How to Be a Screenwriter in Hollywood

7 Mar

adaptation-nicholas-cage

If I were a horrible person, I could make money telling people how to write and sell their screenplays.

I could have a hustle as a “script doctor” or “putting your screenplay in front of top young Hollywood execs.”  I am qualified to do this, since I am technically a former “development executive.”  Really I was an assistant with a fancy title and my creative work was far less important to my boss than calling somebody to fix the toilet.  But I made material creative contributions to projects that won big Oscars and Emmys and are probably somebody’s favorite movie and/or TV show.  I remain friends with a ton of people you would suck Abe Vigoda’s dick to get in a room with.  I could make a living.

Or I’d set up one of those “pitch fests” where people pay to “network” with “movers and shakers” in “the industry.”  You pay anywhere from two hundred bucks to two grand to sit in the banquet hall of the airport Holiday Inn with a thousand other cattle and a bell rings and my former self listens at a little table while you pitch a script you’ve written.  Then another bell rings and I tell you great job and you go away, and I throw away the packet you left behind and never think about you again. You pay, I get paid.  A hundred bucks and unlimited taquitos.  I walked out of every single one of them feeling horrible and thinking “Jesus, that was awful and wrong.  Never again.”  Then a couple months go by and I need a hundred bucks.

Here’s the thing: every single person who does this is a lying sack of shit who exploits innocent, stupid people’s dreams for money.  And I will only exploit innocent, stupid people’s dreams for pussy.

So listen up: you will never write a Hollywood screenplay that gets made into a movie, that you get paid for, that takes you out of your shit job as an actuary for a firm that insures meat packing plants or whateverthefuck.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to get money.  They are no more going to get you a career than the “new message” on that facebook-looking porn pop up ad is going to get you a piece of ass.  Don’t pay money for their bad advice.

Instead, take my bad advice for free.  Here is how to become a screenwriter in Hollywood:

1) WRITE A SCRIPT

1A) CONCEPT

You will need to come up with an “original” CONCEPT.*  Hollywood movies need to be “high concept.”  This means you can explain the entire movie in one sentence.  People who make movies will know instantly from this sentence, or “logline,” whether your movie is ever gonna stand a chance of getting made.   The ideal logline is the name of a hit movie, a preposition, and one word or phrase about the setting.  E.g.: “BOURNE in space.”  “DIE HARD in the White House.”  “THE NOTEBOOK with a werewolf.”  “BOURNE in space” is something I would have shat myself to get my hands on back in the day.

You use another movie to explain yours because you will be stealing the exact story from another movie and doing a find and replace on certain elements.  We’ll get more into why this is in “Structure,” but for now, remember that Hollywood only makes two movies.  The Boy’s Movie and The Girls’ Movie.**  In The Boys’ Movie a reluctant good guy wins against impossible odds by killing people.  In The Girls’ Movie a woman gets together with a guy she should have already been with.  Basically, whatever is the furthest thing from every human truth in existence, is the story of a successful movie.

If you can’t use an existing movie, just keep it as simple and lowbrow as possible.

GOOD: A man wakes up on a space station not knowing who he is and must kill his way through an alien conspiracy.

BAD: In a dystopian future, an assassin’s amnesia causes him to question the nature of his former self.

Both of these are “BOURNE in space,” but one of them is pussy cerebral shit that hints at subtext and meaning. DO NOT hint at subtext or meaning.  People are too retarded to like those things.

1B) STORY/ STRUCTURE

Now you have your concept.  Let’s move on to actually writing the script.  You will need to break your idea down into a STORY STRUCTURE.  You should probably write a treatment (loose 10 page overview of the plot with a couple key scenes discussed in detail) and an outline (scene by scene breakdown) first, but these and the script will have the same 3 ACT STRUCTURE.  Because every movie has the exact same 3 ACT STRUCTURE.  Hollywood types proudly call themselves “Structuralists,” which probably has some larger meaning that you should go look up on Wikipedia, but here it means: if your movie does not have the exact same story as every other movie, it will never get made.

People write whole long jerkoff books about story structure but it boils down to this:

A guy or girl finds out about a problem, embarks on a journey around page 30, has a complication at around page 60, appears to have lost everything around page 90, and triumphs by page 120.

There’s a little more to it than that, but not much.  For example:

ACT 1: We meet Mario, a plumber. He’s a good guy but has an authoritarian streak that scares people. Someone tells him the Princess has been kidnapped. This is the “inciting incident.” He assembles his team of Luigi, Donkey Kong and Yoshi and they set off to the Koopa Kingdom.  Act 1 ends when they walk out the door.

