Psych 101

When to talk about your idea

Lawrence Turman suggests asking random people for their opinions of your concept. Great idea for a producer, but potentially a bad idea for a screenwriter.

All yourselves belong to us

The Time Magazine profile on Mark Zuckerberg offers a concise description of what makes me uneasy about Facebook in its current form: the binary definition of friendship.

Dick jokes for classy producers

While you can intuit a bit about producers’ taste by the films they’ve made, don’t assume producers only get certain genres. And never turn down a chance for a read.

On Dogfooding, and scratching your own itch

When you make something that you yourself use, that’s called dogfooding, a contraction of “eating your own dogfood.” That’s developer-speak, but it’s something screenwriters would do well to appropriate.

The One-Month Manager

What’s a reasonable amount of time to give your manager to read a draft of your script? It sometimes takes this screenwriter’s manager up to a month.

How many times can a meeting get pushed?

General meetings aside, how many pushes merits cause for concern regarding interest in you/your idea?

The dark tyranny of crickets

What do you do when your best work is met with an indifferent shrug?

All of the other reindeer

Ostracism is a handy motivation for both heroes and villains.

Worst-case thinking for the screenwriter

Screenwriters benefit from worst-case scenario thinking.

Should she take anxiety medication?

Jenny was prescribed anti-anxiety medication, but worries it will mess up her writing.

On Golden Handcuffs

Paul spent 29 years in a job too good to leave, and regrets it.

Can I base a character on a real asshole?

You’re naturally going to be drawn towards real-life people who are fascinating. That’s a good thing. Observe behavior. Figure out motivations and pathology. Then forget the real person.

Fake tears

In defense of fake tears and the emotional work screenwriters do.

Are online film classes worth it?

Scott wonders if his online filmmaking classes are teaching him what he needs to know.

On 2010

For the past few years, I’ve been aiming more towards “areas of interest” rather than true resolutions. That way, there’s no implied promise to be broken.

Burn it down

As the writer, you need to burn down houses. You need to push characters out of their safe places into the big scary world — and make sure they can never get back.

The only one who has seen the movie

At a screenwriting panel last week, Robin Swicord said something that reframed the issue in a very helpful way.

Same script, different day

Do you ever get sick of working with the same script that you are loathe to even look at it anymore? Yes.

When do you move on?

I can’t reduce it to some simple “He’s Just Not That Into You” formula, but two months is far beyond the limit.

When writing partners disagree

While it’s great to have an extra brain helping to write a script, you’re unlikely to always agree, and compromises may not always make sense.

Inspiration, creativity and showing up

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert discussing healthier ways to look at the creative process.

Why do LA people suck?

Is one reader’s frustration indicative of the Hollywood culture, or specific to him? Likely both.

Are writing groups a good idea?

They’re not a terrible idea, as long as they’re approached with the right expectations.

When writing teams break up

Don’t just think about who “owns” what. There are more practical considerations.

Which project should I write?

I’d recommend writing the one that has the best ending.