Frequently asked questions

 

What if I have a question that isn't answered on this FAQ page?

Please visit my Contact page and feel free to ask me anything.  I take the time to read each message personally, and I'll get back to you within a day or two.

What are your qualifications to professionally develop another writer's screenplay?  

I have produced 3 Hollywood studio movies (and made numerous studio script development deals), all based on screenplays that I professionally developed with first-time, unrepresented writers.  These are the best credentials possible -- and unique among all other screenplay consultants.  

For 20 years as a movie producer, my specialty has been working with aspiring writers, developing their screenplays, and guiding them successfully into top literary agency representation, studio deals, and produced movies.

Are you promising that a literary agency will want to represent my script, a production company will decide to option it, or a movie studio will commit to producing it?

I cannot promise any of the above...nobody can.  Here's what I do guarantee: I will develop your screenplay using my same methods and principles that have repeatedly resulted in verifiable successes for other aspiring screenwriters -- at Hollywood's best literary agencies, top management-production companies, and major movie studios.

After first-time screenwriter Isaac Ho and I began working together, his script THE CHINESE DELIVERY MAN was chosen for the Sundance Writer's Lab and signed for representation by top literary agency, Resolution.

After first-time screenwriter Isaac Ho and I began working together, his script THE CHINESE DELIVERY MAN was chosen for the Sundance Writer's Lab and signed for representation by top literary agency, Resolution.

How do you know if my script has room for improvement? What if it's already perfect? 

If your script is perfect, I'll be the first to tell you.  However, the reality is that most unrepresented/unsold scripts would benefit from expert, professional development - including yours.  For context, every movie studio employs creative executives whose main job responsibility is to improve or "develop" those scripts that the studio has already bought - often for hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars.

What are the typical paths of a screenwriter trying to "break in" to Hollywood?

Query letters, unsolicited submissions, script contests, pitch fests, etc.  If your unsolicited script gets returned unread, if you don't win the script contest, or if your coverage comes back "pass," then you basically have 3 options: (1) resubmit the script everywhere and hope for a different result; (2) set aside the script and move on to the next one; or, (3) improve your script.

I recommend option (3) because your script might be close -- a few key adjustments away from where it needs to be.   

There are many script consultants claiming "expertise"...  How do I know who's legitimately qualified? 

Here are two litmus tests that might help you make an informed decision:  

(1) Do they have any produced studio movie credits themselves?  If so, they've proven their own abilities within the Hollywood studio system.  (Verify their credits on IMDB)  

(2) Have they ever developed another writer's screenplay that subsequently got represented at a top literary agency, earned a studio script development deal, or became a produced studio movie?  This reflects their ability to develop somebody else's work at the highest levels.  (Verify testimonials on IMDB)

Why are credits on IMDB important?

Credits are how Hollywood determines whether someone has made a meaningful contribution to a movie.  Credits are extremely difficult to earn -- especially at the major movie studio level, which is consistently the highest level of filmmaking with the most competitive barriers to entry.  

Many script consultants claim that they were directly/indirectly responsible for developing movies made at various production companies.  Any screenwriter can easily verify these script consultants' claims simply by checking his credits. (IMDB)  If he is not credited on the movie, then he did not make a meaningful contribution to it. Period.  

Do you recommend film schools, lectures, books, podcasts, blogs, etc.?  

Yes.  The three most valuable ways a screenwriter can improve his craft are by writing scripts, reading scripts, and watching movies.  Beyond these, there are many other good ways to learn: film schools, seminars, books, podcasts, coverage services, and even contests.     

However, the best method for a writer to improve a screenplay is by getting specific notes from an accredited professional who has successfully developed other scripts within the Hollywood movie studio system.

Can you give me professional guidance if I have a treatment, outline or pitch for a movie, but no screenplay?

Yes, I can help with professional guidance any stage of the development process.  Contact me here.

What if I want advice about various issues relating to both the creative and the business sides of Hollywood?

We can discuss a broad range of Hollywood creative and business issues including: breaking in, networking, collaboration, types of option agreements, indie vs. studio filmmaking, packaging, fundraising, producing, marketing, distribution, etc.  Contact me here.

I've got a unique (ongoing, entrepreneurial, international, etc.) entertainment business opportunity.  Are you open to those kinds of conversations? 

Sure.  Tell me what's on your mind, and I'll let you know if I can add-value or otherwise be helpful.  Contact me here.

What if my script is perfect, brilliant, camera-ready, etc. -- will you help me shop it to agents, production companies, and movie studios?

If your script is already perfect, the truth is that you don't need me to help you shop it to Hollywood.  Simply submit your script to the Black List, Spec Scout, etc.  If it rates highly, Hollywood will be able to find it there.  However, if your script earns sub-par reviews then you might want to improve it, professionally.