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Leave Shia Alone

Yesterday there was some drama on “screenwriting Twitter” because Shia LaBeouf likes to enter a lot of screenwriting competitions. Yes, that Shia LaBeouf. And he often places and even wins (I think).

There’s a contest called the Finish Line Screenwriting Competition, which notably gives notes to the applicants (for a higher price) and lets them resubmit their work as many times as they want until the deadline.

I approve of this approach, because writers need feedback way more than they need to be a part of subjective and often ridiculous script competitions. (Finish Line seems to be very well intentioned and ethical.)

Anyway, Shia tried to enter Finish Line, and they refunded his money and went public about it on Twitter.

And then people piled on.

Is it weird that an internationally famous movie star would like to enter screenwriting contests? Yes, it is weird.

Apparently he’s been doing this for some time, and spent a lot of money on coverage and feedback.

Is it the spirit of these contests that they should be reserved for amateurs? Yeah, I think so.

Even if Shia was competing in a different field that made him famous—he’s already written Honey Boy (which is terrific), so that doesn’t apply anymore.

But also, I don’t care!

My takeaway is—good for him that he wants to write and improve.

He is a terrific actor who comes from an abusive background that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Sadly, as an adult he has had a troubled personal life that now includes serious allegations of domestic violence.

What I find distasteful is when people pile on and kick a guy when he’s down.

Seriously, work on your own stuff. What Shia LaBeouf does is his own business. (Yeah, so he would be potentially competing against you...but those contests are usually a joke anyway.)

You know what I suspect? Shia will work harder at his script than way most writers can possibly imagine. He’ll write, draft and redraft—relentlessly. And that’s the only way you really improve.

That should be the takeaway from this dumb affair. Do the hard work, like an internationally famous movie star.

By the way, I read a few pages of the script mocking him and it seemed asinine.

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