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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'm tired of all the "buzz" words around film and screenplays to the point that I wince inside when everybody and their mother think they're film critics.  How should I deal with this and keep on writing?  

Jake T.

This week's Answer: 

Criticizing the Critic

Jake, I know exactly what you mean.  There are so many buzz words these days around movies and screenplays that it can make you do more than wince.  How about grimace?  Or contort?  And there's scowl, also.  That's a good one.  Truly, there is much out there in Movieland that can deeply offend our cinematic sensibilities.  And film critics who are mothers?  Now that's a different (and often disastrous) story altogether.  Imagine that one.  No, don't.  It's just too painful for words.

Now that just about anybody who has a DVD player and some DVD rental money can view not only movies but all the "side shows" that come along with them (what do they call them, again?  Oh, yes:   Extras.), you're hearing more and more people talking about directors' cuts, alternative endings, and other film terms that one would normally hear only at the studios.  It's enough to make one want to just leave the USA and go live in another country.  Like China or India or Australia.  Wait.  All those countries have big movie companies.  Thailand.  No, I think they film a lot of pictures there, too.  Maybe somewhere in Africa.  I don't think there are many people talking about films in Africa.  Then again, there have been quite a number of them shot there recently.

One way of combating a self-appointed film critic (SAP)  is to become a critic of self-appointed film critics.  You could walk around and, when you encounter a SAP (quite an appropriate acronym, wouldn't you agree?), simply look them in the eye, and say in an authoritative voice, "I give you a thumbs down" while indicating the same with a downward thrust of your thumb.  Then walk away with an authoritative stride (whatever that is).

As for how you, Jake, should keep on writing amongst this deluge of movie mumbo-jumbo, I advise that you do just that:  keep on writing.  In fact, you could write "cease and desist" letters and e-mails to people who have bothered you with their unsolicited views on particular motion picture perspectives, warning them that if they continue their unwelcome diatribes on the cinematic process that you, an official of the Don't Talk About Movies Agency, will take whatever necessary measures to quell the tide of "I know all about movies and I'm going to tell you everything I know"isms (those necessary measures being you sending more letters and e-mails.  I know it's despicable, but somebody has to do it.)

I recognize how people's flagrant tossing around of film buzz words can be offensive to you, Jake.  Maybe you could use those uncomfortable feelings and channel them into something efficacious (I could have used the more easily recognizable word, "efficient," but, as a script consultant, it's important to throw in words that have at least four syllables and that people don't readily understand and make them go to a dictionary and think, "Wow, what a smart script consultant!").  Hey, you could write your next screenplay about a screenwriter who is deeply offended by anything they hear from anybody about screenwriting.  You could call it... 


You could get a six- or seven-figure deal and it could be an enormous (gargantuan), mega-, super-, very big hit that would be number one at the box office and everybody would love it and it would become a very popular DVD with a bunch of extras that just about everybody would see and talk about your director's cut and alternative endings.



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