Today, friends, I have a special treat. As you may know, along with being a farmer, novelist, and blogger, I have aspirations of seeing my work on the silver screen. I mean come on, who wouldn't want to see their characters larger than life, up there for the world to see? So I have begun my journey to find a way into that mystical world called Hollywood. Has it been easy? Heck no! But I have learned a lot from those who have taken the time to mentor me. And below, you’ll meet one such person, Daniel Noe. We connected on Facebook, and besides being friends, he’s been kind enough to help get me on the right path to getting my scripts in front of folks who might be able to make them happen. So sit back, relax, perhaps grab a pen and take some notes, because he’s a really neat person!
Daniel Noe, of Minority Pictures, LLC, has been in the business over 30 years. He’s spent six of that running his own company and another 24 in various “ATL” and “BTL” positions (these are industry terms for budget. “Above The Line” refers to Producers, Director, and Lead talent. “Below The Line” refers to the various pre-production/production departments and post-production).
I asked him if I could interview him for both my blog and the IU blog, he readily agreed. I typed up 10 questions that I thought would-be screenwriting authors might like to know. Yes, my inquiry mind wanted to know too!
KR: What was the reason you decided to get into film?
DN: It is something I have always wanted to do. I have not been involved my entire life, but when it is in you, it draws you in eventually.
KR: What is the main function of a producer?
DN: A broad question. Producers have varying capacities, but at the core, a producer is a person who affects results through action. My take is a producer is a facilitator by function, whether it involves finance, production, post-production, distribution, or in any area related to the project.
KR: What are the basic steps to making a movie?
DN: Write or buy a script, develop it into a marketable package, prepare for physical production, produce the product, assemble the product in post-production.
KR: Can you explain “packaging” a deal in regards to the writer’s portion?
DN: The writer’s sole concern is to present a marketable, “calling card” script. Don’t be concerned with any numbers, with the exception of page counts. A writer can option, outright sell the IP, (Intellectual Property), and even deal memo(an agreement/contract), to do re-writes, if it is offered. Normally, the writer is paid off, given credit, and then another writing team is deal memo’ed to do the re-writes.
KR: What is your best advice for getting noticed in the industry?
DN: Be your creative self, practice, practice, practice your discipline, respect the business model, develop lasting relationships (personal/business), and stay patient and passionate.
KR: If someone wants to adapt their novel to a screenplay, what are some resources they can use?
DN: Plenty of screenplay writing software programs out there, so anyone can cherry pick one to fit their immediate needs. I recommend Final Draft 8, or if one needs to go on the cheap, ask a friend with the program for the margins, headers, tab, and indentation numbers, then create a template with a word writing program that converts to pdf.
KR: If you were to tell an author one good piece of advice about screenwriting, what would it be?
DN: Get a copy of Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 (ISBN: 0-399-51838-X). Put your best foot forward!
BTW: I’m about half way through the book, and it has some really great, thought-provoking information.
KR: Should a writer get lucky enough to get a screenplay optioned, what can they expect?
DN: Another broad question. I will answer with a “newbie” hypothesis. A new writer, if the script is in demand, should broker for the normal option rate and terms, broker a cheaper than WGA page count rate, and not even worry about a re-write contract. The idea is to get and keep the foot in the door.
KR: What are your feelings about SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and WGA (Writers Guild of America)?
DN: Necessary and engage them as a friend!
KR: And your feelings toward independent productions?
DN: Absolutely love them. Limitation is the enemy of art!
Nowadays there are increasing opportunities for authors to get their books made into movies. The internet, movies on demand, independent production companies, and large production companies are all looking for new ideas. If you are willing to put forth the effort, you can try and write the screenplay yourself. Otherwise, your job is to find a person in the industry that will champion your book and get it in front of producers and directors. It’s not easy getting that champion, but once you do, always remember to be professional and meet any deadlines. Writers are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, your goal is to outshine all of those and make a name for yourself. If you truly dream of seeing your book on the silver screen, it’s time to get cracking and make it happen!
You can check out Daniel’s blog on: http://fortheindependentproducingmind.blogspot.com/
Until next time, my creatively obsessed friends,
Other recommended books:
How not to write a screenplay ISBN: 1-58065-015-5 (have not read this one yet, but it was recommended by my “script Doctor”)
Screenplay ISBN: 978-0-385-33903-2 (the absolute go-to book)
Making a good script great ISBN 978-935247-01-2
How to adapt anything into a screenplay ISBN: 0-471-22545-2
The screenwriter’s bible ISBN: 978-1-935247-02-9 (an AWESOME book!)