Venezuela! Who would have thought socialism would fail?
by J. Neil Schulman
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Look, I’m a libertarian anarchist who’s been a muckraking journalist, a magazine editor, an Op-Ed writer for major newspapers, a much-published book author and magazine writer, a network television screenwriter, the founder/CEO of two publishing companies, a blogger, a tweeter, an indie writer/producer/director of two narrative feature films — and that doesn’t begin to exhaust my experience and the jobs I’ve done both for pay and on my own dime.
I’m a professional, and amateur-for-fun, pain in the ass.
So despite my sweet nature I keep finding myself at the center of controversies.
Here’s the latest, and unless you who are reading this can figure out a way to help me, this one may finally put me out on the street with a cardboard sign, “Will Write For Food.”
Who am I kidding? I’m a 64-year-old man with ongoing health issues.
This might kill me.
For most of this year I’ve been writing new screen stories and sending them to my literary manager since 1977, Joel Gotler at the IPGLM management company in Los Angeles.
Joel is a big deal in the business. He’s represented superstar writers for decades. Joel has an executive producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street.
After spending most of the last ten years focusing on producing my own movies I’ve spent this year trying to make a screenwriting sale to a major studio. The money is a lot better and a sale could secure the finances for my old age. But there’s a firewall in my way. I’ve been a member of the Writers Guild of America since I made my script sale of “Profile in Silver” to CBS’s The Twilight Zone series in 1985. The studios won’t read an “unsolicited submission” from a writer. As a manager, not an agent, Joel can’t directly submit my writing to the studios because it’s not allowed by Writers Guild rules. So the only way I can get a studio to read my submission is through an agent or agency that’s signed up with the Writers Guild.
Included in that agency category is arguably the most powerful talent agency on this planet: Creative Artists Agency — CAA, for short. The “A List” client list of CAA includes among the most famous and accomplished actors, directors, and writers in the motion picture and television industry — “The Industry” when discussed among The Industry.
After my first two novels were in print from major New York publishers — Crown and Simon & Schuster — my first sale to The Industry was a four-page outline that Joel Gotler — when he was still an agent — sold in 1983 to movie producer Herb Jaffe at the film production company Vista Films. Vista Films had produced major box-office successes such as The Wind and The Lion, Demon Seed, and Time After Time. My outline was titled “All the King’s Horses.”
Under contract to Vista Films I turned my four-page outline into a 100-page screen treatment — just one short step from being a shooting script. You can find that treatment in my 1999 book, Profile in Silver and Other Screenwritings. It’s still in print and on sale at Amazon.com.
“All The King’s Horses” was a very commercial idea. In 1983 the two-year-old marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to Charles, the Prince of Wales — and the birth one year earlier of their first child Prince William, second in line to the British throne, was a modern fairy tale in all major media.
In 1983 the tabloids had published not the first word about marital troubles with this royal family.
So when in 1983 I wrote a romantic comedy “All the King’s Horses” about the Princess of Wales, while on a goodwill tour with her son to the United States, filing for divorce and child custody in an American court — and the Prince of Wales through derring-do winning back her heart — it was, as they say, a “high concept” movie idea.
Nonetheless — perhaps with backroom pressure from the real British monarchy, who did know what was going on behind the scenes — Vista Films was unable to find a studio to make the movie.
Seven years later the rights reverted back to me. By this time — 1990 — word of marital problems between Charles and Diana were being leaked to the media. But what was being reported as gossip was no longer ripe for a fictional treatment.
In 2017 — 20 years after Diana’s tragic death — a movie about a fictional Princess Susan and Prince Arthur from the fictional country of Wittland — struck me as once again a possibly commercial romantic comedy.
So in March 2017 I turned my old treatment into a screenplay, retitled The Princess of Brentwood.
Yet the firewalls preventing my screenplay from being read by the movie studios, or by movie stars and big-name directors who only read what their agents and managers sent to them, remained.
