Here's just a sampling of some of the "offers" and questions I've received lately. I've changed the names and other identifying info to spare the senders any embarrassment…
Hi, I came across your site while surfing the web. I've decided that episodic TV is where I need to be. I have written an original pilot, including title bible and summaries of every episode of the first season, as well as a couple of spec scripts.[…]Panelists at a seminar I attended suggested I get a mentor or three. Is there any chance of me talking with you for a few moments one day, just to pick your brain on the industry? Hope to hear from you. Please call.
I can't write but I have a terrific idea for a book that I have outlined in detail. I have selected you to be my co-writer because I am such a fan of your work. I love MONK! Please contact me at your earliest convenience so I can tell you more details (I don't want to share this great idea in an email for obvious reasons!!!).
I am a writer with two self-published books that are under the radar but would make great movies. If you would be interested in making them into movies I will send them to you.
That was the whole message, by the way. Here's another:
Mr. Goldberg, I'm not asking a favor really-at least I don't think so. I'm asking because I enjoy your MONK and DIAGNOIS MURDER so much. I stumbled on an interesting investagation when I got hold of an old newspaper that was in the bottom of a box I bought at an auction sale […]This is just a brief bit of info I've collected etc. Question: any suggestions on doing a story about this by changing names etc?
Here's my favorite of the bunch:
I found you on the interweb and only seek your help or therapeutic solace if you are entertained or amused by any of my efforts. I'm an Art Director for Video Games who, needing an impossible challenge, has to make a sitcom. I cast actors and shot a pilot, which you can see here: XYZ. By the later shots I was getting smarter. Editing out the 'not going anywhere self indulgent cleverness' and collecting comments taught me a lot too. Better writing and production help are next. And not casting a slacker actor. Besides writing characters you care about because they care about something, do you have any advice for me?
6 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”
Maybe it’s a compliment that you are getting these requests. Maybe people feel comfortable contacting you.
But if it’s a choice between being polite and being blunt, I’d pick polite every time as it sends out the right signals to people who may want to hire you and/or work with you.
But if staying polite is difficult due to tenacious attacks for mentoring, etc, there should be an office you can get to have these types of requests handled for you in a polite but firm manner. Isn’t there a good customer service person in Hollywood that handles this stuff for, like, twenty writers and charges, maybe, twenty dollars a day or so? If there isn’t, there ought to be.
Dan Williams’ comments should be included in the next “mail I get” segment. Yes, Los Angeles is teeming with customer service people happy to handle inane emails for screenwriters and novelists citywide. I can’t believe you’ve never heard of it. It’s called Fuck Off Incorporated and is located just south of Gower.
My favorite is: “I can’t write, but I have a terrific idea for a book.” There are ghostwriters available for $40,000 who will make his dream come true.
haha I was afraid to find my email there. But well, I just sent you an idea and told you to keep it and use it if you liked it, so I suppose I’m part of the list of the “tolerable” fans 🙂 I don’t want your fucking money hahahaha
Keep writting, I love your work.
Cecil, I’m from out of town, so I’ve never heard of these services, which doesn’t make me inane. But if you think FOI is a good service, I’ll send them your comment so they can send you a suitable reply. That seems to be the level of disrespect that you operate on.
But I tell you, I didn’t think the first email was inane. The guy has written a pilot, two spec scripts, outlined a full season of eps and attended a seminar where he got good advice to seek a mentor and now he’s comfortable in approaching Lee. Where’s the inanity? Sounds like a hard-working guy to me. Does he really deserve to be told, as you would have it, to FO? Why not use his email as an opportunity to seriously reply on the blog with information he and others can use on where to go next? Doesn’t that help everybody?
I’m with Dan. If I got that first mail in the course of my profession (journalism), politely asking to pick my brains for five minutes, I’d say yes. You have to give back a little! Obviously, if he pestered or asked you to read everything he’s ever written/pass it on, that would cross the line.