The Mail I Get – My Life is a Movie Edition

Everybody thinks their life is a movie or TV series. That’s why every screenwriter I know gets unsolicited emails from strangers urging them to write their life story because it’s so unique, tragic, bizarre or compelling. And then you get pitches like this from “Louis”:

Hello I hope you can help in putting my story into script,hopefully into film ,story starts 1970,to 2013
Story starts out in holland amsterdam  goes all over the world in the magic bus trade,,,if you know what I mean
Had real estate company family friends all over the world then paridise would tumble over the years
All with brotherhood and company of peace and love ,along the lines of mr nice ,,story our story
Has  more action  the good bad and unfortunate circumstances,, that’s life I hope to hear from you

Yeah, that’s life, Louis…but not one you’ve given me or any other screenwriter a reason to care about. There’s no hook. You haven’t sold the one thing a writer cares about — the story. Everybody has a life, what makes yours so special that a screenwriter would devote a year or more pitching and writing it, that would make a studio spend $30 million to produce it, and that would make a moviegoer to pay $15 to see it?

5 thoughts on “The Mail I Get – My Life is a Movie Edition”

  1. He had me at “magic bus trade.” Is that like a TARDIS?

    The one I usually get from non-writers is, “Oh! Don’t put *me* in one of your books!”

    I have a number of reactions, ranging from the silent, “Sweetie, you’re far too boring” to the spoken aloud, “Too late.”

    One guy noticed I’d put him in a book and I’d not been at all flattering, but he deserved it. Karma’s a bitch, especially when channeled by a writer. ;0)

  2. Yes, he’s incoherent, there’s no hook, there’s no storyline, there’s no characters, there’s no story world, there’s no theme, but there’s energy. Something is fizzing, whizzing, popping, hissing. So I think it’s not productive to want to be sold on the first pitch from a non-writer. He or she has an initial idea, or an initial experience, or an initial image, or an initial something – and it’s up to the creator/writer/director/producer/EP to dig it out and give it form. So I think that if you are attracting these fizzing persons, there’s a reason. And so I think that the response should be “questions.” Instead of making fun of the uninitiated after the first pitch, why not ask some questions and dig into it and let them make a second pitch? Then why not ask some more questions, and let them make the third pitch?

    999 times out of a 1,000 you get nothing, but Edison got nothing out of 999 tries. The 1,000th time is the 12-season show, 20 million viewers, $50 million in the bank. Or so I believe.

    • Why would I send him questions? I am not the least bit interested in his story. Everyone has a story…that doesn’t mean its a movie, a TV series, or a novel. Besides, I am not in the business of writing movies or books based on the lives of real people. My time is valuable to me and I don’t have it to waste responding to every crackpot who emails me wanting to share their idea for a movie, TV show or novel.

  3. By the rambling nature of his email, I would guess there has been lots of drugs involved in his life as well. Certainly explains the magic bus trade.


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