I sent The Princess of Brentwood screenplay to Justin Ptak, who praised it, but he was still waiting for the Writers Guild to accept him as a signatory agent, so he could not yet submit it for me.
I sent The Princess of Brentwood screenplay to Joel Gotler, who on May 8th emailed me that he was too busy to take on the project. Joel’s assistant Rachel Levine told me in a phone conversation that their office was so swamped with other projects that Joel wasn’t even allowing her to read the script. My experience with Joel after many years was that Joel no longer had time to read scripts himself but sent it out for story coverage. I knew that because in the early 90’s I had been one of those who was paid to read manuscripts and write coverage reports for Joel.
I subscribe to IMDb Pro because it provides contact information to The Industry.
A legendary agent at CAA, Fred Specktor, had a direct email address listed.
Attaching a PDF copy of The Princess of Brentwood screenplay, I emailed Fred Specktor:
Dear Mr. Specktor,
Attached as a PDF is my new screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood. I’m seeking representation for this as well as other projects.
Over a four-decade career as an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and journalist, notables who have praised my writing include Charlton Heston, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Burgess, Robert A. Heinlein, and Milton Friedman.
My past representation has included Curtis Brown and H.N. Swanson.
J. Neil Schulman
The Princess of Brentwood
A Screenplay by J Neil Schulman
Genres: Romantic Comedy / Courtroom Drama / Action-Adventure
The whole world watched the fairy-tale romance of Prince Arthur and Lady Susan, their royal wedding, and the birth of their son, Prince John. But life as a Royal turned out not to be what Princess Susan expected with its relentless political control and media scrutiny.
On a two-week goodwill tour of America with her 8-year-old son, Prince John, heir to the throne after his father, Princess Susan applies for permanent U.S. residency and custody of John which would forbid him from visiting the kingdom until he’s grown up.
The consequences of this decision complicate International tensions, legal wrangling, media frenzy, a re-evaluation of his life choices by Prince Arthur, and a kidnapping which puts the Prince’s character to the test.
J. Neil Schulman is a filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, radio personality, songwriter, and actor.
His dozen published books still in print include the novels Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza, both of which won the Prometheus Award, and the anthology Nasty, Brutish, And Short Stories. His third novel, Escape from Heaven, was a Prometheus-Award finalist.
Schulman’s articles and essays have been published in magazines ranging from Cult Movies to Mondo Cult, and in newspapers including funny articles and serious Op-Eds for the Los Angeles Times.
His 1986 original episode for CBS’s The Twilight Zone, “Profile in Silver” about a time-traveler who prevents the JFK assassination played three times on CBS prime time and has been frequently replayed on SyFy and Chiller.
He’s writer/producer/director for two indie feature films, Lady Magdalene’s (2008) and Alongside Night (2014). Both are available on Amazon Video/Amazon Prime, as well as DVD or Blu-ray editions also on Amazon Prime.
A few days later I made a follow-up phone call to Fred Specktor’s CAA office and, to my amazement, Fred Specktor took the call. Initially Fred Specktor intended only to inform me that he could not read an unsolicited submission but I managed to keep the conversation going long enough to explain that the script was based on an outline that Herb Jaffe had bought back in 1983 and that my most recent credits were as the writer-producer-director of two indie feature films from 2008 and 2014.
This was enough for Fred Specktor to agree to having The Princess of Brentwood read at CAA if I’d sign a standard submssion release form. I agreed and was transferred to Specktor’s assistant, Joey Amoia, to whom I gave my email address.
Minutes later I received and replied to this email:
On 6/19/2017 4:54 PM, Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia) wrote:
Per your conversation with Fred, in order for us to accept your project, we must have Submission Release Forms sent to you and fully executed. To expedite the process, please answer the questions below.
