Vic writes: Do you hang out with writers? If so, what do you talk about that frustrates you all the most?
Yep, I have plenty of writer friends, and they all have plenty of frustrations! First off, writing is hard. Why don't my scripts write themselves?
I hear a lot of newer writers complain that they feel like they don't have the personal connections they need to succeed in their careers. They hate the stories of people with important parents, friends, spouses, etc. Those people have it so much easier! It's just not fair. But honestly, it's a waste of time to worry about stuff like that. Nobody ever said Hollywood was fair. You can't control other people and their advantages; the only thing you can control is your writing. A wise writer friend of mine recently reminded me that when the industry starts to frustrate you, the only cure is to throw yourself into your writing and come out with a fantastic script. Also, every writer will get help from their own personal connections at some point. You'll have a friend or old coworker or someone who will do you a favor - and then I bet you won't be complaining about how some people get special treatment.
I think writers also feel frustrated that studios and networks aren't buying the kinds of things that writers want to be writing, whether it's TV cop procedurals or feature remakes and adaptations (John August wrote a great post about board game movies here). It's good to be aware of what's selling and what's being made (after all, movies and TV shows need to make money, and we don't want to waste our time), but I think sometimes writers get too obsessed with the idea of commercial viability. Early in his career, one of my screenwriting professors kept trying to write a feature he thought would sell, and nothing worked. He got so frustrated that he finally wrote a super un-commercial character drama and period piece about his childhood, almost as an FU to Hollywood...and that was his first sale. I love that story - it proves that people respond to passion!
I don't want to complain too much on here, but I do admit that I get frustrated when fantastic movies are flops, and when my favorite TV shows get canceled...like Scott Pilgrim! It makes me sad that there might be people sitting a room going "what a mistake," when it was a great movie. But I get it. Money is money.
What frustrates you guys?