Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You Mean I Need a Story?

I gotta pimp Lee Goldberg's Post Today. Again, I don't know how professional writers of any caliber can stomach us fans and amateurs at times. My favorite is the guy who KNOWS he can't tell stories and chides Hollywood for requiring screenplays to tell a story.

Imagine that.

It reminds me of an American Idol audition where a girl acknowledged that she had no idea how to sing, couldn't carry a tune, and was tone deaf. Then she harangued the judges bitterly for their cruelty and injustice for not sending her to Hollywood and getting her the training she needed when she had so much potential. How could they deny her the American Idol dream just because she couldn't sing?

This article yesterday discusses a rise is narcissism among young adults and asks if efforts to raise self esteem may have backfired to some degree. I don't know about all that, but it does strike me as bizarre that so many of us feel entitled to the fruits of a talent we don't have. (like that collective pronoun? yeah, I'm a young people, comparatively speaking)

According to the article, University of Georgia's W. Keith Campbell, a study co-author, suggests that "permissive parenting, increased materialism and the fascination with celebrities and reality TV shows may also heighten self-regard" but that narcissism might come in handy "auditioning on American Idol".

He must have missed the episode I saw.


ECHenry said...

NEVER look for ANY truth into the human condition for watching reality program like American Idol. It's a TV show. Ratings skew truth.

I feel very little emapathy for professional writers who have to deal with amautures -- it's part of the territory. Part of the priveldge of being good means you're going to deal with others who aren't at your level.

If you truely ARE great, their is a trait in you that will try to help the less skilled -- at least in some small way.

Remember: "with great power, comes great responsiblitly," (Uncle Ben to Peter Parker in "Spiderman" the movie, now in E.C. Henry to Marry Ann Bachellor in 2007)

MaryAn Batchellor said...

David Koepp has a genuine respect for mentors. I remember (somewhat) a quote by him some place where he talks about Brian De Palma and his influence as a combination of mean bully but gentle teacher which is why Koepp has great respect for him.

But we writers aren't entitled to what professionals know and there is no invisible contract that says once you become a produced writer you're obligated to become a mentor. These men and women who have made successful careers out of penning films owe us nothing else. NOTHING. Sure, some of them make the festival round, pop in at conferences and even blog now and then. But that's either a personal choice, something in a contract, the way they get their jollies, or the result of a boot on their butts from an agent or manager but a far cry from any kind of obligation to do greater good for mankind.

Having said ALL that.. I'm exceedingly grateful for those professional writers who DO share what they know and take us rookies under their wing. There are about five of them that I mention every time I practice my Oscar speech in front of the mirror. (no, I don't really do that) (yes, I do) (no, I don't) (yes, I do) (no, I don't)

Where was I? Oh yes, I'm exceedingly grateful for those professional writers who DO share what they know and take us rookies under their wing. But they don't owe it to us...

Anonymous said...

just because I have mirrors in every room does not make me a narcissist... it just means I require daily doses of feedback from the only one I can trust (heh)

jaz said...


That brings to mind vanity press ad campaigns where writers are assured that the only possible reason that their manuscripts were rejected is that they are geniuses who are above the limited vision of publishers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Maryan.

Echenry apparently can't be bothered learning basic spelling and grammar, yet believes professionals owe him something. QED!

To those who believe as he does, I will say: I'm a professional writer. It isn't just some lucky thing that happens to you, like winning the lottery. I've worked my butt off seven days a week, nearly 365 days a year, for twenty years, to get good enough to consistantly sell my writing. And ever since becoming a professional, I've been flooded with people who feel like I "owe" it to them to read their manuscripts and screenplays. At least a dozen people a week attempt to foist their work on me. They beg, badger, harrass. If I tried to indulge even 1/10th of these people, I wouldn't have a moment left to do my own work. Sure, I'd like to help a person or two, but who do you help, when you feel like you've got a dime in your pocket and you're surrounded by a thousand beggars?

I avoid parties at this point -- too many aggressive "networkers." I've had to get an unlisted phone number, and change my email address.

Professionals don't "owe" anyone. They earned their success, and others (with sufficient talent, of course) can follow suit -- IF they're willing to make an equivalent amount of effort and sacrifice.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Jaz, caveat emptor.

Anon, sounds like legal stalking.