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View Full Version : Why Screenwriters Are The Whipping Boys In The Film Industry.


rob1234
03-11-2010, 04:56 AM
Definition of a whipping boy in the 15th and 16th century: A royal court (hollywood) would have kept a child (the screenwriter) for the purpose of beating him (criticising their work and what needs to be done or why it is no good) when the crown prince did wrong (when all manner of crap is going around in Hollywood). The whipping boys (the screenwriter) weren't hapless street urchins living a life of torment, but high-born companions to the royal princes. They were educated (well you have to have some knowledge to be a screenwriter) with the princes (anyone whom they send their work to) and shared many of the privileges of royalty (just advances, nothing on the back end though). The downside was that, if the prince did wrong, (if they donít like the script for whatever reason they can think of) the whipping boy was punished (an array of criticism on just why your screenplay is not good enough).

Hopefully, you can now also understand why so many writers do their best to try and become directors of their work Ė because they donít want to put up with all the rubbish people throw at them, telling them how everything should be and how it should be done, when the writers are the ones who created the material in the first place. If you want to take a beating for nothing for something you created - become a film screenplay writer. If you donít, become a director.

Mad Mat
03-11-2010, 05:01 AM
I've no intention of ever becoming a director.

So that's me screwed, then.

Pass the savlon someone. :eek: :eek: :eek:

Grandmaster
03-11-2010, 07:53 AM
If I wanted to direct, I'd write novels.

Jaco Bean
03-11-2010, 11:06 AM
Holy crap.

BurOak
03-11-2010, 11:31 AM
Produce, yes. Direct, probably not. I'm in the process of directing a pilot with zero budget, an inexperienced Executive Producer, and an all-volunteer cast/crew. It's given me more grey hairs than I already had.

BurOak
03-11-2010, 06:16 PM
Oh, and did I mention that the EP is exhibiting symptoms of being manic depressive?:eek:

Madbandit
03-11-2010, 09:20 PM
Definition of a whipping boy in the 15th and 16th century: A royal court (hollywood) would have kept a child (the screenwriter) for the purpose of beating him (criticising their work and what needs to be done or why it is no good) when the crown prince did wrong (when all manner of crap is going around in Hollywood). The whipping boys (the screenwriter) weren't hapless street urchins living a life of torment, but high-born companions to the royal princes. They were educated (well you have to have some knowledge to be a screenwriter) with the princes (anyone whom they send their work to) and shared many of the privileges of royalty (just advances, nothing on the back end though). The downside was that, if the prince did wrong, (if they donít like the script for whatever reason they can think of) the whipping boy was punished (an array of criticism on just why your screenplay is not good enough).

Hopefully, you can now also understand why so many writers do their best to try and become directors of their work Ė because they donít want to put up with all the rubbish people throw at them, telling them how everything should be and how it should be done, when the writers are the ones who created the material in the first place. If you want to take a beating for nothing for something you created - become a film screenplay writer. If you donít, become a director.


Good thoughts, but not every writer is meant to be behind the camera, and the reason isn't some neurotic, egotistic flaw. Maybe it's easier for scribes to just write because it doesn't take a lot of time to edit a scene.

Terrance Mulloy
03-11-2010, 09:24 PM
Definition of a whipping boy in the 15th and 16th century: A royal court (hollywood) would have kept a child (the screenwriter) for the purpose of beating him (criticising their work and what needs to be done or why it is no good) when the crown prince did wrong (when all manner of crap is going around in Hollywood). The whipping boys (the screenwriter) weren't hapless street urchins living a life of torment, but high-born companions to the royal princes. They were educated (well you have to have some knowledge to be a screenwriter) with the princes (anyone whom they send their work to) and shared many of the privileges of royalty (just advances, nothing on the back end though). The downside was that, if the prince did wrong, (if they don’t like the script for whatever reason they can think of) the whipping boy was punished (an array of criticism on just why your screenplay is not good enough).

Hopefully, you can now also understand why so many writers do their best to try and become directors of their work – because they don’t want to put up with all the rubbish people throw at them, telling them how everything should be and how it should be done, when the writers are the ones who created the material in the first place. If you want to take a beating for nothing for something you created - become a film screenplay writer. If you don’t, become a director.


Your view of Hollywood is not only warped, it carries a huge chip.

Threads like this are pointless, in my opinion.

vstm10
03-12-2010, 12:42 AM
Your view of Hollywood is not only warped, it carries a huge chip.



No sheet.

DavidK
03-12-2010, 01:03 AM
Oh, and did I mention that the EP is exhibiting symptoms of being manic depressive?

Completely normal. You'll get used to that. The put on the best parties, though.

Mac H.
03-12-2010, 05:22 AM
What the heck !??

The downside was that, if the prince did wrong, (if they don’t like the script for whatever reason they can think of) the whipping boy was punished (an array of criticism on just why your screenplay is not good enough).How on earth is having 'an array of criticism' such a terrible burden?

And the idea just doesn't make sense. It sums up as "if 'THEY' don't like the script then they'll criticise it".

Umm .. that's pretty much obvious. If I pay for a meal in a restaurant and I don't like the meal - then unless I'm particularly stupid I'll probably have an opinion on why the meal wasn't good enough.

A chef in a working kitchen shouldn't be a fragile flower who wants to arrange his work environment to ensure that customers can never be in a position to provide feedback.

We aren't fragile flowers. If you are really so afraid of 'an array of criticism' then you should probably avoid writing.

Good luck with your other pursuits.

Mac

wcmartell
03-12-2010, 06:26 AM
Problem is - writing and directing are opposite skills. A director commands an army, a writer sits alone in a room and creates. One is an extrovert, the other and introvert. Most writer-directors are really one or the other - very very very few have both skills.

But at the end of the day - what the hell does it matter and why the hell did you post this?

- Bill

author
03-12-2010, 06:58 AM
400,000 against 1.5 mil and whip me all you want, Big Daddy.

--Ralph

rob1234
03-12-2010, 09:07 AM
Ok folks, let’s address some points here:
To Terrance Mulloy who says ‘Your view of Hollywood is not only warped, it carries a huge chip.’
I say - I have to disagree with this profoundly... Ok, consider this, if you want to get into more profound thinking - around the world, Hollywood is considered, by many, the modern day Babylon (and these are not my words, but of many others) - the very warped establishment that is away from the real world, with many crazy individuals cut off from the real world. Outside, others are starving and homeless, there is poverty in Africa, South America and all over the world, and suddenly I criticise Hollywood about how they treat some people, the very people whom are wasting vast sums of money on useless things (and I’m talking both inside and outside of films) and treat people like rubbish e.g swimming with sharks etc etc, and you have the audacity to think I am warped because I dare to bring some criticism on these people for their behaviour... Well, you have the warped mind my friend, and I think you need to consider the priorities of life and just who you should be defending a cause for...or I guess you are rather taken to meeting with the devil in the afterlife... Well we each choose our own path. I’m so glad you have revealed yours.

To Mac H. Whom says
‘How on earth is having 'an array of criticism' such a terrible burden... And the idea just doesn't make sense. It sums up as "if 'THEY' don't like the script then they'll criticise it.’

I say – Mac H, you have completely missed the point I am making. Let me explain in more simpler, easier terms... I was stating that no matter how good the script is, no matter how great others in the industry may think your script is, if you are a writer, especially a new writer, and if it does not appeal to the person you are sending it to, there are some, who will state, in their opinion, that it just isn’t good enough for the film industry. They will hit you with an array of criticism on why it is not good enough and why it does not make the grade and should be given up, and then, you submit it to someone else and they then take it on, having a completely opposite view. Point being, if it is not good enough for some of the aggressive, idiotic sharks out there whom read your work, they will take the opportunity on why it does not make the grade for a feature and hit you with criticism on why it is not good, something they would never say to an actor or director etc etc. They take the opportunity to dish out a ‘good whipping’ for the sake of it... Many writers have told me they have been on the back end of this...indeed I myself have been told one script I wrote should not be pursued further and to write something else, only for someone more established to then take it up. Writers, new writers, take a whipping more than then anyone above the line. They are the least respected when it comes to others such as directors, writers, producers, actors, etc etc.

And the point about directing your own work is this... If you are sole writer and nothing else, your work will be ripped apart by producer, director etc etc and it will be shaped how they will want it to be... What I am saying is, if you want the work you wrote to be displayed on screen the way you originally wanted it, you need to direct it as well - and that is why a lot of writers become directors, as they want the work to be shown in the way they intented it. It is common fact, nothing new.

hscope
03-12-2010, 04:17 PM
You write a lot of words on a subject that is nothing new, Rob.

You are simply stating the obvious.

When I finish a script - and before I send it out - I print a copy, bind it and put it in my bookcase. That is my finished work and my vision of the story. It contains everything I want to see on screen, in the finished form of my vision.

After that, I really don't care what happens to it. I'll add talking animals, move it to another planet, change the gender of the characters, turn a drama into a comedy or do the million and one things required to turn it into a movie - any movie.

I will still have a copy my finished, intended script. I do this because I have no interest in directing.

Mad Mat
03-12-2010, 05:31 PM
And the point about directing your own work is this... If you are sole writer and nothing else, your work will be ripped apart by producer, director etc etc and it will be shaped how they will want it to be... What I am saying is, if you want the work you wrote to be displayed on screen the way you originally wanted it, you need to direct it as well - and that is why a lot of writers become directors, as they want the work to be shown in the way they intented it. It is common fact, nothing new.

You write a lot of words on a subject that is nothing new, Rob.

You are simply stating the obvious.


Sorry Rob, but I wholeheartedly agree with Hscope - I'm not (and I don't think anyone else is either) under any illusion about the journey (no matter how turbulent it will be) that any script will take once it's left the writer's nervous grasp.

Of course I hope the final film (if it ever gets made) will be a true representation of what I have written, but ...

