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Old 11-19-2003, 10:10 AM   #31
Boobsie Malone
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Default Re: re

Hey Cleo,

I saw David Mamet speak a while back, and one of the [many] things he kept harping on, was never to throw any work away. He advised each and everyone of us to go back through our "trash" and find something new and exciting about it. I thought it interesting advice. I've always had a soft spot for my very first script.

But because of what I've read here, I had always thought that my first script was a throwaway, so I, uh, threw it away (figuratively speaking).

Now, between a very encouraging thread somewhere in this forum, and David Mamet, I might well pull out that old script and give her another go!

At the same time, I can see not wanting to look back (hi Sooner!), but I'm one of those people that has a garage sale, but barely has anything in it, since the idea of the garage sale was great, but the actual getting rid of things made my heart palpitate a little too long.
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Old 11-19-2003, 06:06 PM   #32
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Default Re: Does sucking really suck?

I have an interesting variation on your problem, Cleo. There are a few scripts that I've finished first drafts of, but have never finished second drafts of.

For each script, the reasons are different - for one, it's because I just ran out of gas to get to the end (which is extra sad, since it's up to page 80-something); for another, it's because the idea has little or no commercial appeal; for yet another, it's because I don't care about the story or the characters anymore. In my more optimistic moments, I believe that when I feel like I've got the process down, I could go back and make something special out of each of them.

If nothing else, it's been an object lesson in the fact that even terrible writing takes a lot of hard work. But even if the results are mediocre, for a writer, the work is always worth the effort. ALWAYS.

There are all kinds of ways to get past Suck Syndrome that I've found. My favorite one is to sit and deliberately write the worst possible scene you can think of - lousy dialog, terrible idea, the whole bit. It's fun and it's still writing, so I tend to consider that a full day's work just on its own.

Hang in there. Everyone sucks sometime. I think the only difference is that no one gets to see it when the pros suck.
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:59 PM   #33
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Default New term...unsuck

Bill Martell

What a great post. That should be a reprint in Scr(i)pt.

More than that, I can smell a great sequel to your "Action" book...


May it sell millions!!
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Old 11-20-2003, 09:07 AM   #34
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Default Re: New term...unsuck

personally, I go the other way. I look at my scripts and say "Whoa, that's what perfection looks like. Man, I so don't suck." So, now I set the script down for a while so I can get an objective look at it later and see it's flaws.

But this is probably an extention of my massive ego. I dunno.
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Old 11-20-2003, 09:51 AM   #35
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Default To clear something up

Thanks to everyone on their great posts, especially Mr. Martell.

As far as "sucking", I don't think that what I write is pure crap, (I might have that ego problem whistle was referring to too ) but I do question it's ability to float.

I realize that every work written is a lesson and an adventure, and I do cherish each one, even if I am a bit tired after the completion. I also think that Boobsie hit onto something about listening to people (if that was what you were getting at, if not thanks anyway ). I have always heard that no matter what your first script sucks you just can't see it yet. I do not think that the story sucked, as a matter of fact I thought the story was quite good, the pacing act structure, and formatting were weak, but the characters were strong and the story was tightly woven.

Now the 2nd one, that was bad, it was a rush job and I fought hard to get away from the "writing like a novelist" label. It didn't work, it lacked depth, it had major holes and the character arc was flat. It needs recessitation, but not from me .

But, I look back now and I realize just how much I have learned about screenwriting. I know that not all of my ideas are going to impress everyone nor should I try. I also know that I am better than I was, and by keeping at it and creating a story, I will only get better.

I don't think I suck, but I do question myself from time to time.

Thanks for everyone's advice.
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:48 AM   #36
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Default Re: To clear something up

The trashing Of The Cat In The Hat in the film section brought to mind an interview I saw with Dr. Seuss's assistant a few days after he died.

I was very surprised to learn that Dr. Seuss thought he sucked. She spoke of him needing reassurance about his work on a daily basis right up to the end of his life.

What does this have to do with anything? I'm not sure... But it made me wonder if thinking I suck is more of an asset, than a hindrance.

Mr. Martell, excellent and inspirational post.
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Old 11-20-2003, 11:28 AM   #37
Boobsie Malone
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Default Re: To clear something up


That *was* what I was getting at

The reality is, we should listen to ourselves. I think, if we're any good at what we're trying to do, if we listen to the internal a bit more, and trust ourselves, we'd be in a lot better shape.

I really had a lot of respect for that guy who got heat off his first script. He'd read the same threads as I had here, and he still queried his first script. Me? I was like, well, according to X,Y, and Z, I need to do this...

In terms of the "Suck syndrome": I think you're only as sucky as you think you are.
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Old 11-20-2003, 01:27 PM   #38
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Default Re: To clear something up

To clear up something, also, imo in the only thing that was trashed The Cat In The Hat film thread was that the story does not necessarily translate into a movie. Not every children's classic is worth plundering for a blockbuster.

For me, it's a bit of a folly that I think my pride has fallen prey to. That it can be done. I've entertained the notion that I can "make any script/idea work" (original stuff) that's naive meets hubris and it's wrongheaded because I can't really and I've wasted chunks of time to that end and felt I sucked in the process - even saw that I sucked in the process because my characters did not evoke empathy, my structure was weak. It's important for me that I've learned that I can't really do it AND...

I have to choose my projects/battles very, very very carefully. That just because I will it through outlining, or a beat sheet, may not make it so.

At a certain point in a screenwriting career, it is my contention that the writer has to be a bit coldhearted as to what he or she chooses to write. The learning experiences have passed. You probably will want to get sold at a certain point and If So, you will have ideas to that effect. I say choose ideas that you are not only extremely passionate about, but will also work for you as a Writer Wanting A Career (I don't think they're always the same. I know it sounds self-helpish.) Choose ideas that will make you shine as "you the writer with your particular voice" and at the same time I believe it will help strengthen your voice. You are your own production company. Choose your projects not desiring wealth, but based on your passion, your strengths, your voice and the strengths of the idea being a real movie story and not The Cat In The Hat.


This may not be directly related to your feeling of "suck" but if you are at that point as described, I hope it helps as a perspective.
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Old 11-20-2003, 02:39 PM   #39
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Default Re: On Mondays I Suck...

On Mondays I suck.

On Tuesdays I'm a genius.

On Wednesdays I'm ambivalent, do the laundry, and make notes.

On Thursdays I'm a genius again, even more of a genius than on Tuesdays, which requires I backtrack and rewrite Tuesday's pages, which now suck.

On Fridays I'm normal and good for 20 pages straight-ahead.

On Saturdays I have to wonder if it's all worth it. I decide I don't suck as much as the average writer.

On Sundays I rest. Sunday nights I'm a genius making notes.

On Mondays I suck...


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Old 11-20-2003, 02:49 PM   #40
E J Pennypacker
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Default Re: On Mondays I Suck...

Great post Mr. Martell. You've inspired me to look at that script again I left at page 67.

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