The Mail I Get…

I am not a reviewer. I am not a chiropractor. And yet I get mail like this…The typos, by the way, are his own.

Subject: Book pn chiropractic
Date: 9/17/2004 4:16:24 PM Pacific Daylight Time

From: DrChot@aol.com

I would appeciate a review of my book 2nd edition ,See www,drchot.com Will be happy to send a copy or two. THe book addresses what is a national fraud expending huge sums of money on unscientific care best spent on prescription drugs and medical research Thank you L.A.Chotkowski MD FACP New EnGland Books.

Why do I get this stuff???

How NOT to Sell Your Book to Television

I got this unsolicited email today:

I have published a book and am interested in selling the television rights. I will send you a copy upon request, but you can go to http://www.authorhouse.com/ and see a synopsis and excerpts from sample chapters. The book is titled "Six Days of the Pigs" and I wrote it under the pen name R.J. Carrie-Reddington. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to publish it under a pen name, but if you are interested, I can explain my reasons for doing so. Thanks for your attention. If you are interested in representing me, please advise.

How’s that for salesmanship? After reading that compelling pitch, is it any wonder this book was self-published? Ordinarily, I would have deleted the message and moved on… but I’m writing under an insane deadline, so any opportunity for procrastination is, of course, welcome. And I haven’t posted anything on my blog in a while. So I checked out the site. Here’s how R.J. Carrie-Reddington describes his novel:

A story about the people of Eastern North Carolina, awash with hogs, and the men, women and children caught in a mixture of loving and fighting between the love of good living and the love of money. The story is about how powerful politicians and bureaucrats are pitted against citizens who want to live a life of quality. It tells about six days of fast-moving events which are the culmination of simmering happenings of romance, illicit sex and violence that leads to murder. The six days end with a horrific tale of fire and mass destruction, and teaches a lesson. The plot was set in a real time of events. The story depicts the interaction between power and money seekers and those average folks who kept functioning routinely each day…

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book where "the plot was set in a real time of events." So I gave the first chapter a peek…and didn’t get past the powerful first line:

Midway between dawn and sunrise the Tuesday morning air, heavy with nature’s fog, reeked with the acrid odor of pig feces as the skinny white man stood at the edge of the front porch, listening to Addie cry.

Now I know why he approached me. I’m a skinny white man and I wrote for "The Highwayman." If anyone can make television that reeks of the acrid odor of pig feces, it’s me!

The Mail I Get

As an on-going feature of my blog, I share some of the strange emails I get from complete strangers. Most of these strangers want to sell me their script, book, or TV show ideas…even though I’m not a network, studio, or publishing company… but a writer/producer with his own scripts, books and TV show ideas to sell.

This particular pitch is for a reality show. The teacher who sent this didn’t even bother to address it to me personally or to take the time to find out whether this is even the kind of show I do — which it isn’t.

Someone should teach this teacher that spamming complete strangers with her ideas is an inane way to sell a show…

Then again, I think I just did.

Diane Bancroft
Special Education Teacher
Potter-Thomas Elementary School
Philadelphia, PA 19446

Mailing Address:
415 Acorn Street
Lansdale, PA 19446

August 10, 2004

Dear Producer:

This letter seeks to promote my concept for a reality based television show. I am writing to you specifically because I believe that you favor diverse and minority centered programming that helps me connect with minorities outside of my anglo-suburbanite experience.

To provide a brief description of my unique qualifications and experience, I would like you to know that I have been a teacher for five years. This will be my third year in a bilingual school in North Philadelphia. I work in a section of the city that may or may not still be known as the Badlands. Steve Lopez wrote a book about our neighborhood entitled Third and Indiana. I work on Sixth and Indiana and often have situations in the classroom and in the neighborhood that would make a Vietnam Vet revert to infancy. Since
the last administration failed to fund the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND law and it is time for an election, I feel that a reality based tv show focusing on the specific needs of new teachers within the nation’s most dangerous schools would highlight the issues that we deal with when teaching in an urban
setting that most people would not otherwise consider. We teachers who chose to teach in the nation’s public schools are unsung soldiers in a forgotten war that is taking place amidst the smouldering ashes of the War on Drugs.

Consider this outline:

In The Front Row: Staying Ahead with America’s Most Courageous Teachers In the Badlands of the School District of Philadelphia

Setting:

Cigar Factory Condominiums in Northern Liberties ($369,000)
Sometimes in the classroom (minimum of 4 teaching evaluations per
teacher/year)
Sometimes on SEPTA
Sometimes at the Boriquen Bella or otherwise in the neighborhood
Sometimes in the teachers lounge, principal’s office, police station, etc.
Sometimes on the recess yard.
Sometimes professionally handling a really difficult behavioral situation.
Sometimes in church???? You don’t think we would survive without prayer!

Characters:

Five willing, new, young teachers, diverse and at least semi-bilingual.

Objectives:

1. To expose the difficulties and dramas of a profession considered to be
“easy.”
2. To showcase Philadelphia, it’s pros and cons, and it‘s beauty and
squallor.
3. To influence public opinion towards educational legislation
4. To help five new teachers improve and develop as teachers
5. To recruit potential teachers to the city of Philadelphia
6. To improve conditions for the school children of Potter-Thomas
7. To heighten awareness towards urban education

Rationale:

Being a teacher in North Philadelphia is an experience that shapes every aspect of my life. I have always wanted to be an educator. Probably since I was eight years old. The teacher let me teach part of a class. I was instantly hooked. In North Philadelphia, it is not unusual to see millions of crack vials. Sometimes people leave their works right in front of the school. I’ve seen a razor blade in the playground outside of the kindergarten classroom. Sometimes I go to student’s homes because phones are disconnected, or mom is watching several young children and can not get away. Once I almost got carjacked right in front of the school. I want people to see these images in this day of terrorism. I want them to see school aged-children hanging upside down from the handle of a moving ice cream truck and then justify to me why Philadelphia has slashed funding for rec centers. I want people to know that my colleague was hit with a board with nails sticking out of it as he tried to teach an emergency coverage when no substitute could be
provided. People need to see what a crack baby looks like when he flips out. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

The public will fall in love with our young educators who are so fresh, street tough, idealistic, and bilingual!! We have a formidable administrative team comprised of minority women I respect and adore and I
really want to see us all succeed. I believe this project will get us there!

