Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while now know that I write in a few different genres. I’ve written non-fiction books for youth on Canada’s Prime Ministers; I’m a published poet, and I’m a magazine features writer.
A little over a year ago, I started on the roller-coaster ride of my life: my journey into the world of screenwriting. I’d soon discover that writing the script wasn’t the hard part. Sure, I’ll tell you a bit about that process–but that’s not the story here. The true blood, sweat, and tears this past year have come from trying to get someone–anyone in the industry–to read it, comment on it, and give me a hand perfecting it and selling it. I’ve also been searching for an agent and working on another script so that I have a body of work to show someone when they finally agree to read my first script.
About six months into my efforts, I managed to get in touch with an agent who booked talent–mainly writers and actors–for Broadway productions. He told me that, while he had enjoyed reading my script and was very much willing to help me as best he could by offering advice, he didn’t really have any ‘in’s” in the Hollywood film industry. He was, however, one of the first people to engage in a dialogue with me about the industry and about what I was up against, and he was also incredibly helpful in getting my script into the hands of a well-known Canadian actor-director. This actor had his own American TV series some years ago and is now directing films–we’ll call him Mr. Canadian Actor. Mr. Canadian Actor scribbled some great input into the margins of my script–really incredible stuff including critique, questions, and suggestions for scene direction, which I incorporated into a new draft. He then accidentally left my script on a seat in Arrivals at the Vancouver airport. But that’s another tale, to be told at another time.
After a few friendly emails from–let’s call him Mr. Broadway–I had the instinct that he could probably give me some perspective on what should be my next move with a well-known screenwriter-producer I’d been interacting with online–we’ll call him Mr. Screenwriter. Mr. Screenwriter had offered to read my script and eventually sent my script to a big U.S. agency. Being the polite Canadian I am, I kept wondering if “thank you” was adequate. Some people had told me I should make some grand gesture. I’d already said thank-you enough times and in enough ways; I felt that I was starting to sound like a bit of an idiot. I didn’t feel doing any more would be appropriate–since when does thank-you not genuinely mean thank-you?
There are a few things I’m not willing to do in this journey, and one of them is ass-kiss, and the other is name-drop (hence the use of Mr. Names. I’d like to get to the Mrs. Names, but sadly, there are so very few Mrs. High-Up’s in the industry. That’s another whole chapter. I’ll get there). So I wrote Mr. Broadway and asked him if he thought sending a gift to Mr. Screenwriter was a good idea or very, very bad idea (my instinct).
He e-mailed back this note: “There’s a fine line between persistence and stalking.”
I burst out laughing. I was so loud, in fact, my five-year-old came running into my office, asking, “What, Mommy? What’s so funny?” It was then that I realized I had a story here. The story of little, 5’2″ me, just a girl from the Ottawa Valley, trying to break into Big Bad Hollywood as a writer.
This is that story. I’m not sure if it’s a book or a script or just a bunch of fun blog posts. Stay tuned to find out!
**So far, there are SIX posts in this series. Read them all here–in order, from the post at the bottom to the post at the top: