I don’t know that much about selling screenplays, other than what I’ve read in countless Syd Field books and what I picked up from reading Writing Movies for Fun and Profit (both highly recommended.) That being said, I’m pretty sure that suing the people you want to pitch to is the exact opposite of what you want to do. And yet, according to TMZ, that’s what Jo Anne Vandegriff did by trying to sue Halle Berry, Armie Hammer and Amanda Bynes …
Jo Anne Vandegriff — who describes herself as homeless — freely admits the suit is a ploy to get everyone in a room so she can sell her 2,000-page original Civil War romance mini-series, “Heaven’s Angels.” Vandegriff describes her script as “an extraordinary work in its length, complexity, and scope, though not yet a masterpiece work.” Vandegriff is targeting Disney because she wants to open up the studio — which she claims produces lily-white content — to Black and Hispanic females. She doesn’t apologize for using the legal system to make a buck, because, as she says in the lawsuit, “a mini-series of this nature only comes along once every twenty to thirty years.”
So why sue Halle? Vandegriff wants her in the leading role. As for Amanda … it would be a great comeback for her. And Armie … he could finally be a leading man (and rid himself of the “Lone Ranger” stink — that’s our take).
Clearly, she’s a bit … out there, but she seems to be trying her hardest, so instead of coming down on her I’m going to offer her some advice …
- If you’re selling a screenplay, two-thousand pages is WAY too much. Just to provide some context here, a movie script clocks in at around 100-110 pages. But two-thousand pages? No reader is going to go through a brick like that.
- Network! Get out there, introduce yourself, make people like you, and with enough effort, you’ll get someone on your side.
- DON’T SUE THE PEOPLE YOU’RE PITCHING TO. People don’t like being sued as it is, but being sued for no discernible reason so that you can pitch them? Nope. Don’t expect to make a sale.