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...


Writing ‘Orange is the New Black,’ I Realized I Was a Lesbian

“I Googled 'How do you know if you’re a lesbian?'  There had to be, like a quiz, right?”  Lauren  Morelli, 31 year old newlywed, TV writer, wrote about her real-life journey across the Kinsey scale from heterosexual to gay.

Orange is the New Black takes place inside a women’s prison.  The lead character, Piper Chapman, is based on real life author,  Piper Kerman.  In her memoire, she tells the story of how she ended up spending...


How to Become a Drug Addicted Alcoholic Hollywood Writer

It’s relatively easy. First you get a job as a writer for a studio or network. Then you’ll find there’s a rich tradition around getting drunk or high while writing or hanging out with other writers.

Everyone likes tradition. Back in the day, Fields and Raymond Chandler were infamous drunks who could be seen drinking at the Formosa.
Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman and Robert Sherman were all known to  “drink...


Joan Rivers’ “Can We Talk?” Therapy

Much has been written about standup comic Joan Rivers after her recent tragic death.  However, not many people know about the tragedies she dealt with in life.  For example, after she was fired from her own late night talk show, and the subsequent suicide of her husband, Edgar Rosenberg, she became severely depressed.

She discussed her reaction to these events in her books and interviews.  At first, she said she fell into despair. Then she started feeling guilty.  Why didn't she insist on Edgar seeing a therapist?  How could she miss the signs?

Finally, guilt turned into anger. In fact, both Rivers and her daughter, Melissa found themselves lashing out at one another. Who else could they blame?  Edgar wasn't around, so out of desperation they blamed everyone else including themselves.