Diagnosis: Obsession

Occasionally I receive requests to read a first draft and even a first draft by a first time writer. I do indeed offer story consultancy but these are requests to read – for free – with the hope of getting a producer’s attachment. With all due respect, but you’ve gotta be kidding. (Disclaimer: if you’re allergic to preaching, better skip this blog. If you disagree with anything, you are invited to comment)

First-time writers sending out a first draft should get a grip. Get out of your hole and find out how competitive this industry is.

But is the writer really to blame? Our industry itself has created a perception that writing for the screen is a fun occupation, a lifestyle thing that can be easily combined with any other job. And every attempt is to be taken seriously. Believe me, the reality is different.

If you consider yourself a dilettante, your chances of breaking through are minimal. If your entire life doesn’t revolves around movies , the odds are very much against you. Better get used to the idea or reconsider your future.

Like ‘aspiring practitioners’ in other industries where the stakes are high, screenwriters and filmmakers tend to love the success stories of those who’ve made it, hence the popularity of events like POPCORN TAXI etc. However, success stories are filtered, censored and jazzed-up versions of the boring, down-to-earth and painful true events they are based upon.

Like their screenplay counterparts, true facts don’t sell.

The six movies to which writer Andrew Stanton contributed, have made several billions of dollars worldwide, yet he calls his growth to understanding story: “MY JOURNEY OF PAIN”

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