What is THE reason you continue to write?

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  • What is THE reason you continue to write?

    Are you still as motivated to write specs now as you were when you first started? I've been writing specs on and off for 8 years, but I feel like why should I continue to write unless I'm being paid a daily wage? Or that the finished script WILL be made into a movie? I don't even know what budget I should be writing for anymore. The great spec days of the 90s don't exist anymore and all blockbusters have 6 writers. Most of my specs would suit mid-budgets but those are being squeezed out of the multiplexes and dropped by Hollywood because of "marketing" costs.

    I'm just looking for a new direction as a writer. So far all I see is that I would have to become a Producer as they call the shots...
    I post too much.

  • #2
    Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

    Because I enjoy writing and creating stories. As far as marketing them ... I guess at one point I thought that might be a possibility to sell one, but I've known for nine or ten years now that I probably wasn't going anywhere. Still like to write, though.
    STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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    • #3
      Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

      Because I have stories to tell.
      "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy b/c you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." -- Edward Snowden

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      • #4
        Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

        Originally posted by MPrince View Post
        Are you still as motivated to write specs now as you were when you first started? I've been writing specs on and off for 8 years, but I feel like why should I continue to write unless I'm being paid a daily wage? Or that the finished script WILL be made into a movie? I don't even know what budget I should be writing for anymore. The great spec days of the 90s don't exist anymore and all blockbusters have 6 writers. Most of my specs would suit mid-budgets but those are being squeezed out of the multiplexes and dropped by Hollywood because of "marketing" costs.

        I'm just looking for a new direction as a writer. So far all I see is that I would have to become a Producer as they call the shots...
        I used to average three specs a year. Now I'm lucky if I get one out. I've been extremely fortunate because of writing assignments and rewrite jobs. This year being the busiest of all. But I still would like to have some of the ideas I'm storing up for a rainy day get written.

        As for what sells? Scripts under 5 million. That's the key these days. There are two kinds of films being made. 100m+ blockbusters (or wannabe blockbusters) and films under 5m. Anything in between is no man's land. There's zero market for it.

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        • #5
          Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

          Originally posted by EdFury View Post

          As for what sells? Scripts under 5 million. That's the key these days. There are two kinds of films being made. 100m+ blockbusters (or wannabe blockbusters) and films under 5m. Anything in between is no man's land. There's zero market for it.
          There are companies trying to produce in the 20-80 million dollar range -- STX is one. And I think Studio 8?

          Link to STX article. Though, in it (from a year ago) they site The Gift, which was a Blumhouse project made for 5 million. I think the advice to write lower budget is good.

          http://variety.com/2015/biz/features...87992/#respond

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          • #6
            Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

            Originally posted by figment View Post
            There are companies trying to produce in the 20-80 million dollar range -- STX is one. And I think Studio 8?

            Link to STX article. Though, in it (from a year ago) they site The Gift, which was a Blumhouse project made for 5 million. I think the advice to write lower budget is good.

            http://variety.com/2015/biz/features...87992/#respond
            True about STX, but they're going to established writers and filmmakers who made their mark with under 5m films. And why target 1 or 2 companies when you can target dozens? If the 2 that now make films in that budget range pass, your script is most likely dead. The 1 to 5 million dollar market is strong and getting stronger.

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            • #7
              Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

              Specs are time consuming, so I only write them if I love the idea enough that I know I can kill it. And while a sale is awesome, sometimes one that doesn't sell can still help a ton. My last spec didn't sell to a studio (a 1950's road movie in Asia typically won't), but it caught on with people and went Black List and did more for my career than anything I've ever actually sold because it served as a rebranding, which I desperately needed (I was only known as a low-budget thriller guy before then). I now know it's better to write a spec that stirs me (and stirs a reader) than trying to hit all the markers for a sale in a fickle town. Execs respond more to the former when it comes to trusting writers with assignments, and assignments are what keep the lights on around here.
              https://twitter.com/DavidCoggeshall
              http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1548597/

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              • #8
                Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                Originally posted by EdFury View Post
                True about STX, but they're going to established writers and filmmakers who made their mark with under 5m films. And why target 1 or 2 companies when you can target dozens? If the 2 that now make films in that budget range pass, your script is most likely dead. The 1 to 5 million dollar market is strong and getting stronger.
                How do you pencil out an approximate budget for a spec script?

