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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 love to collaborate, but it's so hard on me when my collaborators don't see it my way?

George from Chicago

This week's Answer: 

Writing With Your Favorite Co-writer  

I know what you mean, George.  Exactly.  You know what is right for you.  You even know what is best, what works.  Why can't the other person see it the way you see it?  What's wrong with that person that he or she just can't understand and perceive the world like you do?  It can be very frustrating.  And annoying.  If that person could only be... only be... YOU.  That's the answer.  That would solve everything.  And, come to think of it... why can't everybody on the road drive the way you want them to drive?  It would be a far better situation on the road today if everybody would simply... (what's the best way to put it?  Oh yes:)... Get out of your way.  That would be soooooooo much better.  And, for that matter, why can't all the blind producers for once see what a spectacular screenwriter you are and stop this rejection hoopla and finally send you that six-figure check that you deserve!?  Think of how that would be if you could just have some of those desires, those wishes fulfilled.  You could drive to the studio as everybody in their cars, who looked and dressed and acted just like you,  got out of your way, and you'd go to a studio where producers wearing sunglasses and walking around with canes and seeing-eye dogs would suddenly have their sight returned to them as they read your script (though I'm not certain what they were doing reading your script in the first place) and issue six-figure checks to you every time you sent a screenplay to them.  Or, colloborator-wise:  When you co-wrote with somebody, no matter what your idea was or whatever you wanted to write -- even if it was pitiful, drab, dribble -- your co-writer would say, "love it!  Fantastic!  Genius!  I'll cut my 40 pages in order to fit that in, no problem!"  Ah, a screenwriter's blisssssssssssssssssssss.

But is it?  Do you really want it that easy?  Or do you want to enjoy the journey more than the arrival?  (Personally, I like the arriving part.  Who cares about the stupid journey?  Just let me wake up and find myself at the mike on Oscar night, not even having to have written the screenplay.  They're just giving me the award for "Best Screenplay Never Written."  I'm happy to accept the esteemed award.  The best part of it is that, because I didn't have to do anything, didn't have to test my mettle, learn how to write better and better, learn how to get along with others in the business, I don't have to stand there with a long list of people that I need to thank.  What a relief.

There is a way you can solve your collaborator problem.  Don't collaborate.  Although, there is one drawback to striking out on your own as a solo screenwriter:  You won't have anybody to blame anymore.  It'll be just you.  And that can be a pretty scary scenario at times:  facing yourself; facing your weaknesses; facing your limitations.  Not always an easy gig.

But if you still want to collaborate and not face yourself, you could go off to a deserted island and co-write with a volleyball.  That might be the way for you.  Or you could wait until they have this cloning thing down and clone yourself and make YOU 2 your co-writer.  Think of how nice that could be.  You would never disagree with YOU.  You'd share the same vision (almost literally).  In fact, here's an idea:  You could call your company, "Double Vision."  What a dream!  No more disagreements or testy moments or times when you want to strangle your co-writer.  None of that any more.  You'd be writing with yourself!

Wait a minute.  That's what we do anyway, isn't it?



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