I used to get really upset about being rewritten; but now, not so much.
It used to be if I were hired for a project I would be bitterly disappointed if I didn’t get to see it through to the end. I mean, it’s an insult, right? They’re saying I’m not good enough. Worse, they’re saying the guy replacing me is better than me, aren’t they? Surely, by replacing me, they’ve just told me I’m shit?
Well, no. Not really.
Writers get replaced for various reasons and rarely because they’re not good enough. Even if it is a quality issue, it just means that script isn’t very good, not you as a writer on every project for all time.
Most of the time though, writers get replaced because of something to do with politics or egos or general spineless incompetence. Like:
- The director wants more control, he ridicules a script everyone else likes so he can write it himself.
- The producer’s wife spontaneously decides she doesn’t want to sell handicraft pencil holders any more and would rather be a scriptwriter. Starting now. On this project.
- The producer has forgotten you’re waiting for notes from him about the last draft and gets so wound up by you not delivering the next draft (the one he hasn’t asked for) that he fires you. Presumably for not being clairvoyant.
- A project ends up as a co-production deal and the other company (the one putting up the most money) insists on a re-write using their own writer (who they found in Tesco that morning).
- Producer doesn’t understand ‘development’ and just keeps hiring new writers for every draft until they run out of time and/or money. “For fuck’s sake, this first draft isn’t perfect either! How many first drafts do I have to commission before someone gets it right?”
- Someone insists on a talking monkey. You don’t want to put a talking monkey into a story about how the Beatles got together. They find someone with less common sense/principles.
- Producer asks for something. You write it. Co-producer hates it. Original producer blames the writer rather than stand up for his own ideas … you get replaced.
- The director hates you because on your last project you sided with the producer against that director who is this director’s cousin/brother/fuck-buddy and he is determined not to work with you … but not so determined he won’t take the money.
- You keep giving the producer what he asks for – he’s an idiot with no concept of how a story works, he doesn’t want you to write what he told you to write, he wants you to write something good.
- The director has taken a LOT of drugs. Either that or he’s a ‘creative person’ – or ‘fucking retard’ in common parlance. He changes his mind so often he can’t remember what he asked for, even if you show him the email where he asked for it.