Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where’s the Screenwriting Revolution?

This is a call to arms, my friends.

From a recent post by Jim Emerson:

“It's Friday, I'm still at the Toronto Film Festival which winds up this weekend, and I just got back from lunch with Girish Shambu, a movie blogger based in Buffalo, NY. I'd never met Girish before -- I've known him only through his blog, and the community of bloggers who contribute to critical discussions of movies on one another's sites (including my Scanners blog) -- and I've never been more excited about the future of film criticism than I am at this moment…

… the most exciting place for film criticism, and an informed film community, these days is on certain Internet blogs -- where each individual blogger can write in detail (with digressions and tangents into other areas of related knowledge) -- but that is just the beginning of the conversation, since others can post comments, continue the discussion, and elaborate upon the original post. The blogger also has the opportunity to clarify, refine, and move the discussion into a fruitful direction. These are knowledgable, personal voices -- much more fun and distinctive and interesting than most of the edited and sanitized stuff that appears in "professional" outlets -- written mostly by people who are doing it for the love of the medium, rather than because they're getting paid to. As Girish put it today: I feel like we're all little Manny Farber termites carving out our own paths through the cinema…

I'm talking about blogs like
Girish and Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, and The House Next Door and Like Anna Karina's Sweater and No More Marriages! and Lost in Negative Space, just to name a few -- places where the bloggers themselves write about their obsessions, what they know and whatever they want, when they want. They respect their readers (with spoiler warnings, for example) -- and the readers themselves respect each other in the reasoned comment-section discussions that are ignited. For any film critic, this is the ideal audience -- a bunch of people who are smart, well-informed, passionately interested, who actually go and see the movies for themselves, and then come back to read and respond to what you and other readers have written…

One more thing about the whole idea of film criticism as writing: Written language is perhaps not the ideal medium for discussing film. (To me, film has always seemed closer to music -- patterns of images and movement and color, than to literature or theater or any other art form, and that can be hard to capture solely in words, sentences and paragraphs. Maybe "dancing about architecture" is a good idea...) I've been experimenting with different kinds of film criticism on my blog, and (going back to 1998) on my web site,
Jeeem's CinePad -- using images and layout to create ways of exploring film that are not limited to linear text. On CinePad, this includes a whole section devoted to various motifs in David Lynch's "Twin Peaks," and "The Dark Room" (still unfinished), an image map built around a composite movie photo, where you click on various items in the room -- a cigarette, a hat, a dead body -- to find an essay about the significance of these elements and images in film noir; or a multi-part exploration of the use of Plumbing in Cinema as a powerful metaphor. On Scanners, I've been hosting the Opening Shots Project, encouraging readers and other critics and filmmakers to send in detailed descriptions of their favorite opening shots (accompanied by actual frame grabs from the movies), and to explain how these shots work to set up the movies, or how they relate visually to the journey the movie takes…

Girish wrote in the comments:

“Jim, it was a great pleasure to meet you and have that wonderful, stimulating conversation over lunch. I walked out of there with my head buzzing with ideas you'd planted there.“

May I ask a question?

Why aren’t we screenwriters having the same kind of revolution of thought in our own community?

Why do I have to turn to the film scholars (and a few notable screenwriting blogs – like Billy Mernit, John August, and the Unknown Screenwriter to name a few) in order to be fed the meat & potatoes I crave about movies? Where are the great thinking screenwriters of today? Where is that next generation screenwriter who annoys the hell out of everyone by always asking, "WHY?"

Speaking of "why" - why is Emerson the only one doing cool studies like his Opening Shots Project? Why do I have to turn to Girish to think about things like Cinephiliac Moments, the fine art of The Long Take, or the question, "What is Realistic?" Do you think that those subjects AREN’T important to screenwriters today? Or do you think we should only follow the screenwriting gurus and not pay attention to what other informed minds have to say?

(I know. That’s like, more than one question. SO sorry.)

In any case, I felt inspired and frustrated reading Emerson’s post (not because he said anything wrong – I love the guy) but because in comparing their blogs to ours, they make us look like children, quite frankly. We should be experts on a par with the scholars. We should be able to wow them with our insights and they us in equal measure.


