lumberg-office-space_610Would you rather work with this guy…

I feel bad about last week’s negative article. So I wanted to change it up today. Two things happened to me in a matter of hours Tuesday that reminded me of an essential quality all screenwriters must have in order to succeed.

It started when a writer informed me about an article they’d read in The Hollywood Reporter. In it, an anonymous working screenwriter complained that the life of a professional screenwriter, for the most part, sucks. The writer who’d read the article was upset. They said, “I’m working so hard to climb up this mountain, and this is what the end result will be? Misery 90% of the time? Why bother?”

I always get a little down when I hear these stories, and I’ll explain why in a second. But that afternoon, I had a meeting with another writer. For the record, this is a writer who’s had some success, but is nowhere near where he’d liked to be. He had this big smile on his face when I arrived and relayed how excited he was to talk about all the stuff he’d been working on. Before long, he was passionately telling me about all of his projects.

It didn’t even feel like a meeting. It felt like two people who love movies talking about writing them. I left that meeting with a noticeable hop in my step. Nothing earth-shattering happened. But I was happy. Why? The answer is simple. This writer’s overwhelming positivity had rubbed off on me. It had gotten me excited. It made me completely forget about that ridiculous article.

But something much bigger came out of that meeting. I realized how easily negativity can influence a writer’s life, and how quickly it can spread to others.

If that writer I’d met hadn’t been so immediately positive, I probably would’ve brought that negative energy into the meeting, and things would’ve gone very differently. Maybe I would’ve brought up the article, maybe we would’ve spent 30 minutes discussing if we thought it was true (being a professional writer sucks), then when the writer pitched me his ideas, they would’ve been laced with a sense of hopelessness, born out of our incorrect belief that making it was “impossible.” I would’ve left the meeting bummed out, and it would’ve taken me a day or two to get back to being excited about the business.

The thing about writing is that it’s such a lonely endeavor. And because you’re alone a lot of the time, your mind often drifts into the negative. “Can I do it?” “Is it impossible?” The doubts start creeping in. Rumors about how the only people who make it are those with family connections, or how nobody’s buying specs anymore, or how minorities don’t stand a chance, or how you have to live in Los Angeles to succeed.

Pay attention to what I’m about to tell you because it’s an often overlooked but ESSENTIAL component to your success in this business. Ready?

Negativity begets Negativity.

I know how crazy it sounds, but if you believe you’re never going to succeed, you won’t. You just won’t. Because you’ve already decided that you won’t. You’re just waiting for the official confirmation.

If you believe you’re going to succeed, you’ve got a chance. Because you believe. And as long as you believe, you’ll continue to make others believe.

You can see how that tiny insignificant Hollywood Reporter article spread like a virus from the original reader, to me, and almost to the other writer I met. Luckily a good dose of screenwriting chemo destroyed that negativity before it was too late.  The only way to make sure that didn’t happen again was to stay away from that kind of person, the kind who complains, who hates, who sucks the life out of things.  Positive successful people try to avoid those folks like the plague.

Again, if you believe in the negative? If you exhibit negativity? If you present yourself as a negative person, the majority of the experiences in your life will be negative. Negative people attract negativity. Positive people attract positivity.

Now I don’t know who this writer is in the Hollywood Reporter article. And I understand that his article is a tiny sample size of his career, but I’d make a strong case that the reason he isn’t as successful as he wants to be has a lot to do with how he sees the world. He sees screenwriting as a soul-sucking miserable existence. And there’s no way to mask that. Every meeting he goes to, every person he chats up, every job he’s up for, they see that. They feel it seeping out of his pores, or projected deep within his eyes. His negative posture, his lack of general happiness. They feel it, and they don’t want to be a part of it.

I used to think that it should be all about the writing. If the person is a good screenwriter, who the hell cares what they’re like? But I realize now how naïve that was. I still think it’s true for SUPER-STAR writers (David Koepp and Frank Darabont). But for everyone else, it matters tons. Some of the people I’ve met are such soul-suckers, that working with them for five minutes would depress the hell out me, much less five months. Even if the negative writer is the better writer, is it worth them always miserable, always complaining, always fighting every note, and generally hating work? It might take longer with the lesser writer, but their eagerness to get it right will trump the problem writer every time.

Negativity begets Negativity.

happy-person…or this guy?

I’m going to tell you a story that I’ve only told a few times (and have alluded to in my book) because I’m actually quite embarrassed by it. But it’s a story that completely changed how I approached life. This happened a little bit before I started Scriptshadow when I was a REALLY negative person. I was that annoying guy who always found fault in everything. I was always complaining about the business, hating on every movie, commenting on how stupid the entertainment business was. I was like Grendl on crack.

A lady friend at the time delicately suggested I read The Secret. She thought it would be good for me. Now if you don’t know what The Secret is, it’s this book/movie/audio-tape “way of thinking” by which a soothing Australian woman tells you to do things like “imagine success” and success will come to you. “Imagine money” and money will come to you. Your basic new age hooey-phooey.

But I was in a really low place and knew that my negativity had reached dangerous levels. So I thought, “What do I have to lose?” and started listening to the audio version of the book while I exercised. If you haven’t heard this woman, it’s quite amusing. She has this over-the-top hypnotic voice that promises you the world if you just think positively.

I started listening to it more as a source of entertainment than enlightenment. But the woman started issuing challenges. She’d say things like, “Go out and say five positive things to people today.” For shits and giggles, I’d do it (“Hey, that’s a nice watch,” I’d say to the cashier at the supermarket) and I must admit I was surprised by the response. People would offer back a genuine smile, thank me, and even start up conversations. More importantly, after every interaction, I felt better. And when I’d talk with friends later, they’d note that I was uncharacteristically “upbeat.”  Without me even knowing it, these positive experiences had started to improve my life.

But when the chapter about money came up, I couldn’t play the game any longer. What Nutty Soothing Australian Woman was saying was ridiculous. She posited that if you “thought” and “believed” that money would come to you, it would. In fact, she said, it would just show up in your mailbox in the form of a check. Money by just wishing for it! Who would’ve thought it was that easy!

I had never heard such blatant bullshit in my life. I had NEVER received money in the mail. Not once. So I decided to play a game with Nutty Australian Woman to prove her wrong. Over the next month, I would be genuinely positive about everything, and wherever I went, I’d believe – just like Nutty Australian Woman told me to – that I should receive money.

Over the next three weeks, I found my life improving dramatically. If a movie I didn’t like did well at the box office, I wouldn’t complain like I used to. I’d think, “Good for the writers.” I was genuinely happy for them. If somebody said something mean about something online, I’d try to find something positive to counter it. It almost became a game. No matter how negative a situation got, could you find a positive way to respond to it?

I noticed my friends were happier to be around me (I wasn’t interrupting every fun moment complaining about something), and because they were happier, I was happier. That’s the great thing about being positive. Whatever you give out comes back twice as strong.

But it was three weeks into my experiement that one of the biggest shocks of my life happened. When I went to get my mail that day, there was an envelope from the city of Los Angeles. I opened it up, and there was a check for $75. I shit you not. The letter was in regards to a parking ticket I had received last year. They went on to say they had made a mistake in the ticketing process, and were therefore refunding me.

Now as anyone who lives in Los Angeles will tell you, the LA parking ticket system is one of the most obsessive corrupt institutions in the world. They will wait at your car until your meter runs out in order to ticket you 1 second later. They’d rather commit Heaven’s Gate-level mass suicide before issuing a refund. I’m pretty sure I was the first person in the city’s history to receive money back for a ticket.

