Monday, November 14, 2005

Aaaaah, that's better.

This afternoon, this is my favorite part of the screenwriting process -- helping your assistant fiddle with margins to boost page count.

Before I dive in, it is worth going over to Bill Cunningham's joint at DISC/ontent. He is filled with crunchy goodness about the AFM, writers branding themselves, and general direct-to-DVD smartness. That is the value/dollar section of this post. The rest is personal, and you may skip it, for it lacks intellectual crunch.

When one has a weepy hissy fit, it's always worth going back and looking at why something or someone set you off. And by "you", I mean "me". There are little triggers which send me screaming into the night, much to the consternation of my friends. Mark Waid handles fire-hoses of crazy with uncanny aplomb. David Koepp was nice enough to call me once, completely out of the blue, and start the conversation with: "Why ... why are you paying attention to the mouth breathers?" Josh Friedman has his magic sweatpants. But I am weak.

Separating out that particularly black mood-day, I realize what pissed me off was that I was being accused of bragging, when I was merely listing my (and I used this word) qualifications.

Granted, they were my "qualifications for telling people to fuck off on my blog", but 'nuff said.

This is kind of relevant, because I just realized I started this blog a year ago next week, to do the little comedy bits I don't have any place else for, and it backed into being a screenwriting blog. I don't know if I ever set down the ground rules for all that.

When I mention the screenwriting work I do, I do not want any of you to think it's anything but me presenting why I'm qualified to write about a specific subject. I am doing you the courtesy of presenting my work experience -- not "success", but specifically that tools-on-pipes phrase "work experience" -- so you can judge for yourself if I'm worth listening to. It had never actually occurred to me to assume you'd just take my word for it.

a.) I told jokes for a living. b.) I write and get paid for it. c.) I write and get paid for it in a very specific context. Sometimes d.) -- I did not go to film school -- will come up, but only to give hope to my not-in-LA based Spec Monkeys.

I will occassionally mention a.) through d.) soley so that you can separate out my informed opinions ("Rewrites on large movies work under a very specific system ...") from my just plain pulled-out-of-my-ass opinions ("Dick Cheney eats kittens. Alive. Because he likes the sound they make when he crushes their tiny skulls in his lockjaw.")

But in the name of all that's holy don't assume I'm bragging about my "success", because -- and never forget this -- while I am experienced, I am qualified, and on lucky days may even be good, by my personal standards I am not successful. You may feel free to salt "at all" in that sentence to taste.

This is not a "poor me" post. I get paid to do this. That's a big damn win. But sparing specifics, after six years and damn near three thousand paid pages I have accomplished in the "Stories With My Name On Them Officially Delivered Unto Audiences " category:

American Outlaws. The Core. Catwoman.

Cutting through the bullshit, there ain't a whole lot of bragging rights in there.

To paraphrase a particularly amusing e-mail I got here at the site: "The most impressive thing about your resume is that people still hire you."

I've left the Comments "off" on this post, because it's nothing more than a simple declaration for the newbies and some who may be unclear: when I write about writing, TV or movies, it's from the viewpoint of a guy who does it for a living. No more, no less. I won't bother to explain just how I con Hollywood out of cash (it involves the Shroud of Turin) ... but I am nothing more than a very lucky Spec-Monkey, my friends. Lucky and cunning, with a Termite-stick of Writing Tricks. Take from this place what you will.