It’s Not “Writer Proof”

A chilling line. Heard it last week for the first time.

Used to be, when I’d pitch an idea to a producer, they’d ooh and ahh about it and then say, “But…. it’s an execution piece.” That meant the idea was a great idea, but depended on the writer executing it beautifully in order for it to work.

Now, the line has shifted to “It’s not writer-proof.”

Meaning that, in order to buy the pitch, the film will have to basically shoot itself, without having to pass through some dumb writer’s hands who might fuck it up. Yeepers.

They’re not looking for pitches.
They’re not looking for great ideas.
They’re not looking for ways to employ writers…

They’re looking for stuff a writer can’t screw up.

And that kind of material, boys and girls, is few and far between…



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3 responses to “It’s Not “Writer Proof”

  1. Brett in Manhattan

    If I understand this, correctly, they’re looking for a near-finished product. Can’t say I blame’m.

    My guess is, in this economic climate, Producers are looking to streamline the process and eliminate as many non-essentials as possible.

  2. JBC

    I have heard that it is common for scripts to go through multiple writers and re-writes before and during shooting. This seems especially true if a name actor is working on the project – then they want their own writers to have a go at it.

    I have a friend in LA who makes a living doing 1 page re-writes for TV shows.

    From a business perspective this seems dumb and costly. Why not just buy product that works to begin with? I can’t see a bakery buying yeast from a supplier with the intent of hiring scores of yeast consultants to take it apart and add ingedients in the store. Talk about cutting into the bottom line. No wonder the studios can’t make any money.

    Here’s an idea – why not create some shops or guild type “houses” that write and sell scripts. They could have on staff idea people, writers with skills at various things, etc. The good ones would be profitable and gain a reputation for providing quality product and could thus charge more.

    But, there’s my efficiency and process consulting background coming out.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      You got that right.
      Some producers churn through writers like crazy… the “paintbrush theory”… –I don’t think this one works, I’ll try another one.
      Some producers stay with the same writer all the way through. They’re the ones who chose well in the first place and are able to give good notes and bring the writer along through the travail of the rewrite.
      Producers who know story are rare and wonderful beyond compare.

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