Screenwriting : The Screenwriter's Frustration by Doug Nelson

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Doug Nelson

The Screenwriter's Frustration

Perhaps more aptly titled the Screenwriter’s Lament. I’ve read many a thread here on the Stage 32 forum that center on the difficulties and frustrations of screenwriting to the point that some (quite a few) are ready to throw in the towel. So let’s look at this screenwriting under the harsh light of the truth – the unvarnished truth with no politically correct chaser. (Yes, I know that a lot of us can’t handle the truth.) Screenwriting is one of hardest forms of writing there is. What makes you think you can do this? Why do you want to do this? Let’s start with the “why” first. The world is full of people (like myself) who are too lazy to work and too nervous to steal. After all, screenwriters are rich, attend all the swanky parties, and hang out with all the beautiful people and drive expensive cars. Sounds good to me – easy; I get to hang out in my PJ’s all day and peck away at my computer all day until I’m rich & famous. The cold hard truth is that fantasy just ain’t so. If you believe that myth, you’ll be nothing but road kill along life’s highway. There is no shame in not being a screenwriter. Maybe you’re better suited to be an Accountant, Barber, Chef, Dentist, Engineer….Lawyer (okay, a little shame there). My advice is not to delude yourself wasting your talent on something that just ain’t right for you. What makes you think you can become a screenwriter? Do you ooze natural creativity? Very few of us do. We’re all born with some creativity (watch little kids at play) but frankly, by the time we’ve made it through the sixth grade, most of it has been beaten out of us. As out adult lives come into focus, most of understand that we have to earn a living and we must deal with the day-to-day responsibilities – time becomes scarce to take up such a daunting undertaking (we all get the same 24 hours a day). Are you truly dedicated to carving out a block of time to pursue such a failure prone task? The point is, screenwriting is not an easy path to follow. Have a little heart to heart chat with yourself and remember to be forthright and truthful.

Dan Guardino

I am not sure why you would post such a negative message here.

Anthony Moore

Interesting, but there is always someone who would benefit from throwing in the towel but will never take heed and someone who should continue to work but may just give up. I've conversed with those who have no talent but are too stubborn or short sighted to give up. I've talked with those who write beautifully but are too fearful or fragile to make things happen after just one rejection. Screenwriting is like singing, some have the voice and some don't. Some can learn to be better, some have a tin ear. My point being - As long as you're not hurting yourself or anyone else, it doesn't matter if you sing, even if its only in the shower.

Bill Costantini

Yikes. I picked the wrong week to quit my quantum physicist job.

Doug Nelson

I fail to see how asking folk to look deep within to discover their personal truth is disrespectful in any way, shape or form nor do I see this as a negative post at all. The truth is simply that some people simply can’t handle the truth. That’s my observation – I don’t state it as fact.

Sue Lange

I love Bill Costantini.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Ummm, sorry, but there really hasn't been very many negative posts from screenwriters on Stage 32 — I know, as a moderator I view every new thread. Plus, we have over 80,000 screenwriters on the site. Sure, some members post about frustrations, ask others how to deal with various issues, but "lament?" Wow, that seems rather hyperbolic to me. Off the top of my head, I can only think of two posters over the past 4 years who were considering 'throwing in the towel' and the community rallied around them to offer support. Your statement about this pursuit being "fantasy" and "to not delude yourself" and to "have a little heart to heart chat with yourself" is rather condescending and preachy, no? We all know the odds and it takes years to hone your craft. The pursuit of screenwriting is a matter of personal choice and personal interest. Some people simply do it for the love of storytelling. And for some, that's enough. :)

LindaAnn Loschiavo

All forms of writing present challenges. I'm a dramatist, poet, fiction writer, reviewer & more. Every day I get both rejections + HAPPY NEWS. Let's keep the atmosphere positive, yes? Happy Valentine's Day! x o

Bill Costantini

The Screenwriter's Lament (with Apologies to T.S. Eliot) Let us go then, you and I, when the story outline is spread out against the floor Like a moviegoer etherized by buttered popcorn; Let us go, from pitch to pitch The muttering rejections Of restless writers in one-night expensive Hollywood hotels And suitcases filled with scripts and structure sheets; Producers that bellow like an endless cacophony Of insidious content It's not familiar, it's too familiar, what else do you have, get out of here now To lead you to an overwhelming question... Oh, do not ask, "Which way is the closest cemetary?" Let us go and make our revisions. In the room the writers come and go Talking of Tarantino. If he can do it so can I, kissing the stars on Hollywood Boulevard.