ACT 2: The team runs into Bowser and has a skirmish; Bowser flees.  Yoshi turns out to be the clutch fighter of the group.  This part is called finding “allies and enemies.” On page 60, Yoshi is revealed to be a spy and has been telling King Koopa the team’s plans, and we learn that the kidnapping was only a small step in a plan to take over the world.  This is a “midpoint complication.”  We also learn that Yoshi was alienated into spying by Mario’s assholedom.  The remaining team battles its way to the fiery gates and barely defeats Bowser, only to angrily bail on Mario when he gives them assholishly strict orders.   He’s stranded at the gates of Koopa Kingdom and spiky turtles and shit are about to take over the world, and it’s all his own fault.  When he appears to have lost everything, it’s the end of Act 2.

ACT 3: Mario battles his way into the fortress solo, and runs into his fleeing former team.  Using his newfound soul-searching knowledge about how not to be an asshole, he convinces them to reunite and face King Koopa.  Fights, explosions, they win.  Hold up a Pepsi to the camera and roll credits.

Every single movie is built like this.  Note that there’s also some character shit– a character is expected to have an “arc.” This means: some trait he has in the beginning is the opposite at the end.  There is literally no way this could be visually represented by an arc, but it’s an actors’ term and actors are too stupid to understand shapes.

If you’re writing The Girls’ Movie, replace “explosions” with “kisses” and “saving the world” with “settling for a man slightly less handsome but nicer than that finance guy.”

2) SELL YOUR SCRIPT

So now you have your “spec screenplay.”  “Spec” means you wrote it for free. Guess what: it sucks.  But if you’ve followed the steps correctly, you have made it so there is no “easy pass” from a studio, such as it’s “too small.”  Studios won’t make a movie that doesn’t cost as much as a minor war; they might make a profit that way.  Or it’s “too dark,” meaning, it tells the truth about the way human beings relate to one another as all great literature has done for millennia.  Now they will have to pass on it by saying they liked it, but didn’t love it, or say they have a similar project in development.

2A) REPRESENTATION

But before you can get someone with money to pass on your script you have to have an AGENT or MANAGER to give it to them.  An agent is a guy who wears a suit and and shotguns your script to various people with money.  A manager is a guy who wears jeans and was recently fired from an agency.  Both are basically doing the same job, which is, being a person someone with money will call back.

There are a few ways to get an agent.  There are unsolicited QUERY LETTERS, which crazy people in Iowa send to companies with a blurb about their script, and the recipients laugh at them and throw them away.  There are the aforementioned PITCH FESTS, which, if you believe that shit works I have a letter for you from the ex President of Nigeria.

Or you could go to FILM SCHOOL and enter CONTESTS.  The grandaddy of these is the Nicholl Fellowship, which is judged by old white liberals with too much time on their hands and tends to be weighted toward stuff like I WAS MOLESTED DURING THE HOLOCAUST and CANCER MCALCOHOLIC’S HEARTWARMING REDEMPTION AT THE HANDS OF A PRECOCIOUS ETHNIC CHILD.  If you make it to the semifinals, miserable underpaid assistants will be forced to read your script before passing because it’s “too small” and “too dark.’

Then there is the way that works, which is: live in Los Angeles and be attractive, or know people who are attractive, so an agent will want to be around you.  You are plumb ugly; that’s why you’re a writer.  So befriend a bunch of much better looking people and throw parties and the guy who answers an agent’s phone will agree to read your script and maybe you’ll get represented. If you don’t want to move to L.A.: fuck yourself.  Get a job at the local fish cannery.

3) HOLY SHIT, SOMEBODY BOUGHT YOUR SCRIPT

Are words you are never going to hear.  But let’s pretend.  Your new agent sent your spec script to a producer who sent it to a studio and they bought it.  Now it’s time to “develop” the script.  This means they’re going to tell you in vague terms what’s wrong with it several times until you fix it into something that isn’t as good as what it was:

3A) NOTES

Their notes will be about “arcs” and “structure” (see above), and “stakes.”  Even if your movie is about literally saving the world, that is not enough “stakes.”  Every tiny action taken by anybody has to have stakes that are clearly defined.  We’re not clear why the villain has to touch his moustache in Act 2.  It’s feeling a little vague why the Hero eats that sandwich in Act 3.  These shrewish careerists are weirdly terrified of hurting your feelings.  They will couch criticism in weasel words like “right now, it’s feeling like…”  This is because every writer on the planet is a whiny pussy.