1. Name of the Project:
The Princess of Brentwood
2. How many pages it is:
89 pages including cover sheet
3. Name for ALL writers of the script (Please note each writer will have to sign 3 copies)
J. Neil Schulman
4. Which client the project is intended for (if any):
For directing: Danny DeVito or Paul Greengrass or Rob Reiner
For the lead role of Princess Susan: Keira Knightley or Emma Watson or Alice Eve or Emilia Clarke
5. Address of where the Submission Release Forms should be sent
J. Neil Schulman
150 S Highway 160, C8-234
Pahrump, NV 89048
Once I receive this information I will send out (3) submission release forms via mail. They need to be signed by the writer(s) and all original copies mailed back to me.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Office of Fred Specktor | CAA
I’ve been in The Industry since Joel Gotler started representing me in 1977, when my first novel Alongside Night had not yet been sold to a publisher. Based on the unpublished first-novel manuscript Joel started submitting it for a film sale.
From 1977 through my phone call to Fred Specktor I’d never been asked to sign a submission release form because submissions coming through a known manager or agent never require one.
So to expedite this process and make it more standard, more professional, I emailed Joel Gotler and his assistant Rachel:
On Jun 19, 2017, at 5:50 PM, J. Neil Schulman wrote:
Joel and Rachel,
I spoke on the phone today with Fred Specktor, CAA superagent. He’s having his assistant Joey Amoia mail me release forms so they can read my script The Princess of Brentwood. I don’t suppose you’d want to send a copy of my screenplay over there, yourself, to help this process along?
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 01:21:54 +0000
From: Joel Gotler
To: J. Neil Schulman
CC: Rachel Levine
Sent from my iPhone
Rachel confirmed for me by telephone that an email from Joel to Fred went out a few days later, containing the submitted screenplay. Rachel instructed me not to get directly in touch with Fred Specktor’s office regarding the submission release forms since this was now their submission and did not require one.
A few weeks went by during which it would have been common for CAA to have read my screenplay, and on July 6th Rachel emailed me back: “No word yet! We’ll check in with them if we haven’t heard
anything on Friday- give them to the end of the week.”
Another two weeks went by without our hearing back.
I need to tell you that every day that went by was putting severe financial pressure on me, and most important, it was passing a deadline for me to make travel arrangements to my daughter’s August 5th wedding in Seattle. If I had a pending deal on The Princess of Brentwood I could ask friends to lend me the money for the trip.
Finally, on July 26th — not being able to reach Rachel — I decided to phone Fred Specktor’s assistant, Joey Amoia, to find out what the status was of Joel Gotler’s submission of The Princess of Brentwood.
Joey said he thought I was calling about not receiving the submission release forms, because the package containing them had come back to him from the CAA mailroom. He said he knew nothing about the submission from Joel Gotler. I asked him to check the CAA computer to see if Joel’s submission might have ended up with another agent. Joey told me the title The Princess of Brentwood was not in the CAA computer therefore no CAA agent had it read.
Joey told me he’d personally re-sent the submission release forms, and in a call from him later that day he told me that regardless of the submission coming from Joel Gotler I’d still have to sign the submission release forms.
Once they were received back Joey Amoia assured me my screenplay would be in Fred Specktor’s reading for the weekend of August 5th.
Coincidentally the same weekend as my daughter’s wedding that because of this delay I would not be able to attend.
Because the submission was supposed to have been received from Joel Gotler, I emailed Joel and Rachel:
Amoia had no knowledge that Joel had sent Fred Specktor The Princess of Brentwood. The purpose of his call was to let me know that he just became aware yesterday that the CAA mail room had failed to send me the release forms allowing Fred Specktor to read The Princess of Brentwood and that Joey had today FedExed the release forms to me. When I told Joey about Joel’s submission he said I needed to sign the release forms anyway and that when he received them back he’d put the script in Fred Specktor’s weekend reading. He also checked the CAA computer to check whether The Princess of Brentwood was in their system; it wasn’t.
Apparently we’ve been waiting to hear back on a submission from IPGLM they didn’t know they had.
I told Joey that I would sign the forms and Fedex overnight them back to him so Fred Specktor could read The Princess of Brentwood this coming weekend.
Joel emailed me back: “Right, just sign the release.”
