Every once in a while, I like to take stock in terms of where my writing/creative work stands, usually under the influence of large amounts of tea at my favorite café (this is not it, but I would like to hang out here, and smoke, I don't know, like clove cigarettes, and read a book in Italian, even though I don't read Italian). I usually then stuff the manifesto in my desk (I still use a desk, now and then), and forget about it. But maybe publishing it will actually make me listen to my caffeine-addled self.
So, here it is (blanks included to protect the innocent):
Tea Manifesto #5/6 or 7
OK. Certain cold realities. No one of the upper film/TV echelon world is going to buy a screenplay from an unknown writer in today’s climate. They want superhero franchises, not mom and pop stories.
Same for a TV pilot. Or, at the very least, not going to happen on your own.
But, everyone needs content. And more and more content. That’s the good news. Also, the upper echelon types are less important in today’s media world.
And there are multiple avenues for getting content out there:
Get stuff out there on your own, i.e., produce your own content (web series, YouTube video, weird-ass hybrid projects, films, plays, etc…)
Go small (short plays, short scripts)
Go local (and those local relationships are helpful to spread the word)
Make successful content that can be turned into other content (e.g, play, novel, short story, graphic novel (from the web or literary world))
Get an agent who can get stuff out there. The best hope in that regard is to win/place very well in high-profile contest, with the realization that the winning piece may be more a ticket/writing sample for future work [but never, ever, think of that when writing it].
The strategy going forth?
First, don’t use the word forth.
Other than _____________, writing a bunch more new screenplays doesn’t make much sense.
Perfecting the strong projects does make sense; you only need one really great project to get out there.
Enter only very high quality very high-end contests; low-level contests have no value.
Go local (e.g. __________) where have some contacts, and they really want to work with local talent.
Playwriting, especially shorts, as proven, the most likely path
Keep web/blog up to date
Keep going to places where networking of value (eg, __________); friends anywhere are of help (e.g. Indie __________, or, still, locally, a _________).
Most importantly, follow the Steve Martin dictum ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ Also, keep in mind, that the medium is rapidly changing, while age, stagnation, can easily raise their ugly heads. Along those lines, you can’t out hip the hip as you get older, and it’s kind of a fool’s errand, as things are changing so fast, even the hip can get out-hipped. The William Goldman dictum is more important that ever ‘Nobody knows anything.’