I’m just going to start titling all of my blog posts with quotes from John Hughes movies. Because nothing says “I have given up” like plagiarism. Is that how you spell it? I GIVE UP.
I sent my screenplay to Amazon Studios over a week ago. Apparently, Amazon doesn’t only have Scott Toilet Paper in a convenient 24 pack, but they also make movies and shit. So I sent it over on a Saturday and it got rejected on a Monday morning.
A couple of things…
I edited my screenplay per Amazon’s specifications with the exception of the page count. I submitted a 163-page screenplay but according to their requirements, they ideally would like something to be no more than 160 pages.
I had already edited the crap out of it because of Amazon’s specifications, YES, I KNOW I AM GOING ABOUT THIS THE WRONG WAY and chopped, like, 10 pages out of my screenplay. So by the time I got to 163 pages, I was like HEY AMAZON KISS MY ASS HERE’S MY SCREENPLAY.
I naïvely thought, oh three pages off isn’t bad. Because I cut ten pages out. Even though Amazon had no clue of the screenplay hacking, I mean editing. YES, I KNOW I AM GOING ABOUT THIS THE WRONG WAY.
I have a couple of theories about why it got rejected so quickly.
1- It sucked.
2- It was read by a 22-year-old intern that hates his/her life and had to work the weekend shift SO SCREW YOUR MIDLIFE CRISIS SCREENPLAY.
3- It was three pages over. That was the rule. You go home now.
4- John Hughes? WHO IN THE HELL IS THAT?? Read reason #2.
But this is the thing: I didn’t get upset about it. Which is shocking considering I have been known to get really emotionally distraught over simple things. I actually had a worse reaction to my DVR, not recording last week’s Real Housewives of New Jersey than I did about the screenplay that I put my heart and soul into, getting rejected by the first place I submitted it.
I’m a peach.
The day I was rejected by Amazon, I decided to Google WHERE TO SUBMIT YOUR SCREENPLAY. Again.
I found an article about how to get an agent for your screenplay…I NEED A DAMN AGENT?!?!……but I clicked on it anyway because HOLY CRAP I NEED AN AGENT.
It was written by Brian Koppelman who has written lots of movies of which I had never heard of but that means nothing because I get out to see a movie once a year. This year it was Pretty in Pink, YES, I KNOW I HAVE A SICKNESS. Anyway, I read the article and it was really amazingly helpful because he didn’t bullshit me. (I feel like Brian was talking to only me, go with it. I am vulnerable) Essentially he said, it is hard to get into this business, which I knew.
Then it got me to thinking, I don’t want to be in that business. I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want to live in Hollywood. I don’t want to be ridiculously rich. I KNOW I AM DOING IT THE WRONG WAY.
But I don’t. The reason I wrote this screenplay is that I love John Hughes.
Have I mentioned that before?
I wrote it as a love letter from a generation that adores him. I swear I am not certifiable.
I think a lot of people who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s will understand this. He “got” us.
And I just feel like we can have a friggin’ George Lucas museum but not a John Hughes museum? THOSE STAR WARS PEOPLE ARE PISSING ME OFF.
So I wrote about it.
Not about George Lucas and the Star Wars people, but about John Hughes. STAY WITH ME.
My original mindset was simply this: the movie Blues Brothers was once a screenplay. Someone gave up money to make Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion into a movie. One word: Sharknado.
There are a lot of movies out there that made me very confident in my screenplay writing. HELLO STEPBROTHERS.
In the article, Brian (because we be BUDS now) said that if you want to get attention for your screenplay, you should do things like making a movie on the cheap of a scene from said screenplay to get people interested.
Or share it on your blog/website. Although I don’t know how I would do that, YES, I KNOW I AM DOING IT THE WRONG WAY.
So now, I am plotting ways to make my movie to plaster all over the interwebs.
I am starting to get a cast in place, sort of, and I have a camera person and even a location. Possibly.
In the midst of all of this, I found a felt board at Hobby Lobby.
A felt board with letters to write anything you want all willy nilly!
It was $34.99 at Hobby Lobby BUT it was 50% off, so $17.45 on sale which is very do-able especially because I want to say awful, AWFUL things on this board.
Oh wait, I have kids. Never mind.
But then I was inspired!
I WILL WRITE JOHN HUGHES MOVIE QUOTES ON THIS BOARD!
