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Old 12-27-2019, 11:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Default How Does Being a Writer / Director Work?

do you direct spec scripts you sell?
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Old 12-27-2019, 07:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: How Does Being a Writer / Director Work?

Originally Posted by kdmccaskill View Post
do you direct spec scripts you sell?
Sometimes. Sometimes they write from a pitch or rewrite from an existing project. Sometimes they have writing partners like Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. Often they have producing partners, or prodcos that they work with.

Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

-Steve Trautmann
3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast
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Old 12-27-2019, 07:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: How Does Being a Writer / Director Work?

From the high class problems department.
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Old 12-27-2019, 11:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: How Does Being a Writer / Director Work?

If the project you write and direct is a hit, it works great. they usually let you keep doing more.

If it's not a hit, well . . .
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Old 12-28-2019, 08:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: How Does Being a Writer / Director Work?

I'm traveling so I'll make this a little quick...

Normally an unknown writer is not going to first of all sell their spec script. Then second they are not going to be allowed to direct it, so I wouldn't really look at it that way.

Granted there are exceptions and limited examples of various things happening, but usually one of two scenarios takes place.

If you are a writer and you want to direct, then write a low budget script, fund it yourself, and direct it. I have friends who have done that. And for most to many that's what's going to have to take place for your first shot at directing as a writer. Probably have your second, third and fourth films as well. (For your first film I'd really even suggest a short to get going and test the waters. Also it's not as expensive.)

Now if you are an established talent (writer, actor, etc.) and you have proven yourself and then write a script you want to direct or are brought on to a project then also are offered the chance to direct, then great -- you are now a writer/director.

You always have to keep in mind that movie making is a big machine. Producers have to feel comfortable with you. Financiers have to feel good about what you can do and bring to the table. And in particular, the actors have to somewhat sign off on working with you and having you direct them. (There is even more to it than that, in many cases.)

As JB notes, if your first film or two turn out nicely, then sure you have a very potential career in front of you as a writer/director. As I've noted in some other threads, a guy that I've helped on his various indie films is a writer/director but he also pays for all his movies. Then another writer/director I worked for was a DP who turned writer/director and was able to convince folks to finance his lower budget first film.

So, it's usually you paying for all to get started or you have a track record that helps launch you. (Chris McQuarrie, for example, falls into the latter.)
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