Monday, October 25, 2010

Those Who Can, Don't

I have mixed feeling with the argument that script consultants are a waste of time. Now

1. a It's true that my favorite screenwriting books are Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and Crafty Screenwriting by Alex Epstein.
b. Both those guys were/are working screenwriters
2. I frequently get irked by people who think they know how to make movies when they've never had to make a DM&E before (and if you've ever been responsible for a DM&E you know what I'm talking about).
3. But there are occasions where being able to teach does indeed make you better as a teacher than being someone who can do the thing you're doing.
4. I've been a teacher too. Sometimes I was OK at it but most of the time I was somewhat sub-par.
5. We have in the past used Paul Cooper to analyse our screenplays. Now you should note that
a. He's not terribly expensive.
b. He gives great notes.
c. He does actually have some credits.

OK. So far I'm pretty much batting on the "you have to work to know what you're doing" team as far as teaching anything about the movie making business. But I also have some affection for Dov Simens. He's really pretty strictly a teacher, whatever film credits he has are pretty minimal. But I did learn a lot from his 2 day class back in the day.

Also, if you're a writer or some such, you may find that some other books or teachers really speak to you in a way that maybe Snyder or Epstein don't (or maybe in addition to Snyder or Epstein). So I'm not ready to dismiss the non-working-writers with one swell fiat.

I'm just inclined to dismiss them.

But obviously if someone says something that's malarky but they have a lot of experience, that doesn't make what they're saying not malarky. Conversely, if they have never make a feature film in their life but they say something right, they're still right.

Wow. That's a pretty big blog post for me to actually say nothing.

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