‘Bout twelve years ago I was writing a DARK COMEDY about a terminally-single female coroner feeling major peer pressure to get married before she turned 35.
So, wanting the approval of her wedding planner Mom and wedding-crazy friends…
…she “creates” a “dream husband”…with parts from the cadavers she works with.
And while MY UNDEAD WEDDING was never gonna be a great fit for Disney or the Lifetime Channel…
…I felt pretty confident I could sell it to small studio looking for some quirky low-budget fare.
Then I got a call from a college buddy of mine who said he could get MY SCRIPT in the hands of a VERY FAMOUS FILM PRODUCER.
This wasn’t some SON OF A FAMOUS DIRECTOR, looking for a way to expense his Jaguar repair bills and monthly cocaine habit.
A REAL PRODUCER. With REAL CREDITS. And REAL JUICE to get scripts sold and made.
Holee-crap! This was my BIG chance.
I quit my job. Cashed in my 401k. Sold my 1989 Mazda 626. (God, I loved that car.)
And decided, to put “My Undead Wedding” on the shelf, so as to spend the next 12 weeks WRITING THE BEST AND MOST AWESOME COMMERCIAL SCRIPT ever.
This time I was gonna be strategic. I was gonna have a plan.
I was gonna be a full-on screenwriting NINJA.
I found out what kinds of projects the PRODUCER liked to buy. (Feel-good romantic comedies.)
I watched every high-grossing studio Rom-Com that had been released in the last five years. (No person should have to watch that much Kirsten Dunst. Ever.)
I made copious notes about:
-Their recurring themes
-Their adherence to Syd Field’s 3-act structure
-Their reliance on big stars to get made
-Their poster design
-What occupations the lead was likely to have (journalists and fashion designers were big)
-The average length each scene was, etc.
And I put those 12 weeks of research, planning, energy, effort — and well-earned tendonitis — into my new opus: “The Romantic Life of Abby Carlton”….
A romantic comedy spec about a fashion journalist who hires her unemployed musician neighbor to “pretend” to be her dreamy stockbroker fiance, only to fall in love with him in the process. (Ground-breaking, I know.)
I didn’t think it’d win me an Oscar. (No doubt, my next script would do that.) But I knew for sure, I had a winning, selling script.
And so I sent it to the BIG SHOT PRODUCER.
Then waited. And waited. And waited.
And finally, I met with the BIG SHOT PRODUCER.
And I learned MORE in that twenty-two minutes of agony than I did in four (and a half) years of film school.
But this email has gone WAY, WAY LONGER than I intended. So I’ll have to give you the BIG REVEAL tomorrow. (It’ll take me too long to go into WHY the meeting was so important.)
But, trust me. It’ll be worth it. (And it may just save you years and years of wasted time and energy on scripts that won’t move the needle on your career.)
Michael “Unabashed James Taylor Fan” Rogan
P.S. This might be my favorite VIDEO EVER. The Onion has an “exclusive” interview in this video with the 5-year-old screenwriter of Fast and Furious 6.