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  • #16
    Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

    Great posts, bill. Agree on all points.


    • #17
      Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

      Originally posted by tomasz1985

      If I only wrote what I love most, I'd be waiting a long, long time for those better days because what I love most are historical military dramas...that's code for westerns with soldiers instead of cowboys. Granted every 10 years or so a film like that gets made, but who has 10 years to wait?

      So, I write RomComs. There seems to always be a market for them and I know the only way anyone is ever going to even consider that military western is if I have a track record.

      But I promise you, once that track is built, no one will ever ask "what else do you have" without me pitching "and the infantry, exhausted after weeks and weeks on the march, are trapped in a blizzard, supplies run low, the Lakota are moving in from the left, the Cheyenne are moving in from the right, arrows fly in from all directions, carbines begin to heat up and jam, guys are dying with every volley, the wounded young soldier with dreams of owning a farm someday calls out for his mother and just when it looks like all hope is lost...the cavalry comes charging over the ridge!"
      It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney


      • #18
        Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

        Needs a rewrite ... let me help ...
        Originally posted by Exit Stage Right
        "and the infantry, exhausted after weeks and weeks on the march, are trapped in a blizzard, supplies run low, the Lakota are moving in from the left, the Cheyenne are moving in from the right, arrows fly in from all directions, carbines begin to heat up and jam, guys are dying with every volley, the wounded young soldier with dreams of owning a farm someday calls out for his mother and just when it looks like all hope is lost...the cavalry comes charging over the ridge to further perpetuate the genocide of the First Nations, which these Lakota and Cheyenne warriors were fighting so valiantly to prevent."
        The glamorization of the slaughter of an entire race of people is nothing to get excited about.
        Hairy Lime
        Last edited by Hairy Lime; 01-06-2006, 09:30 AM.


        • #19
          Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

          Originally posted by Hairy Lime
          Needs a rewrite ... let me help ... The glamorization of the slaughter of an entire race of people is nothing to get excited about.
          Remind me not to send you my heroic oilmen battling bloodthirsty Eskimos script.

          Dammit. I might have to write that one!!!!


          • #20
            Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

            Hell, I'll help you write it. Damn Eskimos are keeping my gas prices at $3/gallon!



            • #21
              Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

              Originally posted by Hairy Lime
              Needs a rewrite ... let me help ... The glamorization of the slaughter of an entire race of people is nothing to get excited about.
              I'm half Native American, so the rest of that story is "the cavalry comes charging over the ridge...and are slaughtered before they hit the valley" but I didn't want to give away the ending.

              But your most appreciated stance hits on exactly what makes my western different. I didn't waste a single line on being politically correct. Not all the whites are evil. Not all the warriors are peaceful keepers of the forest. It's based on a real event. It's a study, if you will, of the politics, the social attitudes, the military mindset, the rivalries and the comradery on both sides. It's the truth about a battle that could only have one outcome --everyone would lose in the end. (And no, it's not Little Big Horn.)
              It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney


              • #22
                Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                Originally posted by kintnerboy
                Before Francis Ford Coppola wrote the Godfather, he wrote horror.

                Before Curtis Hanson wrote LA Confidential, he wrote horror.

                John Sayles (Piranna, The Howling) uses his salary from doing genre re-writes to fund his own small films (Eight Men Out).

                There are dozens of others.

                It's easier to break in writing something commercial. I don't think anyone would ever accuse John Sayles of being a sell-out.
                Frank Darabont is another good example.


                • #23
                  Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                  Pre-pro is a useful tweener term for people who have had some modest success, but are not quite paying the bills with their writing. I certainly wouldn't use it to describe everyone on the board, but certainly people who have optioned, gotten some non-guild assignments, or had something produced outside the studio system (short film, indie, etc). It shows a basic level of talent and accomplishment above the rank amateur and below the working writer. A shade of gray, if you will.



                  • #24
                    Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                    I recently received an email from my manager listing all the reasons I should stay away from drama until I sell. He's convinced a first-time writer makes things harder for themselves when they try to break in with drama. Even as a writing sample - odds are slim a never-sold writer can use it as a sample to get an assignment -- not when they can choose from a stable of working writers with a track record.

                    He had some interesting things to say about the glut of Indie Prodcos being a waste of postage and phone calls.

                    So I'm staying in my niche - female lead - comedy/romcoms. Although I just emailed him with an idea for a horror rom-com. LOL.

                    Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-


                    • #25
                      Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                      This has always been a tough fork in the road for writers who love to write heartfelt dramas and deep, thought provoking arty type stories.

