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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Anonymity on the Internet

I'm in a spiral of defeatism lately, so seeing this stuff just adds fuel to the fire.

Andy Barker, P.I. is a comedy. I didn't watch one episode, even though I knew Jane Espensen was involved. However, something pulled me over to the NBC site, so I watched the pilot. It was humorous, so I ended up watching all of them.

I look over to the forums to verify that it's been canceled (what isn't these days?) and I see this comment:

It is no wonder that there is nothing but Crap to watch on TV these days with idiots like you wanting to keep this kind of trash running. This was the most idiotic show that NBC has put on the air waves in a long time.

Hmm.. That's great. Username means nothing, no personal info, no first or last name, no contact info. Now while you may say "everybody is entitled to their opinion", I don't know that it's really necessary for everybody to voice that opinion. I mean, exactly how does this comment help anybody? Should the creators/producers of the show actually read the forum, this tells them nothing of what they may have done right or wrong on the show.

It says nothing positive about anything and is basically an attack at the previous individual that expressed a desire to see the show continue, the network for it's programming and the creators/writers of the show. Nice. Proud to have this person as a fellow human being.

Anonymity on the internet is just breeding this type of infantile behavior. Suddenly, it's okay to publicly mouth off about anything without providing any type of insight as to why you have your opinion nor take any responsibility for your words. While this is just comments about a TV show, people are doing much worse by making personal attacks towards individuals on their personal blogs.

Keep these comments in mind next time you critique something for another writer - or give your review of a movie to a friend. Likes and dislikes are always in the eyes of the beholder and as such, what you think is bad, might appeal to somebody else. Reporting that it's "crap" or "doesn't work" doesn't help at all. However, if you can articulate what didn't work and why it didn't work for you, that will go a lot further to giving the other person some insight into what the writing/movie is about and also learn something more about you as well.


Monday, May 07, 2007

And It Only Took, Like, Two Weeks!

Excuse me, but that has to be the last thing any screenwriter wants to utter in the presence of other writers. And I don't mean that because they'll all be jealous of your immense skill at writing a complete script in less than a month.

I mean, don't be a freakin' idiot. There are some writers out there that have outlined their script, thought about it and made notes, etc. for months and then in the span of a month written out the script.

I'm not talking about those folks.

I'm talking about the newbies who go from blank page to completed script in <30 days and are proud of it. While I applaud the ability to crank out 120 pages or so in that brief period of time, you really don't have time to actually consider plot, character, theme, etc. when you're just busy typing the first thing that pops into your head.

I've heard this over and over, for years, and it still grates on my nerves.

How'd you like to hear from your lawyer or surgeon, "Yeah, I graduated in half the time it takes most people." Wouldn't you wonder exactly what they missed? I mean, really, not *everybody* is a bloody genius, right? Did you get the genius or the screw-up?

This is like the folks that figure movie X was so bad, I can do better. Uh. Okay, but you probably can't right away. Screenwriting is an art and a skill. It's something that nobody picks up and does well right off the bat. Nobody. Pick your favorite/best writer and their first script sucked. Hell, I'll go one further and I'll bet you that their most current first draft wasn't that good either. That's because writing is hard. It's not a trade where once you have it down, you just start cranking out the new pieces. Every piece is new and different. Filled with new problems, new characters and new challenges.

It has to be the only job that even after 10 or 20 years is even harder than when you started (because now you've seen 10-20 years worth of stories and you really know how hard it is to actually be original).

So please, new writers, show some humility and let's not assume that just because a film isn't to your liking or didn't do as well as planned, that the makers are screw-ups. Sure, sometimes they are, but mostly, it's just something that didn't work right. Just look in the mirror and see if you've ever done something that didn't turn out right.

Then, go ahead and writer a better script. Just don't make the foolish mistake of thinking the first thing you crap out of your word processor is going to win an oscar.