Later in the day on July 26th — after the Writers Guild East offices were closed — I phoned the Writers Guild West to find out if Joel Gotler’s management company IPGLM was now possibly signed as a Guild-approved agency that could make submissions for me. I was connected to Bertha Garcia, an administrator in the WGA West’s Contracts Department, who told me it wasn’t.
It was a friendly conversation in which Bertha told me (based on my spelling my email address using the Ham Radio Letter Code) that she was a licensed Ham, and as an anecdote I told Bertha about the confusion and delay at CAA of my screenplay being read because the Submission Release Forms had been lost.
That’s when Bertha dropped a bombshell on me. I asked her to email what she’d just told me.
On 7/26/2017 5:25 PM, Bertha Garcia wrote:
This will confirm our phone conversation of this afternoon. It is the Guild’s position that WGA signatory agencies may not ask writers who are WGA members to sign release forms.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Administrator, Contracts Department
Writers Guild of America West, Inc.
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
I’d just been told that CAA, a WGA signatory agency, was asking me, a WGA member, to sign a submission release form that they weren’t allowed to ask a WGA member like me to sign and that as a WGA writer I wasn’t allowed to sign. Yet if I didn’t sign it I was also being told that Fred Specktor wouldn’t read the script that could not be sent to a studio unless it came from a WGA signatory agency.
Talk about a Catch-22!
I then emailed Joey Amoia, and cc’d Fred Specktor, Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine, and Bertha Garcia:
Houston we’ve got a problem.
CAA is a WGA signatory. I’m a WGA member. According to the email below from Bertha Garcia at WGAW CAA — as a WGA agency signatory — isn’t allowed to ask a WGA member to sign a release form and as a WGA writer member I’m not allowed to sign one.
The CAA legal department must be aware of this.
I am willing immediately to sign a CAA agency agreement making me a CAA client as a writer, producer, director, actor, multi-published-book author, and songwriter.
I am willing immediately to sign a CAA packaging agreement for my screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood.
Joel Gotler at IPGLM would remain my personal manager.
I’ve attached my WGA membership card below in this email.
J. Neil Schulman
I copied in Bertha Garcia’s email to me.
I got no responses to this email before receiving an email from my mailbox service on Thursday that I’d received a Fedex package. I confirmed by phone it was the package from CAA. I decided to pick up the package, sign the release forms, and Fedex them back to Fred Specktor’s office.
I’m so broke I had to ask a friend to PayPal me to cover the cost of gas for a 120-mile round-trip drive to a FedEx Office location in Las Vegas and cover the Fedex charges.
When I picked up the Fedex package with the CAA submission release forms, and read them, I understood why the WGA would have a problem with them. The WGA has its own arbitration process regarding originality and credits.
The CAA release forms I was being asked to sign included:
6. I recognize that you and your clients have access to and/or may create or have created literary materials and ideas which may be similar or identical to said material in theme, idea, plot, format or other respects. I agree that I will not be entitled to any compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material which may have been independently created by you or any such client or may have come to you or such client from any other source.
7. I understand that such similarity in the past has given rise to litigation so that unless you can obtain adequate protection in advance, you will refuse to consider the submitted material. The protection for you must be sufficiently broad to protect you, your related entities, affiliates and individuals, your clients, and your and their employees, agents, licensees and assigns and all parties to whom you or they submit material. Therefore, all references to you in this Agreement shall include each and all of the foregoing.
I phoned Joey Amoia from my car and told him I had signed and was Fedexing the forms and that I’d email him the Fedex Tracking Number when I returned to my computer.
When I returned home from the Fedex office I found the following email from Joel Gotler:
This kind of letter does nobody any good. I personally sent your script to Fred last month as a favor to you (despite telling you I was passing on this multiple times initially), and if they have procedures to follow or don’t want to read, what can we do? But now you’re displaying yourself as a problem client to people I’ve known and respected for decades. I have to step aside on this.
This conversation is done.