Either the notes will work out and turn the script into what the studio wants (nope), they will get frustrated and make the producers do the heavy lifting of getting you to make it even worse for free (maybe), or they will fire you and pay somebody who’s actually good a half million dollars to completely rewrite it in two weeks.

3B) PACKAGING

Assuming your script isn’t in the shitcan by now, it now needs to be “packaged.”  The producer and/or studio will take it to big famous directors and stars who will not be interested.  When you hear a jerkoff in a bar saying “my script is out to Ridley Scott right now,” it means “my script will sit on Ridley Scott’s toilet for four months before he makes his assistant read it and they pass.”  Or an actor or director will become “attached,” which means you have to wait until DiCaprio finishes five other movies and one of the three directors he will work with is available at the same time.  By that point DiCaprio will have had three bombs and the studio backs out.  But you have no say in any of this, because at this point no one gives a shit what you think.  If by some miracle the script is a success, you will be fired and somebody who’s actually good will be paid a half million dollars to completely rewrite it in two weeks.

4) HOLY SHIT, YOUR MOVIE IS GETTING MADE

And then you woke up.  But again, let’s pretend.  When you have written a greenlit movie, you are now a “hot screenwriter.”  This means you get to drive around to meetings and have people pitch you comic books and remakes and things that actually have a chance at success.  You have four months to latch on to one of these and do a perfect first draft.  Then your movie comes out, and it tanks because it’s  a stupid piece of shit from bad notes and only Gerard Butler was available.   Now you aren’t hot anymore.  It’s time to pursue a career in TV, creating a new series about a slightly different kind of cop.  You can make fifteen grand a week to argue with other movie industry failures about what to order for lunch.

5) PROFIT!

Or if the movie hits: congratulations, you are a success.  Still, no one else in the business  gives a shit what you think, ever.  Any girl in a bar would still  go home with a guy who got voted off the first episode of any jerkoff reality show before you.  Screenwriters get so little pussy that the one guy who does, Allan Loeb, is literally known as “the screenwriter who gets pussy.”  Also, Allan Loeb is a fucking hack who can’t write for shit.

Anyway, that’s how to become a screenwriter.  Next week I’ll discuss how to become an actor, which is just gonna be an essay that says “stop being so ugly.”

* Yes, all big movies are remakes and adaptations of comic books, but every single meaningful movie and comic book is controlled by someone with a ton of money who would rather watch his children set on fire than make eye contact with you.  Focus on new ideas for now.

** Yeah, I know, BLACK SWAN, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. etc…. there are lots of great movies that are different, blah blah blah.  These kinds of movies that you love and got into the business for– you will not be involved with any of them, ever.  They come about because a tiny group of extremely established directors can get small amounts of money on the basis of their name.  Unless your name is “Joel and Ethan Coen,” this is not you.  You are not trying to make good movies, you are trying to make Hollywood movies.

93 Responses to “How to Be a Screenwriter in Hollywood”

  1. Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Awesome read. Thanks for writing this down. How did Affleck & Damon make it? Were they completely nobody’s before Good Wlill Hunting? Do you know? Care to tell?

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      They were living in LA when they wrote that. Actors getting little parts here and there. They were both in SCHOOL TIES.

      • Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

        Ok. What about Charile Kaufman??? Weird mofo. How the hell did he make it??? Huh??

      • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

        I think Kaufman was a sitcom writer; Spike Jonze had juice or access to money and got BEING JOHN MALKOVICH made.

      • Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

        Ok. What about Sofia Coppola??? Just kidding.

      • I remember Ben Affleck was in some HBO after school special about steroids way back that me and my friends used to quote all the time when we were kids: “You think I need steroids to kick your ass?” “No, I know you need steroids to kick my ass” Then Ben Affleck beats the piss out of the dude. He devolves into this raging Dr.Jekyll psychopath throughout the course of the show from taking steroids, just snapping on everybody. I think he beat the shit out of his girlfriend at the end, that was the climax of this cautionary tale about the dangers of steroid abuse. Then at the end of the show they would bring out the real person that it was based on and they would give a little speech: I thought I needed steroids to become an all-state defensive lineman. I destroyed my life, hurt my family, blah blah. Of course these shows always had the opposite of the intended effect on you. You watched it and you wanted to take steroids so you could fuck people up. Lifestories, the series was called. It was great – endless entertainment and funny quotes.

