Screenwriting : In your experience as a screenwriter... by Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

In your experience as a screenwriter...

In your experience as a screenwriter, what have you discovered is BS?

Pamela Bolinder

I'm not going there, Phillip "The Man Who Can'" Hardy. Smile

Willem Lodewijk Elzenga

What one would call BS, is what another could call art. There's no format for writing a good script, I don't get people that decide on work without reading it.

Doug Nelson

What have I discovered about the screenwriting profession is that most/nearly all the training/schoolin' is deeply marinated in BS and it never fails to amaze me when I see the long line of lambs clambering to get into the slaughterhouse.

Bill Costantini

Doug: Have you ever heard of USC, NYU, UCLS, AFI, NU, Columbia, Brown, U of Iowa, Emory, Colorado College, Loyola Marymount, Chapman U, Wesleyan, Stanford, DePaul? Or the Stage32 script services/seminars/blogs offered here? Do you find most/all of these to fit into your BS Marinade narrative?

And my apologies to the alumnus of all of the great schools...and the great writing and film programs....that I left out. Those were the ones that I could just riff off the top of my head.

Pamela Bolinder

Doug Nelson: An amazing writer usually comes from out of nowhere among the clambering (good word) lambs. I get you. You do not like to see all the many hopefuls—knowing they will not get their script to screen/dream realized. You have taught screenwriting classes, right? What do you mean by "most/nearly all the training/schoolin' is deeply marinated in BS."?

Doug Nelson

Bill, you're certainly entitled to your pov. You've spent 50 years in politics and cooking which probitaly shade your viewpoint on screenwriting programs some. My pov comes from 51 years (I did the math) in and around the film industry.

Pamela, what I mean by 'most/nearly all' includes the vast majority of the programs that I've witnessed over the years - it does not mean all or every one - there are a few very fine programs out there.

Bill Costantini

Doug: There is nothing "shaded" about my views. My optics are very clear. I'm not the guy who slammed an educational system - you did that, Doug.

So I would appreciate if you can specifically tell us what you specifically know about any of the programs that i listed above...and specifically tell me how they are "deeply marinated in BS'. Start with any one of them Share with us, please, the specific and deep bullshit marinades that you are so familiar with, and that I seem to have missed in my years on this planet.

Pamela Bolinder

Just curious, Phillip "The Man Who Can'" Hardy, since you posted the question, how would YOU answer it?

Doug Nelson

Bill, it's not my objective , need or desire to engage in a pissing match with the likes of you but I will tell you that I'm familiar with the 'Film Studies' of most of the Universities here in Oregon and I've seen some of the recent 'offerings' from Washington, Utah, Colorado and a few Universities/Colleges in California. They nearly all adhere to the traditional 3 act linear storyline made so popular by Syd Field and Blake Snyder (yes I did know Blake & we discussed it). Syd Field has even said that his paradigm is to limited in scope. I have seen some extremely amateurish scripts and films come from UCLA (and no, naming names would be rude & in bad taste.) Conversely, I've seen some truly fime scripts and films from the Fullsail program - so there are a few good ones among the crowd.

Hopefully you understand why I denied both of your network invitations. Forgive me, but I got stuff to do.

Bill Costantini

Doug: next time you make a wrong sweeping blanket statement that vilifies the educational system offered to writing/film students...I'll be asking you to clarify it again. And the time after that, too.

Tony S.

What's BS? The braying of nihilistic donkeys.

Eric Christopherson

That a character arc is always required.

Dan MaxXx

the number one BS advice is “write what you know.” Don’t.

Craig D Griffiths

Can you explain what you mean Dan. The assumption would be to write what you don’t know?

Hi Doug, I normally avoid these type of conversations. But I think you are half correct. Big film schools can put you in a community you can grow with. But they are not compulsory.

The greatest sellers of BS are the people that support and profit from the fear that exists in amateur writers. Listen to the WGA Awards from 2016. The ceremony finishes with the host thanking the audience, then he says the auditorium is next going to be used by John Truby to teach screenwriting. The room erupts into laughter.

Anyone that starts with “Hollywood wants...” or “You have too...” is normally full of shit.

Craig D Griffiths

Oh yeah. Don’t put camera, shots or anything that isn’t just writing, your script will be thrown across the room.

I know the difference between INT NIGHT and EXT NIGHT on budget and shot times.

When I put a shot in I am letting the director know that everything in my work I have thought through. I am letting them know I have their back. I am not putting something down that will make life hard for them.

Just like a novel, they will take my work and adapt it to their vision. But everything I give them is thought through and possible.

Phil Parker

Craig D Griffiths - there are a gagillion examples of movies (good and bad) written by screenwriters who "wrote what they knew", but I think Dan MaxXx is referring to a newbies misinterpretation of what that phrase actually means. "Write what you know" is really a missive that's encouraging writers to write 'emotions' that they know, not experiences. We should take our understanding of the nuances of those emotions and imbue a great concept with them.

Dan MaxXx

A. S. Templeton Curious, have you ever made a movie, short or feature?

Karen LaMantia

My rule of thumb, hero , heroine or villain, do I want to spend time with these people? If I'm not interested (every page, every line) why would anyone else be? Since it doesn't really matter much what they do, after that, why not have them do something positive, kind, generous and have them overcome real world and perhaps world-threatening problems? That's how you get a comedy about prisons or an exciting adventure about saving our Planet. Have fun with it. Oh, yeh...and give the actors something worth saying, when they speak.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Billy Bob Costantini:

I couldn't be more proud of you today.

Folks, for a limited time only, I'll be making this available very soon for the two-bottle intro price of only $9.99. Don't wait! Order and repel bullshit right away!

