Dear Gerard, Stand up job with the website. I haven't read the book yet but I have read the site. Most of it anyway, I think. Nice work. What comes through and has to be commended is the attitude. From my estimation, nearly ninety-percent of what you're claiming is accurate (plus or minus three percent for wind conditions). What most writers need in the publishing and film arena is what most of them currently lack in large degree: balls.
Back in the day, this used to be part and parcel of being a writer. Burroughs, Hemingway, Bukowski, to name the obvious few. In fact, it used to be understood that it took balls just to choose writing as a way of living, and that was kind of half the allure. No more. Especially when you talk about most screenwriters. These are, generally speaking, meek people. I hate to say it. It is no small coincidence that writers are the low men on the pole in Hollywood. This is the position they accept. Sending in query letters to attorneys and four-year grads and bankers and asking, what do you think? Am I worthy? It's horse shit in the mildest of terms.
The majority of these people are not, and never were, capable of making decisions regarding quality, content, execution, and the like. They can however choose nice automobiles. Which is about the level of critical thinking I have to believe they bring to scripts. They've learned about four tricks and they apply them a hundred times a day. They throw in whim and personal fancy, and something that resembles personal taste. After making these brilliant decisions, they pat each other on the backs and make toasts. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these souls haven't lived long enough, been trained well enough, or understand proficiently enough what comprises good work. And even fewer of them possess the rare and innate talent needed to make good choices, let alone personal and original ones. They work from menus handed down from generations of the creatively-challenged. They plug in answers from multiple choice options. Sometimes they're lucky but usually not. The proof is in the fact that less than one percent of films made annually are worth a damn. This means something. And it can't be subjugated into the simplistic category that they make what the audiences want. How would they know what audiences want? Because they measure this year's annual gross against last year's and conclude that because it's within four percent they must "still" be satisfying their audiences? (This helps them enjoy those rides in their cars.) What else do they measure? And why the creative well has seemingly run so dry that we're practically running out of seventies and eighties television shows to clone. Forget the fact that most of these shows can't work as films to begin with based on their natures and content, and shouldn't work, and aren't worth spending a hundred million dollars and the talents of many artists to make work. Forget that. They're names! They're familiar! Goddamned, we know these names. But the undeniable point is most movies suck, period, and the majority are getting worse. Granted, making a film is very difficult, contains many elements, and even the greats with great ideas, support, and ability often come up short for many reasons--but this is a separate issue. The rare few know who they are. We're talking about ninety-nine percent. Eighty-five percent. Whatever. The majority. They're shit, and the studios know it. Or, possibly more accurately, and far more frightening, is that they don't know it. They think they're GOOD. In either case, the result is based on lack of judgment, lack of know-how, and lack of general talent and artistic sensibility. Not to mention taste. I can't really comment on the publishing world much as I gave up reading most novels and short stories a decade or so ago. It's tragic really, but that's a separate issue. Maybe it's just easier to sit through a bad movie than read a bad book. I'm not sure what this says, or the implications if it's true. I'll leave it there for now.
In any event, your site is outstanding. Keep up the good work. The future of literature, film, and art is ultimately in the hands of artists, not bankers. We all just need to remind ourselves of this fact and then stand our ground. Which, as I said, requires balls. So I'm really not holding my breath for the script-writing brethren I know. Then again you never know. After all, it only took a child to reveal to the town that the Emperor had no clothes. Your site is a fine step in that direction. I hope this e-mail finds you well.
Oh, I say all over the place that the love of money is the root of all evil. Here's a little thing some guy over in England wrote about me and my stuff today: Gerard wins and Speaks.
Check out the comment I left. As long as people and ideas are valued by how much money they're worth you're gonna get yourself lots of shitty people and lots of shitty ideas. It doesn't take balls to tell the truth, all it takes is not being for sale for money. I talked about that notion in this little column I did awhile ago. Thanks. G.