Film Courage: Wendy, hearing what packaging means, I think it sounds great if you’re established but for a new writer, is that something they should even be worried about, thinking about or striving for?
Wendy Kram, Owner of Wendy’s LA4Hire: I think that, again the first thing new writers should concern themselves with is writing a really, really good script. And I’m sure there are producers also who come to Film Courage.
A writer that I’ve been working with who is also a documentary filmmaker did a story and he showed me a few clips and I’m like Oh my gosh, this is so moving, this is an amazing story and immediately I could see that the character whose story it was based on would be a great role to attract a leading actor. So immediately I’m thinking big names.
Now that then helps me promote it let’s say if I call CAA and I create a good compelling log line and I say it’s a great vehicle for a leading actor and I might include some prototypes and I go Great, send that over.
Because everybody is usually (there are exceptions) but are looking for something that is going to attract a star whether it’s a female leading actress or a male leading actor. And true stories very often is a really good source to attract a leading actor. I mean I think if, the first priority is writing a good story. I think with screenwriters and some screenwriters that I know definitely think of a prototype when they are writing it. Like they might hear as I’m writing it I see Marisa Tomei in the role and that can help their writing process. I feel that anyone who gets too attached to the outcome before you’ve done the process is probably not a good way to go.
In the case let’s say with producers or you’re a writer and you don’t yet have a script on a particular subject but you’ve optioned a true story or maybe they’ve written an article on your’s in a magazine and it can tell itself because there have been stories optioned or turned into movies from newspaper articles. I think BOYS DON’T CRY, I mean we know it was a true story, the first time I became aware of it I actually had read it in a magazine and I wanted to option it. I tried to get the rights and sell it and I was not able to do it. At the time I was primarily focused on network and it was a little too edgy for regular network.
Anyway that did come from an article, as well as they said, a true story.
ARGO was a true story and was also an article which I think may have the jumping off point for capturing the imagination of Clooney. And any time that you have something that’s an article and if it’s a true story, you can sell true stories very often without having a script. So if you’re a screenwriter, that’s something to think about if there’s a true story that you like and you might think Oh, gee this could be a great vehicle for any number of young actresses. Or it offers a great role for a male lead in their forties. So I think it’s always wise to think about it. But not the cart before the horse when that becomes the dominant idea.
But let’s say in the case of the writer or producer has optioned the rights to a true story then they would go out and trying to package. So it would be about trying to get it in the hands of a production company that has greater access and leverage and ability to reach out to agents and attach an actor, director and so on.
Also, they can try to get to an agent. I do coaching with those who are not represented to help them get through the gatekeepers and bypass certain industry protocols in order to get their materials seen. There are ways that you can pitch that can entice someone even if you don’t yet have an agent. Does that answer the question about packaging?
Film Courage: Yeah, I think so.
Wendy: I would say generally (ideally) if you can get it to a production company they are going to be in a better position to try to attach those key elements…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
About Wendy Kram:
Seasoned Film and Television producer, Wendy Kram, created L.A. FOR HIRE, a consulting firm for production companies, writers, directors and anyone in media and PR seeking Hollywood connections and expertise on how to get their project to the next level.
With over fifteen years of experience in the entertainment industry, Wendy has supervised and produced a number of award-winning motion picture and television films for companies including: Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, Hearst Entertainment, Sandollar Productions, Granada Entertainment, CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, HBO, Showtime and Lifetime Networks. Credits include “Mad Money” with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, the award-winning miniseries, “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” with Sam Neill, and the romantic comedy, “Making Mr. Right” with Dean Caine for Lifetime Network. Wendy has a track record working with A-level talent, agents, filmmakers and executives.
As a native New Yorker who loves the city she grew up in, Wendy recognized a gap between many New York-based production companies and the Hollywood community. L.A. FOR HIRE was created to help fill this gap by providing a bridge between Hollywood’s key decision makers and companies in New York and other metropolitan cities around the globe.
Our clients come to us in order to help them navigate through the Hollywood system, where we provide insider knowledge and know-how that comes from our years of experience.
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