        “School Ties” was pretty funny, too. That was the one where Encino Man plays the Jewish kid at the WASP prep school and gets harassed constantly. That had some great quotes in it. How unrealistic was that movie? A jewish kid playing football. That’s almost as unrealistic as a precocious ethnic child.

        What about Kevin Smith? He shot “Clerks” on like a 30k budget. I think he was actually still working at the convenience store they shot the film in at the time.

        Or what about Vincent Gallo. How did that motherfucker manage to get “Buffalo 66” made? Not only that, but he got away with an unsimulated hardcore porn scene in the other flick, “Brown Bunny”.

        Harmony Korine wrote “Kids”, a movie with basically no plot or structure whatsoever, and got that shit made by shopping it, on a whim, to a photographer in Washington Square Park. Great movie, by the way. That’s like the biography of my high school years, minus the AIDS. Not one person in that movie was an established Hollywood actor, and they’re all still in film and television. Telly was just some kid that used to skate in the park all the time, now he acts full time, he was in “The Wire”. Chloe Sevingy, Rosario Dawson… I think the dude who played Casper killed himself, or he might still have a career. That reminds me, the Jackass crew bootstrapped it. I remember when Bam Margera used to come through Love Park back in the day before anybody knew who the fuck he was outside of the skating community. Look at how that motherfucker blew up. Granted, those guys aren’t screenwriters, and they used skating as a launch ramp for Hollywood careers, but they shot and distributed those CKY videos that Jackass was based on themselves. That was the catalyst, and it was all done on a shoestring budget. Those guys are geniuses; those are honestly some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. There are probably performance art majors and NYU film students writing thesis papers on them – a bunch of bored kids who got rich and famous filming themselves doing shit that bored kids all over the country were doing on a regular basis.

        Those are the extreme exceptions, though, I realize that. Some talent and a lot of luck.

  2. Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    DT – please, please, please do a podcast about the entertainment industry sometime. It would be so goddamn funny.

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      I’ll do a Q & A in these comments if people are interested.

  3. anon1 March 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    question. why’d you quit, or did they fire you?

    seemed like it was a sweet, albeit soul sucking deal

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      It was the exact opposite of a sweet deal. 60 hours a week and the business is so competitive and difficult to get into that people treat a misplaced pencil like you dropped a baby on its head. At first you accept the culture because, hey, I just love the movies that much. Then you realize everyone around you would kill their grandmother to make Alvin and the Chipmunks 4. It’s so hard to make a movie that it becomes get something made at any cost.

      TV is even worse. These people who keep saying we’re in a “Golden Age of Television” should be strung up by the nuts. There are four great shows on that about five people watch and the rest of it is the same shit. Dennis Quaid plays a special kind of cop. Mark Harmon plays a special kind of cop. Patrick Wilson plays a special kind of doctor. Whitney Cummings doesn’t like her husband– but they gotta live together! Tim Allen plays Tim Allen’s character in a new sitcom about Tim Allen Tim Allen Tim Allen. The most popular show on the fucking planet is probably Two and a Half Men. Far more people watch Lifetime than watch AMC. TV sucks but more and more movie people get into it as they fail out of the increasingly impossible movie environment. Instead of bringing TV up to cinematic standards, they just make more shitty TV shows just like there were before.

      You stop giving a fuck about what you’re doing creatively and you start second-guessing the money people, thinking, “what can I do that will get made” instead of “what movie do I want to see.” Meanwhile the money people are second guessing the audience, aka a bunch of fucking retards who would watch a full prime time schedule of laser pointers moving around on the wall if you put it on.

      • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

        Oh, and they fired me. It was very clear at the end that I was burned out and did not give a shit about my job. When my boss called me in, I was like “yeah, you’re right.”

      • N.G. Davis March 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

        Ha — my buddy writes for the Dennis Quaid one.

        Anyway, this was hilarious and way too true. Good shit.

      • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

        Yeah, I didn’t mean to talk shit on that show in particular. I’ve never seen it. But I know a couple guys who work on it who are cool, talented people. So, everyone tune in.

      • N.G. Davis March 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

        No offense taken. I dig the show, but I’m not about to get angry because another person doesn’t.

        Are you a writer? I have to assume that with your time spent in development, you at least gave it a try. If not — you should. You’ve got a good voice for it.

      • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

        Thanks. I’m trying to write a book. It’s fucking hard. But it will have a Three Act Structure, so my years of toil won’t have been wasted.

      • N.G. Davis March 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

        I’ve never written a book, but there’s no way I could do it without thinking about inciting incidents and midpoints. The shit stays with you. Also, it would be 112 pages.

