Since I began this blog two months ago, each Thursday has brought you a lot of dish about a man named Roger. As I explained this is not the person’s real name. When I began writing my book ROGER SHOULD HAVE SAID YES, I was going to use his actual name and the studio where he worked. Then the word “litigation” popped into my brain and suddenly I realized it wasn’t exactly necessary to name names.
What I basically had in mind in writing those blogs was to pass along the actual environment in Hollywood for a person who wanted to engage in screenwriting whether it be as a hobby or a career. I wanted to let you know the general greeting you could expect when you knocked on doors in Tinsel Town. The salutation for a “newcomer” (anyone without a track record of making money) ranges by and large from hostile up to denying the fact that you are even alive.
Some of you contacted me with queries about certain of these thoughts contained in my blog. I am glad to reply to you from my vantage point. No, I did not strike it rich but yes, I did make a living off of screenwriting principally as a script doctor. So, believe me when I tell you I am an insider, I speak from genuine experience. So let’s answer some of your questions.
Is Roger still to this day in the film business?
Yes, most definitely. I looked him up on Google the other day and saw his smiling photo connected to an article stating that he had become president of his studio. How’s that for still being around and obviously making “no” pay off? In checking him out, he does seem to have said “yes” to a few things but I would bet the farm that each and every one was a safe bet. This means he wasn’t ever involved in giving the initial yes. He always had someone else to take that risk more than likely. Then as luck would have it, he was involved in several very respected and successful productions. That’s almost like winning the jackpot on a slot machine with someone else’s nickel.
How much luck and coincidence therefore is involved in the film business?
Very little actually as it concerns writing. About 95% of any success you have in the screenwriting business is going to come from “who” you know. I was acquainted with a young man who worked on publicity for one of my plays in Los Angeles. He couldn’t spell cat. Even so, I took pity and gave him the job because of his girlfriend who was outstanding in her role in my play. I had to redo everything he wrote. Yet, two years later he was a staff writer on a very popular weekly TV series because he was bedding the daughter of the producer. I could give tons of examples. Believe me, it isn’t the quality of writing that everyone would have you believe is the most important thing. It’s who you’re cuddling with—otherwise, they’re all going to say NO like Roger did. Obviously Roger and I didn’t cuddle or my book ROGER SHOULD HAVE SAID YES would never have been written.
Next week’s blog (Part 2) of questions will give you some specific information to help you realize what you’re letting yourself in for if you choose screenwriting as a career or a hobby.