Sunday, January 20, 2008

What the fuck does that get you?

In my "you know you're so Hollywood when" list, I wrote that I often force myself to go out when I would rather sit on my couch and watch Entourage because you never know when a good networking opportunity might present itself. AHA! It happened last night. I went to Barney's in Pasadena. (Who knew Pasadena had a Barney's? And that it is cooler than the WeHo one? And that Pasadena has a nice little nightlife scene at all?) I was there with a dozen or so IC alumni (we really gotta stop traveling in scary drunken packs) and my friend ran into an old coworker from the HBO comedy festival who now is a writer-producer for a successful cable network's on-air promos. And it just so happens that my friend's friend's friend is a screenwriter who's had three of his screenplays optioned and is just getting into that I-get-paid-to-write part of his career. He also happened to be a very nice chap who shared some advice from his screenwriting mentor whose last movie made hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide:

You can write clever dialogue all you want, but at the end of every scene you need to ask yourself, WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT GET YOU? You must always push yourself to be efficient and structural, and never let yourself sit back and be impressed with your clever characters and dialogue. We've heard this advice in other ways: for instance, a good comedy writer must always be about to throw out his/her best joke. But it's just so emphatic this way. You wrote a scene. Now what the fuck does it get you?

New friends, writing advice and a free drink. Sometimes it's good to make yourself socialize.

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