Dan Guardino

Doug. Since you asked us I feel compelled to ask you the same question. What makes you think you can do this? There is nothing in your Bio that would indicate you are any better at screenwriting than I am.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Bill, I nominate you for the Poet Laureate of Stage 32.

Bill Costantini

Sue and Linda - thank you both. I am just a mere modest mirror of mankind's existence - but better-looking and more quick-witted. Heh-heh.

Doug Nelson

Dan, I really don’t know what makes me think I can do this – actually, I’m not sure I can. I’ve learned during seven decades of my life that there are many things I can’t do for one reason or another. As a young naïve collage kid, I decided to become a race car driver - I set a goal; to become one of the 30 Grand Prix ranked drivers of the world. I worked my heart and soul out at it. I drove formula B for Lotus, TransAm for Alpha and Porsche wanted me to go to Europe. I was always in the money but I never won. I was good but I just wasn’t good enough and Mom wanted me to finish college. I found it a hard truth to swallow, but swallow it I did. I tried skiing – I made it to a B class racer but that was my limit. I went on to a business career and did pretty well with it. Writing came to me as nothing more than a good provocative hobby when I retired and I’m getting pretty good at it – but I’m not the best yet. I may not be a better screenwriter than you – but I’m workin’ on it. My post has nothing to do with good/bad screenwriting; instead it has to do with being honest with yourself. A lot of people find it difficult to face the truth and so they spent an inordinate amount of precious life time traveling along the wrong path.

Dan Guardino

Doug, I always faced the truth. I knew the odds were stacked against me but I also knew if I never gave up I would have some success someday.

Owen Mowatt

I agree with the majority here. The question is moot and I cant understand what fueled it. You might sell your very first script, and STILL be wasting your time. Conversely, you may never sell a script, but have exactly what it takes. You also need incredible luck, be in the right pace at the right time, the right connections, you could catch a break at any time. So I'm not sure at what point you're even supposed to sit down and ask yourself this question.

Dan Guardino

Owen. I agree with you. Lady luck does play a big role so if someone wants to break into the business they have to just keep writing and hope for the best. The statistics aren't good. However those people that do break in usually have quite a few screenplays under their belt before they break in. The reason the statistics do look so bad is because most screenwriters will give up before they have even written the number of script it usually takes. I always shoot for the stars because I might get an eagle but if shoot of an eagle I might end up with a turkey.

Bill Costantini

I think Doug's thoughts were well-intended and not mean-spirited. He's very right in his reflections. I think some of the people that I've met were more starry-eyed than writer types in their quests to become screenwriters. Over time, a lot of those people tend to drop out of the screenwriting pool. I think some just don't really understand the amount of work it takes to get to the level of a master craftsperson, or just don't have the desire, perseverance or creative and analytical abilities to become highly-competent writers. There are certainly many levels one has to ascend in order to become a great-enough writer to draw the interest of film producers and film studios. I think a couple things aspiring scriptsellers have to realize is this: you really have to be a great writer, because you're competing against the best of the best in the world when you're trying to sell a screenplay. And you really have to love writing, because even if you never sell a script over the course of your life, you can't look back with too much disappointment, regrets and anger. You have to be able to look at your works, and be content with the fact that you enjoy your passion of writing; you enjoy the activity of writing; and you enjoy the journeys and accomplishments you reached in writing stories that entertain you and that you'll have for the rest of your life. I feel even worse for aspiring actors and musicians than I do for aspiring scriptsellers. I shared an office with a casting agent. Her typical casting call had around 200 competent and qualified people showing up for one part. The part usually would go to the person who "looked the part" the best - at least in her eyes. Even though the degrees of competency varied somewhat...they were all qualified to do the role, with some more qualified than others....but the part always went to the person who looked the part the best. She struggled with that, as a casting agent, too....just like they all probably do. That's a tough pill to swallow. Competent musicians have it pretty hard in the entertainment business today, too. Many of the compositions you hear in television and film are generated by one person who has a computer program that has every sound known to man recorded and digitized. I saw a lot of competent musicians lose gigs over the last 20 years as a result. That's a tough pill to swallow, too. And the latest program that came out last month costs under $500 and can make you sound like you have a symphony orchestra playing behind you. Crikey. So at least creative writers still aren't losing jobs because we don't "look the part" like some actors experience, and aren't losing potential gigs to sampled sounds on a computer like competent musicians experience. But we are already losiing gigs to computer programs that do a lot of technical writing and reporting. Many websites use auto-generated programs to write the majority of a story's content, too. If you're not paying attention to that, you should be, because that's kinda scary, too. It's probably not too far away in the near future when computers might replace creative writers, too. And then what will we do? Become pantomime artists? How do you say "hey...get off my corner!" in pantomime? Heh-heh.

