There was a piece in the “L.A. Times” recently about a guy (screenwriter) who finally got a niche at Sundance. His was a classic story — somebody who loved movies, worked minimum wage jobs to finance his dream, made short films, got some nibbles but no bites, financed one last project with his wife’s credit card, and suddenly a door opened. A movie about what he went through would be corny beyond belief (cue the violins) but it’s not a movie. It happened and good for him.
What I liked about the story is this: the guy constantly changed and revised. He’d get some sensible advice from some studio wonk and he’d take it. He talked to other writers at his favorite coffee shop and listened to what they said. He didn’t peddle the same script over and over. It was protean, a true work-in-progress. And it evolved into something he could actually sell. It’s likely the final version barely resembled the first one.
When I do workshops, people come in with tattered manuscripts, something they’ve been toting around for years. When I see that, my little heart just sinks, because I know they don’t want to take advice. They want their baby praised and photographed. And they want sympathy for the hard times they’ve had. Tough love is too tough for them.
But here it is — Don’t be that person. Don’t keep picking at the scab on some precious wound. It’ll just leave a scar.