Writing Movies For Fun And Profit!

Writing Movies For Fun And Profit! by Thomas Lennon, Robert B Garant

Book: Writing Movies For Fun And Profit! by Thomas Lennon, Robert B Garant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Thomas Lennon, Robert B Garant
write a Herbie movie in the first place and why Disney had bought it.
    When this exec was happy with the script, the exec turned in the new draft to the president— and the studio UN-greenlit the movie and fired us that day . We begged the president: look, fire us, but at least let us leave you with a script that’s not horrible.
    We worked over a long weekend and gave the studio what was basically our first draft with the sexy stuff taken out. We turned it in, they regreenlit the movie. Then they fired us.
    BUT this bad executive was still in charge of
Herbie.
So the exechired and fired twenty-four more writers to do all of the bad stuff that the studio had made us do. Then the studio made
Herbie: Fully Loaded.
This happens all the time. It’s why most movies suck donkey balls .
    We’ve had it happen to several of our movie scripts and to three pilots we sold to Fox: we sell something to the president, then some executive or producer comes in and wants to get his or her thumbprints all over it.
    Sometimes it’s because the executives or producers see themselves as writers; sometimes it’s because they think they know better than the president; but more often than not, it’s just because they don’t understand the basic idea that the president liked and bought. They simply don’t get it. They don’t understand the script or pitch, so they change it.
    Let’s make this analogy :
    You have a Volkswagen Bug. You sell it to someone. He says, “Deliver it in eight weeks. Make it pink.” Then that person’s underling says, “I know we bought a Bug, but all the other studios are buying SUVs this year, so let’s make it a big SUV.” Then: “I read an article about boats today and how they’re going to be popular this year—let’s make this thing kinda like a boat.” Then they say: “
Terminator
made a lot of money, let’s make this thing kinda like
Terminator.
” Then: “Make it green.” You go back to the person who bought a pink Bug, and they say: “What the hell is this giant green
Terminator
boat?”
    WHAT WE LEARNED AND WILL PASS ON TO YOU!
     
    Most times you’re screwed! There’s nothing you can do! Suck it up, cash the check (if you got one), move on, and hope it doesn’t end your career!
    But remember these things:
• Before you kick up dust, always try to incorporate the nimrod’s notes first— but do it without doing any damage to the script. We are not exaggerating when we say again: “if you can master this skill, all of hollywood will be yours.” Not fighting the studio’s notes but doing a version of people’s notes in a way that actually works—that is the secret of success in the studio system.
• Making an enemy of the nimrod is a huge mistake.
     
    Rule 6: Make no enemies. Ever.
If a writer picks a fight with the studio, they will lose.
     
    If a writer picks a fight with his producer or executive, the writer will lose.
• (When you’ve sold a few scripts, this one applies.)
We try to never attach producers to our projects . Producers mostly suck. We try to only deal with the Buyer—the studio. Producers are sometimes a huge added expense: their fees can be massive. And sometimes their notes directly conflict with those of the studio. And the studio is the Buyer. The studio’s notes are the only things that matter.
• When some nimrod is trying to derail your script, do anything you can to talk to the Buyer directly. Try to get a meeting with you and the nimrod and the studio head at the same time, so you’re all on the same page. If the nimrod TRULY IS SAYING THINGS THE STUDIO AGREES WITH, then do it. Suck it up. If they are NOT, get the studio to articulate what it wants, so the nimrod will hopefully shut up and let you write the script the studio wants. Remember: you’re not writing the script for you—YOU ARE WRITING IT FOR THE STUDIO .
Handle this meeting carefully—be superpolite and respectful to EVERYBODY. And remember:
     
    Rule 7: nobody likes a

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