Quite a few people have been in touch recently asking for advice, a shin up over the Great Wall of Media. They’re all shouting for help and the honest truth is, to use the highly effective language of Ed Milliband when interviewed by Russell Brand, it ain’t gonna happen right away. Most of these are requests for information on where to send a script or asking if they can send me their idea.
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I do aim to respond and I write this blog to offer advice and succour to people trying to get on in the media, whether you want to be a producer, director or writer. Or maybe you haven’t worked that out yet and that’s fine too, I’m not sure I have. It’s also a useful exercise in writing for me – it’s not totally altruistic. I’ve got to bring home the bacon, eggs and quinoa. Luckily there’s a NISA shop just a few yards away and their Heritage branded goods are excellent value plus my trip is 100% carbon neutral.
In spite of the wealth of information on this internet it can sometimes seem impossible to find simple things like contact details. Where can I get the email of that one producer who will turn my script into a BAFTA winning series that will be remade in the US followed by a film spin off of that makes me millions? It can be tricky, I mean I’ve never found that person, so if you do can you drop me a line with their email and mobile number?
Production companies don’t make it easy because if they did they’d be flooded with scripts they don’t have time to read. Some have info addresses and if you send your script to that then it may get looked at, but probably won’t. The best approach is to look at the companies who make shows you like, look at the credits, find the names of producers of shows you like. And if you can’t find an email then you could send them a hard copy – I know, old school – but I’ve recently had scripts sent to me with a letter saying how much they like shows I’ve been involved in and asking if I would look at their script. And I have, because I think, ‘Oh, that’s nice, they’ve made an effort so I’ll do the decent thing and read it.’
That’s why it’s so important to think about your approach. Find people who might be receptive to the kind of show you are hoping to make, flatter them a bit and send them a short email or letter along with your treatment and script. There’s a lot more detail on that here. Some people have contacted me and just asked, ‘I’ve got a brilliant idea where do I send it?’ or ‘Can you help me get my show made?’ whereas others have contacted me thus, ‘Dear Matt, Thanks for your informative and witty blog posts, I have read every single one of them from top to bottom’ and then introduce their request. Now, I try to reply to people who contact me, but which do you think I am more inclined to help? It just makes sense and it’s exactly what I do when I’m trying to sell shows up the chain.
There’s some useful info in another post of mine with some links. And, as ever, there is some very useful advice from James Cary and his Sitcom Geek blog. You should read his posts after you’ve read every single one of mine from top to bottom. No skimming, I know exactly how long you’ve been on the site, I see the stats.