Ergo the Ego

October 9, 2017

All screenwriters have an emotional attachment to their screenplays. I loved my early spec screenplays like they were my babies. When screenplay analysts, film producers or screenplay agents told me they were less than perfect film scripts I was gutted. You know the feeling. The fact is: they were pretty poor screenplays. Or not. My then agent Julian Friedmann took me on the strength of a script called MEETING SHAKESPEARE I wrote . . . just before Tom Stoppard rewrote Marc Norman's script for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Julian sent my script to all and sundry, some of whom turned it down because of the Tom Stoppard project. Of the producers Julian sent it to, many liked it but felt it was a bit too, well, a bit too. High concept. Hybrid (a 'literary' film script that involved time travel). Ambitious. Expensive. Many were probably right in their assessments; but these reactions tend to be subjective. Point being: Julian sent the script to everyone including god. And his uncle. And everyone said no. Julian thought it was a good film script. The film producers he sent it to weren't convinced. Or they ‘loved it’ but they were doing other film projects. Or their taste in film wasn't in alignment with that screenplay. Or about a million other reasons not to take a film script on and try to package it and get it into production and sell it and . . . Reaching the final hurdle is a long and arduous journey. Then you finally get to see your script in production. You stand there on the film set watching actors speaking the lines you wrote. How does it feel? It feels like you're still on that journey, actually. And yes, you still have that egotistical attachment to the film script you wrote. Should that actor say that line like that? You may feel one thing. The director may feel another. So you stand back and let it be. You've done your bit. Now it's up to kismet. Or chance, or . . . point being: you're still feeling stuff. Like everyone. These emotions are evolutionary tools that are a limbic reaction to the world we are trying to survive and won't. 'I am a parcel of vain strivings tied by a chance bond together' wrote Henry David Thoreau. He was right about the vanity. It's there in the best of us. So we have to live with it. So when you send your screenplay to someone and they don't like it: live with it.

 

At least you're alive.

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