Plunket in Wonderland


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Plunket in Wonderland - A Hollywood Tale

Just the Hard Facts: Do the Math
Plunket in Wonderland book cover

Every year the Writer’s Guild of America/West registers over 65,000 pieces of writing, mostly screenplays, from which the major Hollywood studios turn out approximately 200 feature movies.

Of the remaining registered works, each of the majors has up to 200 projects in development, from which its handful of yearly features gets made.  

What’s left gets recycled and submitted again, and again, and again.

Since each executive lives (and dies) in hopes of finding the next Star Wars franchise, submissions fuel the studio’s fires.

Studios get over 70 submissions a week, mostly screenplays, each one of which must be read (for both creative and legal purposes), synopsized and critiqued.

Since it is physically impossible for executives to do this reading in addition to their other responsibilities, each studio has always had a staff of story analysts or “readers” who are responsible for the initial, low-level decision-making.  

Movie mogul David O. Selznick’s first job in the business was as a reader.  

Today, it is not uncommon to have a studio head who at one time listed “reader” on his or her resume.  

Union readers read and “cover” on average from one and one-half to two of the above-mentioned, recycled screenplays a day.  

Each one of these screenplays has its own story to tell.  

This is one of them  . . .