Dan Guardino

I discovered this entire industry is built on BS.

Tracy Lea Carnes

High powered agents.

Martina Cook

“Learn to write a screenplay in 30 days”

Brian Shell

Being that my initials are BS, eyes brown, and that I'm very full of myself...

Ana Ingham

So, what to do?

Bryn Chamberlain

I concur with CJ; a success in screenwriting is similar to winning the lottery. Problem is, I don't buy lottery tickets and I'm not that lucky.

Bill Costantini's troubling when people make sweeping blanket statements against an industry or a business, .and especially the entertainment industry, and are so blatantly wrong.

So when people slam "the industry", or say things like "movies suck", or "Hollywood sucks", or "don't pay reputable script consultants", or "contests suck", or "the educational system for writers sucks" or "the Success stories of AFF are borderline embarrassing" or "paying to pitch sucks" or "producers suck", that's troubling, because those people have no idea what they are talking about.

And to try to turn the tables when they are called out on those statements, and feign offense, and further evade the truths? Wow. Some critical thinkers they are. Egos are bigger than brains at times, and they should know better.

So maybe my optics are based more in practical history, and objective analysis, and their optics aren't. Which brings me to a quote that I have on my wall, and that I've been carrying a copy around in my wallet since I was a teen, the "Man in the Arena" quote by Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Ana Ingham

CJ Walley, What you are saying sounds too bleak and somehow true. I wish every good screenwriter had plenty of money to produce, post-produce and distribute straightaway.

Bryn Chamberlain

Well said Bill; writers must have some sweat in the game. But you must recognize that an entire cottage industry has sprouted up fertilized by aspiring writers. And there are indeed a lot of charlatan contests, services and 'producers' out there. For those that aspire, its prudent to temper your goals and while an investment in script services may coddle the ego, remember also there's unscrupulous characters wanting only to make a buck.

Ingrid Goldberg

The true bully is one who justifies himself for his bullying. Oh no! I guess I will now be attacked! That's okay. This scarred soul has been hit by the best and still maintains a sense of dignity.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Ah hell! if everyone agreed we'd have a boring world filled with automatons. In the immortal words of Dave Mason: "There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy; there's only you and me (and maybe CJ) and we just disagree." I'm posting these threads so folks can express their frustrations and learn from our shared experiences. It's like Lumpy Gravy said at Woodstock: "We're all feedin' each other." Remember, I love all y'all.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Damn, the Teddy Roosevelt could write a helluva quote. At the end of the day, I'll never be accused of being a timid soul. My epitaph will read" "This guy did so much shit in his life there's not enough room on his tombstone."

Tony S.

Wasn't the MC at Woodstock Wavy Gravy? Maybe you're getting him confused with an upcoming Thanksgiving meal.

Doug Nelson

What could/should have been an educational & inspirational thread driven right into the ground... So sad, so pointless.

Tony S.

And thus the OP is answered.

Karen LaMantia

May it rest in peace.

Darjan A4

Hey, yo. Buy my new book on screenwriting with guarantee producing in one of major studios by your choice. It's called "Writing from outside in", based on 3756 seen movies and analyzed scripts (till day).

Start with fresh but familiar enough idea, add some conflict with high enough stakes that light peoples attention bulbs and raise few questions on the final outcome.

Spice it with emotional/inspirational themes most of us can connect instantly.

Create one of a kind believable characters, challenging enough for tickets selling actors.

Write as many scenes we never seen before on screen to attract masters of directing

Split story in two halvesSplit story in three acts

Split second act in two Split halves in three stages each so you can get six of them in total

Split every stage in two and create 12 sequences

Now you have 25 to 30 plot points, including opening and final image

Think of at least three story lines

Start with "C" (underneath one/synthesis) first

Continue with "A" (main one/thesis)

Add "B* story (anti-thesis)

Write vividly, be there, hear it, feel it, lives it (read opening scene from Whiplash)

Wow, wrong turn, sorry ...

Keep the money, just send me your Oscars

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Tony S; That's hysterical! You're right. It was Wavy Gravy. This guy in the photo. Boy do we need more guys like him today.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy


With all due respect, one gent saying something is dead doesn't make it dead. One man's education is another man's rubbish and you may quote me on that. Additionally, I posted a good open-ended question to allow folks to vent; because anyone that tells you they haven't encountered BS in this field of ours is not out there in hustling their wares in earnest. Go in peace sir and I'm please to have had this positive exchange of ideas with you.

Tony S.

Let's all goose step behind the self-proclaimed S32 Illuminati so we can march to enlightenment.

And watch out for the brown acid.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Tony S:

I used to listen to the Woodstock album a lot back in the day. I remember the brown acid talk. Almost hilarious today. Here's the clip for that:

Who are these so Illuminati so that I may worship them?

Tony S.

Scroll up to the loudest, repetitive BS.

But what do I know? "I'm just a farmer."

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Tony S.

I'm a farmer too. I don't know how to talk to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this...

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

I scrolled but I'm stumped. A lot of BS flying. Heh-heh. I'll keep my guess to myself.

David E. Gates

"In your experience as a screenwriter, what have you discovered is BS?" - Virtually everything that everyone tells you. LOL.

Pamela Bolinder

David, I disagree. Usage of the word "everything" is a pendulum swing! I know that there are sincere people and posts here on Stage 32!

Tony S.

Even better, bullshitters have bullshitted themselves into thinking their bullshit intentions of calling bullshit on bullshitters whose bullshit might be righteous is bullshit.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Reading Tony's last post and my eyeballs are spinning. Should be quoted for years to come.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In