Why Aspiring Hollywood Writers Fail

A breakdown of screenplays entered into a recent screenwriting competition was analyzed to see what types of screenplays got passed over. Professional Story analysts, (people who read and rate scripts for the studio) were chosen to rank the scripts, and then crunched the numbers.
They found that science fiction and comedy were the two genres of scripts written by aspiring writers, most apt to fail.

I imagine the problem with new writers trying to...


Horrible Hollywood Bosses

‘With the whole writing staff watching, waiting to work, he’d be trying on pants.  When he was satisfied, he told the tailor he’d like thirty pair of pants sent to his home in LA, and thirty pair sent to his summer home in Park City.’
The showrunner's job on a half hour TV comedy is to run the writer’s room, which is where the writing staff works as a whole, to write and rewrite scripts.

On one show I worked on, aimed at young adults and teens, our boss kept the writers at work aound the clock. After working with him for a while it became clear that he wasn't an intentionally mean boss (like so many others), but was basically a big kid.


Is Bill Cosby A Narcissist?

"He was like, 'Let's take off your clothes and get you in to bed because you're so sick and we need to take care of you, I'm helping you.’  He put me in bed and then started taking his clothes off, I was like 'no, no, no'."  - According to Tamara Green (alleged victim).
Born in 1937, Cosby was a latchkey kid who grew up in Philadelphia with a father who drank heavily and a mother who worked cleaning houses.  Cosby shined shoes to help with family finances.  His father joined the Navy when the boy was young.

As a very young boy, Cosby learned to captivate his family by telling entertaining stories and by stretching the truth to make people laugh.  He was so good at it, one of his early teachers said he should be “either an actor or a lawyer, because he lies so well.”

By the time he hit his teenage years, his identity was wrapped up in being a storyteller.  At the same time, storytelling was a means of controlling his younger siblings.


12 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writers Block

1. "I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning." — William Faulkner.
2. "If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word." — Margaret Atwood.
3. "Don't get it right, just get it written." — James Thurber.
4. "Lower your standards and keep writing." — William Stafford.
5.  “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou.


Is Perfectionism Ruining Your Screenplay? 9 Tips

1. Don't compare your writing with Quentin Tarentino's. 
If you fall into the category of so-called "neurotic perfectionists," (and I feel that all writers share some of these traits), you may be thinking in black and white.  That is  like, "I'm either a total success or a complete failure. There's nothing in between."
Don't start off comparing your screenplay with "Pulp Fiction." You'll come up short. You'll feel like a "failure." Remember there are six million shades of grey.


MacKenzie Phillips: “I Shot Up Heroin Before The Today Show.”

"It was a very permissive time in a very rock ’n’ roll world.  Pretty much anything went. I can’t characterize it as being strung out as a child. That came later. Certainly, things were set into motion early, but I wasn’t strung out as a 10-, 11- or 12-year-old. It sort of grew. It’s a snowball effect. Nobody starts out as a full-on junkie. It comes over time."  MacKenzie Phillips.

MacKenzie Phillips is remembered for playing the rebellious teenager Julie on Norman Lear’s half hour comedy, One Day at a Time (at least remembered by me; One Day At A Time was my first TV staff writing job).  She is also known as the eldest daughter of the late singer-songwriter John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. 


Why We Don’t Hate George Clooney

George Clooney’s in the news again, this time it’s about his wedding to Amal Almuddin.  The guy has everything; awards, women, wealth, fame, you name it, and throw in a idyllic mansion on Lake Cuomo.  Why don’t we feel envious, jealous, or just outright hate him? 

For one thing, we're hard-wired to be attracted to good-looking people.  Clooney has the symmetry of features women get those "feel-good brain chemicals" about.

Eye-tracking studies have shown both men and women...


Fear and Loathing in the TV Writer’s Room

"The TV industry is uglier than most things.  It is perceived as a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs."

Hunter S. Thompson, from Generation of Swine:  Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80's

Hollywood careers can lead to isolation, especially writing, which is essentially a lonely job, staring at a computer screen, crafting scenes, a story, and dialogue that...