Screenwriting : Welcome back. (advice for writers that are also intellectuals) by Miguel Guzman

Welcome back. (advice for writers that are also intellectuals)

Whew. Wow. Huzzah. Happy belated 2016! Who the hell am I? A nobody (for now). I have returned from sabbatical. A sabbatical from film, specifically from screenwriting. I'd grown weary and fed up from my lack of traction -- soberingly self inflicted. I'm tired. I have that day job that I'm sure you have. The one that you despise. The one you secretly want to one day spit on once you've made something of yourself. You write and write and you submit and submit. Nary a response. Too timid and shy to put on the big boy pants and dare make a phone call. Too scared. Too fearful. What is film? Think about it. What is it? Where does film stand among literature and the other arts? On the surface it seems like the most juvenile of the arts. Your eyes and ears are enslaved and your thoughts are framed. Oh? But theres a story? Oh? There might be a theme? But there's that rigid structure. And theres that genre. You can't do this and you can't do that if you want to make money. You can't be a nobody pretending to be a somebody and do whatever you want. So I took the dive into the world of literature -- as already have had an education on the subject matter and have been a voracious reader for years. I wrote two novels (unpublished of course) and flaunted that the visual arts will always be inferior to tradition of the written ones. My beef with film rang true but is elitist and pretentious: People that wrote books were smarter and more cultured than people that made movies. My book is MY book. I can do whatever I want. No oily producers. No faux pretentious directors. No clueless actors. I was done with film. I was done with L.A.. Off to NorCal with all the other smart people like me. Then an opportunity arose to write a script for friend who wants to take that final Hollywood crack and produce an indie comedy. I was still bitter about my earlier failures, but my friend was a fan of my work. I wrote and wrote and submitted it. My friend was floored. "It's fantastic!" "You did it" "You're a good writer!" "You're a REAL writer." He hopes to get it made. I hope he gets it made. Creativity appreciated. It wasn't my big break. It wasn't a huge payday. But it was a step in the right direction. A direction I really think I should have taken in my earlier years as I was just trying to figure out what kind of artist I really am. So if you are a writer, and I mean REALLY REALLY are a writer here are some sobering lessons while I dangled between disciplines (and still somewhat do): *WRITE A NOVEL(LA). But you want to write movies? But you're probably a pretentious prick that will probably butt heads with another pretentious prick (the director) or the idiot (the producer). But when you write that novel, even with no intention of having it published, you've proved to yourself that you don't need anyone to tell your story. You can do it on your own -- no prob. Surely writing this little blueprint for other people to follow and fuck up is not that big of an issue to you anymore which will lead you to... *FILM IS A COLLABORATIVE MEDIUM. Collaborative meaning people. But you know most people are stupid. You know most people aren't educated the way you were. You know most people won't get the literary and intertextual references or the edgy political commentary. You're job is not to educate people -- it's to get a movie made. And as important as you think you are -- the director will always be more important. They're making the damn thing and once production starts you should pretty much be done creatively (and be working on the next script). I know it seems unfair. You read War and Peace. You wrote a million things. The director just cares about F-stops and trying to look cool. You are the real genius. But let it go! Remember! THE GOAL IS TO GET THE FILM MADE. *GOOD WRITING IS NOT IN SCREENPLAYS. Argue with me all you want but no one goes to Barnes and Noble to buy a screenplay that was on the New York Times best seller list. It's a blueprint with a rigid and informal structure (but structure nonetheless). Which leaves me to the next point about experimentation: *THE ONLY LITERARY ASPECT OF A SCREENPLAY IS THE DIALOGUE. Hey MacArthur Genius Berkley literary PhD! Now's your time to shine! What's good dialogue? Never stating the obvious! "Shaq's tall." No! "Shaq ducks when he enters the room!" This is where are your intertextual literary wordplay, foreshadowing, and smart and unique word choices can be clever and can also work! You can truly have fun curving around what you want to be said and what you want to portray. Dialogue: your only truly literary device. What? You want to fuck around with structure and plot? That's your literary modus operandi? Seems like its going to make things really complicated! Perhaps maybe too complicated for the restraints of a reasonable movie -- maybe it would work in your novel. No? You're too fucking smart and talented? Cool. *THE MORE WRITERS THE BETTER (to a point). My weakest argument, but there are so many Writer/Directors that think they are the absolute shit and all they produce is flashy garbage without any sentience of plot or character development they end up ruining their own movies. Intelligent arguments and disagreements over a screenplay between intelligent people will make the movie better. Having to explain your creative decision making and getting creative feedback just makes you a better writer. There is probably a point where too many cooks will spoil the broth -- but that broth still needs a few cooks to begin with. In closing I am a writer. First and foremost. I got lost in a cynical pretentious world of thinking that I am 'le shit' without ever actually really doing anything. But now I am. And I can only imagine the struggling writers out there with so much creative angst against a world and a city that will never understand or grasp their intellectual vision. It took me awhile to reach this conclusion because like most people I wanted to do almost everything. But you cant do everything, especially when you realize how much you loathe and dislike people and how much you think everyone around you is not as smart as you. Directors and producers are talented in their own way and for the most part are far more social creatures than you are. You are just too smart and too cool for the masses and when you cringe when you see that awful indie rom-com made by the guy that wears plaid pants and a scarf with the beard that cruises the bars off Vermont in Los Feliz that probably got all their money from their parents (so they can afford to live there and live like that) you will know that you truly are a writer and truly will always be misunderstood. -migs

