Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

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  • Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

    The recent news about SAFE HOUSE, the David Guggenheim script that gained a lot of attention and a big sale recently and may turn out to be Denzel Washington's next film, reminded me of the recent article about Guggenheim in (I believe) CREATIVE SCREENWRITING. In the article one learns that far from the first-time screenwriter Guggenheim was described as in initial reports back in February--which said he had never written a script and just decided to wing it and wrote it in 3 months flat, start to finish--he actually had a lot of screenwriting experience, just no sales. And he had been nurturing the idea of a safe house script for a long time.

    This reminded me of the way that Brad Inglesby was described in initial reports about him and his LOW DWELLER sale. As in, wow, he's a newbie from small-town Pennsylvania and he wrote this script and DiCaprio bought it and now he's hit the big-time! Crazy dreams do come true! Then it turns out he was a very serious screenwriter, had studied it in school, etc. Oh.

    What both these stories have in common is that they perpetuate the (almost completely untrue) myth that screenwriting isn't necessarily that hard, that it doesn't take a lot of learning and practice to master. That myth is probably one of the big reasons that a lot of people think "Hey, I could do that too. I won't have to put in years of practice and diligence and hard work either." 99.99% of the time the reality is something else entirely.

    It would be nice if the L.A. TIMES, VARIETY, et al. didn't get so caught up in playing up these sensational newbie/neophyte rags-to-riches stories when the much less exciting truth is that these writers usually have a lot of practice and work and effort under their belts already. Without that unglamorous work over the years there would have been no sales, simple as that.

    I'm sure these news outlets will do the proper thing from now on and do their due diligence to capture the reality of these writers' stories rather than continue to milk the same old exaggerated/mythical screenwriter storylines.

    Or maybe not.

  • #2
    Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

    Very well said mate, very well said

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

      I hope I can be one of the "big sales" mentioned in the trades. I can tell them that I barely broke 300 on my Verbal in the SATs, skipped my high school English class to hang out in the gym to shoot basketball, and the garbage that got me started was a 92 page script I wrote over a week's time just because "people wanted contained horrors".

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

        "Overnight" successes are one of the things that maintain Hollywood's allure and glamour. It's not just screenwriters -- it's actors, directors, etc.

        Everyone loves a Hollywood story like that, but very few actually turn out to be true.

        Who doesn't love the idea of unemployed Joanne Rowling sitting in a Scottish coffee shop pushing a pram back and forth whilst scribbling in her notebook the adventures of a boy wizard..?
        @MacBullitt

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

          Great thread. I was labeled a "newcomer" and "newbie" when the announcement was made about Legendary picking up one of my scripts. No mention of the other projects I had already setup, the fact that The Lost Patrol was 10 years-old, and that I've worked at every major studio in LA. It's quite comical really...
          .
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          • #6
            Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

            And then there was the guy who was working for the NY Transit, who needed a new car, read about a screenwriting contest with a 10K first prize, wrote the script, scored an agent, scored a big shot director, saw his script turned into a flick with Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes... not bad AND, he seems to be the sole writer credited!

            He does admit to having gone to film school at one point and having planned to shoot a short, but that didn't pan out and apparently, when it came to actual screenwriting, he didn't have a clue.

            You gotta love those stories.

            As far as J.K. Rowling, TwoFingers, you forgot the part where her manuscript was rejected by several publishers before it was signed and eventually made her one of the only (or perhaps THE only) billionaire writers on the planet.

            Stories like that come around once in forever, but they do keep the hope alive.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

              What about the writer of 'Gran Torino' - supposedly some pipefitter or barman
              from Indiana or...well, I've forgotten the details but you get the picture. Any truth to that one?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                Nope - another screenwriter with (up til then) bad luck and a stalled career who happened to be in the right place at the right time.
                Check out my blog: Scriptwriting Secrets... From Belgium?!?

                As sweet and filling as Belgian chocolate and waffles, but with zero calories!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                  Originally posted by Rantanplan View Post
                  And then there was the guy who was working for the NY Transit, who needed a new car, read about a screenwriting contest with a 10K first prize, wrote the script, scored an agent, scored a big shot director, saw his script turned into a flick with Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes... not bad AND, he seems to be the sole writer credited!

