Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead/Universal Pictures

Hollywood screenwriting isn’t just about writing. It’s about being able to listen to the desires of the director, the actors, the producers, the studio and myself–and being able to meet all of our needs simultaneously. In most situations, if you don’t give up, a story can meet everyone’s needs.

Don’t superimpose the rules of other kinds of writing, say, novel-writing, over screenwriting. They’re two completely different animals, and it’s helpful to see them as such.

There are two ways to earn respect: Through fear, or through integrity. I aspire to the latter.

It’s alright to hire a hack writer or actor, but never hire a hack pyrotechnic. Some hair on my arms still hasn’t grown back.

Use the lyrics to “The Gambler” to guide your career.

They really work.

It’s almost impossible to make money unless you love what you do.

Surround yourself with talented people who also use their talent.

Never give Scooby a sentence longer than four or five words.

If you’re a screenwriter, you’ll probably have your heart broken by the final product numerous times. This is not a weakness, but a strength. It means you’re still putting your heart into what you create. The reason a failed film hurts is the same reason a successful one succeeds.

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