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

You said it, brutha. The only thing I might add, is that that collaboration with real people, seeing your 'baby' get made into something you hadn't intended, can be (might not be, but can be) a very enlightening and fun experience. You know, they might make it into something even BETTER than what you'd intended. The hyper-dynamically collaborative nature of film is what makes it so different from all other literary forms. I'm not speaking from experience here (I'm undiscovered too), but I have had a short story turned into a one act stage play. The actress ended up being in a wheel-chair, and the 'scare crow' was an actor on stilts! I had never imagined it that way; they took it to a place that was so much more dynamic than anything I'd expected. So, with film being 'hyper-dynamically collaborative' (so many people doing so many jobs and music and lighting and costume and oh my goodness)....there's room for your story to become multi-layered in ways the spec screenplay just laid a foundation for. Hopefully your spec's foundation is strong enough that it doesn't get re-written into oblivion (or idiocy) by Hollywood hacks. So, Migs, thanks for voicing the way I feel. Does the end justify the means? I think 'Means' (the act of writing) is justification enough, but 'ends' (getting a film made) would be awfully satisfying. I hope we all get there!

Dan Guardino

I'm not an intellectual so I think I will stick to writing screenplays.

Pierre Langenegger

That was really long to try to get through and I lost patience and gave up in the end. What's the gist? Are you putting yourself above everyone else?

Bill Costantini

Wowza. Sometimes intellectuals can even out-dumb themselves. Even the great literary theorist Roland Barthes forgot to look while crossing a street one day and was crushed by a laundry van. The great writer Sherwood Anderson forgot to check his martini olive for the piece of toothpick that ultimately led to his death by peritonitis. And revered mathematician/philosopher genius Kurt Godel - father of The Incompletemess Theorems - was so incomplete that he thought people were trying to poison him, and would only eat food that was prepared by his wife. When she was hospitalized for a long time, Mr. G didn't eat and eventually died. These are all true stories. I only write true stories, even when I make them up. My advice to you, Migs, is this: watch out for those laundry vans; make sure there are no itty-bitty pieces of toothpick in your martini olives; and nobody is trying to poison you.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Bill: I hate that... you know, being crushed by a van. A saw a pretty girl in downtown Austin reading her smart phone with her head down, while crossing the street. That's probably not a good idea; but I digress. The girl was headed to Whole Foods I think. Have you been there? The one on Lamar is big!

D Marcus

I guess I'm not much of an intellectual. I didn't understand most of your advice, Miguel. Perhaps it was over my head.

