Thursday, April 29, 2010

Guest Blog: Paying for coverage

Back for more, eh? Don't worry, Tripp's not gone yet. Bitter's out either sunning with his lady or trying to figure out how to watch Tuesday's Glee online from his hotel room. He'll be back Monday.

When The Bitter Script Reader told me that he got at least one offer a week from someone willing to pay to have him read their script, I couldn’t believe it. When I explored the internet a little bit and got a sense of just how many people want you to pay them for their opinions, I really couldn’t believe it. Talk about flushing your money down the toilet. How is any of this supposed to help you?

And then there are websites where you can upload your script for anyone to read and give you notes! At least they don’t charge, but why do you care what Jonas Bumblefuck in Montana thinks about your script?

Ask any writer and they’ll tell you that the worst part about being a screenwriter is all the notes from every idiot with an opinion. No script was ever made better from the development process. How many screenwriters have you heard rail against the idiot director, agent, producer or studio executive who made them do something that ruined their script?

I’ve got personal experience in having scripts get ruined by the idiots at the studio. In fact, I’m pretty sure that studio tool Camden Carr personally destroyed one of my projects with his input, then had his boss kill the movie when I wouldn’t play ball. Then somehow a year later, they release a film - by another writer – that bears a shocking resemblance to my script, plus the ideas they wanted me to do. It’s pretty clear they just brought in a writer on assignment and more or less dictated the story to them.

Real screenwriters have their own voice. Real screenwriters know every inch of their story inside and out – and real screenwriters don’t need anyone else telling them how to write.

Look, did Da Vinci ask all his friends for their input on the Mona Lisa, or did he just fucking paint?

So why would you not only ask people to give you their opinions on your script, but then pay them for all their misguided ideas? Who bothers posting their script on a website so any idiot can comment on it, so long as they reach the minimum standard of having a modem and a computer?

No one should tell you what to write. Screenwriters have bought into this myth for years, and that’s why screenwriting is a compromised art. Some idiot whose only qualification is that they’ve seen a lot of movies is gonna tell YOU how to write? Fuck! I have season tickets for the Lakers but I don’t act like I could get on the court. (I can - and have - gotten on some of the Laker Girls, though. I know, like that's hard.)

Stand up for yourselves. Never take any notes. You obviously wrote it that way for a reason.

Don’t let anyone make you question your art. Now go out there and write!

Tripp Stryker thinks that losers always whine about their writing. Winners go out and fuck the D-girl! Show him some love at


  1. Not everyone has the self-esteem to think that what they wrote is the best thing in the world. And not everyone has friends who are experts in movie writing, who can provide you for free a real analysis of what works and what doesn't in your script.
    For the thing I'm writing now, I sent out the treatment to close friends, to some screenwriters, to a couple of friend who are analysts and a couple of paid ones too.
    An Oscar nominated screenwriter friend wrote me a letter praising my work and encouraging me in completing the script, the paid Hollywood analyst wrote me instead that he couldn't see the story.
    What helped me was finding that some had problems in getting the characters' motivations. They were maybe too subtly hinted so I know that some dialogues need a bit of exposition, something I don't like doing unless it's necessary.

  2. "Look, did Da Vinci ask all his friends for their input on the Mona Lisa, or did he just fucking paint?"

    Let me know if you ever start your own blog. Consider me a follower.

    Yet until I become the Da Vinci of screenwriting, I will always welcome critique. I am all about making everything I do better. And as the ultimate creator, I make the final decision. That is until my script(s) get bought/sold/optioned. Not mine anymore, no matter how attached I am to the content. That's why they give you money.

    And how many times have you read an optioned spec script that compelled you as a random PDF reader to break out your magic marker and fuck up your monitor/screen in the name of structure, plot, character and dialogue?

    As far as Camden Carr (of the possibly defunct Cine-a-Craze) goes... I don't know what he did to you, but he has a wealth of insight that he dishes out from a pirate chest with a gold-toothy grin. My kind of guy. And apparently, he follows a creed agreeable to yours. Like attracts like?

  3. This series is one of the best arguments I can imagine for never having a guest take over one's blog.

  4. I know, right? Bitches be telling me to create a protagonist and shit but I don't play by those rules. The explosion IS the protagonist, haters.

  5. Funny this came up, i just watched the hour long Robert McKee interview off of Unknown's blog. And he mentions how the Hollywood secret is... stories that are changed by rewrites, development, and production, but come out better, writers never complain. But if it's worsened and a flop then the writers make a big deal.

    But I sure as hell won't bend over backwards for changes and rewrites if I don't like 'em. I'm the one doing the work, I'm the one who needs to be persuaded.

  6. I actually prefer non-screenwriters/writers to read my scripts than "industry professionals."

    I use a mix of people that are left brained and right brained. That way I get a balanced review of the script. The left brained people will point out the errors in logic in the script, and the right brained people will point out anything emotional that doesn't fit with the story or characters.

