Click here for Done Deal Pro home page

Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > Business > Business Questions and Advice
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-28-2019, 01:57 PM   #1
Bono
Member
 
Bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,998
Default Should we all be writing books instead?

I've been doing this screenwriting thing for maybe 20 years? Holy sh%t imagine all the things I could have done in that time. Obviously it's not a full 9 to 5, 20 years type of job and I had real jobs and kids during it and a life -- but still this is my career.

I mean adults now and they tell me about their jobs, their lives, their careers, their raises, vacation time and real life job stuff. And I feel lost as I sort of love and hate the office job. Being a writer for a person that loves to talk to people is a weird profession to choose sometimes. But of course I do like to be alone.

What was my point of this thread?

Oh yeah, all that time, effort and writing that no one will see. Made a little money off of it, but basically it's just a failed hobby at this point. Even if I don't laugh at calling myself a screenwriter -- wouldn't the time be better spent maybe on trying to take some of my ideas and write YA Novels? Or Kids books? I know all writing is hard, but there's just so many more books published and the writing is the thing -- you think at least if I put 20 years into writing YA Novels and had the same talent -- i'd have more success by now.

I've seen screenwriters like chad kultgen who went to USC film school, but he wrote novels as his way to break into the industry. and that seemed smart to me years ago.

Just asking as I think about how much time and effort it takes. And it's so disappointing that unlike others whose time and effort is rewarding with money or something actually being published. Or a piece of art on a wall. Or a piece of music I can hear at a local club played by them...

Screenwriting is so specific. And so narrow. It's depressing. I love film. I love TV. But I always would love to make money and more importantly have people actually read and hear my words.

What's the point of wasting 40 years doing this and not making it? Maybe I should spend the next 20 years focused on something else...
Bono is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 03:40 PM   #2
Procrastinator
New User
 
Procrastinator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 27
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

Haha Iíve considered this, too.

Iíve toiled away for over a decade and have passed all the significant milestones except for the most important one, i.e. getting paid enough to make a living.

Vis-ŗ-vis fiction writing, Iíd say one doesnít preclude the other.

Iím nibbling at a non-fiction/literary fiction thing (donít know what it is yet) while still writing screenplays and teleplays.
Procrastinator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 03:50 PM   #3
GucciGhostXXX
Member
 
GucciGhostXXX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,281
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
I've been doing this screenwriting thing for maybe 20 years? Holy sh%t imagine all the things I could have done in that time. Obviously it's not a full 9 to 5, 20 years type of job and I had real jobs and kids during it and a life -- but still this is my career.

I mean adults now and they tell me about their jobs, their lives, their careers, their raises, vacation time and real life job stuff. And I feel lost as I sort of love and hate the office job. Being a writer for a person that loves to talk to people is a weird profession to choose sometimes. But of course I do like to be alone.

What was my point of this thread?

Oh yeah, all that time, effort and writing that no one will see. Made a little money off of it, but basically it's just a failed hobby at this point. Even if I don't laugh at calling myself a screenwriter -- wouldn't the time be better spent maybe on trying to take some of my ideas and write YA Novels? Or Kids books? I know all writing is hard, but there's just so many more books published and the writing is the thing -- you think at least if I put 20 years into writing YA Novels and had the same talent -- i'd have more success by now.

I've seen screenwriters like chad kultgen who went to USC film school, but he wrote novels as his way to break into the industry. and that seemed smart to me years ago.

Just asking as I think about how much time and effort it takes. And it's so disappointing that unlike others whose time and effort is rewarding with money or something actually being published. Or a piece of art on a wall. Or a piece of music I can hear at a local club played by them...

Screenwriting is so specific. And so narrow. It's depressing. I love film. I love TV. But I always would love to make money and more importantly have people actually read and hear my words.

What's the point of wasting 40 years doing this and not making it? Maybe I should spend the next 20 years focused on something else...

