Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The mystery as to the origins of the Dutch deluge of query letters has been solved.

It seems Dutch filmmaker and author Paul Ruven has written a book entitled "Rijk door 1 zin" ("Rich Because of One Sentence").

This book explains how Hollywood pays big bucks for good ideas, and it offers up a marketing strategy that includes names and e-mails of Hollywood types – one of which is mine.

A little Internet research suggests that this is Ruven's second book. The first is called “Screenwriting for Money.” The “money” in the title might refer to the price of the book (a reasonable $9.90) and can be purchased HERE.

I haven’t read his latest book and cannot make any intelligent comments on it. But I will say that in the current state of Hollywood, it is close to impossible to sell an idea (especially via some random query from the Netherlands) without having some kind of professional reputation.

Ideas are as rampant as Hollywood dreamers. Ideas are not protected; they cannot be copyrighted, so any idea that’s tossed around can be snatched up by someone else and developed into a screenplay. But once the screenplay is written, it can be copyrighted. It is the expression of the idea (in this case, the script) that is protected. In Hollywood, the control and power is always in the screenplay itself, not the idea.

While there might be an errant manager or producer who would take a good idea from a Dutchman and turn it over to another writer, I feel confident in saying that it’s unlikely the “idea man” would get rich off it.

While Ruven's book might be filled with great information on how to formulate an idea, the notion that just anyone can get rich from selling one to Hollywood is disingenuous – to put it mildly. (And you thought that America had the fringe screenwriting market cornered?)

However, if anyone in the Netherlands does get rich by selling one sentence to Hollywood, please let me know.

I’m a firm believer in anyone and everyone taking their best shot. This town is all about dreams, after all.

But cross my name and e-mail address out of that book.


According to my blog counter, the Netherlands has surpassed Great Britain, Canada and Australia to make it the #2 country in hits behind the United States.


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