Please help me by forwarding my ideas to an able bodied producer who can really sink his or her teeth into this sort of project. I expect that it will take us a little over a year to shoot and produce. There will
certainly be nor shortage of drama, humor, or material!

Sincerely yours,

Diane Bancroft Thomson

The Mail I Get…again

I got an email today imploring me to write a SEAQUEST novel….

You should write Seaquest books because they will be HUGELY SUCESSFUL and that will bring back the series for TV or as a movie. They brought back Thunderbirds, why not SeaQuest, only without Darwin, because a talking fish is stupid. If you need blueprints of the SeaQuest, I made some I can send you. I think they should make the Seaquest submarine for real, too. The books could help that happen. Wouldn’t that be GREAT!!!

After reading that, I think I’m gonna do it. Right after I finish writing my MANIMAL novel…

The Mail I Get…

Complete strangers from all over the world are always sending me emails asking me to “buy” or “represent” their scripts. This makes no sense to me. I’m a TV writer, not an agent or studio exec. I’m trying to sell my own work, not get other people jobs. Here’s one of the latest queries…clearly a mass mailing, since the fellow who sent it doesn’t even know if I am a man or a woman…

Respected
Sir/Madam,

I am very much interested in film script writing. I
would like to send the spec. script of a original,
Psychological-thriller story-Original Psycho for your
review and possible representation.

The story’s main antagonist is also the story’s
protagonist – Joy the psycho. Tom and Joy are
brothers who live together. Tom is proud and
dominates Joy and extracts work from him. Because of
this domination, Joy one day murders Tom. He looks at
Tom’s dead body for many days and becomes a psycho.
After a few years, at the start of college Joy is
ragged by his senior – Shaw, for this Joy murders
Shaw. After a few days a girl – Mono falls in love
with Joy. When Mono visits Joy’s house, he murders
her, has sex with her dead body, and reads a poem. The
Police start suspecting everyone and the Police
Investigators start a inquiry into the murders but
they are unable to find the killer. Joy kills a
poet(Mil), a military officer(Sky) and a
painter(Silver). When a investigating officer- Rom
visits Joy’s house, Joy captures the officer and ties
him in the house. Next Joy kills a politician (White)
and buries his body along with the other three bodies
in a single graveyard. Later he creates a pot with the
mud from the grave of his murdered victims. When Joy
drinks milk out of this pot, a Police officer shoots
the pot. Rom comes and holds the neck of the Police
office and asks “ why did you shoot the pot?” and
tells the officer that Joy wrote a poem, and killed
the characters found in the poem, and out of the mud
from their graveyard, Joy made this pot. His ambition
was to drink milk out of this pot, but you broke this
pot. Now his ambition is not fulfilled and he will be
a psycho always. At last, Police officers arrest Joy
and take him away.

If this spec. script – Original Psycho looks
interesting, please contact me.

Registration Number : 975354

Address:
Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,
3-43-164,
Krishnapuri colony,
West marred pally, MR.U.LAXMINARASIMHASWAMY.
Secunderabad,
Andhra pradesh, India. 500026.

The Mail I Get…

This is a semi-regular feature where I share some of the, um, interesting mail I get.

I received this note over the weekend…I have no idea what he’s talking about. Maybe you’d like to try answering the question for him.

SeaQuest Episode Question

What is the episode number or name of the fish guy?

The actor who played the man with gills in the rear of his ribcage. It was an episode where the fish guy went out in deep sea to see about something when his gills closed and clam up causing him to drown. But not before the dolphin save him. (which always made me wonder the logic in this)

Second question, do you think there is the hope of them bringing the show back and letting Dean Cain be the fish man?

The Mail I Get…

Because I am a “TV producer,” I get all kinds of weird solicitations… mostly people asking me to read their script, buy their script, or give their script to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, or Martin Scorcese (like they hang out with the guy who wrote “She Wolf of London.”) The following letter is real, it was emailed to me through my website last month:

“Dear Lee

I have just read your very interesting observations regarding the choice of actors for “James Bond” and I agree with you completely. I have read all the books over many years and had a picture in my “minds eye” of what he looked like.

Now comes the ‘crunch’……he looks exactly how my son looks!!! – Please don’t stop reading at this point and call me a doting Mother!! – I have other children who do not have “IT” but James most certainly does.

Everyone who meets my son is ‘captured’ by some factor I cannot really define, other than to repeat he has “IT” – Wherever he goes people (especially females) stare at him and want to talk to him or even just touch him!! – He is 6’ 2” and the proverbial tall dark and handsome guy. He also has great style and is very cool..i.e.nothing phases him!!

As a child he did some acting and I made him give it up and concentrate on his education, perhaps |I was wrong to do that! – He recently went to install some new computer equipment at a private hospital, a t.v. unit where there to film its opening and decided on the sput of the moment to ask James to appear on the film!!!..The camera loves him…it is impossible to take a bad picture of him.

Having said all that I wonder could you please point us in the right direction…i.e. who could we contact with regard to getting him into films? Preferably the next Bond movie or something else perhaps?

If you can help at all or indeed telll us who to contact we would be most grateful.

Very Best Regards”