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ScreenwriterBones

Stories from a seasoned screenwriter. Take heart! Your creative source is infinite and un-ending. Sometimes Hollywood just rips up the roadmap back to it. The bottom line is that Hollywood is not at all as bad as it sounds. Additionally, it's worse than you can imagine. Remember to pack a sense of humor.

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I am a screenwriter living in Southern California. I've written screenplays for most of the Hollywood studios over the past 20 years. One of the uncredited writers of FANTASTIC FOUR, I wrote FIRE DOWN BELOW starring Steven Seagal, and the TV Movie 12:01 PM starring Martin Landau and MANEATER with Gary Busey. I have directed short films. I have written on numerous Hollywood studio assignments, some for big shot actors, some for small shot nobodies.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

So You're Meeting With a Director

Okay, Director meeting. Very good - that's a big step. The studio must really like you, and the director must like your ideas as passed down to him from your previous meetings, so good work. I've been in meetings where the director didn't want to meet with me and the studio insisted. Those are fun.

But here's what you want to know. Director meetings are different than a meeting with an executive, as in the executive meeting you're dealing with someone who juggles nine thousand thoughts a day from the story problems of your meeting, to the boss who looked at them funny, to the spouse who's demanding the renovation on the house move faster, to the deal they didn't make and passed on and look stupid. So your attention span window is very small. You don't mince words, you hit the broad strokes and big beats of your story with enthusiasm, and then pause - hoping the eyes haven't glassed over. If not, you go in for the detail because they ask.

Directors love detail. They care deeply about story and the character. It's compelled them enough to devote a year and a half of their life to it. Always start with character, the emotional arc, the ascent, descent, the theme. The heroic moment. The un-heroic moment. They think visually, love images, usually love the search for personal identity and how does it play out and reveal itself in your tale. That kind of thing. Fortunately, Directors tend to be Direct and you can sus out their energy, they will reveal where their concerns and delights lay, where they are opened and closed.

As a good friend of mine says:"As you get into bigger rooms with bigger shots it doesn't get any easier, but if you do it long enough, you drive a nicer car." Well, that's something to look forward to, isn't it?

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