Never Wait: A Philosophy for Screenwriting


Before we go further, I should explain the genesis of this column. It's a reaction to the seemingly innocuous question writers ask, "I just sent my screenplay off to an agent. How long should I wait before I can expect a reply?"

Most answers to this are along the lines of, "Make a follow up call after two weeks to make sure it's arrived, and then if you don't hear anything back in six weeks, they're probably not interested, so..."

Not me.

My reaction to the question I've always held back.

What I want to do is jump out of my chair and yell "How long do you wait? What the fuck are you doing waiting? Waiting is death! Waiting is screwing up on a cosmological scale! If you spend even the tiniest fraction of a glorious, invaluable second with your attention on where you last sent your screenplay and you're actually waiting for a response, then you've already lost the whole damn game already, you might as well go back and complete the seventh level of Legend of Zelda over again!"

But that response is harsh, sounds crazy and would probably not be understood, or much appreciated.

The shorter, Yoda-inspired version, "You must do, never wait, and fuck hope," isn't much better.

So instead, you get this column.