... pay me enough and I'll happy wave good-bye to it and start the next one. $$$=adios amigo! :)

If I wanted to entertain an audience then yes, I'd be a producer or director (or street entertainer!!!) But I don't. And I'm not. I'm a writer. I'm only interested in entertaining one person - a producer. Because my job (as I see it) is quite simply to provide the producer with something they can turn into a movie. Period.

And for such services I get paid (and hopefully more than last time!)

The cinema audience may be the end-user, but whoever wants to buy my scripts, they're my CLIENTS. They are the guys that pay me, not the audience.

And once they've bought the rights, guess what? They have the right to do whatever they want with it (subject contracts, of course). Which is why every script has a PURCHASE price, i.e. the amount of money you are willing to accept in exchange for waving good-bye to your baby. They buy it; they own it.

Which is why I think this line deserves being re-quoted:

your work will be ripped apart by producer, director etc etc and it will be shaped how they will want it to be

No sh!t, Sherlock!

You wouldn't go into a store to buy some milk, only to have the farmer go home with you and dictate how you can and can not use it!

So why be surprised when someone buys something for shed-loads of money and then feels free to do whatever they want with it??? (within the law, that is)

If you are a writer, it is your job to give the producer what they need. It's not the producer's, director's, distributor's, financier's, HODs' ... runner's, tea-boy's job to make a film for YOU!

I know that all this may sound 'cold', 'clinical' and/or 'unattached' to what I have created script-wise, but that's just the way it is for me - that's my job. I don't create 'art' or 'world peace' (nor do I want to). I write scripts. For sale.

Period.

Terrance Mulloy
03-12-2010, 06:41 PM
Ok folks, let’s address some points here:
To Terrance Mulloy who says ‘Your view of Hollywood is not only warped, it carries a huge chip.’
I say - I have to disagree with this profoundly... Ok, consider this, if you want to get into more profound thinking - around the world, Hollywood is considered, by many, the modern day Babylon (and these are not my words, but of many others) - the very warped establishment that is away from the real world, with many crazy individuals cut off from the real world. Outside, others are starving and homeless, there is poverty in Africa, South America and all over the world, and suddenly I criticise Hollywood about how they treat some people, the very people whom are wasting vast sums of money on useless things (and I’m talking both inside and outside of films) and treat people like rubbish e.g swimming with sharks etc etc, and you have the audacity to think I am warped because I dare to bring some criticism on these people for their behaviour... Well, you have the warped mind my friend, and I think you need to consider the priorities of life and just who you should be defending a cause for...or I guess you are rather taken to meeting with the devil in the afterlife... Well we each choose our own path. I’m so glad you have revealed yours.

Huh?

night fugue
03-12-2010, 07:35 PM
Hollywood's Best Kept Secret:

Directing is easier than writing.

emily blake
03-12-2010, 08:18 PM
Rob, maybe you should stop defending your script from criticism and instead look at addressing whatever notes you got that angered you so much. Become a better writer and you'll have a different perspective.

Mac H.
03-12-2010, 08:53 PM
Rob, I'm still missing the point you are making.

Your simple version seemed to be:

1. No matter how good the script is ..
2. .. if you send it to someone who doesn't get the script's appeal ...
3. ... they will say that the script isn't good enough ...
4. ... giving you an 'array of criticism' ...

5. But then you submit it to someone who DOES get the script's appeal...
6. .. and they give a positive response.

OK. There's no argument there.

The above sequence is perfectly normal in ANY industry. Plenty of extremely smart people who understood the telecommunications market simply didn't understand the appeal of SMSing either. But it made a huge impact on that industry anyway.

The bizarre part of your argument is the analogy that the experts who didn't 'get' the appeal of SMSing and were providing an array of criticism over the idea weren't professionals who hated the idea (but turned out to be incredibly wrong). No - instead they were using the engineers who proposed it as 'whipping boys' when they criticised it !?

I'm sure there are some psychotic perverts out there who would offer feedback on projects they reject for that reason. But if you believe that it is the general rule then it's kind of sad.

And even if they are perverts ... the reality is that if they honestly believed the project would make money and go ahead they would have bought the script. The fact they didn't meant they chose to not go ahead with your project.

That's fine. Just think about the feedback and submit it somewhere else.

But without those fantasies about whipping....

Mac

Terrance Mulloy
03-12-2010, 09:01 PM
When there are so many chefs in the kitchen, things are going to change. Scripts are going to be rewritten. Certain elements are going to be removed or completely changed. It's a fact of life. Not some shady conspiracy between producers and studio execs to screw over writers.

There's a big difference between a green newbie, coming here and asking valid questions, looking for advice - and someone who's just got a chip on their shoulder about Hollywood, complaining how unfair everything is because no one will turn their script into a movie.

Again, this is a pointless thread. And once again, I need to slap myself for becoming involved.

joe9alt
03-12-2010, 09:05 PM
Farnsworth LIVES.

vstm10
03-12-2010, 09:09 PM
NO WAY this is Farns. There was no vile in him.

