My colleague and friend, Linda once told me that “Life is a journey,” it is pre-ordained for us by God and that we should follow it. It will have its high and lows, but in the end, it is what he planned for us. Who would have known this is where I’d be in my journey.
I am still pinching myself. Last summer, I spent from 6:00 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, trying to solicit interest in writing a screenplay for my second book, “The Yellow Sea Lioness.” I emailed 520 literary agents. A small percentage of those agents answered with comments like, “This does not resonate with me at this moment” to automated messages that read, “If you do not hear from me in six to eight weeks, consider it a pass.” A couple of people expressed interest, but then declined.
I started to play with writing my own screenplay in January. I did a little here and a little there and picked up the pace during Spring break. I continued and finished the whole screenplay two days after school let out in June. I immediately registered it with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and then with the US Copyright Office in July.
Once school was out for the year, after two days of cold calling from the updated list of signatory agents with WGA, I received a call from an agent who wants to represent me in my efforts to get “The Yellow Sea Lioness” into animated film. I sent him my script. We both traveled for a while before talking on the phone again.
This agent explained the next step. It is a giant step called “Getting the Contract.” He is currently touting my screenplay with producers. Once a producer takes it on, he looks for a director. The director looks for the casting agent and crewmembers, etc. Once everyone is on board, a contract is signed. On average, this process could take up to 1 to 1.5 years.
The screenplay may not turn into a movie for years. Sometimes, a director will really want the material, but has so much ahead of him. The contract is valid for one year. During that year, I can expect a percentage of my cut according to the contract. A director can pay for an extension to keep the screenplay. Each year the screenplay is not in production, I would get that percentage again.
In any case, I mentioned to my agent in our conversation that I started writing my second screenplay. He asked me for my log line and synopsis of that story. Wow! I thought I would have to go through the same long journey up to now all over again. He told me directors are more inclined to buy a screenplay if they know more is to come. What I told my daughter years ago and what I tell my students today is true: with hard work and patience, you will be rewarded. I am truly blessed!