Going from paper to screen is Purgatory.

February 18th, 2011 by Ron
The Script Blogger

If you think being a scriptwriter is frustrating try being a producer.

The financial jungle that today’s Indy Film Producers have to navigate makes Jurassic Park look like a kid’s playground, too tame even for Disney.

Firstly there are the dinosaurs who say “You can’t do that”.

Then there the birds of prey, waiting to swoop and steal anything that looks remotely edible, or in this case doable. Except they want to do it and not let you.

If you get past these, the next predators you will meet will be the carnivores. They are waiting to rip anything with life in it, to pieces. If after such a ferocious attack the story is still breathing there are the vultures waiting to descend and pick clean anything living to the point that death seems inevitable.

If the producer’s nerve and faith in his project lasts you can be sure his ambition to raise millions for his production has now been reduced to thousands. His potential fees have become a memory and the once golden project has become a millstone that is probably destroying his twenty year-old marriage or at least his relationship with his wayward teenage daughter, who by now is a complete stranger.

Also by now his vision of giving birth to a wonderful, exciting baby is a choice between suicide and having a Caesarean section.

As a writer I don’t consider the trails and tribulations that follow the completion of a screenplay. Sure I have to market it and sell it, but once that is done; to me my work is complete.

Is it hell?

If as a writer you are lucky enough to sell your screenplay; then you either have to be able to walk away and not be concerned for what somebody else’s vision of your vision ends up looking like or face the fact that you know nothing and are the lowest form of humanoid in the film making collective.

The fact that the casting director manages to persuade a forty year old, once teenage idol of an afternoon TV Soap, that occupied space on a remote cable network, this is his big break and that the writer will have no problem rewriting the youthful lead role as an aging over weight has-been, so it fits his persona exactly, is just the beginning.

While you, as the writer are coming to terms with the reality of being a writer the producer is having lunch with the Devil, disguised as an Angel. At every meeting the piece of cake the producer was expecting to walk away with is reduced, by another hungry predator possibly introduced by the benevolent predator already at the table.

Living this experience you have to wonder how anything goes from paper to screen and the surprising thing is it does.

What is even more surprising is the queue around the block of ‘haven’t got a clue hopefuls’ thinking that this is an easy way to make a buck.

Being a writer can be one of the most liberating ways a person can express their inner self and while the writer is occupied with the job of writing, no wayward thoughts enter his closeted world. But once he relaxes and considers his work is done he enters the world of warmongers, serial killers and financial Jackals with acid rich stomachs like Hyenas that can reduce anything to pulp.

The illusions created by writers are nothing in comparison with the illusions destroyed once the financial manoeuvring begins.

If you want to be a writer be prepared to become a businessman, a marketer, a salesman and a diplomat and expect that for most of your life to live on the charity of others.

There can be only one reason why you are a writer and that is for the love of writing.

7 responses to “Going from paper to screen is Purgatory.”

  1. Ellisor says:

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  2. Mathias says:

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  3. seriel666 says:

    Good article. Thank you.

  4. Ted West says:

    Great article. Found your blog off IMDB.

    Thanks

  5. Keith Macjub says:

    Great website and really useful tips. Being a filmmaker now also requires you to be able to direct and produce (something many filmmakers dislike) and these are valuable lessons that creative people should really listen too.

    Love the blogs and keep them coming.

    Keith

  6. l a harrington@aol.com says:

    Nice site. Some useful and knowlegeable articles man. I know, I am creeping, lol. Hopefully I can produce something like this myself.

  7. Mark Gilvary says:

    Sobering But Valuable!

    Mark Gilvary