The film bloggers expound upon every little obsession they have about movies - the people they love, the faces they love, the filmmakers they love, the techniques they love, the great compositions of shots, the art of visual storytelling, and on and on. They continually feed each other and they are revolutionizing the way people talk about film.

They reveal everything because they have nothing to lose.

We screenwriters, on the other hand, reveal nothing, because we think we have everything to gain by keeping it all to ourselves.

Who gives a flying flip if you – OH MY GOD - reveal the things you’ve learned about the craft? Or what you love about movies? Or the script-to-screen studies you did six years ago? Or the insights you have about film technique, formatting, characters, dialogue, style, structure, or anything else you love about screenwriting? How else are you going to grow if you don’t talk to others about the craft and ask questions and get the kind of feedback that takes you to a new level?

Another question: Did I shoot myself in the foot by having a subtext study? Did I give up my "advantage" over other writers by revealing my "secret insights" on subtext? Did I give my competitors a better shot at beating me to the finish line in the race to the Almighty Script Sale because THEY are now going to write better dialogue thanks to ME?

How can anyone think that way?

The truth is, revealing what you know means very little. It means you know stuff. That's it. How well you APPLY what you know to your own stories is a vastly different matter altogether. You won’t actually know how well you’re doing until like-minded students of the craft give you feedback. Besides, how do you know that what you know is actually correct?

Coming up with great scenes filled with subtext was very difficult for many, including myself. Why? Because we, as a community, DON’T TALK to each other. In this day and age with over a century of cinema behind us, we should already be experts capable of listing (without even thinking) the scenes we love that exemplify subtext. Sure, some scenes we posted were hit and miss, but hey, at least we’re TALKING ABOUT IT. You should be secure enough in your own talent to engage other screenwriters and talk about anything and not worry or care if they learned something from you. What separates the amateurs from the pros is not simply how much we know but how well we apply the principles and master the form.

Here’s another question. Do you know what it means to have one of your scripts turned into a movie? It means that your weaknesses as a writer will become public knowledge. Do you honestly think that because you have a couple of movies under your belt that you can STOP studying the craft? Are you so naïve that you’ll buy into all the praise everyone heaps on you for a semi-good movie you wrote? Do you realize that you are never more than one script away from a career-halting, publicly-humiliating, box-office bomb?

If you are truly serious about screenwriting, you will be a student of the craft for the rest of your life, am I wrong? Do you not think that your opinions will evolve over the years as you engage other writers and filmmakers? So why not engage them now? I'm sick of the "gurus." I'd rather talk to the people who are in the trenches writing every night like I am. What do YOU think? What excites you about screenwriting? What are your opinions? (You’re not actually afraid to have your thoughts challenged, are you?) What do you love? What have you discovered for yourself that you think is amazing? What are the things that you’ve seen in other screenwriters that you admire? It's a complicated game, this strange art. So what are YOU going to talk about on your blog that no one else talks about? Because, frankly, the world should be looking at OUR blogs and feeling excited about the future of films.

Let me ask one, final question - is it possible to squeeze another question into this post? Is it?


rmahler said...

I'll go get the torches and pitchforks, and let's get this revolution started. Personally, I couldn't agree more. Anything that I've learned, I'm always eager to share. At the very least, it usually sparks a conversation in which I learn something in return.

As far as the "gurus" go, I take them with a grain of salt. McKee would love it if we never used voice overs, but there are some fine scripts that handle it well. There are exceptions to everything. You have to read between the lines and realize that he's saying don't use V.O. as a crutch.

At a friend's urging, I picked up a Syd Field book and was actually amazed at how BADLY it was written. I've never read a screenwriting book that took longer to get to the point. Does it mean that his ideas are useless? No. But I'm not taking any lessons in brevity from him.

MM - Looking forward to the character depth study. If it helps me as much as the subtext posts, I'll consider myself lucky.

MIckey Lee said...

"Where is that next generation screenwriter who annoys the hell out of everyone by always asking, "WHY?""

Heh. You'll find them on the TS message boards. "Why do I have to use courier font?" "Why do I have to have three act structure?" "Why can't I use TWILIGHT in my slugs?"


