Screenwriting : Visions can be a pain in the ass by Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Visions can be a pain in the ass

This week, I just pitched to a director for a subject that I’m very familiar with and I sent him a sample of my work. He liked it and emailed me another writer’s unfinished script. He also sent pages of notes and clips of interviews he considered essential to fulfilling his vision. This person has a very specific idea of this vision in his mind. The problem I predict is articulating the director’s philosophical ideas into an entertaining screenplay. Fortunately, I have experience with this very situation and it will be a polite pass for me. I won’t work on anything where the producer/director is so heavily involved in developing the screenplay. My experience with this has been all bad. I'm not talking about suggesting ideas or script notes. I'm talking about micromanaging the screenwriter.

What’s been your experience?

Doug Nelson

As a Director, I have certain storylines in mind based on my own concepts and philosophies. That guides my vision and if I feel so strongly about it - I'll write it. Directors and Writers must always respect each other's (and everybody else) viewpoint in the making of a film. Writers who try to direct the Director are just as unwelcome as Directors who try to dictate what Writers must write. Making a film requires the combined efforts of multiple talented and visionary folk. To be successful in the end product, no one person should micromanage anyone else.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Doug

I've worked with a producers and a director that have been way too involved in the writing process. This person is way beyond that. I don't mind give and take but you have to let the writer write and be creative.

Natasha Powell

I had a similar situation with a producer. I was helping her flush out a vision, brainstorming different arcs and no matter how much work I put in, she ultimately used her own ideas. It gave me the feeling, "So what am I here for?" Those types of situations can be detrimental to your self esteem

Phil Parker

When a producer or director comes to me with materials they've already developed, and the concept clearly needs reworking, I always ask how much leeway I have to make changes. A discussion/negotiation usually ensues, and I make my final judgment on whether to accept or not based on that.

Even if you have some leeway, though, you can still end up with a well-written script based on a so-so concept. That's the screenwriting life.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Natasha:

I totally get it. I had a director rewrite most of the script that I wrote for him. My version was much better and the film never got made. I wrote three drafts and it turned out to be a colossal waste of time. I've had several similar experiences.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Phil:

Good point. I'm looking at another rewrite for an overseas production. I just received the script tonight.

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