Bill Costantini

Phillip - I love Roland Barthes, but yeah....he shoulda been looking. My uncle Vinnie Three-Fingers shoulda been looking, too, but, alas, he wasn't when he suffocated after getting his head stuck in the Economy Size can of Van de Kamps pork and beans. And he was a genius, too - he could fix horse races with the best of them. Pure genius - how many people could convince a horse to lay up in the home stretch? Not many. And I always warned him about suffocating in those big cans. I think he had a secret death wish. Don't get me started on some of those people with the smart phones with their heads down while crossing streets. But I think I'm on the way to curing that. My new smart phone app (JumpDumbAss!) might save a lot of lives, but I'm encountering some resistance from different municipal unions who are getting a lot of overtime from the cleanups on city streets across America, and who want to keep things the way they are. I feel like Dr. Stockmann in An Enemy of the People. I shoulda thought about that before I started, I must admit. I actually love Whole Foods. When I put on my beggar clothes, I can pick up a few hundred bucks in front of a Whole Foods store faster than a Madison Avenue attorney. I also broke my olive-eating record last week in the store down the block. Mmmmmm.....olives. The perfect food, and especially when they're as free as an eagle. Thanks for the set-ups, as usual....and don't forget our stand-up gig at the Potawatami Bingo Parlor in South Dakota this weekend! Twenty games....a minute between each game....that's 18 minutes for us. We're gonna wampum!

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Bill I can always count on you to get me back on point. I never knew you could fix horses. When they're broken in Texas, we usually shoot them and grind them up for horse meat, which is mighty good eating. Speaking of Van De Kamps, you ever try them fish fillets? My mom used to serve them with Morton's frozen macaroni. I only wish she had cooked it. I knew Dr. Stockmann; but I could argue he was really a friend to the folks around Burnett County. He used to have a practice on 9th street. Well, it was really more of a storefront office, where he dispensed Valium (commonly known as (die easy Pam). My uncle Wallace got a lude from him and wore it on a necklace. He said it was big medicine. And it was, as it was 5 centimeters tall. Speaking of intellectuals: "“Descartes walks into a bar and the bartender asks him what he wants to drink. Descartes says ‘hmmm, I don’t know’ and vanishes in a puff of logic.” I like your Whole Foods scam. Way better than mine. I usually go in at lunchtime and eat my fill of free samples of cheese and then walk over to the nut section where I eat cashews, toffee nuts and pecans without paying for them. They just got Trader Joe's in Austin and I shop there instead. It's way cheaper. Here is my favorite quote from Roland Barthes: "The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition... always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning." By the way, who was he?

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

@Patricia: Here you go. These are new.

Bill Costantini

Phillip - "on point?" "on point?" Let's remember who does the aiming, and who does the banging. Don't forget our Tracy-Hepburn comedic model. You're Spencer, and I'm Kate. You keep this up, and you'll be back working with CJ Walley on the Shepherd's Pie and Stout Circuit in the U.K. You're working big-time Bingo Halls now and we're getting a lot of laughs...you wanna go back to where they threw live Mackerels at you and Walley every time you guys forgot it's "aim...BANG!" and not "BANG...BANG" ? Here...I'll give you one..just to satisfy your hunger there in Texas to score a touchdown. Let's see....hunger..Texas....touchdown....hmmmm...."Hey Phillip, I just got back from the grocery store, and bought some of that Earl Campbell's Smoked Sausage. Man...did you know that Earl Campbell has some thick sausage?"

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Bill: You're right, I love being that old curmudgeon Spencer. And, I don't care what anyone says, he could act his way out of a paper bag. Speaking of CJ Walley, Bangers and Mash and English pubs, I can't get a good mackerel to toss or bang. Here's a recent photo I took while touring the Earl Campbell factory in Waelder. yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS, this is a great thread topic!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Wowza is right. Can you guys ever stick to the original thread topic? You guys are rather the silly thread "hijackers," aren't ya? Phillip, Bill, I'm looking at you two. Lol! ...Really, guys, let's get back. Sorry, it's part of the whole "moderator" thing: steer threads back. I know, I know, I'm just a big meaner. :(

