Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Ah, how did this whole week end up being involved in thoughts of dreams? Is it the strange, metaphoric dream I had last month? I won't describe it; the dreams of others are dull. Is it coming across the epic disaster tale of PublishAmerica and its authors/victims? Maybe it's me; I drive around Los Angeles and wonder what dreams keep alive the folks working in the manicure shops and the check cashing places and the small restaurants. Something keeps them going. Is it the lottery? Their dreams for their children? The next American Idol audition? Those screenplays they've almost finished?

In the piling-on-the-dream-theme category, I've had an unusual exchange this week via email. As background, I have a website about screenwriting. I've written a lot of screenplays, gotten an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, won a bunch of contests, had agents and managers, and had my share of near-misses. And if there is one thing that outrages me in the land of screenwriting, it's the dream shills. These are the folks who charge for classes, books, consultations, what-have-you, selling on the strength of writers' dreams. The last thing these folks want to tell new screenwriters is that the chance of selling a screenplay to a legitimate MBA signatory company is one in the tens of thousands.

So they sell a dream. They sell hope, and hope is pretty damn expensive. So I put together a website to tell the truth. I pay a few bucks every month to keep it online. And for the last few years that I've had this site, I've received nothing but positive comments.

Until yesterday, when I was accused of "trashing others' efforts." I'm not sure how a website can destroy anyone's efforts. Although the California Lottery website does continually interfere with my goal of winning the lottery by posting winning numbers that do not match those on my tickets.

Same thing applies. I'm afraid I was finally a bit harsh. I said that everything posted on my website is true, and that a dream that cannot stand up to the truth is not a dream; it is a delusion.

Screenwriting is hard. Getting into the screenwriting business is orders of magnitude harder. It makes publishing look like a cakewalk. Yes, even real publishing, not to mention what PublishAmerica is doing.

But who knows. I may see my disgruntled correspondent out on the sidewalk in front of a studio next time we go out on strike. I hope they say hi.


Anonymous said...

My two favorite screenwriting sites are yours and wordplayer. I seem to be in the minority, but a reality orientation inspires me more than fantasy. It's the only valid approach -- literally; there is no advantage gained through any other. However, I must admit that I was disappointed to learn that you've given up on that form.

Good luck with the book.

And although I now read your blog, I'm not your mother.

Lorelei said...

Thank you so much! Getting the negative comments rattled me. Good to know the prevailing impression is still favorable!