Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Where's the customer service for screenwriters?

Although I have "officially" given up the screenwriting game, I continue drifting off to sleep at night running scenes and dialogue from Ed Maxx: Zombie Destroyer* in my head. You might think it would give me nightmares, but no. I prefer my nightmares to come from other sources. Cormac McCarthy's stunning and awesome novel "The Road" is currently furnishing them with images quite well.

Who knows - maybe I'll find the fun in going back and giving Ed Maxx another try at setting his life straight.

If I do, I'll of course maintain the opinion that Hollywood doesn't give a damn about us, the customers for its peculiar sort of merchandise. Hollywood has never asked me what kinds of movies I want to see. And the town is particularly hostile to screenwriters, especially those of us who prefer to live somewhere other than Los Angeles.

And so I find it harder and harder to care at all about what is being offered on screens here in DC. This is unfortunate, since the "hinterland screenwriter" could be one of the film industry's most ardent supporters. After all, we're the ones who:

  • pay $8 to see a movie - two or three times;
  • watch the DVD a second time, with the director's commentary running;
  • sometimes watch it with the commentary running the first time;
  • watch all the deleted scenes, once with commentary, once without;
  • look up all the bit part actors' names on IMDB;
  • can tell you who Natalie Kalmus was;
  • sit on our festering scripts because we're too scared they may be totally worthless (as most script readers claim they are);
  • would benefit from a system where we could be matched up with writing partners who could complement us;
  • believe that every dozen years or so, we'll come out of a movie theatre transformed.

*Ed's a DC-based lawyer who wakes up one morning to find that the world has degenerated into two camps - zombies and a very few humans. He rapidly finds that he's destined to flip back and forth between this alternate universe, and his real life, where he's got to deliver enough billable hours to become partner, get married, survive encounters with the walking dead and find a way to make the flipping stop.

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