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And what of female scribes? Are we the non exisitent best friend? Ignored by Barbie and Ken at the same time? I dunno WHAT female directors would be... there's so few of them.


As a movie-lover and writer-type, I've always been interested in this issue. Does the director take an even more prominent role when 5,6 or more writers work on a script? Does that first draft still set the tone for the film?

There are also the rare and great writer-directors: Preston Sturges (the first), Fellini, and more that I can't remember.

Why is Hollywood so different from live theater where the playwright is often present at rehearsals and whose vision is interpreted by the director?

Thanks for this post--very interesting and funny.


Back to your hole, scribe. And don't come out until you're carrying 20 pages with you. I'll be at the Director's Guild Country Club having my back waxed by a naked Miss America contestant.


Interesting post Billy,

I am a writer. And at this stage of my career getting credit OVER someone else on a project doens't mean that much to me. Getting one of my script made by someone, getting some $$ for it, AND having my name sited for screenwriting credit does.

Their is some validity to the fact that some SUPER SCRIBES out there haven't gotten their proper due. The name David Koepp comes to mind! That dude's pen rocks!

I grew up running home to watch those 60s cartoons of the webslinger. Then when I heard that a movie was being made, well I was very interested. The info on the internet made me think that the movie was going to be a dud (growing up my intereset was in the villians Spidey fought). But when I saw the movie I was blown away by how good the Peter Parker character was, and how well developed and thought out his interest in Mary Jane was. David Koepp took the hero vs. master villian and made it a secondaray plot to the romance -- and he did so masterfully.

Billy, since you're an insider, if you know for a fact that David Koepp wasn't the primary scribe resposible for that hit, please let me know.

In my humble opinion. If scribes deserve more praise, lets heap it on those who have earned it, writing movies that we love.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

chris Soth

Well, I gots to say, I think Goldman got it right w/his attack on auteur theory, it's a collaborative art form and most of the time, unfortunately, that means it's also a lowest common denominator art form...

...I sort of moved from acting to directing to writing trying to be the guy who decided what story was gonna be told. Call me an egomaniacal power freak, but I thought I had 'em to tell...And now I think I probably should have just learned how to raise money...THAT'S the guy who decides what the movie will be. Live and learn.



Jamy, that's a great question re: writers in theater -- possible future post... The issue of "first draft" when a movie's made is stickier, in that often by the time a given script actually gets to its ultimate director (i.e. after the three other directors that have gotten involved with the project and then moved on) who KNOWS what's remained of the original writer's intent? In other words, don't get me started...


Ain't been an auteur since Buster Keaton went to MGM.

Ken Mora

> We screenwriters are the Ken to Hollywood's Barbie

Funny! And painfully true. But if there's ever going to be a change, it won't be by book readers, or by billboard adds (though I enjoyed the WGA attempt of a couple years past), but by the same "estate" that birthed the auteur theory - the critics. How many times to I hear critichs *cough* Sikel *cough* Roper *cough* ascribe plot twists to directors and lines to actors, THEY at least should know better. The WGA should target them, and once screenwriters make it into reviewer a meaningful larger dialog can result.


Good point, Ken.


Kristen, ditto that. And Ken, I meant to respond to you, because my "critics, who ought to know better" phrase was mere diplomacy about something that routinely drives me crazy. HOW to re-educate people who are already media-enshrined (at the Times, et al) is the question...

Anne Thompson

oh shit I was going to write about this and never got around to it so billy got to it first, of course. by the way, billy, please email me with your tips on how to build comments because whatever you are doing is obviously working

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