Screenwriting : A really good and inspirational article to wake us storytellers up by William Joseph Hill

William Joseph Hill

A really good and inspirational article to wake us storytellers up

I thought this was a really well done article and it speaks about some very important things as it relates to writing: https://medium.com/art-science/a-warning-for-our-next-great-screenwriter...

A Warning For Our Next Great Screenwriters
A Warning For Our Next Great Screenwriters
You are now part of the most collaborative medium anywhere in the world and much of your success in it is going to be determined by how well you listen. I was very fortunate in that regard. As the chi…
Karl Lareine

Thanks a lot for this article, William, it`s very inspiring!

Debbie Croysdale

Thanks for the share. There are some wise words in there, none of us should forget, tonight they will be on little coloured strips of paper with my other fridge door memorabilia. WALL-"D". (Wall E inspired)

Laurie Ashbourne

Thanks so much for this. I love every single line.

William Joseph Hill

Thanks everyone! I thought it was really inspiring,

C.m. Andino

Thanks, William. Just the kick in the rear I needed to close this window and get back to work. Bye, everyone. See you after I've written today's pages.

Michael Eddy

Terrific article. Billy actually made me feel a tad less woebegone for having put my kids through a divorce - since he said there is a positive to be had from it in teaching them to listen and let warring factions be heard etc. Mine have all turned out to be wonderful kids - although 2/3s of them want to be actors.

Phillip 'Le Docteur de Script' Hardy

Thanks for posting this.

Margie Walker

The article was definitely inspiring, not to mention motivational on an honest level.

Michael Eddy

Coincidentally - saw a movie today (THE GIFT - very good) that came with a number of trailers - one of which is for Billy Ray's new movie - "THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES" - which he wrote and directed - and it looks great (Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts - terrific cast). I think his article talked about red carpet walks. If this is as good as it looks - he should dry clean his tux. I'm also voting for him for the WGA Board of Directors - where he's an incumbent. BTW - I've never met the man. Just a fan of some of his movies and the attached article.

Jorge J Prieto

Excellent, William, thank you so much for the link. Words of wisdom. Yes, the art of good speaking is to learn how to listen.

Fiona Faith Ross

Wonderful and inspirational.

Lynne Logan

Loved the article William. Inspiring. Helps us all to remember to keep our eye on the prize. No side paths to wander . . . no interruptions . . . no sitting in the corner at Starbucks calling ourselves a 'writer' . . .no no no. Just make a pot of coffee, shut the door and write, write, write. I've learned to listen to that still, small voice deep (and I mean deep) within that says "You can do this" . . . in fact, I remind myself all the time someone has to write this story . . . why not me? I've learned also to relish those days I get momentum . . . traction. You all know what I mean. Every day, I set a goal for myself. Read three scripts, work on structure, take a class, research, write that scene I've been putting off, or whatever. And I keep my eye on that. Nothing else. The accomplishment of that one goal for the day is the prize. Setting daily goals gives us a 'ticking clock' and we all know how that motivates us. So, the bottom line here? If you don't know where you're going . . . you'll end up someplace else. Those daily goals are powerful. Belief in yourself is powerful. Throw in craftsmanship, and well, you might see the prize at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, William, thanks again. I love this motivational stuff.

Michael Eddy

Lynne - you sound pretty self-motivated - which is the foundation of being a writer. Get up and write. Go to sleep - get back up - and write some more. Don't take "no" for an answer. Believe in yourself. Know that it only takes one "yes". Stick it out until you hear it.

Lynne Logan

Thanks Michael Yes. I just read some comments on the other thread which started out about 'fear of your script being stolen", which was started by Regina. I don't know how it went south, but it did. Every profession, and I mean every profession is full of deceitful people. We can't get a way from that. And competition is high in all sought after professions. All. But if we focused on that stuff and believed it, we'd all be throwing the towel in. We must stick with our belief in our talent, goals, and follow the tried and true path of success. Talent, determination, perseverance, hard work, and never, never give up. Call me pollyanna, but some things never change.

Cherie Grant

I didn't find ti that inspirational. This guy tells us that he wants fame and fortune more than any thing else. He works 8 to 5 and still hasn't got there. He's a fame whore not a writer.

William Joseph Hill

Interesting observation, Cherie. Though I must admit, most folks who get into this business are looking for some kind of fame and fortune -- I don't think any of us fantasized as kids about working on spec for little or no money. What I got from the article is the importance of focusing on good stories and the work instead of trying to figure out the next "four-quadrant" blockbuster like studio executives do.

