Thursday, November 13, 2008

My ego hurts

I suck.

This is important for me to know. My name is Emily and I suck.

See, I thought I was the shit. I wrote all these crappy scripts and then realized they were crappy and tossed them aside. And then I wrote this one great zombie script that was going to finally open my doors and rescue me from oblivion.

But apparently I was the only person who realized this. The script didn't get past the first round in the Nicholl and I made all kinds of excuses: zombies don't do well in prestigious contests, people just don't get what I'm trying to do, everybody read it as a horror film, blah blah blah. And then it didn't get past the first round at the Expo. Well that was a bigger blow because I was convinced I would at least get to the finals. I mean, this script is like the best thing ever, so how could it not set the world on fire?

Just like a newbie.

And that's when I took a good look at myself. Even accounting for taste, a good script should be able to get to the second round in a contest.

So I emailed someone who's been helping me and said "Why do I suck?"

And he said, "You're filthy. When's the last time you cleaned your bathroom? And Jesus, lady, do you even OWN a vacuum cleaner?"

And then he said, "Oh you mean as a writer."

And then he told me that basically I suck less than I could but more than I should. And then he told me why.

That is not an easy thing to hear but I steeled myself. Because I would rather buckle down and do the work and admit I have a problem so I can fix it than continue living in denial about my supposed awesomeness. I could keep pretending this script is the best thing going and everybody who doesn't see that is an idiot, or I could figure out how to fix it so that it IS the best thing going.

I have a lot of work ahead of me. That's the tough part - knowing that after all this work you still have lots more work to go. I don't want to have lots more work to go. Poop.

So Not Dead Yet is back out and in revision again. I refuse to give up on it. I refuse to suck anymore.


  1. I feel the same way, man. You gotta remember, dude, that NOT everybody may like your scripts, but some people will.

    Some people don't like "Rocky Horror Picture Show," but I f--king love that movie, as do countless other people.

    but yeah... keep going, gurl and don't give up your dreams!

  2. Today, you're my goddamn hero. I hope I have the balls to write a post like this when the inevitable rejection letter comes from Disney, telling me my PD spec didn't advance at all.

    And then I hope I have the courage to get back up, dust myself off, and try again.

  3. Anonymous8:44 AM

    You're falling into a trap, Emily. You need to leave NOT DEAD YET alone. Move on to something else. The script is what it is. You are proud of it. You are the shepherd to protect what integrity it has. And you've done that. Now, don't buckle because of the Expo. I read one awesome script, seriously one of the best specs I have read in years from a friend and it didn't get into the first round. I made the Quarter Finals, but no further and my script has been highly praised by some very prestigious people who know what they're talking about ... so don't fall into the trap of constantly working on one screenplay. Move on. Your next script will be better and different and that's what should happen. It's also healthier. But hey, this is just one guy's opinion. And an Irish guy at that.

  4. No, man, I've done that with too many scripts already. I'm taking a stand and making this script GOOD. I do not want this to be another script I throw behind me while I still have nothing to show for my efforts.

  5. Anonymous8:55 AM


  6. Send me the script, dammit.

    I am moved, however, by this post. As someone mentioned, you gotz ballz.

    Though you're ego may hurt, and your bootstraps may be a little stretched, I'm kinda proud to know you.

    So, send me the script, dammit!

  7. Dude, we entered the same contests.

    I made about as much progress at you. But here's something I tell myself...

    Most of these big contests have script readers that are hired out of the blue (i've almost been one), and so if one of those random idiots doesn't like your script for whatever reason, it's out.

    Some people may think I'm just making excuses...but I say...I AM RIGHT.

  8. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Nothing wrong with bringing something you worked hard on UP TO PAR.

    And you never know... The gold in the story just might be there under the surface.

    Good luck!


  9. You don't suck! Maybe the script sucks RIGHT NOW but do not ever let that tell you that YOU suck. Scripts can always get better. Never let the current state of X script make you think you suck!

    I bet every good script went through a stage of not being good.

    Also I think 80% of writing is figuring out what you're good at.

    I'd say: look at the script and figure out what works the best. Not what you like the best. Not what other people like the best. What WORKS the best. Even go through and mark every scene ranked 1-3 in terms of works best, sorta works, doesn't work.

    I don't know who told you what was wrong with you, but you should never trust anyone who thinks they know that about you. They don't. You know yourself the best. They are being arrogant and judgmental and probably getting an ego high off your ego low. Avoid! Avoid! I am not kidding, that person is toxic. You should not be friends with people who tell you that you suck!

    Constructive comments on writing are always good, though. Yeah! Get those! Helpful stuff!

  10. I agree with Kevin. Wow...I've been there. Totally been there. I wrote a script that I loved. It's different, it's dramatic, it's amazing. And it never placed in any contest and even though I got it read by some people and got the "You're a great writer" pep talk, it did nothing to further my career. It simply wasn't as good as I thought it was. So I wrote more things. I think it is brave to blog about the rejections. It's hard to get those letters but you know, I've saved everyone one of the rejection letters because when the good news comes (and it will) it's a reminder that if you keep going and you have talent, it'll happen.

  11. Maggie, he didn't literally say "You suck." I asked him specifically why my script wasn't advancing and he told me. And he's right.

  12. good for you, Emily, for going back to your script for a rewrite. Me, I am doing it right now. I wrote and finished it on January, put it aside, wrote other screenplays, and I finally looked at that script again last month with a fresh new perspective and I can see what kind of big changes I needed to make with it.

    It's way better now and in a few weeks, I'll be ready to send it to my agent again and see what he says.

    I refuse to abandon any un-finished script or if the script is done but it sucks, i WILl go back and redo it again, goddamnit!

  13. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Here is the skinny,

    This screenwriting business is a crap shoot.

    First do you have a full time job.
    If yes, keep it forever.

    Next, take long breaks from your failed scripts and come back to it.

    But the pros..........

    Read the writers getting paid big bucks.....

    Learn to write like them.....

    This is not art.....this is making money and pleasing our egos.


  14. A friend once submitted a western he had written to Nicholl's one year and didn't place - he is a DAMN good writer. He sent the EXACT same script in to the Nicholl's the following year and made it tot he quarter finals. The next year he co-wrote a really good romantic comedy (its good, not great) and is a Nicholl's fellow (2007).

    Write it, get it done, make it good, and then move on to the next thing.


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