Angelo J. Bell: Good-bye Rewrite Blues, Hello Submission Anxiety

by Angelo J. Bell


This week I finished a pilot screenplay for my Sci-Fi Tv show concept (for Syfy Network) called PRESERVED. My goal was to finish it during the month of April but I got started rather late. After ten revisions to the outline/treatment and 13 revisions to the pilot script I finally got the script in-the-can and ready to go.

If you know me, you know that once the momentum is swinging my way, I don’t stop. Less than 12 hours after the script was wrapped I had it in the hands of execs at Syfy and in the hands of my loving leading lady, Tehmina Sunny.

Any writer will tell you that it’s entirely possible to make endless revisions to a script. It’s like a horrible screenwriter’s nightmare version of Groundhog Day. We can go on and on, making changes to the script and never get off that crazy merry-go-round. But not I. In the great words of the great Chick Hearns, “This game’s in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jello’s jigglin!” Rewrites are over. Good-bye Rewrite Blues.

Hello submission anxiety.

The only thing worse than Rewrite Blues is Submission Anxiety. You know, it’s that bubbling in the pit of your stomach when you fully understand the potential of the script you’ve just completed, but still you know it’s all in the hands of the first person who reads it. If he/she loves it, you’re probably the next golden child. Somebody call CAA or ICM or WMA. It doesn’t matter if it’s a screenwriting contest, a reader at a Hollywood literary agency or a gatekeeper at a studio. The first person who reads it — and gets it — is likely to hold your immediate future in the palm of his/her hands. Hence, the anxiety.

I know someone out there is thinking, “Well, you just have to submit and let it go.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Try pouring your heart and soul into a screenplay for a few years and then saying that bullshit. It might work for actors (bless their hearts and spirits) but not for writers. At least not with our babies.

So, here comes Submission Anxiety. I’ll get over it eventually, like when I start on my next screenplay and become engrossed in its development. But until then –


One thought on “Angelo J. Bell: Good-bye Rewrite Blues, Hello Submission Anxiety”

  1. A couple of questions if you don’t mind.

    1. Did you pitch this and then write it after they expressed interest in the pitch, or just write it and submit it? Is there a difference?

    2. How long approximately did each stage take? How long to write the first outline? How long did the revisions take? How long to write the script? How long for the revisions? What was a typical “work day” like?

    I don’t mean to overwhelm you with these questions, just get a feel for your process, like those guys on Lifehacker, “this is how I work.”

    Thanks a million!


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