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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

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This week's question: 

I'm going batty with this picky producer who keeps putting his two cents in on my script.  How do I keep from jumping off a tall bridge or strangling him? 

Turstin from San Francisco

This week's Answer: 

How To Not Murder A Producer (or at least get away with it)

An excellent question, Turstin from San Francisco.  The first thing I'd suggest is to not go within a hundred feet of the Golden Gate Bridge.  If you consider that a tall bridge.  And I wouldn't even suggest visiting short bridges, either.  I mean, think about it:  You take a leap; you fall; you end up in the hospital in a cast, where you're visited by the producer daily so he can give you his "notes."  Subsequently, you can no longer take his steady presence any longer and you end up asking him to bend down to help you adjust your orange juice straw, wherein you wrap your IV tube around his neck and send him to Hard To Please Producer Heaven (or the "other place" where producers are forced to invest their own money in "hot" movies that fail the first day they open -- and still have to pay points to actors who quit before the first day of shooting).

So that won't work.

Picky producers are a challenge, no doubt.  Funny you should mention the word, "batty."  Maybe you could become a vampire and suck him dry before he does you.  Although, you probably wouldn't want his type of blood.  Maybe producers are vampires.  And, if that's true, they could film themselves in "B" horror films and save on expenses for paying actors.  Come to think of it, you never see them in the direct sunlight (unless they're playing tennis to make a deal, and, in that case, you may be looking at a clone.  I hear clones play a good game.  I'm not so sure the Venus Williams who just made a big comeback after many years to win in singles at Wimbledon isn't a clone.  She jumped around after winning like one.  No human female tennis players jump like that after winning.)

And another thing.  If the producer is going to always put in his two cents, the least he can do is put in a quarter or more.  Come on, producer!  Have you heard about inflation!  Geesh!

On a more serious note... (I think Bb is a serious note.  Or is it F#?)  It can be most aggravating as a screenwriter to have somebody continually scrutinizing and changing his or her screenplay.  Specific feelings can be churned up, strong feelings and thoughts that have little to do with the concepts of harmony, compromise, cooperation, willingness, etc., and are more along the lines of scalping, thumb screws, drive-by-bombing, pushing onto train tracks while a train is present and in motion, and the like.  So how does one handle such uncomfortable sentiments?  What I have found, which has been inestimably valuable in assisting me in working with

Those Who Dare To Tell Me What To Do With MY SCRIPT...

is to do this process:

process for working with a picky producer

1.  Listen to or read the notes of the producer.

2.  Don't react immediately.  Say nothing.  Don't be defensive.  Stay aware of your   feelings, especially the difficult ones, and especially the anger.  But don't act them out.  Just feel them. 

 And, now that you've calmed down and are thinking clearly, bring up a new page and...

3.  Start writing down the producer's train schedule.



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