Created By: fluffything on July 29, 2011 Last Edited By: Discar on October 27, 2015

Spielberg Won't Return His Calls

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Trope
An amateur attempts to attract the attention of a veteran in the industry, assuming that their work is perfect and anyone would fall over themselves to help, even someone as famous as the veteran. Of course, the amateur's work is just that, sloppy and childish at best, and the veteran is dismissive. They can either try to let the amateur down easy or something worse. This works for films and producers, books and writers, or anything of the sort. See Small Name, Big Ego as well as a number of Bad Writing tropes, such as Her Code Name Was Mary Sue.

Examples

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    Comic Strips 

  • FoxTrot:
    • One arc has Jason try his hand at writing established comic strips, and sending them off to the authors so they can see he's a good replacement.
      Jason: Well, Jim Davis sent me confetti, which I first thought he wanted to celebrate our new partnership...
      Peter: Until you noticed it was made from the strips you sent him.
      Jason: Then Charles Schulz sent me a pile of ashes, which I thought meant he thought my ideas were hot...
    • Another arc had Jason trying to get George Lucas to put himself in the revamped Star Wars movies as Luke's brother. He got a letter saying "Unfortunately, all work in the revamped trilogy was completed prior to request of your letter, and therefore we have no choice but to pass up on your ideas." The "Un" turned out to be a little blob of toner.

    Film - Live Action 

  • In Bowfinger the action star Kit Ramsey refuses to participate in Bowfinger's film, but he decides to make the film anyway and film all of Ramsey's scenes without his knowledge. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Forgetting Sarah Marshall rock star Aldous Snow receives a demo cd from a waiter. The next time they meet:
    Aldous: Oh, I was gonna listen to your CD, but then I just went on living my life.

    Live-Action TV 

  • In a Story Arc on Seinfeld where Kramer goes to Hollywood to try to make it as an actor, or writer, he's in a cafe and Fred Savage comes in. Kramer approaches Savage, saying he has a script that Savage would be perfect for. Of course Savage (and every other Hollywood A-to-C list actor) is bored to death with people approaching them with scripts they'd be "perfect" for, and blows Kramer off.

    Music 

  • Mentioned in the Tom Smith song Sheep Marketing Ploy, where he threatens to send Spielberg a demonic sweater if he refuses to direct his horror franchise about an evil sheep.

    Web Original 

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Joel and The 'Bots sing a Take That song about Sandy Frank (A film producer who was notorious for producing poorly-dubbed versions of old Japanese movies such as the Showa Gamera films).

    Western Animation 

  • The Simpsons:
  • An episode of Family Guy had Brian trying (and failing) to become a famous writer in Hollywood. He even tries working as a waiter to get up close to the actors, but they don't pay attention to him anyway. Later subverted when a famous director does decide to make Brian famous, but it turns out to be a porn director.

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • July 29, 2011
    donald
  • July 30, 2011
    Chabal2
    One Fox Trot arc has Jason try his hand at writing established comic strips, and sending them off to the authors so they can see he's a good replacement.

    Jason: Well, Jim Davis sent me confetti, which I first thought he wanted to celebrate our new partnership...
    Peter: Until you noticed it was made from the strips you sent him.
    Jason: Then Scott Adams sent me a pile of ashes, which I thought meant he thought my ideas were hot...
  • July 30, 2011
    Topazan
    I can't verify the exact wording of this quote, since most of the matches on google use slightly different wordings. If anyone could find that scene and correct the wording if necessary that would be great.

    • In Forgetting Sarah Marshall rock star Aldous Snow receives a demo cd from a waiter. The next time they meet:
      Aldous: Oh, I was gonna listen to your CD, but then I just went on living my life.
  • July 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Who is Sandy Frank?
  • July 30, 2011
    fluffything
  • July 30, 2011
    IronLion
    In The Simpsons, Homer tries to convince someone (possibly Mel Gibson?) to direct/act in a film he's written, which involves "a killer mutant robot driving instructor who travels back in time for some reason", and whose best friend is a talking pie.
  • July 31, 2011
    Bisected8
    The Simpsons example with Mel Gibson was another episode ("Beyond The Blunderdome" I think), where Homer convinced him to make his remake of Mr Smith Goes To Washington much more violent, leading to this trope being invoked at the end (since Homer began suggesting movies that had already been made, the last straw being "Hey, have they made any movies about Indiana Jones?").

    In the episode you're thinking of, the celebrities in question just say no to him politely (since they're friends at the time).
  • July 31, 2011
    Chabal2
    I've seen a joke on the subject where the aspiring screenwriter sends the agent his script, and runs into him walking his dog. The conversation goes something like this:

    How's my script coming along?
    I showed it to Spielberg, and he absolutely loved it!
    Re-really?
    He simply adored it and asked for more!
    -Agent notices dogs straining to run off.-
    Spielberg! Down, boy!