Sue Lange

True about all that, but there will always be a place for people with a new idea. That is, until AI really does surpass biological intelligence. When that happens we will be in trouble. Somehow we've got to stay one step ahead of The Machine. Good luck with that.

Doug Nelson

It seems that many of you take my observations as mean-spirited but that’s just not so. There isn’t a mean-spirited molecule in my being. My intent is to encourage a conversation – and it looks like I’ve done that. (Screenwriters understand that there’s no story without conflict.) I’ve tried and failed at many things over the decades but I feel no shame – sometimes a little regret that I didn’t push the limit a little more – but certainly no shame. We are often our own worst enemy – doubt, fear and low self esteem sow the seeds of failure and the most important lesson I learned from failing is: Don’t do that again. Many of us scare ourselves out of not trying anything because we may be unsuccessful (remember self doubt). That’s not failure – that’s lack of success. When I attempt something and it doesn’t go well, I study and learn why, then try again. If it still doesn’t work, I tweak the process and try again and again. But there is a point of diminishing returns illuminated by the cold hard light of truth. I see many screenwriters who are up against this wall of frustration who continually bash their brains out trying to do something that just may not be for them. Maybe you are a better Director, Cinematographer, Editor or whatever. There’s no shame in that but there is shame in holding yourself from success doing something that better suits your compression ratio.

Zachary Layner

The "Why" of writing or screenwriting is what I too find missing in some I come across, in that I don't think "because I always wanted to" or "it's fun" or "entertainment success, wealth etc..." are strong enough reasons to last personally or professionally. This is not to say all screenwriters have these as their why, but Doug seems to be pointing out the necessity to be honest with oneself and to truly discover "Why," before getting lost on a fiery path with infinitesimal guarantee. I parted ways with acting after 10 years because my Why was simply not aligned with who I am striving to be, and thus the journey was not even close to being worth it - the best creative decision of my life. If a creative truly starts with "Why" and digs deep, they can gain clarity as to the trajectory best suited for them. Writers find ways to write, just as actors find ways to act. If you can't find ways to do what you love, then you likely love it less than you think and should reconsider pursuing a career in something so difficult to attain. Or do it as a hobby and call it what it is. Just be honest and dig deep and don't fret over the outcome, because your happiness derives from being in it for the journey. I think some are displeased with Doug's tone; his points are valid and worth contemplating - at least from my experience. Write on!

Dan Guardino

I didn’t see it as mean spirited. I think what you said was very discouraging to those screenwriters that are still trying to break in. Nobody knows who will break in or when it might happen if ever. Only about one if 5,000 screenwriters will make any money writing screenplays. A screenwriter that does break in had an average of nine scripts under their belt when they caught their first break. If people are willing to write at least that many screenplays they have a decent chance. So instead of encouraging people they should evaluate themselves and maybe quit I encourage them to keep writing if they enjoy it. I wrote screenplays for a lot of years with no success but I kept going because I enjoyed writing them. If anything turned me off it was bio. If you want to have more success I strongly suggest you change it.

Fiona Faith Ross

Bill? You threw in the towel on the quantum physics? Bad timing, bro. Yesterday they discovered (proved) Einstein's gravitational waves in space/time. Now you won't get your credit on the team. I write because I can, because I love it and it gives me pleasure. I even laugh at my own jokes. There's an admission. My day job is writing - I write web content, which is a whole skill set of its own, quite apart from creative writing. And I'm lucky that I like my day job. I wouldn't change it (except for more of the creative writing or long non-fiction pieces). And I get paid work, regularly, so I can't be that bad.