I'm so bad.

Unknown Screenwriter said...


I tried commenting here but after an hour I realized I had a post of my own. LOL.

I think, therefore I blog...


moviequill said...

I write, therefore I am... what really frosts my bottom is that just because I haven't been discovered yet, or earned more than what will pay for a Starbucks house blend (small) that I am considered many steps below the writer who has. I see many, many P.O.S movies out there, and just because they earned a paycheck on it, does not mean they are a better writer than I am... it just means they are luckier. We are all equals in the grand scheme of things.

mspira said...

The problem with this call to arms is exactly what you pointed out, film buffs have nothing to lose, aspiring and/or working screenwriters do.

You are the "Mystery Man". You have deliberately chosen not to reveal who you are and what you've done. And on the advice of your lawyers and agents, there are things limits to what you will discuss.

But don't get me wrong here, I COMPLETELY understand where you're coming from.

Just today, my writing partner and I were offered our second professional assignment. In every respect, it's a step up in class from the first.

The point you pound home is EVERYTHING COUNTS, and that is so fucking true.

We have five screenplays (by five really, really good writers) being written for us, we're currently writing three ourselves, and we're hustling/brokering investors for another two projects here in Asia.

Despite the fact that I still have a day job, and am getting maybe five hours of sleep a night, what strikes me as fundamentally true about your call to arms is that fully participating in the dialogues of the community of screenwriters only makes all of us stronger. And the mechanisms to do so need to be matured.

A year ago I was the father of a two month old baby wondering how the hell I was going to be able to put my family into a house.

I got back involved in Triggerstreet after a couple of years. I ran into Russell, I found I was pounded by Mystery Man over "McCorley's Brother", I met Miriam, Peter, Robyn, Michelle, Carl and a whole host of other people.

And look where I am today... feeling really good about where I'm at with respects to where I want to go. Besides that, I'm babbling on Mystery Man's blog. ;>


Mystery Man said...

Ross - Thanks so much! I'm anxious to dive into it too!

Mickey - Hehehe... What was it McKee said? "Anxious, inexperienced writers obey rules. Rebellious, unschooled writers break rules. Artists master the form." Exactly.

Unk - Thanks so much. I'm going to comment on your blog.

MovieQuill - I wrote a paragraph about this very thing (I cut it due to length), about the newbies feeling like only those who have sales and those who are published can write about screenwriting and that's bullshit. We are all going to become experts, are we not? I'm going to do a whole series on this revolution, and I'm going to touch upon this point in another post.

Matt - RE: Your first paragraph. You and I wouldn't even be the friends that we are now had we not opened up to each other about the craft, and we are both better writers and better people because of it, am I wrong? And in the act of the subtext study, I learned more than I revealed to be honest. That's the benefit of actually talking, you know? I do love being "Mystery Man" because it's not about me or what I've done. It's just a good, healthy discussion of the craft, which we really need, as a community. I think we need more, good, raging debates like the one we had on multi-protags, too.

mspira said...

Let me be blunt. I can honestly say you are the person who has MOST influenced me in the last several years. When I read your review of "McCorley's Brother" where you referenced me, it was electrifing. I instantly knew I was dealing with the genuine article.

You are absolutely correct, your true identity would most likely change the dynamic. And, as you know, I have never asked you.

All I was pointing out is there are functional limits to what you ultimately propose in terms of the dialogue. Limits that have practical reasons for existing.

But that being said, I am a much better, and a much much better prepared writer for having interacted with you.


Mystery Man said...

Matt - I must apologize. I knew what the point was that you were making and I wanted to use that as a springboard for some broader statements for the benefit of the other readers. I didn't write my response correctly. I honestly didn't mean to come across as arguing, because you're absolutely right about that general sentiment. (Unfortunately, that also struck a nerve with me.) I am still addicted to TriggerStreet and having an ongoing discussion with my writer friends about the craft, because you really can't get it anywhere else. And you really can't have any growth unless I push you and you push me to do better, ya know? Most people think reading a couple screenwriting books is enough to start your career, and it's not.

Okay, I gotta step off my soapbox.