I couldn’t believe it. That freaking Nutty Australian Lady was right. I had received money in the mail. I was so excited (good God did I need that money), I had a newfound optimism about the world. That optimism led to me getting the confidence to do a lot of other things I’d been putting off. One of those things, a few months later, was starting Scriptshadow.

Now look. I’m not going to sit here and tell you you have to believe in some New Age Hooey in order to succeed. What I can tell you, from personal experience, is that trying to find the good in everything instead of wallowing in the bad, positively alters the way others perceive you. People will want to be around you. They’ll want to work with you.  They’ll want you in their lives.

Positivity Begets Positivity.

And look, it’s not easy at first (especially if you’re inherently negative), and I still struggle with it at times (I’m not sure how positive I was yesterday, although analysis does require certain negative reactions), but I’m telling you, it’s the unsung hero of success. And I just want you guys to know that the more positive you are, the more opportunities you’re going to get in this business. I can promise you that. Don’t believe me? Give it a shot.

  • astranger2

    Wow. All the negativity, a lot unwarranted imo, from yesterday’s article must’ve put you in a spin. I kinda feel a lot of “artistic” frustration was dumped on you, when all you were saying is that with most spec scripts a ten sentence expo never realized a great read. Not like Bonnie and Clyde or a Aaron Sorkin script ever arrived in your inbox…

    Still, now we are going to “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” our way into a successful screenwriting career? Positive thinking from Norman Vincent Peale to Tony Robbins are great for most — but I lived in L.A., and those fucking parking Nazis would sooner give up their first borns than refund you a nickel. The tow-away trucks line up at EXACTLY 4pm to cart you away if that’s the expired time.

    But, like the USS Enterprise… your deflector shields from yesterday’s fallout, and obfuscation are superb! And, I applaud you!

    Loved this paragraph:

    “I was a REALLY negative person. I was that annoying guy who always found fault in everything. I was always complaining about the business, hating on every movie, commenting on how stupid the entertainment business was. I was like Grendl on crack.”

    (Personally, in my short time here, I’ve found Grendl optimistic, insightful, and endearing in more ways than not — but, this is funny shit!)

  • Midnight Luck

    “Hey Peter, what’s happening? I’m going to have to ask you to go ahead and come in on Saturday. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I’m also going to have to ask you to go ahead and come in on Sunday as well. OK? Great. Thanks”

    I’d work with Bill Lumberg,

    as long as he let me bring my Swingline stapler with me.

    • astranger2

      You’d probably have the appropriate amount of flair.

  • Pop Tart Pop Art

    Speaking of positivity, I actually found the Hollywood Reporter article to be extremely positive. He seemed to be saying that failure happens, and, when it does, “just keep swimming.” What a beautiful paragon to stick-to-itivness!

    Also, the 90% of life sucking as a professional writer isn’t exclusive to “schmucks with Underwoods.” Life is just disappointing, in general. That’s why it’s essential to cherish those winning moments. Have your hobbies, have a family, and have friends. Those things belong to a ten percent that is worth much more than the pie chart indicates.

    Who knows? One day you may get to walk through your own imagination…

    • ChadStuart

      I have to agree. It wasn’t negative, it was positive. He didn’t say 90% of his day was soul sucking, he said it was banal. Like everyone’s life. He had a dream of what being a professional screenwriter would be, and he’s a little surprised that now he is, it’s very different than the dream.

      He even concluded with the story that he gets to walk through his own imagination. I don’t know how much more positive he could get.

      The writer’s name is Justin Marks, he’s written several assignments, but seems to get stuck writing “those scripts” that just about every pro has taken a crack at, such as “He-Man”. I have his draft kicking around my hard drive somewhere. It was pretty good.

    • Citizen M

      It’s even worse being a doctor. All your patients will die — eventually.

    • Linkthis83

      If you guys want a good laugh, read the review of The Secret on Amazon. Too funny:

      • Midnight Luck

        this is awesome,

        one part of it should be a scene for Joe Dirt 2 (see above)^^^^.

        -This reviewer goes into such personal detail about get their 3rd strike for public drunkenness while shitting in a mailbox.

        sounds like a movie scene.

        who does that? let alone, who does that 3 times?

        -and that his “rape value” being roughly 15 bucks for Winston Cigarettes and cheap Pruno (prison wine)

        -I am not sure Rhonda knew that by writing The Secret someone would call it a “Miracle” to have had the book brought into their life. So they could use it to hide a SHIV in so they could Stab their would be assailant.

        The good things that can be brought into your life if you believe enough.

        this shit is just hilarious.

        I don’t think Amazon knows it is the review for The Secret.

        -no one tell them, please.

        comedy gold.

        ….thanks Link for sharing, that was the most I have laughed in weeks.

      • Bifferspice

        that’s hilarious!!

  • sgelam

    It’s going to be hilarious when Amazon sees a spike in “The Secret” sales. Then they link it back to your blog being the reason. And, you receive a commission check in the mail. How meta would that be? Just writing about your positivity gets you free money.

  • Bifferspice

    ok, let’s see if this article is right. i believe carson is going to review my script. i believe carson is going to review my script. i believe…

    • sotiris5000

      Ha ha ha ha.

      • Ange Neale

        Oh, be nice, sotiris5000 darling!

        (I only got a few pages in, bifferspice, but I have my fingers crossed for you that Carson will!)

        • sotiris5000

          I was laughing at biffer’s joke. I’ve actually read his script and think it’s amazing. It’s heartfelt, emotional, naturalistic and has incredible, relatable characters. It has everything the genre-heavy amateur scripts on here don’t have – soul.

          • Ange Neale

            Oops… My apologies. I thought you were being a bit sarcastic. You were being nice!

          • Bifferspice

            wow, thanks man. :) i’m blushing!

    • Stephjones

      I believe Carson is going to review your script. I believe Carson is going to review your script. I believe Carson is going to review your script. I believe…:)

    • Midnight Luck

      (holding fingers to temple)

      Carson WILL review your script…

    • pmlove

      Learning your lines?

      Yeah, both of them.

      Great, great line and a personal favourite.

    • peisley

      And he’s going to like it!

    • pmlove

      Hey – reading through to p47. Great stuff. One of the best things about the story is the inherent need to arc the sub-characters as this is all part of Steve’s arc – this really helps give the script a coherent feel.

      Just one comment. Think we need a little more from Martin in the interview. I want him to get the job. I really do. But given that little, it leans me more to sadness that Steve is going to waste his money away like he does gambling, anything Martin earns will be drunk and nothing will be learned.

      • Bifferspice

        thanks very much pmlove, I really appreciate you reading it. That’s an interesting note. I do think the script needs a little more Martin – I worry he kind of fizzles out. I have had quite a few thoughts about little bits that could expand his character, but hadn’t thought of extending that scene. I’ll have a think. :) Thanks again.

        • pmlove

          Hey – sorry, when I said ‘more’ I meant more insight, inspiration. All the others are spouting management jargon and he says ”This sort of thing just needs some new ideas” – he needs to come out with something that would convince Steve (and the audience) that he really is some whizz kid, not just a drunken bum.

          I also have a (more minor) slight question mark over his consistency – hates the ‘posh twats’ but had a job in the City (where it sounds like he would’ve stayed if not for being fired).