  4. Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    What about foreign film? Who gives Almodovar money? France appears to fund Lynch? Do you have any insights on the relationship between Hollywood and International Film production?

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      Who knows. Almodovar’s films don’t cost any money. He probably has a Woody Allen situation where some rich guy funds him as a patron of the arts. Then he gets to throw Almodovar a party with a ton of young pussy/ ass in his house.

      Some of these guys might even be getting money from governments. National Arts Councils and Film Boards and so on. France has an honest-to-goodness Film Commission that probably funds some films.

      As far as Hollywood’s relationship to that stuff, studio specialty divisions such as Sony Classics will buy the rights to distribute those movies in America but I don’t know if they actually contribute any production money. The important relationship between Hollywood and overseas markets is in the opposite direction: “foreign pre-sales.” When a U.S. financier is trying to scrape together money for a movie, he sells the distribution rights in France, Germany, etc. in advance to drum up cash for the production budget. Foreign markets, unlike the American box office, are very predictable, and you can have a good idea what a certain movie star is worth. Even without foreign financing, foreign box office is important, so a lot of casting is figuring out who is “meaningful” overseas. For instance, apparently people still give a shit about Richard Gere in France.

      • Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

        Almodovar’s films cost a LOT of money. Custom printed wallpaper alone. Painstaking visual detail. Many many months of design and very very little corner cutting on materials. Plus talent.

      • Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

        Yeah it’s def the governments. Big spenders on Art.

      • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

        Custom designed wallpaper isn’t expensive compared to building a small ocean in Mexico and sinking the Titanic in it. Wes Anderson’s movies are meticulously designed too but by Hollywood standards they have smallish budgets. Except maybe MR. FOX, that stop motion shit is expensive.

  5. liam March 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    I read a story about a guy who wrote the finding nemo script or in some playbook or some shit(can’t find the link) ,cant quite remember and he made some serious cash ,any idea how that went down?

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      I think you are thinking of FINDING FORRESTER, which Mike Rich won the Nicholl Fellowship for.

      It’s the one where Sean Connery says “You’re the man now, dawg.” Also part of the reason I made the “HEARTWARMING REDEMPTION AT THE HANDS OF A PRECOCIOUS ETHNIC CHILD” joke.

      • liam March 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

        haha na it was without a doubt finding nemo ,fucks knows ,just thought you might have known how that went down .Or the paper is chatting shit ,wouldn’t be surprised.

      • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

        FINDING NEMO is a Pixar movie. Written by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton along with some other in-house people. Stanton was already rich as fuck from A BUG’S LIFE.

  6. Anonymous March 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    “But I made material creative contributions to projects that won big Oscars and Emmys and are probably somebody’s favorite movie and/or TV show.” – Give us something? Lines? Story developments? What???? What did you do??? WHATT??? WHAT DID YOU DOOOO???

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      I don’t want to give specifics about projects that I worked on. I don’t want people figuring out who my old boss is, because I’ve written that he should be raped by hyenas with dicks of fire.

  7. Jessica Maisonet March 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    thinking of absolutely nothing after this very long post…except that maybe you are more successful than you would like to admit and you pissed it all away to unworthy pussy and unworthy administration. I would like to take his time to show an example of what it is like to truly commit to your self and not just be self serving. Something I am inspired by and not doing myself. http://ardenleigh.typepad.com/blog/2013/03/mediocracy-how-failure-has-started-masquerading-as-self-love-or-step-it-the-fuck-up.html
    http://www.ardenleigh.typepad.com/

    • Jessica Maisonet March 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      of course it is

    • delicioustacos March 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      I found that woman’s blog difficult to read. But God knows I’m not one to talk.

      • Jessica Maisonet March 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

        Thanks for at least trying. It is a bit much, we as women seem to be long winded,.

      • Summary: Some dumb cunt who lost 30lbs. all of the sudden thinks she’s Lance fucking Armstrong relating a story about some poor slob who had the audacity to ask how he can get a girl like her. She goes on to berate the guy for his unkempt appearance and tout her accomplishments: “the cuffs on your shirt are ripped and there’s a stain on it. Are you a five star chef? Because I won’t date anyone who’s not professionally accomplished and also managed to gain the cooking skills of a five star chef in their personal time. I spend an hour and a half a day meticulously grooming my pubic hair and attaching suction pumps to my titties to make them bigger while penning a novel and a screenplay and several songs for the punk band that I’m only in because the lead singer wants to fuck me. What have you done lately?”

