Treatment writer looking to get started.


#1

Howdy guys me and a friend have started to produce treatments to pitch to movie studios. Seeing as how I am a noob when it comes to this type of thing what would be the best way to pursue this ?

Who do you get in contact with, and should i try to find a agency who can handle this type of thing for me and my friend?


#2

sigh

anything?


#3

No personal experience but I know someone who has known people who have done something like this.

First guy was an animator in the studio who knew someone high up in the studio chain so he was able to pitch it to an even higher up. They liked it-it was something about Noah’s ark i think.

After a few years-and other people’s involvement, I dont know what became of it–but the guy eventually made something like $200 000, maybe just from the original treatment.

The other guy was someone from Canada who went in person to pitch an idea for a tv show to a California studio. He didnt get anywhere and went home depressed.

Without connections, trying an agency would be the most logical step since studios wont look at anything unless its solicited. Getting an agent is a matter in itself.

Whether its an agency or a studio, you should probably have visual aids-good art work, proof of concept test, something more than just a treatment to show.

shrug


#4

Cool Thanks guy at you gave me at least somewhere to start.


#5

Glad you have sorted. Best way is to put your name forward pretty much anywhere and everywhere. A lot of folks don’t do this. The few who work hard get somewhere.


#6

There’s only two ways that I know of… the festival route, or the pitch it to the agent/studios route.

Getting an writing agent is super hard. The old method of mass mailing query letters is a dead art. It’s a bit easier from what I’m told, if you have done something already.

So that really means, going the festival route. Agents/studios are pitched to 24/7. They deal with it at work, on the street, over lunches, from friends at parties… so, in a festival situation, they don’t feel ‘attacked’ on inundated because they’re choosing to give your short film a chance.

On a side note: If you do happen to speak to the office of an agent or the office of a studio, give the receptionist/assistant the ultimate respect. These people are the gatekeepers. They are the ones that will eventually move up in the industry beyond answering phones. They bare the brunt of the menial office work, so be exceptionally polite and try to be brief because you don’t wanna be remembered as the guy who was rude or rambled on, wasting their time, forcing them to play ‘catch up’ with phone calls. If you can make them like you, they’ll be more willing to help you make the connections that you need to make… more willing to tell you when that person that you want to talk to is going to be in the proverbial elevator, so to speak. Also, these people are often ‘readers’ for their bosses… meaning that when scripts get submitted, the people higher up don’t read them until the scripts have run the gauntlet of their staff. The staff then write up notes on the script, like a ‘Cole’s Notes’ or a cheat sheet on what the story is about, characters, etc… if it passes their test, then they will either recommend or not recommend that their boss take the time to read your little story.

Good luck.

Hope that helps.
Cheers.


#7

**I have heard that if you have say, 5 completed novels that are unpublished you might stand a chance of having a reputable one look at your stuff. They arent interested in short stories since the markets are few and most dont pay well enough for them to make money.

Another avenue may be comics. It sort of acts as a proof of concept test or storyboard.

At least its one way to develop your characters and have something completed sooner than a film.


#8

Yep. And for a feature film, it usually takes multiple drafts of 7-10 different scripts before you’re even reach the writing calibre high enough to have a studio or agent’s time to take a look at you (and not totally [color=white]humiliate yourself).[/color]


#9

There’s no fool-proof method of making a sale, but having experience and multiple finished works/projects helps, even if you’re self-published. Unfortunately, having a treatment or script registered with the WGA does very little to protect an original work, as it can be reworked into something else. Books seem to fare a little better than scripts, given the busy schedule of agents/readers and ADD nature of modern screenwriters (who tend to read very little literature due to time constraints/habit).

 A writing internship/fellowship might be the best route to getting a foot in the door, but it usually means that all of your work (even the best stuff) becomes permanent property of the studio.  
 
 It's a rough road, but by no means impossible.  
 
  I go the extra step in developing ideas into full-blown shorts, just to ensure (in some little way) that the ideas are fleshed out in some type of tangible manner (proof of concept).  At the very least, you have some type of finished product.

#10

Sometimes being cheeky can work, but you have to be VERY lucky to get anywhere like that. Having said that, it didn’t stop the guy I sometimes do work for.

My friend Rob Martin has done a number of projects over the years with varying amounts of success, including a project in 2003 called Saving Ginger’s Privates (Not to be confused with a rather naughty film with a similar name), which originally started life as him messing around with an old Gingerbread man his sister made, a number of digestive biscuits, my old toy remote controlled tank and a video camera.

Beyond that, don’t ask…

Anyhow, a few years after (And a couple of pilot TV spots for the local cable TV company), the idea was resurrected and put forward to the Yorkshire Arts Council and got some initial funding to develop the idea. From this he approached Cosgrove Hall Productions (UK Production company responsible for The Wind In The Willows, Count Duckular, Chorlton And The Wheelies and Danger Mouse. Google may be handy if your not a UK resident) as he had done some work experience there a few years before.

One of the things that got the funding secured was the presentation, hand drawn frames all shot a couple of frames at a time to a roughly recorded track which was done with a 4th draft script. While this would be nothing like the final film, it allowed people to get an idea what it would be like. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in film with no imagination and have to be shown everything.

Next was the proper voiceover, and with the backing of the arts council and Cosgrove Hall, he asked Thomas Clarke-Hill, who at the time was famous for voiceovers for film trailers as well as Tony The Tiger, main character of the Frosties cerial adverts and to all our collective surprize, he agreed.

While a lot of this was down to luck, smooth talking as well as being a bit cheeky, well produced story boards and the original badly done video presented to the right people at the right time, a quick knockabout video eventually lead to a showing at the Cannes Film festival and a nomination for Best Short Animation at the BAFTA Awards in 2004.

Getting contacts is essential, seeing if there are organisations who may well fund a venture is also a must if you are starting out. If therew are any associations which you can be a member of, join them. While this may well cost it will help, as many studio’s will not look at work from someone who is not a member of some organisation, especially in this climate.

Good luck.


#11

Most studios will not look at the Treatment, but they will look at your script through an agent.

The library usually has books about this: “The Guide to Literary Agents” and “The Agents directory.” Then look for the right agency that accepts your script. Usually match it up with who they have represented in the past. Try the WGA or www.Scriptpimp.com. Just be careful with the ones that tell you to submit it online with no fees.

Sometimes newer agencies will work with you more, because they are trying to establish themselves also. Research on WGA to find out who represented a certain screenwriter. Depending on your area, try and attend a writers conference.

Here is a list for California http://www.wga.org/agency/agencylist.asp
WGA-East has a better list: http://www.wgaeast.org/index.php?id=144

I hope that helps you. Pitching a treatment to an agent or movie studio is hard, but best of luck if you can do it.

Junior


#12

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