“A Three Act Journey In The Land Of The Screenwriting Gurus“
Los Angeles Review of Books
November 21, 2012
For those of us who love movies and fancy ourselves as “writers,” there is something mysteriously alluring about screenwriting. Essays are hard. History is harder. Novels are a stone bitch. But what can be so difficult about the mechanics of plot, dialogue, and stage direction? “Surely,” one thinks, “I could write a better script than half of the idiots doing so for a living.”
Obligingly, a small industry has emerged designed to help the cinephile scribe get his scriptwriting thing on. For those of us hovering on the edge of writing our first treatment, Jonathan Zimmerman offers a warning that is at once delightful and foreboding: don’t even go there.
Leaving aside the possibility that Mr. Zimmerman is simply trying to limit his potential competition, there is something that rings true in his gently recounted frustration with the modest-sized shelf of books he has devoured about the screenwriting craft. This is not a success story – yet. Mr. Zimmerman is still writing “spec” scripts, cranked out in the hopes that someone will buy them or, seeing a talent in the words, hire him for some paid work.
I am pulling for Mr. Zimmerman to succeed. Even though it is a fickle business and the screenwriter is as dumped on by the literary establishment as by everyone else in the Hollywood food chain (from the studio heads all the way down to craft service), the work is underrated. My favorite films are the well-written ones, and I have a gut feeling that Hollywood’s competitive future depends more on great writing than anything else.
The question is “what?”
Meanwhile, I’m back to work on my treatment of a Miami Vice-meets-China pilot.
- The Business of Screenwriting: The Power of No (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Brain Training (scribblesinnotebooks.wordpress.com)
- Screenwriting for a Global Market (sylviamovie.wordpress.com)
- The Business of Screenwriting: Withdrawing screen credit and pseudonyms (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Screenwriting Competition Challenges Entrants to Create a Screenplay from “Just Go with It” Screenwriter Allan Loeb’s Logline (prweb.com)