4) Make connections.
I’d like to share a story.
I wrote a script called Barricade some years back. It was one of the scripts that did well in the Nicholl Fellowhips competition, and the script made its way around Hollywood. Everyone was “a fan” (this, by the way, is Hollywood code for “you ain’t seein’ no money from me today”). One of the fans was a junior executive at a major production company. We will call him Johnny. Johnny loved Barricade. He was “a fan.” I took several meetings with Johnny and others at the prodco. Every time I met someone new I made sure to get a business card and either write or email them within a day or two of meeting them to let them know it had been a pleasure and if there was ever anything I could do for them, I was happy to chat.
Five years went by.
Then, out of the blue, Johnny called. Barricade had not been purchased by his production company originally because they were not interested in doing that kind of a story. But Johnny liked Barricade. And he had liked me, and liked the fact that I emailed him to say hi every few months.
Subsequent to the original meeting, everyone at the production company was fired except Johnny. The new senior executive walked into Johnny’s office, told him he wanted to do a ghost story, and Johnny promptly handed him Barricade, which had been sitting on his bookshelf waiting for just the right moment. I had stayed in touch, Barricade was a good piece of work, and those combined to make Johnny my own personal champion. Papers were signed within a matter of weeks, leading to a fairly lucrative deal including some rewriting which took something in the order of a week and for which I was paid an obscene amount of money.
But this would not have happened if I had not taken care to keep myself in Johnny’s mind.
CONTINUE TO PART 5