I just thought about the situation. I think it’s emails.

People haven’t suddenly become rude as a group. There have always been rude people and nice people. I would have to imagine, barring some sudden problem with the drinking water (like Commies infiltrating) that the general percentage of rude people to nice people has remained the same… the problem lies, therefore, outside ourselves and it’s emails.

People are just overwhelmed. God knows, I am.

My inbox is stacked deep in emails I’ll never, ever get to. I hate checking email. I hate not replying to emails. I do my best, but I still have to get work done. I could spend all morning answering emails and I just don’t. I still have to crank out work. And some emails are not essential.

Like telling a guy you’re not going to buy his script is not essential. I guess.

It’s gotten to be like dealing with actors at cattle calls. There is no way a casting agent can call all those actors back and say, “Thank you for coming in, but you didn’t get the part.” There are too many people to call, and no one expects it.

I just have to get my head around the fact that people reading scripts just literally, despite good intentions, do not have the time to send an email or say anything at all… they’re drowning out there. It’s certainly not my job to get snippy with anybody who I am asking for a favor. Mostly I should just pat them on the shoulder and hold them close and say, “There, there…” like their mother should.

It’s not an easy business.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Silence means “No.” How do you deal with that?

  1. Courtney Chambers

    This one always gets me because I’m not quite sure what to think about the situation. Sometimes I understand how it works… sometimes I want to drive my car off a cliff!

    I’m forty-one and remember a life without cell phones or e-mail. These wonders of technology were intended to make life easier but instead they bog us down with one more thing to keep up with (and respond to) on a daily basis.

    I know it’s a busy life “out there” for those guys but hey… I gave up a decent living to chase a dream. I now work a not so fruitful job all day and many weekends… then return home and write most of the night.

    And that’s hard as well. But I chose to go down that road…

    And they chose to go down their road.

    No response at all… not even “pass” will drive a writer crazy. Does me at times but I try to suck it up and move on.

    Was the logline THAT bad? What about this? What about that?

    How can we improve our craft without ANY feedback whatsoever?

    But moving right along…

    When I finally got a read request the gentleman was kind enough to read the spec the next day. He responded the day after. Thought my writing style was sharp but he wasn’t “in love” with the story and couldn’t take on a new writer to develop a script.

    There were no notes but I moved on taking his pass as a positive. At least he responded. The story may not have been for him but I finally realized that my writing and mechanics were not garbage. He helped! More than he knows. And hey… if he had the time… who knows?

    So I moved on and continued to query then received another “send” request from a different management/production company that, from my research, seemed quite legit… what they’ve produced is legit I know for sure.

    I was pleasantly surprised to make it past the first read… that was passed on to a producer for review.

    That was three weeks ago.

    And three weeks is about as long as I can wait for some type of response. I plan to contact them Monday. I hope they respond… with something.

    Yes…

    Pass…

    Need more time…

    It’s garbage…

    Something!

    But it all boils down to this. Agencies, management companies and the like get HAMMERED by writers such as myself on a daily basis… but we have to do what we have to do to get our work out there.

    I think it’s a trade-off where we must understand that we will not always get a response.

    So keep writing and move on.

    It’s frustrating as hell… but it’s not personal.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      The key thing to understand, and I agree with you, is that it’s not personal. They aren’t not replying to you… it’s just they aren’t responding to anybody. I hate dealing with email. I can only imagine how much they hate it.

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