          • Bifferspice

            ah, got you :) ok, i see what you mean.

            my thinking behind that was

            a) that he gets the job because steve is terrified of all the whizz-kids, and that martin is the only one steve understands. steve’s not a businessman, by any stretch of the imagination, and probably not even that ambitious either, but needs someone to help him get things done while allowing steve to remain anonymous. so he goes for martin as at least he thinks he can understand what martin’s saying, and he won’t be left behind in an uneven partnership.

            b) i would also put martin’s comments down to a bit of bitterness and envy over the life he could have had if he hadn’t got too caught up in the party lifestyle.

            i know there are some inconsistencies in martin though, sometimes he talks very cleverly, and sometimes he’s a bit thick. maybe a bit of smoothing over his character arc would help.

            thanks again for your thoughtful comments :)

    • astranger2

      A very warm, enjoyable read. I also appreciated the fact Steve was good to Brady in the end. An all-around feel good script. Maybe apropos for today’s topic. Hope Carson gives you the shot!

      • Bifferspice

        wow, thanks for the kind words astranger2, and for reading it all the way through! it’s very much appreciated :)

  • E.C. Henry

    Optomism in the midst of script competition season. Didn’t the Nicholl’s deadline just come and go? Hmmm… Maybe this year I’ll place? Or better yet get another one of wonderfull rejection notices — I’ve got quite the collection of those going, you know.

    Optomism. How do you ballace that with reality? Or maybe you don’t. Live in la-la land your whole life. Make your own life make-believe.

    Optomism. I’m all for it. And it’s a lot easier to be that way when you’re hammered!

  • Citizen M

    Negativity from “Ice M.F. T” by Ice-T:

    And every fuckin thing I write
    Is gonna be analyzed by somebody white

    • Midnight Luck

      Negativity from “Ice M.F. M” by Ice-M:

      “And every fuckin thing I write
      Is gonna be analyzed by somebody right?”

    • S_P_1

      I haven’t heard that song or thought about it in a long time. Now all I have to do is find my cassette tape and reminisce.

    • Breezy

      hubris optimism from dj Khaled:

      All I do is WIN WIN WIN no matter what!

  • Gregory Mandarano

    This is the best, and most useful article you’ve ever posted Carson! Excellent! Yes to all of this! Yes! Positivity leads to more positivity! I never expected you to post something like this and I’m so glad you did. I hope people here at SS take what you’ve said to heart!

  • fragglewriter

    I totally can understand the place you are coming from. I don’t know if reading the book “The Secret” helped your perception on life, or was it because you’ve gotten older, and learned to relax a little when it comes to life’s obstacles.

    I was just like you with the negativity, stemming from working in an office, and still am. The last two years, I decided that I was going to try to live my life as an existentialist. No more living for titles, rewards or recognition, but living as to what I can accomplish as an individual.

    Believe me, it started off as a cakewalk and I was so impressed. There were obstacles as I wasn’t working and then negative people at a temp assignment. I preserved, and left those people in the dust. Left that assignment and hadn’t gotten responses to my resume. I tried to stay out of the funk by being positive until something came along. Lo and behold one day, I get a call from an old manager, and now I’m at a new job.

    It seems that once I became positive, I encountered more negative people. The same at this new job as well. I think I might have the opposite effect as you Carson LOL.

    I’ve read the article in the Hollywood Reporter, and would have to say if I never made it big as a screenwriter, that wouldn’t bother me as that is not my goal. My goal is to travel, own my own place and work from home. If I can do that without getting into dire financial situations and receive income from writer almost-to-production scripts, I would feel like I’ve the biggest award.

    I think as screenwriters, you have to stop looking for others to validate you. If they don’t, does that mean you’re less of a screenwriter? If they do, does that mean you made it when only a handful of people know who you are?

    • Midnight Luck

      I began my journey to Minimize my life 11 years ago. I struggled to make it happen. It sounds like it should be easy, but it is one of the hardest things you can do. Minimize how much you own, your lifestyle, how much money you make or care to make, where you live, how you live (simple), how much you eat and what you eat. Basically, my mantra was SIMPLIFY. It worked, but it took life beating the shit out of me to a point there was nothing left, and most people can’t recover from. I am still standing, and it was the thing that turned the corner for me and I became a true MINIMALIST. It may have worked too well, as I haven’t had a job or “worked” since 2006, I live life completely on MY terms, exactly how I want it. A simple life.
      Cut out the bullshit that doesn’t matter and you won’t twist in a wind of emotion.

      I own my own place (simple, small), write and do every thing I need from home (you can call it work, I don’t like the word, doesn’t describe what I do), come and go as I please, no one owns me in any way, for any reason.

      I own my life.
      That was my goal.

      Now if I succeed in Screenwriting, it is the biggest surprise and icing on top. I can appreciate it even more than I would have in my old life.

      • fragglewriter

        The same here, but I finally have a permanent job since getting layed off in 2007.

        Minimalist is the key to survival.

        • Midnight Luck


          in a turbulent world, the key to success is simplifying life.

      • paul

        How were you able to manage that? It’s hard to go more than 6 months without working…

        • Midnight Luck

          it is a very long, windy, sad, possibly uplifting, complicated story.

          no i didn’t come into a bunch of wealth,
          no i am not living off some rich uncle or something,
          and no I cannot give a quick answer.

          The main way to answer is, until you have figured out how, and actually gone minimal, I mean seriously minimal, you won’t understand how LITTLE you can actually live on. I don’t need a job to survive. When you strip away the other bullshit things we “think” we need, and instead focus on things that are creative, we need shockingly little money to survive.

          Check out, and, or a book “The Man Who Quit Money” (read an article about him here: by Mark Sundeen. He gave up ALL money like 12 years ago, relies on others’ generosity, lives in a cave in Utah, trades by taking care of people’s places when their gone and he will stay there, etc.

          But when you strip away all the unnecessary $5 a day Mochachinno-bullshit-latte’s of your life, you will seriously find that most of the money we spend daily, weekly, monthly, it is just outside influence getting us to participate in the “being a good consumer” bullshit. So much we do not actually need, and in reality don’t even want. How many times have you bought something you “HAD TO HAVE” and a week later found it behind the couch and didn’t even know it was gone? only to then sell it on Craigslist or in a garage sale?

          Having no need for a garage or storage unit or garage sales or Craigslist anymore, is unbelievably freeing. Having no debt will make you feel like you won the lottery. It will actually make you a HAPPY and POSITIVE person when you give up the Money Witch.

          so no, I don’t live in a cave in Utah, I don’t eat garbage from behind grocery stores who consider a cracked plastic shell surrounding a perfectly good head of lettuce to be garbage. I still use money, I just have a simple life. I can live (if I really push myself) on less than $100 a month. Usually I live on $600 or less (typical is $250-$400), and I live well, all Organic food (but I don’t eat a lot, we don’t actually need much to survive and thrive), still go to movies whenever I want, but all Hard things like: Car, Property and House, Laptop, I own outright. I don’t pay anyone for anything. I am not limiting myself, I am not missing out on anything. My biggest expense is for my dog. But she definitely isn’t missing out. If she gets a couple hour hike and plays with a friend and has a raw bone, she feels like she’s the happiest mutt in the universe.

          simple things.

      • Ken

        So did you minimize your lifestyle solely so that you can survive until you make it as a screenwriter? Or were you set on minimizing your lifestyle in general anyway?

        • Midnight Luck

          No I minimized my life because it is something I agree with, something that matches my personality and what I am about.

