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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lisa's been reading Valuable Lessons (the free e-book to which I posted the link here). The most valuable lessons seem to be the ones the author has not learned. Among them:
  • Don't become inflexible about what comedy looks like. If no one's buying lowest-common-denominator 80's comedy, get with it and write specific-audience 00's comedy.
  • Don't imagine you know more than everyone you're working with;
  • Don't tell people you know more than everyone you're working with;
  • Don't get bitter. No one asked you to be a screenwriter;
  • Save your money while you're hot. One day you won't be hot any more.
But the most important lesson is the first. The book is full of "no one knows how to write comedy any more except me." Except everyone else is working and he's not. Guess who's right?

The audience is never wrong. Studio execs have more access to the audience than you do. They may be wrong on specifics, that's why they hire you. But if you keep thinking they are wrong across the board, it's you.

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Well, that's a different spin on the book than I was getting. I'm now 43 pages away from the end and have enjoyed it a great deal. Sure Andrew's coming from a cynical, somewhat self-centric point of view -- but who in Hollywood isn't caustic and always looking out for themselves first? I've never even been in the same orbit as the world he lives and works in, so all I can do is sympathize, laugh, groan and shake my head in disgust as I read along, not knowing any better, I guess.

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 5:51 PM  

The audience is never wrong. Studio execs have more access to the audience than you do. They may be wrong on specifics, that's why they hire you. But if you keep thinking they are wrong across the board, it's you.

Of course the movie industry is full of ideas that go against the general grain, but if they're actually made find an audience. The real trick seems to be find a few people as loony as you, who will invest in your lunacy.

Alan Ladd, jr., didn't understand STAR WARS; but he trusted Lucas enough to help it get made.

Tarantino had the Weinsteins

And so on.

Sure there are a lot of self-deluded people in this industry, who blame their failure on industry stupidity. But there are also some people who've got those multi-million dollar ideas, and need to find someone who sees the industry as they do.

Many successful people in the industry are successful because of the patronage of one or two powerful people. Without those patrons they might still be asking, "Grande or Venti?"

By Blogger Robot Porter, at 6:37 PM  

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