Register Wednesday | December 11 | 2019

2 Legit 2 Quit

"The main thing to making a living in this business is that you need a credit or two."


It’s been nearly two weeks and no news from the studio about the hip hop project we pitched. I have no idea what that means but it probably isn’t good. Of course, I’ve been down this road so many times now that I know better than to get my hopes up about pitch meetings. I remember a few years ago, when I did my first pitch, how exciting it was to be alone in a room with a few executives, telling them some amazing and unique story that I was sure was going to make them jump out of their seats as they realized that I was the creative force they had been waiting for and now all they had to do was pour millions of dollars into my pockets and creative ideas would flow out of my mouth and onto the screen. After several meetings watching these same people stare at me with glazed eyes, or better yet, interrupt to take a phone call or two, or start talking before I could finish by saying, “I love it, really I do, BUT…” I realized that you can’t think of pitching movies as something that will yield any tangible result. You have to do it for fun. Maybe make some good contacts. Or “fans,” as my agent says: “So and so is a huge fan of your work. Bla bla bla.”

In other news, one of my writing partners managed to show our supernatural thriller to a company that produces movies for cable television channels like FX or TNT. Apparently those channels have realized that making cheap horror and thriller type movies is actually a good investment for them as they can easily line up sponsors, advertise the hell out of the movie on their own channel, and then show the movie dozens of times. Not a bad deal. And the nice thing is these television channels are not as concerned as the studios with who is going to be in the movie. (Which is pretty much the only thing that movie studios seem to care about, which explains movies like “Anger Management”). Don’t get me wrong, the cable networks care too, but it’s secondary to the concept and how cheaply they can make the movie. So this guy is looking into what channels he should approach with the script. My feeling is hey, you never know. I’d rather have some hustler out there pushing the script than have it sitting on my shelf.

It seems to me that the main thing to making a living in this business (as opposed to stubbornly holding on to your dreams and your “art,” which is the other route I sometimes choose), is that you need a credit or two. Once something you’ve written has been produced, you are ten times more legit than you were before. Even if nobody ever sees the movie you wrote. And that leads to more paid work. I’m always amazed at the many people in L.A. who have built pretty nice lives for themselves writing television and cable movies that I’ve never even heard of. But somebody out there is watching the Lifetime channel. And that means somebody needs a screenplay.

Maybe that’s where I come in.