Swear to god. This is exactly where Iím at. So far 2 passes from folks. Seriously? My sh!t is pretty fukkin good, why im getting passes. Iím about to go into real estate. Itís something REAL to sell vs air. I bet I could be a multimillionaire in that world. Why am I wasting my time ďwritingĒ for idiots? I was already offered a job by an interior designer. I turned it down ďNah, bro, Iím a writer.Ē

Real ****: I have a meeting set up for one of the top real estate agencies in the biz. I can sell sh!t. Iíve proven that. I dig rad real estate. High end. If I can make a half mil a year doing that, Iím out! GUNS BLAZING! Meaning Iíll tell all and be kicked out of Hollywood permanently. Fukk it!

These fake-ass people passing on me. Tells me A LOT! This town is racist as fukk.

Honesty. There it is.

I appreciate your honesty. Maybe we should write something together. Ha!
GucciGhostXXX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 03:57 PM   #4
muckraker
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 574
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

I agree one does not preclude the other. You're a writer, I don't think it matters much what the medium is, you're probably going to feel the urge to write something, so what's wrong with a novel? But don't expect getting published is any sort of easy road, and self-publishing is its own animal with a whole other set of $%&* to deal with, just a lot cheaper than self-producing your screenplay.

In addition to my dozens of unproduced features, pilots, short scripts, and web series, I have an unpublished full length play and two unpublished novels that I sometimes like to consider burning and throwing off a cliff for all the success they've brought me.
muckraker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 06:15 PM   #5
catcon
Member
 
catcon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, Canada
Posts: 1,891
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
...Iím out! GUNS BLAZING! Meaning Iíll tell all and be kicked out of Hollywood permanently...
Permanently is a long time, but it is happening all the time. We all know reps and even producers who've left the biz.

Recently, I tried to get 'specific' regarding a proposal with one of my LinkeIn connections, a smart guy (an MBA) with credits and took one of my scripts way, way back in 2010 when he was a creative at Parkes-Macdonald:

Anson Avellar

Parkes-Macdonald?! I thought, sheesh, if I can get one of my early crap scripts read by those big shots, this is gonna be eeeezzzeee!

Anyway, jumping forward nearly a decade, he replied on LinkedIn that he's no longer in the biz.

As for how long you should go before you decide to change tack, I'm on the other end of the scale. I was 52 and had accomplished (or maintained) absolutely nothing in my life that I was particularly proud of, despite following all the rules and trying to play every 'regular' game (relationships, buying a house, holding down a job, etc.)

And then one night after watching my favorite movie for about the 7th time, I went down and started to scribble something that became my first script. The process was so invigorating that, all these years later, an in spite of my disappointment at my earlier stages of life, I see that if my first 50-60 years were just a sad warm-up, the next 20 could be really something.

In that great sports metaphor, they say the fastest person (maybe hardest working, too) on the field is the one that just made a mistake (or maybe made a poor choice).

I hope you can find another angle on utilizing what you've got, or what you've done, so that your next 20 are more fulfilling.
catcon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 07:15 PM   #6
grumpywriter
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 804
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

This is a great post - very honest.

I'll give my POV:

I know more than a few ex-screenwriters who now write fiction, some with a modicum of success (ie, kind of making a living off it), and yes, I actually do think it's easier to break into screenwriting via novel writing because it's much easier (not easy, but easiER) to get a novel published than it is to get a screenplay made. You can then try to build an audience for your novel and then maybe one day a producer will read it, love it, and ask you (or someone else) to write the screenplay for it. And if not, at least some people will actually read your novel.

That said, I also see what you mean about the frustration of being at it for so long with no recognition or real monetary reward. Producers, actors, and directors face the same thing but for them I think it's far worse because they have to truly go "all-in" because it's pretty much impossible to hold down a regular job while auditioning for roles or making a movie that then doesn't get picked up for distribution and nobody sees.

I'm not sure what you do for a living, but from my POV, I've made a good living as a writer my entire life but of course very little of that money has come from screenwriting (I have two options that keep getting renewed and keep paying me, but it's not like they are huge amounts); it's come mostly from newspaper journalism and now writing marketing content for tech companies (for which there is a HUGE demand). The (kind of weird) thing is: I enjoy that writing, the tech writing, as much as I enjoy screenwriting, if not more. It's certainly easier to come up with something that feels "complete" and also has some semblance of what you set out for it to become, and also... per your point, it actually PAYS and people will actually READ IT and may even learn from it and find some use from it. So in that sense, while of course I would love to have had more success as a screenwriter, and I still write screenplays and send them out, I also feel pretty lucky to have done what I love to do my entire life and make a good living off it and support my family with it.