                  He does admit to having gone to film school at one point and having planned to shoot a short, but that didn't pan out and apparently, when it came to actual screenwriting, he didn't have a clue.

                  You gotta love those stories.

                  As far as J.K. Rowling, TwoFingers, you forgot the part where her manuscript was rejected by several publishers before it was signed and eventually made her one of the only (or perhaps THE only) billionaire writers on the planet.

                  Stories like that come around once in forever, but they do keep the hope alive.
                  That story about NY Transit guy (Michael C. Martin) is also a myth. Before he worked at the NY Transit, he was a staff writer on Sleeper Cell (Showtime).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                    Originally posted by Blackmagic View Post
                    That story about NY Transit guy (Michael C. Martin) is also a myth. Before he worked at the NY Transit, he was a staff writer on Sleeper Cell (Showtime).
                    That doesn't speak much for the writing profession now does it. He was a staff writer for a showtime show, THEN he worked at NY transit.

                    Not so god damn glamourous, especially considered he only got $200,00 for "Brooklyn's Finest" once he'd "made it." After taxes and a fee for a lawyer and agent thats like a hundred twenty grand.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                      Originally posted by Blackmagic View Post
                      That story about NY Transit guy (Michael C. Martin) is also a myth. Before he worked at the NY Transit, he was a staff writer on Sleeper Cell (Showtime).
                      Really? Hmm. I just watched the film, and on the DVD special features there's an interview with him and that is certainly the story he's selling..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                        Originally posted by nathanq View Post

                        Not so god damn glamourous, especially considered he only got $200,00 for "Brooklyn's Finest" once he'd "made it." After taxes and a fee for a lawyer and agent thats like a hundred twenty grand.
                        Hey, I'll take 120 K. I could live three years off of that. Imagine how many new scripts could be written in three years. Imagine not having to go to some lame-assss day job for three years.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                          Originally posted by Rantanplan View Post
                          Hey, I'll take 120 K. I could live three years off of that. Imagine how many new scripts could be written in three years. Imagine not having to go to some lame-assss day job for three years.
                          Amen, sister.
                          @TerranceMulloy

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                            Isn't 200k a pretty good deal for a screenplay? Am I wrong? I think most (even wga sales) are less than that. I actually watched that movie last night.
                            It's the eye of the Tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Brad Inglesby, David Guggenheim, and the Perpetuation of Screenwriting Myths

                              Originally posted by marcal View Post
                              The recent news about SAFE HOUSE, the David Guggenheim script that gained a lot of attention and a big sale recently and may turn out to be Denzel Washington's next film, reminded me of the recent article about Guggenheim in (I believe) CREATIVE SCREENWRITING. In the article one learns that far from the first-time screenwriter Guggenheim was described as in initial reports back in February--which said he had never written a script and just decided to wing it and wrote it in 3 months flat, start to finish--he actually had a lot of screenwriting experience, just no sales. And he had been nurturing the idea of a safe house script for a long time.

                              This reminded me of the way that Brad Inglesby was described in initial reports about him and his LOW DWELLER sale. As in, wow, he's a newbie from small-town Pennsylvania and he wrote this script and DiCaprio bought it and now he's hit the big-time! Crazy dreams do come true! Then it turns out he was a very serious screenwriter, had studied it in school, etc. Oh.

                              What both these stories have in common is that they perpetuate the (almost completely untrue) myth that screenwriting isn't necessarily that hard, that it doesn't take a lot of learning and practice to master. That myth is probably one of the big reasons that a lot of people think "Hey, I could do that too. I won't have to put in years of practice and diligence and hard work either." 99.99% of the time the reality is something else entirely.

                              It would be nice if the L.A. TIMES, VARIETY, et al. didn't get so caught up in playing up these sensational newbie/neophyte rags-to-riches stories when the much less exciting truth is that these writers usually have a lot of practice and work and effort under their belts already. Without that unglamorous work over the years there would have been no sales, simple as that.

                              I'm sure these news outlets will do the proper thing from now on and do their due diligence to capture the reality of these writers' stories rather than continue to milk the same old exaggerated/mythical screenwriter storylines.

                              Or maybe not.

                              Would you complain if it was you?
                              @TerranceMulloy

                              Comment

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