Magazine article Variety

How Scribes Stay Afloat

Magazine article Variety

How Scribes Stay Afloat

Article excerpt

Pros advice: Stay humble but believe in yourself By Bob Verini


What should Variety's 10 Screenwriters to Watch be wary of on their merry-go-round ride through the film business, as they reach for the brass ring of success and acclaim?

Ethan Hawke, star and co-writer of "Before Midnight," finds a lesson in one of the great plays from perhaps the greatest of playwrights.

Hawke, who is appearing in "Macbeth" in New York, points out that the witches show up just after Macbeth has his first big military success, demonstrating "whenever people are starting to notice you, it's a very scary time." For that reason, "no matter what juncture you're at in life, humility is your ticket to moving forward."

It's one of several nuggets writers who've experienced success offer to the new writers coming up behind them.

One theme is: "Keep writing, even if it's not an assignment," as Melisa Wallack (a former Screenwriter to Watch herself) advises. Her "Dallas Buyers Club" writing partner Craig Borten agrees: "If you can write seven days a week, do it. It only sharp- ens your tools."

"Nebraska" scribe Bob Nelson, also a former Screenwriter to Watch, has seen the danger of coasting. "People write a particu- lar screenplay that gets some buzz, a few meetings, and they sit on it. But there's always a chance it won't ever get made." The hottest scribe must "be very disciplined ... be a craftsman who gets up in the morning and works on something all the time."

Jonas Cuaron, "Gravity" co-author, agrees that writers must move forward, but sees value in retrospection too. …

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