Bill Costantini

Aw, Beth....part of me thinks that Migs' whole essay was meant to be humorous. I mean, he made so many inaccurate sweeping generalizations. The majority of the people that I know/knew in the business are early-to-bed, early-to rise types. They have families. They donate their time to charities and love to talk to developing writers. They are intellectuals, and love great works. Many have degrees from Harvard, Yale, and UCLA, etc. They know the history of film and literature, and they spend inordinate amounts of time to make their art, because they love what they do. They aren't pompous, pretentious posers like Migs so confidently states. So I really can't understand how he could have been serious. You were making a funny ha-ha, right Migs?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Okay, in all fairness, I will say that the original post seems presumptuous in its generalizations. And, I'm not sure what this speech has to do with screenwriting and screenwriters, per se. Perhaps it's meant as both a cry of frustration and a call to action. Commiserating with fellow writers. But, what do I know, I'm not an intellectual either.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Ummm, I don't think so, Bill. I completely understand what you're saying, but I just read the whole post, twice... Seems pretty serious to me.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

BFH: Was I being humorous? I believe I've offered the kind of focused consideration the discussion merits. I will leave you now Godfather, because I know you are very busy.

Beth Fox Heisinger

You're right, Phillip. I'm sorry. It was a very focused consideration indeed. My misunderstanding. But, let's not let it happen again. Let bygones be bygones. Capisce. ;)

Tao Ryan Moua

Miguel, I know how you feel. I have also been there and done that. I had one of those cubicle job like the one Neo has in the Matrix. I made so much sacrifices to be where I am today. I'm a nobody too, for now. For me, filmmaking is either do or die. There is no try.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

@Beth: I agree. Bygones... Mia culpa and Mea Farrow!

Beth Fox Heisinger

That's great, Phillip! Lol! ;)

Beth Fox Heisinger

"There is no try." ...Wasn't that Yoda? "Do. Or do not. There is no try." Seems appropriate, not only for learning to use the force, but certainly for this industry. Lol! ;)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Generally speaking, we've all made sacrifices of some kind in our lives, or had some kind of struggle or dilemma. The creative journey certainly is not for the faint of heart, as they say. It's challenging to hold your ground against naysayers at times. But hold, we must. ...Ah, great, now I sound like Yoda. Lol! ;)

Tao Ryan Moua

Haha... Beth, I'm not sure where it came from, but must've been Yoda or a wise individual.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Well, Yoda is wise. Lol! ;)

Dan Guardino

If Yoda is wise then Yoda wouldn't make it in this business. LOL!

Sarah Gabrielle Baron

You guys. Poor old Migs! Where else can a writer go to complain about life in obscurity and toot your own horn about how smart you are and all the great work you've done? So, yeah, in December I finally read Blake Snyder's Save The Cat. Here's one of my MANY favourite quotes (Migs, this one's for you): ""To be a screenwriter is to deal with an ongoing tug of war between breathtaking megalomania and insecurity so deep it takes years of therapy just to be able to say 'I'm a writer' out loud." Can I get an 'amen'? PS, I was in Austin in '09 for a weekend (One of a Kind Bicycle Show) and I visited Whole Foods and MY MIND WAS BLOWN! So. Lucky. PS. I'm stuck with a re-write and you guys are only feeding my penchant for procrastination. Someone make me get back to work! Beth, howbout another 30 days of writing? February?

Bill Costantini

Taking the "some people are phonies....some people are megalomaniacs" out of the picture (because that exists in all lines of business), I can sympathize with Migs, and really hope he and every competent writer succeeds in pursuing their ambitions. But you always gotta go back to the numbers. There are just sooooo many competent writers with good scripts, and there are just so many movies that can get made. The great writing supply far exceeds the demand. Many members of the WGA didn't make a dime from writing in 2014, and probably in 2015 as well (I haven't looked at the WGA 2015 Annual Report because I don't think it's been published yet.) There are just so many movies made each year. And factor in: + The major studios concentrate on franchise pieces based on previously-successful novels, comics and other media forms, and already have in-house writers and preferred writers that they work with. + Independents have a lot of great scripts already on their desks, and even when they seek even more scripts to option that will never end up getting sold. + Today's "I'm pretty close to getting funding" project can quickly become "whaddya mean he died? How could he die?" bemoanments. + The minds of producers can change quickly with regards to what they want to produce, and changing courses happens with the best of them. You can see why so many writers attempt to get their stories made by putting together their own self-production strategies or by partnering with other creatives to make their own movies. So I can sympathisize with Migs, and would offer him these well-worn pieces of advice, which I'm sure he has heard before. If you really want to, hang in there and keep trying. Surround yourself with good people. Stay positive. Eat right. Exercise. Keep a positive mental attitude. Stay away from time-wasting posers. Try to make your own film. You're in L.A. and have access to a lot of people in the same boat you're in. And if you can't cope, and if your life turns too negative at some point...just let go of the idea that many people dream about, and that only a small percentage of those people will ever actually realize. Life's too short. Stay on top of yourself and live a positive, well-balanced life. Don't kick the cat, and even when he pees next to the litter box or puts a mouse carcass in your shoes. It's not the destination, but the journey. Good luck, Migs - I hope you can live a positive well-balanced life, and achieve your goals and dreams at the same time.

