Your Screenplay Will NOT Pay You Millions [About Hope and Hype]

Earlier this month, Seth Godin published a blog post that resonated with me. A piece so sharp and pertinent, I decided to translate it to screenwriting.
(It was originally about Harper Lee)

“[Screenwriting Genius X] is a legend and a genius. She’s also the exception that proves the rule, twice.

Rule 1 – Screenplay Hope

your screenplay won't payRule 1: Your screenplay will not be beautifully edited, it will not be lovingly hand sold, it will not be taught in schools across the country.

Your screenplay will not pay you millions of dollars of royalties, year after year, for fifty years, and most of all, your screenplay will not succeed despite the fact that you don’t pitch, don’t build a following, and don’t promote.

And also, just to rub it in, your screenplay will not become a movie that’s as powerful as your screenplay was, a movie that is remembered by everyone who saw it.

I know that it worked for [that Screenwriter Genius]. But it’s not going to work for me and it’s not going to work for you. It’s a myth that you can write a screenplay and the system will take care of you.

Rule 2 – Screenplay Hype

Rule 2: You cannot use hype and mystery and 17 articles on ScriptShadow to pre-sell your second screenplay to a Major Studio for seven figures, merely on the promise that it might be interesting, with all the writers who write about it never even reading it first.

woman-writingI’m not jealous of [the Genius]. She shaped a generation, gave up her much-deserved privacy and earned all of the accolades she received. On the other hand, I think it’s worth noting that just because there’s lightning now and then, you shouldn’t plan on using it to electrify your house.

We need you to write your best work, and to share it. But please understand that this is the first step in spreading your idea, not the last one.”

You can read Seth Godin’s original article here.

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