Two Decisions…

… One, I think I’m skipping THE CLONE WARS in the theater. The reviews are horrible, the dialogue in the commercials alone makes me cringe, and considering that it’s basically the first three TV episodes strung together, I’ll wait to see it on the tube, which it was intended for in the first place. I do have to say that, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m finally burning out a little on this whole franchise expansion. It’s very much like one of the reasons why I gave up on Star Trek after a few seasons of NEXT GENERATION: the more Uncle George fills in the blanks in his little universe and the further codified it is, the less interesting it becomes. There’s no room for your imagination. When I was a kid, I’d try to picture what the hell the Clone Wars were like, and it was fun to speculate. Now we all know exactly what they were like, and my vision was better. Well, not really, objectively speaking… and yet it was for me. You know what I mean?

And, of course, now I’m going to contradict myself and mention how much I’m looking forward to the FORCE UNLEASHED game coming out next month. Man, THAT I can’t wait for, maybe if only because that flank of the dead horse (tauntaun?) hasn’t yet been completely beaten into oblivion. Yes, at the end of the day, Lucasfilm will still draw the money from my wallet like Luke pulls his lightsaber out of the snow in the wampa cave on Hoth.

ANYWAY, my other decision today is that, after going around and around with the producers regarding the outline of my Wedding Comedy revision, I’m just gonna go for it and start writing pages. For the past week I’ve been throwing ideas at them, and they’ve shot them down, and it finally occurred to me: “Dope, you’re the friggin’ writer, here. WRITE.” We’ve been discussing the story in the abstract, and it’s all too easy for them to tell me what they think the story should be, rather than reacting to what it is on the page. And on my end, it’s all too easy to become lost in the maze of possibilities that we’ve created rather than finally making choices and locking it down. I have their notes; I know what they want from the next draft. It’s my job to figure out how I can implement those ideas and then sell them on how I do it.

So we’ll see how it goes. May the Force be with me.

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9 Comments on “Two Decisions…”

  1. Mike Scherer Says:

    Timely post over at Go Into The Story ( – concerning Joe Eszterhas. Love him or hate him the short video gives us his take on screenwriting and writing spec scripts in particular. Good advice.

    Keep Writing,

  2. matt Says:

    How is your rewrite deal structured? Is it in steps? Because you should know what you need to do in order to fulfill your contract.

  3. writerdad303 Says:

    Mike — thanks for the link. I lean towards the “hate” side of the spectrum when it comes to Eszterhas’ actual work, but I love reading interviews with him…

    Matt — because it’s non-WGA indie production, the deal is pretty amorphous, actually. The option part of my agreement isn’t divided into steps, so basically I have to rewrite (or “polish”, as they keep putting it) as much as they see fit before they feel good enough about the script to take it out to talent. Not a great situation, I know, but after talking it over with other writers who faced similar deals at the beginning of their careers, I decided it was worth the risk and possible time wasted. Hopefully it’ll pay off, and with any luck, it’ll lead to work with signatory prodcos so I can earn enough points to get into the Guild. Worst case scenario: at the end of the option term I’ll have my script back, the option money and a cautionary tale for other baby writers…

  4. matt Says:


    What you should do is talk to them about setting up a time period. You’re right to take the job; one of the dirtier secrets of the trade is that everyone but the A-Listers are doing tons of work for free, all the time. But you want to be careful that you don’t get into a situation where you’re interminably re-writing, which is what usually happens in situations like this, especially if your option agreement is a long one. Basically, you DO NOT want to be re-writing the length of an 18 month option (or whatever they have) which is unfortunately the way most non-WGA things go. Since you have no term writing deal one way or the other, you should talk to the producers about how much time you will give them — 10-12 weeks seems like a fair number. Because once they take it out to talent, you’re going to be re-writing to appease X or Y actor, and before long you have a lot of drafts without much to show for it. And since it’s a non-WGA prodco, it’s not like you really have to worry about burning bridges.


  5. WriterDad Says:

    Matt, that’s an excellent idea. The option term is 12 months (with two more optional yearly extensions — each with an additional option fee, fortunately), and I definitely don’t want to be working on this that entire time. I’ll mention what you’re suggesting and see what happens. Thanks.

  6. Would someone please get matt a blog. We need him.

    WriterDad I wrote up a more extensive comment but the Internet ate it. So, let me just say, this clone wars is the the clone wars we were promised, and like you I’m much more looking forward the Force Unleashed.

    Now…don’t we all have some writing to do?

  7. matt Says:

    Remember, it’s in their best interest to keep you re-writing for twelve months, and they will try to because you don’t have the wga to complain to. The free rewrite question is one that never goes away or gets easier, so this is good practice for the rest of your career.

  8. matt Says:

    Thanks dave. Gonna stick to being a member of the commentariat for now.

  9. WriterDad Says:

    Yeah, not that I did, but if I ever needed a concrete example of why writers need the Guild despite its flaws, the contract negotiation alone would have done it for me. Thanks, Matt!

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