Ravenlocks
03-12-2010, 09:15 PM
If you don't like the way Hollywood runs, don't work in or aspire to work in Hollywood. It's really that simple.

Terrance Mulloy
03-12-2010, 09:21 PM
It's really that simple.

Clearly not for some people. ;)

Ravenlocks
03-12-2010, 09:25 PM
Clearly not for some people. ;)
Clearly. :rolleyes:

scripto80
03-12-2010, 11:56 PM
There's a lot of problems in Hollywood and the way it's run in terms of the hierarchy. Writers are the least respected when it comes to the creative team. That being said, the best thing to do is vent a little (which despite some resistance, rob is entitled to do), but fight a lot. Stand up for yourself. Be heard. And most importantly, SHOW THEM (via your talent, intelligence, and ambition) that you deserve the respect you're demanding.

I can't fault rob for his perspective, and I don't really get why people are jumping all over him. When it comes to the Hollywood system, I don't believe in just saying "That's just how it is, deal with it." I think change can occur eventually. I'm very cynical in that I can identify the problems and watch out for them, but I'm optimistic in thinking there can be slow, gradual change for the better.

Now in terms of the topic of selling off a script and being done with it vs wanting to see your vision preserved, I'm definitely the latter, but that's because I'm a writer/producer and want to eventually be a director once I garner more on set experience. There's a lot of 'churn it out and walk away' people in the biz and they help make the movie world go round, but I personally tend to relate more to the visionaries and grand scale dreamers who envision everything from script to screen to sales, as opposed to someone looking to just get something down on paper and use it to pay the bills. But just because I don't relate to the latter type of individual doesn't mean there's anything at all wrong with how they operate. To each his or her own. There's lots of different kinds of writers with lots of different priorities and ambitions and talents and complaints, and whether or not I relate to them or agree with them...I at least try to show them some level of respect.

DavidK
03-13-2010, 12:04 AM
If you don't like the way Hollywood runs, don't work in or aspire to work in Hollywood. It's really that simple.

There's a fundamental irrefutable logic in that. If you want to write something that nobody can tinker with, write poetry. If you want someone to gamble millions of dollars on your screenplay, expect them to pick it to pieces and do whatever they think they need to do to recoup their investment. It's not unfair and writers are no more the whipping boy than anyone else who puts their creative talent on the line. This is not a touchy feely coalition of sensitive artists, it's a competitive, high-stakes, speculative industry and if you want to be on the front line in any capacity, expect to take some knocks. The only way to get any respect is to earn it, and you have to be prepared to settle for a mere fraction of the success you dream of.

Having said that, you still have some control - you can always part company with the people you feel don't treat you right.

scripto80
03-13-2010, 12:26 AM
If you don't like the way Hollywood runs, don't work in or aspire to work in Hollywood.

Sorry but to me that's like saying "If you don't like cancer, don't try to cure it."

The Hollywood system is fundamentally flawed. But as I said, that's not saying it can't be changed. But in order for change to occur, the problems must be identified and fought in the proper manner. And the best way to do that is to go ahead and play by Hollywood's rules in the beginning. Play their game to get some power and influence, and then you can implement change, but it won't be quick nor easy. Change is evolution and the history of the universe teaches us that evolution is quite the lengthy process, lol.

DavidK
03-13-2010, 12:45 AM
Sorry but to me that's like saying "If you don't like cancer, don't try to cure it."

What? You mean Hollywood has to be completely eradicated, overthrown? Perhaps the analogy isn't apt.

The Hollywood system is fundamentally flawed.

That's too easy an accusation - fundamentally flawed how, exactly? Sure there are things about HW that could be better, but the best way to change it is to just be better yourself and watch it rub off. It's like politeness, there's usually payback.

hscope
03-13-2010, 01:08 AM
There's nothing fundamentally flawed about Hollywood and the way it operates. No one is going to buy your script and shoot it as is. The producer will have ideas, the director will have ideas, the actors will have ideas, the editor, the set designer, the - well, you get the idea. If it looks anything like your script by the time of shooting, break open the chamapagne.

You may write the perfect script, the most wonderful piece of writing in the history of movies, a screenplay so good that every other writer will give up the profession because they can never achieve a fraction of its brilliance. However, there will be a long queue of industry people who know how to improve it.

Terrance Mulloy
03-13-2010, 01:47 AM
It's not unfair and writers are no more the whipping boy than anyone else who puts their creative talent on the line. This is not a touchy feely coalition of sensitive artists, it's a competitive, high-stakes, speculative industry and if you want to be on the front line in any capacity, expect to take some knocks. The only way to get any respect is to earn it, and you have to be prepared to settle for a mere fraction of the success you dream of.

Having said that, you still have some control - you can always part company with the people you feel don't treat you right.

Could not have said it any better myself.

You may write the perfect script, the most wonderful piece of writing in the history of movies, a screenplay so good that every other writer will give up the profession because they can never achieve a fraction of its brilliance. However, there will be a long queue of industry people who know how to improve it.

