Thursday, December 13

My Screenplay Play

Eighth Grade Ends by Brian Jaeger and Casey Palbicki
Maybe someone out there is a struggling screenplay writer like me. Maybe you've mailed the scripts or tried the pitches. Maybe you watch the typical Hollywood rehash and wonder why no one will even look at your work. I totally understand. I've written two movie screenplays and a musical play, and I've gotten no real bites. Here's a letter I wrote to someone in Hollywood who was willing to look over my work. His comments were encouraging for one of the scripts--the one he actually finished--but he wasn't in a position to help more than that. Anyhow, besides publishing the screenplays as Kindle books and hoping for the best, the guy I knew through a friend will probably be my last attempt to get them noticed.

I'd even tried my second cousin who lives in LA and works on movies. He told me that he couldn't really imagine what he could do for me. I was like, "When someone who makes movies (maybe a director or producer) says there aren't any good ideas out there, print out a copy and put it on his desk." I guess the problem is that most Hollywood directors and producers are making plenty of money, so they're not going to lament the fact that most of what they're producing is garbage. If it was really garbage, no one would pay to see it, right?

So, just to have it documented, here's the letter I sent along with my scripts to my Hollywood guy:

Hello ,

I have been friends with --- and ---- for several years, even co-teaching with Nancy for some of the time. We especially enjoyed teaching our Film and Novel class together. When I met with them for a Brewers game recently, I was excited to learn that ---- had a contact who had been so successful in Hollywood. He told me there might be a chance that you’d consider ways to help me out with some of my ideas.

Short version is that I am an English Major and creative writer who became a teacher (and then a laid off teacher). But I was always really a writer, even when the kids came and my wife went part time. Now, instead of teaching and trying to make time for writing, I write and try to make time for making money (building websites and doing manual labor). My best-selling book is a teaching unit that combines Catcher in the Rye with Rebel Without a Cause, not my poetry, short stories, or scripts. But I do have the other writing, and it’s better than my lessons.

In the past, I had mailed a few of my screenplays to California with no response, and I have contacted a former student and tried two virtual pitches with no response. I hope that you are someone who would be interested in these screenplays or know someone who might be interested, so I will briefly describe each film. I am also providing the files.

1. The first movie was written by Casey Palbicki and myself: The Jeff Movie. It was completed several years before The Hangover series, but there are some similar elements. We liked to think it was more like Swingers. The basic story is a bunch of guys show up in a college town (Whitewater) for Bar Bash Weekend. They are all selfish and out for themselves, but they still hang out all night to get the stupid t-shirt for going to each bar, ruining at least one relationship during the libation. It’s kind of like those USA Network spring break movies with better writing. Or like Project X with a soul.

2. Casey and I also wrote Eighth Grade Ends, partially because I met a girl in Eau Claire who said she was family friends with Spielberg and he wanted a coming of age movie, but then I lost her phone number. Anyhow, we came up with a story that combines afternoon newspaper delivery with little league baseball and middle school sex ed class in order to create an idea that’s kind of a mix of The Bad News Bears, The Sandlot, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, just with a little less baseball and sex. If you can think of a funny coming of age movie you’ve seen, this one is better. At least in some small way. It takes place in the late 80s/early 90s when kids could still borrow a 1978 Delta 88 and not get caught or play tennis with a wooden racket and not seem old-school. When a teenager with a Ford Explorer was instant-awesome and professional athletes could get out of a drug charge by doing community service in a school. Every time I try to edit a couple of parts, I end up reading the whole screenplay again. And I like it every time. Plus, the nostalgia factor is now there as my own kids start approaching the ages and decisions we made back then.

3. The last script is a Broadway-style musical called Philadelphia Store: The Musical. It’s working title for a long time was Boston Store: The Musical, but then I had the idea to incorporate the love triangle aspect and rich versus poor elements of Philadelphia Story into the plot. The basic idea is that Mr. Corp, the owner of MegaCorp, has bought The Philly Store and is considering what to do with it. He sends an efficiency expert to see how to make it run more smoothly. Brian is the cynical college kid who only works at the store for spending money and to look at hot babes, but he’s recruited by others on the dock (and his dream girl (Julia) to help save the store. He is also being sought by Anya, the Ukrainian mail-order bride who is going through an ugly divorce. There’s a swarthy manager who likes to look (and maybe touch) the sales girls, there’s the forty year-old who’s never been kissed, and there’s the Lutheran guy who will only date Lutheran Girls (sung to the tune of California Girls). In the end, Brian has to decide whether the job is worth saving and which girl is worth pursuing.

That’s it. Three finished scripts. I’m working on every story ever told about West Allis, Wisconsin right now, I’ve got several other ebooks and websites that I’ve built, but three fully-finished scripts hoping for a chance to show someone how good they could be.

Thank you for your time and any help you would be able to extend. 

If you have Kindle and Prime, please feel free to read any of these books for free (that are available free) and give me some stars.
Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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