Monday, October 26, 2015

The disadvantages of writing anything, anymore.

My director friend and I often talk about the fact that we've probably seen every kind of storyline there is. Being boomers, we go back to Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy and of course, Casablanca. We weren't born then, but we got to see them on TV. 

Black & white TV, that is. My parents got their first color TV in 1962.

But adding it all up, we've seen everything at least a dozen times over. I've watched The Searchers for at least fifty times.  And the Three Stooges too.

So does that mean it's all over for writers?

If it's any help, theoretical physiscist Michio Kaku says that there'll always be room for content (aka writers). And there'll always be room for new audiences.

But the only issue that I can see is this; there are supposedly 10,000 screenwriters in WGA, nobody knows the real amount but it's somewhere around there.

And there's a few thousand aspiring writers who graduate in film from college or other schools. And some of them never even wrote a screenplay. Maybe a lot of them.

So, if you're looking at the numbers, don't. It'll just make you sick. Especially when you go to wherein writers leap at any type of writing gig that producers (or supposed producers).

You can find producers looking for writers and for the most part, they want writers who have studio credits or Nichol award writers or anyone who has a script, or wants to write.

The catch is that most of these jobs are also for free.

One producer had these demands for him having interest in your project. But you have to show him your idea and your first draft and the first season's scripts and a co-partner to produce and a deal with a network and and all the arcs for the next two seasons.

My answer would be: What exactly did this producer do for anyone? And in reality he has made one movie and owns trucks for movies. 

The idea of getting writers for free was rare until hundreds of schools and colleges and universities began throwing out screenwriters at a frenzied pace. I know this because I taught UCLA extension classes for screenwriting.

I taught variations of screenwriting which began with a complete screenplay in eight weeks. Of that class, I actually got about ten screenplays from ten of them and the other five almost finished.

My next course, however, was now "the first act" and so on, in which I realized UCLA was extending classes to make more money. We had the first act course, the second act course, etc. etc.

So with all these writers coming out, and already a flood of writers who have never found a job, there are a lot of writers out there.

So where are the jobs that Michio suggests?

It's not on, nor The Black List, nor any of those useless sites.

Some of it is "code", but that's not really writing. 

The only real thing, is to find something that you really like, a story you've always wanted to write or a story you have written. You've read my blog on how I created the spec pilot and how it became real. 

And this is the hardest part. You really have to like your idea, you tell all your friends or anyone who will listen. You have to sleep with it and wake up at night to put down a note or two that you may have dreamed about. I use a little recorder that I've learned how to manipulate in complete darkness.

Your idea has to become your life even if it takes years. My screenplay Emperor of Mars was written in 1989 and has been optioned six times or so, and I still push it. BTW you can read a little of Emperor of Mars on Amazon. I think I have a link on my Stuff on the left side of the blog.

And don't let anyone say it's useless.

Because as long as I have been in the "business", someone has always told me every year for thirty-five years  that "this (fill in the year) year has been the worst there ever was."

And I'm starting a new screenplay in a week.

1 comment:

  1. I like the recorder in the night. Do you remember the Keith Richards book? He had a cassette recorder next to his bed and would hum a tune in to it if he woke up with one on his mind. One night he dreamt of writing 'Satisfaction' and he recorded it during the night then went back to sleep. When he woke up he kind of remembered and when he got the machine out it had run to the end of the cassette so he rewound it to find him humming the opening chords and tune then going back to sleep followed by 45 minutes of snoring. Don't know if all that was in the book but that's what he said here on the radio yesterday on Desert Island Discs (Radio 4 BBC).