                      They always hear the professionals in the business, be it producers, studio executives, screenwriters, etc., say loud and clear if you want to sell and break into the business, you need to write what the buyers are buying, i.e. comedy, action, thriller and horror.

                      Of course, this is sound advice. In fact, it's common sense.

                      The problem is that the writer feels he doesn't have the passion or even the aptitude to write comedy, horror, etc. They get depressed and they scream, "Why do they want to make crap movies instead of the thought provoking stories I write!"

                      This writer is talking about the "quality" of the material, which is admirable, but flawed once put in the context with the business.

                      The studios' responsibility is to make money for the stockholders, not to subsidize a writer's art.

                      Yes, "Kangaroo Jack" and "Dude, Where's My Car" are crap, but the specific audience for these movies (young males under 25) expect certain crap in their movies and enjoy watching it, making these movies commercially successful.

                      Now, the question is can a writer of thought provoking arty type stories change course and take that road down to Comedyville or Horrorville, etc.

                      If he does take that road to Comedyville, I'll bet he's weeping and screaming all the way.

                      "Oh, my God! I gotta write a f%cking "Dude, Where's My Car" to get noticed in this f%cking town? Please, have a tractor trailer hit me between my fvcking eyes right now."

                      Okay, sorry. I know this is serious for some, but I'm a comedy writer. When you find a character in a certain situation, the funny just writes itself.

                      My thoughts on this situation is that if a writer has passion for one of the more popular genres besides their passion for drama or arty type stories, then I suggest that they get started on mastering that genre.

                      What if the writer has made an honest effort to write in one of those other genres, but it's not working because his mind is clouded from thinking of a thought provoking artsy type story that he's passionate about.

                      Well, then I say screw the mainstream attempt and write it.

                      The fastest road to success, besides luck, connections, etc. is to show people in the industry that you're a talented writer.

                      What's important is having passion for the story. Passion for the story will bring out your best writing.

                      Just be aware that others will advise you that you'll have a hard time selling it, or even getting interest from the industry to read it, which is true.

                      You'll definitely need some kind of help or boost, such as a referral, connection, an A-list star to champion it or a win from one of the contests that the industry follows.

                      I believe the professionals in the business are smart. They'll know gifted writing when they see it. They may or may not be able to sell that artsy story, but they may decide to work with you based on seeing that your story had heart and a unique voice.

                      I tell you this in order to give you hope, because it's hope that keeps us going.
                      Last edited by JoeNYC; 01-06-2006, 02:35 PM.


                      • #26
                        Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                        You don't have to write "Dude Where's My Car,' you can explore serious subjects through comedy. People's insecurities, weaknesses & fears are great fodder for comedy. And you can also insert a Kleenex moment or two into a comedy. 7You have to be as good an observer of life to write good comedy as when writing drama. Simply give them a concept they can hang a marketing plan upon.

                        I'm not sure 'write your drama' is the best advice. Okay, maybe someone loves your personal drama. And let's say they want to bypass all the pro writers available for their assignment & give it to you, based on your drama spec alone.

                        But the assignment is for a thriller or an action film. Then what do you do? Turn it down, because you only write your passion: personal dramas?

                        I'd suggest forcing yourself to try your hand at something more commercial in the spec stage. Because if you ever become a working writer in demand for assignments, you will be expected to write commercial films.

                        I think we should all get away from the ego and emotional attachment to our writing. You never know - you may find you're more passionate about writing comedy than anything else.


                        When I was a writing major in college I had the opportunity, within the major, to take screenwriting classes. I did not. Films seemed too-too, well, it's entertainment after all, no?

                        I was full of myself - I wanted to write the next great, significant American novel. So I loaded up my elective credits with short story, poetry and novel-writing classes. Yet I was never able to finish a novel - I'd go 150-175 pages and lose faith in the story.

                        People who read my work repeatedly commented: your writing is very visual, you should write screenplays. I still resisted - for many years - until I decided to try my hand at it a little over three years ago.

                        Surprise - I fell in love with it. The structure, the way it can move from my head onto the page and the restrictions of a screenplay challenge me more. Like getting the mid-point just right so the momentum shifts and its onward to the all hope is lost point. And I kick myself for being such a SNOB - I repeat, a SNOB - back in college, turning up my nose at classes which probably would have gotten me to this point years earlier.

