Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Magic Factory

From the Los Angeles Review of Books,  A Three Act Journey in the Land of Screenwriting Gurus.

While I agree with most of his take on the gurus, he misses two points.

Screenwriting has long been considered the next "Gold Rush" and like the one 1849, the good money, the reliable money, the real money was made by the folks who sold stuff to the miners.

Levis, gold pans, treasure maps kept many a merchant, banker or con man afloat while the miners chased glistening pay dirt.

Once in a while, some intrepid soul would survive the elements, the work and his fellows to strike it rich, fueling not only his life, but dreams for the rest of the mob. Who then, clad in dusty, worn Levis, clutching dented pans and wrinkled maps, doubled down.

Hope is a richer intoxicant than gold.

So the gurus market while the wannabes shop. That's human nature. The cycle will reset when the shoppers wise up.

Point #2.

I've lived through the fever dream of this book, that article, some blog post will slot the miraculous last piece of the puzzle into place so, voila, success arrives at last bearing Hollywood's Standard Rich and Famous Contract. Alas. It is not so.

I smiled when I read Zimmerman's lament that having read 25 screenwriting books and written three scripts, he feels no closer to success.

I suggest he read less and write more.

-- UPDATE --

Mr. Zimmerman read this post and tried to comment. Blogger is misbehaving today, so I add his comment here, and thank him for his good humor and graciousness.

"I agree entirely with your thoughtful response, but I felt the uncontrollable urge to point out that I have only written only three "features". I've written dozens of "scripts": tv specs, pilots, plays, etc. Actually, the only thing I do more than reading is writing. And napping. And, clearly, googling myself. Thanks!"

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