Exactly!

scripto80
03-13-2010, 07:34 AM
Having had a first hand look at the inner workings of the system from the higher echelon (i.e. the practices of top executives, hustling of a-list actors, etc.) I stick by my cancer comment.

And yes, Hollywood is flawed, in more way than I can try to explain on a phone right now. So I'll keep it short by saying the system is broken, the hierarchy flawed, racism and sexism is second nature within it, and the money and power is in a lot of wrong hands. If you believe otherwise, if you believe the industry is perfect as is, then you're disillusioned, and/or just haven't had much experience with the upper level workings and perspectives. That being said, Hollywood is beautiful in many ways, mostly for what it stands for and could be. Why else do we all work and/or aspire to work in it? ;)

ETA: I should clarify that my perspective is in regards to the overall system, not specifically the script to screen process. Believe me, I know changes to script is often very necessary.

scripto80
03-13-2010, 12:57 PM
Thanks guys, now I want a glass of milk.

Though, I prefer organic, so that it's closest to it's original form. ;)

JeffLowell
03-13-2010, 02:48 PM
rob1234:

I was going to warn you about the haters, but it seems like you figured it out for yourself!!!

You are 100% right about Hollywood. I too ran into situations where a person would say they didn't like one of my awesome scripts, i.e., "whip" me. This was, as you know, just an excuse to make the changes that they wanted. I found an easy solution - now when someone wants to option one of my scripts, I just ask for a "no rewrite" clause. I also insist on keeping copyright.

They'll say they don't want to give those things out, but you know Hollywood. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! So if you save them some money, they'll give you anything!

Here's a situation I was in recently. A producer wanted to option one of my scripts for five hundred dollars. I told him that he could option it for one hundred dollars if he would agree to my no rewrite, no copyright clause. Do you know how fast he agreed? That's four hundred dollars, in his pocket.

Some people go for the money, but they're hacks. Not artists, like us. Let me know if you want a copy of my contract language. I think it will really help you!

Oh, and because no one else said it, WELCOME TO THE BOARD!!!

sc111
03-13-2010, 03:13 PM
Honestly, I've skimmed this thread so I may be off base here, but -- it appears one person hated rob's script and indicated he should give up writing in nasty and insulting ways, yet another person liked rob's script and wants to develop it with him.

I don't get the outrage -- you seem too focused on the hater. Forget him, rob. Ever hear the Stephen King legend? How many times he was rejected and advised by publishers to give up writing. Just prove all the haters wrong - it's a Hollywood ending.

What does intrigue me is this post:

And yes, Hollywood is flawed, in more way than I can try to explain on a phone right now. So I'll keep it short by saying the system is broken, the hierarchy flawed, racism and sexism is second nature within it, and the money and power is in a lot of wrong hands. If you believe otherwise, if you believe the industry is perfect as is, then you're disillusioned, and/or just haven't had much experience with the upper level workings and perspectives.

I'd love to hear more about the upper level workings and perspectives. PM me if you want to keep it on the QT. :)

THEUGLYDUCKLING
03-13-2010, 03:20 PM
i think he might break the lid off the underground network of jewish males that have greenlight power. oh my god this is going to be big. really faucking big.

bigger than big. the biggest thing since finding out that women are being excluded from the high profile directing jobs.

if he tells you that jimmy hoffa runs the grip union then you got a story.

sc111
03-13-2010, 03:24 PM
i think he might break the lid off the underground network of jewish males that have greenlight power. oh my god this is going to be big. really faucking big.

bigger than big. the biggest thing since finding out that women are being excluded from the high profile directing jobs.

if he tells you that jimmy hoffa runs the grip union then you got a story.

:rolling:

You know I love you Paisan -- in a sister-brother way -- you always make me laugh. Seriously, I regret the fact that I'm totally incapable of co-writing because I love your sense of humor.

wcmartell
03-13-2010, 03:24 PM
This thread is more fun than going to the zoo!

- Bill

THEUGLYDUCKLING
03-13-2010, 03:31 PM
"so what you're saying is. . . there is a chance?"

ylekot43
03-13-2010, 03:35 PM
"so what you're saying is. . . there is a chance?"

And the award for best usage of a dumb and dumber quote for winter 2010 goes to Duckling.

sc111
03-13-2010, 03:36 PM
"so what you're saying is. . . there is a chance?"


LOL...

"It wasn't you ... it's, it's me."

(I'm still laughing over the Jmmy Hoffa line)

THEUGLYDUCKLING
03-13-2010, 03:38 PM
btw, connecticuit is getting blasted by a nor-easter right now.

TheKeenGuy
03-13-2010, 04:19 PM
Let me remind everyone that, while debates are fine, personal attacks on the board are not acceptable.

Keep it on the subject of the craft, and avoid being caustic to other users.

Terrance Mulloy
03-13-2010, 06:54 PM
rob1234:

I was going to warn you about the haters, but it seems like you figured it out for yourself!!!

Who's hating on him?

When someone tells you you've sold your soul to Satan because you disagree with them (as this guy did) - tell me who's the one hating?

