How to be a Writer in HollywoodSo how do you become a writer in Hollywood?
Talking to Raymond Chandler about the fights of Hollywood authors
Both in his scripts and his novels, Mr. Chandler has achieved his own individual achievement without ever loosing track of the problems that the author encounters in the recording theatres. You can easily be hated, easily smiled at, easily mocked. One of the best mockings was made by those who have never gone through a studiotor before, some of the best mockings of self-centered minds who left angrily - not to mention collecting their last paycheck - and left them nothing but the delicious flavor of their personality and a messed-up gig for the weary hack.
The sickness of overstatement can be captured even as far away as New York, where Hollywood believes that all truly smart human beings are alive (as they obviously do not reside in Hollywood). One of the less dazzling weekly intellectuals who recently commented on a particular script, the film reviewer noted that it showed "how boring a few ordinary $3,000 a weeks can be to write.
" Hopefully this reviewer will not be shocked to find out that 50 percent of Hollywood's scriptwriters last year made less than $10,000 and that he could rely on his finger to earn the number that a regular salary near the number he so despised. I' m not sure whether they can be described as ordinary authors or not.
I' m not on a mission for Hollywood. Creating a painting should certainly be a captivating experience. is a fair-goer's heaven. Carnies don't mind, they take advantage of what someone else has done. Publishers and game producers are also carnies, but they use what has already been done.
Hollywood's carnies are controlling production - and degrading it. After all, the film' s core is the script; it is essential, without it there is nothing. It all comes from the script, and most of it is an application that, skillful as it may be, is not in the same artistic form as writing a script.
In Hollywood, however, the story is scripted by an employed writer under the control of a manufacturer - an assistant without authority or choice over the use of his own trade, without property, and, even if he pays extravagant money, almost without honour for it. I' m conscious that there are colourful economical grounds for the Hollywood system of "getting the story out".
Images are expensive - truth. Writers only spend their own hours (and, by the way, their lives, their aspirations and all the diverse experience that eventually made them into writers) - that's also truth. It is the producer's responsibility to make the product saleable and solid - truth.
There are few failings the author can endure; the author can smell for ten years and still make his thousands a weeks - that is also truth. I' m not interested in why the Hollywood system existed or continues to exist, what kind of hard fights for power it came out of and how much it makes out of poor images.
I' m only interested in the fact that there is no such thing as an artwork of the script, and it will never take as long as the system takes, because it is the nature of this system that it tries to take advantage of a gift without giving it the right to be a gift.
This is not possible; you can only kill the gift, which is exactly what happens - if there is one to do. A talkative editor (probably Bennett Cerf) once noticed that there are Hollywood authors who earn two thousand dollar a weeks who have had no ideas for ten years.
It exaggerates - backwards: There are Hollywood authors who make two thousand a weeks, who never had an image in their life, who never wrote a photographed sequence, who couldn't make two cent a liter on the cellulose paper industry if their life was dependent on it. It is full of such authors, although there are few with such high wages.
They', to put it quite frankly, are a rather boring amount of hackers, and most of them know it, and they take their footsteps and their wages and try to be adequately thankful to an industy that allows them to be much more opulent than they could be anywhere else. I have no doubts that most of them want to be much better authors than they are, want to have enough strength and openness and fantasy to make a proper livelihood in an arts of writing that has the grandeur of a free work.
on the historic epic scenes in which the masculine actor looks like imitators, and the beautiful masculine planet only looks a little too starlit for a baby who has shared half his whole lifetime with his husband; and last but not least on those images of profound societal significance in which everyone is contemplative and adult and sincere and the more serious issues of living are solved in a single-minded trust in the integrity of the constitution, the holiness of the house and the supreme importance ofstream cuisine.
The majority of guys and gals who are writing for the monitor never get this far. Authors of these entrails are leaked before they begin. Those cheesy images just can't pay for it. Don't make me think that there are no authors with real skills in Hollywood. For me, the interesting thing about Hollywood's talents is not how few or how many they are, but how little their talents are value.