                        I pose the question -- is it really a passion for drama? Or is it some attachment to an image of oneself as "serious" and "deep." If it's the latter, I say write the first act of a horror script as a "get over yourself" exercise.

                        Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-


                        • #27
                          Food for thought

                          A couple of posts by Taotropics, from a thread I started a few years ago (I hope he doesn't mind that I've reposted them):

                          ANOTHER THING THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY

                          check this thread and see how many people have said things like "pros know commercial concepts that sell" or "pros know the difference between a commercial story and just a story"

                          WRONG WRONG WRONG

                          NO ONE, especially professionals, has ANY @#%$ IDEA what will sell or won't sell. Pre-Pros engage too often in a kind of frantic pandering to the marketplace. The work says "Like Me! I am like other movies you have made! Could you make me too?". And the marketplace says "Another ______ movie. How boring."

                          the Pre-Pro paradox: A lack of conviction in the value of one's core beliefs and opinions leads one to ignore this exact gold mine and sell generic beliefs and opinions instead.

                          Generic Belief or Opinion: I will write Die Hard on an Oil Rig because Die Hard made money and movie people want to make money so they will buy my script because it will appeal to them.

                          Core Belief or Opinion: i have no idea what will or won't sell; in the face of this ignorance I am going to write a movie about traveling salesmen in outer space because I am a traveling salesman and love and know well science fiction and the idea of writing it brings a chuckle to my lips. @#%$ them all. I will write this one while they aren't looking.

                          Generic Script: Doesn't sell. Nobody cares.

                          Core Belief Script: Everyone loves it. Traveling salesmen in outer space? How bizarre! How wonderful! How fresh! Please come talk to us about how to put your personal futuristic/ironic spin on this book we want to adapt. We are not creative but apparently you are. Come Help Us. You are not like the other scripts we read.

                          I IMPLORE you - trust your deepest instincts. Write the one you'd write If No One Was Looking. Give up on outguessing the marketplace. It's like timing the stock market, it can't be done- and those few that do it occasionally lead dumb, boring lives. Be an original. Be yourself.
                          Development executives have a term for a writer that panders to the marketplace and chases trends: they call them "spec monkeys".

                          Why spec monkeys? Because these writers are like circus animals who will jump through hoops in a desperate desire to please the "marketplace". They talk about wanting to "sell". They talk about "high concepts". Development execs never consider these writers for assignment work. Because these writers are not really writers - they are in the Concept Lottery - very rarely they win, mostly they lose - because the next "high concept" always appears in at least fifty scripts at once. Once two or three of the projects have been bought - usually for not much money, since spec monkeys don't write very well and the studio factors in the cost of rewriting them - the rest go PERMANENTLY unsold. Since the scripts were chasing a trend, they are now worthless. They have no shelf life. You wasted your time.

                          Again - I will say from experience that none of the professional writers I know chases the marketplace. They are smart enough to know that from a personal/creative perspective, trend chasing is boring and short-sighted; and from a financial perspective, focussing on the topics and areas that they are naturally interested in creates work that bring the market to IT as opposed to the other way around. It also affords them the opportunity to showcase real writing skill that will get them noticed and hired for assignment work.

                          What I'm advocating is: instead of begging for crumbs, ask for the whole pie.

                          Don't be a spec monkey, be a writer. Writers write to communicate with an audience, to "infect them" (as tolstoy put it) with the writer's passion. They write with integrity and passion in the genre they are most comfortable in. They know the golden rule: IF IT DOESN'T DELIGHT AND EXCITE ME, IT WON'T DELIGHT AND EXCITE ANYONE ELSE.

                          Am i advocating writing all family dramas? of course not. The matrix, Sixth Sense, die hard were all inspired individual creations. i advise writers to stay in the genre they were born to. Eveyone has a genre that is their "home base", the place they feel most excited and most comfortable. Especially when starting out, I strongly advise against writing in multiple genres. I always wince when a newcomer says "I wrote five scripts this year, a western, a horror, a sci-fi, a cop movie and a comedy! I'm versatile." That simply tells me you haven't found your voice and you don't know how to rewrite because you don't spend enough time on your scripts. It also tells me you probably didn't do more than cursory research on any of them. Writing in multiple genres as a newcomer is like trying to learn to play five different instruments at the same time. You won't be making pretty sounds on any of them any time soon.