Jeff, I'm usually in agreement with you a lot of the time - but I think you missed the point on this one, mate

JeffLowell
03-13-2010, 06:58 PM
Sorry - I was just screwing with him because I was bored and it seemed like it might be fun. I actually don't agree with a word he says, and his attack on you was bonkers. ;)

(I thought it was clear I was kidding around when I said that for four hundred bucks, I was able to get a no rewrite clause and retain copyright. Of course, all I've probably done is cause a hundred writers to call their lawyers tomorrow and get laughed at.)

Terrance Mulloy
03-13-2010, 07:01 PM
Sorry - I was just screwing with him because I was bored and it seemed like it might be fun. I actually don't agree with a word he says, and his attack on you was bonkers. ;)

(I thought it was clear I was kidding around when I said that for four hundred bucks, I was able to get a no rewrite clause and retain copyright. Of course, all I've probably done is cause a hundred writers to call their lawyers tomorrow and get laughed at.)

Well don't I look like a dip-sh!t.

Damn you and your sarcasm, Lowell. Damn you!

:D

BattleDolphinZero
03-13-2010, 10:31 PM
this thread is so fvcking retarded it doesn't even look like fun

Terrance Mulloy
03-13-2010, 10:56 PM
this thread is so fvcking retarded it doesn't even look like fun

Try it. You'll see. ;)

MontanaHans
03-13-2010, 11:19 PM
@Terrance: I had to think twice about Jeff's comments too, but then I caught the sarcasm when I realized that no writer could EVER get a no rewrite / keep the copyright clause!

Though, I did slip something into a contract last year that says "THE AUTHOR MUST BE INFORMED IN WRITING OF ANY CHANGES MADE TO THE SCREENPLAY." I just wanted to make sure they didn't turn my thriller into a romantic comedy without me knowing. Only downside? I have to make even the most minute alterations to the script, then send new files to the producers.

Makes me feel important though, which I desperately need.

Terrance Mulloy
03-14-2010, 06:34 AM
@Terrance: I had to think twice about Jeff's comments too, but then I caught the sarcasm when I realized that no writer could EVER get a no rewrite / keep the copyright clause!

Jeff's sarcasm was so subtle, I simply failed to read between the lines. And being Australian I should have known better. Sarcasm is almost a national sport over here. :D

billmarq
03-14-2010, 09:50 AM
I solved this problem by writing, producing, directing, filming (okay, taping), editng,and acting all roles in each of my "movies." I need to keep them under ten minutes in length so I can put them on YouTube, but I can live with that.

Since learning chroma key and split screen techniques, I have no problem acting in separate roles, but the downside is that all the characters have a mustache, which limits my character roster to males only, or maybe one ugly woman.

I make no money at this, of course, but my own vision remains intact. Isn't that what it's all about?

scripto80
03-14-2010, 02:22 PM
Sure. Sure....*pats you on the head*

emily blake
03-14-2010, 05:40 PM
Sorry - I was just screwing with him because I was bored and it seemed like it might be fun. I actually don't agree with a word he says, and his attack on you was bonkers. ;)

(I thought it was clear I was kidding around when I said that for four hundred bucks, I was able to get a no rewrite clause and retain copyright. Of course, all I've probably done is cause a hundred writers to call their lawyers tomorrow and get laughed at.)

I knew it!

I thought that was satire, but it was almost too subtle.

scripto80
03-14-2010, 06:04 PM
Hahaha.

vstm10
03-14-2010, 06:09 PM
rob1234:

I was going to warn you about the haters, but it seems like you figured it out for yourself!!!

You are 100% right about Hollywood. I too ran into situations where a person would say they didn't like one of my awesome scripts, i.e., "whip" me. This was, as you know, just an excuse to make the changes that they wanted. I found an easy solution - now when someone wants to option one of my scripts, I just ask for a "no rewrite" clause. I also insist on keeping copyright.

They'll say they don't want to give those things out, but you know Hollywood. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! So if you save them some money, they'll give you anything!

Here's a situation I was in recently. A producer wanted to option one of my scripts for five hundred dollars. I told him that he could option it for one hundred dollars if he would agree to my no rewrite, no copyright clause. Do you know how fast he agreed? That's four hundred dollars, in his pocket.

Some people go for the money, but they're hacks. Not artists, like us. Let me know if you want a copy of my contract language. I think it will really help you!

Oh, and because no one else said it, WELCOME TO THE BOARD!!!

Aw, damn. I didn't want to laugh at this great post because I was hoping the OP would fall for it. Now you guys ruined it.

I knew it was brilliant as soon as I read the word "haters". JL talking like an idiot? Yeah, right.

peasblossom
03-14-2010, 07:09 PM
You write a lot of words on a subject that is nothing new, Rob.

You are simply stating the obvious.

When I finish a script - and before I send it out - I print a copy, bind it and put it in my bookcase. That is my finished work and my vision of the story. It contains everything I want to see on screen, in the finished form of my vision.

After that, I really don't care what happens to it. I'll add talking animals, move it to another planet, change the gender of the characters, turn a drama into a comedy or do the million and one things required to turn it into a movie - any movie.

