Advice for the Anxious Novice...

On one of the screenwriting forums I frequent, there was a posting from a novice screenwriter who was all knotted up with anxiety while he waited around for producers to get back to him on a script he recently submitted. I'm serious, this poor guy was a real mess! Anyway, he got a lot of good advice from others on the forum, but I felt compelled to offer my twelve cents worth of advice, which was this:

"If this is what's knotting up your guts, then maybe screenwriting isn't a game you should be playing. The fact is, this is a really crazy, disappointing, roller-coaster ride of a business. People will request your script and you'll never hear back. Never ever.

People will request your script and they'll eventually get back in touch, but they'll string you along for another couple months with 'I haven't gotten to it yet' or 'I've sent the script to an associate.'

Then you never hear back.

Then you send your script to somebody and they get back to you the next day and proclaim, 'I love your script!' Next thing you know you're meeting with this producer/agent/manager and all is right with the world. Then this person evaporates and they won't even return your calls or respond to your e-mails.

Then eventually you find some producer who loves your script, and you meet with him a few times, and he has some notes for a quick rewrite, and you implement those notes and do the rewrite, and you hand in the new draft, and the producer loves it, and there are a few more meetings with potential directors, etc. Casting suggestions are bandied about. Ideas about locations are brought up ('We can get a nice tax break if we shoot in Michigan!'). Anyway, this sort of thing goes on for a month or two or three...or longer...then one day there's a phone call...or maybe just an e-mail: 'Sorry, we have to pull the plug.' You feel like someone took a baseball bat and hit a line drive into your gut. (If you're lucky -- and if you're smart -- you managed to score some option cash out of that producer.) But hey, that's the way this scriptwriting biz goes. Get used to it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get workin' on something else. In fact, you should always be working on other scripts.

If you're putting all your hopes and dreams into one or two scripts, or if you're sitting around waiting for word on the query you just sent out to 50 agents or waiting to hear back from a producer you just sent that script to...well, you're setting yourself up to go a little I-N-S-A-N-E."

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