Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Quote of the week: writers in the mist

It's one of those comments that a lot of people don't want to hear: the movie business is a business. And to be able to deal with it sucessfully, you have to embrace its potential and constraints. The UK will soon host its first screenwriters' festival June 27-30 in Cheltenham. At its launch, the British writer Bill Nicholson (writer of the upcoming "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and co-writer of "Gladiator") gave a speech which should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to start screenwriting (or indeed lyric writing).

Here's how he sets the scene: "Why is it that everybody I know, everybody who comes onto my website, everybody I meet in a taxi, wants to be a screenwriter? There seem to be thousands and thousands of people who either are or are becoming screenwriters. And yet every time I meet a producer he says to me, 'I have a project, but I can’t find a writer. Where are the writers? There are no writers.' This gives rise to a strange and haunting image. Armies of wannabe screenwriters are marching away with their heads held high and smiling into a mist, and none of them are coming back. It’s like a scene from the first world war. It’s tragic. Somewhere there’s a swamp in which flounders the dying youth of British screenwriting talent."

Sound familiar? Click through to the site and take five minutes to read the speech in full.

More at Screenwriters Festival 06. Other writers scheduled to appear at the event include Julian Fellowes ("Vanity Fair" and "Julian Fellowes Investigates" and Jimmy McGovern ("Brookside" and "The Street").

3 comments:

Ricardo said...

Hello, came across your site while trying to get info on how to get a screenplay out there. I've dusted off some old ones that I wrote a while back and am working on a new one. Never bothered to really pursue the selling aspect of it. Just seemed too daunting. Anyway, this post was great in waking me up to some truths about the business. They were thing I had forgotten. Keep up the great work.

Michael Leahy said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

How to get the screenplay out there is a whole big subject on its own. But don't just think of it as a one-way process. Think also of how to get yourself in the right place at the right time. Try to meet directors you could work with. Try to make yourself useful to the business.

panthergirl said...

Hey thanks for stopping by to comment on my movie review! I'm very interested in reading what you have to say here. I've toyed with the screenplay idea for years.