Just Hurry up and Wait | Script Revolution

Just Hurry up and Wait

Introduction: 

Rockstar member Bill Albert joined Script Revolution only recently but has already recieved the kind of call we've all been waiting for. While his feature script "Welcome to Nowhere" is prepared to be presented to studios by an eager producer, Bill has taken the time to write about his experience dealing with notes and making changes to seal the deal and aim to break in as an unknown writer - CJ

Like many people, as much as I want to get my work around, I’ve always been reluctant to post my writing online anyplace. There’s always that fear of letting just anybody have a look at your work, but Script Revolution came so highly recommended I starting putting some of my scripts online. Mostly the short films, first, just to see what kind of reactions there were. A few takers, it’s exciting to get the notice that someone was reading, so after a while I put up some feature film scripts. For a while it was just more of the same. There’s an old army saying that I’ve felt really accurately describes everything anymore. “Hurry up and wait.”

Earlier this month, I got a call from a producer in California asking about a sci-fi/horror script I had written called “Welcome to Nowhere.” The story of how that script came about is kind of complicated. The idea originated in a short story I wrote about thirty years ago. Then I took the idea and it became a novel and, last year, I took the idea again and used it in a film script. Like some of my stuff, the ideas have been around for a long time. The producer explained he had seen the script on Script Revolution and wanted to know what the status was on the script. I was available for sale so we started there.

He explained to me that his production company was putting together what’s called a “shopping list.” Producers put together a collection of scripts they think are sound ideas and make presentations to studios. In this case, there were eight producible scripts they wanted to put together hoping that they could get a studio interested in at least some, if not all of them. They liked what I was doing with “Welcome to Nowhere” and wanted my permission to include it in the package. There were some other things about this that appealed to them, some I had considered when writing and some I couldn’t have dreamed of. One of the things I’d been aware of was that sci-fi and horror movies have been a very popular genre for a long time. They do not go out of style. The advantage I couldn’t have planned on was that it took place on a space station with a cast of twelve characters. In the Covid-19 world that would be much easier to put together because of the safety and health requirements Hollywood is going to face. Something studios, producers, directors, and especially, writers are going to have to face.

Back to the script. We talked a lot about some of the ideas and the things that he liked about the script. What parts of it worked, what parts needed work, and what kind of changes he felt it needed. Changes? Changes! You want changes to my script? Well, okay. Even though there were only twelve characters he still felt there were too many for a horror film. In all honesty, that wasn’t the first time I’ve heard that comment but I’d worked so hard to make individual characters with their own strengths and weaknesses, I hated to get rid of them. At the same time, I couldn’t argue with the reasoning. Going back, some of my personal favorite sci-fi and horror films really work with very few characters. The problem that that created was that the science and the setup behind the story didn’t really work with fewer characters so I had to change the purpose of the station and the nature of the ships passing through. I spent quite some time going over characters to decide which ones to cut and lost about ten script pages along the way, but managed to keep the moments I was really proud of intact.

This is really part of another reality writers have to face. No matter how much heart and soul you put into your script, there are going to be changes made. You came up with idea, you wrote it, but when the producers, directors, designers, actors, everyone involved with the production has their say, it’s going to change. Even established and successful writers have had to deal with changes once that process starts. The fastest way to kill off a deal, especially when it’s the first project, is to be unwilling to budge early on. Better to work with the changes and keep things positive then put up a fight. You can respectfully disagree and there was one change in the script we differed on. The producer wanted one more twist at the end. While I didn’t have any problems with that, we couldn’t 100% agree on what that should be. I made several options for that extra twist and we eventually went ahead and added a final scene that he liked. Still, for an untested writer, what’s there is still 90% of what I started with. It’s how things work.

So the process of the actual presenting to studios is under way this week. The agreement was they have my permission to represent my script for the month of August with an option to go further depending on the response from the studios. In the mean time, I’m working and promoting other projects and hoping to get someone’s attention. Just hurry up and wait.

About The Author

Bill Albert's picture
Real name: 

The first book I wrote was in the second grade and it was about an 8 foot tall Martian who gets a wish from a genie. Seriously. I have to admit it hasn't always been going uphill since then.

About 20 years ago I started writing earnestly and the first book I wrote was a Doctor Who novel. I even got it to the point where I professionally submitted it to the Dr. Who novel range at the BBC but it was just a bit late. They had decided to close the range when the...Read more

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