Mystery Man said...

Plus, you and everyone else I've come to know have influenced ME FAR MORE.


rmahler said...

If being anonymous helps the discussion, I'll wear a fucking mask and a disguise when I sit at the computer. What counts is the dialogue, which has been truly beneficial to anyone willing to improve their craft and admit they don't know everything. A little humility goes a long way.

It's like chess (I've been known to play a game or two). The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. And I love that...

Anonymous said...


I couldn't have said it better myself. I have learned so much from all of you and you have all pushed me towards the excellence I think we are all trying to achieve. I only hope I am able to give as much as I've been given

Mickey Lee said...

Dammit -- I typed Mickey Lee, why the hell did it put "Anonymous"???

miriamp said...

I've been watching this all day at work, unable to add to the discussion because of all the security on our computers at work.

This is probably the most important discussion we could have in this business.

Like moviequill said, in some cases it's not ability or experience that separate us from the pros. It's a paycheck.

HOWEVER, don't ever underestimate the importance of experience within the "biz" as opposed to experience outside of the "biz." Because it's about more than writing skill. As Matt so eloquently states on the TS message boards, this is a business and unless we approach it professionally we won't succeed.

Syd Field, Robert McKee, and all their ilk also have done something that we haven't. They have studied films: films that started as screenplays and have made it to the screen. Films with dialogue and various camera angles, where the director made decisions based on anything from the weather to somebody not showing up that day, and these decisions changed the story.

Anyway, now I'm blathering. This topic is really inspirational that way.

Mystery Man said...

Let me tell you, Miriam, I'm ALL about the business, believe it or not. I love assignment work. A studio guy says, "We want to make a movie on X, because we know it'll be huge."


So the question for a screenwriter is, what's the best way to tell this story? And it all comes back to craft, doesn't it? Because a movie about X will sell, but if the movie about X is really, really good, it'll have a longer shelf life, which means it'll make more money. That also means you'll get more assignment work.

And yeah, experience speaks volumes. So much of it, though, is just keeping a story intact when the needs of a production (budget, location, etc) force changes. And frankly, there's nothing wrong with that. Tom Stoppard said that a script is simply a foundation to an EVENT, it's never set in stone, and should be somewhat accommodating. I couldn't agree more. If you have the talent, you know the craft, and you're a true craftsman, you should be able to keep your head above water during pre-production and still pull off a great story despite the changes.

But we won't be experts of the craft unless WE devoted students talk to each other, debate with each other about the craft. And that's what's missing.

Knowing you guys peronally and believing fully that you will eventually succeed, makes me think quite often about the next generation of screenwriters. We're all good, but we need to be super-experts on a par with the film scholars so that when the opportunity presents itself, we will wow them with how much we know, how good we are in a craft, and there will be NO question you are the BEST person for the job.


greg said...

Nice post.

Reason writers don't share is that we are a fucking bunch of molemen. Usually sitting at a computer all day - not fit for human interaction. Not all of us - but a social lot - we are not. And if we are - its cause we are avoiding what we are supposed to be doing - writing.

Hence - the blog.

Where else can a bunch of pasty faced hermits blather on about what they do than on a blog?

I read maybe 30 blogs a day. And then I write. It gives me the juice to know I'm not alone. That there are others out there.

So we write.
And we share.

How many heist scripts are there? Sharing a secret doesn't put someone else in front of you. Trust me - you ain't all that to begin with. Help a brother out. We are all in this together and there is always room for a well written script at the table. Hell - there's room for a mediocre script well told at the table. There is even room for shit at the table.

But you only get at the table when you write.

Thanks for the forum to rant...


wcmartell said...

Well, I've been tearing apart movies to see how they tick online since 1999 on my scriptsecrets.net website... and before that on message boards going back to the days when everything was green text on black (on the old Compuserve Screenwriting Forum - where maybe 50 pro screenwriters used to hang out... along with Roger Ebert and Joe Bob Briggs). I'm still posting Script Tips on my site every day, and I'm blogging about my crappy career and my side-job as a Film Festival Juror.

