Monday, October 25, 2010

My People Will Call Your People

The other night, my wife and I sat down to watch a movie. We made it through about thirty minutes before we bailed. Lately, we’ve been not watching a lot more movies than we’ve been watching. I don’t know if it’s just me being in a finicky mood, but recent movies and TV shows have seemed repetitive and derivative.

It’s got me thinking about writing a screenplay.

[ASIDE: When the DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD publication deal was announced in the trade press, it received about five minutes of interest from people in Hollywood before they passed on it.

I think KILLER ROUTINE would make a great movie, and an even better premise for a TV series. Sort of a cross between Last Comic Standing and the Rockford Files.]

I jotted down a few positives and negatives about writing screenplays:


  • They’re shorter than novels.
  • They’re heavy on the dialogue (one of the things that comes easier to me).
  • You get to deal with Hollywood types.
  • You can dream about actors who might play your characters (and maybe someday meet them. Hello, Pee Wee Herman!)
  • When you stuck in a scene and don’t know where to go with it, you can just Fade to Black.


  • They’re very difficult to sell.
  • You have to deal with Hollywood types.
  • And the big one: I have a complete and utter lack of knowledge about writing screenplays.

Of course, I knew nothing about writing novels before I started, either. (Some may say I still don’t.) But I had read a ton of books.

I’ve watched a ton of movies and TV shows over the years, so maybe I could learn how to write a screenplay.

Or maybe not…

Fade to Black.



Anonymous said...

Alan - OH, that's an interesting question - having one's book brought to the big screen (or the small one, for that matter). I honestly don't know if I would want my work brought to the screen. It seems ridiculous to say that, since who wouldn't want the wider audience, success, etc. that might bring? But I'm not sure I'd want a bunch of producers and directors telling me about changes they were going to make to what I wrote. Beta readers, editors and publishers, yes. Hollywood types? No.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's worth a try!
And at least you're wise enough to stop watching when you realize the movie sucks.

Elspeth Futcher said...

Screenplays intrigue me. Just dialogue? Win. Thinking about casting? Could be a win. Doing lunch with Hollywood types? Also a win, but I'd need a better wardrobe. However, experience writing screenplays? Not so much of a win. I have written two plays though.

Alan Orloff said...

Margot - Four words: Show Me The Money.

Alex - Yes. Life's too short. Actually, I should be quicker on the trigger.

Elspeth - Come on, a play's just like a movie, without all those pesky second and third takes.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I like the *idea* of writing screenplays...but the time factor of learning how to write them is the real deterrent!