Saturday, October 08, 2005

Fifteen minutes later...

More visitors in three days than I normally get in a month, all landing on the same post, and not one of them leaves a comment? It’s demoralising, I tells ya!
But my name is now known, so my cynical hit-grabbing manoeuvre worked: Lee Thomson has a screenwriting blog. Go visit! He’s talking about the weather!

Anyway, the brouhaha abates, and as it does I ruminate on Denis’ post Why “The Room” is like Vegas, where he cocks his snook at those of us not fortunate enough to have creatively fulfilling employment and first hand experience of “The Room” and wonder if I did the right thing.
On the whole, I’m okay with republishing Javi’s post, but on one hand I’m a little conflicted and concerned that I resurrected something that its creator chose to bury. However, it’s a free world, and regardless of its motivations, the post is intrinsically interesting for its window into the writers’ room.

Still, Denis has a strong point when he states:

The focus should always be on the product, on the story. But the fan impulse (the root IS fanatic, after all) is always to know more, more, more details about the how.

But just because they want to know, doesn't mean you tell them. Even if it would make you feel good about yourself. Even if it would be fun. Because at the end of the day, even if you show them how the trick is done, they don't have the context to understand what they've seen.

Now, if there is a cone of silence around the process, that does make it difficult for aspiring writers. I know that. How do you get around that? Well, get yourself in position to actually talk to writers, however you can. And take classes on things like psychology and group dynamics. Learn about personality types. Understanding people is way more important for writers, than hearing the latest skank about what went on in the LOST writing room.

Most of all, stop thinking like a fan.

I guess that’s good advice. Practically all the hits I got from search engines last week were not from people interested in the processes behind writing Lost, but fanboys wanting the skinny on the Grillo-Marxauch/Fury feud. That is not why that post was there. I like to think those people went away disappointed, but who can say? When I take Javi’s comments from a post that he has erased because it’s causing him problems and pin them up for the world to see, most likely at his displeasure, then whatever my intentions I am making myself a part of the problem. I am fomenting gossip and facilitating conflict on multiple message boards.

To say “well, that’s the way the web works; the lesson here is to watch what you post, Javi should have thought about what he was doing before airing his grievances to the world” is a cop-out. I didn’t have to cut and paste from one man’s blog to my own, the whole incident could have been forgotten gracefully and that would have been that. If, though, I’d duplicated his post before he deleted it and then just left it up here, instead of adding it after the fact, would Denis still have managed, if only for a moment, to make me feel like a weasel with his whole “naming no names routine?”

After all, I’m not a better writer for having read Javi’s account and as long as I’m hunting down “skank” I’m not doing my own thing. But what’s the harm in trying to understand how the world I want to work in functions? Of course, one learns by doing, but also from listening to others who have done.

Denis, it seems, would have us all make our own mistakes. I'd at least like the opportunity to try and learn from other people's, before I then go and inevitably fuck things up for myself.

Category: Meta


  1. An Ignoble Nobel?
    Posted Friday, Oct. 7, 2005, at 2:18 PM PT A new Nobel laureate for peace has bloggers in an uproar.
    Hello, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you.

    I have a currency trading site/blog.
    Full of currency trading stuff.

    Come and check it out, er, please :-)

  2. Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!



  3. You utter cunts. I'm fucking sick of this; it's word verification from now on, arseholes.

  4. I'll leave a comment because you said no one does..
    Good Stuff! I'll be back

  5. Thank you! A real person at last - see you again soon.

  6. Well you definitely sound like a writer, with all that self-flagellation!

    I think you should definitely cut yourself some slack. In a sense, by editing the stuff the way you did in presenting the material I think you did everything you could to cut the snark and hurt and preserve the meat.

    It's a hard question; the problem, of course, is that gap between wanting to know for professional and prurient reasons.

    The problem, I think, Lee, is that in this day and age and the internet at the stage it is now, that you just can't say any of it if you're a pro because you're going to be misinterpreted.

    I know that JMS manages to have an ongoing dialogue with fans -- but even that gets prickly after a while. When Aaron Sorkin and Simpsons writers have done the same, it's just turned into a disaster. Part of that is the ugly-thing-you-can't-say, which is that most writers smarter than the people they're talking to. And discourse between levels of understanding rarely turns out well.

    I think the choice you made was the one that you thought was right. And to be perfectly honest, I know when I talk about something and don't use names that the internet means that someone is just going to go and find out the info somewhere else -- I just don't want my hands on it.

    What I find interesting, is that if you go to my blog and check the comments on my post, you're going to see a guy who INSISTS on doing the very thing that I chose not to do -- name names. And his justifications for doing so actually make the point that I was trying to make even better than I tried to make it: that you have to keep a separation.

    Stop with the hair shirt, mate. You do a good blog, and you made the choice you thought was right. Get back to it, then. Cheers.


    by the way, I also have a blog on currency trading..., actually, I don't. bastard spammers.

  7. Righty-ho, then. Onwards and upwards!

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Hello, my Friend. Let me introduce yourself to Myself. I am Harry Umanbutobu. My great uncle owned a diamond tunnel in Nigeria. He fled the country when it was over run with Republicans. We now have a vast fortune in an international bank in Belize.

    Uh, sorry, that’s one of my Nigerian bank schemes meant for someone else. Otherwise, cool post. Saw your distress that no one was commenting.

    --One Slack Martian.

  10. I read and didn't comment on the earlier post, too, but I did link to your blog. Which may not be very exciting, but at least it's not a currency trading site.

    To me, it doesn't seem like you fueled the spat. I'm not a fan of Lost so have no interest in that part of it, and what you've preserved of the post doesn't give me any detail on what it was about, either. I'd read DMc's post first, and he gave the same flavour of the writers' room, just without the detail. I guess I want to know for prurient rather than professional reasons, but it's general curiousity about how some of my favourite entertainment is created, not looking for dirt.

    And this: "Part of that is the ugly-thing-you-can't-say, which is that most writers smarter than the people they're talking to" made me laugh and cry. True, but not completely. Dipping into the online fandom is a weird experience, but it's not fair to paint all fans with the same brush. There are a lot of irrational and, yes, stupid people, but there's also intelligent and respectful analysis of shows out there. Maybe it's naive, but I think some dialogue between the two sides is a good thing - not necessarily directly between writer and fan, but at least an awareness of each others' points of view.

  11. Thanks, dudes. oneslackmartian and deekay, I enjoyed both your blogs, which I never would have found if you hadn't popped in and said hello.