We’ve all been there. In front of people. Doing our thing. And whatever that “thing” is, it’s not getting over. It could be a joke. It could be a presentation. It could be a job interview. Whatever it is, we know what it’s like when something we’re saying or doing is failing. We bomb.
Now imagine that you’ve managed to get your dream job as a screenwriter. And you’ve helped write what is supposed to be a big budget blockbuster. A movie that’s supposed to be HUGE! A remake of an all time action classic! And then… you bomb.
That’s what happened to Sean Hood.
“The Friday night of the release is like the Tuesday night of an election. “Exit polls”are taken of people leaving the theater, and estimated box office numbers start leaking out in the afternoon, like early ballot returns. You are glued to your computer, clicking wildly over websites, chatting nonstop with peers, and calling anyone and everyone to find out what they’ve heard. Have any numbers come back yet? That’s when your stomach starts to drop.
By about 9 PM its clear when your “candidate” has lost by a startlingly wide margin, more than you or even the most pessimistic political observers could have predicted. With a movie its much the same: trade magazines like Variety and Hollywood Reporter call the weekend winners and losers based on projections. That’s when the reality of the loss sinks in, and you don’t sleep the rest of the night.”
I always enjoy reading articles written by actual and active screenwriters. People who make paychecks not by talking about screenwriting, and screenwriting theory, but by ACTUALLY screenwriting. THat’s probably why I like John August’s blog so much.
You really should read the rest of Sean’s article here at Quora. It’s a very candid look at what it’s like to be a screenwriter and have one of your films hit the box office… and worse, have that film fall way short of expectations.