Thursday, January 28, 2010

Discussing January/February 2010 Issue with Andrew Shearer, Pt. 1

Being a screenwriter in Hollywood, or rather, trying to become a legitimate screenwriter in Hollywood, is fucking hard.

Lately for me, it’s been a soul-wrenching experience, testing my very ability to sustain Hollywood’s never ceasing lashings. That’s why I was refreshed to read the Jan/Feb 2010 edition of Script magazine. Within it, I found comfort reading Peter Hanson’s article “The Agony of the Unproduced.” All of us un-produced screenwriters, despite our minor successes, need a pick-me-up here and there, and the pick-me-up in this article is the story of the guy who couldn’t take it anymore, so he quit. I know, it’s sort of sadistic, but that’s what’s making me feel good today. I’m still going. You’re still going. That guy quit. Hoorah – get to work – the next thing we write may be the one.

Aaron Ginsburg made me laugh today in his article “How (Not) to Fire Your Rep.” It’s a useful article if you have a worthless manager, and you’re struggling over the decision of whether or not to fire him or her. My writing partner and I used to have a fairly crazy manager who told me all too much about her personal life and boyfriends and cats. We finally fired her in what was the most painful phone call in my life, but which now that I look back on it, like Ginsburg’s experiences, makes me laugh – again, I’m a sadistic bastard but these are dark times, and I need a pick-me-up. Ginsburg reminds me that although things are a little slow in my career now, they used to be a lot worse.

“10 Things a Rep Will Never Tell You” is a great article by Jim Cirile, which isn’t exactly the trilogy of my pick-me-up, but it’s a necessary sobering splash of water after my brief high. Every time I think my manager is telling me all the answers to all my questions (because obviously we’re chums), I have to remind myself, he is my business partner. Here’s where I have to say, my manager is actually a really laidback guy who you can relax and have a beer with. But still, we’re business partners, so just like I don’t need to know about my former manager’s boyfriends’ medications, my current manager doesn’t feel like I need to know when someone thought our script really blew – just that they passed.

So the good news is, it’s 2010, I haven’t quit yet, I don’t have to fire a manager today, and my manager hasn’t fired me yet. Time to get to work.


A redneck from Small Town, North Carolina (population 8,000, high school drop-out rate 40%), one day decided to tackle the film industry. Andrew’s film-school short, Son Up, based off his experience teaching at a juvenile hall, ended up winning seven festival awards and made the regionals for the Student Academy Awards. Andrew’s feature script version of Son Up, co-written with Nick Sherman, went on to win first prize at Cinequest. Then one day, the screenwriting gods shined their rarely shown light down from the Heavens and awarded the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship to Andrew and Nick for their feature script, Holy Irresistible. The duo is now repped by Endeavor and Brillstein Entertainment. They have two projects in development and are lucky enough to be co-writing a spec with another writer they’ve admired for years.

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