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Old 08-31-2001, 06:47 PM   #1
copywriter1
 
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Default Age

I’m writing this on behalf of the “older writers” out there.

I’m a 44 year old screenwriter with approximately 23 years of writing experience (including my full time career as a broadcast advertising copywriter). Over the years, I’ve had numerous options and development deals, yet nothing produced -- until now. My first screenplay to be produced is currently in post-production as a low budge indie.

I’m pleased to say that I am now a much, much better writer than ever before - certainly than I was in my 20’s. I know this is due to a combination of my life experiences along with a strong sense of empathy developed over the years through my many relationships.

If you look at the truly great writers -- novelists and screenwriters -- most are middle-aged or older. My point here is to say that there’s hope for you writers in your 20’s and even early 30’s. Don’t give up your dreams, but don’t expect anything to come too soon. You’ve got a lot to learn before you develop the tools to become a truly great writer. And I’m not talking about software programs.

So remember: learn from your experiences and gain an in depth understanding of people and psychology. Most of all, respect your elders!
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Old 08-31-2001, 07:42 PM   #2
AndyWarholsGhost
 
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Copy,
Speaking only for my 36 year old self, thanks for your post.
It gives me hope. Everytime I sit down at this goddamned Imac, I hear yet another grain of sand fall away.

I'm gonna go out, and hit someone over the head with my walker!! Take that!!

Thanks man!

Aghost
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Old 08-31-2001, 07:49 PM   #3
lurker
 
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Can't argue with "hard work improves craft", copywriter1.

But what about the Hollywood prejudice against older screenwriters we hear about? Seen any evidence of that?
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Old 08-31-2001, 07:57 PM   #4
40winks
 
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Hey, copywriter1, your post is heartening to us older folks too!

Sometimes H-wood seems so youth-oriented that I wonder if it's pointless for an old fart like me to even try. (I'm a novelist trying to make the switch to screenwriter.) I totally agree with your comments that life experiences improve the writing.

Thanks for sharing the wisdom and CONGRATULATIONS on your post-production status!!!!
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Old 08-31-2001, 09:19 PM   #5
TOPCAT 777
 
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Default AGE

I am in my forties, and agree that I now have a much better understanding of plot, character development and the other essential elements of good writing, than I did 10 years ago. There are some indications there is a backlash developing, as prodcos, studios and TV companies scramble to avoid future age-discrimination lawsuits.
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Old 09-01-2001, 02:02 AM   #6
warmgoodness
 
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Default Re: AGE

Agism is really only a serious factor in episodic television, and even then primarily in sit-coms. Yes, the older you get, the harder it is to break in, but there are PLENTY of serious, respected, highly-paid, working screenwriters in their forties and beyond.
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Old 09-01-2001, 02:26 AM   #7
CRASH
 
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Default Re: AGE

I don't know the answer to this and was wondering if someone could supply it: But can anyone remember the last time a screenwriter over 35 who didn't win a contest broke into the biz with a first spec sale?

I am not debating the age thing at all. Just curious about what the facts are to this issue.
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Old 09-01-2001, 03:03 AM   #8
wcmartell
 
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Default Easy

Sure - my friend Bill Jones who is over 50 - retired from a career & took up screenwriting - sold a script a couple of years ago to Warner Bros called SMUGGLER'S MOON. Will Smith is signed to star and they've just thrown the second big name writer on the project (it's still a hot project).

Jones has stuff going all over town, now.

One of the interesting things about Jones' new career is that he's harvesting a lot of stuff from his past as story material.

- Bill
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Old 09-01-2001, 07:56 AM   #9
copywriter1
 
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"Warmgoddess" is absolutely right. Age is only a factor today in sitcoms, where most of the writing staff members seem to be in their 20's. And that's due to demographics dictated by advertisers (although who is to say that older writers can't write for the younger demographic, too?). Moreover, take a look at the best TV dramas, where most of the writers are older.

From Eric Roth and Ron Bass to Steve Zallian, William Broyles and many, many more, the real cream of the crop in feature film writing is the middle aged and over writer. Frankly, it amazes me when I do see a screenplay of any substance written by someone in their 20's. The fact remains that they simply don't have the life experience to truly understand character and the things that count in writing -- like human nature. Experience life as a parent...experience loved ones dying...experience relationships coming and going...that's what it's all about. Of course, there are also many writers over 40 who never grasp these things.

Again, I encourage the "older" writers to keep on writing. Just don't try to write gimmicky stories that you think the market wants. Leave that to the younger writers. Write from your heart and experience!
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Old 09-01-2001, 09:43 AM   #10
SirVoice
 
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Default Good.

I keep telling everyone I'm not dead yet. There is still hope.
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