Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Give's A Damn About the Writer Anyway?

Well, I'll be damned (debatable). I posed the question over on Unk's forum "who is your favorite writer and why?" Wouldn't you know it. Only a couple responses and neither could list a favorite writer. Let this not be condemnation of them at all. I just find it interesting that they couldn't list one. Obviously, I have not debated if they notice the writers of the films they watch or anything else.

I may have mentioned before (certainly to my friends) that who makes a movie is integral to me in my decision to actually watch it. What better criteria for knowing if you might enjoy a film than checking to see who wrote and directed it? They are the major focal points of the work. The writer's original input and the director's interpretation of those words. It doesn't take long to see that directors often have a type or a certain type of story they direct mostly. Is a Gus Van Sant film different than a Michael Bay film? I think you'd be hard pressed to confuse the two. How about Shane Black vs Lawrence Kasden? Quentin Tarrantino vs Ron Bass? I can spot Aaron Sorkin at work a mile away.

I've been playing guitar for years and one of the most frequent things you hear from musicians is the influence of other musicians they either emulated or respected. I thought it was the same in the writing world - lord knows, I respect and admire quite a few writers. Not just any writer. While some are good, some are really good, some just really hit home for me. Either the theme, stories or just the order they choose to put their words on the page. It's all a conscious decision on their part and how can you not be drawn to those very choices if you are trying to do the same thing?

Is screenwriting so ill respected that it's thought of as something a monkey can do? Reading the beginning of Unforgiven is so easy. Reading the final court scene in A Few Good Men is riviting. Are writers not held in high esteem even by fellow writers? I can't believe it.

To those few out there that may be reading - let me know if you have a favorite writer and why?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Leah said...

My favorite writer/director is a tie between M. Night Shyamalan and Quentin Tarantino.

Shyamalan's a great storyteller. He writes about themes I really connect with and makes me think. I never know what kind of movie it'll actually be and I dig that.

Tarantino's films allow me to delve into darker themes, unique dialogue and visceral imagery. His stories never let me down.

Psst! If I were to name a runner-up it'd be Guillermo del Toro because he's a master storyteller and does everything the above two do and then some. His stories have a deep emotional quality to them that most people wouldn't expect from film's The Devil's Backbone or Pan's Labyrinth.

Whenever I'm hunting for a movie to watch, my selection process goes something like this:

Title - If it catches my eye, then it's worth a closer look. (I skip this part if the movie is suggested by someone I know knows my movie tastes.)

Writer / Director - The next bit of info I check out is who wrote the movie and who will direct it. If it's someone like Michael Bay, I know I'll probably want to see the movie in the theater because it'll be action-packed remake of a horror classic. Just kidding...sort of. If it's Wes Craven, I'll have to go to the theater because I'm a horror addict and he wrote/directed the first "scary" movie I ever saw. Guy Ritchie, heist or crime thriller. And so on.

Actors - The third detail I investigate is the actors. I'll go to the theater for anything (except chick flicks) with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Amy Adams, Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gosling, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. There are others of course, but this is a tiny comment box.

Synopsis - Finally, I read a brief synopsis of the film. I don't want to know too much. Just enough to pique my curiosity and give me an idea of the film's overall theme.

And I totally "give a damn about" writers! I'm biased though :-) But I think most people in general do overlook the significance of the screenwriter.

Maybe because people think writers are a dime a dozen. And I've discovered that's fairly spot on.

However, what they don't realize is, great writers are needles in a haystack.

Monday, February 22, 2010 at 10:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger drew said...

ask any short-story writer or novelist and you won't be able to shut them up about writers. it's only in the screenwriting business that writers can't be bothered with anyone else's work - they're too busy trying to get rich famous! seriously, the business is a magnet for punks. and i might just be one of them. still, with all the math i hear about, i mean about how many scripts get dumped in the inbox of some poor reader each day, i find the punk factor quite heartening. chances are that 90 percent of those scripts are pure crap. the reasons are many, but lack of knowledge of the greats has to be up there.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 4:14:00 PM EDT  

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