        Well, I’m sorry, bitch, that I had the balls to try to talk to you wearing a pair of ripped up Carharrts and a pipe dope stained hoodie. I just spent the last eight hours hanging sticks of four inch rigid conduit that weigh more than you do twenty fucking feet in the air. Excuse me for not ducking inside a phone booth and throwing on a fashionably metrosexual, 60’s era three-piece suit like I’m Ryan fucking Gosling on the red carpet before I had the balls to ask for your number. Fucking schifosa puttana.

        This is the only reasonable way to talk to a girl like that:

  8. Bronan the Barbarian! March 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Hands down the best post I’ve read in weeks. Please confirm/deny the following:

    – Lena Dunham is a prototype sex robot from a horrific dystopian future
    – Angelina Jolie is actually Chuck Norris in drag
    – Shia LeBouf is made entirely of wood
    – Rosie O’Donnell can open a can of Crisco with his chins

    Thanks in advance,

    Bronan The Barbarian!

  9. sylviasarah March 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    I love you. Love.

  10. Jessica Maisonet March 7, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Jessica Marie ….

  11. BB March 8, 2013 at 4:24 am #

    DT, now I now why you sound like a character out of Californication! You work in Hollywood or whereabouts. But I bet you´re more like David Duchovny´s bald agent than the drunken pussy slayer portrayed by Duchovny.
    Hell, DT, you could write someting ten times as exciting as Californication, which wasn´t bad for a fecking series. Something with more booze, more drugs and more gratuitous and/or underaged sex.

  12. Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    an acute distillation.
    or
    so right on.

    GOOD: A man wakes up on a space station not knowing who he is and must kill his way through an alien conspiracy.

    BAD: In a dystopian future, an assassin’s amnesia causes him to question the nature of his former self.

  13. TempestTcup March 8, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I would totally go see the movie you just wrote. Will it be animated or will you make a famous actor grow a huge mustache? Or I guess you could use a prosthetic mustache…

    NOW GO SELL IT!

  14. Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Yeah, that’s a good question (above). Why don’t you write your own screenplay?

    • delicioustacos March 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      Back when I was reading tons of scripts, and they all sucked, I had such a knee jerk “pass” reflex that I ended up shooting down all my own ideas. Like, I knew what my script would look like to the person who had to read it and I would think: “this sucks” or “I can’t sell this.”

      Now it’s more like: I never wanted to be a screenwriter anyway. I always wanted to be a novelist. If I wrote a script I would do it for the (very small chance of ) money and it would be dishonest. But who knows. I mean, why the fuck not, I got the time.

      • Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

        Do it. Whatever you write would be funny as fuck, just like this blog. You have the ability to get it in the hands of people who can actually do something about it. Do it.

      • Little Miss S March 9, 2013 at 2:25 am #

        I just finished the Kultgen novel…good, but you could do better.

      • Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

        Enough with excuses. You know it, we know it. Enough.

      • HELLO FROM THE GUTTER August 6, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

        It’s all about confidence. Nearly fifteen years of screenplay writing and rejections you tell everyone that hates your work to stick it up their ass — and sometimes to the people that “love” your work but don’t want to help you and you become a genius at rejection. However, then you realize you need to a make a movie and then you do so. And then you realize you have to write a novel since most readers/so-called screenwrtiers want to urinate on your work because they drank too much bottled water.

        Now I’m going on and on.

  15. Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    So did you bang Bigelow? I ask cause you had a picture of you at the OSCARS. So I assume, you worked on that film, or nailed her.

    • delicioustacos March 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      No. I sat next to her at the Oscars and on the other side was her boyfriend Mark Boal, who wrote HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY.

      She wasn’t there for a movie. She was there to present Best Director. I had met her once or twice before so it was cool that out of all the intimidating Hollywood power types I got her as a seat mate. I was nervous as shit just being there and she was nervous as shit because she had to get on stage, so we had a good talk.

      I’ve only seen three of her movies, but what stood out to me about all of them is how well she understands men. POINT BREAK is a weird one but in a way it’s the ultimate film about masculinity.

      I did not say that to her.

      • BB March 9, 2013 at 3:58 am #

        Now you sound like Steve Sailer the movie critic.

  16. Stephen March 9, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Would you bang Bigelow? I would totally bang Bigelow. Totally. And you were making serious coin as a developer, right? And wtf was a given work day like? Read scripts all day?

