I shall not write a screenplay. Yet.

I declined the offer to write a screenplay. People ask me: How can you decline to write a screenplay? What would possess you to ditch such a golden opportunity? Etc., etc.

I blogged about it several times already. My main concern with screenplay writing is the writer's integrity, mainly due to the collaborative nature of the work. Below are my thoughts on the matter, and those who follow my blog will notice that they haven't changed over the years.

I spent my childhood and teenage years in a neighborhood close to the huge TV complex and movie studios. The neighborhood was not an artist’s colony, just a regular residential district, but because of the location it attracted a large number of people from the biz. At the time my good friend’s father was a prominent moviemaker, with a well equipped darkroom that he let me use at will. He was often visited by other folks who lived around - writers, news anchors, and a whole lot of actors. I had an opportunity to watch the creative process of screenplay writing. It was quite the show: plenty of collaborative work accompanied by glass clinking, enacting of the scenes, and so on. It turned me off for good. I am not saying that a screenwriter does not have creative control but only that, at some point, this process involves additional people, and I am a loner when it comes to creative work. I’m one of those recluses who is unknown to his neighbors. My ideal working environment is a deep forest, and ear plugs.

As coincidence would have it I just finished reading Alberto Moravia's Contempt, and found a passage which closes the subject very well (following translation is mine):

Writer is thus a man who is always in the shade, the one who rips his veins so that someone else can win acclaim. Even though two thirds of the film's success is the writer's doing, he never sees his name on the advertising posters where only the names of the actors, director and the producer's are printed. Maybe it is true, as happens very often, that a writer can become a kind of a master of the slave profession and make a substantial income off of it, but he cannot say: "I made this film ... This film is mine." The writer must be content only with the money he receives for his participation, and which eventually becomes the sole reason and purpose of his work.

Does it mean that I shall never write a screenplay? No, but should I ever decide to participate in this spectacle it will be only incidental, something that I might toss off in between books. Currently I am deeply entrenched in two novels, both requiring my entire self.


  1. Gee! And I was counting with you to write my screenplay.....rats!!!

  2. look at it on the bright side -- you have one shark less to compete against ;)