It is interesting - but hardly surprising, once you have accepted the assumption that authors are busy writing scripts about science, that as authors they have a special talent and education for the profession, and then are hindered from doing it with some kind of independency or definitiveness, about the idea that as mere authors they know nothing about making images, and of course, if they don't know how to make images, they can't possibly do it.
It' gonna take a maker to tell you that. The concept of "producer" is also very vaguely defined. A few manufacturers are themselves mighty, and some are little more than legends for the front line. Some - few, I believe - get less than some of the authors who work for them.
They even say that in a big Hollywood studios there are less important than authors, not only in their profitability, but also in terms of prestigiousness, importance and aesthetics. Of course, it is a very large recording room, where all kinds of inexplicable things are happening and can hardly be perceived.
My diploma dissertation does not take into account the individual skills of a manufacturer. However, when it comes to scripting, the author is the chief; the author either gets along with him and his own idea (if he has any) or goes out. That means both personality and artistry, and no author of excellence will for a long time resign himself to it without renouncing what has made him an author of excellence, without tarnishing the subtle margin of his spirit, without gradually becoming more of an accomplice than a maker, a sleek and easy companion than a handyman of the origin.
There is hardly any distinction between how a writer perceives himself as a man and his creator; the fact that the creator can alter and disrupt and ignore his work can only serve to reduce this work in its concept and to make it mechanically and indifferently executed. There' s little witchcraft of the words or emotions or situation that can stay lively after the continuous bone-scraping audits that have been enacted on the Hollywood author by decrees through the act of domination.
The fact that this kind of magical survival, here and there, through another and even more rare kind of magical, more or less reaches the display more or less undamaged, is the rare wonder that prevents Hollywood's fistful of good authors from slitting their throat. and it doesn't merit the men who do it.
His notion of what constitutes a good image is still as youthful as his use of a talented writer is offensive and humiliating. It is his concept of "production value" to spend a million dollar on a tale that any good writer would discard. Hollywood makes images for such purpose with love and care.
Film is both a great industrial and a conquered arts. 500 images a year must be taken, or the theatres will become darkness, innumerable numbers of poeple will be kicked out of work, finance organisations will stagger, and banks will jump out of their offices again.
There is not enough skill in Hollywood to make a dime out of five hundred images, even though it might find tales on which to build them. Men with the cash and the ultimative powers can do anything they want with Hollywood - as long as they don't care about loosing their investments.
You can kill every head of your recording studios over night, whether under agreement or not; every celebrity, every filmmaker, every director-invidual. The only thing they can't break is the Hollywood system. They tried, but the carnies always won. In the long run - in the long run - what they can never beat is talents, not even the creation of them.
There' s no evidence that the Hollywood writer is about to take genuine oversight of his work, a right to select what this work should be (except the rejection of works that he can only do within tight limits), or even a right to determine how the value in the work selected by the creator should be emphasized.
There' s no guaranty that his best line, best idea, best scenes will not be altered or omitted by the filmmaker on stage or let fall to the ground during the later editing - for the easy but important reasons that the best things in every painting, from an artistic point of view, are always the simplest to omit, always spoken mechanistic.
There' s no effort in Hollywood to use the writer as an important performer for the picture-buying audience; there is any effort to keep the general publics ignorant about his essential contributions to the arts that the film contains. That first painting I worked on was Oscar-nominee ( "if that means something"), but I wasn't even asked to the media show that took place right at the gym.
A highly acclaimed image made by another recording company from a tale I have written used literal words from the tale in its ad campaigns, but my name was never featured in a television station, journal, poster or paper I have seen or listened to - and I have seen and listened to a lot.
For me this disregard is of no personal importance; a Hollywood by-line is trite for any author. For those whose entire work in Hollywood is not trite, because it is part of a conscious and winning scheme to diminish the pro scriptwriter to the position of an aide, cursory postponed (while he is in the room), substantially ignored, and even in his most outstanding accomplishments meticulously cleared away from any possible award that might otherwise come down on the celebrity, the producers, the director.
WHEN all this is real, why would a writer with real skills even work in Hollywood? Obviously, the reasons are not enough; few scriptwriters own houses in Bel-Air, lighted swimminpools, women in minkcoats, three valets, and the breath of the weary wack.
