Helpful secrets no one else will tell you
What have we learned?
There’s a pop quiz.
Everything’s on the final.
Recently, a producer shared this wisdom with me: If you want to write for the joy of writing, go ahead, but if you want to write something that will actually be made, you have to look at where the market is.
I know why I chose to write. Success lies somewhere in the hybrid of “writing for joy something that will actually get made”.
I have written for the joy of it. Those are the times I really enjoyed myself.
I have written as a “hired gun”. Some of those times I enjoyed myself – a lot of that tied to getting paid. I am “professional grade funny”. I got paid to be funny.
Then why are none of my screenplays “flat out comedy”? Sustaining a comedy concept successfully for a full 90 minutes is not an easy thing to accomplish.
I write stories that reflect life and family, in all its incarnations. Comedy and tragedy coexist just like in life.
Writing a spec screenplay takes a lot of time, effort, and research. If you don’t love your characters and the story you’re telling, it’s a tough go. Those on the buying side of the “show business” equation want entertainment value and commerce.
Getting your product to the market is the most difficult challenge. Getting it read by someone who can actually “greenlight” a project is the goal but the process starts with a “reader” who does coverage (see “Gaining perspective” below).
If you get beyond that stage then luck, who you know, who they know, and who they can get the script to all come into play.
It’s no more “risk averse” then playing the lottery but you can’t create content for a buck.
It’s like betting your soul.
Things you shouldn’t quit without having another one lined up
(modify reference for gender preference)
*This gets tricky and borders on infidelity – proceed with caution or you could end up coming across like a real dick. Note – watch Hallmark Channel movies to get some tips on how to break up in a civil fashion. (e.g., “I don’t think we’re right for each other.” “I think you’re right. Have a Merry Christmas.” “You, too.” Handshake and exit separately.)
I might have done one of the three things listed above but I’m not saying which because these are things you shouldn’t quit without having another lined up.
Someone once said, “Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s got one.”
The implication is that “opinion” is akin to what comes out of assholes – both the literal and figurative meanings, colloquial or otherwise.
Opinion is influenced by one’s perspective.
Shit is a characterization.
One person’s “gold” can be someone else’s “shit”.
How can you know if your “shit” is “gold”?
Write a screenplay and get coverage on it.**(see above for the value of opinion)