Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The obsessive screenwriter

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In retrospect, my dedication—or my obsession—toward getting the script to look exactly the way it should, no matter how long it took—that’s an example of the sort of focus one needs to make it in this industry. Any slight advantage is worth gaining. Nothing that might allow our scripts to be passed on is acceptable to ignore.

If a page break came at a bad spot, perhaps splitting the set-up and pay-off of a joke, I’d go in and edit out a line so the pay-off came without the reader having to turn the page. If, as I was mailing the script off, I noticed a word was misspelled or a dash got split, even if it was 2:00 A.M., I’d re-type the page.

If you find yourself with this sort of obsessive behavior—like coming up with inventive ways to cheat the page count!—then, I think, you’ve got the right kind of attitude to make it in Hollywood.

Terry Rossio, screenwriter of Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean

Written by nevalalee

August 27, 2011 at 8:00 am

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