Sunday, June 25, 2017

Screenwriter Robert Gosnell ~ Understanding The Word "No"

Understanding the Word "No"

We all encounter it throughout our careers, and either accept it and keep going or give into it and quit. Simply the fear of rejection is enough to stall, or even prevent a promising writing career.

I have submitted dozens of screenplays and TV scripts to potential producers, film companies and investors over the years. Enough of them hit home to provide me with a career, but they only represent a fraction of my submissions. The vast majority were rejected, and some quite callously.

It's never personal, of course. At least, that's what they tell us, and maybe they actually mean it, but for us, the writers, it's never not personal.

In virtually all of my rejected screenplay submissions, the response went something like this: My agent would call and say, "They liked the writing, but it's not what they're looking for."

That isn't exactly brutal. In fact, it's pretty diplomatic, which may be why so many of them used it. 

"It isn't you, it's us."

First off, they always tell writers that they liked the writing. Maybe, they did, or maybe they didn't, but I've never not been given that note.

"It's not what they're looking for" holds a lot more water. Honestly, that is the most likely scenario.

Perhaps, they determined the budget to be too high and passed on it for economic reasons. Maybe, they're looking for a vehicle for a particular star, and my lead character didn't fit. Maybe, they already have something similar in the pipeline. It's also quite possible that it just isn't something they want to do.

Like every business, a production company sets goals for itself. They have a clear business plan, and it's easy to not fit into it.

The fact is, success relies on getting the right script in front of the right person at the right time. I'm asking them to pay me thousands of dollars to spend millions of dollars and a great deal of time and energy producing my screenplay. It demands a perfect storm of opportunity which is fragile and rare.

That's the good news. It really isn't personal. There are many reasons for rejecting a screenplay that have nothing to do with me. So, I reject the rejection and keep going. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

And, why not? After all, they liked the writing.


"The Blue Collar Screenwriter and The Elements of Screenplay" is currently available at:
Amazon digital and paperback
Find Robert at:
Website (with information on classes)

A  professional screenwriter for more than thirty years,  Robert Gosnell has produced credits in feature films, network television, syndicated television, basic cable and pay cable, and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of Canada.

Robert began his career writing situation comedy as a staff writer for the ABC series Baby Makes Five.  As a freelance writer, he wrote episodes for Too Close for Comfort and the TBS comedies Safe at Home andRocky Road.  In cable, he has scripted numerous projects for the Disney Channel, including Just Perfect, a Disney Channel movie featuring  Jennie Garth. In 1998, he wrote the  Showtime original movie, Escape from Wildcat Canyon, which starred Dennis Weaver and won the national "Parents Choice Award." Robert's feature credits include the Chuck Norris/Louis Gosset Jr. film Firewalker, an uncredited rewrite on the motion picture Number One With A Bullet starring Robert Carradine and Billy Dee Williams, and the sale of his original screenplay Kick And Kick Back to Cannon Films. Robert was also selected as a judge for the 1990 Cable Ace Awards, in the Comedy Special category.

In 1990, Robert left Hollywood for Denver, where he became active in the local independent film community. His screenplay Tiger Street was produced by the Pagoda Group of Denver and premiered on Showtime Extreme in August of 2003. In 1999, Denver’s Inferno Films produced the action film Dragon and the Hawk from his script. In 2001, Robert co-wrote the screenplay for the independent feature Siren for Las Vegas company Stage Left Productions. His feature script Juncture was produced by Front Range Films in March of 2006. 

Robert  is a principal member of the Denver production company "Conspiracy Films." He is frequently an invited speaker for local writers organizations,  served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference in 2002, and in 2007 was chosen to participate as a panelist for the Aspen Film Festival Short Screenplay Contest. Robert regularly presents his screenwriting class "The Elements of Screenplay," along with advanced classes and workshops, in the Denver area.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Take Five With Author Mary Vine

Well, it's supposed to be spring here in the Rockies, but after a snow last week and much cooler weather than I'd like, I decided I'm due for some reading.  And guess what, I find a new-to-me author writing a time travel romantic novella.  Perfect.
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Mary Vine.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, A Nugget of Time?
Hi, L.A., thank for having me as your guest today. I have been in love with the woods of Northeast Oregon for about twenty years now. My husband likes to pan for gold there, but I am more interested in the history of the mining district during the mid to late 1800s. We bought a couple of lots in the ghost town of Bourne (first named Cracker City) and that is where my story came alive. While wondering what it would have been like to live in this town during its heyday, I brought back heroine Dixie Lea, a 21st-century newspaper reporter, to 1870.

If you were not a writer, what vocation would you pursue?

I was blessed to find two jobs I really enjoy. Writing is one of course, and the other is education. I spent 28 years in the field and then retired last summer as a licensed speech and language pathology assistant, teaching k through 12th grades.

Do you prefer to read in the same genre you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre?  Why?

I usually prefer happily ever after romances with mystery and/or suspense and that is what I write. I’ve always liked romantic time travel as well.

How do you create internal and external conflict in your characters?  I find conflict often the hardest to create when I start planning a book.

I don’t know that I have the answer to that specifically. I am the kind of author that doesn’t plan much on paper but lets the story unfold in my head at the computer. But, I usually start the story knowing the setting and the internal struggle of the heroine and hero and go from there.

If you could live during any era of history, which one would you choose?

The 1870s or just after the Civil War. Yet, when I wrote Nugget of Time I had the heroine, Dixie Lea, doing tasks around the house without the use of 21th-century technology and it didn’t seem quite as “romantic” as I once thought. I would like to learn how to wash clothes at the river by hero James Brogan, though.

Give us a brief summary of A Nugget of Time:
A Boise newspaper sends Dixie Lea to interview the owner of the largest gold nugget found in the 21st century. While waiting for him in a mining territory in Northeast Oregon, she walks into a cave. Feeling dizzy, she puts a hand to the wall of the tunnel and wakes up alone on a hill. 

Retired Lieutenant Colonel James Brogan is at a complete loss of what to do with this self-directed woman alone in the woods with no knowledge of how to survive in 1870. His sense of right and wrong gives him no choice but to keep her safe. Yet, someone else is waiting and planning for them to come to a disastrous end.

Buy Links:

Mary Vine is the author of contemporary romantic fiction books MAYA’S GOLD, A PLACE TO LAND, SNAKE RIVER RENDEZVOUS and historical novella WANTING MOORE, published by Black Lyon Publishing. 

Through Melland Publishing, LLC, she has published a romantic mystery, A HAUNTING IN TRILLIUM FALLS, a time travel, A NUGGET OF TIME and an inspirational children’s book, THE BIG GUY UPSTAIRS. 

She has also published two children’s books by author Velma Parker, EMMA COMES THROUGH and MOLLY’S MONKEYSHINES. Mary, and her husband can usually be found in Southwest Idaho or Northeast Oregon.

Find Mary: