It's been a couple of days of building frustrations. I seemed to be pleased with my progress on Come Ups a few days ago and had a decent reading of Everyday Clowns on Tuesday, but since then I've had a bit of a set back as I started looking at the third act of Come Ups. It's been weighing on my mind since I discovered it, and I'm not quite sure how to address it. Basically I've ignored it and turned my attention to catching up on the website and social media networks. However, it seems others are also feeling a little frustrated lately and seeing some of the comments posted on the various forums has turned me a little negative.
These feelings will pass - I hope - and they are just part of the cycle of life. You have up days; you have down days. But those feelings sometimes get magnified when you attend the screening of a new film and walk out wondering how in the world the writer/director managed to find funding. The shock at having to sit through a truly terrible film turns to anger and disgust and you have the overwhelming urge to slap the shit out of someone.
I recorded the above video last night after returning from said screening. I was tired and didn't want to record it, but finally talked myself into it with the caveat that it would be short and sweet. 20 minutes later, I finally shut up. I decided not to write the text portion of the blog until this morning, but I'm still feeling annoyed by the experiences of the last few days. And can I just say, if you've written a pair of characters where one is obviously interested in the other, but the second character shows absolutely no interest in the first, from beginning to end, it's probably not a good idea to ask the audience at the screening about the character's onscreen chemistry. You shouldn't say things about the dynamic, crackling sexual energy between the two of them. Or that it's hard to believe they aren't an off-screen couple. No, it isn't hard to imagine because they weren't on on-screen couple. Also, if your goal was to convince us that they were a heterosexual couple, you probably shouldn't have the male lead dream about his best friend lifting his shirt and showing the "large snake" swimming around in his belly. Sure, it was a nightmare sequence, but anytime a guy lifts his shirt to show another guy his 'snake,' certain overtones - or undertones - come into play, whether they are intentional or not. It doesn't help your case if the 'heterosexual' guy is always running away from the girl to go stay with the other guy. Whatever.
Obviously, I'm still angry at wasting time and money on last night's screening. But I got up this morning (Day 47) and started going through different websites, reading and researching, and I found a blog column by a writer who doesn't actually write any of her own blogs. She just reposts articles from other writers and then claims to have written X number of blogs, giving her X amount of experience that she can then pass on to you for X amount of dollars in the form of online courses. First off, reposting someone else's article is not writing your own blog. Second, it does not qualify as screenwriting experience that you can sell. I did a quick search for this person's credits and can find no mention of her anywhere. Not even on IMBD, which is notoriously easy to fake. If you don't have any credits, not even fake ones, how do you really expect to sell your 'screenwriting' services?
Now, I'm not faulting her for simply reposting articles; I do that. . .on my News Page. But I actually take the time to write my own blogs. I've also posted my screenplay materials online for public examination. This person? I can't find anything that she has actually written. But she's asking you to pay her for her experience with online courses. She does at least give credit to the person whose article she is reposting, but the one I read didn't say where the post came from or give any credentials on the writer. I looked him up as well and could find nothing on him, either on LinkedIn or IMDB. So who is this guy? I have no idea, but he's offering to tell you the 10 mistakes that flag you as an amateur.
These 10 mistakes are pretty basic and could be applied to just about any writing project from your resume to a recipe. Check your spelling. Make sure it's organized (follow format). Keep it concise. They actually sound like a free takeaway marketer's use to get you to sign up for their website.
Subscribe today and I'll send you a list of the 10 mistakes most screenwriters make - Absolutely Free!'
My favorite 'mistake' he offers up was regarding character description, or the lack thereof. He presents two examples:
1) Gene, 40, takes in the world behind a pair of steely gray eyes.
2) Gene, 40, short and stocky
He then asks us to convince him that we don't get more character out of the first example than the second. Unfortunately, I can't. If I have to pick between short and stocky or gray eyes. . .meh. If I follow his advice on keeping it concise, I go with number 2.
I guess the point is, there are a lot of people out there who have their own ideas about how things should be done and are more than willing to tell you about them - especially if you're willing to pay them. Going on this journey requires wading through a lot of crap to reach your goal. As much as I disliked the movie last night, that filmmaker had a successful journey. He persevered for 20 years and now his film is on the big screen. The movie even had a screening at Cannes. That's right, he made it to Cannes. So instead of dwelling on the negative I should find the positive. If he can make it, so can the rest of us. I just hope it doesn't take 20 years.