Today I was out and about (or as my Canadian friends would say — “oat in a boat”), doing my usual last minute holiday shopping (God bless the inventor of gift certificates).
When I arrived back at my car, I noticed the person next to me had parked at a severely deranged angle1, effectively occupying space in two stalls. The person wasn’t attempting to prevent door dings — it was just a case of careless parking.
My first thought? “This person would never make it as a screenwriter.”
It’s All About Attitude
It occurred to me that there must be a correlation between bad parking and bad screenwriting.
As any screenwriter with a modicum of success will tell you, screenwriting is about striving for greatness. Taking great pride in what you do. Hollywood recycle bins are littered with scripts from writers who thought: “Ah it’s good enough.”
Making the Cut
Of the tens of thousands of spec screenplays written in 2009, only 436 spec scripts were circulated in Hollywood. Of that number, only 72 were sold — 72 out of possibly 50,000 scripts! That’s about 1 in 700.
To make the cut, your script has to be extraordinary. That means striving for perfection and never settling for a mediocre story beat, scene, punchline, hook, concept, title, structure, whatever. It means having that spark inside you that absolutely refuses to let your final draft be anything less than its best.
I believe that spark must be so great it suffuses who you are. It influences everything from your regular day job to the way you park your car. Essentially, any task that impacts others.
If “good enough” is still part of your vocabulary… If you could leave your car parked this way without thinking twice about it… I suspect screenwriting is not for you.
Time to sound off. Are there any screenwriters out there who are content to park like Stevie Wonder? Or does my hypothesis have merit?
- Note: The car shown in this post is not the same one that triggered my grand hypothesis. However, it is a fairly accurate representation. ↩