Screenwriter InterviewScript Writer Interview
com and on their Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.
Stories from the script: Five things I've learnt to interview scriptwriters.
Seating for a heart-to-heart conversation with a dozen of Hollywood's best authors was a transforming one. Though I have been a screenwriter for many years, most of my work has been independently based, so the collection of footage for Tales from the Script has enabled me to take a course in the reality of filmmaking at the highest level of the movie business.
One recurrent topic during the interview in this work is the long (and painful) period of timeframe from the minute someone starts to become a screenwriter until the minute the dreams come to fruition. "Don't say you're a screenwriter. "Stephen Susco, who has written both the US versions of The Grudge and its sequels, put the same concept into a numeric context and explained that he had written twenty-five scripts before receiving recognition for a film that was made.
To win the screenplay competition is not about pace. From Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) to Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) to Justin Zackham (The Bucket List), the book is full of inspirational narratives about authors who began their career with inventive storytelling that inspired the Hollywood world. However, in today's atmosphere, the author who emerges from the darkness is a scarce being.
I' ll have John August, the screenwriter of Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, record this: "One tends to have a bunch of things that one would like to turn into films, but the truth is that most things that actually become films are not brand-new notions. By this point in the process, the films being made are already built on an existing set of IPR.
I would have a better shot at sellin' The Movie than with an inventive notion. It' a very odd age. Okay, I'm deceiving on this point, because if there's one thing I really appreciate before I even start working on stories from the script, it's being cynical.
As a result of the rejection of juvenile naivety, the importance of hecticness was discovered, and the realization that a carreer in the movie is being developed stone by stone. However, in conversation with the authors who took part in the stories from Scripture, I came across an interesting shade of cynicism: it can be a good power in moderation. However, it can be a good power.
No-one was more eloquent (or amusing) on this point than John D. Brancato, who together with his pen pal Michael Ferris managed to survive the work on big-budget shows like Catwoman, The Game and the last two Terminator films. "I' ve been reading scripts, many of them where the author obviously hated what he was doing, and thinks it's B.S. This kind of stereotyping is harmful.
Filming generally aches. So, I try not to be a cynic with the script, with the film - while being a cynic with any other thing that goes with it. I have seen how the ups and downs of a Hollywood carreer have taken their lives out of them.
It is a heart-rending series, and even the most powerful humans are experiencing self-doubt after a relapse after a relapse. But the only hopes new authors have is that things will become simpler once they are in place. However, when it comes to a successful outcome, a whole series of problems become part of daily living.
To round it all off, the ongoing pressures to surpass or at least surpass the kind of achievement that authors bring to the table in the first place. It' truely that some of the experienced authors in Tales from the Script seem to be able to keep Hollywood in sight; we should all be as cheerful as the ever-young Larry Cohen (Phone Booth).
However, I recognise myself and almost all the authors in Tales from the Script, in this comment by screenwriter-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo (My Favorite Year): "An author-friends of mine once described scriptwriters as low self-esteem egos. Scolding Hollywood is the simplest thing in the underworld. Anyone who dives their feet in the ocean out here immediately realizes that the movie industry is a madhouse, because there is no clear way to become a screenwriter, there is no clear way to preserve the integrity of scripts, and there is no clear way to maintain a long screenwriter careers.
Like William Goldman said many a time and as he reiterated during his astonishing stories from the script interview: "Nobody knows anything. "We all invent it as we go on, trying to find out how to make great work, how to get other folks to put in that work, and then how to make sure that the work gets to the display in something that resembles its initial state.
It' s simpler to divide your artwork and the number of authors who succeed in Hollywood is eclipsed by the number of authors who do not. There is nothing that moves the audience with the strength of a great Hollywood film, and when you get to the top of that hill, you can live a dramatic life.
This is why it's so hard to achieve script successes that it's rewarding for the few happy people who get to the top. "When I was twelve years old, I knew I wanted to be a novelist, and in every single movie there is a point when I am twelve again.
Writer/film maker Peter Hanson is co-editor of the Tales from the Script book: Fifty Hollywood screenwriters tell their tales. He also directs the accompanying film for the script, Tales from the Script, which will be published this coming vern. by First Run Feature. Some of his other works are The Cinema of Generation X and Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel, and his other films are Every Pixel Tells a Story and Stagehand.