Writing for The Snake Guy

From my mailbox this week:

Dear Mr. Goldberg,

I have written a story that would make a great movie. The actor XYZ has read it and he thinks it’s really good. He would love to see it as a screenplay, but here is the problem: I have never done that before and have no experiences in turning a script into a screenplay. Can you please help me with this? You can take the credits for the screenplay, if it is made into a movie. It would mean so much to me. I hope to hear from you soon.

I declined her kind offer and suggested that it probably isn’t a good idea to be pitching movies when you admittedly have no skill as a screenwriter and no experience in movie making.  The actor she mentioned, by the way, is nobody I’ve ever heard of. So I looked him up. His major roles recently include "Short Order Cook," "Instructor," "Snake Guy," and "Trucker #1" in several movies that I also have never heard of. I can see why she’d be excited by his interest in her movie idea.

6 thoughts on “Writing for The Snake Guy”

  1. I wish people could be happy having written an enjoyable story, and not always want it to be turned into a movie.
    That being said, I think you might have been a little harsh there, Lee–making public fun of someone who sent you a clearly sincere email, regardless of how ridiculous or ill-informed it might be.

  2. I get these kinds of emails all the time. It breaks my heart having to turn down their offer to co-write/ghost write their project, which I realize was made out of ignorance about how things truly work in the biz.

  3. About forty years ago, I wrote Louis L’Amour, asking him for help in getting a couple of western novels published. He replied with great courtesy, and his answer was no. His rationale was interesting. He said that if and when my novels were good enough, they would attract attention and find publication without any help from anyone. And for that reason any effort on his part to endorse my material was superfluous. He was, in essence, rejecting the idea of “who you know” as the means of getting ahead. I took it to heart, and learned to rely on my own skills as my means of getting ahead.

  4. There is a common belief among many (most?) unpublished writers that this business is all a matter of who you know. That is utterly false. Knowing someone might get your emails answered, but nobody is going to represent you and nobody is going to publish you because of a relationship. It’s a business, and the only reason anyone is going to get involved with you (anyone reputable, anyway) is because they’re going to make money.

  5. I think the reason that the “who you know” myth exists is that people don’t understand how networking really works.
    Once you have improved your craft it is not who you know, but who you meet.


Leave a Comment