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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.


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.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Dinner and Inspiration from a good Friend

Had dinner with a friend tonight, a guy who works at a very high level, the exec. producer/director of a top ten crime show last year, currently signed to a feature deal to direct, while keeping his hand in directing other hour dramas. And he can also walk and chew gum at the same time.

He had some particularly inspirational moments at dinner with me, and as I'm usually the one being inspirational, it meant a great deal to me to have that energy directed at me on this occasion. I pass on his advice and thoughts, as it pertains to every one of you out there who wants a career in this town, and wants to keep a career in this town.

His thoughts are simple, but that's why they're important. And they're not just for beginners, but for the vets who've been at it over ten years who begin to double think themselves, or get clouded by the white noise of feedback from agents, managers and lawyers:

1) Write original material, keep control and ownership.
2) Stop trying to get the re-write job and please everyone in the room, write your own work.
3) Don't look to others for validation. You are enough. They are lucky to be working with you.
4) Forget trying to win positive feedback from your agent/manager/lawyer.
5) Stop trying to please your wife, your significant other, your partner, or your friends.
6) Be ready to give it all up and go live in a motel if you're not doing what you want to, so you can do what you want to.

Sound harsh? It is. Sound freeing? It should. He's not saying don't pass up work. He's saying put your energy into defining your work at the highest level, and you will get the highest level of return. He has directed/produced tv and film. He said he knows how much power and control the writer really has, because he's had to deal with scripts so much. And the most power comes from the original script. The script with the original voice, the writing that's not diluted by the endless advice and warnings of your representation and family members.

Believe me, it seeps in. Stay true to your idea, your vision, stay pure.

It's really really good advice.

And I'm going to take it, as I believed I've slacked off here on a few of his points.

Now start writing.


Blogger The Moviequill said...

Great stuff, thanks. I particularly like #5. Part of me seems to always sacrifice a bit of myself trying to make everyone happy, but who do I look at in the mirror every morning brushing my teeth?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...


Wednesday, July 06, 2005  

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