What is Saleable?

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately and this one word keeps popping up — saleable (which means fit or able to be sold).  This absurd sounding word is actually resounding throughout Hollywood right now, according to numerous sources, because your work should be saleable.  No kidding.  Isn’t that, in part, why we’re doing this?  As artists/writers, we write, and write, and write, sometimes for many years without any acknowledgment, let alone any monetary reward, but that is the goal.  So when I hear this word it sort of makes me laugh, because what they really mean is that they want something marketable, something that will bring in a large return.  Apparently production companies are a little nervous, and sales have been dropping.  I love hearing that and then seeing the weekend box office of films slated for release.  So many continue to come out that I can’t believe found funding; remakes, endless sequels, and reinventions.  It’s hard to be a writer with interesting stories gathering dust while a slew of “mediocrity” (this is not meant entirely as an insult, because who doesn’t love a bad movie from time to time?) finds its place in the world.


So what does “saleable” have to do in relation to your work?  My honest opinion is nothing.  If you believe in yourself and your art, if you’re passionate about what you’re writing, then someone will take notice.  I remember this great piece of advice I got once — Don’t chase trends.  Why?  Because by the time you get your work in front of someone that might be able to do something with it (like get it published or sold to a production studio) that trend will be over.  Write what you’re passionate about.  If it happens to be a story in a genre popular right now, that’s fine, because in a few years that trend will come back around and you’ll already have something ready.  Obviously, if your story is different than all that other stuff out there, all the rules go right out the window.  But, remember this, when you’re starting out, write about those things you love.  It’s your time, your energy, your lack of sleep, going blind staring at the computer, praying that someone will notice your work, starving because you don’t want to work at that crap job anymore — so why would  you want to waste all that on something you don’t even care about?  You should love your characters.  You should love your story.  I hope it makes you laugh out loud, or well up with tears, because it is that kind of passion that will help you sell it.

Best of luck to you all!


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