questionmarkA two parter: First, after several years of false starts, I’ve finally finished a script I think is pretty good. I have a friend who is a pretty established movie writer, and he has a manager at an established company. Friend gave Manager the Script. After two months, Manager finally read the Script and called me up and said he really liked it a lot and was excited about it. But Script is an unusual sci-fi comedy and perhaps a tough sell (a director and or star would need to be attached) and so Manager needs to “find consensus” with others at his company, so I need to wait for others at the company to read it. Time passes.

After a couple of weeks, I have another conversation with Manager, who tells me nothing has happened but people are out of town — be patient, let’s connect a week from today. A week passes and no call. Another week-and-a-half passes, and I email. Another three days, and I call. Manager is “in a meeting.” Will call back.

Friend, who knows Manager well, has said, “Manager will not give you the silent treatment. If he doesn’t like the script, he will say ‘I don’t like it. Sorry. Bye.'”

After several days, I’ve gotten no response from Manager on the call or email.

Second, meanwhile:

I have another friend (Friend 2) whose very good buddy is a partner (in TV) at a large Agency. (Script is a feature.) Solely as a favor to Friend 2, Agent agrees to read script. I drop off Script in the Agency’s mail room. Time passes.

Nine weeks later, Friend 2 asks Agent about the Script. Agent’s assistant tells Friend 2 to tell me to resend the latest version of Script to Assistant, because Agent is going to take it home over the weekend. Done.

Two weeks later, Friend 2 and Agent have lunch. Agent says, “Sorry, I haven’t read Script yet. I or one of my associates will read it.”

A week or two later, I leave my first voicemail with Agent’s Assistant, asking if I can have any info on whether the script has been read or gotten any coverage.

A week later, I have heard nothing back.

Am I fucked?

— bagadonuts

Your story is my story is almost every story of an aspiring screenwriter in Hollywood. In my case, the agency was CAA, the friend was an instructor at USC, and the waiting game went on for about two months before we finally got a pass. But during those two months, I came home from work every day staring at the answering machine (it was still the answering machine era), hoping for word about the script.

Bagadonuts, you are not fucked. You are just stuck in the waiting cycle which hits everyone. And so you know, the waiting doesn’t magically go away as you progress further into your career. Just the people change. Instead of waiting to hear what an agent or manager thought of your script, you’re waiting to hear back about what the studio chief is thinking. But he’s busy dealing with a crisis on This Other Movie. So he’ll get to it when he can.

Best advice: Always have multiple things out there. Follow up on a reasonable schedule, but never speculate that silence means doom.