I sent this next email later that night to Joey, Joel and all other parties cc’d in:
As I promised, attached is a PDF copy of my signed release form which is on its way to your office via FedEx Express, Tracking No. XXXXXXXXXXXX. Delivery is scheduled by Wednesday August 2, 2017 by 4:30 PM.
Below my signature and above my printed name I added the words “Subject to WGA rules.” That should keep the WGA off our backs.
Just for the record this has been the first time in a 40-year literary and screenwriting career — since Joel Gotler started representing me in 1977 — that I have ever been asked to sign a release form.
I replied to Joel Gotler separately:
I signed the release form and Fedexed them back to Fred Specktor’s office. I copied you in to the email. Rachel is signed up for Fedex tracking updates.
I did this despite Rachel telling me a submission from you to Fred Specktor did not require a signed release from me; despite such a release ostensibly violating WGA rules; and despite the insult to you in Joey Amoia continuing to ask for a release from a Joel Gotler client after Joey Amoia had it confirmed that the submission had come not from me but from you.
There must have been a miscommunication between us at some point since not “multiple times” but zero times did you tell me you were taking a pass on The Princess of Brentwood. Here is what you did email me:
April 27, 2017: “Having it read while I’m away. Joel”
May 3, 2017: “We haven’t read it yet. You are way ahead of us. Patience, please.”
May 9, 2017: “I can’t take on another project. Ptak will have to do the selling. I am on overload with what I have on my plate, so don’t wait for me. Good luck in placing it.”
That’s it. Nowhere did you or Rachel ever tell me by email or phone that you’d read or had The Princess of Brentwood covered at IPGLM, determined the screenplay uncommercial, and were passing on it.
If that had been the case I never would have bothered you about sending the script to Fred Specktor after he asked to see it.
As things stand now my last word to Fred Specktor and Joey Amoia was to get back to you, not me.
If Fred Specktor takes this project on and you still don’t want to be a part of it, let me know.
Your friend and client since 1977,
The next morning at 8:45 AM PDT Joey Amoia phoned me and told me what he then said in email a few minutes later:
Subject: RE: Release Forms
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:39:05 +0000
From: Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia)
To: J. Neil Schulman
CC: Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine, Fred Specktor
Per our conversation, Fred has decided not to read or accept your script. Please do not send it to us.
Office of Fred Specktor | CAA
I was now being exiled from The Industry for attempting to avoid being sanctioned by the Writers Guild for violating WGA working rules.
I phoned Rochelle Rubin who’s in charge of agencies, signatories, and contracts at the WGA East.
Rochelle knew me well for several reasons, one of which was my required member endorsement for Justin Ptak to become a WGA signatory agent. But Rochelle also knew me because of emails I’d responded to earlier this year regarding the root of this problem: the studios being allowed to refuse “unsolicited” submissions from WGA members. I’d forwarded a copy of this email to Rochelle:
Subject: Re: WGA Strike Authorization Vote – PLEASE READ
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2017 13:27:54 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: Geoff Betts
Thanks for taking my call.
I just posted the following statement on all my Facebook pages and a jpeg is going out in my Twitter:
I just had a conversation with Geoff Betts, business manager of the Writers Guild of America, East, of which I’m a member.
The Writers Guilds, east and west, are in negotiations with the AMPTP (the major U.S, movie/TV production/distribution studios) and asking members to authorize a strike possibly as early as April 19th.
The issues the Guilds are asking the members to strike over only affect pay rates and benefits for the small percentage of members who have current paying work. The Guilds are asking the vast majority of members who like me are not currently working to authorize a strike vote on behalf of pay rates and benefits for the small minority of members who are currently working.
I explained to Geoff Betts that when I try to submit my writings — scripts, screen stories, short literary stories, and novels to a production company or studio that is contracted with the Guilds I am told that my materials are unsolicited and they will not read them.
I informed Geoff Betts that if the Guilds want my vote to authorize a strike they must make it a demand to the AMPTP that all submissions from Guild members must be regarded as solicited and given equal consideration to submissions coming from the major talent agencies such as CAA and WME.