Though the revolution for screenwriters was maybe a decade ago on message boards, there's still an echo from that explosion out there bouncing around. Just gotta know where to find it. Not blogs, though - message boards, mostly.

- Bill

wcdixon said...

Handjobs all around!

...lol - nice one MM...rally the troops, the revolution is now.

Mystery Man said...

Oh my God, it's "Sex in a Sub's" Bill Martell. How great to hear from you, man!

(I hope you don't mind if I introduce you to the TriggerStreet gang...)

Guys, Bill has one of the best blogs out there (http://sex-in-a-sub.blogspot.com/). It's impossible to read it and not love the guy. On his bio, he says, "I've written 18 films that were carelessly slapped onto celluloid: 3 for HBO, 2 for Showtime, 2 for USA Net, and a whole bunch of CineMax Originals (which is what happens when an HBO movie goes really, really wrong). I've been on some film festival juries, including Raindance in London (twice - once with Mike Figgis and Saffron Burrows, once with Lennie James and Edgar Wright). Roger Ebert discussed my work with Gene Siskel on his 1997 "If We Picked The Winners" Oscar show. My USA Net flick HARD EVIDENCE was released on video the same day as the Julia Roberts' film Something To Talk About and out-rented it in the USA. I've also written a whole bunch of theatrical projects that never got made (I got paid) and was stupid enough to actually *turn down* the job of adapting Dan Brown's ANGELS & DEMONS. On the personal side - I'm single and fat and 6 foot 4 inches tall. Like dogs, hate cats."

Hehehe... How can you not love that?

Bill, the kids who post here and contribute to the studies we're having are not only great writers but fanatical about mastering the form of screenwriting like no group you'll ever interact with.

You'll see.


Mystery Man said...

Dix - I've never done one of those "handjobs all around." You Canadians are so kinky.



Mystery Man said...

Speaking of handjobs... Guys, if you go here...


...Bill Martell will teach you the three most important phrases you'll ever learn about movies:

Actor Porn, Writer Porn, and Director Porn.

You just have to read it.

I asked him, "What is PORN then? Is it a different branch of Actor Porn?" He said, no, "Porn is SEX PORN."


mspira said...

I took a look at Bill's blog and website earlier today. Great reading. I also took a look at some of his screenplays as well. He's right, they are better than much of the stuff he's credited with that ended up in the final version.

But he's wrong when he says the revolution was ten years ago when 50 pro screenwriters were hanging out on compuserve. The revolution is now when tens of thousands of people can make use of such tools as triggerstreet, blogs, myspace, youtube, zoetrope, done deal, etc. etc., to go after the dream. I live on an island off the mainland of South Korea, for Christ's sake.

I was sort of feeling bad about the comments I made yesterday, I have been in a slightly belligerent mood lately.

But, you're throwing down the gauntlet, Mystery Man. And I'm not the type of person to step back from that kind of challenge.

When do we start the study of character depth?


shecanfilmit said...

Here’s another question. Do you know what it means to have one of your scripts turned into a movie? It means that your weaknesses as a writer will become public knowledge. Do you honestly think that because you have a couple of movies under your belt that you can STOP studying the craft?

I believe that many blocked, procrastinating writers are blocked and procrastinating because they fear success. If they're successful, i.e. if the movie is made, their weaknesses become public knowledge and the bar gets lifted a few rungs. They have to work harder than ever, and do it publicly. It's one thing when mom points that your subplot didn't pay off, but try a million people. Most aspiring writers I know would curl up into the fetal position and feel like total failures. And I think that's why many writers are (subconsciously) motivated not to write. Work begets work. When I slave away at my specs as an unknown, unpaid writer, there are no real consequences if the screenplay doesn't work. (Except to my ego and my ability to sleep at night, but who cares about those things.) So why would I want to share ideas about craft? Why would I want to improve my skills and be part of a revolution? Then I'm naked! Then I have to work! Then I no longer can bitch about how many years I've put into this Don Quixote-ian endeavor. I might even meet a cute *gasp* development exec who takes me to Hawaii for Thanksgiving!

(Too much coffee. Time for lunch.)

Mystery Man said...