Michael Eddy

I have to agree with William here and vehemently disagree with Cherie. "He's a fame whore and not a writer". Wow. That's harsh. And wrong on so many levels. I got nothing like that from reading the article. If the guy has a bucket list that includes walking a few red carpets - that makes him a "fame whore"? Seriously? I know a lot of writers who not only love the work (and some who are very good at it), but are also in it to make a living - maybe even enough of a living to have some F.U. money to be able to turn down the bad offers - and aren't averse to the praise that comes along with a job well done, and the credit for doing it - and the long shot of being able to give an acceptance speech somewhere along the line. Nothing wrong with that. Fame and being good at what you do - are not mutually exclusive. Maybe moreso for writers - who seem to be shuffled to the side of the red carpet when the actors stroll from their limos - but I think you need to tone down the rhetoric a few degrees. If all you want to do personally is write for the sake of writing - and don't care whether anything ever sells or not - or whether you can earn enough to pay your bills without working as a cashier at a supermarket or waiting tables - more power to you. Be a poet. "He works 8 to 5 and still hasn't got there" (grammatically - still hasn't arrived would be a better choice of words, but I pick nits). Have you seen any of Billy Ray's work? He's done blockbuster commercial fare like "The Hunger Games", and well received thrillers like "Flightplan" - but he's also written serious adult fare like "Breach" and "Shattered Glass" and "State of Play" and "Captain Phillips" - some of which have attracted not only excellent actors, but movie "stars" as well. No writer in his or her right mind sets out to write those sorts of stories unless they love the work and the story they want to tell - because those are NOT the types of movies that the studios are looking to make these days. They don't do "serious". Or "adult". They do Marvel comics and sequels to Jurassic Park. They do COMMERCIAL. Keep in mind - this is show BUSINESS, not show ART. So if his writing is good enough to sport a track record of getting those types of films made on a consistent basis - my hat's off to the guy. He has most definitely "got there". His work attracts talent. It gets made. It swims against the tide of vampires and John Green novels and summer tentpoles. There's room for everything - but if you think that's easy - think again. And if taking that risk - and probably a whole lot less money than he'd get for doing more Hunger Games - and hoping the writing is so good that some indie can't NOT make it - doesn't entitle him to daydream about the additional perks of walking a red carpet or giving an acceptance speech - and that makes him a "fame whore" - sign me up. But he is most certainly a WRITER. How is that any different from an actor who wants to be a movie "star"? Or a Harvey Weinstein - who makes quality adult serious movies and then goes all in on his yearly Oscar campaigns as well? Does that make him an award junkie and NOT a producer? Because if you get a movie made and the only eyes on it are at some obscure film festival - what's that do for your career? If it gets made - and some big Oscar push gets thrown into the mix - and you get nominations (win or not) and more people hear about it and the release gets wider - the praise not only helps that particular little film - but it helps to get more of them made. That's not being a whore - that's being smart and lucky. I for one, look forward to seeing Billy Ray's newest film - an adult drama about the murder of a police detective's son - and the 20 year journey to bring the killer to justice. Not your summer fare. Definitely Fall award season bait. A script (from a novel) good enough to attract Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman and Michael Kelly and Chiwetel Ejiofor. I'm all in. And a "whore" is someone who gets paid for sex. Not for writing a great script and putting on a designer tux for one night in February.

Cherie Grant

Michael I'm not being harsh just blunt. There is a difference. He admits it himself. He talks about dreaming of fame and fortune. He says it. Now that's all good and well, but I don't see how that can be inspirational to a writer. I don't see why people here are inspired by him. There's nothing to be inspired by. He hasn't made it. People on this forum are so easily impressed.

Ken Foley

Cherie, you're not being harsh or blunt, just STUPID and IGNORANT. Billy Ray HAS "made it." tTe fact that you don't even know who he is speaks volumes. Enough projection already! Try actually reading the article next time. As for Billy, here's his IMDB profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0712753/

Michael Eddy

Thanks Ken, I was trying to be measured and logical with Cherie - but I can see I'm wasting my breath. If Mr. Ray "hasn't made it" in Ms. Grant's opinion - she is entitled to same - but as you said - she is way wrong. If he hasn't made it - by any logical yardstick - I have no idea how incredibly high the bar must be set in Cherie's universe. And I disagree with her comment about people on this forum being "easily impressed". I think we're capable of wading through the BS and spotting actual gold when we see it. I've been doing this a while and trust me - I'm as jaded as they come - and most certainly not impressed most of the time. Mr. Ray's career and talent impress me. Ms. Grant's undercooked commentary does not.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

Hasn't made it? lol. In comparison to who? All of his movies came out in theaters. This guy wrote freaking Hunger Games and Captain Phillips. There isn't a single person on this website that hasn't heard of these two films, and it's kind of embarrassing that we're even talking about this. His others films were great too. I thought Shattered Glass was excellently written, and I didn't even know he wrote that until I just IMDB'd him. Please elaborate, Cherie.

Ken Foley

Hi Michael, My apologies. I was so flabbergasted at Cherie's replay that I hadn't noticed your original reply to her until after I wrote mine. Admittedly, I'm a bit biased because I've been following Mr. Ray's career for over a decade and know people who've worked with him, but I really couldn't believe what I'd read. I'm all for everyone having their own opinion but this just seemed like an attack to me. Your last sentence echoes my sentiment.

Michael Eddy

Ken - all good. We're obviously singing in each other's choir on this one.