Bill Costantini

Fiona - I didn't quite "throw it in". Something about the higher-ups being upset that I was running my own side business of shelling walnuts, pecans and almonds in the particle accelerator. Nothing shells hard nuts like a particle accelerator. Kinda nit-picking, if you ask me. But those higher-ups, you know....always gotta be picking nits.....they wouldn't know a quark from a lepton.

Debbie Croysdale

Really loved your thread @Doug. Your a natural wisdom on the Book Of Life, even before you get to the gritty home truth of screenwriting. So true, we are all servants to "time" whatever our walk of life.

Michael L. Burris

I think if we don't do that periodically whether broken in, on-the-verge or even successful there would be something wrong with us. Reality checks are great but I must dream in gold until the point of shattered dreams causing tears of gold falling, coating, thickening my skin so I can take the gold and use it for more stories to be told. Plus in actuality I'm kinda, sorta good at what I do. Besides other than screenwriting, media creation, company building what other activity, work or even hobby supplies one with more knowledge and satisfaction? Reason enough for me.

Dionne Lister

Like anything, I think you do it because you love it. End of story. If you never make it, that's okay if you enjoy doing it. But you always have a chance of making it if you don't throw in the towel. Any creative business is hard to earn a living from, but if you give up, you're guaranteeing you'll never succeed. In the writing business (as with acting, directing etc) you need to have a bucketload of self belief and determination. I write because it feeds my soul, and if I can ever earn a living out of it, yay, if not, I'll still do it and keep the day job :).

Doug Nelson

Victor, you Chef you; excellent food for thought elegantly presented. Thanx

Gordon Milburn

I've rolled the dice, consulted the stars and yes even read the stats. So why? It's all about voice my stories give my voice an avenue to heard. So I'm not produced. Fuck it, I'll make it myself. Watch this space; Frustrated Productions coming soon, Death of a Star.

Jorge J Prieto

I write, because I not only enjoy the process, with no pressure or deadline (except when I took the Stage 32, thirty days write club) I write out and need more powerful than my own and as long as I have story ideas, I will continue to do so, specially now, that fate, destiny or God, has taken away that part of me, which allowed me to travel back and forth to an 8 - 10 hours a day job. Writing has kept sane, now and when I was a bullied, scared teenager.

Lynne Logan

I have to admit, I've thrown the towel in a few times, and always to my regret. As I got older, I vowed never again to give up on something because of discouragement. If I make a conscious decision to go the other way, that's different, but to give up because I'm tired, I'm discouraged, I lack confidence, I don't know how, (you fill in the blank) no, no, no! Here are a few of my thoughts: No part of our journey is ever wasted. There is no promise of safety or reward on our creative journeys. I decided long ago never to be satisfied with a mediocre life. It takes courage to go deeper and to allow my "desire to create" to be larger than my "fear" A door may suddenly open one day -- be prepared. I never want to have the ache in my soul asking myself "what if?" I stopped telling myself "someday" Yes, at some point in our lives, we must ask ourselves "what do I want to do?" Honor the desire within, the passion, and never, ever give up. If you have the passion, but don't know how, you're in the right place at the right time. You can teach yourself just about anything. We writers do what we do for love of the game. To share our ideas. To help others in small and large ways. To express ourselves. To have a voice. And for so many other reasons. But many of us write because we refuse to go to our grave with our song still in us.

Craig D Griffiths

No one on their death regrets trying, they regret not try. Screenwriting his hard because it is a career just like "Accountant, Barber, Chef, Dentist, Engineer….Lawyer" but you can start with no training, so there are thousands giving it a go. Therefore a massive number fail. Plus it is self employment in most cases, which is always hard. I get joy from writing and I hope others get join from what I write. I will not die with regrets. Be happy with your decision to stop. Only stop if it no longer brings you joy. Don't stop because of a lack of success. If you write only to be successful, then find success in something else, that will bring you joy. Never ever stop writing just because your work ever sells. Watch this video, you'll see what effort brings https://youtu.be/nCs4gdt-mPY

Dan Guardino

I write because I tend to get bored and I don't drink.

