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Write On!
Hollywood Low
By Ken Robinson
April, 2006, 15:25

Y
ou have to realize something about the entertainment industry that you are endeavoring to be a part of. Not everyone, and actually a very small fraction of the population, will enjoy or even understand your work.

Think about it. Currently a movie has to top 200 million dollars to be considered a blockbuster. At current ticket prices thatís 25 million tickets. Thatís still only 10 per cent of the U.S. population. That doesnít even count the gads of people that see the movie 30 or 60 times. And actually the best moneymakers of late are low budget movies.

They are risking less money and itís easier to get that money back and then some. Itís simple math, the less money you spend, the less you have to make back at the box office. These low budget movies maybe get seen by one per cent of the population. For a book to become a best seller it only has to sell between 10,000 to 15,000 copies a year. Thatís only 0.0006 percent of the US population.

One mistake that writers make is trying to catch and ride the wave of the current best seller or the latest blockbuster. That idea needs to be tossed into the round file. If youíre writing a novel or screenplay, the time it takes to bring your idea through the writing process and be published or to the silver screen takes an average of two years.

In that time, the wave of buzz the mega hit made has long ago crested and crashed on the rocks as the myriad of hacks who make a career of waiting for the next big wave trying to ride it all the way to the bank, beat you to the punch. And you know how poor the copies usually are.

All in all, if you donít have a passion for the project it will show in your writing. So instead of wasting that energy in paddling around trying to decide if that little ripple will turn into a pipeline, put all that energy into a project you are passionate about, people will notice.

Your job is to practice your art until you get good enough where that small fraction of the population becomes aware of what youíre doing. If you can get a fraction of that fraction to notice you, they usually talk to the other fraction. Word of mouth is still the best and cheapest PR there is.

At this point there are so many ways to get your work out in front of the public; itís mind-boggling. You no longer have to spend mind numbing days and weeks after youíve sent out the query letters waiting for that spark of hope when the return letter comes.

And then the crushing despair, 99 times out of 100, when you read the rejection words ďnot at this timeĒ or ďnot what were looking forĒ, you will receive. But if you notice, Iím not saying itís hopeless, just that itís very difficult. There is always hope even if itís one percent.

The myriad ways of promoting your work include self publishing, your own website, other peoples websites, online magazines like IN, blogging, online communities like My Space, and others that Iím not aware of and those still coming about. So think outside of the publishers box. If you create your own audience they will notice and could come to you.

There are two caveats to this explosion of opportunity. One is that you have to be proactive with all of this. You have to get out there and set these things up yourself or with some ones help. But the exposure possibilities are worth it.

The other is that now you are competing against every other Tom, Dick or Harry who decides to do the same thing. You have to make yourself noticed above all the background noise. Being glitzy does sometimes work, but itís usually a flash in the pan. The best way to get noticed and continue being noticed is perfecting your craft and artistry.

If you write it well, and get it out there, they will come. IN Icon


Regular IN Ken Robinson grew up and lives in Oklahoma. After five years in Ireland, he's been writing screenplays for two and a half years. Four of his scripts have been optioned by Woofenil Works, two low-budget projects now in preproduction, as well as West Law. His email address is: Krobinson104@hotmail.com


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