I will still have a copy my finished, intended script. I do this because I have no interest in directing.

This is a good idea, that protects sanity. I will now start doing this!

Madbandit
03-14-2010, 08:34 PM
I solved this problem by writing, producing, directing, filming (okay, taping), editng,and acting all roles in each of my "movies." I need to keep them under ten minutes in length so I can put them on YouTube, but I can live with that.

Since learning chroma key and split screen techniques, I have no problem acting in separate roles, but the downside is that all the characters have a mustache, which limits my character roster to males only, or maybe one ugly woman.

I make no money at this, of course, but my own vision remains intact. Isn't that what it's all about?


You also forgot about the fact that you have no distribution or marketing team. Yes, your vision remains intact. That's the OP's belief.

billmarq
03-14-2010, 09:12 PM
:bounce:

NYNEX
03-16-2010, 12:15 AM
I solved this problem by writing, producing, directing, filming (okay, taping), editng,and acting all roles in each of my "movies." I need to keep them under ten minutes in length so I can put them on YouTube, but I can live with that.

Since learning chroma key and split screen techniques, I have no problem acting in separate roles, but the downside is that all the characters have a mustache, which limits my character roster to males only, or maybe one ugly woman.

I make no money at this, of course, but my own vision remains intact. Isn't that what it's all about?

People who get major hits on youtube become partners and they do earn an income from it.

I know what you're trying to say about a crappy writer obsessed with the original "intent" of his "work" not getting as a writer, but that has nothing to do with youtube per say, as you can make money there, if your stuff is good and you continuously produce.

Music companies these days settled out with Google, so they post their videos on youtube. In exchange, google has a lot of ads on youtube, and some of that revenue is shared with the music company and artist. The internet is becoming a major distributor of content, in and of itself, and this is still rapidly growing.

billmarq
03-16-2010, 06:08 AM
Actually, I believe I was whimsically trying to point out that the making of a movie is a collaborative effort. Producers, directors and even the actors all insert their own interpretations into the creative flow. Screenplays are frequently rewritten so much that the result sometimes bears little resemblance to the original. That is the way it is even if we do not like it.

Unless a writer has the MONEY and the hutzpah it takes to produce a movie from his own screenplay, from start to finish, he needs to accept the process.

YouTube is cool. It allows crappy writers and persons of limited talent like me to have their work distributed worldwide. Ten minutes of it, anyway. But, I wasn't really talking about YouTube, was I?

scripto80
03-16-2010, 10:27 AM
Yes but it doesn't mean he/she can't fight like heck against it. It's one thing to tweak a few lines for an actor, drop one scene, maybe add in another, or change a location or something. Those are all external to the actual story and intention of the work. But to take it from something that was originally good (and liked) enough to get a greenlight, and turn it into something "nearly unrecognizable" is both irritating and kinda ridiculous. I mean if they have all the creative answers, they should just write a film themselves. So while yes, that is the process, it's a ridiculous one that I for one am not willing to simply bend over to.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions and/or making respectful demands or fighting a bit, and no writer should ever adopt the mentality to just accept the unfair status quo and not be brave enough, or even care enough, to fight to preserve their vision. And for those who say "Once I sell it, they can rape in six ways from Sunday." Well....I don't get that. At all. A writer is supposed to have a vision, a story that was important to tell, so if you write something you don't even care about the moment you cash your check, I have to doubt as to whether or not you're truly a WRITER, or just simply a drone out to make a buck with little to no passion for the art. No true visionary storyteller wants their work altered so much they don't even recognize it, and if they don't care, then I have to think maybe they didn't care in the first place in which they should consider a career where they give a darn. Because the ones willing to bend over are the ones who make it difficult for the rest of us, as they make producers and studio executives think it's ok to disrespect a writer's work, and therefore the writer themselves. And that's why we make less than we should, don't always get the credits we deserve, and often see our work destroyed by money men with no creative talent whatsoever, who answer only to pie charts and the bottom dollar rather than their own cast and crew and most importantly: the audience.

Mad Mat
03-16-2010, 03:56 PM
You wouldn't go into a store to buy some milk, only to have the farmer go home with you and dictate how you can and can not use it!

Rob, you missed the point, mate. The writer is 'the farmer' and the producer is 'the customer'. The farmer might not like what the customer does with the milk, but that's just tough - the customer's bought it. They can do want they want with it. Even leave it on the shelf to go bad if they wanted to.

That may be really frustrating for the farmer, knowing the amount of effort that goes in to just producing one quart of milk, but that's tough.

