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Settle Down, Beavis

People seemed somewhat amused to read my post from last week, “Pissing People Off.”

I am probably using this blog too much to vent. It’s not good for business, or for me.

Anything you write online is like a time bomb—who knows if it will ever go off? But it might.

In general, I am letting things get to me, and it’s not healthy.

My good friend Joe Sikoryak—hi, Joe! I’ll talk about you here—and I spoke earlier this week. He said I had a lot of good advice about screenwriting in my blog, but I’d probably be more convincing if I wasn’t so forceful with my opinions. (Joe is always diplomatic!)

I was like, oh I know! I don’t care!

Joe is great. He designed all the FSM magazines and CDs for, what, 15 years-plus? He’s the best.

And…that’s not really true. I do care. I definitely want to be liked.

I think I do what people typically do—which is I’m so afraid people won’t like me, that I act like a dick, to deliberately push them away. So at least that way, I’m in control. “Oh, I didn’t want anybody to like me.”

Well, it’s lame, and I shouldn’t do that.

(It is, however, good to be aware of that dynamic, so as to use it in a script!)

I have been writing screenplays either part time or mostly-to-full time (during the pandemic) for almost 20 years. I can’t believe it took me that long to figure it out how to write properly. And I thought I was smart!

The depth and breadth of stuff I didn’t know in order to make a screenplay work—well, it’s shocking. And very humbling.

Now that I think I’ve learned an awful lot of it—certainly not all, but quite a bit—I’m like, wow, I was miles and miles away.

During this process, I’ve done what everybody does: I’ve assumed the problem is that I was not able to get anybody important to read my scripts. Because, of course, if they did, they’d see what a genius I am and I’d have a career instantly!

If anything, I was too successfully in hustling reads the past few years with sub-par scripts—because it burned me with some folks I’d like to approach now. Now that the scripts are better, there’s no good way to say, “You read me a year ago and that script sucked, but please read this one, it’s good, I promise!”

But it’s all been great training. I look back on that old stuff and I’m just mortified.

I am, in fact, quite paranoid nowadays about exposing material until it’s ready.

So I’ve been “stress-testing” things against readers, which is hard because, lacking those insider folks in my life, I need to pay various coverage services—and the quality is highly variable.

The whole thing drives me crazy: screenwriters on Twitter pushing their scripts, the coverage services hyping their “products” and contests—the entire ecosystem of “the hope factory.”

It makes me bitter…and I need to avoid that because it’s a huge turn-off.

So I’m really quite embarrassed.

I just hope, in time, I’ll get some traction professionally and then I’ll be grappling with an entirely new and higher-stakes set of problems and personalities—because that’s how it always is.

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