I talked about this in my Write the Shots article. I hammered it home with my post on M. Night Shyamalan. And in private, I tell friends who are landing their first sales/assignments that more important than getting your vision onto the big screen is establishing a good working relationship with your producer while also delivering a jaw-droppingly sensational script. A good working relationship is, of course, important on every project, but especially so with your first few. And like clockwork, here's an email from a friend (the names and titles have been changed to protect the innocent):
So I was talking to my producer yesterday and she was telling me about her former classmate in the Film School at [BIG SCHOOL]. I guess this person is a wunderkind and was producing this script from some writer. I guess the script was really good and was on the verge of lining up a deal for financing and this thing was going to get made. But the writer was a real pain in the ass. Stubborn, opinionated, rude. So long story short, this wunderkind is now the co-producer on [MY SCRIPT]. I guess he read the script and loved it. He talked to [JOSEPHINA] (the other producer) and was complaining about what a pain in the ass the writer was. [JOSEPHINA] said I was "a joy to work with". He said he wished he could work with people that were easier to get along with. [JOSEPHINA] then asked him to be a co producer on [MY SCRIPT], and he agreed. He terminated the agreement with the other writer and is now MY co-producer. So in the span of 2 days, we've got somebody at [BIG STUDIO] on board championing our project, have [BIG STAR'S] production company scheduling a pitch, and God knows what else. And the other project is dead in the water.