Posted by: steveonfilm | March 28, 2012

Don’t Be A Screenplay Hipster

I like reading screenplays. I’m not saying I go ape shit crazy over them. But I enjoy reading a good script as much as the next guy. Since I don’t have to do it for a living, and I’m able to pick and choose what I want to read, I’m not jaded in that regard. So, given the chance to talk about a specific script on blogs, or in forums, I enjoy some good banter with fellow writers. But I’ve noticed a trend on said forums and blogs that I find completely insane. And that’s the “Screenplay Hipster.”

You know this guy, or girl. They’re the ones who are incapable of acknowledging that sometimes a script can just be fun. It doesn’t have to be five star. It doesn’t have to be the most original concept. It doesn’t even have to be that well written. It can just be fun. And that’s okay. ‘Fast Five’ was fun. Made a shit ton of money too.

There is a market for the simple, uncomplicated, fun screenplay. But NOOOOOO, not for the Screenplay Hipster. They’ve got to point out EVERY script that’s done anything even REMOTELY similar, and write off entire genres as if they’re beneath them.

Action movie? So 80s.

Drama? The characters whined too much.

Rom-com? Only if you’re a housewife in suburbia.

Horror? The only good stuff comes out of Korea and Japan.

Fantasy? What is this, comic-con?

You can’t win with these people. They simply cannot acknowledge that there are screenplays out there that some people might enjoy that they won’t. Or, and I fucking hate this, they’ll talk about older scripts that a writer did they liked, before that writer “sold out.” What the hell does that even mean? This is Hollywood. Your goal is to make money. You write screenplays that can be made into movies and make money. That’s it. You know how much money you make for that heartfelt drama that no one wants to produce? NOTHING!

But to the Screenplay Hipster, that’s not a failure. That’s fighting back against the Hollywood system. Who cares if you can’t pay your bills. You’re fighting the man, damn it!

I think more than anything it’s the snark that pisses me off. They act like they know some secret that these professionals they’re reading don’t. They don’t just discard a script they don’t like, they discard all of the people who might have enjoyed it as well. I mean, I don’t get Country Music. I just don’t. Never have. But that’s doesn’t mean all the people who enjoy it are idiots. It just means that for me, it just doesn’t click. There’s nothing wrong with Country Music. It’s me, not them.

That’s art! It’s subjective. What some people like, other’s don’t. The discussions are in the whys. Talking about it. Enjoying debate. But Screenplay Hipsters? They don’t want the debate. They just want to dictate.

Look, if you don’t like the writing, or the dialog, or the characters, then say so. Don’t hide behind tired “this was already done in [insert movie title here].” Critique the script. Explain why it fell short. Say how it could have been better. Tell people why it didn’t click with you. ENGAGE IN THE DISCUSSION!

But they won’t. Because they don’t know how. And, unfortunately, that’s how the internet works. It allows anyone to say whatever they want. You don’t need to know how to actually talk with people. You just need to know how to talk.

Just… please… whatever you do, don’t be a Screenplay Hipster.

Keep writing,



  1. Great point, pal!! I don’t want to become that dude. Also, I think that’s how people deal with their work being rejected – it’s the system’s fault. The industry is wrong. They complain about anyone who writes ‘familiar’ screenplays and champion the ‘original’ works. It’s too easy to think like that. Bah.

  2. Consider becoming a producer. Don’t laugh. I’m a self-published mystery writer who made the NY Times ebook bestseller list last year, and I have a rare movement disorder called dystonia.

    I posted this not long ago: True story!

    • A producer? Never been a thought that crossed my mind.

      You on the other hand, good show! Dystonia AND a ebook bestseller? Quite an accomplishment!

      • Thanks! 🙂 I hope to do more screenwriting, too. Believe it or not.

  3. BTW, I’ve included your blog on the blogroll (under screenwriting links) for the blog embedded in my name. I have five blogs, believe it or not.

    • Thanks Debbi!

      • You’re welcome, Steve! 🙂

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