    • delicioustacos March 9, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      1) Of course. 2) Fuck no. I was making shit money; that’s why it’s so easy to be unemployed. Hollywood wages are suppressed because every jerkoff wants to work in “industry.” I was the biggest jerkoff of all, but I’ve been broke for eight years. That’s why it’s easy to be unemployed. 3) Remember, I was a glorified assistant. There was reading scripts all day, but there was also answering the phone and dealing with nitpicking office shit like: the toilet is broken.

  17. Stephen March 9, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    And oh man. I just watched the documentary Side By Side with Keanu asking if film is dead? Meanwhile I’m like, wtf who cares? Movies are fucking dying! In the 70s you had all kinds of great things. Now, it’s like summer blockbusters all fucking year long. There won’t ever be a kick ass like American Beauty ever again. And this is coming from a 26 year old man, not some old curmudgeon.

    Some dude wrote about it in GQ and I agree with him.

    • God, I hope there’s never a pretentious pile of shit like “American Beauty” made ever again, that movie was almost as bad as “Garden State”.

      I love how you find out at the end that it’s not Kevin Spacey(the gayest fucking actor in Hollywood) who’s gay, the guy who, when he fantasizes about fucking a high school cheerleader, pictures rose petals fluttering down around her half-naked body on a satin sheet covered bed, instead of hanging her head over the edge of it and facefucking her till he busts a big gulp-sized nut down her throat like every other heterosexual male on the face of the planet. Nothing gay about that. No, it’s the former Marine who’s a the queer. His whole Marine hard-ass act is just a cover for his repressed homosexuality.

      Or maybe it’s a great movie and I’m just not a deep enough thinker to undertsand and appreciate all the subtle symbolism and complexities of this masterpiece. Was the plastic bag used as a paragon of beauty supposed to symbolize that, yes, even a piece of trash, like the movie itself, can be beautiful? Was the trash bag supposed to symbolize the movie itself? I don’t know.

      Maybe DT can analyze “American Beauty” – unravel the complexities and tell us how it relates to modern masculinity. One of my favorite movies of all time is “Nothing but Trouble” where Dan Akroyd plays the fucking 100-year old judge in that funhouse with the deadly rollercoaster, so I don’t know shit about what makes a good movie.

    • After reading that article I definitely would like to see DT do in in-depth analysis of “American Beauty”, haha.

      You wanna see a good movie? Watch “Gomorrah”. It’s an Italian flick (you’re gonna have to put up with the subtitles) about the Camorra in Naples. It’s a bunch of separate vignettes following different characters woven together to give you an idea of how the Camorra infiltrates and corrupts all levels of society in Southern Italy. All based on real-life events. Matter of fact, the filmmakers had to get permission to shoot a lot of the scenes from the local Camorra clan bosses, but they liked the story so much some of them wanted parts in it.

      I don’t want to post the trailer cause it gives too much of the movie away.

      Here’s one of the “actors” being a diva on the set; arguing with the director over who’s gonna kill a kid in one of the scenes. “No, that’s not how you kill someone, I’ll show you how to kill someone.” This guy was actually a fugitive at the time they were filming. He wound up getting caught and locked-up over the movie.

      The opening scene:

  18. baxter March 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    —Next week I’ll discuss how to become an actor, which is just gonna be an essay that says “stop being so ugly.”—

    surely you jest, hollywood is chock full of ugly actors…jake gyllenhaal, jesse eisenberg, joeseph gordon-levitt, adrian brody, jonah hill, sasha baron cohen, seth rogen, jamie lyn-sigler, michelle trachtenberg, natalie portman,mayim bialik, sarah michelle gellar.

    the key to being an actor is being a jew.

  19. Stephen March 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    woah woah woah, Jake Gyllenhaal is Jew?

  20. Stephen March 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    And I saw Gomorrah on the scroll on netflix, but I haven’t watched it yet.

  21. Little Miss S March 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    If you want to stay in the industry, try to become an editor. Even the shittiest reality tv editors make $3500 a week. I can think of three of my friends who do this and don’t even have degrees. You should have enough connections by now if you can get the tech skills.

  22. Jessica Maisonet March 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    The point of the article I presented had nothing to do with an ex-fatty, or even a female perspective, simply that rather than let your failures define you, work for that success. Do not become one with epic (http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=epic ) disappointments that define you, instead take what life has given you and work harder at overcoming it. The rest of the blog at http://ardenleigh.typepad.com/blog/2013/03/mediocracy-how-failure-has-started-masquerading-as-self-love-or-step-it-the-fuck-up.html, might get a bit long winded, who fucking knows, I couldn’t make it through the entire shit myself. Something I could stand to do myself.

