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05/28/2001
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"Okay, So I'm Not The Answer Man, but here's what I know." Part Three

Paul Buscemi's Column For Monday May 28th, 2001. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

Two weeks ago, as promised, we began examining YOUR questions regarding writing and selling in Hollywood. So far we have covered:

1. Advice on finding an agent.
2. Advice for the agent meeting.

In the final part of this column I wanted to address two other recurring questions I have been asked:

1. What are the rules for collaborating?
2. How can you beat the "waiting game" that often follows a script submission?

COLLABERATING

I myself have never collaborated with another writer before. I have often considered it but I am still trying to shape my own ?voice' and the idea of collaborating might get in the way of that right now. I know a handful of people who I would enjoy collaborating with but for me, it really comes down to the person first. You're going to be working long hard hours together so make sure your compatible. My next concern would be to find a collaborator strong in a given area of writing that I am week in. I have heard of writing teams that formed because one of the writers was good with pitching and the other was good with scripting. I know other teams who formed because the two writers together were powerful at pitching and had a command over "the room."

One writing team I know of actually takes turns at the script. They break the story together. Then one will write the first draft and together they make changes. Then the other writer writes the second draft. This smoothes over differences in writing styles. Bottom line: there are no rules. Organize your collaboration in any way that suits the collaborators.

THE WAITING GAME

This I have done. I'm sure every writer has. Here's what I do. I tend to have several projects in various stages going at once. While I'm waiting to here on submitted material, I'm writing on something else. This certainly keeps you occupied and moving forward.

Sometimes a response to my submission is quick. Other times, it's like putting your script in a bottle and casting it out to sea - hoping someone will read your message and find you on that deserted island bringing with them a multi-picture deal. Instead the fate of your message is never revealed. I have had one occasion where a management company who was "excited to read my work" simply never responded. No return calls, letter or e-mails. Nada. Zip. Although they were incapable of professionally passing on my material and me - their message was still clear. It's no biggie. Just cross them off the list and move on. Be thick skinned. It's just business. Some people are more professional than others, that's all. You might try a final letter asking for "closure on this matter." Sometimes that evokes a response. My only other example of "the waiting game" involved a production company that had a script of mine, which was covered. I was told the coverage came back "pretty good" and I should call back in a couple weeks. After that, they stopped returning my calls. A million things could have happened but in the end, you just have to say to yourself, "okay, fine...NEXT." I try to focus on making what I've written better while marketing what I have done. That's the best you can do and all you really have to do, too.

A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS

If you are writing (and re-writing) your work, getting good feedback from writers you respect and doing the never ending homework necessary to be a better writer - then all else is inconsequential. You're a kettle on the stove - working gradually to a boil. The heat is on and steam, forming. Just keep the flame burning and all else will take care of itself.

c. 2001pdb

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