If you have ever written a book, magazine article, or screen play, you know how difficult it can be to have your “brilliant” work of literature published. At least you thought it was “brilliant!” Fret no more; Skip Press
has come to our rescue with his extremely helpful guide entitled Writer’s Guide To Hollywood Producers, Directors, and Screenwriter’s Agents-2002-2003.
Although the book concerns itself primarily with screenwriting and which doors to knock on in order to sell your script, many of the principles can also be applicable to any literary “oeuvre.” One caveat, however, the book does not purport to guaranty you instant success. Only if you have the talent, patience and perseverance can you hope to attain your goals.
Obviously written by an experienced screenwriter, this book is organized into three principal sections: Writer’s Guide, All About Agents, Lawyers, and Managers, All about Producers and Directors. It is to be noted that the final section of the book includes a compendia of names, addresses, web sites, telephone numbers of just about everyone who inhabit the small village of Hollywood and who make things happen.
What I found most interesting about the book was that even though I had no interest in the subject matter, I felt the author had invited me to this giant cocktail party where I was networking with people who could help my career if I had been an aspiring screenwriter.
You may ask how can a book accomplish this feat? The reply is, the author, in order to show the way to possible success, cleverly uses quotes from a wealth of interviews, personal conversations and emails with such well-known luminaries as Joanne Harris, best known for her novel Chocolat and comic stalwart, Dwayne McDuffie, who created the comedy series Damage Control. One email received by Press is of particular interest as it was sent to him by Leslie Kallen, who is a mainstay in helping writers begin their careers. The communication signals sixty directives that you should memorize if you wish to achieve success.
After reading these interviews we can well understand that having a screenplay accepted and filmed is to put it mildly, a struggle. We should have no illusions that once we write a screenplay it will be instantaneously accepted. We have to know where the gatekeepers are located and how to approach them.
If you are an aspiring screenwriter and your bookshelf is not full, this book should occupy a special place, particularly if you have spent years in knocking your head against the wall in order to sell your script. As a reference guide explaining the “nuts and bolts” of how screenplays are sold and subsequently produced, the book deserves an “A.”