I WILL SEE THE BOARD AND IT WILL INSPIRE ME TO NOT GIVE UP!
JOHN HUGHES WOULD WANT IT THAT WAY!
YES, I KNOW THIS KIND OF CRAZY GETS PEOPLE INSTITUTIONALIZED!
Life is too short to be normal.
So on a gloomy and cold October Saturday, I made a sign.
Not a sign from God sign but a sign.
Or maybe it is……..
It is right above where I sit and write daily. When I am writing about where to find the best kid-friendly taco stand in suburban Chicago, Ferris is watching. When I am writing about how to paint a piece of crap to make it look pretty, Ferris is there.
I will not forget my screenplay. I will not let it fall by the wayside. I will not be afraid to share it with other people.
Pass the Pepto Bismol.
12 thoughts on “Ferris Bueller, You’re My Hero”
Can I recommend a book? Because I, too, have been toying with writing a screenplay. And there may be a mature female protagonist going through a major life change. Hmmm ….
Anyways, the book is called Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. The subtitle is “The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need.” It really is a great book that cuts to the chase and gives you what you need to know and do.
Good luck! 🙂 Linda
I actually think my screenplay would work better as a play not as a movie.
And I have thought of a book but I kind of want to see if it could be made into a play first.
DO IT LINDA. Seriously. It has been one of the most cathartic things I have ever done. Even if it never makes it onto a stage or screen, it was completely worth it.
DO NOT LET THIS SCREENPLAY GO AWAY.
You are a peach, and funny, and talented, and I think it’s ridic that you need an agent just to get someone to read a friggin’ screenplay.
I’d see that movie. I need someone to care about John Hughes like all those people care about Star Wars, which I love but let’s face it, it’s been done enough. Yes I just said that.
Cut the last three pages off your screenplay and resubmit it.
OH my gosh! YES!! I will do that!
You are the best, thank you!
You are COMPLETELY certifiable, which is why you are great. All the greats (think Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, the old actor scared of antique furniture…what was his name?) were thought as certifiable at one point…until they became fabulously famous and ridiculously rich!! Which you will become too…didn’t all the greats fail many, many times and get rejected before they were noticed? Think Dr. Seuss!! I’m so glad you’re not a quitter!!! You inspire me. I need to open up a blog all my own just to promote your screenplay/video/promo.
YOU NEED TO BLOG AGAIN.
I love you for all of this.
First, that quote board is amazing. Second, you are amazing. Third, at least they didn’t wait months to then reject you? That is how you look on the positive side, right? Keep at it! Those 22 year old interns suck – but they also are 22 and tend to not last long soooo maybe rework those few pages and submit again!!
Exactly! Thank you for your support. Sending you a big hug.
I’m sorry I’ve been out of the interwebs loop, so I missed this. (It has been a shitshow in my world of late. And the world world.)
I don’t think you’re doing it wrong. You’re doing it exactly right–you’re putting stuff out there, you’re taking steps to learn, you’re believing in yourself. Original work always seems crazy/out there/possibly sick when the person doing it is starting out/not yet known.
One of the best things I ever did was attend a conference for children’s book writers and illustrators. (I am not a writer or illustrator of children’s books, but I had an idea for a YA book.) The best part of the conference was when we were all invited to submit a first page from our manuscript and sit in the auditorium while an editor from a major publishing house explained why she would or wouldn’t read the second page if it came across her desk. It was 45 minutes into the session before she said she’d read the second page. For each, she explained why she wouldn’t. What I learned was that there are all kinds of reasons, some of which have little to do with the quality of the manuscript. Lots have to do with the tastes, quirks, and needs of the person who reads it. Lots have to do with the needs of the publishing company, what else they’ve signed on for, the market in general. At the end, she only chose two manuscripts to take to page 2. I think it was a 3-hour session. TWO. And that was a commitment only to turn the page.
You just keep going, you.
This I needed to hear. I know my screenplay isn’t going to suit everyone but the fact that it is out there and I got to write it, well that is honestly where I want to be right now.
I need to get better and trying to get it out there more.
I have edits I know I want to make and yet it sits barren.
Maybe tonight I will take care of those edits.
Do you read Seth Godin? (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/) He posts daily. He preaches the need to be our authentic selves and about the dangers of trying to connect with everyone (which results in connecting with no one). He’s a marketing guy, but I find his ideas useful in all kinds of ways. I think you’d really like what he says.
I am heading there now. Thank you!