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                • #9
                  Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                  Originally posted by jonpiper View Post
                  How do you pencil out an approximate budget for a spec script?
                  Concentrate on a smaller story. Don't mistake smaller story for less story. You can tell a great story and still keep the costs down. Less locations. Less cast. Minimal scenes with extras, minimal stunts... Guns cost. Cars shots, car chases, cost. You can still do some of these things, you just need to be small and selective. As a writer you need to be aware of what things cost to shoot. I've picked producers brains over the years to learn this stuff. They appreciate a writer who understands. And remember, a 5m dollar movie now was a 10m movie 15 years ago. Taking the cost of film stock and film related costs out of productions with the advent of digital has reduced the cost about 50%. EFX shots get cheaper every day, but you still have be careful.

                  And read successful 1 to 5 million dollar budget scripts. Blumhouse does it all the time. It's their model. Works well for thrillers, horror, romantic comedy, dramas... Less for action.

                  And understand that it doesn't mean the end budget won't be higher if it gets shot. Above the line talent can add a lot, but that's not your problem. Your job is to write it so it CAN be shot at a lower price, what happens after its sold is out of your hands.

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                  • #10
                    Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                    I've been writing screenplays for 18 years. Long time. Still can't give up. One thing I learned after all these years: the film industry is an industry of pictures not of words. I believe chances will increase if I start to make short movies from my screenplays. So many in the film industry start their career with a short movie.

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                    • #11
                      Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                      i've written a few answers to this question about story and money and budgets and movie things i know almost nothing about but could sound like i do, maybe, but in the end after rereading the words i've written, i decided to delete what i had to say for the greater good.

                      except for this-

                      magic words come love me again.

                      are you happy now?

                      love me again...

                      i may not understand dollars any more than i understand words.

                      dollars and words.

                      those things get mixed up and things get mixed up i would suppose.

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                      • #12
                        Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                        Someone in a meeting once said "lets make a film with sharks in a tornado"

                        ****ing sure I can do better than that!
                        I heard the starting gun


                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                          "THE reason"? There's no single reason I continue to write, there are several - vanity - therapy - manifest destiny - to play god - and to master it.
                          Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
                          "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

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                          • #14
                            Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                            Originally posted by EdFury View Post

                            And read successful 1 to 5 million dollar budget scripts. Blumhouse does it all the time. It's their model. Works well for thrillers, horror, romantic comedy, dramas... Less for action.

                            Your job is to write it so it CAN be shot at a lower price, what happens after its sold is out of your hands.
                            Thanks for the answer, Ed.

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                            • #15
                              Re: What is THE reason you continue to write?

                              Originally posted by MPrince View Post
                              Are you still as motivated to write specs now as you were when you first started? I've been writing specs on and off for 8 years, but I feel like why should I continue to write unless I'm being paid a daily wage? Or that the finished script WILL be made into a movie? I don't even know what budget I should be writing for anymore. The great spec days of the 90s don't exist anymore and all blockbusters have 6 writers. Most of my specs would suit mid-budgets but those are being squeezed out of the multiplexes and dropped by Hollywood because of "marketing" costs.

                              I'm just looking for a new direction as a writer. So far all I see is that I would have to become a Producer as they call the shots...
                              I gave it about 10 years (and 9 scripts) all up and stopped out of frustration. I would have quit sooner, but I regularly got a bite which promised to be 'The One.' It wasn't, though some of those close calls were intoxicating.

                              I switched to novel writing, which was far more successful, and ironically, my latest novel is being shopped by an agent to both publishers and film producers, so there's movie hope for me yet!

                              I love writing screenplays and will probably write more (I am still working on two TV show proposals), but I do find writing novels more satisfying. I also think that screenwriting made me a much better novelist.
                              TimeStorm & Blurred Vision Book info & blog: https://stormingtime.com//

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