Whenever I tell people that I study screenwriting, they either ask what it is (...no, really! Some people have no idea that actors don't make up the words to films on the spot!) or the other common response I get is people saying things like; "Oh, so you want to be the next [insert name of well known Hollywood writer / director here (usually Tarantino)]" Both of those responses annoy the piss out of me.
Firstly, I fully understand that some people care more about film / television than others, and that many people don't care about the inner workings of film, but use your common sense people! SCREENWRITING... It's all in the name; WRITING... for the SCREEN! What is so difficult to understand about that? Somebody actually once said to me; "Screenwriting? Is that like screen printing?", I wanted to slap them! However I didn't, I don't think I even corrected them. If somebody is that dense then I have no desire to explain to them what a screenplay is. You thick shit!
Maybe I am just being arrogant or elitist or something? But I'm pretty sure that even from a very young age I understood that movies and television shows were stories, written down and performed. Oh well, I don't know why the stupidity of the human race surprises me.
The second response equally annoys me. I don't want to be "the next" anyone. I want to be "the first" me! I understand how incredibly pompous that sounds, but it is true. The fantastic quote from Judy Garland in my previous post sums it up perfectly; "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else". She puts it much more eloquently than I ever could. I think it is excellent advice - Instead of being a cheap knock-off of your predecessors, strive to be unique.
Far easier said than done but not impossible. Admittedly sometimes it does feel impossible. It often seems that there is very little left to say that hasn't already been said by somebody else (and better). Even so I still think that aiming to imitate what has come before you is even less likely to succeed than attempting originality. But what do I know? I just write the kind of stories that I would want to see on screen. It just happens that I'm that kind of pretentious motherfucker that enjoys watching stories about relationships and kitchen sink dramas. Whilst everybody else is watching shit get blown up, and people shooting each other with lasers, or high school kids prancing around signing, or good looking vampires fucking each other.
Fuck you vampires! (Not you Lost Boys, I still love you!)
Having said that, I am not stupid. I would write anything if I got paid for it. I will gladly step down from my high horse and write about space ships, or attractive people dancing in high schools or vampires fucking warewolves... I'll write the shit out of it!
When it comes to writing, I really have no morals!
Maybe individuality and originality are overrated, or maybe they don't even exist at all? I recently typed my name into Facebook and it turns out that I am not alone... I am not the only Martin Appleby in the world! No, there are hundreds... and I'm not even the best looking one. Seeing all those different faces with MY name was horrible. I have never felt so insignificant. Maybe I should change my name? Or maybe I should just stop being such a pretentious dick head!