Phone Calls (Gasp)

Talking on the Phone, Not as Hard as It Looks

If “the only sin in Hollywood is shyness” I think I am going to burn in Hell for a long time. While the writing has never really been a problem, the asking of favors is. As I have written in previous blog posts, most entertainment people in Los Angeles are not looking to help your career; they are instead focused on maintaining their own livelihoods. Those that do reply to emails, phone calls, letters, etc. are satisfied with a nice back pat and an email address “in case you have questions.” Unfortunately I have only one question—can you find me representation?

So, over the past few months, I have become a bit reclusive and shy. I know the score, so why bother at all? Sure, there’s always Craigslist, but I don’t feel that is where the deals are happening. I decided, for the sake of the blog, I would renew my charge and, gasp, make a few phone calls.

Picking up the phone took a lot of courage. I would probably prefer to do anything than cold call. I imagined a nasty agency receptionist slamming down the phone after I opened my mouth. But because I had to write this blog post I also had to find some courage. Thank you, WordPress.

I started simple. I picked up a business card of a former entertainment executive my mom had met and dialed his number. I got a secretary who was very nice and scheduled a phone interview for Friday. That went well.

Then I took on my first agency, TMA. This was difficult. I didn’t want to pick up the phone. I wrote down a little script, “Hello, I am a screenwriter seeking representation and I would like to send a query…” I picked up the phone, I dialed, and I actually heard a voice on the other line. It was a receptionist. I stumbled over my words but then I regained my footing and began my script.

It went OK. I was surprised. I already knew the e-mail address for queries from my handy 2009 Screenwriter’s & Playwright’s Market. The receptionist was friendly. I learned what I needed to learn.

I tried a few other agencies but I only got answering machines. That was OK, I had taken the first step. I sent out some query letters, also, that was the second. Now six hundred more and I will be signing a contract (I hope).

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One response to “Phone Calls (Gasp)

  1. Way to go! To some people this probably sounds ridiculous, but like you, I’m not a fan of the phone. Luckily as a regular writer (i.e., not a screenwriter) I can try to get an agent pretty much just with my computer and an internet connection, but for work I have to use the phone a lot. I used to dread it, but — and here’s my encouraging thought for you! — you get used to it. It’s never going to be fun, and it doesn’t even really stop sucking… but you learn not to sweat it. 😛

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