Reussir à Hollywood par david Goyer

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Date d'inscription : 22/11/2004

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MessageSujet: Reussir à Hollywood par david Goyer   Reussir à Hollywood par david Goyer Icon_minitimeLun 19 Fév - 11:46

Merci à advanced Dark Very Happy

( Pas encore lu What a Face )

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Breaking into Film and Television, Part 1

I've gotten lots of requests asking how to break into film and TV. I'll do be best to pass on whatever advice or tips I've managed to glean, drawing primarily from my own experiences.

First of all, I'm not from Hollywood. I grew up in Michigan, having never read a screenplay, having never even known anyone in the business. When I was in highschool, the Internet wasn't really viable yet, so my resources with regards to Hollywood were quite limited. Eventually, I applied to USC Film School and was accepted into the undergraduate screenwriting program there. During my senior year, I managed to get an agent at ICM. About six months after graduating, I made my first sale (a screenplayed called "Dusted", which eventually became the Jean Claude Van Damme film DEATH WARRANT). From that point, I got a series of paying jobs (KICKBOXER II, DEMONIC TOYS, THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS). None of those first films were very good, but they paid the bills.

Eventually, I was able to pitch an adaptation of Blade to New Line Cinema. From that point onward, I started writing screenplays that were much more to my personal liking (less crap and more speculative science and supernatural stories). The Blade script lead to DARK CITY, and so on.

Around 1999, I decided I wanted to begin directing. I optioned a novel called ZIGZAG with my own money, wrote a screenplay on spec (meaning not on assignment) and then spent a torturous year trying to get independent financing for the film.

That's the short version of how I broke in.

Do I think it's necessary to attend film school in order to break into Hollywood? No. Especially not now. There are thousands of screenplays on-line, hundreds of how-to books, dozens of screenwriting magazines, various screenwriting programs. All sorts of resources that didn't exist when I was starting out. With the advent of DVD extras, there are also director/writer commentaries and making-of featurettes; these can be incredibly helpful in terms of illuminating the movie-making process. (Granted, some of them are goofy and self-congratulatory, but many are really instructive.)

Beyond what I've outlined above, the cost of digital video cameras have come way down. There are also many cost-effective editing programs (like Final Cut Pro). With the advent of YouTube and other media-sharing sites, you've also got a cheap distribution system that didn't exist a few years ago.

The point of all this is that it's much easier for a geographically isolated person to LEARN about movie-making. And to actually MAKE films.

Do I think attending film school can help? Sure. Film school allows you to interact with other film students. It allows you to come into contact with working directors and writers. It also forces you to hold your work up to critical scrutiny.

Constructive criticism is probably the one thing that beginning writers/directors/actors need more than anything else. The truth is, MOST first films and scripts suck. Most first drafts suck. Death Warrant might have been my first sale, but it wasn't my first script. It was my fourth. Looking back now, the previous three are virtually unreadable. They're juvenile, unstructured, and undisciplined.

A lot of directors and writers are scared to show their work to other people. They get defensive. But showing your work is the best way to improve your craft. You need a thick skin if you're going to succeed in Hollywood. There's an old saying -- "If enough people say you're drunk, maybe you should lie down." The same holds true for criticism. If enough readers or viewers give you the same note, then you need to listen to them. The audience isn't wrong. YOU ARE.

Okay. That's a rambling start. I'll provide more insight in a follow-up post.

Part 2

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Breaking into Hollywood, Part 2

Okay, okay -- gotten lots of e-mails asking how to get an agent. The truth is, there isn't one right way to find representation. But representation IS important, make no mistake about that.

If you aren't represented by a legitimate agent or manager, then your chances of getting a serious read/viewing of your submission are pretty damn slim. The basic problem is this -- there are tens of thousands of scripts and films coming through the pipeline -- and most of them are god-awful. People in the business simply don't have enough time to wade through all the crap. The basic idea is that if an agent/manager already represents someone, then at least that script or film has already made it through the first cut of unbelievable crap. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people that have representation that are STILL horrible.

When I was a Senior in college, I worked part-time as a reader for Universal Studios. I would read these blind submissions that agents would send in. And I would write coverage for them -- meaning I would write a summary of each script, then recommend whether or not I thought it should be passed on to one of the executives. (Readers are the first line of defense in Hollywood. Every script or film flows through their critical hands first.) In a four or five month stretch, I think I actually recommended perhaps three screenplays. THREE. And these were scripts by professional writers, who had professional representation. I relate this because it's important for those of you out there attempting to break in to realize just what monumental odds you are struggling against.

Most agencies will not read or view blind submissions. Sometimes, you can gain entrance via a friend that is already represented. In my eighteen years in the business, I think I've recommended perhaps four writers for representation. Two of them were actually signed by agencies (and I am happy to report that both of them are now earning a living as television writers). One of these people was a former assistant of mine. The other was a novelist that I happened to admire.

Working as a writer's or director's assistant or a reader in Hollywood is a good way to gain entrance into that world. For one thing, you'll get to read or view hundreds of submissions. You'll get a good sense of how the business works, what kind of competition you are up against. I definitely recommend that for anyone lucky enough to procure that kind of position.

Then there's the classic "mail room" job. Lots of writers and directors and producers and executives started out working in the mail room of various agencies. It's the farm team for Hollywood.

One way to get noticed by an agency is to win a screenwriting contest or film festival. There are actually quite a few screenwriting contests. One of the most prestigious is the Nicholl Fellowship. This content awards cash prizes for the winning scripts. More importantly, agencies track the scripts that win and place in the finals. Quite a few Nicholl scripts have been purchased.

Another way to gain access is to attend something like the Screenwriters Expo. This is a conference held on screenwriting. There are various speakers and panels featuring "profressionals" (I've spoken a few times at the Expo). But there are also pitch sessions that you can attend -- where agents and managers and studio executives will listen to your movie ideas. It's the Hollywood equivalent of speed dating.

Don't be put off, though, if these professionals aren't excited about viewing your work. Whenever I attend some kind of public event, I am invariably besieged by hopefuls afterwards. They want my e-mail address, my office address, they shove scripts and DVDs into my hands. I'm always polite. But the truth is, I usually toss the things as soon as I round the corner. Why? Because my world is already complicated enough as it is. I'm still struggling to get MY dream projects made. I'm still struggling with writer's block on my current script. Or arguing with the studio about the most recent cut of my film. Or simply struggling with domestic issues like needing to take the dog to the vet or make sure that someone is home in time to let the plumber in so he can fix our sink. You get the picture.

The other reason you shouldn't be put off is that you need to have a tough skin in this business. If you sink into a depression the first time someone shuts a door in your face, then you'll never make it. I can't tell you how many agents or producers or managers told me that my early scripts sucked. That I shouldn't even bother with this business. Quite a few times, I've subsequently run into profressionals who were rude to me when I was starting out. Who were downright cruel. But I just kept on doggedly pursuing my goal.

Okay. I'm winded. When I get a chance, I'll post something on breaking into television. Hope this was helpful.

More to come...

c'est l'chaos..mais je ne l' suis pas.
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