Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The Devil's Guide to Hollywood Joe Eszterhas

The Screenwriter as God 2007 Gerald Duckworth pp 397

He starts by telling us that they are out there by the dozen telling you how to write screenplays. The most famous is Robert McKee who has had only one feature length film produced on cable television.

The writer has written fiftenn films from Flashdance to Basic Instinct and Showgirls. In 1992 Basic instinct was the number film one of that year. He has been paid millions of dollars for his films. Jack Warner called writers smucks with Underwoods,

In 1994 was his best year at 10 million dollars.

In Hollywood it is all good news, all the time. If someone doesn't like your script they wont tell you that. You'll simply never hear from them. If someone doesn't like your movie, they'll tell you they haven't seen it yet.

The screenwriter's lament The fucking you get isn't worth the fucking you get.

Don't Pitch a story write it

If you really believe in your story don't talk about it sit down and do the hard work and write it.

He says the main reason he has made so much money on his scripts is that most of his sales have been scripts that he just sat down and wrote it and then sold. He did not pitch it to the imbeciles.

Real writers sit down and write: wannabe writers sit around and talk

Jean Luc Godard " A film should have a beginning , a middle , and and end, but not necessarily in that order"

Write six pages of script a day

If you do this you will have a first draft in roughly 20 days

Go back and edit and spend no more than five days on this edit

Then rewrite your script from page one- with your edits. Spend no more than a week on this rewrite- that means twenty pages a day.

Put the script away for a week: don't even look at it.

Then edit it once again. Spend no more than four days on the edit this time.

Then rewrite it again from scratch with your edits-taking another week. This will be your third draft.

Now begin the process of trying to sell it- this, your official first draft.

Don't show the script to anyone as you write it.

Don't talk about what you write each day, Only when you have finished with your script should you show it to anyone.

The easier your script reads, the better.

He said that most studio executives he met charitably slow readers- they don't all necessarily move their lips when they read- keep it simple stupid....and readable

What's my motivation?

Faye Dunawaye asked Roman Polanski about her character's motivation in Chinatown

Roman said, " Say the fucking words. Your salary is your motivation"

Don't ever give up selling your script

Warren Beatty said this about trying to bed every woman that he met: " You get slapped a lot, but you get fucked sometimes too".