                          And by the way, when Matrix was sold, it was NOT a "commercial" concept AT ALL. Studios had just finished a run of computer movies like "Virtuosity" and "The Net" that had tanked and the trend was already played out. The Matrix was set up because of the talent of the directors. If the Wachowskis had listened to Deus at the time, Deus would have (presumably, according to the line of argument) advised them to pick something else to work on because futuristic computer movies were out of fashion then. good thing they didn't listen to the trend-chasers.

                          By the way, instead of shilling my own story, let me shill another story. I have two acquaintances who, after watching my brother make a spec sale, LITERALLY imitated the concept a year later and cranked out a B-grade version of my brother's script. the trend was not quite dead. It went out and actually sold for a decent amount of money. These friends then declared themselves hollywood big shots, bought range rovers, moved into a bigger house, happily lived off the money, and waited for the opportunities and offers to come rolling in. After all - they were now Sold Writers with a Big 5 Agent. they framed their Variety article and sat next to the phone waiting for the agent to call with the next job. They also got to work on their next spec.

                          but the phone didn't ring. See, no one wanted to hire them because their work was clearly B-rate and derivative. they were spec monkeys. but that's okay! they can just write another spec! they had a meeting with their agent where they presented a buffet of ideas to the agent and let the agent pick which one they should write. After all, the agents know the marketplace better than anyone, right? they are sure to know what will sell! the agent enthusiastically signed off on one of the ideas and off they went to write.

                          they finished the spec. the agent sent it out. but the timing was slightly off this time. everyone passed. oh well.

                          they wrote another spec, their money now rapidly dwindling. this one HAD to sell. But it didn't.

                          and then, the truly sad sight: the agent dropped them, they had to downsize, go back to their day jobs and write on the side. haven't been heard from since. they had not taken the time to become writers before they became trend chasers, and so they endured the exquisite agony (which i would not wish on any of you) of having a false success, turning their lives upside down, announcing to their family and friends they were now hollwyood writers, only to discover they were doctors who'd never been to medical school. they felt like frauds and they were. they had no skills to offer. they were not craftsmen. and if you think not selling hurts? try selling one and then never selling another. that is a world of pain.
                          I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!


                          • #28
                            Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                            More of Taotropics' wisdom, from another old thread of mine:

                            What we are seeing here is indisuptable proof that a sizable majority of Pre-Pros still stick doggedly to the "day trader" mentality when it comes to pursuing vocation as a screenwriter.

                            The beliefs can be summarized as follows:

                            -An expensive spec sale is as likely to come from a hobbyist, someone who wrote a screenplay on a "lark" without much thought or training as it is to come from someone who has spent all that boring time actually learning how to write. So why bother learning to write? I'm as likely to to pick the right stock as the next guy.

                            -one must split one's time and attention equally between writing and "schmoozing" or "marketing" in order to get jobs. Most pros have their careers as a result of a connection they had, the ability to network,
                            the parties they went to. Hollywood is all about who you know. Talent and craftsmanship are helpful and important, but decidedly secondary to "getting access".

                            -The primary reason for writing screenplays is to make a large amount of money. Since that is the primary goal, the presumed shortcut is to cater to the buyer's stated or presumed desire for a certain kind of material. If you "write from your heart" it will be indulgent or boring, and studios don't want that. The studio is the arbiter of what is quality, because what is quality is whatever is sold for a lot of money. Therefore - write with your left brain - choose like an accountant from a familiar list of recent, pre-validated ideas and deliver "craftsmanship". The studios know what they want, so the goal is to try to read their minds, ask them, look at other things that have sold, and try to duplicate this "winning formula" in the conception and execution of your product.

                            Let's look closely at these fallacies and let me further defend what I call the "Magic Script" concept.

                            Okay, well no one keeps empirical data on this kind of thing. it's just conjecture. Let's look at a couple facts.

                            -The WGA contains about 11,000 members. 75 percent of those members are unemployed at any given time. It is estimated that no more than 150-200 individuals earned more than 500,000 last year as screenwriters. There are 50,000 screenplays registered with the WGA every year. How many first time six figure sales were listed in Variety thus far this year? My guess is less than ten. Ten of the 25,000 (first six months) sold for six figures. Perhaps three of the ten sellers will ever have a second sale and ensuing careers. Almost every other sale out there is made by established writers - screenwriters that have been hired multiple times for jobs, have been produced, are very successful novelists or non-fiction authors, or otherwise accomplished and established, proven WRITERS.

