Glad You Asked Dept. 5/5/14
Woohoo! Question time. And today’s question, from Linda D, is one that every single one of us – including me – has asked ourselves and others at least once or twice in our lives:
I would like to get your professional opinion regarding a management and production company I’ve been dealing with for about two years. I like them and understand that selling stuff to TV is tough, but basically I have put my faith and trust in one guy who claims to know a lot of people and am still waiting for something to happen.
How long should I continue to give him exclusives on my TV projects? Is there a litmus test that you can recommend to determine if the company is serious or just full of talk? I’m too old to start running out to L.A and would like to believe that the company is on the up and up because, for me this is the only game in town.
As you who frequent this site probably can guess, this is far from the first time I’ve had to field this question. Here’s where I stand:
Dear Linda D,
Linda, the test is simple: Look at the track record of the company or, if it’s a one-man operation, of the man. What shows does he have on the air now? What shows has he had recently? If the company reps talent in some way, get the client list. Are these people working? Have they worked in the past? IMDB.Com is excellent for finding the answers to these questions. So are various interweb showbiz forums like Quora, or the writing groups on LinkedIn. (I always type “KinkedIn.” Wonder why.)
I did a little due diligence on the company you named in your e-mail. Its credits – and those of its CEO – don’t impress me. Theyare few and old and, frankly, second rate, especially when you consider that they’re probably exaggerated for business purposes. I don’t really see anything happening there, and even if he/they strongly believe in you, it looks to me like your reliance on this belief is hurting you more than helping. If the only game in town never pays out, it’s not a game you want to play. At least, it’s not a game I’d want to play.
Considering that this is Hollywood, another way of looking at the situation is this: The people and companies with real influence and power aren’t looking for clients on LinkedIn or Facebook. They’re turning people down. You want to find someone who’s turning down everyone else in the universe because s/he is already swamped with high money deals. Of course, then you have to figure out why that person should want you. In terms of your writing, the reason for that should be that you’ve written something so spectacular that it’s impossible for anyone to not want to get involved with you and grab onto the fortune you’re worth.
Did that last bit sound facetious? It’s not supposed to. It’s the real way the biz works. Super talent will win out. So, for that matter, will super friendship with a big shot. Or sleeping with the big shot. But talent is more reliable and you get to feel prouder of yourself.
You know, a couple of weeks ago TVWriter™ re-posted an article recently the point of which was that considering the comparatively teeny amount of money and fame most writers – even successful ones – get over their careers, the only real reason to write is because you simply love the act of writing, and find yourself thoroughly entertained and fulfilled by the act of self-expression. I think this is something every creative person needs to keep in mind. Especially at frustrating crossroads in our lives.
That’s it, gang. I love addressing these issues, but I can’t answer if you don’t ask. So send your questions and make everyone’s day!