Thursday, July 15, 2010


I didn't write any pages today. Instead I went swimming.

A friend of mine has a feature film coming out based on his comedy script. It's his first produced credit and it's completely based on his script, but he hates the finished product. He's been lackluster about advertising the film to industry folk because he's nervous about having his name attached to something that he's not proud of.

I know a few people who've had a similar experience, so what do you think? Is it better to have a produced credit you're ashamed of or no credit at all?


  1. Always better to have a produced credit rather than no credit. A while back I interviewed Dan Callahan, who wrote COLLEGE, one of the most savagely reviewed movies of the year it came out. Having read the version of the script that sold, I can vouch for the fact that it was far better than the final result.

    Here's a quote from Dan most relevant to your question: "The other thing is, at the end of the day for a writer, if people are gonna look at you for jobs, they’re gonna read your script. They’re not gonna watch the movie because it’s less about the writer when it comes to seeing what’s on the screen. So we felt confident that with the writing and the scripts and the drafts that they could get a good idea of what we wanted to do. So it doesn’t matter how College turned out for us. People are gonna try to blame you but people who work in the business are not gonna blame the writer.

    "If somebody’s looking to hire me for a job or wants to read my material, that’s what they’re looking at. They’re not going to go watch College – they’re going to physically get the script and read it. And they’re either gonna like it or they won’t. Writers, when it’s a bad movie, they get away with it. As long as it’s a good script. Now if it’s as bad as the film turned out to be, then you’ve got a problem. But we never felt that way. We always felt that College was a strong script and that people who read it would like it whether they’d like the movie or not."

  2. If it's any consolation, I didn't write any pages yesterday. I went drinking instead.

    Swimming's probably not the worst thing you could have been doing. Mind you, neither is drinking now I come to think of it.

    Maybe not as helpful as the Bitter Script Reader's post above me but hey, I do what I can.

  3. Anonymous8:33 AM

    I once had the opportunity to ask a Neil Simon the very same question. His response: Take the credit and without compensation if necessary.
    But only for the first time!

  4. With a comedy there's really no risk. Use the credit. It's not even so much the quality of the film. It's the budget. And most people don't care if your comedy is 2 million or 35 million. It's a comedy.

    If it was a SyFy monster movie or cheapie action thriller then probably not. With those it becomes a kind of typecasting where you're stuck at that budget and pay grade forever.

  5. Good answers, even Matt's.

  6. If the movie is a studio film or from a respectable indie, the credit is a good thing because it shows he can write a script that gets production financing.

    If the movie is self-financed or an ultra-low budget cheapie, it hurts him.

  7. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Bitter, seriously can you write less. We have no time to read all this long note of yours. Good God.


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