J Neil Schulman
This is the center of my problem. After four decades in The Industry I can’t get my submissions read without going through gatekeepers — and now the gatekeepers inside are putting me on the other side of the castle moat.
Rochelle Rubins asked me to forward all the emails to her. I did and later in the day she phoned me to say this being a Friday she would take this up Monday with Writers Guild management on both coasts.
I then sent the following email to selected members of the Entertainment Business press:
Subject: WGA – CAA feud with me at Ground Zero
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:58:40 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: (Named editors) Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter
As a long-time WGA member (I joined in 1985 when I sold my first original screenplay to CBS’ The Twilight Zone) I now find myself in the middle of a conflict between the WGA and CAA, which happened when my literary manager, Joel Gotler at IPGLM, submitted my new feature screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood, to Fred Specktor at CAA seeking representation.
In a phone conversation with me on June 19th Fred Specktor agreed to read my screenplay if I executed a submission release form. I agreed but then Joel Gotler emailed me that he would make the submission to Fred Specktor. It’s universal industry practice that a submission from a major management agency to a major talent agency bypasses the need for any release forms from the writer.
Over a month went by after Joel Gotler emailed the screenplay to Fred Specktor with Joel’s office unable to get a response from Fred’s office so I phoned Fred’s assistant, Joey Amoia on July 27th, who apologized for not getting the release forms out to me in a timely manner and said he was Fedexing them to me. I informed Joey that the submission had already been sent from Joel at IPGLM to Fred but after checking Joey Amoia phoned me saying I needed to execute the release forms anyway.
In a phone conversation with WGAW contracts administrator Bertha Garcia on an unrelated matter, also on July 27th, I related the story about the delay on the release forms from CAA and Bertha informed me that as a WGA signatory CAA was not allowed to ask a WGA member such as myself to sign a submission release form. I asked Bertha to email this to me, which she did, and with an email cover of my own I forwarded Bertha’s email to all parties at CAA and IPGLM, with Bertha at WGAW cc’d.
I then received the release forms and decided to sign them anyway, with “Subject to WGA Rules” written in between my signature and printed name, and Fedexed them back to Fred Specktor/Joey Amoia. I emailed the tracking number and a PDF of the signed form to Fred Specktor, Joey Amoia, Joel Gotler, and Joel’s assistant, Rachel Levine.
That’s when all hell broke loose for me.
Joel Gotler emailed me that he was withdrawing as my manager.
And today Joey Amoia phoned me, then emailed me, saying that Fred Specktor would not read my screenplay and I should not send it to them as called for in the release form I’d signed.
I’ve spoken with Rochelle Rubin, contracts manager at WGAE (I was living in Jersey City, NJ when I first joined WGA East and have never changed my membership to WGA West even though I’m now living in Nevada) and have forwarded all the emails to her — 20 of them. Rochelle says she’ll get on this after the weekend.
By following the advice of a WGA executive I appear to have foiled my attempt to get my screenplay read and packaged by CAA This seems fundamentally wrong to me — a lone screenwriter up against the most powerful agency in the biz — and this comes at a time in my life when I’m in financial meltdown due to having made no sales since the last feature film I wrote, produced, and directed, 2014’s Alongside Night. After a limited theatrical run and a Beverly Hills premiere in July, 2014, Alongside Night — and the other feature I’ve written/produced/directed — 2008’s Lady Magdalene’s — both currently stream on Amazon Video/Amazon Prime, and are also available on DVD or Blu-ray).
If this story is of interest I am willing to share all the emails with the three of you as well.
J. Neil Schulman
I then emailed Fred Specktor, Joel Gotler and the others copied in:
Subject: Re: Release Forms
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:56:16 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: Fred Specktor
CC: Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia), Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine,
Dear Mr. Specktor,
If this whole matter didn’t adversely affect my career at a time when I need a new deal to keep my finances afloat I would laugh at this comedy of errors.