Tao Ryan Moua

Good advice, Bill. You make a lot of sense to me. "Be positive and live a good healthy life" are more important than having financial success. One thing I learned is that you can always make money when you are healthy and have time, but you can't get more time. Time is the most valuable commodity at our hands. Every day wasted is a day you cannot gain back.

Fiona Faith Ross

Great thread. The hijackers always make me laugh out loud, and yes, many English pubs are every bit as shabby and dreary as they say. I mean, who drinks warm Pils, seriously? But I have a friend who does. Okay, the OP is heavy stuff but I feel the pain in it. Sod the lot of 'em, I say, and keep on writing, if that's what floats your boat. I'm actually writing (I'm fairly certain), the best thing I've written to date. It'll go up on Amazon as an ebook, and I'm developing the screenplay at the same time. You need to develop that alligator hide, Migs, or get a chicken suit, or gorilla costume. Wear it with pride and ignore the lot of 'em. Listen to the criticism and write your stuff anyway. That's my new motto. Oh yeah! Since his ugly little person keeps popping up, here's one of the "nineteen most-asked questions about Star Wars" (I read somewhere). Ready? Why do we never see any of Yoda's species? OR "Daddy, where do Yodas come from?" Answers on a beer mat to...

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Hijackers? I resent and resemble that remark! As far as this thread, he had me at "intellectual".

Bill Costantini

Phillip is well-known to "take it easy". And if it's real easy, he'll take it twice.

Sue Lange

I think migs has left the auditorium. That's just like him to get everyone all riled up and then check out.

Dan Guardino

Yes I think he left the auditorium right after he wrote his post. I have no idea who he is but I got a feeling the industry will somehow make it without him. Screenwriters are some of the most talented people in this business and it is a shame that we have to work so hard just to try and impress those people that don't have any talent.

Fiona Faith Ross

What the hell, we can still enjoy the party without the host. Keep 'em coming guys. Ha ha.

Amit Mehra

Though I don't agree with Migs here on some things but I do understand where it's coming from. Thought would share this article I wrote for an American Mag a while back in case anyone of you wants to read it or perhaps if Migs returns and has the patience to read this :) http://www.gemmagazine.ca/amit-mehra-our-quest-be-different

Pierre Langenegger

Don't you people know how to use this site? Migs is still logging in everyday, he just chooses not to respond. Come on Migs, it's your post.

Sue Lange

I thought Migs' post was hilarious. As well as most of the comments here. This is great fun. Personally I think he's stating what a lot of us have felt, but have had the good sense to keep to ourselves. It was sort of annoying, and at the same time refreshing, to see such a tirade on Stage 32 which is normally mostly cheerleading. Yes, Fiona's right. Keep it coming. This is fun. P.S. Do you think Migs is just bear-baiting here? Sort of feels like it. I love a good blood sport with writers in the ring. It gets so, so…intellectual.

Fiona Faith Ross

No good being intellectual if you're a writer. lol. You gotta get down 'n dirty with those words. Blood on yer hands.

Sue Lange

Which is why it's so much fun.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Spotted dick? Yes please!

Fiona Faith Ross

RV - Runaway Vacation (2006) starring the late, great, Robin Williams and the feisty sexy Cheryl Hines, has just started on our UK TV FreeView channel, "Movie Mix", (Ch. 32). This is why we write, folks. This is why. :) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449089/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Bill Costantini

That Spotted Dick sure is good, and especially with some Turkish Cemen Dip, after some nice Fish Balls flavored with Paula Dean's Butt Massage. That sure beats the fru-fru foods found on Vermont Street in Los Feliz, which I think might be the real source of Migs' crisis. Bad food clouds the canoodle at times. Speaking of cloudy canoodles....hello Darren, Blanche, Arthur and Lawrence! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTDsJd1l7Aw

Sue Lange

I'm still not sure I understand A Tale of Two Cities. Seriously. What's with all that knitting?