    Using online groups/services is practically useless. Take for instance, Triggerstreet.

    Triggerstreet is domineered by three distinct groups:

    1. Format Nazis. They concentrate solely on format "errors" or anything that doesn't fit the strict paradigm laid down by Trottier.

    2. Idiots who like just about anything and will give scripts that have no redeeming value whatsoever good ratings.

    3. "Triggerstreet Pros" Note, I didn't say professional screenwriters. These people seem to spend 90% of their time logging posts and writing reviews of other people's scripts and it shows with how shitty their own writing is.

  7. Fame or Famine - I'll likely never start up my own blog unless I'm being paid for it. I've got nothing against dropping by in here from time to time and guest-blogging if Bitter asks me back, though.

  8. There's a thin line between arrogance and confidence. Film is, ultimately, a collaborative medium. DaVinci was schooled for years before he was considered a master. He also pioneered much too, but this was after he humbly learned all he could from the individuals and things around him. The root word of Hubris means to not be able to listen. I'm not saying we as writer's shouldn't be confident about our ideas. I'm not saying we shouldn't fight for the good ideas and fend off the bad ideas. I'm saying that if we, as writers, lose the ability to listen, who will listen to us when we want to speak? We can still be confident without being exclusionary.

  9. Seriously, what's bsr going to think when he comes back and sees a clown has been jerking all over his persian rug?

  10. One of the biggest pieces of shit I've read came from a screenwriting guru on the internets. This person should know better but cannot.

    After suffering through part of MR. DEEDS with Adam Sandler this afternoon, I'm really askeert that bad writing isn't recognized by way too many people in Hollywood. Turning Capra into shit is just way too fucking irresponsible.

    Whenever I hear someone whining about real screenwriters, there is a potshot at those striving to become a real screenwriter. The MFA & trust fund baby "real screenwriters" are the worst whiners. Write wherever the fuck you are and whoever the fuck you are. The whiners are just askeert of unqualified folks from flyover states who can fart more talent than most "real screenwriters".

    I'm ecstatic to see a fairly unique and marketable concept now and then. Start with that, and then try not to fuck it up too badly. And as far as Sparky or Trippster or Sparkles or whatever the fuck your name is, some people are willing to help someone polish a gem. Seems like your shittytude got your idea stolen...Sparky.

  11. Wow,, very big words.
    And words I couldn't disagree with more.

    Yes, the writer is the ultimate author and voice of his/her work.
    But this is Hollywood. It's a business. Lots of money and many people are involved. Learning to take notes politely, graciously, and still finding a way to keep your backbone and deliver a script that makes everyone happy...that's the business. That's the name of the game. That's how you pay your rent.

    If you want to stand on high horses and not listen to anyone.....good luck. My guess is that's gonna get lonely and broke....quick!

    I write TV. In TV if you don't want to take notes...NEXT. There is always some else willing to step and fetch and do the studio's bidding. If you take their money to make your work, you're on their payroll. And come the fuck on...Da Vinci didn't eat unless he had patrons. The Medicis of Florence paid his rent. Dude did so much work on commission....and he still managed to show his genius.

    As a script consultant and writer...I know firsthand that a script can always be improved. Writers can't see everything on their own. They just can't, it's a writer blindspot. I also know that writers who are resistant to notes often don't get past that first line of defense. You think people want to work with that? Hell no. Shut up and take the note. You want that money, work for it! It's a job, it's not a film club made for your happy special thoughts to go to screen.

    And I know my material has always improved when I learn to shut up, listen, take notes, and implement them. That's the process. It's a collaborative medium, bottom line.

    Sure, there are a lot of jackass people waiting to take your money for a script read. Figure out who and what works for you. But if it's not a consultant, it's going to be an agent, a studio person, someone is always giving you notes. Learn to take them. Learn to listen. That's just as much a screenwriting necessity as is coming up with big ideas.

    I'm amazed at how small-minded this post is. Why would you stop writers from improving themselves and becoming better? Writing is a very long process, I hope people do whatever they can to find ways to learn more and break down a very difficult learning curve.

    If you can maintain your voice, your backbone, any sense of integrity, and still be a pleasant person to work with....chances are you're working as a writer. If you're a pain the ass, ego-driven, sure-you're-way-is-the-only-way writer .....NEXT.

    (and don't give me some "Aaron Sorkin is a ego-driven writer and he's successful" comeback. You're not fucking Aaron Sorkin.)

  12. Ohhhh, I just got caught up on this week's posts. You're a parody of a douche. Funny. I'm laughing silently on the inside.

    Hasn't Tucker Max worn this act out already?

  13. If this blog entry sends more writers over to TheTVGal's awesome blog "This is Your Pilot Speaking" then this week of posts will have been well worth it. It's one of the best new blogs out there, and her takedown of Tripp demonstrates just a few of the reasons why.