          I began to simplify 4 years before the tragedies began. Those things really upped the ante, and got me to complete my change.

          It is like when someone has a death or near death experience and then completely change their life. Or when someone has a heart attack and nearly dies, they “suddenly” change their eating habits (hopefully), or someone gets Cancer and decides to stop smoking, or going to a suntan booth, or working with pesticides.

          -well that is me. Coming back from the dead can kick you in the bucket list. Everything changes. You laugh at what you thought “mattered”. 99% of it, you realize you don’t give a shit about. It is either for an Ego stroke, or for vanity or just plain bullshit reasons. That 1% left over, well, it takes over your life. You move mountains to make sure that 1% is the everything of your life.

          A nice side benefit is, it is easier to survive in general no matter how much money I have or do not have. So, spending most my time writing and not making money, it makes not having money ok and manageable. I have no interest in buying a brand new Escalade because my last years one is a color that isn’t fly anymore. Who gives a shit. I drive a low mileage older car. It looks nice, has low miles, gets great gas mileage, and gets me where I want and need to go. What else matters? It really does not matter if you fit in, or are keeping up with the jones’, all that thought, talk, and craziness, just means you are giving your dollar to someone other than YOU. You are paying for their yacht. you are paying for their house in the hills, not yours. So for me, I VOTE with my dollar, and my vote goes to supporting ME in my chosen lifestyle. I own MY LIFE, and I don’t apologize for any of it.

          [getting off soapbox]

          hope i answered what you were asking. sorry if I went overboard with info

        • Midnight Luck

          I don’t know what Disqus is doing, it made this post disappear, then put it in the wrong place. Here is what I sent you earlier, in case it didn’t get to you:

          No I minimized my life because it is something I agree with, something that matches my personality and what I am about.

          I began to simplify 4 years before the tragedies began. Those things really upped the ante, and got me to complete my change.

          It is like when someone has a death or near death experience and then completely change their life. Or when someone has a heart attack and nearly dies, they “suddenly” change their eating habits (hopefully), or someone gets Cancer and decides to stop smoking, or going to a suntan booth, or working with pesticides.

          -well that is me. Coming back from the dead can kick you in the bucket list. Everything changes. You laugh at what you thought “mattered”. 99% of it, you realize you don’t give a shit about. It is either for an Ego stroke, or for vanity or just plain bullshit reasons. That 1% left over, well, it takes over your life. You move mountains to make sure that 1% is the everything of your life.

          A nice side benefit is, it is easier to survive in general no matter how much money I have or do not have. So, spending most my time writing and not making money, it makes not having money ok and manageable. I have no interest in buying a brand new Escalade because my last years one is a color that isn’t fly anymore. Who gives a shit. I drive a low mileage older car. It looks nice, has low miles, gets great gas mileage, and gets me where I want and need to go. What else matters? It really does not matter if you fit in, or are keeping up with the jones’, all that thought, talk, and craziness, just means you are giving your dollar to someone other than YOU. You are paying for their yacht. you are paying for their house in the hills, not yours. So for me, I VOTE with my dollar, and my vote goes to supporting ME in my chosen lifestyle. I own MY LIFE, and I don’t apologize for any of it.

          [getting off soapbox]

          hope i answered what you were asking. sorry if I went overboard with info

  • Zadora

    I thought this was a given with life in general. Surround yourself with successful/positive people and avoid the opposite, because it does rub off on you.

    As far as being a writer goes, don’t forget smaller films. Even low budget ones. There actually is money to be made as a writer in those too… :)

    • gazrow

      “As far as being a writer goes, don’t forget smaller films. Even low budget ones. There actually is money to be made as a writer in those too.”

      Quit bragging!!

      Ha! Only Joking! I hope those smaller films lead to bigger films for you! Oh, and more money too! :)

      • Zadora

        Whenever I read this blog, Carson only seems to talk about selling spec scripts for huge sums. He seems to be totally forgetting about those smaller films out there that get made. Someone has to write those too. That was all. :)

        • gazrow

          I knew what you meant. I was just having a bit of fun! :)

  • John Moss

    There is so much truth to this article. So much. I was really taken by surprise, because it’s just so amazing to me how much Carson and I agree on when it comes to outlooks on both life and screenwriting.

    All you trolls out there, all you skeptics, don’t be hatin’ on “The Secret”. Seriously. I do my best to follow the advice given in it, and when I do my life is considerably better for it. When I don’t (as has been the case lately), things spiral downwards. My recent negative outlook culminated in a REALLY bad day yesterday, and now it’s going to take some renewed effort to get back up, dust myself off and turn things around. Giving out gratitude to the universe is going to help. A lot. Once a day (and again this hasn’t been the case recently), I’ll sit alone, meditative style, and list off in my head the things I’m thankful for, along with the things that I’ve GIVEN out (this is really important as you need to acknowledge both give AND take). I find that the universe really responds when I’m thankful for good weather, so I always make sure to acknowledge that; even if that good weather is in the past. Listen, doing this requires a degree of discipline (not unlike brushing your teeth, say) and you’re never always going to get what you want (hence the reason so many want to shout it down), but by doing this you exponentially increase your chances of bringing the things you want into your life, I swear. This shit is TOO TRUE. I needed this article right now, and I attribute that to the Law of Attraction.

  • Cuesta

    I don’t want to bring negativity or something, but this reads like an article from Cosmopolitan.
    I mean, it’s cool to be positive and shit, but, this?, The Secret? come on…
    Give me Grendl on crack anytime over this.

    • m_v_s

      I think I’d rather be rich and successful than cynical with a good sense of humour. I’ve been a comedian for far too long.

      • Midnight Luck

        is dark humor,

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    As kooky as this article seems to be… I enjoyed reading it!

  • m_v_s

    Great post, thank you, you’ve cheered me up. Aside from writing, I work within the television industry as a freelancer, work’s slowed down and this morning I had the thought of, “Why bother?” It could be in any context – work, relationships, personal well-being, health – it’s easy to get down and hard to pull yourself back up. Mentality is key and it most definitely is easier said than done but you’ve gotta try and keep trying. I’m taking time out to have a breather and I’m going to take things as they come.

  • Ange Neale

    SO much easier not to build anything, isn’t it, Armond White’s servant?
    Where would we be if timidity and want of courage was our guiding principle?
    There’d be no Great Pyramids. Pissy little ones at best.
    There’d be no Great Wall of China. Possibly a very modest one.
    There’d have been no Colossus of Rhodes. Just a bit of a statue with pigeon-pooh dripping down its face.
    The Great Library at Alexandria? Nup. Corner store with a few magazines.

    (Pardon my ignorance, but that master stuff… Do you get around in a leather costume with one of those hoods with the zips on it? Or is Armond White a different sort of ‘master’ thing?)

  • mulesandmud

    Hey, whatever it takes to keep you motivated, right? I’m sure the self-help section has saved many lives over the years.

    On a more tangible note, if we’re recommending outside-the-box, non-screenwriting books for screenwriters, here are two that I think accomplish wonders:

    BOBBY FISCHER TEACHES CHESS – Yes, you have to know how to play chess first, but just the basics. This book is really about logic, the way that one choice causes another, and the cumulative impact of each of those choices. (Chess in general is a great muscle-building exercise for screenwriting; it forces you to constantly develop, retain, and revise complex narratives in your head as you try to decipher how a game will progress two, five, ten moves down the road.)

    UNDERSTANDING COMICS – Yes, it’s about comic books, but it’s also one of best books ever written about the idea of visual storytelling, and all the ways that words and pictures can relate to one another. If I ever teach a course on filmmaking, this will be required reading. And since it’s written in comic book form, it’s probably the easiest 200+ page essay you’ll ever read.

    • Nicholas J

      Never read them, but they sound like good reads. Picking up a copy of each right now!

    • Stephjones

      Damn, Mulesandmud. “Develop, retain and revise complex narratives in your head?”
      Can’t we just write that shit down?
      I envy you. You obviously have a functioning intellect whilst I…have a hangover. It’s impossible to feel smart with a hangover. The cumulative impact of choice after choice that I made. Last night.
      But it was for a good cause…our going away party.
      Yesterday was our last day of work. We’re going cruising and taking our one remaining brain cell with us. Fortunately, it’s the positive one that says everything is going to work out okay.

      • Citizen M

        Bon voyage!

      • mulesandmud

        Don’t worry, brain cells are plucky. They (usually) grow back.

        On to better things!

      • Midnight Luck

        A sea voyage, a travel around the world, a jaunt into the woods, or seeing the country? Doesn’t really matter, getting out there is grand.

    • Jim Dandy

      Another book to add to that list is IMPRO by Keith Johnstone. This book examines the art of theatre improvisation from the perspective of a former teacher turned playwright. It’s full of insights about how humans interact with each other and their surroundings using what Johnstone calls ‘status transactions’. This book changed the way I approach the writing of dialogue and the construction of scenes. It’s hands down my favourite non-screenwriting book for screenwriters.

    • astranger2

      Always loved chess growing up, and Bobby Fischer was always a personal hero of mine. An unparalleled genius even among the rarefied world of chess grand masters. Was watching Love, Marilyn just yesterday by the same director of Bobby Fischer Against the World. Both had high IQs that didn’t always serve them well. Regardless, be interesting to check out the Fischer book to gain some insight into his mind — he was definitely a uniquely gifted player.

  • Nicholas J

    I haven’t read The Secret, but I did read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, which has many of the same concepts. And let me tell you, this way of thinking does work. It’s not so much some magic positive karma descending onto you from the heavens as it is believing in yourself, staying positive, and intensely working towards a goal, which unlocks the potential for success that you already have inside yourself.

    In the words of Morpheus, “You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, disbelief.”

  • Ambrose*

    I’m still trying to climb out of the deep well of negativity I found myself in after reading yesterday’s review of ‘The Lobster’.
    That and the fact that I’m now an official member of the Loners, so I can’t have sex or kiss or even flirt.

  • ASAbrams

    Well…here goes…
    *closes eyes*
    I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do believe in spooks.
    *opens one eye*

    Anything happen yet?

    Being a jerk is easy (and sometimes it “feels good”). Being encouraging and optimistic can be wearisome with often longer gaps between “rewards” so a lot of people don’t bother. We still have a choice of which we decide to be. And we have to make that choice everyday, with every new interaction.

    This ain’t new stuff.

  • Cfrancis1

    I completely agree. If you are going to survive in the entertainment industry, you have to stay as positive as possible. And the money thing… Happened to me the other day. Seriously. I really needed some extra cash and was wishing hard for it. A couple of days later, a residual check from SAG landed in my mailbox. For stuff that I didn’t tihnk think I would get money for anymore. It was a great feeling.

  • Randy Williams

    Having your heart broken by someone often sets one on a course of negativity. It did for me.

    What brought me out of it was getting close to nature on a regular basis. For me, it’s the beach, the sea.

    I feel at peace there, I feel totally alive. I love it, but it doesn’t have any ability to love me back, in fact, would rather see me dead and feed off my rotten corpse.

    It’s O.K. I can live with that.


  • Citizen M

    Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” — Henry Ford

    • Randy Williams

      “Shit, my Psychic Friends Network is bankrupt” – Dionne Warwick

      • Midnight Luck

        she should have known.

  • ElectricDreamer

    Carson, if you want to get POSITIVE about something…
    Read Bifferspice’s script. It’s called — “Breaking the Chain”.
    The clear plot and logical human behavior kept me turning pages.

    • Michael

      Agreed. I finished reading it today. It has its issues, but Carson, Lauren or whoever should place it in this weekends AOW so we can review it further. Nice writing style that keeps you reading.

      Ironically, Bitterspice kicked off yesterday’s contrarian comments on ten line descriptions. Bitterspice didn’t take his own advice and kept it clean and fast. Bravo.

  • LL

    Great article Carson! Thanks for sharing. I can personally say that many folks in my life, when living back in Chicago, had such a negative outlook, professionally, personally, that it rubbed off. It wasn’t until I really made up my mind to have a more positive outlook, move to LA, and learn to welcome feedback instead of being discouraged by it, that things truly started to open up for me. Rock on brother!

  • Citizen M

    I believe in karma what you give is what you get returned
    I believe you can’t appreciate real love ’til you’ve been burned
    I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
    I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye

    Savage Garden – “Affirmation”

  • Calavera

    Hey Carson,

    Just so that you know, I think your Scriptshadow daily posts are REALLY interesting to read : they are eye-opening on the art of fiction writing, they’re sharp, unaffected, engaging, straightforward, clear, inquiring, and as far as I’m concerned they widen my understanding of movies and increase my passion for them by a great deal.

    So I think you can be proud to send out so much positive drive around you :-)

  • Midnight Luck

    Life is Breakin My Heart,
    I’m Gonna Break It Right Back

  • Midnight Luck

    “‘The Secret’ Works. It will bring you Millions if you just believe. I know from Personal Experience” – Rhonda Byrne *

    -No Shit.

    I believe in “Harry Potter”- it brings success in Billions. (100 BSLOBOAT #26)
    I believe in “Lolita” – List of 100 Best Selling Books of All Time #14
    I believe in “Catcher in the Rye” – List of 100 Best Selling Books of All Time #11
    I believe in “Charlotte’s Web” – List of 100 Best Selling Books of All Time #26
    or even
    “Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care” (what?) – List of 100 Best Selling Books of All Time #16

    *not actual quote by Rhonda Byrne

    • Citizen M

      First you have to get my “Secret Guide to The Secret”.

      It’ll cost ya, though.

      • Midnight Luck


        check out my: “100 Secrets to The Secret”, a quick read, a pamphlet really, it will change your life, but it comes at a cost, everything worthwhile does.

        we should combine ours: “the Secret Guide to the 100 Secrets to the Secret”

        • Hadley’s Hope

          Don’t forget mine: “Setec Astronomy: How to Sneak through life listening to the Music of The Secret Spheres”

          • Linkthis83

            Please tell me there’s a chapter called “Be a Beacon”?

          • Hadley’s Hope


            Although the most enlightening chapter is “Driving Blind: Whistler’s Road To World Peace”

  • witwoud

    Does this apply to comedy writers too? I’ve often heard that the funniest stuff is written by the most miserable, tight-fisted misanthropes in existence. I could be wrong, but perhaps it might pay aspiring comedians to move cautiously? I’d hate to think of them sabotaging their careers by listening to The Secret on audiotape.

    • Casper Chris

      Yea, I’m all for being upbeat and positive, but honestly, my best writing often happens when I tap into the recesses of my soul and embrace my inner demons… (and no, I’m not a horror writer…). I can only imagine how hard it must be to be a writer when you step inside yourself and all you see is a perfectly manicured teletubby landscape.

      Unless you’re writing the Teletubbies… in which case it would be perfect.

      • Hadley’s Hope

        Teletubbies freak me out.

        Even worse, Boohbahs. Imagine if you ate some Peeps that were laced with LSD, and then hallucinated some machine elves filtered through a colorful PBS kids show aesthetic.

        • Casper Chris

          Never heard of Boohbahs. The name alone freaks me out.

          • Hadley’s Hope

            The horror… the horror… the horror…

          • witwoud

            I made it to eight seconds. Record?

          • Hadley’s Hope

            Skip ahead to 47 seconds, where they “tune” into a mega-boohbah and fly away.

        • witwoud

          Say ‘Tinky Winky’ three times after sunset, and he’ll come out of your closet and drag you off to the Tubbytronic Superdome. You’ll never come back.

          • Hadley’s Hope

            Sounds like the premise to a terrifying found footage flick.

    • Citizen M

      I knew a guy who used to drink in the same pub as Tony Hancock of Hancock’s Half-Hour. He said he was the most miserable git ever. He had his table where he always drank. He would come in after taping a show and sit down. He wouldn’t say a word. The waitress had to immediately bring him his pint. If she was slow he would crap her out. He would sit drinking and staring at the wall, never saying a word to anyone. If someone came up to him and said something like, “I really enjoyed your show the other night, Mr Hancock.” he would give that person such a dirty look the person would quail and flee. When he was finished drinking he would walk out without a word to anyone, not saying goodnight or anything.

      • witwoud

        Yeah, Hancock was notoriously cheerless. And I suspect that a lot of comedy writers, if not as extreme as him, tend to be pretty grumpy types.

        Having said all which, my favourite comic novelist of all time is P.G. Wodehouse, and by all accounts he was a remarkably benign, easy-going sort of chap. So perhaps the misanthropy is not entirely obligatory.

  • Tailmonsterfriend

    >The only way to make sure that didn’t happen again was to stay away from that kind of person, the kind who complains, who hates, who sucks the life out of things. Positive successful people try to avoid those folks like the plague.

    Story time!

    I used to manage a team of writers a few years back. At first it was an absolute dream job: write, publish your stuff, see people like it, awesome. At few years in we decided that we needed more bodies, so we staffed up. One of the new guys we interviewed rubbed me the wrong way from the start; something about him just felt off. I said as much to my boss, but since I couldn’t really put my finger on what was bothering me and since the guy looked really good on paper, we ended up hiring him.

    Didn’t take long for me to figure out what was wrong with him.

    Have you ever met someone who is an expert at finding and pointing out problems but completely unable to suggest any solutions? That was him. Always complaining, never willing to adjust to the way we worked, stubbornly trying to stick to the way he used to work, claiming that his way was so much better than our way… and the weird thing was, the more I tried to be a good boss and help him grow, the worse he got.

    Eventually I realized that this guy *needed* problems to complain about; the only time he was happy was when he was miserable (how that makes any sense is something I hope I will never understand). So finally my boss and I started to explore our options for getting rid of this dude.

    By then, his negativity had infected two more of my guys. My wonderful little team of happy, productive writers was turning sour. And what’s worse, his negativity had also begun to have an effect on me. I was grumpy at home, constantly complaining to my wife about those clowns at work. Quite a shock when I realized that I’d started to sound an awful lot like the guy I was complaining about. I knew then that I had to make some drastic changes.

    I talked to my boss. Told him that the aspect of managing people was taking time away from what I really wanted to do: write. Create. So together we restructured the team. I recommended one of my guys for a well-deserved promotion (a really awesome dude with the best pirate beard you’ll ever see), and we refocused me to pure content creation and reduced my managing responsibilities to zero. We also outlined some consequences for our troublemaker: either shape up or ship out. He dodged that bullet by finding another position within the company. I don’t know how he’s doing there; I try to stay away from other people’s negativity these days.

    I recovered. I’ll be honest, it took some time. The team is doing much better these days. We still have our issues – who doesn’t? – but all in all, we’re far from where we used to be. And the good news is, I’m writing more than ever. And I’m happy with my output. My long-term goal, obviously, is to move from my current branch of the entertainment industry to the one I really want to work in: screenwriting. I know it’ll take a lot of work and luck, but I’ll get there.

    Carson’s right. Stay away from negative people. Or, if you can’t avoid them, realize that it’s not your job to fix their problems. If they want to wallow in negativity, let them, but don’t join them.

    Oh, and don’t hire whiners.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      I didn’t get more than halfway through your post before I thought of that Nietzsche quote, and then you end up doing a riff on it at the end.


  • Maggie Clancy

    Carson, you are the last person I would think would have written about the Secret and I am so glad you did! I was in the same boat, super negative, watching/listening to these “Secret” youtube videos in an “ironic” way….and then stuff actually started turning around.

    And I actually liked your “negative” article last week – it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get back on my game.

  • Citizen M

    My take: “Life’s a garden, a bit of shit helps.”

    From the Reddit AMA:

    When will we get to see Joe Dirt 2?

    Spade: Well, I was trying to answer that earlier, we’re putting it together now and seeing if we can keep it as funny and with the music we like for a lower budget. All the movies you hear about being made now keep running into budget problems, this and that, and it sounds boring, but it’s just a new world, where they can’t make those $15-30 million comedies anymore. It’s either $3 million or $200 million, there’s almost no in-between, so everyone’s adjusting to either a summer tentpole Avengers-type movie, or learning to get down and dirty and gritty and making a smaller movie. I just don’t want to burn the fans and want to make it good, so me and the other writer are combing through the sequel and trying to make it make sense and have good music and be funny within the parameters. So hopefully it will be soon, or it will be too pointless.

    • Jarman Alexander

      That was my takeaway from it. Which is great news if you’re writing a low budget comedy spec (like me).

  • Jaco

    Does anyone have a link to the Hollywood article where it’s an anonymous screenwriter saying life sucks?

    Because the link I click on gets me to an article written over a year ago by Justin Marks that actually sounds pretty positive and reads like the guy really loves writing.

    • Breezy

      Carson is a sensitive guy

  • Tailmonsterfriend

    I think that’s an important distinction: the tone doesn’t really matter as much as the message. Even bluntness to the point of abrasiveness is tolerable as long as its intention is a genuine desire to make things *better*, and not to wallow.

    And that coin has two sides. If you’re sending your work out for feedback and everyone is really nice and supportive, you better make sure they actually mean it and aren’t just trying to appease or curry favor (hmmm, curry).

    I think that’s a lesson everyone learns in high school: don’t trust the cheerleaders.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      It’s funny, but looking back at high school, I remember the alt. rockers, goths, and punks being just as bad or maybe worse than a lot of the jocks, preppies, and cheerleaders. The punks/goths were often less welcoming to new blood, even if said new blood was into the same stuff the goths/punks were into. I thought the misfits were supposed to be more inclusive to new members since for every one burly football player, the misfits needed three scrawny pale vampire-looking dudes to stand up to the other side.

      I travelled through the halls like a ghost. Not really fitting into either side. I guess that is partly why I was drawn to film and writing. Never having felt a sense of satisfaction with the reality, I decided it was better to create my own worlds. I would guess many other artists, writers, and filmmakers went through a similar phase growing up.

      • grendl


        Alien observers of humanity, that’s what writers should be to some extent. And from my experience its how many feel. Not insiders, but almost anthropologists studying human behavior.