Fiona Faith Ross

The good wives of the respectable burghers of the city would take their knitting with them, when they went to watch the spectacle of Madame La Guillotine. To pass the time until heads rolled, they took their knitting with them, and the needles would click even faster when the blade came down and the heads dropped into the basket. Knit one, purl one. Ho hum.

Sue Lange

It's worth a lot, Patricia. It was Madame LeFarge doing the knitting. One of my favorite all-time literary characters. I always go as ML on halloween. And always bring my knitting. I can't tell you how many names of editors are in my scarves.

Bill Costantini

A great book, and two great film versions that I've seen (I didn't see the last one). I wouldn't be surprised if another re-make is in the works. I also loved Cloris Leachman's Madame Defarge character in Mel Brooks' History of the World - Part I. She was still going through the knitting motions, even though she had no wool. Hysterical. NICE THREAD, MIGS!

Tao Ryan Moua

Don't get side track and pick on Migs. Most of the bully comments here make you look like high school kids. I think it's easy to get offended by it, but I try not to be offended and look at it from the struggling screenwriter/filmmaker's perspective. Hollywood is a dog eat dog world to put it bluntly. That is why some people don't move down to LA. There are just too many movie makers around town. There are horrible people and some good people. Fiona gave a good advice above that you have develop a very thick skin - steel or dragon skin as body armor. This is the same advice my professor gave us before his students left film school (@ Migs). And don't forget, ego also plays a huge part in it. We have to learn how to suppress our ego. I think at the end, it all comes down to our work. That's how you will succeed, but if you're pessimistic about it, it won't get you anywhere. Work hard on yourself and ignore everything else that will bog you down. Migs SHOULD WRITER COMEDY/SATIRE about Hollywood.

Dan Guardino

I don't blame him for quitting because this business really does suck. What I don't understand is why he decided to waste his time venting. The business does suck and nobody will ever change that. Personally I would much rather be writing novels than screenplays but apparently I am better at writing screenplays. However, that isn't saying much because I tried writing a novel once and after writing about fifty pages of crap I realized I had zero talent for that kind of writing. Unfortunately screenwriting is a tournament type of a career.

Sue Lange

Dan, if you only wrote one novel, you don't really know if you're good at it. Remember every novelist starts with a trunk novel. Then they write something good.

Bill Costantini

I think the bully comment was a bit nunsense. Being a bully, though, that's like as sacrelegious as they come, bar none. I was bullied in grade school by a seriously sadistic bully. "Billy Four-Eyes", the bully labeled me - and would literally slap that label on my shirt every day. My lunch was missing most days. Wedgies non-stop. Dead mice would be in my winter snow booths. Chocolate milk would "accidentally" be spilled on my white shirt as the bully would walk by me. It was really torturous. Finally, one day, I just couldn't take it anymore. As the bully walked past me, I lifted up my chair - heavy oak, not the cheap thin stuff - and FUUUMPH! Right on the back of the head as the bully walked by me. The bully crumbled like a biscuit. All the other kids looked at me and smiled. I felt really good, too - until Sister Agatha Therese got up; adjusted her nun's habit; wiped the blood off the back of her head; liicked it; smiled devilishly and said "I hope that made you feel really good, Billy Four-Eyes - just like being an ALTAR BOY FOR LIFE IS GONNA MAKE YOU FEEL REALLY GOOD!!!" It's many years later, and you might ask "was it worth it?" Yes and no. Yes, because she never bullied me again, and no, because I have midnight mass tonight, and it's my turn to polish the pews - all 80 of them. Aw, Migs, I tell ya....sometimes in life you just gotta eat it and not say a word and not do a thing....and sometmes you just gotta be an altar boy for the rest of your life.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Aye Billy, truer words were never spoken. I’m reminded of me days as a converted Irish Jew in parochial school. While walking through the hall, I overheard three nuns having a conversation much like this one I’m making up now: The first nun said, “Did ya see that condoms on the father’s desk yesterday?” The second nun said, “Yeah, I poked holes in all of them.” And the third nun fainted.

Sue Lange

Bill, you are sick. That's why we love you.

Beth Fox Heisinger

...The only response I have at this point is: palm to forehead. Lol! ;)

Fiona Faith Ross

Head-Desk is another good one. Rinse and repeat.

Dan Guardino

When it comes to screenwriting at first if you don't succeed try, try again and if that doesn't work screw it because it isn't worth it.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

"Screenwriting is no more complicated than old French torture chambers, I think. It's about as simple as that." ~James L. Brooks

Bill Costantini

Dan - I don't know about that. Most writers I'm aware of talk about how it takes anywhere from 4 - 10 scripts to get really proficient at the craft. When I wrote my 6th one, I thought I was really proficient. My consultant showed me otherwise. My 8th one was pretty good, but I still lacked in a couple areas that my 9th one didn't. My 10th one is pretty fierce, I think. I still optioned my 3rd one soon after I wrote it: was contracted to write my 7th one: and got option offers for a few of the others whenever I tried to market them. But if someone doesn't love writing, they really have no business trying to write. Someone may love it at first, but those feelings may change over time. Someone may think they love it, until they actually try it, or until the rejections start piling up. I pity those who come into this with rose-colored glasses (myself included), but that's part of the journeys of life.

Bill Costantini

Sue - I love when people love me. I'm seriously crushing on the eight showgirls on your profile page.

Bill Costantini

Beth and Fiona....well, it is full-moon weekend. Tonight's gonna be a wild one. I'd lock myself in my room tonight, but Phillip is coming over with the bundle of cash from his last option, and wants to go to a casino and play out the 22-Black end scene from The Gambler. He believes in happy endings. I believe in getting my 10% cut from the casino owner. GREAT THREAD, MIGS! Migs? Migs?

Sue Lange

I love them too. They worked on an amazing piece of choreography, only about 15 seconds of which wound up in the final. Bless their hearts. That was my first film shoot and they were fantastic. Isn't the make-up wild? I still own about 12 pairs of eyelashes, 12 wigs, and 12 pairs of fishnet gloves. That little shoot is why I. Love. To. Make. Films.

Sue Lange

Bill, I hope you're writing comedy. Intellectual comedy.

Dan Guardino

Bill. I was joking. I am just finishing up my 26th screenplay so I know how many it usually takes to break in. However I don't love it like I once did so I only write when I have to write.

Sue Lange

Dan, I wonder if you don't love it like you did once, because when you first start you're writing totally gratuitously from the heart. Then you learn to write and now you're writing for "the man."

Bill Costantini

Dan - I missed that joke, Dan. Sorry. Everybody's telling jokes now. See what you started, Migs? 26 screenplays is quite an accomplishment, Dan. Stop writing for a few years, so I can catch up to you, please?

Bill Costantini

Sue - make an intellectual comedy? I thought the film editor does that part? Speaking of intellectual....I went to Ulta yesterday to buy a bar of soap. Hmmm..let's see what I got here. Exfoliating Wash....Essential-C Cleanser....Pre-Cleanse....Clarifying Cleanser....Advanced Cleansing System....Advanced Cleansing System for Dummies....Portuguese Kama Sutra Midnight Passion Love Oil...whoops...wrong one....Clearing Skin Wash....Hydrating Cleanser...Deep Down Detox Cleansing Mud Mask.....Skin Resurfacing Cleanser....Skin, Garage Floor and Driveway Resurfacing Cleanser....Refreshing Gel Cleanser....Glycolic Foaming Cleanser....Fabulous Foaming Face Wash...Not-So-Fabulous Foaming Face Wash...You-Should-Be-Ashamed-Of-Yourself Foaming Face Wash....Purifying Facial Cleanser...Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment....Essential Cleansing Treatment for Martians....I think I need a Doctorate degree to wash my fash now.....WHAT IS ALL THIS STUFF???

Vienna Avelares

F.E.A.R. "If the fear of loss conquers me, the reality of failure will consume me" Michael Dooley.

Dan Guardino

Sue. It isn't that. I actually love working with other people in the business. However screenwriting is unique because it can open doors for other things. Like most people here I loved writing screenplays and my goal was to sell one someday. While in the process of doing so I got a couple of assignments and met some people in the business and one thing lead to another and my main focus now is more on producing film.

Sue Lange

V. cool, Dan. Bill, the sad thing about your last post is that it would be funny if those weren't all real products on the shelves at Ulta. I don't even go in there. It's just too scary. Please somebody stop with the choices. Stick with Ivory. Imagine how hard it is if you want some foundation.

Dan Guardino

Bill. I promise you I won't write another screenplay unless something happens to falls in my lap which doesn't happen very often.

Miguel Guzman

When I was at community college I had an opinion page. It mostly covered politics and it was ineptly called ‘Miguel’s Take.’ Most of my opinions were left leaning and did not bode well with the local conservative populace. I’d written commentary about the looming market crash in 2008. This was well before the fall of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent crisis that followed. I received a letter from one plucky reader denouncing my knowledge of economics and that there was no risk of a financial crisis on the horizon. Of course we know what eventually happened. I was still at the paper and I still had that letter. I wanted to publish it and then lambast the author for his blundering criticism of me. The editor-in-chief, a fellow student, was on board and we were ready to print but at the last minute the professor stopped us. I asked why. I got the simplest response. “Always give your readers the last word.” Words I live by; which makes my response to this thread a very rare occurrence. First off, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my post and commenting. It went in some very interesting directions. It was interesting seeing how far it traveled off topic then sort try to come back to topic then sort of become its own thing. I can understand some of the responses to my perceived bitter tone as most of you are as passionate on the subject of screenwriting as I am. I’ve been frustrated in finding that missing link between film and literature, films overall value as an art form (compared to single-track mediums) and just the true role of the screenwriter in the purest sense. These questions will not be answered in this thread, and I have offered my opinions and have gleefully read yours. And if I can offer an interesting thought — maybe its not about being a good screenwriter — perhaps its just being a good writer and writing for the screen being part of the spectrum. I have recently gotten some more traction on a comedy script I’d been working on (hence my absence) and I feel that the key factor was that I evolved my artistic ego into something workable in a collaborative form. It’s no longer “this is my baby you will worship it,” but “I’m here to entertain you, lets do whatever the hell we can to get this made.” Again, I appreciate all of the responses. 81 comments and counting! You guys are great and I got a lot out of the negative, positive, and even asinine comments. I feel things have revived for me in the screen trade with my new take on things and I wish all of you the very best in your endeavors. -migs

Fiona Faith Ross

Well, Migs, aren't you the man of the moment. May I be the first to buy a ticket to the movie of your comedy script? Keep us posted. Great thread. (Since you mentioned the crash of 2008, I went to see The Big Short on Saturday. Absoluto fabuloso!)

Bill Costantini

Good for you, Migs. Good luck with your current and future projects! Just to attempt to briefly address some of your expressed current frustrations which I hope I have read and understood correctly. I don't think there's really a missing link between film and literature. There are so many great films that are birthed from great scripts. Sometimes we overlook that, and especially if we're watching films that are not born of scripts that don't appear to address and explore heady/highly intellectual subject matters. But even most "lighter entertainments" - for lack of a better term - have moral and ethical worlds underneath the action, and those themes are expressed in moral and ethical ways throughout the film. There has to be a great deal of consistent logic involved in the flow of those movies by the author. The writer must have the superior position and view of any story - even though that superior position is then handed over to the director to follow-up, maintain and achieve. Those scripts still are great scripts and are great pieces of literature - at least in my eyes. Maybe some films and scripts don't quite embody all of that, but I think the majority -and probably the vast majority - do. So maybe films like The Big Short and Spotlight address topics that "appear" bigger in scope than, say, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and What We Do In the Shadows. But isn't the subject matter in the latter two (changing from a girl to a young woman, and dealing with the complexities of modern life) just as relevant, and just as important? I think so. It's the writer who creates, expresses and explores how "deep" a topic - any topic - can ultimately be addressed and realized. From vampire mockumentaries to coming of age movies to the Catholic church scandals to the mortgage scandal - all four of those scripts (and many other scripts from 2015 filmes) are truly great literature.

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