You need new stuff to send out, and if you have representation, they require new stuff to send out. In fact, one of the best ways to lose the representation you worked so hard to gain is to not produce.
Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to just rest on our laurels for a couple of weeks after finishing a draft and waiting for feedback. Don’t do it! Use the time wisely, start your next project. This way you have multiple plates spinning at all times.
Sometimes it’s also tempting to rewrite the same script for five years. Don’t do it! The fact that you haven’t been able to crack this one might tell you that it’s time to give it a rest. Or that you’ve taken this material as far as it will go. That doesn’t mean you’ve wasted this time; you’ve gotten better by sharpening your teeth on this script. However, definitely let this one go and start afresh. You can always return to it down the line with fresh eyes.
What’s the best way to achieve those two new pieces a year?
Step One: create a new folder on your desktop and name it something like “development.” Whenever an idea strikes you–be it a logline, a premise, a cool setup, an interesting article you’ve come across, a strange piece of info you found online–put it in there.
Step Two: When you’ve sent a piece of material out for feedback, go through your folder and grab whatever ideas compel you at that moment.
Step Three: Develop those into three or four different solid script ideas that fill about a quarter of a page. If you have representation, and it’s the kind of representative that likes to be involved, send them your ideas and ask what you should be focusing on next. Most reps love to weigh in; makes them feel they have skin in the game. If you don’t, send them to a few trusted friends or advisors and ask them which of these ideas is the most marketable. That’s the one you should be focusing on.
Step Four: By the time you’ve developed your ideas, your feedback on the script you sent out will probably be back. Do another draft.
Step Five: Once you sent out that draft for feedback again, go back to the idea that will become your next script. Start outlining.
Step Six: Do another draft of your previous script.
By now you surely get the idea.
So, what are the plus points of focusing on more than one new piece of material?
Apart from keeping your representation happy (and keeping your representation–period) you will have more “at bats,” you will get better and better with each new piece of material; and you’ll be a lot less upset if the basket that holds all of your eggs is rejected.
You know we look at loglines for free. So, if you’re ever wondering if the idea you have is commercial, feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected] — we’ll be happy to give you our input.