Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Better, Bitter Return

Here is my attempt at returning from the craziest hiatus that you can possibly imagine. I hope that you’ll accept me back and find some benefit from my experience as a writer.

My experience as a writer; let’s talk about that.
Several months ago, I met a woman who claimed to be a development executive. She claimed to be a formidable opponent for any of the greats, capable of taking a rough Tarantino script and making the real movie magic happen. She was surely something special, right?

I had given advice to a fellow writer, based on his clunky script sample, and had critiqued his script just as I would anyone else’s’, even my own. He’d waited for weeks for some feedback, for someone to take the time to read his rough ‘first ten’, someone who was willing to help him work out the bugs and smooth things over. No one had offered to take the time, so I stepped up to the plate. I could see every mistake and I knew what was causing the breakdown in his story. I took the script apart, piece by piece, and explained to him what didn’t work, why it didn’t work, and how to solve the problem. He seemed satisfied with my help, and I welcomed him to it any time he needed assistance.

Enter stage right; the lady who knew it all, the development executive.

“You don’t know as much and you think you know.” She says to me. “You’re giving him bad advice.”

The bad advice? He had wastefully built a wall of text, describing the color and paint texture of a house in which a character resided. I had advised him to shorten this, condense it to its essence and keep a rhythmatic flow, so that it still sounded like a story when rolled off the tongue, yet kept him from going overboard on the ‘too long, too clunky’ edge.

This wonderfully wise lady was so quick and eager to tell me that I was giving him such poor advice, that it seemed I wouldn’t be able to come back at her quick enough with explanations. At one point, I wondered if she was even listening to what I was saying; recognizing it, thinking about it. She convinced the lad that I was wrong because she started spitting out her “qualifications” in a rapid-fire hard ass manner.

I, respectfully, digressed from the situation. What’s the point of arguing someone who’s bat shit crazy, right?

Several conversations with the bat lady took place thereafter, all of which proved nothing to me as far as her position in the film industry. In turn, I became curious with a spits worth of suspicion. To the Google cave!

Searching her name brought no validation, as anything involving her was merely a personal profile that she, herself, had made at any given writer’s forum/community. The last nail in her coffin was when I didn’t find any listing for her on IMDB.com because, if she was truthful in what she was claiming to be, she should have been listed and sharing a meet-and-greet photo or two with legends like Coppola and Scorsese.

So let me warn all of you new writers and even some of you seasoned writers; be prepared to butt heads from time to time with a pretentious poser who’s hell-bent on proving their worth over yours. Be prepared to take a verbal beat-down from a scorned screenwriter wannabe who couldn’t cut it in the business so they lurk around writing forums in search of weak prey to devour and spit out in order to gain their “jollies”. They are out there and they will try to convince you that they’re bigger and higher on the food chain.

And to you, bat shit crazy lady, if you’re out there in cyberspace reading my final words to you; stop what you’re doing. You’re lying, you’re misrepresenting yourself and you’re (more than likely) stealing money off of poor, desperate writers who have naively come to the wrong doorstep in search of a guiding light in this big, crazy, competitive world. While too few out there are willing to front you out and growl back, I am not. I will defend these young writers who wear their heart and pencil on their sleeve. I will stand up for them and tell you that what you’re doing is NOT fair.

Call me tactless, call me uncouth, call me whatever you want for fronting you out via a blog. The truth is that I don’t care because I’ve been where all of these new writers have been and I remember just how hard it was. I will defend them if no one else will.
To my readers, I truly apologize for the animosity, but I’m vicious when it comes to defending my beliefs and righting a wrong. There is no shame in fighting for what you believe in.

2 comments:

Matt said...

Damn, doesn't seem right, but you are right when you say such people exits.. in all realms.

From a fellow writer to another, I would like to share my gratitude for the advice you have given me on my screenwriting endeavor. By far, the most helpful. Keep doing what your doing.

GopherGrrrL said...

You're very welcomed, Matt. I'm glad to have had the chance to meet you and offer any advice.

What has made me the most angry about the situation I ranted on was that this particular woman charges enormous fees for script coverage. She can't even give simple advice that is accurate, yet she can suck dry the pockets of a struggling writer.

For as long as people like her exist, only to serve as a hungry, swarming vulture to the entire backbone of film entertainment-- because we, the writers, are the backbone-- I will be here. I will be here reading and attempting to help at no charge. Why? Because I don't need money to persuade me to help someone. Just being able to help is enough. Sure; my word is certainly not as good as Speilberg's or Tarantino's, but sometimes any help is a huge help.