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.

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.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

'then go ahead and write a better script'

I am

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 8:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dave said...

Understand Moviequill, that my disdain is aimed at folks who have done zero research into screenwriting, have probably never attempted creative writing seriously, maybe never read a script and then expect to compete with folks who are, at the very least, avid students (like the many folks in the Scribosphere) or professionals.

To me, it's offensive to believe that screenwriting requires so little skill or work when so many of us know it's quite the opposite.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 1:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Ran across a post about a month ago from somebody who did this very thing -- bragged about completing a screenplay in a couple of weeks and then expected applause from the rest of us. I almost broke my fingers restraining them from flinging filthy letters at him.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 at 7:40:00 PM EDT  

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