Movies (was Re: Teaching Dark Lord)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Mon May 20 10:33:47 EDT 2002

On Mon, 20 May 2002 23:58:58 -0700, Sally Odgers wrote:

>> Problem is that even when you have a good script, once its sold to a
>> the writer rarely has control of the material.  Directors, producers,
>> marketing people and accountants all stick their oars in.
>Quite so. But I've seen about 90% more movies let down by bad scripts than
>by bad acting or bad FX.

But that's part of the reasons scripts turn bad.  (New reality show: When
Bad Scripts Attack!)  Scripts get rewritten so many times, and on the advice
of so many people, that sometimes the final product doesn't bear any
resemblance to the original.  Sometimes big stars want their parts changed
to be bigger and more interesting (or to contain aspects that make them as
personalities look better).  Sometimes one of the people who holds the purse
strings takes a dislike to something and insists it gets changed.  It's so
rare that a script is 100% purely the contribution of a single person, that
even if you can blame the *script* as being the worst part of a film, it's
probably not one person's fault the way it would be for a novel.  You could
write the best script in the world, have it be picked up by someone who just
liked the central idea, and have it totally rewritten by a script doctor,
and both your names would end up in the credits.  Ugh.

I like reading about the movie industry.  A lot.  I didn't think I would,
but I picked up one of William Goldman's (nonfiction) books and it was a
revelation.  They are not to be read as entirely unbiased, but as his
perspective on Hollywood and how it operates, they are fascinating.  I
actually prefer _Which Lie Did I Tell?_ which is the more recent one,
particularly because it has the extended story of how _The Princess Bride_
was made into a movie.  I also recently read Bruce Campbell's autobiography
_If Chins Could Kill_ and it was a blast!  I never did want to see any of
the Evil Dead movies--ick ick gross--but I loved the story of how they went
about filming the first one and getting funding and so forth.  Also, the
fact that it's more a memoir of the film industry than a puff piece for
Bruce made it fun to read.

Melissa Proffitt
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