Top Five Reasons Your Fledgling Career Is In The Crapper AKA Quit Your Whiny-Ass Bitching

Don't be this guy
This is a hard industry.  It chews people up and mangles them beyond recognition.  So why the hell did you think it would be miraculously different for you?!   

Yeah, yeah, your talent and mad skills should have separated you from the pack of wannabes by now, and landed you in a pool of glory and riches.

Sorry buddy.  It doesn't work that way.  I know too many talented people with mad skills exploding out of their over-ripe zits who still struggle every day in this business to believe in fairy tales.

There's no nice way to say it.  It sucks to be a fledgling screenwriter. The trick is to channel that frustration back into your work to make it better, stronger, harder, faster... 

Right there... 

Don't stop... 

Err, ah, sorry...  Was channeling last night.  Where was I?  Right, turning that frustration into determination.

It's hard to do.  But the successful writers do it.  Less successful writers throw a pity party (usually on public forums) where they bemoan the industry and come up with very creative excuses as to why they haven't made it.    Don't do that.  You look like an idiot.

Seriously, don't do that.  I'm embarrassed for you.

You know who you are.  You're easy to spot.  All someone has to do is visit any public screenwriting forum and within 30 seconds, your endless whiny rants will be spotted.  Not because they're so well written, but because they're everywhere.

Without further ado, here are the top five excuses people use to explain why they haven't caught a break.  If you find yourself spouting any one of these, do us all a favor and get a friend to beat the crap out of you.

1) It's all luck.

Shut up already.  I get it.  You're feeling hard done by.  Your work has been passed over and it's easier to blame the damn Luck Fairy for skipping over your house than it is to look at the possibility that your baby may not be good enough.  

Successful writers make their own luck.  It's called hard work and determination and more hard work.  Writing, networking, getting their stuff out there.  Drink. Shower. Repeat.

Chalking your failure up to bad luck may feed the endless hunger of your pity party, but it's insulting to any pro reading it who had to work damn hard to get where they are.  And do you really want to insult people who could help you somewhere down the line?

2) I don't have the time/money/support of friends/family/goldfish to devote to my writing that these successful people do.

Boohoo.  Whatever you're lacking - time, money, love, sex - get it, or accept that success will take longer for you.  There is always someone out there working harder than you, under much worse circumstances.  You wanna make it in this industry while supporting five kids by turning tricks as you watch the love of your life die?  Then do it.  Or do something else.  But don't use it as an excuse.  The person worse off than you didn't.  And they just made a sale.  No one is going to give you a break because of your circumstances.  All they care about is what is on the page.  So if your sob story is that good?  Use it in your scripts and make a fortune, but don't whine about it.

3) I'm too old/young/far away/no connections/wrong sex to get people to take me seriously.

Is ageism/racism/sexism/nepotism/locationism/{insert excuse 'ism' here} rampant in Hollywood?  Most likely.  A good argument can be made for any of the above.  But you know what breaks through the barriers?  One effing awesome script.  If you can write it, the rest won't matter.  I don't care if you're a 72-year-old Asian from Antarctica with two vaginas.  If your script is that good, people will pay attention.  

But using who you are as an excuse?  Not cool.  Are you broken?  Wrong?  Do any of these things limit your ability to be brilliant?  Of course not.  So be brilliant.  You're not going to change whatever you think is wrong with Hollywood until you're actually in there, so concentrate on being brilliant and getting in.  Then you can take on all the wrongs of the industry from a position of power.  It's a much better use of your frustration than pointing fingers that are sure to piss people off.

And if your complaint is that you're too young?!  Go get laid.  Live a little.  And write some more.  (Jesus, to have such problems....!)

4) People in the industry just don't recognize my genius.

Okay genius.  Maybe you're 100% right and you need to dumb down your brilliance in order to have a career.  Try it.  Let me know how that works for you.

Or if you're very brave, and actually want to have a career before you piss off everybody even remotely associated with the film biz, maybe it's time to consider the possibility that your concept/execution/characters/plot/opening friggin' sentence isn't as brilliant as you think. 

Oh, don't get me wrong.  You very well may be genius and I should bow down before you and beg for your blessing, but if people ain't seeing it, the responsibility rests solely on your shoulders.  Instead of telling your sad tale of brilliance ignored to anyone willing to listen to your drivel, perhaps it's time to devote your overabundance of brain matter to writing something us mere mortals can recognize as quality.

5) Hollywood isn't buying the stuff I write.  My genre is wrong, it's not fair that some guy sold a crap 300 word story to Hollywood for millions, and that other guy wrote three words on a soiled napkin that went for 7 figures, and I can't even get reads on my completed script.

 Market trends.  Fads.  Poison genres.

Again, boo-friggin-hoo. 

You know how market trends change?!  Some guy writes a phenomenal script outside of the current fads and BOOM, suddenly everybody and their grandmother wants the next found-footage-western-scifi-bromance. 

Don't write for the market, and please don't whine about it when it bites you in the ass.  Write a damn good script that people NEED to see on screen.  Set the next trend and stop bitching about the current one. 


This business is all about rejection.  It's normal to feel any or all of the above in response to it.  It's part of the grieving process, and something to be worked through.  But please do it in private, or with a trusted circle of friends, and not out in public.  Especially if you're stuck in the 'poor me' cycle for months or years.  Your reputation in this industry is made long before your first sale.  And do you really think someone is going to want to invest millions of dollars into someone who rants endlessly about the size and quality of their screenwriting dick?  

Yes, these public rants are hella entertaining to read in the way a devastating car accident is fun for the whole family, but God, it's the same crap over and over again.  Shut up already and get over yourself.  Get drunk.  Get laid.  Do whatever you need to do to get over it.  Then go write a better script.

fab pic by Jo Christian Oterhals