  • July 31, 2011
    randomsurfer
    @fluffything: don't just give me a link to The Other Wiki, put an explanation of who Sandy Frank is in the description. "Director of Sucky Movie X:The Next Stupidization" or whatever is accurate. The name means nothing to those of us who don't know who it is. Might as well say, "The potential Trope Namer is from Mystery Science Theater 3000 in which Joel and The 'Bots sing a Take That song about Random Surfer."
  • July 31, 2011
    KamenZero
    Does This Count? In Family Guy, Brian goes to Hollywood, attempting to sell/give his script to famous directors and actors while doing various odd jobs. All of them pretty much ignore him.
  • July 31, 2011
    fluffything
    @ randomsurfer- I don't need the snooty "know-it-all" attitude. Either talk to me like a polite human being and use "please" and "thank you" or don't talk to me at all.
  • July 31, 2011
    randomsurfer
    No snooty know-it-all attitude was intended. I apologize for the fact that it came off that way.

    But please note that you did follow my suggestion to include a brief explanation of who Sandy Frank is. Thank you.
  • April 18, 2012
    Astaroth
    Is this an inversion?

    A running gag in one of The Mighty Boosh's stage shows was that Bollo, the talking gorilla, wanted to audition with Peter Jackson for the starring role in his remake of King Kong. Bollo was blissfully unaware that Jackson had already made the film, and the rest of the cast didn't have the heart to tell him.
  • April 19, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Astaroth: I think that's just a regular example? There's another example from The Mighty Boosh where Howard is desperate to pitch a novel to publisher Hamilton Cork but he can't get his attention so he has to sneak into a pipe party as Vince's writing caddy. It Makes Sense In Context.
  • April 19, 2012
    tvtroper98
    Another Fox Trot arc had Jason trying to get George Lucas to put himself in the revamped Star Wars movies as Luke's brother. He got a letter saying "Unfortunately, all work in the revamped trilogy was completed prior to request of your letter, and therefore we have no choice but to pass up on your ideas." The "Un" turned out to be a little blob of toner.

  • October 16, 2015
    Discar
    Yes, I'm bumping this after three years.

    There seems like there's a very real trope here, it just got forgotten at some point. I cleaned up the formatting, I think it just needs something besides an example as description.
  • October 16, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Put the third sentence at the top, for starters, since descriptions best start with the definition of the trope.

    Also Trope Namer Syndrome. I would suggest a name, but the parameters need to be clear. I wonder if this trope requires the would-be creator to actually be incompetent, or if it allows for when the would-be collaborator merely thinks the creator is beneath him/her.
  • October 16, 2015
    Discar
    "Competent but ignored" might be a subversion, but the core feels like "Character sends a manuscript to a film maker (or novel writer or what have you) and is ignored because he's just some random guy with no talent." Variants would include someone who is Hollywood Tone Deaf sending a demo off to a recording studio, that sort of thing.

    As for Trope Namer Syndrome, I think Spielberg is well-known enough to not worry about people recognizing him, but it's possible it could be mistaken for a trope about a random stalker instead. I just really don't want to use the dryly descriptive names when it seems like it will work fine as is.

    Also cut the description down to that one line. Would like a bit more meat on it.
  • October 16, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    " I think Spielberg is well-known enough to not worry about people recognizing him"

    This is not about recognition alone. It also has to do with associating the name with the trope. The Scrooge works for the trope about misers because the character has become synonymous with the notion. Shooting Superman works because pop culture has made it clear Superman is bullet proof.

    Is Spielberg known for turning down people he doesn't think can pull off the work? If not, then Trope Namer Syndrome applies.
  • October 16, 2015
    DAN004
    "Won't return his calls" for what? What calls? THAT'S what's unclear.
  • October 16, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I would say both the name and won't return calls are unclear.

    Also the trope seems to have wonky examples. We should solidify the definition here.
  • October 17, 2015
    randomsurfer
    re the first Simpsons example - it was Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, who appear As Themselves, who Homer pitched his movie idea to. Ron Howard was there too, and ends up stealing Homer's idea when his producer shoots down all his movie ideas.
  • October 17, 2015
    Discar
    Hm. Maybe I jumped the gun on this. Sometimes things seem clear, but they aren't. I blame DQZ for egging me on. But still, one last try, here's my attempt at a clear definition:

    An amateur attempts to attract the attention of a veteran in the industry, assuming that their work is perfect and anyone would fall over themselves to help, even someone as famous as the veteran. Of course, the amateur's work is just that, sloppy and childish at best, and the veteran is dismissive. They can either try to let the amateur down easy or something worse. This works for films and producers, books and writers, or anything of the sort. See Small Name Big Ego as well as a number of Bad Writing tropes, such as Her Code Name Was Mary Sue.
  • October 17, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In a Story Arc on Seinfeld where Kramer goes to Hollywood to try to make it as an actor, or writer, he's in a cafe and Fred Savage comes in. Kramer approaches Savage, saying he has a script that Savage would be perfect for. Of course Savage (and every other Hollywood A-to-C list actor) is bored to death with people approaching them with scripts they'd be "perfect" for, and blows Kramer off.
  • October 19, 2015
    bitemytail
  • October 19, 2015
    Gamermaster
    • Mentioned in the Tom Smith song Sheep Marketing Ploy, where he threatens to send Spielberg a demonic sweater if he refuses to direct his horror franchise about an evil sheep.
  • October 27, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Music
  • October 27, 2015
    DAN004
    Need a better name and laconic fast.

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