Hollywood. The land of the creative turnover. The consumptive capital of the world. To make it there as a screenwriter is similar to satisfying a late night craving for something salty or sweet. Or both. Surely both. See, when I look at films that I love and inspire me, I look at the great works of horror auteurs like George Romero who grabbed his camera and a great idea and went for it with about $31.50 in his pocket and some game unknowns who believed in him. It was he who drug out some voodoo-undead folklore and remixed its essential elements to comment on American culture and our need to consume, mindlessly, with little memory of the experience afterword. In other words, Hollywood seems to represent to me, for the most part, an industry of satisfying superficial cravings in the short term rather than a producer of great art for the long term. And you know what? That’s totally cool. We need these mostly clever distractions in our lives, and if we’re lucky enough to find a few that sneak under our desensitized dermis and make us think, perhaps we should be grateful. It’s what makes those kinds of films special. Sadly, as the production line is currently set up, truly affecting films are more like happy accidents rather than the intended product. And you know what? That’s cool, too.

As an aspiring screenwriter, I find the screenplay to be a peculiar thing; it’s a blueprint. We don’t splash our last dollop of paint on a canvas and come to the conclusion of our creative journey, nor do we punch the full stop of our final sentence and begin to dream about the cover art. When a screenplay is finished, it’s really not yet begun its life. It’s like enjoying the news of being pregnant, but without any certainty of the gestation date. It’s the promise of life, and sadly, death. It’s no more than the directions on how to put together your favorite toy, but without the accompanying pieces to construct it. You could frame it, I guess, or put it on your coffee table along with picture albums, but like photos of places only you have been, it would be more like bragging than entertainment. No, screenplays, with their plain, dull covers that signify a format that mustn’t be tinkered with lest one see their hours of toil immediately “flushed away“, go into a dark drawer or onto a corner shelf where they sit like bodies of loved ones interred.

At present I’m attempting a horror/comedy in order to better butter my bun for the entertainment takeout window that Hollywood so desperately wants to endlessly supply under the big, eye-catching sign that reads “Over a Squigillion Served”. Right now I’m honing the tone so that I can have moments of laugh out loud dialog and peek through your fingers imagery. I want to set the audience up with a chuckle-inducing jab, then flatten them to the canvas with a horrifying haymaker. So I’m thinking not so much Ghostbusters as Lost Boys. High concept, but darker. Edgier. And if I’m lucky, fucking twisted in just the right way. My way. Without any small animals biting anyone’s balls. Sorry, folks.

If I can do that, I’ll feel better about binning my blueprint after it’s digital file is stored in its online shop window, the letters are sent, and the carcass placed reverently into its second-down-on-the-left sarcophagus.

I’ll also feel better about taking a break and writing my novel. Fuck it. With places now exisiting online to put it together, at the very least I’ll have my Christmas gifts sorted for next year.

About S. Norton

Writer, marketer, musician.
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