Guys, we just got yet another shout-out from Billy Mernit, and so I'm going to let this revolution post sit at the top of the blog for a couple days so that the rest of the world will catch up with us. I'm going to post the first segment on character depth on Saturday. (Let me tell you, though, it's going to be TOUGH. It's a study for advanced students. Like subtext, we will be the only ones who have truly studied this, and it will be hit or miss. However, if you master this study and these principles in your writings, you WILL BE A MASTER regardless of whether you have a sale under your belt.)

GREG, GREG, GREG - I neglected to respond to you, and I AM SO SORRY! Thanks so much for your kind words, by the way! We screenwriters are a strange breed, are we not? I'm a moleman, too, can't you tell? I live in a castle in the dark woods studying the craft like a mad genius, didn't you know? Hehehe... When I was in college my friends called me "a good-looking nerd." Hehehe... You have a great blog, too, man. VERY funny.

CHRISTINA - How great to hear from you! I couldn't agree more! Your first comment on my blog, and you're already talking about being naked. I already love ya. Hehehe...

Mystery Man said...

By the way, here's the link to Billy's most recent shout-out:

Seeing Like a Screenwriter

Hehehe... Thanks for teaching me that, Unk.


wcmartell said...

Just because it happened once doesn't mean it can't happen again...

I have a shotgun and some brads, let's get this revolution underway!

- Bill

Shares Dream World said...

Inspired by your blog, I've set out to do my own study. I'm opening it up with a discussion about Inciting Incidents. Nothing controversial, just a place to collect ideas about what works and what doesn't in those opening moments of a film.

Mystery Man said...

I fucking love you. Count me in!


Mickey Lee said...


After reading Unk's comment to Billy's blog, it left me with the thought: maybe the reason there's no revolution is because the so-called "screenwriters" aren't listening. Those things I mentioned in my first comment -- I mean, I WISH I was joking -- but those are questions I've actually seen argued passionately about on the TS boards.

Obviously none of us here are afraid to share information and we all want to improve our craft. But are the people listening? If we hold a Revolution, will anyone come?

Mystery Man said...


Let me tell you what I think is going to happen.

Next to nothing.

I suspect that the other screenwriters in blogger-land are too selfish, too weak-minded, and maybe even a little too lazy to truly study the craft as they should in order to become experts. Even Billy Mernit lamented this sad fact in his AMAZING recent post on lighting that he wants and tries to teach advanced material to his students but too many of them still can't grasp the fundamentals.

We, on the other hand, will study the craft in ways no one else has ever studied it that will enable us to become uber-experts on a par with film scholars.

What the current screenwriters do or think or whether they even listen to us is of no consequence, because we are next generation. We are setting out to surpass the old guard and the current writers in every conceivable way in our scripts. This is about being master screenwriters. Period.


Anonymous said...

A blogging revolution needs blogs, so I'm adding mine to the mix:


Let the Screenwriting Revolution Begin!

Piers said...

See, here's the thing:

Knowledge is Power.

Small people think that means they need to keep knowledge to themselves, to hoard it and use it against their enemies.

Big people know that means they need to share knowledge with others, and learn from them too - because that's how you all get more powerful.

It's not about keeping your enemies down. It's about helping your friends up.

Count me in.

Shares Dream World said...

And here is my blog. Let's talk about "Inciting Incidents".


Mystery Man, I've already added you to my list of fellow bloggers...

Matt, I'm doing the same...

Anonymous said...

I didn't do anything more than essentially put in a placeholder. I'll be posting my first entry in the morning.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Okay, I realize I need to go back and read this post and all the replies a THIRD time because obviously I missed something the first and second times but instead, I'll put it to you people ---

Exactly what IS IT I am supposed to do to get this revolution going?

Mystery Man said...

Maryan - You already do it to a certain degreee, which is why I have always loved your blog, because you're one of the very few screenwriters who are actually willing to open up a discussion about the something interesting about the craft that nobody else thinks to talk about - like your series on battle speeches. We all felt edified by that discussion. There are a thousand things for us to question and explore that we haven't even begun to think about. Consider Billy Mernit's recent post on lighting. That barely scratches the surface of the volumes of fascinating visual ways we can use silhouettes, etc, to serve our story. Do you see what I mean? All I want is for us screenwriters to talk about the craft. Why should I be the only one studying anything on my blog? What are the thousands of other discussions we could be having about the craft that I haven't thought to talk about?

