“Project With A Unique Point Of View” Manager/Producer - Andrew Wilson
“Project With A Unique Point Of View” Andrew Wilson Manager/Producer At Wonder Street Talks Shop:
Andrew Wilson whose company was behind the Golden-Globe winning The Mauritanian starring Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim shares his insights on the state of the industry and how screenwriters can best work within it.
What type of material are you currently interested in?
Well the short answer is material that I know I can sell and get made! I look for both TV and film projects. Lately I have been gravitating towards various intellectual property as a jumping off point for scripts. And that has ranged from books, to short stories, to life rights, video games, etc.
How would you gauge the current state of the market?
It feels like there is some life being breathed back into the market as we are seemingly through the worst of the pandemic. What I have seen is that projects that have a unique point of view seem to be rising to the top. Authentic voices, even if they are working in a tried and true genre, seem to be the ones that are having the most success out there. Writers that are putting their own spin on stories are excelling at varying budget ranges.
What does the perfect query letter look like to you?
I guess I would say that it needs to do something first that can catch my eye. Needs to feel like there is an opportunity there (which is where the “based on intellectual property” part helps). Clear, concise, to the point. But also give me enough that I actually want to read the whole script.
What does the perfect script look like?
Is there one? Scripts are seemingly always a work in progress, which is kind of the beauty in them. Two different directors can view the same piece of material, and have two completely different takes on what they would do with it. And I think thats part of what makes our business go round. So I think a perfect screenplay has the ability to adapt and evolve, as long as it’s in an effort to make the best version of it. A perfect script comes from a writer that is ready to do the work to get it to the next level.
What are the most common issues you face with script submissions?
It may honestly be proofreading, as much as I hate to say it. I may be a stickler for proofreading, but I also know a lot of executives and producers that are as well. And it is really a turn off to the writing, because not only is it distracting, but it makes you wonder why you can take the time to read the script, but the writer didn’t take the time to have it proofread before sending. So please have your scripts proofread before anyone sees them!
What does a typical day in the office look like?
I can’t remember! There are no more traditional office days for me. My time fluctuates between taking care of my kids, and spending some uninterrupted hours working out of my home office. I take a lot of Zoom meetings and phone calls, and find time to return emails in between. The key for me is trying to set aside that quiet time for reading scripts, which is a challenge, but I always find a way.
What does your ideal client relationship look like?
The ideal relationship is truly a symbiotic one. I want a writer to feel like they are at their best creatively while we are working together, and I also want them to feel confident in the strategy and approach that I put together in mapping out their career trajectory. We both bring ideas to the table, and there is a good back and forth. And for me, when I am out there trying to sell material that I truly believe in. It only serves to help us both. My clients make me look good!
When you read, how soon do you realize whether you’re interested or not?
If the writing itself is just not very good, it doesn’t take more than ten pages. However if the writing is decent, but I am unsure if I am falling in love with the story, that can be closer to thirty pages.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions writers have about managers and the industry?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions are what several of us call “trunk scripts”. The dozen or so scripts that your previous manager didn’t sell over the last few years, that you now want to hand off and have me read and sell them all (as opposed to working on something new). Honestly, it’s a recipe for disaster and disappointment for both of us. It doesn’t mean that an older script can’t be refreshed and find a new home (I have helped do that many times with writers), but I would say limit that to one, for starters. When you pull out too many trunk scripts it tends to scare managers away.
What are the more unconventional places you’ve sourced story ideas from?
A travel website probably. It was kind of just a jumping off point for an idea that I had, but really that creative spark can come from just about anywhere. Sometimes there are actual rights to pursue, but other times it just provides inspiration for something.
Complete this sentence. You are ready for representation when….
You’ve written a great script! For me, I have been doing this for two plus decades, and I have a busy client base as well as a handful of producing/development projects. So I don’t have the time I once did to read every new script that comes my way. But that being said, it is still one of the best parts of what I do when I discover that new voice, and we attain some success. It is kinda what this is all about. So I don’t know what the rule is about when you’re ready, but for me, even if you only had one script, but it was one that I knew I could sell and get made, I would love to get to work together.