Chronicles 13 - Moving swiftly on - 2002-2003
So the romantic comedy concept was conceived in the Summer of 2000. In November 2002 I had a UK co-producer and a one-man-band not-so-connected UK agent behind the project. I had pitched a number of studios my animation projects with a positive response. I had also had meetings with a number of people like Dream Works, New Line, Mirage and handed over a copy of the rom-com.
Not bad. Let's see what happens next. I'm going to speed things up a bit here and fill in the gaps between November 2002 and November 2003. So here goes:
Pass from Fox 2000 on the rom-com. Pass from Disney on the animation projects.
Pass from Nickelodeon and a bunch of other US prod. co's.
Flew to NYC with my day job and started researching Brooklyn for my family comedy.
I'm about 70 pages in on my family comedy. In the meantime some feedback from UK sales agent on the rom-com and meetings with the UK co-producer. Progress is slow on the rom-com. It's not really working out as I imagined. I thought the producer would immediately start packaging the project i.e. get a director or actor attached in order to trigger the finance. My feeling is he's testing the waters, slowly, with the script, looking to see how the market responds. Looking to see if we get a bite from Dream Works etc. - which doesn't happen. They pass.
My UK co-producer is in Cannes. I'm on the 3rd draft of my family-com. I also write a play in the meantime.
I finish the 3rd draft of my family-com. Not much happening with the UK producer as a result of Cannes.
I finish the family-com. Start to send it out to friends/trusted readers to read.
Positive feedback from friends/trusted readers on the family-com. I start sending copies to agents in the US. Went to Italy for my holidays and teamed up with my partner on the animation projects and we conceived some new animation pitches.
Phoned my contact at Dream Works who originally loved the pitch of my family-com but said that they were now not reading any scripts with the subject matter I was dealing with. Great :-( I get the script out to New line as well. That ends up being a pass.
I rev up a campaign for another visit to LA in November 2003. By this time I'm feeling quite frustrated with the progress of the rom-com. I just feel the producer isn't aggressive enough in realizing the project. Why weren't we packaging the project and attaching finance? I pitched him in May 2002! It's now October 2003! I decided I wanted to rev things up a bit so I planned on flying to LA to start getting the script out to talent agents. A slightly haphazard strategy because I had no director attached at this point. Still I went for it. The UK co-producer also gave me the idea to approach US casting directors. I went through the complete list of LA-based casting directors, checked their credits and only contacted those with serious credits. I also started calling all the big agencies to try and get the script out to actors. Parallell to this I sent my family-com script out to over 50 US agencies/managers. I also arranged meetings with the Disney, Sony etc in order to pitch our animation pitches.
Between October and November 2003 things go pretty well. I've booked about 4-5 meetings a day with studios, casting directors, agents, managers and prod. co.'s in LA! One literary agent really liked my family-com script and offered to represent me. He said it was very funny and original.
A big 3 agency's talent agent phoned me up a few days before I left for LA. She had read my rom-com and said that, "This was a film that should be made". Wow! Great news! Normally with an agent like that you don't even get your script considered. It seems she had a previous contact to my UK co-producer so that was how I got read. Anyway she asked me whether I wanted her to send the script to a big female star she represented. Oh yes! She then said I should meet up with her. Great! I was flying to LA with some serious meetings set up!
See Chronicles 12