“Did you hear the one about the blonde who was so dumb she slept with the screenwriter…”
As industry jokes go, that one is top of the pile. It proves quite succinctly that the life of a screenwriter is not a happy one. With so many amateur writers submitting literally thousands of scripts every day, an aspiring writer may never get theirs read. If it is read and doesn’t meet all the criteria needed by about page 10, it will almost certainly be binned. If it isn’t binned but completely read through and liked, but doesn’t fit in with the current climate it won’t be bought. If it is bought, it still may never get made. If it is made it’s quite likely that other writers will be drafted in to re-write. If the re-write leaves any of your original characters and themes remaining and the film is a success, finally the credit will go to… the directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, best boys, grips, frankly anyone but you.
Unless of course you’re Aaron Sorkin. With the exception of Charlie Kaufman (although he, like many writers, has chosen to direct his latest projects) Sorkin is a ‘name’ in screenwriting terms. Now The West Wing creators script for The Social Network is gaining as much praise as David Fincher’s direction, being hyperbolied, as “smart and canny”, “absorbing and nuanced” and that it “boasts enough great dialogue to fuel a half dozen Oscar-bait movies”. He’s the closest thing to a screenwriter as celebrity as you can get.
Yet regardless of fame, wealth or respect if you were the screenwriter of one the films listed below, creator of one of the following characters or even conjuror of just one line of dialogue in the preceeding cinematic delights, nothing would compare to that honour, that knowledge that you, above anyone else, were the true creator.
Still wouldn’t help you get laid though.