I’m done. I’m calling it. Throwing in the towel. Throwing up the sponge.
I am done writing screenplays.
It looks appealing right? Hobnobbing with powerful folks. Talking to movie stars, sitting behind a big, fancy camera while your words come to life in a movie. There is a lot more money in screenwriting than in other kinds. There are also quite a few more headaches.
I’m tired of headaches.
Several times I’ve had meetings with production studios that go something like this:
“Oh my god! We loved your script. I can totally see us making this into a movie. Let me talk to my people and get back to you.”
*2 Hours Later*
THEM: “Hey, my guys loved it, they just want to see these few relatively small things changed and we are good to go. ”
ME: “Sweet, these changes look good. It should only take me a couple weeks.”
THEM: “Wonderful, we are looking forward to it.”
THEM: “Do you have those revisions yet?”
ME: “Not yet, I’m pretty sure we agreed it would take about two weeks.”
THEM: “Of course, just checking.”
THEM: “Any progress??”
ME: “Still writing.”
THEM: “We have a production meeting coming up tomorrow, can you get it to us by then?”
ME: “Uhhh… well… yes?”
**24 HOURS OF CAFFEINE-INDUCED SUICIDE WRITING**
Finger’s bleeding and seeing double, I turn in the script in time for their meeting, wishing them luck.
**2 Weeks Later**
ME: “Hey guys, how did that meeting go? I haven’t heard from you.”
THEM: “Oh, yeah, we canceled the meeting, we’ll get back to you on the script this week.”
**3 Months later**
ME: “Uh, guys?”
THEM: “Oh, yeah, we love the project, we love your work, but we can’t do this project right now because [ *insert BS*]. We’d love to hear from you in the future though.”
Now, I fully appreciate that this is just how Hollywood works. I’ve been told time and again by successful people that you just have to wade through a river of crap to get anywhere in this town. Plenty of really talented screenwriters have gone through this for decades before getting a movie made.
After a while though, without any successes, I feel like Sisyphus. Why am I pouring my heart and soul into these characters and stories just to see them shredded by a gum-smacking production assistant due to no error of my own? This is wasted effort. All heat and no motion. Idling. Wasting fuel.
The frustrating thing is that it’s not the writing that’s the problem. It’s the ADD of the decision makers. They demand that you deliver ahead of deadline, and then once they have all the pieces they need to get a proposal together for financing they sit on it. Without anyone leaning on them they lose interest, the project goes cold, and eventually dies of exposure.
Why am I wasting my creative effort on this process?
I realize that other forms of creative writing have their own gatekeepers and shenanigans, but they’re nothing like Hollywood. I am relatively certain that with considerable effort and revision I will have large things published. Hollywood’s only guarantees are headaches and reduced life expectancy.
So, I’m done.