Being My Own Hack

So after AGENT decided to send out SCREWBALL SCRIPT, he told me I should write another comedy. Here’s the catch about that: all my other, most-beloved ideas were action-thrillers.


I don’t think of myself as a funny person. I didn’t have any ideas for comedies.

But it’s stupid to ignore your agent’s advice.

So I came up with a bunch of comedy ideas and ran them all by AGENT. He said, “Write COLLEGE IDEA.”

Now the thing about COLLEGE IDEA is that it’s a dumb, schlocky, slapsticky idea. Sure, I can give it my own overtones of gender-conflict and try to avoid stereotypes, but it’s ultimately never going to be a smart-people movie. It’s to laugh at and enjoy but not to stay in your brain for the next two days like some other movies that never cease to amaze you.

But I’ll whore myself out artistically even if I won’t do it morally, so I wrote my outline and entire first act.

And then I spent two weeks pounding out the rough cut of that SURPRISE FEATURE I mentioned awhile back. I finished that earlier today, by the way; thanks for asking.

So now it’s time to go back to writing and FINISH THE DAMN SCRIPT so AGENT won’t forget I exist.

And now I sort of hate the idea.

Not the idea. The idea still makes me giggle like a toddler holding her mother’s car keys. It’s more that I hate myself for writing it. Even more accurately, my friends have made me hate myself for writing it.

So what am I going to do?

Do it anyway.

Alex Epstein has a post up comparing screenwriting to founding a startup, and he says the following:

On a micro level, every script sucks at some point. Syd Field has his Turning Points. I have the Sucky Point. Most scripts suck when you’re about 40% into them. This is also true of outlines and pitch ideas. You’ve lost your initial enthusiasm, but you’re not over the hump yet.

I make a point of finishing everything I start, whether I like it or not. I don’t take every idea to script, of course. But if I start writing an outline, I finish the outline. If I start writing a first draft, I finish the first draft. I only let myself stop when I’ve finished that particular step, and I can evaluate whether it’s worth going on to the next step.

Exactly.

I’ll see you all in 75 pages.

Ryan Elainska