Doug Nelson

Most of you seem to get it but not quite all. Sad. Just let this thread drift off to obviation. Next week I’ll start another controversial one on why it’s so hard to find an agent.

Sue Lange

Dan, you don't drink? Are you sure you're a writer?

Dan Guardino

Sue. I know I am a minority but when you read my screenplays you'd swear I must've been drunk when I wrote that crap.

Dan Guardino

Doug. Don't feel sad because I didn't get it, because I am very happy the way things are going.

Sue Lange

Doug, does one need to be drunk when one reads them?

Dan Guardino

Sue. If you meant me yes it would help to be drunk when reading them.

Lisa Clemens

I never thought about it until I was asked to give it a try by a friend in the industry. - I had interviewed him for a magazine and after a few years of friendship in which I mentioned writing fiction for fun, he gave me a script to rewrite any way I saw fit. He liked what I did with it, introduced me to someone who had an immediate need for a screenwriter who liked my work enough to keep using me and also suggested me to others. Things are going well. It's going slowly (I think I tried rewriting that first script in 2009) but it's happening. One sold, one produced and my newest script was just funded. I'm waiting for the producer/director to tell me if/when he gets a conformation letter from a fairly well known actor's manager because this actor read the script I wrote and really liked it. So I guess that's what makes me think I can be a screenwriter! (and the fact that an actor I admire likes my script has me pretty damned excited too! )

Lisa Clemens

Oh and the reason it's hard to get an agent? Most agents look for screenwriters who have been produced at least twice (at least that's what I'm told!) and if you become successful, they'll come looking for you. They want to make money too, so if you are not selling, they can't collect!

Doug Nelson

Quit talkin' about agents - we'll go there next week - if I don't get too involved with my show and my film. Happy Valentine's day and you all have a nice weekend.

Jorge J Prieto

Hope never quits, my fellow writers. Quote : What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110% all the time. Don Zimmer.

Jorge J Prieto

Same to you, Doug, buddy, happy Valentines, happy writers! Keep writing!

Jeff White

I don't see this post as being discouraging or negative at all. I think it's intended to be a reality check, which is never a bad thing. As a novice screenwriter, I realize the challenge of this goal. It is an extremely difficult thing to do, working mostly in isolation, trying to create something out of nothing. It's a good thing occasionally to remind yourself to do it for the right reasons, the most important of all being that you love writing. For me, the part of the post that resonated with me is the comment about how we have our creativity beaten out of us. I don't know if I completely agree with that. I don't think it is beaten out of us so much as it is forced into a dormancy of sorts. My goal is to fully tap into that once again, and find the full potential of my creativity. I feel once I do that, my spirit will soar and that will reflect in my writing. Whether I ever sell this screenplay or not won't matter as much as just enjoying what I'm doing to its utmost. From what I see here on Stage 32, I'm not alone in that goal.

Dan Guardino

Victor. You don't have to worry I never post my screenplays anywhere and never will. I don't try and sell them anymore.

Owen Mowatt

Well, the way I see it, this question just encourages procrastination......as if it needed encouraging! It isn't a question you can just throw out into a writing community, with writers at various stages of their career, and have them reflect on it in any meaningful or even helpful way. As writers we all need to find a way to fight the doubt demons, which we ALL have ALL the time, not sit down and reason with them. FUCK THAT! That's why we network in places like this, keep a helpful encouraging book/video handy, stick signs and post it notes to yourself all over the wall, whatever works for you, did I mention drink? I deliberately keep my scribblings going back over ten years. Looking at it now, 95% of it needs to be rewritten, but it shows a journey of how far I've come. Whatever works for you....did I mention drink? Next time you watch a film (a real film not that green screen or CGI garbage), or a TV series, look out for the no-name supporting actors, the ones who've finally been given a chance, and look at the way they shine and stand out, sometimes even better than the star. They've been given this small opportunity, but they're gonna use it to show how much they love and have honed their craft. I appreciate their effort as they are helping other artists in some way to not sit down and reason with doubt.

Jeff White

Great speech, Owen. I found myself clapping at the screen after reading that. And I think . . . I think . . . you mentioned alcohol? ;)

Sue Lange

Very cool, Owen. Any examples of no-name supporting actors whose performance stands out in your mind?

