Real Life as a Screenwriter

Justin Marks, a working writer in LA, has written an insightful article for The Hollywood Reporter on what it’s like to be a screenwriter working in Hollywood without Shane Black or Charlie Kaufman’s reputation. His words are a biting reality check, but also an inspiring reminder of why we do what we do. Here’s a snippet:

Here’s a day in the life of a writer that you don’t always get to hear about.

It was 5 p.m., and I was playing Call of Duty. Why? Because I wanted to. The phone rang; it was a producer with whom I’d just spent the past two years laboring over a cable pilot, a time-travelly science fiction thing. We’d delivered the final cut to the network, and we were awaiting The Call — the one where you hear that your show, which tested well, is being picked up, that your life is about to change.

But the producer had That Voice. Any experienced writer knows That Voice. Because That Voice means one thing: The network passed. “Hey,” the producer said, “we fought for it till the end. We’ll find something else.” I agreed. And that was that.

Probably not three minutes had elapsed in my game of Call of Duty. Two more minutes to go upstairs and erase my now-dead pilot’s name off the list of projects on my dry-erase board. Two years of effort gone in five minutes.

Read the full story here. (I highly recommend reading to the end — trust me.)

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