Terms like ‘fun read’ and ‘interesting characters’ entirely misleading
Paradigm literary agent Mark Hamlin isn’t trying to ruin lives, but that’s exactly what he’s doing every time he sends another writer his standard rejection email, which contains a disingenuous mix of vaguely positive feedback.
“By using phrases like ‘you might be on to something’, Hamlin is fooling these horrible writers into thinking they should stick with it, as opposed to quit immediately, which is what most of them should obviously do,” said WGA executive director David Young. “These people are not WGA material, but Hamlin keeps encouraging them. On the upside, we make $20 every time they register one of their awful scripts with us, so at least something good comes out of it.”
According to Hamlin, he was just trying to be nice.
“Half the time I don’t even get past page 15,” he said. “But I figure if I send these people a cordial email with random comments that could apply to almost any script out there, who gets hurt in the process?”
Unfortunately, it would seem to be the writers.
“My wife divorced me because she couldn’t take my screenwriting obsession anymore,” said aspiring scribe John Parker, 49. “I tried to show her [Mark Hamlin’s] email so she knew how close I was to making it, but it was too late. Ah well, I’ll find a hot chick when I’m a big-time writer-director.”
Added Parker: “You saw the email. I’ve got a real ‘ear for dialogue’ and my writing ‘shows a lot of promise.’”