To Hell with the Screenwriter!
January 20th, 2015
by Harry Caul
Roll the Eminem music... Slim Shady is back...
What brings me out of my hibernation is a recent Variety article written by Peter Bart titled, "Are Screenwriters Becoming Obsolete in Hollywood." Well, yes and no. IMHO.
With that said, Hollywood has become so dominated by marketing concerns, price points, and (not necessarily new) executives with little or no understand of a creative process.
You've heard it before, no one in Hollywood wants to be the first to try something new. But find a winning formula and they'll remake the hell out of it!
Studio movies are production by committee where executives attempt to guess at what the crowd (moviegoers) will be willing to spend forty bucks to leave their house and go see. Not what makes good adult storytelling. A good story (screenplay).
Lost in the shuffle are, and always have been, the screenwriters... the story tellers.
It's like this. Remember U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi who said of the massive omnibus healthcare bill, "We have to pass the bill to see what's in it."
That's kinda how Hollywood movies are made today. Give me a concept and lets run with it... screenwriting? Eh.
Come up with a really cool concept: FREE HEALTHCARE (for some).
Throw a bunch of shit in it. (Hire five or six screenwriters to endlessly rewrite it).
Make the movie and throw more shit into it. And then go to the screening and see what the hell they've got.
I agree with Bart that movies today are more and more feeling that same way.
Lost in the shuffle: good screenwriting.
Sure good movies told by competent screenwriters happen all the time, just not on the studio level much these days.
As for Screenwriters not being thanked or only done so as an afterthought; welcome to the club kids!
We are the first into the fray of storytelling and last paid (movies have to go into production before writers are usually paid in full); end of story.
When it comes to thanking them; forget about it. That is like saying you have to thank your mother. Which also is becoming less and less of a thing I have noticed.
Cheers miscreants, you writers of celluloid... er... digital projections.
About the Author
I am a professional screenwriter with some years of experience, but I'm gonna say some shit on here that might piss some people off so I am the Mystery Screenwriter.