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What I’m Trying to Do Here...

My daughter (7) drew the above as part of a school assignment. It thought it was hilarious.

I would like to produce movies and television. Really, I’m a producer. I write so I have something I want to make, and I direct so it comes out the way I want it.

And wow—if this is not the most competitive field ever. It truly is. It has been far more difficult, arduous and full of failure than I could have imagined. I’m so naive!

At the same time, I remain optimistic...because content truly is king. And I’m confident of my ability to make “content”—definitely in the logistical sense, from years of supervising magazines and CDs.

But also, creatively. Screenwriting is immensely difficult, and the more you learn, the more you realize the infinite ways in which something can suck if you’re not super careful.

And even then, to name-drop, it’s like one of the Farrelly brothers told me when I met them for ten minutes on Martha’s Vineyard 15 years ago: “There’s a thousand ways for a script to go wrong, and only one way for it to go right.”

It’s true. And no matter how smart you are, or how much experience you have, there is often no substitute for floundering around on wrong paths until you find the right one.

I continue to think that the thousands of people trying to break into screenwriting are doing it fundamentally wrong: obsessing about getting a manager and gaining “access,” instead of working diligently to make a great script.

Not just a script that checks all the boxes for a coverage company—but a script that is fresh, and different, and vibrant, and original, and says something about humanity.

What I’ve learned is the secret is really not a secret...the way to make the script better is not to nibble around the edges, but ruthlessly blow it up and pursue the new discoveries you made along the way. Page one rewrite, more than once.

That’s what I do, and I’ve gotten better about just biting the bullet and saying, “Whoops”—and blowing it up and starting again.

I read a lot of scripts from other writers in the same boat as I am, and the way this process goes, you always see things in other people’s work you don’t see in your own.

Like, “Hey, that side character is really interesting, and it’s really his story, isn’t it? Why not start over with that as the protagonist?”

I only offer this kind of note when asked, of course.

And usually—I would say, always—the answer is, “Thanks but no thanks.”

And I understand that. But really, I’m not asking anybody else to do what I don’t do myself.

What the hell was I even writing about today...?

I started this blog because I wanted to share stories from my past for the film score fans, but also to create a repository of ideas that might gain a following and make me even mildly famous—so that people would want to work with me, as far as writers and producers and executives.

I have no idea how that will work. But it seemed worth the shot!

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