ATTRACTING THE RIGHT WRITERS

 

 

 

 

From the outset we recognize that many writers will not share our aims to develop commercially viable screenplays, nor how we seek to achieve them using story development teams. What we propose may be anathema to many who see themselves as artists seeking to retain complete control of the creative process, at the expense of being of service to the story.

 

We also accept that we will not attract writers who feel that the Hollywood legacy of making movies has no place for contemporary audiences, and that scripts can instead be artistically assembled - all for the purpose of personal self-expression.  Nor will we attract any writer who does not wish to become familiar with Robert McKee’s textbook 'Story', who will not surrender their work to a rigorous examination of its principles, and if they are rejecting of any of them, will only proceed after discussion with their development team.

 

Nor will we attract loners who find the arduous process that master storytellers endure too challenging to share with others, nor people who are neither good communicators nor good listeners, nor individuals who cannot leave their ego at the door. Nor writers, who choose to see money and creative as opposing forces, nor who delight in any variation of us versus them, nor who wish to operate on a higher level than others, nor who wish to play the role of victim bound and tied by the interests of the marketplace – indeed these people will abhor the way in which we work.

 

Invited proponents[1] will come to us because they wish to test their ideas and stories in a new environment, or because they need to find solutions, or because they are attracted to being part of a larger process, or to find collaborators or partners. Or because they are attracted to the company and its product, or because the company has funds and links with the industry, or that the company might produce and distribute their film.

 

Company staff (around the table) will be asked to declare their interest in any similar idea which they may be developing, and if there appears to be any overlap they would be asked to leave. Also, if at any time during the discussions an overlap of interest is revealed, then it should declared and recorded, and dealt with accordingly.

 

Key objectives will be to determine the controlling ideas of the movie, and to see whether screenwriting techniques are being developed to their desired effect. Apart from the merits of the material itself, much will be derived from the energy that emanates from the meetings that follow when the screenwriter returns with new material, as well as the writer’s willingness to confront their successes and shortcomings. Most will not return because the work is just too hard, however they will receive full encouragement if they remain and the project is considered worthwhile. These sessions might also be attended by Company staff who are supportive of the project.

 

After a project is optioned, the Company will finally own the rights in the material, only to be surrendered to the original writer if the Company should at a later date lose confidence in the project itself. Writers Guild members will, under their CFTPA/WGC agreements, see their commitment through till the final delivery of a full screenplay according to contract.


[1] Proponents refers to writers, but also directors and producers and is used to save repetition of the words: writers, directors and producers.

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