There's nothing wrong with asking questions and/or making respectful demands or fighting a bit, and no writer should ever adopt the mentality to just accept the unfair status quo and not be brave enough, or even care enough, to fight to preserve their vision. And for those who say "Once I sell it, they can rape in six ways from Sunday." Well....I don't get that. At all. A writer is supposed to have a vision, a story that was important to tell, so if you write something you don't even care about the moment you cash your check, I have to doubt as to whether or not you're truly a WRITER, or just simply a drone out to make a buck with little to no passion for the art. No true visionary storyteller wants their work altered so much they don't even recognize it, and if they don't care, then I have to think maybe they didn't care in the first place in which they should consider a career where they give a darn. Because the ones willing to bend over are the ones who make it difficult for the rest of us, as they make producers and studio executives think it's ok to disrespect a writer's work, and therefore the writer themselves. And that's why we make less than we should, don't always get the credits we deserve, and often see our work destroyed by money men with no creative talent whatsoever, who answer only to pie charts and the bottom dollar rather than their own cast and crew and most importantly: the audience.

Ok, let's get something straight. Dude, please don't say I don't care. Just because I can be bought off (which is the whole object of a writer selling a script) doesn't mean to say I don't care about that script - I'm just a realist.

If one can't face the reality of the situation, don't sell the script - make the film yourself. Which is exactly what Rob was saying.

But I don't want to be a director, so I'm left with the reality!

Two years ago I was hired to rewrite a script. Even though it wasn't my original idea, I still cared about that new draft - because not only do I put my heart and soul into everything I write (or do), but I also knew that the production company needed something extra that they could take to financiers (who were waiting for the next draft).

I spent a month developing that draft with the director and then wrote it.

The financiers were happy, the film got made and then I was invited to the test screening.

My heart sank. The director had put back most of the melodramatic nonsense that we BOTH had agreed to take out.

To his credit though, he had also added two scenes that worked really well.

So all in all, it was swings and roundabouts.

The film's not perfect, but it has sold in several territories world-wide and has now been scheduled for theatrical release this summer in the UK - so it can't be all that bad! ;)


And for those who say "Once I sell it, they can rape in six ways from Sunday." Well....I don't get that. At all.


Say you had a daughter and you sold her into the sex trade, what would you expect to happen to her? Go to Bible class?

It's Hollywood. It's flawed. And I know that. You won't get any argument from me on that one. But I'm not walking into this blind. My eyes are wide open. I know what happens. Or can happen. So that's the deal. I sell a script and keep my fingers crossed that they treat it with loving care ... and not arse-rape it!

and no writer should ever adopt the mentality to just accept the unfair status quo and not be brave enough, or even care enough, to fight to preserve their vision.

Agree. But no writer should be naive about the process or job description either.

I have to doubt as to whether or not you're truly a WRITER
Depends on YOUR definition of writer.


or just simply a drone out to make a buck with little to no passion for the art.


I don't write art. If I did, I'd stick it in a glass case and hang it on a wall in a gallery ...

... and certainly wouldn't give it to Hollywood!

Not that they don't recognise art, but that's not the business they're in. They don't sell art, they sell entertainment.

And I write entertainment (hopefully).

Nor do I confuse 'craft' for 'art'. Being from Europe, I have a strong regard for both the 'craft' of filmmaking and the 'art' within certain films.

If I ever create anything 'artistic' I'll be amazed, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate it.

No true visionary storyteller wants their work altered so much they don't even recognize it

Of course not, but how many writers can be truly classed as 'visionaries'. Having a vision doesn't necessarily make one a visionary.

Because the ones willing to bend over are the ones who make it difficult for the rest of us, as they make producers and studio executives think it's ok to disrespect a writer's work, and therefore the writer themselves. And that's why we make less than we should, don't always get the credits we deserve

But isn't that why we have managers and agents and the WGA - to fight our corner with us?

And who's bending over? It's a business transaction. I create something. I set an asking price. Someone pays that price. They've just bought it. They now own it. The most basic definition of a business transaction.

And to be honest, I don't see why people get all fretful over the fact that I see it that way.

It doesn't mean I don't care about what I write - of course I do. It just means I'm professional.

Scripto80, you work in a production company and I used to be Head of Development for two small UK prodcos, so we both know the score ...

... there are some great producers out there who get the writer's vision and there are some that don't.

I landed both jobs on my integrity for keeping the writer's vision and keeping them involved in the creative process. I assume from your posts you have the same integrity. So to be honest, I'm surprised you and I are even having this (for want of a better word) 'conflict'.

But just because I offered that respect to other writers doesn't mean I expect to get it in return.

It's just nice when it happens.

Mat.

hscope
03-16-2010, 05:03 PM
Very nicely put, Mat.

I'd also add that Hollywood has many talented and incisive producers who can either improve or destroy a script (according to your point of view) to the extent that it actually gets made into a movie; the common goal of all screenwriters and writer/directors.

Mad Mat
03-16-2010, 05:44 PM
I'd also add that Hollywood has many talented and incisive producers who can either improve or destroy a script (according to your point of view) to the extent that it actually gets made into a movie; the common goal of all screenwriters and writer/directors.

Good point - and following on from that, of course we care how that film turns out. We want to be able to stand in front of people and shout from the rooftops "I wrote that" ... not "Yeah I know it sucked, but the script was way better. Honest!"

And not just because it means a bigger pay-cheque on the next one! :bounce: :bounce: