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Clap For The Killers

21 May 2012


Quick: What would definitely not be your dream job?

Most people would say something menial, usually having to do with cleaning up feces (or cleaning up anything, really). That wouldn’t be mine, though. Mine would be being a mid-to-low-level Hollywood screenwriter.

I know, that should sound like a dream job for someone like me. And for a while, it would be… until the point that I was hired on by some studio to write another remake, or a studio movie based on a board game, or worse, the whitewashed Akira movie. (If you never heard the story about that one… ooh, it was bad — changing Neo-Tokyo to Neo-New York sounds like it would be a bad joke, but that was in there.) Now, to be fair, I don’t have anything against the writers who take these jobs — work is work, and they’re getting paid to write. Bonus. I just don’t want to be the one to do it.

The great thing about writing novels is I don’t have eight producers, three studio execs, and five actors’ talent reps standing over my shoulder when I do it. I can just sit down and write, and not have to talk to anyone to make it happen. I can say pretty much what I want, and studio notes don’t come back telling me that this would alienate a huge section of the market. The most I have to deal with is an editor, and she’s pretty great.

I’m sure that there’s another way to skin the screenwriting cat, and hopefully, one of the entries this week will answer that question for me. I also know a couple of friends who have written some pretty successful screenplays in their time, so it begs the question — how do you get away with that?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. christophergronlund permalink
    21 May 2012 1242

    It WOULD be hard to do the remake.

    PRODUCER: “I think a remake of Akira crossed with Solar Babies would rule!”
    ME: [No words; I’d have to stab them in the eye with a pen.]

    The people I know who’ve had screenplays produced…they paired up with others and did it themselves, or…they got attention after doing it on their own and then pitched some ideas and ran with the one accepted. And when I say ran with it, I mean that: they wrote fast, not giving people the time to say, “You know what this movie needs? A monkey sidekick and a couple dance numbers like GLEE.”

    I’ve never had a screenplay produced, but two stories (a novel and a novella) came from spec scripts that generated some interest. Like you, I like the freedom of a novel. Editors are cool, and you often get that first crack at things from your head before others suggest changes. (I’ve found, those changes from decent editors are usually for the better and don’t mind making them one bit.)

    • 22 May 2012 0017

      I’m with you on good editors — I never mind making their changes, and they don’t seem to mind making me look like I know how to write. 😉

      I’d stand up for you in court with that eye stabbing.

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