One of the painful parts of being a screenwriter is trying to answer the question, “So, how’s your movie coming along?” From the outside it might appear that once you’ve gotten an agent, or optioned a screenplay, or had something purchased, it’s all downhill, right? I’m here to tell you, it’s still the bottom of the hill.
Often the screenwriter doesn’t know what’s happening with the work they’ve optioned or sold, which might seem strange, but if you’re going into the business, you should know that not knowing might be part of the deal. I love the director and producers with whom I’m currently working. They try to keep me up-to-date and involve me as much as possible, but I’m sure giving me play-by-play also seems an unnecessary effort on their part.
Why do I need to know? On some level, I understand that there are parts of the filmmaking process in which I do not need to participate. Would I like to cast the film? Sure. Do I have an opinion about locations? Absolutely. Am I the most qualified person to do those tasks? Probably not.
There have been times when I felt like I was the most qualified person to translate the idea from writing to film and, in those situations, I directed and produced the work. Most often, though, I didn’t get into screenwriting to direct or produce. I love the challenge of trying to tell a story within the boundaries of the screenwriting style. That’s why I’m here.
The key to surviving the not knowing is to move on. Quickly. Seriously, don’t let the ink dry on your contract before you start your next masterpiece. It helps so that when someone asks how your movie is coming along, even though you might not have an answer, you can talk all day about your newest work.