Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Asstastic Executive of the Week

That's right biyotches, the baddest feature of Assistant/Atlas is back.

This week's Asstastic Exec is something of a scapegoat. He may be guilty of the crime of which I am about to accuse him, but he's probably not the most egregious offender, and he's certainly not the sole offender.

You see, I've been spotting a trend, a very bad trend. And while I'm not so naive or egotistical as to think this blog could affect such trends, I can still rant about them. Now, let's be clear:

If you are in development, IT IS YOUR JOB TO READ SCREENPLAYS!

This doesn't mean you 'flip through it' or 'read a couple pages'. Oh sure, if a script is sent by some random wackjob, that's one thing. But if a reasonably credible agent/assistant/manager/producer/whatever sends you something that they've carefully chosen to fit your company, you should read it.

So, keeping mind that he's not the worst offender and that he is a scapegoat in many ways, the Assistant/Atlas Asstastic Executive of the Week is Carlo Martinelli of Bona Fide Productions. Now, Carlo seems to be a nice enough guy-- he's pleasant, if a bit abrupt, on the phone. He seems to know what he wants. But it's not just me that feels as if he gives the scripts he requests the most cursory of reads.

I quote my pal (and potential guest blogger) Assistant Indy: "At first, I really liked Carlo-- his turnaround time (on reading scripts) was insanely fast. But after a couple of send-outs, I was like, dude, you can't possibly be reading the stuff if you respond that quickly. And when I tried asking him about his opinions on the scripts, it became abundantly clear that they hadn't been read. I think he may even have said 'I read a couple pages and it didn't seem like it was for us.'"

Okay, great, Carlo, if it's not for you, don't agree to read it. You hear our pitch and probably read a synopsis before agreeing to read something-- THAT is the appropriate time to decide if you'll read it. Don't have us waste our time sending it if you're just going to flip through it and toss it in the circular file.

The point is, if you're in development and you aren't reading any of your scripts, the people sending them to you are going to figure it out eventually. And then they'll be pissed. And unlike me, one of them might actually have the power to do something about it. So just do your job, which is widely considered (somewhat naively) to be the most fun/interesting/rewarding in the industry. So shape up, or I'll let Nikki Finke carry out her plan.

What if no one had read "Pumpkin" and it had never gotten made? Wouldn't that have been a shame?

Now remember, if you're an assistant and you'd like to rant and/or rave about a Ho'wood exec, drop me a line at I'd love to be able to not use my own experiences and personal contacts to come up with the execs, if only to further protect myself from discovery (yes, I know, I'm paranoid).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, was that sarcastic? Because Pumpkin sucked. And I even like Christina Ricci.

5:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Atlas, you're obviously a little bitch or Carlo would actually read yours and "Assistant Indy"s scripts. Ever thought about that?

7:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And for the record, Carlo is not Asstastic in any way.

7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a shitty choice.

I agree - you should read the scripts you request. However, sometimes you're requesting them not just for the idea - but to see if a writer is any good.

9:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But wait how can you judge if a writer is good if you don't read the script?? I mean let's face it even great movies have slow parts, and what about movies that build slowly? And what about re writes?

Obviously you gotta catch your audience very quickly and there are probably a million scripts out there but really you gotta read something before you judge it.

8:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you can sometimes tell if a writer is any good in the first few pages, I'm of the school that the real key to a script is the second act. That's where screenwriters usually screw up, in my opinion. And it's one thing to not read one script (we all have our days) it's different if you're consistently not reading.

8:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

30 pages, sink or swim. That's enough of a time commitment. I say this after putting in too long a being a development masochist, reading whole scripts that never improved after 30 pages.

12:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing ability is not just in the story - it involves a lot of different things. Dialogue. Grammar. Structure. You can figure out if a writer has those talents by page 10 usually.

I give them till page 30 - and I'm generous.

Like I said previously though - if I request a script based on the story - I'll read the entire thing.

What people also don't understand is - sometimes you request one script and the agent/mgr/whoever sends more along with it. If every agent/mgr does that - then that person is swamped with reading scripts they really don't want to read in the first place. Add comics, books, films to be seen on that. And if you're a producer - actually being in a stage of production on a film or multiple films - it is easy to see why not reading whole scripts happens.

I think the key is being strong in saying - No thanks. This isn't for me.

Before it is sent to you.

1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's been a helluva long time for this topic, but are yuo aware that Pumpkin was Bona Fide's acquisition? They discovered it and put it through the pipeline.

I never saw the film, but I know this from credits. Maybe I missed something and you already know this... oh well.

5:20 PM

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