The Blacklist

Am I Doing It Right?

Today is the day I’m supposed to get feedback for both my feature entry and my short entry to the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. While I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear what they think, I forge on with other projects.  I’ve started writing a rom-com spec and have outlined another spec, a spy thriller.  My game plan hasn’t really changed. Get the BlueCat feedback, re-write/polish, and then I’m going to try the Blacklist with it.  I’ll give it a month, then after that I’ll probably put that one on the back burner.  It’s gotten some read requests but no real traction as they like to say.  And that’s ok. It was a passion piece and it has helped me take several positive steps forward on my journey towards reaching my goals of being a professional (paid) writer.  I have learned a tremendous amount.

One of the more positive experiences having come from writing and trying to sell a spec screenplay is that it has given me a context in which to engage in conversations with some pretty well-connected people in the industry via social media.  Twitter has become the go to medium for connecting with industry people.  So far, I like to believe that I’m doing it right and yes, there is a wrong way to do it.

I try to just be me. I’m honest and forthcoming in my online interactions. I ask questions about people’s projects and interests.  I congratulate them when they share their successes.  I try to do this for everyone, not just the famous people or the bought, sold, or produced people.  I don’t have to “know” them to shoot a quick “congrats, great job!” tweet their way.  Trust me, it means the world to some one to get that little notification that says you’ve been mentioned in a tweet.  Every Friday the Twitter population participates in a great practice of sharing user’s handles with all of their followers, encouraging them to go and follow these individuals themselves.  It’s called Follow Friday, denoted with #FF.  If you get a mention in a #FF from me, it signals that I interacted with you that week in way that was educational, inspirational, or encouraging to me. I use #FF as a means of saying thank you for making me a better screenwriter.  There is a small collection of people on Twitter that I have referred to as the “Cool kids.”  These are established industry people who have been beyond kind in answering my questions, entertaining my little anecdotes, or whom have shared an article or blog post that was both inspiring and educational.  Again, my way of telling them thanks.  It’s silly, childish, and cheesy…but man it would be cool to get a #FF from one of the Cool Kids.

I believe I’m doing it right.  I do my best everyday to pay it forward; to share something or to mention some one in some way that helps them or moves them along on their own journey.  These are invaluable connections we make here in cyberspace.  I very much hope to meet some of these people someday. I’m going to leave you with some thoughts on hope. But as always, please leave me a note in the comments and let me know your thoughts.  And of course, follow me at @mcorcoran15 and feel free to give a retweet. 😉




Making Things Happen

After sending out over 200 query emails to producers, agents, and managers I’ve garnered four read requests and plenty of replies informing me of their company’s no unsolicited material policy.  In conversations with other people much more in the “know” than I, it was explained that a query letter is not unsolicited material.  Sending some one an email saying, “Hey, I wrote a movie, this is what it’s about…” is not solicitation.  If they want to read the script they’ll ask for it and when that happens, it’s no longer unsolicited.

Unsolicited.  That word is beginning to lose its meaning for me.  The more times I type it, see it, or say it out loud it transforms into nothing more than a jumble of letters and sounds.  To any other aspiring writers out there, it’s just a word that the gatekeepers use as a means of intimidation.  Be braver than them.  I found such courage this week when I actually cold called a couple of production companies.  Having researched the assistants for producers, I simply called and asked to speak to them.  One patched me through and viola, a connection.  Let me be a little clearer…no I didn’t get to tell him about my script or anything more than I’m a screenwriter and I’ve written a spec. But I was able to introduce myself, converse with this person, and being from the same city as this assistant, I was able to make a joke about an affinity towards a certain type of deep dish.  Who knows if this assistant and I will ever cross paths again. If so will he remember me?  Maybe, maybe not.  But what matters is that I made the call and spoke to some one.  To me, it’s a connection.

I’ve been told I’m being proactive.  That’s just who I am I guess.  I’ve never been some one who sits by waiting for things to happen.  I’ve always sought out opportunities to make things happen.  My screenplay, Breaking the Plane (#BTP) is entered in The BlueCat Screenplay Competition right now. I choose that for the price and for the feedback that’s included.  Being from outside of L.A., you can imagine how hard it is to find industry people to read your screenplay and give you some feedback without needing a few hundred bucks just to do so.  I plan on taking the feedback and polishing it up and then listing it on The Blacklist next month.  For the same price of a decent contest entry I can get a month’s worth of exposure plus a paid read.  Who knows…could be good.

In the meanwhile I’ve started writing the next spec script.  A rom-com that I personally believe to be pretty high concept.  Yeah, I’ve learned what that means too and that it also means something slightly different to different people. More on that in the near future.  To you fellow aspiring dreamers out there…go make something happen.  Just one thing.  Take that one thing that scares the hell out of you and go try it.  Send an email, make a phone call, enter that contest…because every time you do, you chip away at the fear factor of it until you make that one call with such confidence and moxie that all they can do is say yes…or at least not no.

As always, please leave a comment or drop me a note via email or twitter.  I would love to know your thoughts and to have your questions. Until next time…