In Hollywood, dollars buy beyond the pleasures of being in an surreal realm, connecting with a small group of folks who think, speak and have nothing but images, most of them poor, and the dubious enjoyment of seeing celebrity performers and performers in some of the most rude places in the game.
I' m not saying that the Hollywood company is more boring or distracted than the money company: But I guess the reality is that the Hollywood vets don't see how little they get, how many boring egoists have to laugh at them, how many shabby folks have to see them as pals, how little actual performance is possible, how much kitschy garbage their lives contain.
Hollywood's shallow kindness is pleasing - until you find out that almost every arm hides a blade. Accompanying men and woman who take the fictional trade seriously during working time gives the writer's solitary spirit a sobriety. You don't even make your own cheques in Hollywood - and what you think is what a production or recording studios manager likes.
After a while the ruthless dictatorship won't last forever, the dictatorship production is a bit uncertain, the head-heavy filmmaker has long since become a hoax in his own recording studios; after a while even Techno Color won't be able to rescue him. It is hoped that a dilapidated and temporary system will go by, that the bloated humpback penguins will somehow be taught that only authors can compose scripts and only proud and impartial authors can compose good scripts, and that the current ways of interacting with such people will destroy the very power with which images have to survive.
There is the intensive and wonderful expectation that the Hollywood authors themselves - as they are able to do so - realize that typing for the monitor is not a task for amateur and semi-authors, whose issues are always resolved by someone else. It' s the authors' own weak point as artisans that allows the supreme ego to free them from initiatives, fantasy and ingenuity.
Even if only a fourth of Hollywood's top paying scriptwriters could on their own create a fully-fledged, fully-fledged, photographic script that requires only enough intervention and debate to safeguard the studio's investments in performers and guarantee adequate liberty from slander and censure problems, the producers would take on their true role of co-ordinating and communicating the various trades that make up an image;
if only he knew how to spell, the filmmaker - heaven help his proud spirit - would reduce himself to the shameful job of making images as they are designed and made. Nevertheless, it is only a little more than three years ago that the big (and only this year the small) studio was obliged, after a long and fierce battle, to deal with the authors according to a sensible set of standards of business etiquette.
It was not really a fight against the film business that the authors fought, but only against certain mighty forces within it - people like themselves - who until then had glorified all the fame and reputation and most of the cash and could keep doing so by becoming the world's real creators of images.
But, so far, the maps have been piled against the writer. When there is no scripting skill, the cause is at least partially that there is no technological knowledge and practical experience through which it can be learnt. There' s no script literary collection, as the scripts are studio scripts and are only shown within their secure partitions.
There' s no such thing as criticism because there are no reviewers of the script; there are only reviewers of feature films as an entertaining film, and most of these reviewers know nothing of the means by which the film is made and placed on filmuloid. When you don't know how images are made, you can't talk to any authorities about how to construct them; when you do, you're preoccupied with trying.
There' s no manual relationship in the recording studios themselves; the author knows very little about the filmmaker's technological issues and nothing about the superlativity of the editor. Its notion of an efficient sequence is something that has to be fired from a staircase or a squirrel trap; or a dialogue that is so stable that the filmmaker is forced to take pictures of it from nine different perspectives in order to give it a feeling of movement.
Indeed, no part of the extensive technological know-how that Hollywood contains is made available to the new author in a systematic and natural way in a recording room. You tell him to look at images - that is, study geometry by looking at a building. But then they sent him back to his bunny stable to create little shots, which his maker will tell him between the phone conversations with his blonde and his drinking buddies that he should have been mistaken.
Probably the manufacturer is right, the scenery should have been rewritten. This is not what the manufacturer did. Also, the spirit of mental misery in which the employed writer works would violate his respect. Despite everything I have said, the authors of Hollywood win their fight for fame.
An increasing number of them are themselves becoming actors, manufacturers and stage managers of their own scripts. Some of the guys are doing well (and some of them may even take good pictures). We should all be happy, because the trend to become a showman is in the accepted traditions of literature as practised under the cam.
Because the best thing Hollywood can tell a writer is that he is too good to be just a writer.