The Top 50 Reasons You Won’t Make It As A Screenwriter

50. The only manager willing to rep you is based in a suburb of Phoenix.

49. Even Uwe Boll thinks your material is uninspired.

48. It’s not you. It’s the 99% of people on Earth that write better than you.

47. When you receive polite passes from managers, the encouraging part of the email is a different font size, indicating they’ve simply pasted boilerplate niceties after the personalized intro.

46. People mistake your dramas for comedies.

45. People mistake your comedies for dramas.

44. You’ve ever compared one of your scripts to a movie that won an Academy Award.

43. Hollywood discriminates against female writers, even though your name is Jerry and most people assume you’re a guy when they delete your queries.

42. You use vacation time to fly to LA for meetings, but don’t have any meetings set up ahead of time.

41. You agonize over whether to use card stock for the title page.

40. A rep has never claimed to become erect after something you’ve written or said.

39. At parties, you regale total strangers with the story about the time you were a quarterfinalist in Scriptapalooza.

38. You have extended debates with friends about which is better: Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter.

37. Your coworkers roll their eyes every time you mention you’re a screenwriter.

36. Your spouse rolls his or her eyes every time you claim you’re “so close.”

35. You spend more time on screenwriting message boards than you do writing screenplays.

34. Although you’ve never sold a script, you tell prospective reps all about your directorial ambitions.

33. That story you’ve been working on for three years? Ron Bass already wrote it.

32. The WGA has a strict policy of not admitting people who don’t know the difference between “there” and “their.”

31. Your last script clocked in at 157 pages.

30. You think you’re going to be famous someday.

29. Even paid script consultants won’t read your work.

28. You claim to live and die by the written word, but only want to write for movies and would never stoop to books, theater or technical writing, like most successful writers.

27. You’re too valuable for the telemarketing industry to give up without a fight.

26. You hear the word “potential” more often than the word “awesome.”

25. It’s not that you can’t make it. It’s that it would take 100 years, and you’re already like 37.

24. When your manager told you he liked your script? Lying.

23. Ditto for your mom.

22. Hollywood insists on making movies people actually want to see, as opposed to that Indie dramedy loosely based on your sophomore year of college when you got dumped by your longtime boyfriend, then realized you were a lesbian, culminating in a triumphant revelation to your parents at Thanksgiving.

21. You’re not a Scientologist.

20. The last time someone enjoyed your script was when a ‘naughty’ ICM assistant got spanked with it.

19. People don’t even make it all the way through your tweets.

18. You refer to your screenwriting career as a journey.

17. You’ve begun blogging about said journey.

16. You send mass emails announcing…you might have a new rep.

15. Screenwriting books still intrigue you more than two years after you read your first one.

14. You fail to realize the poetry contest you won in junior high isn’t something you put in a query letter.

13. You look at this list and think “Not me, man. I’m different.”

12. Your idea of a professional script is one with five typos or less.

11. You claim you’ll never write a movie as bad as the one you just saw, but don’t realize the reason that’s true is because any movies based on your scripts would be worse, not better.

10. The only time you’re good in a room is when the room is your cubicle and being good means you just sold some auto insurance.

9. You get mad when readers don’t see your “vision.”

8. Your agent takes more than 24 hours to respond to your emails.

7. You write on a PC.

6. You think standard submission release forms are proof Hollywood is out to steal your ideas.

5. Your cousin was once an extra on Friends, and you think that means you should try to sell your latest script with him attached as the lead.

4. Despite numerous warnings, you still use three brads per script.

3. You’ve resorted to querying entertainment lawyers.

2. You mistake Hollywood thinking you’re a huge waste of time with Hollywood not understanding you.

1. Even when the spec market turns around, there still won’t be buyers for that miserable dreck you churn out.

***And for the first time ever, comments are allowed. What other reasons would you put on the list? Can we make it to 1,000? Or…maybe 100?


Filed under Industry News, Writers

18 responses to “The Top 50 Reasons You Won’t Make It As A Screenwriter

  1. werder

    51. You think getting a 310 area code would make a difference.

  2. marina del RAY

    It takes people more than three sittings to get through your first act.

    89 pages long and that’s with the margins at 1.5 inches.

