Recently I got a comment on the blog that I decided not to post because it was clearly from a Hater. “Hater” is the term I use to describe angry, reactive people who are foul and negative only to assert their hostile position – however, in most cases, their position isn’t fueled by logic but simply by their own anger and hostility. We all know such people. These people generally suck. Haters, this blog’s for you.
The comment used profanity and basically attacked me personally, recommending I kill myself, for trying to communicate on my blog what the professional standards are for screenplay submissions within the United States (i.e., using screenplay software, proper margins, correct formatting, proofreading, adhering to proper screenplay structure, etc.). I mean, dude, if I killed myself, you’d just have to find a new person to hate!
I’ve decided to address the contents of this comment in a blog because I wanted to underscore the need for professionalism in any endeavor. That kind of shit blog comment underscores the need for what I’m trying to do with my blog – encourage professionalism.
For whatever reason, most humans have a basic capacity for language, even retards, but this somehow translates into any idiot fancying himself “a writer.” This particular hater-writer was really angry at me that I wasn’t evaluating just a good story and that I was evaluating the craft equally with the idea. Sorry to break it to you, but any dimwit can come up with a great story concept. In fact, sitting here right now, I could come up with about 30, just off the top of my head. The difference between a writer and a guy with an idea is the writer actually slaves away for hours, days, months, years, working on the CRAFT of writing. And, ultimately, it is the employment and skill of the writer’s craft that separates out an incredible writer and screenplay from something any guy could have sat down and written in a couple of hours.
The average script I read at the competition level is something I myself, or any reasonably well-educated screenwriter, could sit down and write in a few hours. It is the script that was clearly drafted, re-drafted, labored over, structured and re-structured, that rises to the top. That kind of script takes time to write – and it’s that kind of time that improves our craft.
I had coffee this morning with a great writer friend, someone I truly respect and admire, and now, 15 months into a project, these latest rewrites are taking on a whole new dimension. The project is amazing. I fully believe it will get produced one day. He’s not a Hater. He is a WRITER. He does the work.
To all of my international screenwriter friends, I am by no means asserting that the American standards of submissions are applicable in any other country. You should research to discover what the professional standards for submitting your writing are within your own country and market. However, I have personally read many scripts by writers who are clearly not native English speakers, and they still have aspirations of writing for the American audience and getting discovered in Hollywood. If you’re in Pakistan and dreaming of having an American movie studio produce your project, I think that’s a wonderful dream – but get educated about what standard of screenplay they will expect to see from you before you start sending your work off. I’m just being practical. Cover your bases.
Look, if you’re going to cling to your liferaft of hatred, balls to the wall. Good for you. If you want to tattoo your screenplay on your bald head and pitch it that way, go for it. If you want to fingerpaint it because this is an expression of your true soul, do it! However, I am trying to forewarn you that before you spend a year of your life fingerpainting your screenplay, nobody in a position to move that project along is going to take it seriously if it’s painted like you’re in preschool.
Fake it until you make it. The more professional an appearance you can give yourself, in whatever market you’re trying to sell yourself in, the better off you’ll be.
Hey, at the end of the day, Hating never served anyone. You might glorify your own self-sabotage, but at the end of the day, that’s all it is – self-sabotage. And that guy that you think is an asshole for using Final Draft (or Celtx) and properly formatting and proofing his work will be laughing all the way to his next pitch meeting – and the bank.