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Screenwriters Letters, cont.

From James Conrad: "I coauthored 'Filmmaker's Dictionary' and offer, free, on my website 'Screenwriters' Collaboration Agreement' forms. Both are ready to print out and use, or you can copy, paste and modify them for your particular needs." James' website can be found at

And this from honest, if crusty, producer Andy Halmay, president of Veni Vici Entertainment: "Hi, Esther ... Yes, I have an answer and I'll bless you if you use it, but it's probably not what aspiring screenwriters want to hear.

A writer must remember that screen writing, if not out-and-out prostitution, is relegated to low-class everything. Buyers seek so-called 'commercial' ideas and scripts, i.e., catering to the lowest common denominator.

As a contributor to the team that creates the film, while all sorts of credit is given to the importance of the script, the industry doesn't really buy that. In reality, it is the director's medium. If you have any ego you want to preserve, you shouldn't be writing for the screen.

If you are really prompted to WRITE, then write books. It will spare you having to deal with a great many sub-humans, spare you endless meetings with morons, it will give you far more satisfaction and prestige if, and when, you sell a book and it is successful and, eventually, it may be bought for the screen at which time you might insist on doing the screenplay but, better yet, take the money, put on blinders, and run." And there you have it, folks! What can I say?

From ANGELA HITES, Taos, New Mexico: "I don't know how to thank you! I've been trying for five years to get somebody to read my work, somebody in Hollywood/LA, and got nowhere. Today I found your web site (by accident) and queried several of the producers who say they'll read new writers scripts. Within two hours I got four invitations to submit my script!!!! Two hours! and I'd been trying for 5 years!!!! I'm about to have a heart attack I'm so excited. May I let you know what happens? Gratefully, Angela Hites". I'm hyperventilating just reading your note. Yes yes yes! Let us all know.

From DUSTIN (no last name): "I just came up on (your web site) and wanted to tell you thank you for what you have on the site. It's to the point and honest, but extremely uplifting. I'm currently working on my third feature and my last one has been picked for production by a local company. Here's to the future. Dustin." Keep us posted on your progress, Dustin!

Kansas City writer, JOHN SHEA: "At the same time that I'm excited to possibly start my life in screenwriting, I'm also very frightened. But my fear is quelled often and I'll tell you how. I want you to know that I've begun to look at you as a mentor. Your book was exactly the material I needed to find my voice as a writer. I printed out an email that you sent me after you read my script. At some point in it you said the words, "You are a fine, fine writer, John" and that stuck with me. As I was writing some time later I realized that those words, and your book, were ultimately what made me comfortable with the craft of screenwriting. I have an analytical mind and, as a result, I never really remember or understand anything until I understand how it functions. Your book taught me how a script functions in a production, and that was everything I needed to know in order to find my voice. It unlocked that thing inside me that kept saying, "You're doing this wrong! You're doing this wrong!" And I think when a writer starts to feel comfortable, and in control of what he writes, then he finds his voice. There was something about all those events, that email, those words, my level of comfort, it all just clicked one day and I keep that email taped to my computer to remind me that nothing can stop me. Thank you for everything you do. John A. Shea." My goodness, John ... what can I say except that you, and letters like yours, make it all worthwhile. My best thoughts and wishes go with you. Please let us know of your progress as a screenwriter. Esther


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