Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Screw the odds
But I've never been one to listen to odds of failure. I'm pretty convinced that I can do any goddamn thing I want to. Except calculus. Because fuck limits and shit.
Anyway, I wrote action scripts with female leads. And after Salt came out, a lot of people started talking about how they were going to try an action movie with a female lead. I bet some of those same people who told me not to bother were now trying it out.
Salt didn't exactly blast the market open, though. Other attempts barely made back their money. So the lesson became, only write a female-lead action movie if it stars Angelina.
Piffle, I say.
The day will come. So I keep writing. I get meetings. Eventually I'll get a deal. A movie will be made. It will fail or succeed or break even. I will keep writing. A movie will get made.
And one day, either from my work or that of someone else, a film will break through that will silence every asshole who ever said women couldn't be action stars. I'm looking at you, Chloe Moretz. Oh yes, I've got plans for you.
There will always be a thousand reasons you could fail, and there will always be plenty of people ready to tell you how. They'll shout it at you from the rooftops. They'll whisper doubt in your ear in quiet corners. They'll gleefully plant the evidence in front of you, happy to "just be realistic" in your face.
You can listen to them and doubt everything. You can quit, or you can change your ways, or you can analyze your odds or you can figure out how to game the system.
Or you can nod and smile and get back to work. Write your best screenplay. Be the one who proves everybody wrong.
Don't get me wrong, I write scripts with male leads too. The majority of action scripts are written with men in the lead; I'd be doing myself a disservice to stick to one gender, and I am certainly capable of writing great parts for men. But I still write the movie I want to see - the type of film that will take advantage of the Gina Caranos of the world.
Breaking into the movie industry is tough. People come out here every year armed with a script or two, convinced that all they need is a year to become Diablo Cody, and that's just not how it works. Most likely, it will take a lot of work and a lot of time.
So accept that. It will be tough. It will take years. It will take several scripts. You will have a few false starts. Once you just accept that as part of the cost, it's not that big a deal. If you expect it to be immediate, you're going to spend a lot of time languishing in disappointment.
So once you know what you're in for, push that aside and write. Just fucking write. Write what you want to see, write the best material you possibly can.
I never listen to the odds. I tune them out, put on my writing playlist and get back to work imagining how Emma Stone is going to kick ass in my next script.
Because there is only one thing stronger than the odds - hard fucking work.