I guess what I'm saying is: there are many types of writing, if you're a writer who enjoys writing and you're good at it, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself by requiring screenwriting to be the type of writing that pays the bills. I think there's a big ego thing around that and also a romantic and psychic reward thing - you really want people to see you as a screenwriter and to think you are living a glamorous life. But in the end, if you like to write, and you're writing and making a living off your writing, who cares what kind of writing it is? The point is to write every day and enjoy it. You can't live your life by committee. Let others think what they will. Write. Enjoy it. Keep sending stuff out. Who cares about the rest...
grumpywriter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 07:22 PM   #7
TigerFang
Member
 
TigerFang's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: 39į 6' 11.2284'' N, 84į 30' 43.2576'' W
Posts: 1,098
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

Articles on the topic of writing for oneself versus writing for one’s audience:

Should You Write for Yourself or for the Reader?

Don’t Write For Others; Write For Yourself

Write for yourself; it’s okay

Writing For Myself

How To Write For Yourself First (And Still Get Paid)

Writers’ opinions on this topic seem to be all over the map. Remain calm and write on.
__________________
ďMillions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Donít let this get around.Ē ó Herman Mankiewicz in a telegram to Ben Hecht about Hollywood in the winter of 1926.
TigerFang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 07:35 PM   #8
Bono
Member
 
Bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,998
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpywriter View Post
This is a great post - very honest.

I'll give my POV:

I know more than a few ex-screenwriters who now write fiction, some with a modicum of success (ie, kind of making a living off it), and yes, I actually do think it's easier to break into screenwriting via novel writing because it's much easier (not easy, but easiER) to get a novel published than it is to get a screenplay made. You can then try to build an audience for your novel and then maybe one day a producer will read it, love it, and ask you (or someone else) to write the screenplay for it. And if not, at least some people will actually read your novel.

That said, I also see what you mean about the frustration of being at it for so long with no recognition or real monetary reward. Producers, actors, and directors face the same thing but for them I think it's far worse because they have to truly go "all-in" because it's pretty much impossible to hold down a regular job while auditioning for roles or making a movie that then doesn't get picked up for distribution and nobody sees.

I'm not sure what you do for a living, but from my POV, I've made a good living as a writer my entire life but of course very little of that money has come from screenwriting (I have two options that keep getting renewed and keep paying me, but it's not like they are huge amounts); it's come mostly from newspaper journalism and now writing marketing content for tech companies (for which there is a HUGE demand). The (kind of weird) thing is: I enjoy that writing, the tech writing, as much as I enjoy screenwriting, if not more. It's certainly easier to come up with something that feels "complete" and also has some semblance of what you set out for it to become, and also... per your point, it actually PAYS and people will actually READ IT and may even learn from it and find some use from it. So in that sense, while of course I would love to have had more success as a screenwriter, and I still write screenplays and send them out, I also feel pretty lucky to have done what I love to do my entire life and make a good living off it and support my family with it.

I guess what I'm saying is: there are many types of writing, if you're a writer who enjoys writing and you're good at it, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself by requiring screenwriting to be the type of writing that pays the bills. I think there's a big ego thing around that and also a romantic and psychic reward thing - you really want people to see you as a screenwriter and to think you are living a glamorous life. But in the end, if you like to write, and you're writing and making a living off your writing, who cares what kind of writing it is? The point is to write every day and enjoy it. You can't live your life by committee. Let others think what they will. Write. Enjoy it. Keep sending stuff out. Who cares about the rest...
I'm a stay at home dad right now to 2 small kids, but they are getting older and I have to find a job again. My past jobs were low level jobs in post production world of NYC, where they did commercials which was cool, but I didn't want to do the technical stuff.

Yes, I would be very happy if I could find a career writing in any medium. I think I'd be a great copywriter -- but that's very hard. I've tried to find those freelance writing gigs and land something you're talking about for years, I just never seem to find them. Or they pay zero. My father in law makes his living writing for tech magazines, which is so weird. He's making money from writing and I'm not and he's a nerd. An engineer. He writes, but he's really there for his expertise on the subject not his great writing ability. You know?

