Writers as Real as their Characters


This week, there’s been a flurry of writers who have shown that they are not lost in the facades that Hollywood is so great at creating.

I’m only going to highlight three of these writers ’cause I’m stingy that way.

Much like a kid, it usually takes about eight years before aspiring screenwriters really have a grasp on something of the industry world and their place in it.  We need advice. We need guidance. We need to know that there are people out there who believe in us and want us to do our best.

First, as the 2012 Newhouse Convocation Speaker, Danny Zuker, Executive Producer and writer on Modern Family, lays down Seven Rules from the Writer’s Room.

Listen to his entire speech here.   When in doubt about how to be successful or at least how not to stand out in a bad way apply these simple rules to all Hollywood jobs and life in general.

  1. Smell Pleasant (have good hygiene)
  2. Don’t be a Jerk
  3. Be The Hero (volunteer to go the extra mile)
  4. Don’t Pitch Problems without Pitching Solutions.
  5. Sometimes it’s OK to be Silent (take time to listen if you’re not contributing)
  6. Don’t get Married to Your Own Ideas
  7. No Clams Ever (have original ideas/take risks)

Second, Aaron Sorkin was the speaker at Syracuse University’s commencement.  His speech, which you can find here, was a little bit harder to summarize.

  • He teaches that you are just at the beginning.  You will fail but you must get back up again.  Even if you have strayed a long time, you can have a fresh start if you are not afraid to try.
  • Your life experiences are precious and you will use lessons from those experiences throughout your life.
  • Take risks, dare to fail.
  • Lift the human spirit by tolerance, kindness, and respect.
  • How you live matters.

Both of these writers hit on some of the same points.  Take risks.  Be a nice person.  The third writer I’m going to talk about is doing just that.

Scott Myers made an announcement this week that you can read here.  The Quest is a 24-week Screenwriting Master Class intensive in which four lucky aspiring screenwriters will get to attend for free.  This is an amazing thing for screenwriters as he is teaching and becoming a mentor and intermediary to the industry to four people.  He is risking his time, his connections, and his finances.  Why? Because he wanted to give more people an opportunity to succeed.  He’s being a good person.

To fully comprehend what The Quest could mean to the aspiring screenwriting community please take a look at the article that Bitter Script Reader wrote about it.

There are relatively few people who make it in this industry.  To have those that do share their knowledge is a great thing.  We thank you.


Neil Gaiman’s Commencement address to the University of the Arts is a little different perspective for students of all kinds.


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