Dynamic. Engaging. Polished. In his session, Breaking in Miles from LA, up and coming screenwriter Mark Golik was none of these. Neither was he any of these: Pretentious. Aloof. Arrogant.
While some speakers at the 2009 Screenwriting Expo were masters of pomp and circumstance (which, for them, worked just fine), Mr. Golik was one of the most genuine presenters. A Pittsburgh resident, Mr. Golik admits the option deal for his first screenplay, The Color of the Puck, was lucky. But, like Thomas Jefferson said, the harder you work, the more luck you’re bound to have.
Mr. Golik’s success story is the exception to my newly adapted rule that queries don’t work. It was through a query letter that he secured his manager who subsequently marketed his screenplay and penned an option deal.
Overnight success? Hardly. Mr. Golik sent countless queries before signing with his manager, and his manager pitched the script for more than a year before getting the option deal. Oh, and the option deal? Not exactly mucho dinero. But it is a huge step in the right direction – just don’t expect the humble Ohio screenwriter to admit it.
The sincerity and candor from Mr. Golilk was refreshing. He underplayed his success and promoted routes that I have been hesitant to accept – namely screenwriting contests and an Industry website, Inktip. More on Inktip in a future blog entry.
A quick summary of my notes from his class:
Learn your craft – be open to criticism – don’t beg – promote the heck out of yourself – palm up, not palm down (offer a favor from yourself before asking a favor of someone else) – do cool things for others – be proactive – focus on boutique agencies and avoid the big ones *
* this note contradicts some others’ beliefs that the larger agencies have more room to add clients while the boutique agencies are swamped with the clients they already have. I think both are correct. Like I’ve written many times before, this is the grayest of industries.