Disappointment: A way of life…

The life of a screenwriter is rife with it. If you’re in this for the long haul, you’d better get used to it. People are interested in your script, and then they’re not. They option your script, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Your project is on track for production, then financing falls through and you’re suddenly back to square one.

Yup, I’ve had numerous disappointments in these last dozen or so years I have been writing professionally (at least two of them mentioned in previous blogs). The most recent disappointment came yesterday. My manager called to tell me that the two scripts I had with a prodco for the last few months – scripts they were hot for, scripts they were keen on putting into production – are now off their “recommend” pile. Seems they’re not doing horror stories at the moment. Huh? They were doing horror stories a week ago, but now they’re suddenly not? Horror is BIG. It’s always big. (Well, usually.) Anyway, I don’t get it. (Actually, I do get it.) But still, these weren’t even horror scripts. One is a psychological thriller; the other is a fun creature-thriller. But they did say they’d like to “revisit” these two scripts in four months. Not entirely sure what that means, but whatever. Sure, I spent about three minutes bitching and complaining, maybe kicked a wall, but then I was right back at my desk, on the phone, strategizing new avenues with my manager. We actually do have another producer interested in the psycho-thriller, so maybe that one’ll turn out fine.

Speaking of turning out fine…my first produced movie (The Perfect Tenant, 2000), was sold in 1997. Then there was a series of script meetings and rewrites. Things looked really good. Then nothing. The company shut down and we didn’t hear much of anything for more than a year. Two years of limbo. Then one day I get a call and things are back on. We’re with the same producers, but a different prodco. The movie commences shooting in September 1999. So, yeah, that one worked out.

But hey, that psycho-thriller script is a darn good script; both scripts are darn good, and I’m confident they’ll get picked up one of these days. You have to believe that sort of thing in this crazy game…because, man, it is crazy. Cra-zeeeee.


APRIL 2015 ANNOUNCEMENT: My debut novel, Luigi's Chinese Delicatessen, is now available in paperback from Amazon.com and Kindle e-book! (You're gonna love it cuz it's all about Hollywood and screenwriting!)


Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Hi Jim. Great blog. The best Hollywood screenwriter's site I've come across so far. I like the fact that it gets down to business and actually gives us a fly on the wall view of being a working Hollywood writer. A rarity. Also nice that it's not too heavy on self-promotion. It's always good/inspiring to hear about the failures on the way to being success i.e. The options that came to nothing, meetings that faded out etc. I look forward to checking out your book. Keep blogging! SWU.

Mel said...

Thank you for writing this! Even with all the disappointments you have encountered, just remember, you have made it. I've never had a "big break" and doubt things would be any different moving to LA. Recently, I thought I was about to have my big break when a production company that was interested in producing a children's TV show from my script. I had a meeting with them and they were very enthusiastic about it but then just yesterday, I gt an e-mail that they've taken on too many projects at the moment but would hope to come back to my project in the future. I'm so disappointed!!!!!!!!!!

Jim Vines said...

Thanks for your comment, Mel. The fact that a prodco thought enough of your script to consider producing it is a GREAT thing. It means you're on the right track. So focus on that. In the meantime, keep plugging away, keep writing, keep putting your material out there...and good things will happen!