I hope the new year is off to a good start for all you WS readers. The holidays are over and now it's time to get back into the swing of things. Now then...
Frank W. from Fresno, CA, recently wrote to me, asking: “A movie crew from a big studio is shooting something a few blocks from my house. I asked a policeman who was blocking traffic and he told me the crew will be there for about a week. Should I print some copies of my script and try to hand them out to any actors or executives I see walking around the set?”
Thanks for writing, Frank. First of all, I doubt you’ll get very close to any actors or “executives.” Movie shoots, especially from a “big studio” have fairly tight security (trust me, I once worked security at two of the biggest studios). Anyway, even if you could get close enough to an actor, director, or producer, etc., it’d be kinda nutty to be walking around handing out copies of your script. People will start to avoid you, then you’ll be tossed off the set and/or banned from the immediate area.
What you might try doing is hanging out near the set for a couple of days. Don’t be weird or threatening; just be low-key and friendly. Look like you’re truly interested in what’s taking place during the shoot. When possible, strike up conversations with anyone you come in contact with.
You might get chatting with, let’s say, a production assistant. Eventually you’ll mention that you’re a screenwriter. Hopefully the P.A. eventually says, “Well, I’d love to read one of your scripts one day.” That’s when you say, “You would? Gosh, that’d be so cool. Hang on a minute, I’ve got a copy in the trunk of my car. Be right back.” Then you race off to your car, get your script (which is top-notch, of course), and you hand it to that P.A. More than likely nothing comes from this little encounter. But hey, maybe that P.A. actually reads the script. Maybe he loves it, and passes it on to his boss, the big movie producer. Maybe that producer calls you. It happens. Point is—and I certainly talk about this any chance I get—you need to become friendly with people who are actually a part of the film industry.
Being on a movie set, whether it’s in Fresno, California or Scottsbluff, Nebraska, you’ll be amidst a high concentration of film folks. This is your chance to make a connection or two. Don’t be a nuisance, don’t be a nut; be amiable, be inquisitive...and make it work for you. Good luck!