        I mean they have to have experienced life and all its pains and pleasures, but there has to be a dispassionate objective POV looking at it from the outside in order to see different angles. Playing god requires a certain amount of love for all ones creations, even the villains who have their own back stories.

        Thats the difference between “Dazed and Confused”: and “Porkys”. “Dazed and Confused” saw every cliques POV, not just the popular jocks who bullied nerds. I hated “Porkys”. I hated “American Pie” too. Bender Spink may have made a fortune off them but those movies really don’t stand up with time. Nor did they when they were made actually.

        Give me “American Grafitti”& “Dazed and Confused” any day over “Grease” or “Porky’s”. I know “Grease” is an iconic film but it always rubbed me the wrong way. 30 years playing 17 years olds notwithstanding, but it was all about the cool group who were actually all pretty obnoxious and a bit grotesque. The bad guy was comically bad. The nerd was comically nerdy as opposed to Toad in “American Grafitti” whom Lucas gave a real personality to.

        Richard Linklater and George Lucas both knew that you have to treat characters as if they’re all real people, with personal hopes and dreams. Like the leader of the Pharaohs who thought Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) would be honored to join their gang. That humanized him. And the Seniors in “Dazed and Confused” who lightened up on the freshman after paddling them, ( other than the asshole Ben Affleck played ).

        Shades of gray, that’s the key to character building. Not black and white.

  • kidbaron

    A great book about creating the right attitude you need to be a writer is Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. I go back to it every so often to refresh my approach to the struggle.

  • Hadley’s Hope

    I’m generally a mellow dude, although I have a cynical streak. I theorize that screenwriting kind of brings out the negativity in a lot of us though. Likely due to the highly cut-throat competitive nature of it. That is something that I have been contemplating a lot recently. The whole idea of, do I really want to go through the trials and tribulations of aspiring screenwriterdom just so I can (maybe) end up writing something like The Super Fantastic Spider-Man reboot #4 in say another decade? That’s if I’m not only hard working, but extremely lucky (as in winning the big jackpot lottery lucky).

    I think maybe I had bought into the idea that I could make it as long as I wrote a good high-concept spec executed with proper formatting, an entertaining plot, and interesting characters. I now know that it is more than that though.

    I’ve been thinking maybe I should veer back towards what I really wanted to do, which is direct.


    Sure. The thing of it is I do enjoy not only thinking up the story and characters and writing the script, but getting my hands dirty and interacting with other people. The actors, cinematographers, producers, etc. All those people you need when putting together a movie. I enjoy that producer-director process more than I do just being “Mr. (Aspiring) Screenwriter Guy”. I love holding and operating a camera (I do event videography nowadays). Even just chilling with a DSLR out at the park taking photos makes me happy. It is relaxing, almost therapeutic. It scratches a different creative itch than screenwriting.

    The problem is that I’ve been off the whole wannabe indie filmmaker game a long time. Recently, thinking about all this kind of stuff, I’ve realized I want to focus more on that overall filmmaking endeavor, instead of solely on screenwriting. Upon letting this sink in during the early months of 2014, I am feeling better about the future. As a writer, I’m not fast enough to crank out a polished spec that captures the zeitgeist. I am sick of zombies, I am tired of reboots. Captain America was fun, but comic book movies are starting to all run together and feel like the same thing with different colored spandex and CGI capes. I suppose I just don’t “get” the current day Hollywood. I don’t have that Hollywood mojo coursing through my veins like I did a couple years ago. You know what? That’s okay. I can dig it man.

    In terms of generally negative people, I’ve encountered them before. Mostly during previous jobs, sometimes in circles of friends. The ones that are really in a state of negative spiral can really suck the life out of any workplace or party. Like black holes, no light escapes from them once you get too close. I’ve found the key is just to not let them capture your starship of good vibes in the first place.

    I once had a job where the boss was just the most depressed negative nelly I’ve ever encountered. Not a dickhead that yelled or screamed at the employees, just a severely down in the dumps person that had no lighter side. No sense of humor. They were incapable of cracking a smile. Automaton delivery of daily speech, with a side order of contempt for their fellow employee. Everyday going to work (it was a grocery store) was a tense experience for me. I just hated being managed by this person, and wondered if they were actually gonna snap at some point. I felt like I was in the presence of a psychic vampire. This manager just sucked the life out of anyone around him. I didn’t last long at the job. I quit since all I could think about during my shifts was going home and blasting the hell out of zombies in Resident Evil 2 on my Playstation.

    I’ve also encountered other negative people, who when you try to cheer them up, they just come back at you harder and try to pull you down into their pit of shit. As if you trying to get to know them or maybe help them out or something is seen as a challenge against the only daily philosophy they know, one of a depressing down in the dumps existence.

    It reminds me of this scene from the film “What Dreams May Come” where they go to the underworld. Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Max von Sydow are journeying there in a small boat. They come upon a bunch of damned souls treading in the dark waters. The people in the water swarm the boat and pull them down into the murky depths.

    Also, I’d probably be able to grit my teeth and work for Lundberg. There are worse bosses one could have while holding down a regular job. You just have to prepare a proper excuse for old Lundberg when he makes his weekly rounds asking people to work on Saturday.

  • cjob3

    Great article, Carson. And I’m not saying that just to be positive.

  • Hadley’s Hope

    I’ve always loved watching the behind the scenes stuff on “The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit” films. The way Peter Jackson and company just sort of go and have a blast making those films. They don’t take such a big budget endeavor lightly, yet they remember to have fun during the process. I think that fun and positive energy they put into making those movies is translated to the screen.

    It’s certainly interesting to hear about how classic films were sometimes made under extreme pressure by tyrannical filmmakers, but personally, I wouldn’t want to be that type of producer or filmmaker myself. Nor would I want to work in that kind of mindset.

  • Hadley’s Hope

    Since Carson likes himself some STAR WARS and JJ Abrams mystery box antics…

  • Linkthis83

    Love Joe Dirt.

  • jw

    Couldn’t agree more, but I’ll take an unpopular stance here as to how that “negativity” seeps in because having gone through the journey of beginning writer to where I am now, I can tell you that in the beginning it was about the “love of the game” and you enter on this euphoric high that lasts until… you receive a review from another writer… and he tears you to shreds. Out of love, out of spite, out of sheer experience, care or utter assholedom, you encounter that first wall of resistance and it isn’t pretty. You don’t respond the same way and you take a few to digest the comments and then have a discussion about it and then you move on.
    You take the advice or you don’t. Either way, you get to your next review, you encounter another writer, a “reader,” etc… and BOOM! another wall. You push through, and you push through, and by the time you’ve pushed through so many walls there exists not only thicker skin on the outside, but a little more understanding of what to expect next time around. And, the reason I bring this up is because having had conversations with Producers, Directors and such working IN the industry, while there is a “shut the f*ck up and do your job” mentality, the rudest, most abhorrent people I’ve come across on this journey are writers who don’t even have credits.
    It’s a little bit like when I encountered Ryan Reynolds at Warner and he turned and walked the other way because he didn’t want anyone “seeing” him (for whatever reason, those who’ve made it generally don’t have that attitude because they’re thankful for the grace that has been provided them). There is a finite way in which unproduced writers speak, as though this is STONE, and then I’ll speak with a Producer or Director on something and I get comments on STORY, STORY, CHARACTER, and STORY. That’s it. Nothing like, “the word you used on page 1 made me stop reading and you should really give up on writing altogether because of that word.”
    As writers to other writers we should really push NOT to be those people. NOT a clichéd, “my mother said I was amazing” pat on the back, but a more over-arcing encouraging message to our fellow writers would likely be helpful. Maybe if we didn’t have to push down so many walls, there wouldn’t be that “negativity,” but it is what it is and it won’t change any time soon, so while I believe in the mantra of identifying what the solution may be, I’m also a realist who identifies the origin as well.