When a month went by without Joey Amoia sending me the submission release form you and I’d talked about I assumed CAA no longer was requesting a signed submission release form from me because instead of the submission of The Princess of Brentwood coming from me it had come to your office from my manager, Joel Gotler at IPGLM. Joel’s assistant, Rachel Levine, emailed me that she was following up on that submission. Yet when I spoke to Joey a few days ago he seemed unaware that the submission came from Joel, not me — and his email to me today telling me not to send the script once again ignores that the submission wasn’t coming from me but had already come from Joel Gotler.
So that leaves me in the middle of something, and I don’t know what it is.
Is it CAA’s procedure to request submission release forms from managers like Joel Gotler, who not only has represented superstar writers for decades but has an executive producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street?
Or is it CAA’s procedure to request submission release forms from WGA members when Bertha Garcia at WGAW says that violates its agency rules?
Either way, I signed the form because I promised I would and it’s on its way to your office.
This matter has gotten out of hand and there’s still time to turn it around before Rochelle Rubin at WGAE takes this matter up with WGAE and WGAW management on Monday (she has all the relevant emails) and before I get callbacks from the entertainment business editors at the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.
I’m just a screenwriter who will lose his house if I don’t make a deal. Joel Gotler is already pissed off at me. I literally have nothing more I can lose.
J. Neil Schulman
Joel Gotler emailed me:
You had better stop these diatribes.
Sent from my iPhone
I emailed Joel back:
Or what? I’ll be out of the business and lose my house?
Your office’s failure to follow up with Fred Specktor before this spun out of control has already cost me attending my daughter’s wedding in Seattle on August 5th. There’s nothing more any of you can do to hurt me.
Later that day (Friday, July 28th) the editor from the Los Angeles Times phoned me. We talked about 20 minutes. He asked me to email him the contact info for the Writers Guild executives I’d talked to and I did. He emailed me: “Thanks. We will reach out to the guild.”
And there’s where it stands: one powerless writer being kicked out of The Industry.
See my May 18, 2010 article “Yes, There Is a Hollywood Blacklist — and I’m on It”
I’ve tried to continue paying my bills in any way I can think of within my skill sets.
For most of this year I’ve been putting up new Kindle books onto Amazon — all three of my novels, my short story collection, my Heinlein Interview book, and several nonfiction books.
One of my literary representatives, Justin Ptak, has been trying to gin up interest for film or series productions based on my novels, screen outlines, and finished screenplays. But until the WGA adds him to its electronic list of signed agents he can’t make any submissions for me to WGA-signed production companies or studios.
I’m living in a house in the name of my deceased parents’ living trust that has a mortgage from Wells Fargo Bank. The mortgage payments are several months past due.
I have a storage unit containing valuables, both family and literary, which is on 30-day notice of an auction of its contents if I don’t immediately bring last month’s missed payment up to date.
It’s the end of July and I have no funds to pay next month’s utility bills or Internet connection or web-hosting or car insurance.
I’m running short even of groceries.
Most heart-breakingly, I don’t have the money to travel from Nevada to my daughter’s August 5th wedding in Seattle.
In short, my failure to make a meaningful sale or obtain work doing the only things I am experienced and capable of doing is sending me down the drain.
Here’s a link to read The Princess of Brentwood.
Award-winning author/screenwriter/filmmaker/Mondo Cult publisher, Brad Linaweaver, has read it and compared the quality to classic scripts by Ben Hecht and Billy Wilder.
I’m airing all this because dignity is not on the menu for me. The trolls have everything they need to call me a no-talent or a has-been and tell me to look for a day job.
If there’s someone out there who both cares and has the connections to someone who might do something with this script or something else I’ve written, here I am.
And please note the PayPal “Like It – Reward It” links.
God bless you if you do.
J. Neil Schulman is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, radio
personality, filmmaker, composer, and actor. His dozen books include
the novels Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza,
both of which won the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Prometheus
Award for best libertarian novel, and the anthology Nasty, Brutish,
And Short Stories.
Read more about him.
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