While I’m on the subject of stupid people advertising for writers, there’s another issue which constantly surprises/confuses/annoys and amazes me: the directors/producers who advertise for a writer to flesh out their story.
They’ve got money behind them (proving there’s no link between money and common sense), they’ve got a story outline, they’re just looking for a writer to flesh it out.
Someone’s going to pay me to write a script from their treatment – they’ve already done half my work! Getting the idea, outlining it, writing the treatment – that’s the hard part. Writing the script is a cake walk compared to everything which comes before hand – it’s all in the preparation.
So I apply for these jobs and invariably they send over the story outline.
Or at least, what they think is a story outline.
Usually, what they send you is a random series of notes which may or may not be about the same story.
Here’s how they’d outline the story of the ‘Three Little Pigs’.
“There’s these three pigs and a wolf and some bricks. They play golf a lot, sometimes on a Tuesday. One of the pigs builds a house but the wolf kills him. Then we have a bit with a vicar who wants some magic jelly, but the wolf is too busy with his PlayStation. Oh, and there’s a forest or maybe some Meccano and I think Charlton Heston would be great for the elephant rider. So after the house has been sold to a terrorist, it gets invaded by bees, but all the bees have got wellies on which is symbolic. And then the wolf marries a pig. It’s a kind of love story/social commentary on the state of Britain.”
Which often leaves me with three thoughts:
- What the fuck is that all about?
- Do I really want to work with this numpty?
- How much is he paying?
I’ve turned down so many of these idiots I have a standard reply … which I’m not going to post here in case any of said idiots are reading.
Which they probably can’t.
Honestly, I don’t expect a director/producer to be able to write – if they could, they wouldn’t need me and that would be bad; but I do expect them to have at least a vague story.
And by story, I mean something with a beginning, a middle and an end – not a random collection of words and images.
And the worst bit, the bit that really, really amazes me – some twat has given them development money.
Who? Where are these rich fucking idiots who obviously can’t read and have never been to a cinema in their life?
What the fuck is going on?
I mean really, I have low standards, I’ll work on anything – but how the fuck do you go about teasing a story out of the shit which spouts from the faces of these morons?
Do they ever get films made? Does anyone ever read their ideas and go “Ooh wow, a film about bees in wellies with pigs and shit! Sign me up!”
It’s called ‘The British Film Industry’.