Thursday, August 02, 2007

"I'm a writer. I write. What do you do?!"

Said Vincent D'Onofrio's screenwriter character to Tim Robbin's studio exec character in the movie THE PLAYER. I saw the movie for the first time when it came out and thought no way Hollywood could be that hard core. Then I started working here. ha.

Yesterday I had a Coke, a cupcake and maybe a pound of candy. I didn't feel so hot last night. No sweets for me today.

Producer is such a vague job title and creative pay off is more elusive I think. Your goal is to get a movie made, distributed and hopefully be successful. So many things can stop that process and they are all out of your control. Financing falls through, an actor passes, the studio doesn't market your movie well, or the movie does get great reviews but for whatever reason just don't make a dent in the box office.

In writing your creative pay off is the minute you feel good about how the pen is hitting the paper (or fingers on the keyboard). Yes, once you turn in your work who knows what will happen but when you are sitting there using your imagination and creating a world, it's a great feeling.

Instead of getting worked into frenzy about what went down during the last 48 hours and the looming strike, I am going to look at the positive things. We are getting at least one movie made pre-strike. This is the most senior producer credit I've received (Executive Producer), the movie is about something, and the creative team involved is fantastic.

Not to get all "The Secret" or super crunchy So. Californian on folks but maybe all these bumps in the road are leading me to the thing I am supposed to do. I talked about writing for a long time. I wrote some scripts years ago and my boss at the time read them and ripped them to shreds. Instead of going back and trying again, I got discouraged and gave up.

Now for some reason at this late age (for a writer), here I am on draft #14 of my novel still plugging away, trying to make every draft better and enjoying (almost) every minute of it.

Here is the tralior from THE PLAYER. The is based on the book by Michael Tolkin who is also a screenwriter. I haven't read Tolkin's new book which is the sequel. I love the last line. LOL


Michellanea said...

I know what you mean. I never knew how ridiculous working at a fashion magazine could be until I actually worked at one. Certain stereotypes exist for a reason. Have you ever read John Gregory Dunne's book of trying to adapt a book to screenplay in Hollywood with his wife Joan Didion? That's a classic. I don't think I could survive in Hollywood. Or would enjoy trying to survive there. Even the publishing industry in New York has gotten so commercial anymore...

Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome said...

Hey, what do you mean "late age (for a writer)"? Is there really such a bias in novelwriting? screenwriting?

Then again, world works up side down in Hollywood...

You're a perfectionist... your expectations are so high that you will pound away at draft 115 and STILL expect it to be better!

That's like waiting to buy a laptop because new technology is coming up. There will always be a better laptop, this one is amazing!

Has anyone reviewed this draft 14 and given you feedback to whether it needs more revision, or if it's ready for the next phase?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

michellanea - I own the Dunne/Didion book. You are right. It is a classic. In a very scary way.

Usually I am amused by the level of craziness I have to deal with but this week was not funny.

roam to rome - I don't know about novelists but yes, there is real ageism in Hollywood. When I try to help writers find an agent...the first question the agent usually asks is "how old are they?", not are they talented? Part of it is American film business is geared toward teenboys, so if you are over 35 how can you write for a young audience? The other reason is if you are older the agent worries they can't build a career with you. I think it's stupid. To quote one of the writer from Law and Order (which has one of the older writer rooms) did the studio hired ants to write ANTZ?

I am waiting for feedback from my editor. We think after my next draft, I will be ready for the looking for an agent phase.

rose said...

I'm learning from your posts re: your industry. Makes me wonder if I am a bad movie watcher, I rarely stay for credits. Or could identify the people behind the scenes...non-actors.

Wonder if this link might be of use to you, should you have any downtime while away.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Perhaps a little sunshine sent in your direction?

I awarded you with a thoughtful blogger award on my page... please drop by when you get a chance, and pick it up.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Good luck with everything... I don't think you're being So. Cal crunchy... things happen for a reason!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

rose - LOL. No I consider someone who talks on their cellphone during the movie a bad movie watcher. Thanks for the website . I will check it out.

wanderlust - thank you so much!!

shelley - grazie. I have lived here almost 9 years. My siblings claim I have lost almost all my East Coast vibe/flow/cred, etc. haha.

Jen said...

If it's a novel rather than a screenplay, I wouldn't think it would make any difference. I'm in the agent phase now, finally, after playing with novels over the past 8 years... short stories and articles were one thing, but something about submitting novels scared me.

Write on!

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

Remember the guy from KFC 11 herbs and spices well l think he was in his mid-seventies when he started. Its never too late. Keep doing what your doing because its perfect for you:)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Jen - I hope so. Good luck with the agent search.

Confessions - You are right. I am going to keep on keeping on. I can't worry about the age thing. Nothing I can do about it.

wordtryst said...

Enjoyed the insights. I've wondered what producers actually do. Directors I understand, but couldn't pin down the other.

"...the first question the agent usually asks is "how old are they?"...

That is unbelievable. No, it's believable. Thank dog I have no interest in writing screenplays. I have a friend who's trying, though. He's turning 40. Poor guy.