Friday, November 30, 2012

Read screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe's blog!

Earlier this week, screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe launched his new blog and one of his first entries was a reposting of something he said on the Done Deal Pro discussion boards.  Entitled "Mom, Dad? Where Do Movies Come From?" It attacks a myth I've also derided on this blog - the idea that Hollywood is only interested in buying terrible scripts.

I can’t stress this enough: most of the writers working professionally in Hollywood are on a scale from very solid to fucking amazing. Sure, there are some hacks, and sure, we all wonder how they got there; you’ll have that in any profession, creative or not. Hell, I’m probably one of them.

But for the most part, when you go to see a movie that just absolutely blows, you can bet good money on the fact that it didn’t start out as a piece of shit. Is this always true? Of course not. Generally? I certainly believe so.

[...]Most terrible movies start off as really, really, really good scripts.

For more, check out the rest of the post, where Geoff gives a painstakingly detailed breakdown of the development process that most scripts face on their way to production.  And while you're over there, bookmark Geoff's blog.   It promises to be a repository of straight-shooting advice that Geoff has gained via his time as both a professional screenwriter and a studio reader.  In fact, he's even soliciting questions, so if you've got any burning queries you'd like answered from someone who's sat on both sides of the development desk, now's your chance.

Even better for us, Geoff is incredibly blunt and he's definitely no bullshitter.  I don't expect much sugar-coating in his answers.  If you follow him on Twitter at @DrGMLaTulippe, you probably already know that about him, though.


  1. Thanks for the heads up! I was briefly involved in that discussion too (my initials are the same there as my real name) and there are a couple of interesting posts at the tail end about the psychology behind this frustrating attitude.

    I thought that the writing on Going the Distance really stood out - the banter put me in mind of some of my favourite 1930s/40s romantic comedies, so excited to follow Geoff's blog...

  2. "[...]Most terrible movies start off as really, really, really good scripts."

    The Transformers entire franchise. Nuff said.

    P.D.: Michael Bay is the Antichrist.

  3. That made me laugh. I don't know shit about movies, but I've been around the publishing block enough times to know Literary Stockholm Syndrome:

    1) "After everyone reads the first draft, the Studio, producers and writer(s) go into rewrites, because even great scripts can be improved. Studio execs, studio heads, studio lawyers, producers and producers’ juniors all have notes."

    2) "You know what’s never going to help? A s*** attitude."

    A shit attitude, and the talent to back it up, is the only thing that _could_ help. If I write a 'great' draft of a novel, I don't let my editor fuck it up in an attempt to achieve timeless brilliance. I say no. And if I do take crap suggestions that make the novel worse, guess whose fault that is?

    Obviously, screenwriting is different. They'll fire your ass and get another writer to dick with your script. They will pick someone who almost certainly falls on the scale between 'very solid' and 'fucking amazing,' but that doesn't help any.

    So who cares that terrible movies start off as amazing scripts? I was a cute baby, but you wouldn't want to fuck me now. I'm sure everything Geoff says is true, I just fail to see why any of it is relevant.

    And the solution is obvious. Studios should stop buying brilliant scripts they proceed to undermine, and start buying crappy scripts they can improve. Happily enough, I've got a few crappy scripts right here.

  4. You're a good friend to promote Geoff's blogsite, Bitter. Just visited it by the link you provided. Liked what I read over there. Will try to spend more time over on Geoff's blogsite later this weekend, but for now it's time to head to the day job...

  5. And then Geoff goes and writes:

    "Here are your only two jobs as a screenwriter:

    1) Keep the narrative moving forward.
    2) Keep your reader interested.

    Fuck everything else. Seriously, fuck it. Kill it with fire."

    So he is now a god to me.