GameArs said...

This is my first post to this oft talked about blog. It's everything I heard it was.

All I want to add is that my experience on Triggerstreet is the first experience I had that I would call "sharing" or revolutionary.

Previous to joining that site, I had read a book taken a brief class. This was all about "absorbing" and then going home and sitting alone and doing my best to apply what was absorded. It as about learning to imitate, which is essential, I think, before you find your own footing, your own platform to dive off of.

In that process, I learned the "how to" of screenwriting. I became a technician.

But in sharing thoughts, ideas and dreams with kinsmen (and kinswomen?) I learned to be a writer. Actually, I learned to let the writer take over for the technician. Now, that, for me, was a personal screenwriting revolution.

In the before times, the "absorbing" times, the thoughts in my head while I wrote were akin to: "Do I need another space before this scene heading?"

Today, when I draft a script, the my thoughts are not all my own. My thoughts are everyone's. They are like "shared" thoughts. Things float around like: "Remember how Matt described that battlefield?" and "How would Miriam handle this?" And sometimes: "Who's your daddy Mister Script? I am! Now take my words and become something wonderful!"

That's it. Share. Revolutionize. Grow.

pooks said...

Private Pooks, ready for duty.

After the revolution, can I be in charge of the margaritas?

Mickey Lee said...

Well I won't be starting my own blog -- believe me, the last thing I need is ANOTHER reason to procrastinate -- but I will be more than happy to support the revolution on this blog

Unknown Screenwriter said...

I just wanted to make the 39th comment...

Just kidding.

It's nice to see so many who want to learn the craft.

Any discussion is good. Let's face it... Even the pros don't get to discuss the craft enough. One of the reasons I like going to the gurus (except for McKee), is because I can immerse myself into the craft.

During the breaks, I can talk to others about the craft.

That's why I read books and articles... I love it so much that I'm like a sponge and absorb it all!

How often do we REALLY get to have these discussions? Any discussion that makes me see a different side is a discussion that I want to be involved in.

I can talk all day about structure because I love it that much yet the more I discuss it, the more I learn and the better it makes my writing.

I've always been of the mindset that I want EVERYONE to succeed. When I point something out to someone and they get that sparkle in their eye, I sleep very well that night.

Fuck the secrets.


Unknown Screenwriter said...

Oops. Except for who I am.

Actually, I just wanted to make the 40th comment too.


GimmeABreak said...

Sorry to hop in so late but I've been WRITING (rewriting, actually)!

Although I dearly love TS, I shy away (nay, I tuck tail and run) from discussion about format, dialog, structure, story, character, concept and subtext. Geez, is there anything left? There are so many at TS lurking about just waiting to argue - not debate, not discuss but bare-knuckle brawl - about anything (everything!) related to screenwriting. I want to learn, I want someone to point out what I can do better and a "nice job" is always appreciated if I do something well. It comes once in a while in a review but never on the message boards. It's quite sad, actually.

My name is Gimme and I'm a screenwriter (fuck, did I really say that?!). MM is the pusher on whom we must rely to get our rationality/civility fix. Harsh, yes. Pointed, usually. Painful, often. Appreciated, always.

miriamp said...

In a way it's disheartening to see so many people argue with what we all know is good, sound advice. Gimme, GameArs, Matt, and I can all name at least three people who won't sell anything because of this attitude.

We know people who are good writers, but who haven't made it the number one priority in their lives. I know a guy in Houston who has a really cute romcom languishing because he let a little criticism get him down.

I don't mind the people who argue on TS. It's their loss, not ours. And I'll continue to give them advice. It's all I have. If they don't want it, somebody else might come along and pick it up.

The Writer said...

I've been meaning to raise my pitchfork for a while. I mean it's just going to waste next to my copy of Story by McKee. Can we have a lynching too while we're revolting? Please!

Mystery Man said...

Welcome, Mr. Writer!

It's great to have you here.


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