Responding. Keeping in touch. Everyone in the loop. Yeah, that’s today’s topic.
The life of a writer (especially a freelance writer) is a lonely one. We sweat over our ideas, worry about our wordsmithing, and pray that we’re in the ballpark. After gnawing over a project for days, we finally send it out into the Void (via email), hoping that we have done a competent, pleasing job. And what’s the upshot? Nothing. Not even a “Script received. Thanks.”
I have gone days waiting for a response. And let me tell you that in my experience the phrase “No new is good news” is bogus. I’ve been on The Inside… I’ve lived the corporate life. And when a company takes a long time to get back to you, it usually mean they’re having meetings – and meetings are bad. Everyone, including the receptionist, is being asked what they think of your writing effort. And the more people involved, the more chances to say “No.”
Now to be fair, most of the time your script is going to one person – the story editor. And story editing is a mind-stripping task. The SE is yanked every which way and told to “re-work this from the ground up but don’t miss your deadline.” So if a story editor doesn’t get back to you, there’s probably a good reason. They’ve stolen 4 hours out of their day to selfishly sleep.
But other times there is no story editor. So you are writing for producers. And producers usually meet with schedulers, accountants, art directors, sales teams, and other in-house lifeforms. With every person added, the process multiplies. So getting a quick response is nigh impossible.
So with all this said, my message to people on The Inside is this: “Please keep your writers in the loop.” When a piece of writing comes in, send an acknowledgement of receipt. (“Got your treatment. Thanks. Notes by end of week hopefully.”) If a week goes by with no news, send an update. (“Plague of frogs has slowed down the wheels of industry. No news yet.”) If another week goes by, be honest. (“The CEO hates you, and he hates your ass face.”)