Biting the Hand that FeedsComplications Ensue
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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bill Cunningham responds to my remark that I am not primarily concerned with the studio making money:
Do you really want that statement out there, Alex? It seems a bit, "biting the hand that feeds."

As a writer, I want my financiers/clients to do well with my writing. I want them to succeed because in doing so, I succeed. Even if it's just a low budget contract job where I'm paid a flat fee. The publicity value alone is worth it.

If BON COP BAD COP tanked, you wouldn't have had as many PR opportunities as you've recently had would you? You wouldn't be able to tell people you were part of a movie hit, tell them you have two books on the shelf, and that you're available for work. Your agents certainly want your producers/studio to succeed because that means they have "an easier sell" with you next go around - you're the guy who wrote that hit Canadian movie.
Sure. But let's be honest. I'm not in the screenwriting business in order to make money. I'm in the screenwriting business because I love writing movies and TV, I get off on people watching my stuff, I get off on watching my stuff, I enjoy the process, I like being with show people. I am concerned about the stuff making money, but only secondarily: because if it don't, I don't work.

When I am writing a screenplay, I am mostly trying to write the best screenplay I know how, within a commercial genre I believe exists. Commerciality affects what I write to the extent that I don't write something I don't think can get made. But once I'm writing the script I'm trying to write a movie I'd enjoy, and hoping other people would enjoy it. I would find it quite hard to write something that an audience would enjoy but I wouldn't. (That said, I have pretty mainstream tastes.)

And Bill, I bet you write movies you love, too, and hope they make money. Because both of us could probably make more money in another line of work. I quit computer science to go into showbiz.



But once I'm writing the script I'm trying to write a movie I'd enjoy, and hoping other people would enjoy it. I would find it quite hard to write something that an audience would enjoy but I wouldn't. (That said, I have pretty mainstream tastes.)

Well, that's absolutely what it's all about Alex - writing to entertain people. (And boy is she a harsh mistress sometimes). I'm simply looking at this from the practical standpoint. "Success" (critical or otherwise) means more opportunities to do what we love. We should be concerned with getting our work out to the widest most dedicated audience possible.

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 11:24 AM  

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