Thursday 29 June 2017

The best advice...

The worst best-intentioned advice I ever got about screenwriting came from Richard Gilman, the distinguished literary critic, at a party in New York almost thirty years ago.
    "Whatever you do," said Dick Gilman to the beginning screenwriter, "don't put your heart into your scripts. You'll get it broken."
    For almost thirty years now (and thirty scripts, and fifteen produced movies), I've put my heart into my scripts... and my heart is unbroken.

My advice to beginning screenwriters is this:
    Put every ounce of heart and soul and guts and passion that you possess into every sentence of every screenplay.
    And laugh.

*   *   *

She was a fiery street-smart woman with a nasty temper who'd come to Hollywood out of the world of marketing. She was sexy and no-bullshit and with a hank of hair you wanted to press your face into. She had a commercial eye and used it (and her sexiness and toughness) to become first a VP and then head of production. She got a golden parachute, got married, and gave birth to a little girl.
    I hadn't seen her for a while and when we had dinner at the Ivy, what struck me was how gloriously happy she was. With her husband, with her little girl. With her life as a wife and mother. We didn't talk business all night. We talked about our kids.
    She wasn't in a hurry any more. She didn't speak at the rate of a thousand miles an hour. She wasn't looking through me to see who else was in the room. She was almost serene.
    I'd always liked her and when I hugged her good night outside the restaurant, I thought—Yes, there are happy endings, even real ones, in Hollywood.
    A few months later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
    And not much later, Dawn Steel died.

My advice to everyone is this:
    Put every ounce of heart and soul and guts and passion that you possess into every nanosecond of your life.
    And pray!

Taken from: Hollywood Animal, by Joe Eszterhas, 2004
First posted: 14 April 2013

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