Monday, October 03, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 195 - Slight Frustrations

You know, the screenwriting market is a fickle thing. One day, something's a good idea, and the next, it's decidedly not. On paper, in logline format, and idea sounds great, promising even. In reality, the full script presents marketing issues. Unfortunately, it can be tough to tell what the case is going to be, until the pages are all there to be read and judged.

This, sadly, is something I recently experienced. I had turned in a copy of my Medieval spec to my manager. He gave me a ring late last week. While he liked it as a first draft (I knew it needed a lot of work, and sent him an email to that effect when he indicated that he wanted to set up a call about it), he didn't think it was the kind of script the market would really take to right now. Not that it's a bad idea - in fact, we had both agreed on it as the idea I should most ardently pursue a few months back. Rather, it just doesn't offer enough of a hook to set itself apart in the industry right now. And, there's little that can be done about that without altering the entire story, which neither of us want to do and is a bit beyond the point anyway. 

Does that mean the idea will never be a valid one? No, of course not. However, right now, after reading the draft, my manager just didn't feel as though it has the necessary components to work in a very competitive market right now. What are those components? It's becoming increasingly difficult to tell. But this is a pretty straightforward revenge story set in the Middle Ages. Knight and king stories haven't done remarkably well recently, so despite the fact that the logline was promising, the more full execution proves itself difficult from a marketing point of view.

Whether this is the end all and be all answer remains debatable. You might disagree. Other representatives might disagree. Even I have the right to disagree. At the end of the day, though, if this isn't material my manager feels very strongly about - and he has his reasons and insider knowledge - then it's probably not one I should pursue. At least not right now. (A quick aside before I go much farther - I don't advocate sending material out when you know it needs a lot of work; I did this, because I was confident that the second draft I presented to the League was strong. It was, well, stronger than the first, at least. When they pointed out some things I hadn't previously seen about it, I sent a follow up to my manager letting him know I would be doing another overhaul of the script.)

My main concern these days is my lack of production. By that, I don't mean not having a movie produced. Rather, it's almost a year to the day since I landed my agent at UTA. When that happened, my manager promised him I would deliver two scripts a year. To date, he has seen nothing new from me. I've developed a lot of material and did two drafts of the Medieval spec. But nothing completed has gone out. I have that - and the sense that my "one shot" might have peaked - hanging over my head. The only thing I can do about it, though? Keep writing. I have to develop new ideas, ones that my manager will take to again, and push through with them. To the end. To my agent. To, hopefully, a sale.