I’ve been working on my script “Lights, Camera, Paranormal Action!” since the #DarkSide week in early March. It’s done to first draft now at 105 pages. First drafts in film and TV are really ‘starting points’. You need to get through a few drafts before sending it anywhere serious. So, it’s not yet at the point where I’m sending it out to producers. I’m looking at a rewrite or two before July’s pitching at the digital edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market – July 23-26, 2020.
Next step is the story editing which is provided by Women in Film. I’m really pleased to have another set of eyes on it. So far, only one writer friend has read LCPA and she likes it, so that’s good! However, I’ll need some critiquing to get it into super shape for pitching and for selling ultimately.
Graphics design – I’m so pleased to be working with Kelman Design – Keli Manson and Glen Schroeder on the design of my pitch poster! I can’t reveal any of the design yet, but it’s truly wonderful. I want to put it on all of my things! It’s not done yet, there are phases to developing a great graphic for something like this and I’m learning about what my Designers need to know in order to proceed.
The image must be something useful for the Market but also something that is a true sales tool. It needs to tell them what they are (potentially) buying, using images, colours, fonts, tone, and texture.
I’m so very pleased to be a winner in the Women in Film & Television, from our Dark Side contest. This win allows me to develop my winning pitch into a pilot and a great series plan, complete with graphic designer and story editor mentors! So we’re going to Montreal in July with this project! Thanks Women In Film & Television Vancouver!
Anyone interested in film and TV should work in it even for a short time – in any capacity! Look for ways to get onto a film union list, starting as a PA maybe even? There are many jobs, too, not all of them on shoots. This includes the behind-the-scenes stuff or animation, distribution, etcetera. That way you really get a feel for your field & make contacts. I’m not a hugely successful TV writer, but I’ve sold over 15 scripts and all of them due to personal contacts – not the 2 agents (!).
2. Sell what scripts you have in the best way possible. I often use a real estate metaphor, because it is the same, believe it or not. As I learned the hard way, a local agent here like Integral or Characters won’t ‘sell’ your big script or new TV series idea. They’ll offer the ‘houses’ they have at their level – think Surrey. If you have a Shaughnessy mansion of a script, go to an LA agent. Many of them will look at new stuff from young writers. I will say that even a Vancouver agent would be good to start your talks with any producer though.
In this light, check out the Writers Guild of Canada. You can’t join until you have a credit, but they sometimes have open events and checking the website for good materials and references is good. WGC is the Canadian version of the WGA, in fact we have sharing $$ agreements with them.
It’s usually possible to meet with Canadian agents if you have a project. I’m currently not agented, due to the fact that I had to turn down the last 3 offers in a row (for bad reality shows that pay poorly).
All my work’s sold solely due to industry contacts but having an agent may have gotten me ‘in the door’. I have had 2 agents, both Canadian and neither earned me a cent I didn’t find myself. However, if you have a fantastic script, ready to go, for a movie, for example, you should try to get an agent to help you sell it.
I usually write TV episodes, so my work’s differently focused. If it’s a huge script – the Hollywood style ones have to be agented in the USA – our agents just don’t have the contacts to sell huge scripts. Check out the Hollywood Screenwriting Directory for ‘who to send it to’. https://www.writersstore.com/hollywood-screenwriting-directory It costs $29 US but is worth it.
Vancouver: ACFC is the easiest to get into. They don’t have ‘all’ the productions but they usually have something and are more willing to train. See http://www.acfcwest.com/become.html
ACFC also has a list of great links for beginners in film: http://www.acfcwest.com/industry.html They have a Production Office area and it’s good if he wants to get some local experience. Pay rates are lower than IATSE and hours sometimes longer but it’s a way in. Most ACFC members eventually join IATSE.
IATSE: This I’d recommend only if he’s going the ‘office’ route first. https://www.iatse.com/ Local 891 is Vancouver. It’s more or less a route to get into an office and see production and work from there.
DGC: This is where locations starts, also directors. But I never have seen Locations lead to writing gigs, they’re too far from the office and the writers. If directing is your interest, though, it’s good. They have offices in Vancouver and TO.
The TV and film world can look like a jungle, but I’ve had some great experiences and earned a lot out there at times!
p.s. Below is from http://thecollectortv.com/36.html and is the listing for 1 of my Collector tv series episodes. Producers: Larry Sugar, Showrunners: Jon Cooksey and Ali Marie Matheson. The Collector is a wonderful show – a dark fantasy & I thoroughly enjoyed writing two episodes for it!