Stick With Your Day Job

I spent the day writing notes on a script written by a friend who used to be an executive. The company he worked for folded and he’s spending his out-of-work time interviewing for jobs with fifty other applicants and writing a screenplay “that he’s been thinking about since college.”

He asked me to read his rough draft and give him suggestions.

I hope he finds a new job.

His script is terrible.

It’s always shocking how bad scripts written by executives can be. Did all their knowledge about three act structure, and pacing and character development just fly out the window at the Starbucks they now call their home office?

But then look at all the horrible movies that get made. Maybe these studio executives turned writers never had any story sense to begin with?

I’m trying to be as constructive as I can with my criticism.

All seven pages of it.

I really want my friend to improve his script and sell it so he doesn’t have to take a horrible executive job, just because there’s no other work. I want to help him buy a little more time to find a really great job that he loves.

But there’s no good ending for this favor.

Because what it boils down to is that I’m going to have to tell him that his script sucks. In the nicest, most positive way of course. And I have a feeling that my friend has no clue how truly bad he is at writing the screenplay he’s been thinking about since college, which he called an “erotic cop thriller in the vein of SEA OF LOVE.”

There are many problems with his script. For starters, anytime anyone pitches me anything using the words “erotic thriller” I immediate imagine what that person would look like naked. Don’t ask me why my mind goes there. It just does, okay? Maybe I’m just a prude. Or maybe having to read screen description about a hard boiled female detective “cresting” in the back seat of her Crown Vic while having sex with the lead suspect really is embarrassing. Perhaps the biggest problem with pitching a script as an erotic thriller is that what he thinks is sexy is apparently very different from what I think is sexy.

Maybe my friend will be so mad about my notes that he won’t ask me to read subsequent drafts.

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