Owen Mowatt

Well, Sue I'm glad you asked. My post was getting a bit long and I couldn't finish with an example. Have any of you heard of, Erik LaRay Harvey? No? It is no surprise that when I went on YouTube and typed in, Dunn Purnsley, his brilliant opening scene from Boardwalk Empire had been posted. I looked up his IMDB profile and he hadn't really done anything until this but read the comments below the video. Look at his discipline, control, pace, change of tone, line delivery, movement, everything is just top notch. The writing is excellent too but you can only dream of finding an actor who can put this much meat on your characters bones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKC5cBR1Tgw

Sue Lange

Owen, good example. Great character. One of those evil creatures you can't get enough of. That is due to the intensity of the actor. Yup. I always loved watching that actor.

Dan Guardino

I see this question just encourages people to give up because screenwriting is too hard. I don’t think screenwriting is that hard. However, I know it takes time and a lot of work but those people that do have some success usually keep writing because they love to write and never gave up hope. My philosophy is shoot for the stars and you might hit an eagle, but if you shoot for an eagle you might end up with a turkey.

Dan Guardino

@ Victor. I don't disagree with that I probably took what Doug was saying the wrong way. However after reading his post I looked up his Bio here on Stage 32 and figured he was already successful and was himself not frustrated. However as you stated the question could have been interpreted a couple of different ways.

Doug Nelson

There are many avenues to success, we each have our own definition of what that success looks like and you’re right to advise setting the bar high. Whatever your goal, try your hardest to reach it (and when you do – push the goal a little higher.) There is no shame in failure – only shame in not learning from your failure. If you’re trying your hardest to be a screenwriter (to your personal characterization of success) and it’s not workin’ for you – cast the light of truth about. Maybe you’re a better director, editor, actor… even a race car driver. The point is to find your own “thing” and strive to be the world’s most foremost authority at it. It’s the journey, not the destination.

Alan Knittel

I think one has to prove to oneself that they are just not good at screenwriting, and go from there. If you think you have a talent to pursue a craft, you need to at least start on the journey to that discovery. Along the way, there will be enough people, QUALIFIED people if you seek them out, to discourage you or encourage you. What a shame, though, if you had the talent and never took the first step. A shame for yourself and perhaps the rest of the world for potentially having missed a unique vision about a topic, expressed eloquently and with great insight. It is amazing that I can express an opinion on this site and be heard above the other 80,000 screenwriters, at least by the few that care to read it. It might be discouraging to KNOW there are that many screenwriters, but I soldier on.

Dan Guardino

Only about one in 4,000 screenwriters will break into the business. Nobody could convince me that the 3,999 didn’t break in didn't because they weren't good enough and the one that did had so much more talented than they were. The reason I am so against telling other people they might not have what it takes is because an Agent once told me I had no talent and I was wasting my time and that I should go do something else. I came very close to throwing in the towel but I decided I loved writing screenplay and was going to keep trying even if I never sold one. Since that time I have sold screenplays, written them for hire, worked as a Staff Writer and a Script Consultant on production scripts. I also made some good friends in the business and I am now focusing on producing films. I know I haven’t exactly set the world on fire but I am glad I didn’t listen to that stupid agent who is no longer in the business. He couldn't make it! LOL! If you really love screenwriting keep doing it no matter what. You can't fail if you never quit.

Sue Lange

Great story, Dan!

Michael L. Burris

So we venture down the avenue always wondering what to the table we will bring in an aspect kind of new. What it is we bring is not of known; seed , that is on display somehow forever ever sprouting and growing .

Debbie Croysdale

Lol. A double entendre!