    You’ve never made the Nicholls cut…or just the first one four times

  3. winter dreams

    LOL @ 40, 39, 29, 23. Here’s my lame addition:

    When that agent said he would hip-pocket you, he really meant he wanted to sit on your face.

  4. 51. You think you need wrilies because the actors are just plain stupid and won’t understand what you want them to do.

    52. You think readers are lazy because don’t they realize that the story starts on page 20.

    53. You think your cousin 4 times removed will help your screenwriting career because he’s Jewish.

    54. Your lead actor in a camp, gay comedy would be a perfect role for Clint Eastwood.

    55. You wish for the good ol’ days of silent film so you don’t have to write dialogue.

    56. You know your script was rejected because it was 121 pages long.

    57. You send in a copy of your yearbook photograph where it says, “Most likely to succeed” as proof that your screenplay career is inevitable.

    58. You try to convince your sister to sleep with a production assistant so that you “have the in that I need.”

  5. DH

    You think spending four years developing one script with your “manager” is normal and healthy.

    You write comedy and can’t see the appeal of Will Ferrel or Ben Stiller.

    You refuse to go see the movies showing in March through November. Even then, it’s at the local arthouse.

    You’ve had cancer more times than completed scripts.

    Screenwriter is an entry in your ‘Get Rich Quick Schemes’ folder.

    You think Spielberg is a hack and wouldn’t ever let him direct your gem of a screenplay.

    You’ve spent more money on script consultants than your latest car.

    You KNOW Hollywood is racist.

    You think a logline is something only lumberjacks can understand. Or is a synonym for constipation.

    You want to be famous.

    You’ve been studying screenwriting for 37 years.

    You have twelve first acts and zero completed scripts.

    You think antagonist and protagonist are interchangeable.

    After reading every recently sold script, you think ‘This is shit.’

    You give up.

  6. hollywoodroaster

    nice. a lot of good additions so far.

    this one really got me:

    “You’ve been studying screenwriting for 37 years.”

  7. DH

    When commenting on blogs, you’re not embarrassed by using ‘you’re’ when you should have used ‘your.’

  8. hollywoodroaster

    i hope you aren’t referring to your own post, as that looks perfect.

    now, anyway.

  9. Matias

    When your top 10 favorite movies made less money than you as a waiter.

    When you read hollywoodroaster’s articles about writers and don’t get what’s funny. 😀

  10. 99. When you see your name on this list. 🙂

  11. 0. You write the funniest, most insightful meta script that the planet has ever seen and motherfucking RON BASS and his motherfucking farm team get all the motherfucking credit!

  12. John

    You have Greg Beal on your speed dial.

    You’re convinced Kevin James stole your idea for “Mall Cop.”

    Your agent is asleep on your couch right now.

    Your title page lists your father’s personal injury law firm under “contact info.”

    Your labor of love project is a biopic about your cat, who is also attached to star and executive produce.

  13. Adam

    Great list.

    #35 should probably be #1, though.

  14. Joel Davis

    You think that “Avatar” is evidence that eventually, if you just keep believing and hoping and stalking, your shitty epic space opera trilogy will one day get made.

    You scour the internets for scripts of upcoming movies, and then try to email the writers with “helpful suggestions”.

    You’d never stoop to do a free rewrite, but no one’s ever asked.

    You look forward to all the parties you’ll get invited to once you break in.

    You’ve written a script where the main character is a struggling screenwriter (you mom read it, and she said she thought the hero was “a little creepy”.)

    You never use passive voice or -ing in your emails, and snicker when your coworkers at Initech do.

    You went to Screenwriting Expo (without someone paying you to speak).

    You own a hat that says, “Writer”.

    Your three-page resume featuring your ten years database and IT experience is set in Courier 12 and is not stapled, but bound with two brads.

    You’ve ever compared John August to Shakespeare (positively or negatively).

    But sadly, I think Andrew nailed this one with #99.

  15. Scott

    Apologizes in advance, couldn’t resist. Sincerely love this blog.

    82. You start a blog called the Hollywood Roaster because you can’t get your name in the Hollywood Reporter.

  16. hollywoodroaster

    fair enough, scott.

    fair enough.

  17. 83. Axiom to #48. The 1% of the population writing as well as you are illiterate.

  18. all i have to say is LOL. thats it.

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