Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Rule of Thumb

A guy wrote to me asking if I wouldn't mind looking over a contract for him.

Huh? I'm not a lawyer. I have no legal experience. Why would anyone want my opinion about a contract? I advised him to find an entertainment lawyer - a good one, and the money would be well spent.

Hire the right person to do the job. Hire a pro. Get the person who will do the job right the first time and you'll live happily ever after.


But wait. There's more...

Same guy writes, saying that some people want to get involved in his project -- they want to be in senior positions, creatively and in production. What do I think? I reviewed their credentials - and they had no related experience. They'd never produced or directed a show. Hell, they'd never even worked in TV production in any capacity.

Scratching my head, I asked they guy who wrote to me - why he'd even consider working with people who admittedly didn't know what they were doing? He said that they were good "family men". They had the same values as him.

More head scratching on my part. I wished the guy luck. He's going to need it. Lots of it.

There is a very good Rule of Thumb in screenwriting (or any kind of writing for that matter):
If a scene doesn't advance the plot or character development - cut it. Every scene should advance the story or tell us more about the character. If it doesn't, its a waste of time.

Likewise, everyone who you bring onto your project should be able to advance it in some way. Your agent should set up meetings. Partners should bring something to the table with them - money, skills, connections. Otherwise, they're not helping you - they're dragging you down - and you should ditch them.

All the good intentions in the world won't get the job done if you don't have the right people with the right skills.


  1. Sounds like common sense. Hey what do you think about Robert Kosberg who has online pitch site? You can pitch him anything but you have to buy his cd first.

  2. Well, this Kosberg guy does have a track record of getting things done. While I've never heard of the "buy my CD and I'll listen to your pitch" angle, hey if it works...