Here’s a story I hear all the time….
A talented writer with great material gets signed by a representative.
This is a major victory – but it often leads to a crushing defeat.
Here’s what happens:
This rep (agent or manager) sets up meetings for them all over town.
It’s sometimes known in the business as “The Water Bottle Tour.”
It’s called that because everywhere you go, assistants are always offering hospitality, e.g., “Can I get you a bottle of water?”
You get the idea.
So, the writer meets with executives, producers, directors, stars, and more.
All these meetings with powerful people – it feels amazing.
Everyone is really friendly and gives the writer great compliments.
The writer is thinking:
“Finally – I’ve made it!”
But… the writer will make zero sales and get zero paying assignments.
Eventually, the writer’s rep says:
“You know, this isn’t really working out.”
And the writer is back to square one – writing spec material to rekindle interest around town, and hoping for another chance to meet VIPs, make sales, and get hired.
Except for one thing – it’s not square one.
It’s actually further back.
Because at this point, the writer no longer has one of the biggest advantages:
The element of surprise.
The Element Of Surprise
When you launch your career, get a representative, and start meeting decision-makers for the first time, you’re fresh, new, and shiny.
When you walk in the door the first time, decision-makers are hoping to be swept off their feet. They want you to be the solution to their creative problems, and they have plenty of money to spend if you are.
But if don’t convert that meeting into a sale, assignment, and an ongoing (professional) relationship… you’ve lost the element of surprise.
You’re not fresh, new, and shiny anymore. You’re someone they’ve already said “No” to once, and that makes it more likely that they will say “No” to you again.
Now, if you’re reading this and this has happened to you, don’t despair.
There’s a way to regain the element of surprise and “re-introduce” yourself if you’re careful and strategic about it.
If You Only Learn One Thing
Here’s what you need to understand:
You break in based on your writing.
But you stay in based on a complete different set of criteria for which most writers have very little training.
And whether or not you break in AND stay in has a lot to do with how you prepare to introduce (or re-introduce) yourself to Hollywood in the first place.
In other words, you need to prepare for what I call, “the launch.”
This is where my consulting services come in.
Are You Ready To Launch?
There are a variety of ways you can be ready to launch.
Typically, it requires having a minimum of two excellent scripts in the same medium and the same genre that have been vetted by professionals, e.g. producers, directors, agents, managers, working screenwriters, professors, script readers, etc. The more material you have, the better.
Other options include having excellent work in another area, e.g., a successful career as a stand-up comic, a best-selling book or series of books, a popular body of work as a playwright, journalist, or academic, or you’re a celebrity or you have a life story that has received national news coverage and significant exposure….
This is a really high bar and I understand that.
You might be thinking to yourself,
“Geez, if I had such great material, or if I was an already famous/successful person, I wouldn’t need your help to launch my career.”
For some people that is true. As I said in the beginning, my consulting services are not right for everyone.
Some people, however, still need strategic guidance.
This is because the launch has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with the complex social politics of the Hollywood jungle and the dynamics of high-stakes meetings.
You have to generate the right meetings, position yourself correctly, persuasively represent your abilities, and effectively sell your material.
And I have experienced this process from all sides.
As an executive,
I have taken over 3000+ pitch meetings, bought new material from and hired first-time writers, and supervised the production of 20+ feature films with multi-million dollar budgets.
As a writer,
I have sat on the other side of the table – where you are – gotten my own agent, taken meetings with decision-makers, and sold my own projects (e.g. my book deal with Random House).
As a consultant
I have helped many writers to break into Hollywood, sell scripts, get hired to write on assignment, get staffed on TV shows, find representation, and have lucrative, lasting creative careers.
My goal is to help you convert your launch into a water bottle tour, convert that water bottle tour into at least one sale and/or one job, and leverage that success into a career as a full-time creative professional.
What I Do And Don’t Do
I provide you with tactical training and strategic guidance in developing your network, nurturing VIP relationships, pitching yourself and your work, and crushing high-stakes meetings.
However, I don’t provide you with story or script notes, write your pitches, or introduce you to decision-makers.
If that’s disappointing to you, I understand. Many people come to me hoping I will make an introduction for them and so I want to be very clear on this point:
I don’t make introductions for you because that makes you dependent on me.
However, I will absolutely teach you how to make introductions and get referrals for yourself, and I have a proven track record helping writers to do just that.
I don’t “give you a fish” one time.
I teach you “how to fish” for the rest of your life.
What We Will Cover
Identifying what you want (both short-term and long-term) and the steps needed to get you there.
Mapping your network, identifying feedback groups and VIPs, and determining potential/ideal representatives.
Online identity, handling Q & A about yourself, and positioning yourself as an expert in a specific area.
Determining your priority project and handling project-specific Q & A.
Premise pitch, genesis pitch, and comparison pitch development.
Tactics for handling each of the five stages of successful meetings as well as techniques for pitch meetings, general meetings, creative meetings, and notes meetings.
Creative process guidelines, writing efficiently, choosing top-quality experts, resources, and more to help you avoid wasting time and focus on the actions that make the biggest impact.
What Others Say
Oscar-nominated writer/director, Lilo & Stitch, How To Train Your Dragon
Iris Rainer Dart
Best-selling author of Beaches
Screenwriter of Cocoon, Free Willy
Producer, Tolkien & Lewis
Writer, Southland, Rectify, Ray Donovan
How The Consulting Process Works
First, you’ll send me a brief application and answer a few simple questions.
I do not work with everyone who applies to work with me to make sure I am able to significantly impact the career of each client.
Also, I encourage you to ask me any questions to make sure we are a good fit and the expectations on both sides are clear.
If we agree to work together, you’ll pay the fee, I’ll send you a detailed questionnaire and we’ll set a time for an initial Skype videoconference session to get to know each other.
From that point, the process lasts 8 weeks.
The goal is to help you prepare the ingredients you need to launch.
Starting with our initial meeting, I’ll give you homework assignments on a weekly basis. I will also include free access to all my online courses to facilitate your ability to do the assignments.
Further assignments will be sent via email and can be returned via email or posted online on a secure website (depending on the assignment).
When you turn in your assignments, I’ll evaluate them, give you any notes I may have, and send you your next assignments.
My goal is to help you develop:
- A specific career strategy
- A detailed networking strategy
- At least one short pitch and one complete pitch you can deliver without notes at a moment’s notice
- An “Answerbank” containing answers to questions you anticipate being asked (both personal and professional)
- A clear plan for your next steps.
Finally, at the end of the 8 weeks you will have a 60-minute mock general meeting with me via videoconference where you’ll use all of the launch ingredients you’ve been preparing and practicing.
What Does It Cost?
Let me put everything on the table right away:
My consulting package is not right for most people.
It takes a lot of time and energy (both yours and mine).
So I’m really only looking for a certain kind of client for whom I can deliver maximum value.
The fee is $5,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s your policy on confidentiality?
How much money can I expect to make as a film/TV writer?
Would you represent me as an agent?
Do you work on commission?
What’s your refund policy?
What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?
Application And Availability
Currently my consulting slate is full.
However, spots do open up from time to time. I’d be happy to put you on the Waitlist. I will get in touch as soon as a spot is available.
Thanks for reading this page.
My goal with consulting is to help the people who are at the right point in their careers to benefit most from my services.
If you are unsure about whether consulting is right for you, there’s a good chance that you may be better off working through one or more of my courses which contain the advice I give most often to my consulting clients and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
However, if you are sure that consulting with me is right for you, then I absolutely encourage you to apply and I look forward to getting to know you better.