Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dances with Screenwriters

Spent last weekend nursing a lingering cough, and attending the 4th Annual Screenwriting Expo, sponsored by Creative Screenwriting magazine. It was my first time attending and it was rather surprising to be amidst almost 4,000 writers, but then I was surprised to be among 5,000 anthropologists the first time I attended the AAA gathering. Lots of sights, lots of people, and even more stories, which usually constitute the most informative aspect of conventions, and the most entertaining.

Like other writing get-togethers, the Expo was a great venue for the usually solitary to get support, learn that there are actually other people out there who are just as geeky as you think you are, and commiserate with fellow writers over rejection - preferably with an 80 proof libation in hand.

I attended some classes, a panel or two, and many of the Guest of Honor sessions, but more about that later. As I was walking around the trade show, scanning through the xeroxed detritus strewn over abandoned tables, I had this lingering thought....

Am I the only one who thinks that the market for writing products and services is strangely similiar to the market for sex products and services? There are hundreds of companies offering magazines, videos, and "coverage or feedback" (usually in the back of cheap magazines) offering “secrets” (for a price) that purport to make you a "better practitioner," allowing you to "write longer, better, with more passion, all leading to a strong finish." The place was rife with psychoanalytic subtext. But then, after too many years of graduate school I can never look at any social gathering without some weird theoretical interpretation.

If you want to glance at some photos, take a peek at the collection from Warren, Joel, and Shawna.

Instead of the rundown of classes and panels, here are some of the more colorful quotes I heart at Expo 4:

William Goldman: “What I want you to come away from this Expo is this – All critics are failures and whores.”

David Koepp: “Everyone in this business has to be told what to do, directors, actors, so on, except for the writer. We can go home tonight, open a new file on our computer and start to work on a new project – no one has to tell us to do it. And that’s why they hate us.”

Marc & Elaine Zicree: “If you hear the following: ‘Thanks for coming in’, ‘Interesting…’, or ‘Call my agent’, you’re toast.” On the other hand, “If they say, ‘Who’s your agent?’ they want your script.”

Richard Walter: (quoting someone else) “It is actions that define character, and not the other way around.”

Richard Walter: (again) “There are only two things in scripts: The stuff that’s seen – the wide margins; and the stuff that’s said – the narrow margins.”

David Freeman: “I wasn’t born with an Earth Mother gene…”

But the best was probably at the blogger rendezvous Sunday night: “Yes, I was a Pumpkin Princess” from Shawna.


Fun Joel said...

Thanks for the shout out! Nice meeting you there on Sunday night.

The Moviequill said...

a Pumpkin Pricess?...priceless

Shawna said...

Hey! I thought I had everyone under confidentiality agreements on that! :) Now if I can just find that picture, I can post it...

Formosus said...

No worries Shawna, only a few people on this plant bother to read this blog anyway. There is power and privacy in the obscure.