Cherie Grant

Oh for god's sake get over yourselves. So I don't find this guy inspirational. You do. Great, fluffy kittens and moonbeams for you. Why are you so bothered by my comments? Why do you feel you have to correct me and make me think your way? Who do you guys think you are? I disagree with you all. I stated so. That was all there was to it. Now you've made some ENORMOUS BIG deal like I've said something horrible. Like I made some racist slur or affiliated myself with the Nazis. I haven't. I DISAGREE WITH YOU. I do believe I am allowed to. Honestly, get some perspective.

Michael Eddy

Cherie - you are indeed entitled to your opinion - and the right to express it here - and no one is calling you a racist or a Nazi lover. Now it begins to be you who doth protest too much. What's cool about Stage 32 is people can post threads asking questions or making comments - and get replies to same - on both sides of (or straddling) the fence. But when you post a reply - you know (or should assume) going in - that some will "heart" your comment - and others will take exception to it. And some will ignore it totally. It might be you who needs to get over yourself in this particular case. You didn't merely say this guy (Billy Ray) was NOT inspirational to you - he doesn't have to be - I'm sure he wouldn't take umbrage. But you went much farther than that in saying that "he hasn't 'made it'", "he's a fame whore and not a writer" and that others on this thread were "easily impressed" with what he's accomplished as a writer - all of which - in my opinion - you should have realized would engender some rather heated replies. Feel free to disagree with other posters here. As we feel free to disagree with you. Clearly, your mind will not be changed - and that was not my intention. I commented only to say that - in MY opinion - you missed the mark by a country mile. You seem to be the one lacking perspective here - and what's more - you lack a thick skin. And that's dangerous. As a writer - if that's what you aspire to be - I suggest you grow one in a hurry. Because if you can get so bent out of shape by some of the heartfelt replies you've received to your comments on this thread - I fear for your reaction if you ever get in a room with some clueless studio execs and have to listen to their notes and idiotic comments shredding one of your screenplays. If you can't stand the heat here - I'd suggest going to your fallback position for what you want to do for as living.

Eoin O'Sullivan

Guys - please remember to have some respect for others. Making a point is one thing, but expletives and foul language, don't belong in debates, they just create unnecessary tension.

William Joseph Hill

Indeed, Eoin is right. I had no idea that my little post would spark such a debate. What inspired me to post it was the admonition to go back to the way movies used to be made -- from a great idea, and not some consumer product tie-in mashup. The studios used to be about telling great stories, not capturing market share & "branding". You need to nurture your ideas and have those be the thing that keeps you going.

Jorge J Prieto

Thanks, William and Steven. Story is what we can forget. There's such a huge lack of story in today's features. I'll say it again, thanks heaven for Indies.

Heike Henke

Thank you for sharing, William... Kind regards Heike

Michael Eddy

William - The old studios used to run by execs who READ. That's why you had movies made from Dickens and "Gone With The Wind" and "Rebecca" by DuMaurier and so many other classic tales from novels. And most of the studios were run by immigrants, for many of whom - English was a second language. But they understood a good story. Nowadays - the studios don't read. I'm not sure they know how - which is why they hire "readers" to do the heavy lifting for them. They claim to want originality - but all they green light are remakes and sequels. They make movies based on what topped the box office the weekend before or what comic books their kids are reading instead of sharing dinner table conversation. Sad state of affairs.

Michael Eddy

Steven - you're right, but an even sadder state of affairs is that many of the indies have been swallowed up by the majors - and then shut down - so it's even more difficult now to go that route. Small movies pose an inherently smaller risk based on their budgets - but if you can't get them on a screen - or your only avenue is to hope you're seen and picked up at a film festival (and getting it INTO a festival is no picnic) and then you're lucky enough to get buzz and get a studio buyer - who overestimates the market and over pays and loses their investment ("Me and Earl and The Dying Girl" for example) - they all get gun shy the next cycle - and it gets even worse. The movies need to straighten out their act and rein in these crazy budgets (where the money doesn't show up on the screen) - or cable TV and Netflix and Amazon and HBO etc. are going to continue to kick their ass.

Michael Eddy

Steven - quite an interesting pedigree (I went back to peruse your profile page. Eclectic group of Desert Island movies as well..a Star Trek fan I see...). Indie is a good way to go. If you've written the type of film that fits that description and budget - probably the best way to go. I wish you all the luck. And the next time I watch a Woody Allen movie - I'll pay more attention and look for your uncle. I'm sure I've already seen him without knowing it.

Michael Eddy

Steven - "Joey Nickels"!! Holy crap. I absolutely remember that part and can picture your uncle with the coins and saying his name. That's great. "Annie Hall" is a gem. I think my favorite line from "Radio Days" is "I'm gonna take the gas". Amongst others. The house under the roller coaster. Cherse. As for Star Trek - I watched the original series - was never a huge fan, but amongst the films - I'd say my two favorites were Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and VI: The Undiscovered Country. watching Christopher Plummer spout Shakespeare as a Klingon was a classic. I loved the opening sequence (the murders) and the closing credits - with all the original cast members signing there names. Nicely done.

Juels Vaughn

Thanks Michael - just what I needed today.

Michael Eddy

Juels - not sure what you're referring to - but you're welcome?

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