    • Breezy

      ” ..and BOOM! another wall. You push through, and you push through… ”


      • jw

        ahahaha! Well done.

  • Ambrose*

    All of those “reality” shows, such as Survivor and its ilk, are about as true to life as professional wrestling.
    They might not be completely scripted but they’re orchestrated by the people who run the shows.
    Like theatre and film, it’s all about conflict on those garbage shows. If it’s not there naturally, well then, let’s just create some. No one tunes in to see people getting along swimmingly.
    Much like the news on TV, where “If it bleeds, it leads”.
    People tune in to see the basest human behavior, and if those emotions and conflicts happen to be conveniently manufactured, well, they don’t care.
    Please pass the chips and dip.

    • Nate

      Yeah, like TOWIE and Jersey Shore. Those shows are completely fake and fabricated. But I do wonder if the people who watch them know that.

  • witwoud

    Welcome to the forum, Brendon.

  • DforVendetta

    Great post! Well done.

  • Nate

    Bifferspice, I hope you don’t mind me using this but I think it ties in nicely with today’s article.

    ”Steve, you don’t get it. You have to come out fighting every single day. I do. It’s been six years now, but it’s not for want of trying. And one day, that attitude is going to work. The day you give up, Steve, is-”

    ”Is the day you die.”
    I like it and I’m liking your script so far, mate.

  • Breezy

    After Carson’s negative article last week did anyone actually lock up Final draft and throw away the script?
    Anyone told themselves “I’m not doing this anymore — no way”?
    Anyone? No?
    Then congratulations.
    I consider you positive (or tenacious. that works also).
    And we all know the opinion of a stranger on the internet is worth it’s weight in gold. Especially if the stranger is me. #itscalledsarcasm

    This article is great and all but what he’s sharing is nothing new. A negative person can just drain energy from a group. And “positivity” is uplifting. I don’t want to sound snobby but all I could think when I read the article is “yeahh, duhh”.
    But Im a realist, I like to feel how I feel when I feel what Im feelin, I don’t need to be telling myself “Yes I can do this”, it works fine enough if I just do the damn thing, make my moves, sit, write.
    If I wasn’t positive I wouldn’t be trying to break into Hollywood (or Japan, whichever comes first) with a screenplay. Afterall I’m just a buffalo soldier dreadlock rasta.

    Unless if this is about having a positive Attitude — which can easily be faked to lighten the mood. But for me being positive is more than just saying you can do something. or being optimistic. As long as you put in the work and go for it, even if your mindframe is a nervous one like “maaan, I hope this works”, shit will work out for you. I don’t stress over fuckeries when they come my way. When I’m going through hell, I still smile for people, then alone I grumble to my heart’s content about whatever pissed me off. “this [exp] [exp]! [exp].” It makes me feel better.
    And If you’re positive, you should be strong enough to affect even negative people, and not the other way around. Be able to quell negativity with how you respond to people’s , annoyance/anger/frustration written or otherwise. “A kind response turns away wrath.”

    In addition to being my version of positive, I count my many blessings, and more keep rolling in. No bread? I got corn meal. I got banana. I got sour sop. In God I trust

  • S_P_1
  • BSBurton

    If you have 8 dollars to spare, BUY Spiderman 2. Don’t go see Amazing Spiderman # lame. (meant as a number sign and not a hastag”).

    The acting (andrew and emma) was very strong, but this piece (of shi*) was held back by a struggling plot and abysmal dialogue. THe villains were terrible and the soundtrack was below average. Compared to Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, this was a – 2 out of 10 …

    If you do decide to go, don’t forget to spot the abundant # (again number sign) of plot holes and comedy aimed at young children eating expensive candy. ( There are 3 really funny parts though).

    It’s sad to see A list franchise that was so dominant from 2002-2007 become a D list property, behind the likes of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Batman, and X- Men.

    • astranger2

      That sucks. When the board has discussions about what an anti-hero is, I always recall how Stan Lee launched all those wonderful characters with deep, tragic flaws. Unlike DC’s boy scout troop of Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, etc. (Batman being the exception), Marvel’s heroes had complexity. Who had more angst than the Hulk?

      But to me the best was Amazing Fantasy’s web-spinning Spiderman. At one time, I had every Spidey issue except #2. Spiderman was the first Marvel character to actually hit the small screen I think, decades ago… As you say, really is sad, because we all have our favorites — but Spiderman deserves to have the same quality of writing as Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. Thanks for the head’s up.

      • BSBurton

        glad to be of service. I think spider-man has tons of potential and a built in audience (unlike iron man and other properties that had to win us over). It’s sad when it’s such a train wreck. Multiple plot lines and lack of logic, and no GSU. at all…. lol.

        Plus all the dialogue is recycled from the first trilogy.

      • BSBurton

        Did you end up going? Also, what did you think of the 90’s animated series?

        • astranger2

          I never went. I don’t go to enough films. As others have said, you can’t replace audience reaction to scenes, dialogue, etc. Guess like a chef you need to continually taste what’s out there. I still feel Spidey’s never been given his due. Maybe because he starts as a teenager? Then again, what’s more traumatic then teenage angst, lol…

          • BSBurton

            Yeah, I would agree. I doubt the third movie will be any better. After a dud, it’s hard to recover (Iron Man 2, Transformers 2) etc. X-Men recovered after X3, but that’s only proof that time heals all wounds lol.

  • maxi1981

    I thought I would share this link with all the SS family, pretty incredible stuff and some good gifs

  • Ken

    Being super-positive about yourself and your abilities is fine: I’ve worked with people who have rated themselves very highly (as graphic designers, artists, writers, etc), but I would then discover that these people actually didn’t have the skills/talent they thought they had. Thus I have come to realize there can be a very, very big gulf between a person’s confidence and their actual competence. (Hope I haven’t been too negative…)

  • Ambrose*

    It does matter.
    When we see a movie we go in knowing that it’s a work of fiction. These are actors playing a part to tell a story.
    Godard famously said, “Film is truth 24 times a second…”
    But that’s not true.
    What we have, even in the best films, is not truth but verisimilitude, or the appearance of truth.

    “Human behavior isn’t being manufactured.” ???
    C’mon. Do you honestly believe that?
    You can watch one of those shows and tell me that every emotion, every bit of behavior is pure and organic and in the moment, and not somehow coerced/prodded/seeded ?
    That’s absurd.

    No one would watch those shows if there wasn’t more than a little conflict on every episode.
    What fun is watching if everyone is getting along and singing Kumbaya? Just like some people watch hockey for the fights and NASCAR for the wrecks.
    It’s catfights and throwing wine glasses that gets those shows eyeballs on the screen every week and ratings for the networks.
    To say that human behavior isn’t being manufactured for these shows is nonsense.

    My point was that there are some (many) people who think that those so-called reality shows are nothing but the truth.
    That the producers have somehow captured honest human emotion and behavior, when in reality (no pun intended) it’s all a scam. It’s no more real than professional wrestling.