  23. Stephen March 10, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    Ohhh she’s got the Alec Baldwin speech in her blog post. How original. And then she asks guys not to text her at 3am. Jesus H Fucking Christ on a cross.

    And I watched Gomorra. It was epic.

    • pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn March 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

      Good movie, huh? You didn’t have a hard time following any of the stories? Because it kind of assumes the audience knows a little bit of background about the mob feud that sets the backdrop for the whole thing that probably gets lost on foreign audiences. I had a hard time following what the fuck was going on with the accountant, Chiro, because the director just kind of thrusts you into it.

      The book that it’s based on is supposed to be even better, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it.

      • Stephen March 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

        The thing that threw me off was the fact that I thought everyone was going to be connected in some way, Like Crash or some shit. It seemed as if the movie was made up of different vignettes.

        I kind of had a hard time figuring out which side was which, like with the kid. I didn’t even really realize he had switched sides or whatever.

        And when they decided to kill that woman, it didn’t seem like there was much reason behind it.

        I understood about 70 percent of what was going on with the accountant. I didn’t really get why he could go to collect from that one dude and have a gun shoved in his face. He already knew he was on the other side, right? They pretty much stated they were buddies before the war or whatever.

        I’ll have to watch it again b/c I prob missed some of the subtleties and nuances and shit.

        In conclusion: 3 and a half stars.

      • That ladies’ son defected. That’s why they got rid of her, to get to him. I’m not really sure about the other scene you’re talking about, I haven’t seen the movie in a while, but yeah, it’s the kind of movie you have to watch twice to figure out what’s going on.

  24. Cakes and Shakes... March 12, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    The European film industry is extremely fragmented. We would *love* to be in a position of having some clue what would be a successful archetypal script to endlessly remake. Instead we just watch American content. It costs 250,000 Euros here to make an hour of native content, versus buying in some schlock from you guys at 6,000 Euros.

    France invests very heavily in French film, in fact it’s more than the EU invests across the whole EU via the Creative Europe program (to try to professionalise the audiovisual industry because here they are ‘artists’ more so than technicians or business people). The French are very protectionist of the French language, despite that the EU technically defines what they’re doing as state aid, and therefore illegal. So the European film industry has its own problems. Hollywood is stronger (commercially anyway) because you have fewer, larger players and more of a focus on the commoditisation of film rather than seeing it as a lofty wank fest for a few artists who have no hope of ever making it big. Although, Disney owns everything, on the other hand, which is alarming when you read how many production companies they have.

    What did you think of Django Unchained? I just loved it. Dirty, gritty, surreal…

  25. Fade In (@fadeinpitchfest) March 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Fade In’s Hollywood Pitch Festival does not pay Hollywood Company reps to attend. The pitchfests you are referring to are copycat events. The HPF has been responsible for produced features and TV shows and front page Variety and Hollywood Reporter sales. Thanks for the article.

  26. Anonymous March 14, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    1.6 of 2million goal (highest ever goal on kick starter) in the FIRST day.

    You’re insights are absolutely true.
    But you also threw in the towel–found out you didn’t care enough about anything enough. Not enough to not be the mass

  27. Answer the questions, DT, ya lazy fuck. You say you’re gonna do a Q & A, then you ignore half the questions.

  28. Rowan April 24, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    Really enjoying the blog so far.

    Just wanted to point out that Black Swan isn’t actually original. It’s basically a rip off of an anime movie called Perfect Blue.

    Long story short: Aranofsky bought the rights for Perfect Blue so he could use a scene from it in Requiem for a Dream. Black Swan shares more than a few common themes and similarities with Perfect Blue but Aranofsky denies that it has any influence on his movie, claiming Black Swan is completely original.

    You can google “black swan perfect blue” and quite a few articles pop up.

  29. Like Skills Young People July 8, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this short article together.

    I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.

    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  30. Mike B September 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Absolutely brilliant ! ;p

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  34. CK August 29, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    Apart from The Boys’ Movie and The Girls’ Movie, what about comedies?

    Easy: “When Schlemiel Met Shiksa”

    Fucking tiresome blue pill premise or subplot for every fucking comedy film, including animated children’s movies like Madagascar.

  35. Anonymous September 2, 2015 at 12:58 am #

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  36. Major Styles March 29, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    “I remain friends with a ton of people you would suck Abe Vigoda’s dick to get in a room with. I could make a living.”

    Literary gold. Your insights on Hollywood are duly noted.

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