Michael Wearing

Of course the hardest form of writing is the writing of instructions for flat pack furniture, after all you have to write it so that the company believes their customers will understand them when in fact they won't. On a more serious note, I started to write my Oscar acceptance script immediately after I wrote the end on my first attempt at a feature script. I pretty quickly had a reality check, and am now confident that I can earn a few pennies writing scripts for corporate films, and with any money I make I can put it towards making a short or towards the expenses of getting my feature funded. I'm confident because that's exactly what I am doing. Surely almost all the writers on here do it because they have a story they want to tell, and film seems the right medium. And you need to get that story written so you can start work on the next one.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Doug: I understand your frustration. My circle of friends and associates includes several producers, writers and directors that have all made films; some of them, with major names attached. None of this circle denizens are living in the lap of luxury. This is not to say that they don't pay their bills. However, getting films made is very difficult and never provides a steady income. Several of my friends do other side gigs to help pay the bills. Damn few of us are going to be as successful as David O' Russell, Matthew Weiner or Vince Gilligan. Even if you're blessed to secure a gig as a television writer, your chances of working on a show that makes it past being a pilot are extremely slim. Therefore, if a person doesn't derive tremendous pleasure from the creative process, then writing screenplays as a long term vocation may not be their cup of tea. I've said this often in the forum. I begin by trying to remember screenwriting is an art form. Therefore, I endeavor to create art. And, I seek to tell a compelling story. As a current script contest judge, my experience has been out of a hundred screenplays, ten percent are decent writing. Maybe three out of ten are excellent writing. Many folks write scripts. Few are good storytellers. Writing scripts can produce ample doses of frustration. But it can also produce great moments of satisfaction. Learn to savor those moments. They'll be far fewer than the frustrating ones.

Doug Nelson

Phillip - I second your comment.

Tony S.

Has the Stage 32 Time Machine revved up again?

Stephen Atkinson

There is only one answer here...NEVER GIVE UP! It only takes that one person to believe in you that could be tomorrow or ten years from now but if you believe anything is possible it will happen so in a nutshell never give up.

Stephen Atkinson

LOL Tony I just came across this conversation and realized it was from 3 years ago but it was a good conversation then and still is :)

Tony S.

Step into the TARDIS, Stephen Atkinson

Stephen Atkinson

LMAO

Stephen Atkinson

That's thanks to Tony I was struggling with that one :)

Tony S.

Thanks for the attribution.

Jim Boston

Doug, thanks for posting this!

I'm in this because, despite the fact that it's one of the hardest forms of writing around (and one of the hardest professions to break into on this planet), I find myself smiling when I'm banging a screenplay out on my computer.

I find myself having fun. (Okay...I find myself having FUN!)

At the plastics factory where I work, I've got to constantly deal with injection-molding machines that either flat-out don't work correctly or, when they actually run, can't produce decent parts.

It's enough to destroy not only a machine operator's morale, but also that of the shift supervisor who's got to go back, go back, and go back to fix said machine and get it back up and running.

And where I actually earn my paychecks, so much of this- constant machine failure- is beyond my control or that of a supervisor. (When company leaders won't put real money into equipment, it's a piece of you-know-what.)

But when I'm writing, I'm in control. (Well...I like to think so!)

You're telling the truth about screenwriting as NOT being an easy path to follow...and I'm reminded of what Tom Hanks told Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own:" "If it were easy, everybody would be doing it."

But I'm sticking with it because I enjoy creating.

I really enjoy your posts...thanks for all you contribute! All the very best to you!

Doug Nelson

I'm honored that someone has resurrected an old zombie post - but please let it RIP.

Tony S.

Not resurrected by anyone, a zombie rising from the grave on its own.

Imo Wimana Chadband

Tony S. A resilient one for sure. I'm scrolling through the lounge, and I see a post from Doug. I said oh dang I haven't seen Doug posted personally since I've been here, this must be worth wild...Checked the time stamp -_- Stage32 played me lol

Tony S.

A glitch that occurs once and awhile when an old post just pops up.

Beth Fox Heisinger

No, someone brought it forward into trending. If you wish it not to show on your profile feed then “unsubscribe.”

Tony S.

Oh, that's what was happening last December when this was happening constantly for a week or two.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Tony, a member brought up this thread. What happened in December has nothing to do with this thread. Moving on...

Pamela Bolinder

Good post, Doug! It also served as a great catharsis. I love reading everyone's feelings! Writers' do not often share because most (outside of the writer's circle) will not get it. Dan and Bill, you are both funny as hell! What a wonderful bunch of creatives!

Pamela Bolinder

*I know it's an old thread. Still, it's a good read! =)

Tony S.

Oh, I didn't see anyone bring it up. I just appeared, liked in December. Confusing.

Pamela Bolinder

Tony, someone clicked on "like" making it hard to know WHO brought it forward. In this instance, I'm glad they did!

Stephen Atkinson

Sorry guys my fault I didn't see how long ago the post was until after I responded :(

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