Screenwriting is weird.

After years of studying this stuff, I’m still trying to figure out what kind of person desires to write something for which he will receive little or no credit, something that will be tampered with by people who may or may not know what they’re doing, something that will never be read in its pure form. Because it has no pure form. A screenplay is an ugly, ungodly thing, evolved from decades of production necessity and arbitrary standards. When I interned for ContentFilm and read several scripts a day, I used to look forward to the ones with coffee stains, because that at least improved the aesthetic quality. I read them because I had to. But no one really wants to read them.

And people want to write them.


I’ve heard people suggest that I want to become a screenwriter to get laid. That’s an excellent reason to do anything, but novelists, poets and playwrights do better in that field. They can give lectures or readings or attend parties full of easily impressed, impressionable young women. Screenwriters can attend parties, but it probably isn’t worth it unless the dip is really good. Julian Fellowes has won a damn Oscar, but I bet people still ask him what happened to his tray of clam puffs.

Screenwriters could be in it for the money. But, Jesus, aren’t there easier ways of getting that? Like sending out one of those emails where you claim to be a Nigerian Prince who stumbled into a fortune? Or romancing old rich widows on the verge of death? (If the latter sounds harder to you than writing a screenplay, you probably haven’t written one. Or at least, not one worth worrying about.)

So I don’t know. Maybe we’re just like novelists but we’re too lazy to write all those blasted words. Maybe we’re just like playwrights but want our work to actually, you know, be seen, even if we don’t get any credit for it. Like those people who buy really good gifts even in a Secret Santa type setup.

Or maybe we really do want to be laid, but damn it, it’s Scarlett Johansson or nothing at all.


2 Responses to “Screenwriting is weird.”

  1. ranting2006 Says:

    I like your ideas here. I was just thinking today that the act of writing alone is very risky. Choosing to write means exile in many ways.

  2. Screenwriters are weird, part 2 « Flotsam in the HotSun Says:

    […]             In an earlier post I asked what the appeal of packing up and moving to LA was for a screenwriter.  Here’s something: it’s not the promise of celebrity, but of community… […]

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