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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

I get so nervous sometimes about wanting producers to like my scripts to the point that I’m thinking about getting out of the business.  Can you give me some advice about that?

Jerold P. from Illinois


This week's Answer: 

The Prodigal Screenwriter

My advice is to get out of the business, Jerold, then see how it feels to be out of it (the business, that is) and how less nervous you are.   If you do that, you may discover how calm and collected you are now that you’ve finally made the decision to stay clear of this pesky and often irritating vortex of narcissism and greed, and then you’ll venture forth into an entirely different field (not the one nearby outside your home, which could have strange varmints in it that could bite and sting and even tickle you when you least expect it, which could definitely make you nervous).  Or, you may find, now that you’ve finally removed all traces of your life when you considered yourself a screenwriter who believed in his vision and was willing to do whatever it takes to get that vision on the screen and earn a pretty penny (a 500,000 or more one) in doing so, that you’re STILL NERVOUS.

And, if that be the case, you might decide that, even though you’ve moved to a remote tropical island where the indigent population has never ever seen a good movie (maybe some poor ones.  I think native, tropical island folk don’t get cable, so their choices are quite limited.) and you’re still nervous, you might have some sort of epiphany (a word a lot of people are throwing around these days, which means they must be having a lot of them.  So, why shouldn’t you have one, too?) and say to yourself, “Hey, if I’m still nervous in this serene environment, why not be nervous where I can at least blame it on something.  I know:  I can blame it on the pesky and often irritating vortex of narcissism and greed, the film business.  I’ll be a screenwriter again!”  Thus (a good word to use when you’re wrapping up a rather lifeless paragraph that you want your reader to think is profound), feeling good about yourself and sensing a new “you” emerging, one with a revitalized vigor and zest for life and an indomitable spirit prepared to face whatever challenges come your way on your road to being a successful screenwriter (with lots of pretty pennies and statues to your name), you fly home, you call your agent and announce with a strong and direct voice that you’re back in town and ready to do whatever it takes to get your vision on the screen.  This is your moment.  The new “you” has returned.  There’s a pause on the other end.  Something supportive and encouraging is coming; you can feel it.  Life and your future are bright once again.  In a microsecond, you know why you had to leave, face the dark night of your soul, and be reborn to return to what you’ve always truly loved.  Your agent now utters those words that will remain with you for the rest of your screenwriter’s life:  “I didn’t know you left.”

Welcome back.

DcH


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