My letter to Ron Howard came back marked REFUSED in bright red with red slash marks all over the envelope. Wow.
The most likely reason is that whoever saw my letter assumed it was an unsolicited screenplay query letter and sent it back unread for legal reasons. The reasoning behind it is sound. The method is abhorrent.
As I said in my earlier blog, each letter is sent with a Warning sticker on the outside, saying the letter contains a fan letter and autograph but does NOT contain a request to read my screenplay. Clearly they didn’t read the label carefully.
For legal reasons, I have had a few letters – that really were unsolicited submissions – returned as refused. NEVER in bright red slashes. This was intentionally vicious; not the work of someone simply protecting the production company from unfounded lawsuits of “stealing” screenplay ideas.
Clearly, Opie himself did not get a hold of the magic markers and start slashing away like a manic child. But you have to wonder – does he know how his secretary or whoever is responding to his mail – his FAN mail, no less? If I thought for one moment that my assistant was treating anyone, no matter how low on the Hollywood ladder, with anything other than kindness and respect, s/he would be fired faster than you can say “Go to the back of the unemployment line, be-hotch”.
Even if a production company does not (understandably) accept unsolicited material, there are much better ways to respond to a hardworking Wannabe who is only trying to break into the business. I have sent out thousands of query letters and can probably count on one hand the numbers of responses that have been mean or rude. The vast majority are kind and respectful. One company sent me a form letter regretting that they are unable to read unsolicited material, wishing me all the best, and hoping that I would soon find another company to represent my work that would make their company seem shortsighted. Thus, this company protected themselves from any legal repercussions, while still treating me with dignity and respect.
I looked at the Imagine Entertainment website, and there seems to be no contact info. Some companies are just so big and so important, that they don’t need anyone to contact them, I suppose. They have no use for Wannabe actors, writers, etc. So, I suppose there is no way to let Ronnie know what is being done in his name or to find out if this is the way he really wants people to be treated.
If so, shame on him.
I’ve also sent some autograph requests to some of his former coworkers, including Andy Griffith, Tom Hanks, and Henry Winkler. Let’s find out if they have more class.
Sigh. What would The Fonz say??? Not cool, Richie. Not cool.