Let's be honest, folks. It's Thanksgiving week in Hollywood and anyone who lives here knows what that means - no one's working. Judging from the fewer hits and comments yesterday, fewer of you are reading blogs this week too. That being the case, I don't want to waste a good Tuesday Talkback on a lame duck week. Still I feel obligated to offer some amusing content. Having just come from a particularly hilarious meeting of my writer's group, I think I'll offer these words of wisdom from some very funny guys in their late 20s.
On this particular day, our lone female member brought a pitch to the group, then almost immediately apologized for it. She started to say that she knew it was lame and goofy, but it was right up the alley of a particular contact she'd made and she knew this was the kind of material that buyer went for. She thought this was stupid - but I disagreed and offered the following pearl of wisdom:
"Don't write from the heart, write for the wallet."
I admit, it's a bit crass and cynical and I'm sure that several readers who fancy themselves serious artists are ready to fire off an angry comment disagreeing with me. The fact remains that screenplays are written to be sold. I've said this before and it's true. Yes, it's possible to write a wonderful, meaningful script and get it produced with the right buyer but never forget the key word in that equation: "Buyer."
No one writes screenplays just to write screenplays. People write screenplays to make movies. To turn that particular caterpillar into a butterfly, you need money. That money doesn't appear out of the ether - it comes from people who see it as an investment, hoping for a return.
In other words, making an artistic statement with a screenplay is most feasible if you can make a few bucks on it. As another member of my group put it, "It's not 'selling out,' it's 'buying in.'"
I also offered the following thesis to the group: "All you need to sell a script is one schmuck to represent you and another schmuck to buy it."
Our unofficial chairman then made this statement: "Hell! I'm two schmucks short!"
Aren't we all?