Your questions answered by a  Hollywood professional

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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 (often with a humorous eye) 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: 

Dch, I’m so frustrated.  I go on vacation and come back and there are no calls or e-mails from any producers who said they are interested in my screenplays.  It got me so tense.  But then I thought to myself, “Maybe I’m trying to hard.”  Do you think that’s the reason, that I’m struggling too much?


This week's answer: 

Strugglers' Alley

I’m not sure, Lori.  My first response was that maybe you haven’t struggled enough. Are you sure you’ve really given it your all?  Here’s a good “screenwriter struggle” barometer:  How soon did you start worrying about what you’d find when you got home?  As you came through the door?  On your drive or flight back?  On the beach as you were sipping tropical drinks?  In your hotel?  As you signed in?  On the drive or flight to your vacation spot?  On the night (or day or days) before you took off for your “vacation”?

It takes talent and ability to struggle well, and many would-be strugglers can’t cut the mustard.  (I never understood why anybody would want to do that.  Maybe ketchup because, as the commercials have shown us, does come out pretty thick.  But mustard?) Most screenwriter strugglers are amateurs and shouldn’t even be able to call themselves "screenwriter strugglers."  Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I sense that you haven’t reached the pro leagues, Lori.  Did you worry yourself sick – literally – on your vacation about the producer's response and have to be admitted to a hospital?  I doubt that very much.  Did some men in white visit you and insist you wear the latest fashion in jackets – a straight jacket?  Dare I say no to that one, too?

When you’re a true professional screenwriter struggler, then shoot me another e-mail.  When you’re a bona fide screenwriter struggler, then we can talk.  When, because of a producer’s lack of response, you get so mentally and emotionally wrapped up with yourself, becoming your own personal straight jacket, strung so tight that you could explode into tiny little brads, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll recognize how such a state isn’t all that productive.  So unproductive it be (what am I now, a pirate?) that you actually get so tired of struggling (also being aware that that straight jacket gets tighter and tighter as you do) you consider the idea of no longer doing it.

But be careful here.  Don’t make the mistake of struggling to not struggle.  That could definitely put you in a white room with rubber walls.  Come to think of it, that might not be so bad after all.

At least you wouldn’t keep hurting yourself.


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