Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

So...what do I do now?

Monday night I got a solid dose of Hollywood reality, according to an agent I'd been trying to get. This was after me sending her several letters; she wouldn't give me her email address. Hell, when I first contacted her, I had to send a letter of query and a completed form before she'd even let me send her a script. I sort of snuck around that by sending her The Alice '65 anyway.

I didn't hear anything so sent a couple of follow-up letters, the latest one at the beginning of last week to let her know I had a new phone number...and she finally called me. She was nice, basically, but cut straight to the chase. She doesn't handle people who write porn.

I told her I don't, and started telling her about how Amazon vetted my books and declared they weren't pornography -- but she cut me off. Doesn't matter. She looked up my name. One of the first things to come up was I was the author of How To Rape A Straight Guy. No reputable producer will go one bit further. Too much baggage. I had to get my name off that book.

Which is impossible. It's sold a couple thousand copies and is in the ether, as are all my books. And I wouldn't disown them, even if I could. That's like saying I'm ashamed of them.

Her response? "Then you won't sell a script." Won't even have the chance to tell them the books were vetted. They'd see that and hit delete. And if she sent one of my scripts in and they saw what else I'd written, it would hurt her reputation.

I mentioned I'd won or done well in script competitions. Got a nice, simple, "Nobody with money cares. Just wannabes." Even if I got a big one, like Nicholl or Sundance, all it would do is make them willing to talk to me...and maybe not even that, considering my books. She kept harping on those.

So I got blunt and asked her why she'd called. She'd glanced over A65 -- didn't read it but saw I knew formatting, had crisp dialogue and fairly minimal directions. The story sounded cute. It wasn't too long. Her recommendation? I change my name and the titles of the scripts, then start resubmitting.

In short, start all over, again. Like somebody fresh and new. Get a DBA to make it legal. Start a new facebook page and snapchat and twitter and stuff. Make like I'm a playwright who decided to write movies, since I told her I'd written a few plays and one-acts, too.

I've been wrestling with this all week. A couple of friends had raised the same issue, but I'd thought they were being paranoid. Wrong. I asked advice from some people. Got nothing back, yet. But the truth is...I don't know if I can do that. Start all over. P/S is a very demanding book in time and research...and I've invested thousands into it, from all the trips I've made to Ireland and books I've bought and videos and on and on. I can barely keep up with what I currently have on Facebook, and I just do not get the interest in Twitter. I have it...but it bores me.

At the same time, I've invested decades and tens of thousands into trying to get a career going in screenwriting, between classes and books and seminars and organizations I belong to and postings on-line and postage and paper and ink and shit! To be honest with myself, I've tried a few times to break away from film and always gone back to it when a new idea for a script comes along. I'm as decisive as a wet noodle in a bowl of soup, and now I have no idea what the right choice is.

Or if I think any decision I make today will stick with me through tomorrow.

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