One of the essential qualities a screenwriter needs is patience. And lots of it. Actually, a ridiculously vast amount of it.
Things never go as fast as you want them to. It’s just the way it is.
Waiting can be tough enough as it is, but when it involves other people and your stuff? Time not only slows to a crawl, but probably feels like it’s standing still.
Once you send it, it’s out of your hands. Absolutely nothing else you can do.
Naturally, you daydream about getting a response in record time. With raving, positive comments, of course. No reason it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days, tops, right?
Anybody who’s been in this scenario knows otherwise. Days stretch into weeks, which stretch into months, and maybe even into years. I know more than a few writers who heard back from a producer over a year after sending in a script. It happens.
When I was just starting out, I couldn’t help but think “What’s taking them so long?”. We tend to forget that the people to whom we’re sending also have lives of their own. It’s pretty likely our stuff isn’t top priority for them, so the odds increase that it’ll get nudged aside for something that is. As a result, your wait time gets longer and longer.
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found sending a friendly follow-up about 5-6 weeks later can be pretty effective. It at least reminds them that you’re still around. Sometimes they’re apologetic about it, and sometimes you might not hear anything at all.
Helpful tip – DO NOT be the writer who’s offended by being treated this way. Non-stop follow-up calls and emails. Complaining about it on social media. A big part of this business is presenting yourself as somebody who other people would want to work with. Acting like this is most definitely the wrong path to take.
So once you send your stuff out, what do you do to divert your focus and attention? Easy. You’re a writer. You write. Not only does it help pass the time, but you get stuff done. How productive is it to keep refreshing your email every few minutes? Developing and adding new material to your catalog is always a good idea.
When they say “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” the implications behind it go beyond just how long all of this takes. Hopefully you can muster the strength to keep at it on all fronts.
Have a great weekend. Make sure you write something.