Your questions answered by a  Hollywood professional

A bit of Hollywood humor 


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: 

There are so many great screenwriters and screenplays out there; so many ahead of me -- so many amazing writers!  It makes me wonder why I even try to write another word.  Do you have any advice, DcH?

Brenda K. from an obscure city

This week's Answer: 

Getting "The Call" (or Chirp)

Brenda, Brenda, Brenda.  Let me say it again:  Brenda, Brenda, Brenda.  The aforementioned was delivered with a sigh and a shake of a head.  To help you understand, dear lady, let me put it in screenplay terms.


A dreary, rainy afternoon.  DcH, wearing a bathrobe, carrying a cup of tea with a tea bag string trailing along, his eyes barely open, plops down at his desk, boots up his computer and reads an e-mail from Brenda K.  He emits a deep sigh.


               Brenda, Brenda, Brenda.

Doug rises, shuffles to a window.  We see what he's wearing on his feet:  cushy slippers, one sporting the word, "Screen," the other with the word, "Writer."  DcH contemplatively surveys a city that never sleeps (or wakes up, for that matter), takes a sip of tea.  A forlorn and lost look crosses his weary visage.


               Oh, Brenda.  What can I say 

               to help you believe in yourself

               as a writer and as a person?

He sighs again and is about to take another sip, when his bathrobe CHIRPS.

DcH reaches into a pocket a pulls out a canary, which he places on a shelf.  He reaches back in his pocket and pulls out a still-chirping cell-phone.  Canary yellow.  He punches a button and draws it to his ear.




  We've got a green light on your script, 

                    "Writers In Hell."  They went for our

         quote.  All you have to do is rewrite the

         first two acts -- they loved the 

         confrontation scene between the plagiarizing

         hotel clerk and the drug addict flight 

         attendant -- change the female protagonist

         to a hermaphrodite, switch the location 

         from Texas in the summer to Minnesota in 

         the winter, and take out all references to

         writers, snow, and anything that has

         anything to do with little dogs.

DcH doesn't move, doesn't breathe, expressionless.


           Sounds good.


           They need you in their production 

           offices in Toronto yesterday.


           I'm there.  I'm leaving now.


           But what about the e-mail you

           said you were going to write to

           that depressed screenwriter -- 

           Brenda, wasn't it? -- to help her 

           get through it?

DcH hesitates, a serious look taking over.  He breaks into a toothy smile.


            Brenda who?


            That's the DcH I know and love!

DcH hangs up, tosses the cell-phone on a couch, flips opens the window, grabs the canary and tosses it outside, and hums an uplifting tune as he flips off his computer and strides out of the room.

And.......... scene!

You see, Brenda, what I'm talking about?  Everything changes when you get that call, that first six-figure check, that now-it's-your-time-to-spit-in-everybody's-eye moment all we screenwriters dream about.  So keep on writing.  And so what if there are millions of writers with more talent and who are ahead of you, who have the connections you need, taking up all those choice spots that you long for?!  Just keep on writing.  Stay positive.  Because one day you may get that elusive call on 

your cell-phone.  


And you'll be on your way.  To...  Toronto.

And get yourself a canary.



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