                            What distinguishes the ten from the other 25000? Does anyone out there really believe that it's "connections"? Do you know how many WGA members I know that are connected, know lots of executives and producers and still can't get hired? That some of the most distinguished and extraordinary playwrights, household names in university drama proograms, Pulitzer and Tony winners, can't get hired onto a sitcom staff (often because they've lost their "window of heat" and are determined to not be viable for whatever reason)? Established celebrity actors, directors, musicians that want to set up their writing projects that can't get them set up? The best and the brightest from the best schools who have easy alumni access when they move to L.A. to agents, producers and executives that can't get staffed on a show? The problem is that for whatever reason, the people above don't have the Magic Script.

                            Access is NOT THE ISSUE. If you live in Los Angeles, you have enough access. If you know two people in the business, you have enough access. Jon Lesher told me the story of how he found Harmony Korine. Harmony sent the script for "Kids" unsolicited to UTA. Not even addressed to anyone, just "UTA". The slush pile in Lesher's office was going to be tossed as usual. He was in on a Saturday for some reason and he sat in the chair on the other side of his office. He doesn't EVER REMEMBER having done this before - but he randomly selected a script or two from the slush pile and glanced at the first couple pages. One of the scripts was "Kids". He called Harmony and signed him.

                            The notion that getting The Big Read is the main stumbling block to success is, with respect, the most outrageous and most prevalent misconception on this board. Guys, I have gotten hundreds and hundreds of Big Reads on pre-validated work coming into studios and stars highly recommended with big producers, actors etc. already attached - and do you know what happens most of the time?

                            THEY PASS.

                            It's real simple - the work is read by the star or the studio and they say no. No reason. No drama. Just no. Because they see every major script written in Hollywood first. Every, every, every damn thing. My script is sandwiched between Zaillian's, Scott Frank's, Charlie kaufman's, and David Benioff's latest and they all want this studio or star as badly as I do. And one of those scripts is probably more enticing than mine. Or maybe they all get passed on. Russell Crowe only says yes twice a year. He probably reads a hundred or more scripts.

                            This has been my experience of the Big Read.
                            I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!


                            • #29
                              Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2



                              on a couple special scripts I have, that I put every drop of blood and sweat and talent and love that I have into - that I know in my heart are as good as anything else out there. These are my Magic Scripts. Represent only 2 of the 13 or so screenplays I've written. And many of the others I've written are very, very good - just not Magic. The reaction is pretty much always the same. The Magic Scripts still get passed on by big players for different reasons (One 25 million dollar star said he would have done it five years earlier in his career), but always generate something positive for me everywhere they are read. They have made my entire career. They created all my talent, studio and producer relationships. They got me all my jobs. And the extreme positive responses those scripts generated started from the first moment I finished them (naturally after multiple drafts with intense critical feedback on each one). I could have thrown either of those two scripts on the street and gotten an agent or manager from someone picking them up. Just as I could have been set up at a luncheon with Spielberg, Eisner, Rupert Murdoch, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks and Joe Roth with them each having read one of my other eleven scripts with close and generous care - and had nothing meaningful come of it.

                              The Big Read is fetishized because it is difficult to get and seems to be "just one step away" to The Big Yes or The Big Sale. It is not, in fact. You are just as far away from the Big Sale before the Big Read If you have a Magic Script you will know beforehand if the sale is coming. You will know as soon as you start getting reads. Because the reaction will be uniformly electric. Every high level pro on this board has had this same experience. it's the Script That Can Do No Wrong. And then it's like owning a small start-up that suddenly makes a deal with Microsoft. You don't have to do ANYTHING. You just randomly hear days later "oh by the way, CAA is going crazy, there's pushing Billy Bob Thornton and Philip Noyce, but we're saying no...we need to see what else develops". You watch the "marketing" process just go off around you as a separate organic, insane event that you aren't even a a part of anymore. And it can happen whether you have an agent or not. The guy that wrote "Boondock Saints" owned a bar and chatted with some customer about his script and showed him his handwritten pages. Happened to be an assistant at Miramax. A week later Harvey Weinstein was sitting across from him offering to buy his bar if he would sell him the rights to the movie. His pages were Magic.

                              The Magic Script phenomenon, by the way, is not confined to my preferred genres. "Groundhog Day" was a Magic Script. So was "Die Hard". "Sixth Sense". "Alexander". "the Last Samurai". Horror, super high concept comedy, action, science fiction - genre doesn't matter, because the Magic supersedes the genre. It also supersedes what the studio thinks they want. It could be a Western, and westerns could be dead - but the Magic Script could suddenly put you first on the list to adapt a cop movie for Michael Mann. Or the studio could just say "@#%$ it, let's make this western, it's too good not to make."