My ex writing partner got some writing job for blogs and writing reviews for food/music... so he's somewhat happy.

So a lot of this is my own fault. I'm just being practical. At this point I just want to feel normal and like a man.

My life has been a big serious of ups and way downs... If I told you it all, you'll probably all cry. So that's why I stick to the jokes. And also I know others have had it worse. But maybe not on this board. Still of course every day the news shows me more pain than I could stand.

Yes, I've always been in search of a way to use my talent to make money. I don't want to be the funny guy who works at Target. I like shopping at Target and making jokes with employees, but I don't really want to be the funniest guy at work at 45 and that's the only thing I have to express myself.

I guess I always hoped I'd succeed at some point. But I guess failure is what this life has in store for me.

Now I remember writing a more hopeful post to someone else, about how I wouldn't trade success in screenwriting for my family -- and of course that's true. But I still dream to have both. Is that to much to ask? I guess so.

Isnt' this career so much fun?
Bono is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 07:57 PM   #9
grumpywriter
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 804
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

Hah... it is indeed

The thing is - there are PLENTY of miserable screenwriters, miserable actors, directors, and producers. There are also plenty of miserable tech writers, bloggers, lawyers, doctors, etc... And there are plenty of happy ones. I'm guessing in a forum like this the following comment will be seen as pretty absurd, but happiness truly has nothing to do with your external situation or circumstances (and now, cue replies like, "Tell that to a mother of three standing in line to buy a piece of rotting meat for in Venezuela.") As long as you are believing in a rule like, "XYZ has to happen for me to be happy", you will never be happy.

But anyway... this is now probably veering into digression.

Keep writing, my friend. Just don't keep doing yourself the injustice of investing your happiness in the outcome of that writing.
grumpywriter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 08:01 PM   #10
RogerOThornhill
Member
 
RogerOThornhill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,212
Default Re: Should we all be writing books instead?

This is a discussion worth having.

I'm not interested in writing episodic material (what we used to call TV, but is now on multiple platforms). I like feature films as do many posters here at DDP.

Maybe my things aren't as good as others. I can deal with that. What I haven't come to terms with yet is the change in the marketplace. Original features are still getting some options and purchases, but it really appears that fewer and fewer are getting made for the theater-going audience. I do not have data to support such a claim, but that is what I see from my vantage point.

I don't really miss the actual Weinsteins, but the production company was one of the makers of original films and that is missed. I want to write an interesting 1920s true story this winter, but in reality who will actually put it on film for $20m? (assuming my part of the product is any good).

The old guard is disappearing. Paramount is mostly just Tom Cruise these days. Sony...not much there anymore. Disney/Fox is franchise, sequel and re-boot work. WB does their usual couple of big budget items, couple of horror and a Clint Eastwood pic every year.

Universal has their share of franchises, but I do give them credit for making some original material every year. These represent the vast majority of what is going into actual theaters these days. I look at the top twenty grossing releases this year so far (or pic your number) and there is darn, darn little even going into theaters that would come from someone like myself.

Sure, there are other outlets for material (Netflix, Amazon, etc) ...but the budgets on most of those films doesn't really allow too many of us to make much money.

At the end of the day, it's not that the people in HW do or don't like my writing (or the writing of any of us). It's that there has to be a fair chance for those writing the checks to make money on average by putting out films that put people in theater seats.

I've got a pretty good concept for a RomCom, but I just lose interest in putting my soul into that work when I know the likelihood of selling it for any meaningful amount is very slim. I've got a historical drama I am looking at which would probably cost $20m to make and with the nature of it might garner an Oscar nod for cinematography if filmed smartly at the necessary location, but the audience is probably slim and thus so are my chances with that idea.

The industry is always evolving and there is always the caveat for us to write "better scripts" or "more commercial material." I'm just not interested in trying to get hired for "Deadpool vs. Jigsaw, Part IV" or "Fast and Furiouser 18." Any of us here could probably do a decent job with those, but what are the odds of getting that assignment?


R.O.T.

Last edited by RogerOThornhill : 07-28-2019 at 08:14 PM. Reason: grammar
RogerOThornhill is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker