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Old 03-08-2010, 10:01 PM
WriteNow WriteNow is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Tinseltown (Not Hollywood, it's a real town somewhere else)
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Got a call from my pal in Hollywood over the weekend. This guy, Jay, was the one poor guy out of my little circle of writing friends that never seemed to be able to get anywhere. He did lots of extra work, got a bit part on Will and Grace, and begged, borrowed, or stole whatever he could for years in order to stay in Hollywood and not have to move back home (to Oklahoma) in shame.

I watched this guy fail again and again. After a couple years I finally started selling treatments, he sold nothing. I sold a script or two (one was co-written), he sold nothing. I got steady polish work, he got nothing. The poor guy aged twenty years in the ten I knew him. When I left L.A. for good (I think) he told me, "I got no work, I got no woman, I got no place to live. All I have is this fucking truck." (He had just been evicted and was staying on a friend's couch. I seriously thought he was going to hang himself that night. Never have I seen such a broken, beaten down man.)

And THAT was YEARS ago. He didn't give up. He kept at it. He wrote more scripts, got more rejections, dug himself in further and further until he had literally nothing to lose. How he managed to keep at it for so long only he knows, and even he probably doesn't.

So I was pretty happy to his voice on the phone, sounding completely different than I had ever heard it before. Why, you ask? Because he sold a script for $200,000 (or close to it). His first. (Well, technically his second, but he got screwed on the first and never saw any money- I'll warn you guys about shady contracts another time). Naturally, I congratulated him and asked for all the details. It's a sci-fi action movie about a future where everyone is a clone. I told him it sounded like "The Island". He said, "I know. All this time I've been trying so hard to write the best I can and then I realized something. No one reads Tolstoy or Melville on an airplane or sitting on a park bench. They read crap like John Grisham and Stephen King. Simple, quick and easy. Crap. So that's what I wrote, cause that's what they want."

Now, please don't misunderstand this advice, guys. Jay was notorious for writing 300-page screenplays that took place solely in a psychiatrist's office, stuff like that. Not exactly pretentious- but a bit heady. And definitely not good B.O. material. Or something anyone at all would want to watch.

The moral here is Jay NEVER GAVE UP. He got fat, lost his hair, lost his apartment, lost his- well, he never had a girlfriend as far as I know, but he basically lost it all while struggling his way along in the trenches of Hollywood.

If he would have quit a year ago he'd be a fat, bald, broken failure of a man. Now he's still fat (but he can afford to hire a trainer), he's still bald (but he can buy a sharp rug) but he's about as happy as someone can be because he SUCCEEDED where pretty much everyone expected him to fail. (Honestly, even me.)

Never give up.
And remember- no matter what ANYONE says, not your next door neighbor or the head of Warner Bros.- keep at it. Eventually, you will succeed-

Last edited by WriteNow; 03-09-2010 at 10:52 PM.
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