                              Let me say this clearly: of course there are many magnificent, beautifully written, universally recognized HIGH CONCEPT scripts. There are just more BADLY WRITTEN high concept scripts IMO then there are badly written scripts where a writer is making an honest effort to find their voice, because even if their script is indulgent or solipsistic, at least it isn't generic and chasing the market. The first writer has a slightly better chance than the second. Because the Magic Script must be original. Originality is the prime ingredient. It becomes much tougher to find the potion if you are imitating someone. I believe in genre films, I believe in Big Idea films (I loved Bruce Almighty), and they are more desirable to studios. But trying to force one is to tempt all of our desire to pander to the market - which is a recipe for disaster the likely refuge of those who want a shortcut. So the rule of thumb is go for anything that you love. If you're first in line to see "The Ring" then horror is absolutely the genre you should be writing in. But be smart. Be the Zen Master of your genre. Don't try to learn five instruments at the same time and expect to get session work. Become the expert at one. The one you love the most. So when I say "follow your heart" - to dclary (shudder) that means write something genre-similar to Phantom Menacce or Lord of the Rings - even though i would not ever write something like that.

                              I would prefer each of you chase that experience instead of the occasional low price concept sale of an average script because it is worth the work and worth waiting for. Ask Ry. Or your other favorite pro here. Ask two acquaintances of mine who schmoozed and bull****ted and lucked their way into a 250000 dollar mediocre high concept "spec monkey" sale. Two years later their money was spent and they never worked again and they went back to their day jobs. OUCH.

                              The Magic Script means more than a living, it means a career. It means more than a development deal it means getting movies made. It's harder - but isn't anything really great worth working hard for? I have a private opinion of the kind of traits possessed by people I know who have had the Magic Script experience.

                              People who I know (maybe 15) that have had this experience are probably:

                              -very smart and very well educated and well read, either in a noted BFA or Masters program (NYU, USC, UCLA etc.) or by an extreme self-taught regimen that deeply involves reading fiction and drama and being conversant and knowledgable about dramatic theory

                              -usually one of the funnier or more charismatic people at any party they are at.

                              -have an EXTREMELY refined sense of popular culture, are movie junkies, music junkies, politics junkies, insatiable readers of current events, and/or have their pulse on the zeitgeist. Tarantino is an example of this type.

                              -are intensely passionate about movies. That means they see a lot of them. That means they have seen many rare, foreign, B-movie, off-the beaten path movies. Often they have specialty areas of interest like horror novels, comic books, French New Wave, etc. They have strong opinions about what they like and what they don't like. They get red and sputter when they argue about movies they love or don't love.

                              -they simply don't talk that much or think that much about their careers. They have the quiet confidence that the career will follow the passion. they simply assume they will be writing or making movies or TV if they aren't already. They enjoy dishing and gossiping about the business and people in it, but this is a decidedly secondary topic to their Heroin Topic: art, movies, pop culture, politics, the world they live in, the culture they inhabit.

                              Most importantly:

                              THEY WERE LIKE THIS BEFORE THEY SOLD A GODDAM THING. They were like that when they were as pre-professional as you can get. And they didn't get that rattled when they transitioned into having careers. The things you have to metabolize, learn and get interested in are too involving to leave much brain space for mechanized marketing. Spend the time filling the well, become more well rounded, reading, learning, feeding your inner life, your interests, your special voice.

                              Scott Frank once said to me: "When I'm at a seminar, and someone comes up to me and says 'please read a script I have a western, a romance, a sci-fi and a drama and they're all good. which genre do you like best?" I know to excuse myself. When someone comes up to me and says "Scott, I've been working on this same thirty pages for about five years and it isn't right yet. Could you take a look at them?" - then I get interested".

                              Scott was indirectly referring to the Magic Script syndrome. He saw the second person was serious enough and committed enough that maybe his thirty pages was the anguished beginning of a Magic Script. He saw the first person didn't take their mastery of genre seriously, and was more a sincere but mechanized marketer and glory hunter than a true artist or writer.

                              Be a writer. Write a Magic Script and prosper.
                              I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!


                              • #30
                                Re: BE INDISPENSABLE - Part 1 & 2

                                Agree with much of the above Rex. lose the heartbreak after a very short space of time.

                                Professionals don't waste time writing specs that don't have a hope in hell of selling. Pre-pros can because that can put them on the radar. There are few professional spec writers. There are many professionals whose careers are based on a spec.