Monday, June 27, 2011

Red Carpet Dreams

I can't take credit for that term -- Red Carpet Dreams -- that is the phrase used in the amazing Erika Lyremark's coaching course the Daily Whip; but I do have some for-real Red Carpet Dreams. I just finished the first draft the new script Beauty School that I was hired by a client to write. My client really let me loose and I used his story points to write the whole thing, which he fell in love with. Now we both think it's very funny, but the real test is to come when we begin the marketing process to Hollywood. My client is very good friends with an A-list producer (whose name I may or may not share later) who he had cracking up over the various scenes in the script. Now the producer wants to read the whole thing and awaits the final draft. Since I was burned last year by a crazy pathological liar, I am much more cautious about this project and where it's going to go. But if there is one thing I do know is despite setbacks, it's super important to keep your big aspirations big, but just don't put too much helium in your balloon so your brain floats into the "stars" where you're not extremely mindful of what's going on. I can assure you I will never find myself in a position where I'm not checking and double-checking that what is being said to me is true. This year has been an awful revelation that I'm way too trusting. The final burn came when someone I was associated with in business and completely trusted turned out to be Liar, Liar Pants on Fire II. In my disgusted dismay, I realized I've really got to get rid of my "sucker" tattoo. And with that and a new day, I will be very careful as we move forward with Beauty School. Now this producer has volunteered to help us get an agent and nail down any changes he might think the script needs. That's really fabulous. In wake of these bad situations, here are three tips to protect yourself if you're selling a novel or script:

Tip #1 Registration or copyright protection -- you should register your script with the Screenwriter's Guild of America or if you have a novel, do cheap copyright protection and send a manuscript in a sealed envelope to yourself and don't break the seal. You can also copyright with the federal copyright office, but that often takes a lot of time when you're trying to move forward, so do the first cheap route first.

Tip #2 Don't be afraid to pick up the phone -- if you've got a third party involved whether it's a manager or an agent or even just a colleague helping out, validate what is said. If you're told a producer wants to develop your script idea, call the producer. Anyone looking for a business relationship with you, will take that call or call you back. If your "manager" or agent says stuff like this would undermine their efforts, something fishy is going on. And never allow your manager to control the relationship with you. You are the boss not the other way around. If that's going on, something stinks and you should find out. So make your own calls.

Tip #3 Don't trust someone just because they say so -- the one thing I've learned after this last year of unearthing non-stop duplicity, in particular by someone I did really think I knew and trusted, is don't take things at face value. Watch your business associates carefully. If they do things like openly lie about something, anything at all, watch your back. If they do something in their personal lives that is alarming and scandalous and involved lies, watch your back. Past actions predict future actions. Once a liar always a liar. And you should be very careful if you have someone like that around you and think twice about that affiliation.

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