I admit when I wrote my book ROGER SHOULD HAVE SAID YES, I was rather hard in my views of the film writing world. Then I began my blog and I held nothing back. I believe some readers of the book and blog began to think I was a killjoy as well as a wet blanket.
By absolute accident the other night on Netflix streaming, I saw a documentary film about screenwriting entitled TALES FROM THE SCRIPT. It interviewed nearly two dozen well known screenwriters. Funny but they all sounded like me. One section even had a character by the name of Roger who sure reminded me of my book. The tone of the film dealt with the exact same theme as my book and my blog: It’s risky to say yes if you want to keep your job in Hollywood. In fact, these screenwriters seconded everything I mentioned in my book. The moment someone says yes in Tinseltown, the trouble begins. If you always say no, there is no problem.
One segment in the film was called NOBODY WANTS YOUR STUFF. The screenwriters went into detail over how hard it is to get any notice of your writing. Two of the writers in the film who spend absolutely no time sugar coating the screenwriting trade are William Goldman and John Carpenter. Their cynicism makes mine in my blogs look immature.
Mr. Goldman wrote the screenplays for BUTCH CASSIDY, PRINCESS BRIDE, MARATHON MAN and many others. He wrote two books about Hollywood and screenwriting that are classics: ADVENTURES IN THE FILM TRADE and WHICH LIE DID I TELL? He says essentially the same thing I have been writing about in my blogs. You can read his books or see interviews he has given on You Tube.
Mr. Carpenter is easily as tough as Mr. Goldman on the screenwriting business. He wrote the films THE THING, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK AND HALLOWEEN. Although he has worked in numerous film genres, he is most commonly associated with horror and science fiction. He too has some insightful You Tube clips.
I heartedly endorse TALES FROM THE SCRIPT. This film tells it like it is. Even if you aren’t interested in screenwriting as a career, you’ll enjoy the candid interviews. On the other hand, if you are thinking of screenwriting playing some major role in your life, this film comes off as kind of nightmare. The ONE THING this factual movie didn’t include in all its reality was a segment on SUGAR DADDIES, i. e. MENTORS. No one said the first word about how they got their toe in the door. Everything they talked about was what happened after they got their toes in the door. So, we’re actually back to square zero in that department. How do you get that toe in the door? This leads us to QUERY LETTERS, which we will give you the skinny on in next week’s blog.
In the meantime, keep your pecker up as they say in England (where I am vacationing at the moment). In the USA we say, “Keep your chin up.”