Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In the world of screenwriting, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES OF ANYTHING.
It's a sad and painful truth. Just when you think you've done everything right and worked your way up the system, and commissions are due or the exciting gig is about to happen, that's when you can end up with nothing.
There seems to be a few misconceptions about how the system works.
1) IF I GET AN AGENT, I'LL BE FINE
No you won't. You'll have an agent, which is good, but it doesn't hold out a guarantee of any work whatsoever.
2) IF I GET A COMMISSION, I'LL BE FINE
You'll be better off, certainly, and it'll do your profile good but it doesn't mean you'll get another commission, even if they tell you, or your agent, that you will. Plus, the commission could go tits up, resulting in you being rewritten or fired. Back to square one.
3) IF I GET A CONTRACT, I'LL BE FINE
You should be fine, yes. But not even a contract can guarantee what the contract says (amazingly). Sometimes, people just won't pay you, or the work will never materialise, and not even your agent can do anything when everything falls apart. In these instances, you'll need an expensive lawyer.
We all know writers are treated badly but sometimes the level of appalling behaviour is so inexplicable and devastating, it takes a lot to re-gather your strength and confidence.
The good news: keep writing, keep producing the goods, no-one puts Baby in the corner. That bad news: it's hard work, the system pretty much only serves itself, and THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES OF ANYTHING.
Remember that practical approach you had and the long game you had planned in order to make it? Double it. Nay, triple it. Put your head down. Keep writing original material. Blow people away. It's the only one-finger salute to the system that will probably earn you some reward or recognition.
Still want to be a screenwriter? Good.
For more attainable satisfaction, here's Sam's fourth Grime City P.D. comic strip. Click to enlarge, he said.