Ok, its been a long and grueling process but one that I have enjoyed. It took me over two years to write my first movie script. Why did it take so long? It only took me fifteen minutes to write my Best Original Screenplay Oscar speech which I am certain to receive. It took so long cause I am undisciplined. Many days I just stared blankly at a paper or a computer screen. There were days I wanted to write something else that came to mind. Or I wanted to walk. Doubt crept in on a daily basis. How can I even begin to think I am a writer? Why would anyone ever want to buy the words of a man who has no professional training in writing? It was a constant battle. Somehow, the characters that occupied my mind fell out onto paper and it caught the attention of people who believed. I finished. That story has exited my mind. Writing my script was rewarding, frustrating, enlightening and daunting. It is now done.
Now its time to hand it off to someone else, who will take those words off the page and give to the actors to become my characters. Who he will direct my movie? Who will give the audience a movie that hopefully will bring attention to issues that me, the screenwriter, believe need to be addressed. The actors will become my characters. And I emphasize MY. They will take whatever method they chose and bring my characters to life. That is what the audiences will see. It’s so very scary. It won’t be mine any longer, it will belong to a host of professionals. Professionals I have to believe in and trust.
After months of meetings, offers, counter offers, rejections, complicated language, and financial considerations, I along with advice of my lawyer (my school friend) and agent have come to a decision of who will direct my script. After long consideration of some very capable directors we have chosen YOU, Rob Reiner, to take my story of two young boys growing up in a southern town divided by racism during the early seventies and bring it to the big screen. George Clooney wanted it along with his business partner Grant Heslov. I like his work, he is an indy guy who often works for scale. Heck, he even flew me and my lawyer to his home in Italy to make his pitch. Spike Lee wanted it and that was intriguing to me. I love his movies, his style and “Do the Right Thing” is brilliantly shot and written! Easily one of my favorites. He’s to some controversial, to me he is being himself in his beliefs that I admire. He is using his platform to bring public awareness to what he believes are injustices in our society. But it was ultimately your work with kids in “Stand by Me” Mr Reiner, that won us over.
Now I must say we didn’t just give it away. There were some considerations on our part that Hollywood had to agree upon. Location was priority. I wanted it shot in my hometown since that where in my mind it belonged. The economic opportunities can only help a depressed area. Not to mention the attention it will bring to such a historical and beautiful south Louisiana town. Money too was a consideration. At the time of writing my script, I was an unemployed man living on minimal savings long after my benefits ran out. I am a lifetime flop professionally. I don’t want to labor any longer. I want to write. And selling my script will certainly give me the luxury to continue writing. My last consideration was to be the writer to edit the script in production. Hey, its my story! Why should anyone else do the re-writes other than the actors themselves with the approval of Mr. Reiner.
Being a screen writer is like being an offensive lineman in football. Faceless. You get no glory. As soon as you sell it, the director is the man. As well as the actors. Other than Sylvester Stallone and Matt Damon/Ben Affleck, who acted as well as wrote their first movie, no other first time screen writers are really well known. I have no desire to act. I am a storyteller. Anyways back to my point. Can you name the screen writer of “The King’s Speech”? Didn’t think so. So as I sign my name on the dotted line(s) I become a nobody again. I have given my dream away. It’s an odd feeling. Sure I will win an academy award and hopefully selling my next project will be easier. That along with the excitement that someone liked and believed in my story, it comes with lots of sadness. Maybe that will change when I hear my words on the screen. Or when someone says “our” movie moved them or made them think about something they never considered before. Or maybe it was their story never told. Movies can bring out a lot in those who view them. I hope mine will. It was intended to.
Till Opening Night. Good Day.
Ok this story is fiction. I have no idea why I wrote it other than I was drawing a blank this morning and I have no qualifications to write a screen play and wanted to dream. But as a writer-want-to-be it’s easy to write a dream. I am done procrastinating, now time to write.