How Not To Sell a Movie

I received this email today.

Dear Sir,
Did you like the 1993 movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas? I’ve got
a screenplay Forty Plus about a computer operator who goes postal when the
mainframe computer is phased out.
Forty Plus is also more than that; it is an action screenplay in the
tradition of The French Connection/Traffic/ To Live in Die in L.A with car
chases never before attempted on screen, a gun battle at the Seattle Airport
between a korean druglord, who peddles cocaine and metamphetamine from his
pharmacy in Koreatown, and his henchmen against Detective Sam Trout and the
Please let me know if you are interested in Forty Plus.

I replied:

I’m a writer. I don’t buy scripts, I write them. And you’re not going to sell yours by sending out blind emails to strangers.

You might wonder why I keep posting these emails — the ones where people try to peddle their scripts to me and I write them back and tell them I’m not interested.
I do it to embarrass them, of course.
Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? I hope so. Because I post a mere fraction of the "Buy My Script" solicitations I get each week. It’s pointless to send these queries to me (I’M NOT A MOVIE PRODUCER) and I’m hoping the prospect of ending up on my blog will get people to stop doing it.

UPDATE  —  It gets even better. A couple hours after I posted this, I got another email from the same fellow. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Goldberg,
I don’t expect you to buy my script. I’ll be honest- my screenplay Forty
Plus needs polishing that only a professional writer like you can give it. You
may modify it any way you wish. I’m willing to give you exclusive rights to it
and you can be the first writer with me merely being listed as "based on an idea
by Robert Butler"- you can have 80% of the profits and I’ll have the rest. I’m
willing to sign anything you give me. Just ask yourself, does not the concept of
the story sound intriguing?- a korean druglord, Chung Ho Lee, who is a
pharmacist by day in Koreatown selling cocaine from his drugstore, by night he
is a druglord commanding an army of hitmen that do his bidding to wipe out the
competition and throw in a loose canon like Ben Rand, who goes postal when he
loses his job when the mainframe computer is phased out and they both are out on
a mission and their destination is the Seattle airport with Detective Sam Trout
hot on their trail.
Please think about it.

Gee, I think I’m gonna pass. But you may feel free to take him up on his exciting offer.

UPDATE (1-14-05) –  I sent Bob an email saying I wasn’t interested in his script and wishing him luck with it. Here’s his response:

You’re not interested- I’ve heard that song a million times. In other
words, you are not up to the challenge of producing something new, different and
controversial- just the standard by the numbers, status quo fare. Mr. Producer I
wish you the best of luck in your illustrious career! You obviously have an
active imagination.
Good day sir.


6 thoughts on “How Not To Sell a Movie”

  1. Obviously if you aren’t interested it’s because it’s controversial not because you aren’t interested.
    I’m glad he saw your true motives when you didn’t.

  2. Errr… a drug-dealer with a dayjob and a regular guy who has a meltdown… now those ARE original AND controversial! You know, if you – uh – have never seen the evening news.


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