Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Intentions vs. Self Image

I got a nice gesture from the folks at The Black List today, a tweet to allay some of my depression at getting a shitty review. It actually makes me feel a little bit worse by driving home what bothered me so much in the first place but it's a nice thing to attempt and it is truly appreciated.This is the message:

The average for ALL ratings (pros included) is 6.84. For uploaded scripts, it's closer to 5.

"So what, dipshit, is it that bothers you so much about this," my hypothetical readers might ask between hawking dick pills? Well, the idea of being an average amateur is frightening to me beyond all comprehension. A lifetime spent fucking around with words and getting a degree SPECIFICALLY in screenwriting almost 10 years ago has gotten me far enough to be an average goddamned hobbyist? Fucking hell, that's brutal. I fucking hate it. I don't really believe it's true but I have more expectation than ever that I'm delusional and the asshole teacher at Northridge that graded my thesis might be right after all. She just got an award for lifetime service or something this past spring. One of my least favorite educators I have ever known. I don't keep detailed records on these things so I wouldn't go so far as to say worst (though she graded a senior seminar on punctuality and regularly claimed I was late even when I was sitting down in a desk before she even got there) but it was an unpleasant experience all around. And now more than ever I feel like she had me pegged dead to rights in terms of my capabilities and career expectations.

I wrote yesterday about my review from The Black List. It's a sore subject for me but it's happened and maybe it'll help in the short and long term. I'm going to go ahead and re-work the script a little, it might end up a little bit shorter. But if I take down the version that's up there and come back with a new one that still get notes about what a shitbox I've shoved under their digital door, I might just give up writing and go... I don't know what. I've never had a backup plan but I've never bothered to be an adult before, either.

I'm not going to lose the high-minded "ridiculous" parts of the script because I don't have a problem with it. If it's funny or even a little off-putting, so be it. The biggest weakness of the script, per that review and perhaps per my own unrecognized feeling, is the plot. It's a revenge movie that detours into a broken love story. I had my reasons to go that direction but it is against the whole concept of a revenge movie. Single focus, single determination, only one possible end for the protagonist. I was trying to make it a little bit like Drive, perhaps, which is a different movie with a different motivation for the lead.

Maybe it's all good motivation? Maybe I just got a bad reader? Maybe I'm still going to be selling fish come next summer and I'll just break down and go on a really long bender. Look at me, a 35 year old hobbyist and real life Walter Mitty.