Scott Myers is running an interview this week with my friend John Gary over on Go Into The Story. John is one of the many fine people I've met through Twitter over the years, and we've bonded through our similar outlook on the business at times, as well as our mutual histories as agency readers.
John's having a big week, as Deadline just announced that his screenplay SARAH has been acquired by Lionsgate's Summit. Buried in Deadline's announcement is the additional news that John is rewriting a film called OFF-WORLD for Paramount, with Josh Duhamel set to star.
(Having read SARAH, I'm rather perplexed by Deadline's comparison of it to LUCY. I don't see the two as being similar at all, beyond the fact both star young women and have action sequences.)
A lot of what John says in the interview really resonates with me. Speaking about the job of script reading, John observes:
"It is very easy to get stuck with velvet handcuffs when you’re pulling in good money for work that is pretty easy, not all that time consuming, you’ve been doing it for awhile and you’re getting the good scripts and you have some respect at work, and you’re complacent and it’s easier to read another script than it is to write something of your own. But in the end, you have to write."
SO. TRUE. I have lived this.
Later, John discusses how he reversed a cold streak in his career:
"I looked around and saw other people, other friends, and they were finding some success, so I knew there was a way in. I took a step back, and I said to myself, “What am I missing here?” and the thing I was missing was I was writing what I thought I should write, instead of what I wanted to write. I’d been listening to too many other people, and I’d stopped listening to myself.
"I fired my manager. I joined a small writer’s group. I needed to get back to what works for me creatively. I needed to figure out again what I liked to do. I’d forgotten by then. I’d gotten too wrapped up in chasing the machine, pining for success. But writing what you love is only half of the equation. Writing what Hollywood loves is the other half.
"I have this theory, and it’s a theory about who you are as a writer and what Hollywood does. It’s a Venn Diagram. There’s one circle – what Hollywood does. There’s another circle – what kind of writer you are. And this includes what you like to write and what you’re good at and what kind of writing really lights you on fire. The intersection of those two circles: that’s what you should write."
Four parts have been posted so far, with more to follow.
And don't forget to check out an archive post of mine: John Gary and the Hope Machine.