Friday, February 5, 2010

Discussing January/February 2010 Issue with Andrew Shearer, Pt. 2

Wow, talk about contrary advice… I’m the kind of screenwriter, like most of my writer friends, who sits in a room or a coffee shop all day and writes, only speaking to humans to order caffeine or talk to my writing partner when I want to tell him how bad his stuff is (to make myself feel better about my own crap.) I’m always working on “the one.”

So when I read Marvin Acuna’s article, “The Three Pillars,” which suggests that I better man up and get out there and start networking if I’m going to make it in this biz… I figured, I’m going to man up and get out there and start networking and make it in this biz. I can be likeable in real life. There is one friend of mine who seems to get projects off the ground in big part because he’s excellent at networking (and a great writer, which is the combo Acuna suggests).

Acuna also says you should focus on market intelligence. I actually read Variety every Sunday, but honestly, I forget most of it every time I sit back down to work on my “art” (except the part about the films that made a hundred million – man I’m broke!).

Then I turned the page in Script and read Wesley Rowe’s column, “Hitting the Boards.” He basically said screw that, don’t network, just tell people you have an award-winning script and they need to read it. Be the guy who doesn’t have to have the winning personality, believes in your script as art, and waits for it to speak for itself. Bold. It makes me feel good that sometimes a whole day goes by, and I literally never step outside. My feeling is, I think there’s good advice in both the Acuna and Rowe articles, but it really depends on your personality.

I know I’ll never be the networker my buddy is because I’m just not the producing type – I think that’s part of understanding what you’re good at and what you’re not. I’m praying my reps can sell “the one” once I write it. But I also know you absolutely have to have a likeable personality once you get in the room with executives. Nobody wants to work with a pretentious asshole who considers his script a work of art that can’t be modified.

Rowe says one can be satisfied that one’s script was better than the movie it was made into. I will admit that he’s right when he says you should really enjoy the script you’re writing. I’m having a hell of a good time writing the script I’m working on now. But I can’t agree that it will ever stand as a piece of art on its own. The finished movie is the art. If the movie turns out bad, the disappointment I would feel, would far outweigh the fun I’m having now while writing it. (I imagine anyway – I’ve never had a movie made.) So what do you think?

Click here for Pt. 1


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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