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.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


It's an important word. Important realization. You are not who you think you are - you are who you are perceived to be by others.

I have been a real victim of this in the everyday workforce and was fortunate enough to have somebody on the other side looking out for me. I'm a do-gooder. I like things to be done right, so when a manager sends out a blast with a set of instructions and asks for feedback, I'd give it. The problem is, they really didn't want feedback all the time, on every little thing. That was perceived as whining or complaining. I was perceived as somebody that was never happy.

This was far from the truth.

As a writer, we come up with a story, characters and write the script all by ourselves. It's terribly exciting. We may spend months or years on this material it's so fantastic to us. Then, when we believe we have it all as perfect as we can make it, we sent it out to others in the hope that they'll enjoy it enough to purchase it and turn it into a movie.

Then it happens. They have the audacity to make recommendations! Request changes! The nerve! What the hell are they thinking? I just wrote this thing - it's perfect. They're not even writers for godsake. What idiots!

Let's look at the other side though. You're a producer, agent, whatever - but you see this script - it's going to be made and you're one of any number of people involved in making the movie. You just LOVE this story. It's fantastic. You've read hundreds of scripts looking for something this good. My GOD you're going to love working on this - you can't wait to get started. It's all laid out, the story, the characters, etc. But... in this one part, you'd really like to X happen instead of what's written. It would make the movie so much better, you just know it. So you make the suggestion to the writer and they wig out.

Something I don't think writers really take into account is that in order for a movie to be made, people HAVE to be excited about your script. Let that sink in. They HAVE TO BE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR SCRIPT. If they're not, it doesn't get made. Now. If you throw a script down in front of 15 different people, they will all have ideas that just pop into their heads that they honestly believe will make the story better. They are excited, their creative juices are flowing and they want this movie to be great. Think about all the ideas you get when you review a buddies script.

If you whine or complain about the comments you receive on your script, you will be perceived as somebody hard to work with and thus you will be replaced. Your goal as a writer is to be a great collaborator. If you disagree with a suggestion, you don't need to refuse it on the spot. You can mull it over and come back later with an honest, well-thought out reason for not incorporating the idea. At first, you will be just reacting to the though of change in your story. You must not react to that feeling as it's not an honest one. Some ideas may well be worth pursuing, others may be way off, some may be interesting but present other problems.

As a writer, it's your job to take all suggestions as honest intentions to improve the story and see if they will or they won't. If they won't explain clearly why you think they won't work so that the people understand what's a stake should they insist on the changes.

This is also a character lesson when writing your characters. Your main character is performing specific actions and doing certain things in order to achieve a definate perception of themselves. This is typically not who they are in reality - and thus the problem for them. It's the person who dates manically to show that they're not alone when in fact, they are lonely. It's the individual who fakes bravado by bullying others so they appear powerful or strong when in fact they are weak.