Circumstantial flummery from a would-be spoonbean hustler.

Screenwriter’s propaganda part 2

I should qualify that I want to tell a damn story well. I left the ‘well’ out in last post, but it’s important to acknowledge that it’s an on-going process that must include an audience.

Some declarations before I continue: The increased amount of scripts, screenwriters and films was a natural consequence of Modernization. One major offense of modernization was that the demand for quantity overtook the confidence in and the desire for quality. These are self perpetuating problems and we cannot rely on the Machinery of films (studios, distributors, agencies, etc) or audiences to do anything to correct.

When I think about these things, it seems pretty overwhelming. If I begin loathing my audience it’s going to come through in the writing and will only damage the story. Who the fuck needs that static? All I can really do is to turn it around and let it drive the desire to improve my own writing. But maybe I can channel it to improve all fellow screenwriters. Improve every damn script. Improve the machinery. Improve the audience. Otherwise my stories may eventually have nowhere to go.

That’s why I’m hung up on this idea of the Revolution– because I feel so small against all of it. I don’t even know if I am improving myself, how can I possibly do anything else? Got no agent. Don’t live in LA. I have no names to drop or major studio pitch horror stories. I can’t get past the first round of Nicholl. I feel completely without means sometimes. But I’m not alone. I’ve got the blogs, the Scribosphere. I’m lucky to have an online workshop with some incredibly smart and brilliant writers. And I’ve got the great writing that does make it to theaters and into my head and makes my skull just explode. Those things are a big enough part of me that I can’t just cut them loose. So nevertheless, I’m in it. I fight.

Little fish that I am, I can’t get the image of a Guerrilla war out of my head. Small groups of revolutionaries fighting a larger, less mobile, formal establishment. (Maybe I’ve just been reading too much Strike coverage.) The establishment here being the dumbing down, the decay, the quantity over quality. But the Internet, my single greatest resource, is pooled intelligence, communication and comradery. What other resources does a guerrilla need?

Web-savy writers are already starting to use this stuff. Anybody who wants to be a writer *needs* to be using it. There are a ton of forums. Communities like Zoetrope and Triggerstreet give fledgling scribes somewhere to start looking for feedback. The Scribomatic is aggregating all kinds of insightful blogs now. Who knows how many little private workshop groups are online? It’s the perfect staging ground and the knowledge and information is getting out there.

So what’s missing? From my own experience I feel like there’s a shitload of stuff available with which to educate yourself. You don’t have to drop ungodly hordes of money for school or coverage or script services. The dumbing down is more than an absence of information, it’s also a lack of work ethic- the lack of craftsmanship. There is a thought that revolutions demand bloodshed and I think that’s what writing demands- blood on the page. Effort is going back and drafting the spec again and again and again. You sweat. Killing your babies, cutting a great line of dialogue or whole characters, making it perfect– That’s blood. And it’s the only way to get the story to the next level. And you gotta do this over and over and over again.

Writing well is difficult and the word ‘work’ doesn’t cut it. Everyone who sits down to write a story *thinks* they’re putting work into it. You gotta call it blood. My scripts need blood. Maybe I need to put a little more blood in my blog.