Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Honesty Is Such A Lonely Word

The strange part about blogging is that it’s a diary that anyone can read. Anyone. There are all kinds of things I want to write about, that will probably bring my career to a premature end. I don’t want to burn any bridges in front of me - I still want to do lunch in this town. But I also want to share some of the stranger experiences.

This creates a problem.

How can I tell you what *really* happened?

One of the guys from the Done Deal boards started blogging, and I linked his blog before reading it... only to discover that he’d deleted it. Seems he was a little too honest and worried about people reading his blog and discovering all of his secrets.

All of us have secrets. And all of us have different degrees of honesty and sharing depending on who we’re talking to. There are things in my life that I’ve never told *anyone*. There’s a big, life changing event in my life that I only talk about with the other people who were involved in that event - no one else knows about it. Other things are pretty well known by my friends, but I don’t discuss with strangers - usually because it would bore them, but sometimes there are things that probably would hurt whatever image I might have. And I sometimes "print the legend" - there are stories that I've told so many times that they only exist in a "mentally edited" version (all of the dull stuff cut out and some things added for flavor).

I used to not care if people knew how old I was, but as the gray begins to show in my hair, I’m starting to think that being an old screenwriter may not help me land jobs... so my age is now going to be a secret (not a very well hidden one - but it’s been erased from the resume and I'm 100 yerars old on MySpace). But most things I’m more than happy to share. I confess to all kinds of things many people would rather keep secret. The second time I lost my virginity was in the frozen food section of Safeway.... of course, it wasn’t a Safeway, then, it was a drive in movie theater... and the "second time" thing is what makes it an amusing story. This is a screenwriting blog, so you probably won’t read that story here... but I’m not shy about telling it. And I’ve never been shy about telling stories that make me look stupid - there are way too many of those. I may get into my personal life now and then, but mostly I’ll be talking movies on this blog.

And talking about all of the crazy things that happen to me while trying to continue earning a living as a screenwriter.

But the problem comes when I’m telling a story about something that happened on a film set or in a meeting. If I name names, I could be killing my career. This blog is probably going to come back to haunt me, anyway. I don’t think I’ll be invited back to Denmark, and there’s a pretty good chance I won’t work with the folks who made that Steven Seagal movie... even though what happened is their fault, not mine. Heck. I was the last to know they were remaking my script! There’s a very good chance I’m going to burn a couple of bridges when I discuss some of my films - and how they came to be so crappy - but there are other people I’d rather not offend. I may want to work with them again.

I’m about to embark on a new quest for an agent or manager... and I’m trying to put together some deals and maybe make my own movie. I want to share those experiences with you... but it’s going to be hard to be honest and name names and work in this town again.

So I’m going to change the names to protect the guilty. And I may change a detail or two, because sometimes even when you change the names, it’s still pretty obvious who you are talking about. I hope these small lies allow me to be more honest about the big stuff. There are still going to be some stories that I just can’t tell. Some of those are *great* stories! I have one on-set story that I often tell in public, but would never put in print - the people involved would be angry and offended. These are people I like, who happen to be involved in a funny event on set that they probably don’t want anyone to know about.

I’ve finally figured out the answer to the "great story that will end my career" problem, which I’ll talk about in *tomorrow’s* entry... but for today, I’m going to do my best to be honest about the big stuff while changing the names and some of the details so that I can continue this so-called career. In a couple of days I will post an entry completely trashing some people I know... and hopefully they won’t figure out I’m talking about them...

Because a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.

- Bill

10 comments:

Grubber said...

Bill,
Please don't feel compelled to relate any story that may hurt your career just for our amusement or education. Save those stories for your retirement book that can be a best seller once you no longer want to write screenplays for a living.

I'm sure it would be a best seller.
Finished your book on writing for action movies, thanks for that one, it was just what I needed for this script, and worth it for screenwriting tips in general.

You are one of the few that can get past all the jargon and explain it very well. Many thanks for that.

cheers
Dave

Scribe LA said...

Say it loud and proud... you can always change the names to protect the innocent and the guilty :-)
Scribe

Steverino said...

Don't clam up, Bill! I've been living vicariously through you. I look at your profile and say to myself, "Hey that could be me."

But seriously, I refuse to end my dreams by saying, "Hey, that could've been me."

Anyway, I never thought your posts were tell-all exposes [missing accent], and consider this: over at Wordplayer, they're pretty upfront about their fears about Deja Vu. Change names if you must, but tell the straight story.

You may not think of yourself as an inspiration, but you are to me.

Keep it up!

Sports on a Schtick said...

I hope you don't post anything that will negatively affect your personal or professional life. Yet at the same time it's your candidness that inspires not only your screenplays, but also your fans.

Whatever happens Bill, a lot folks are pulling for you.

The Moviequill said...

my theory is that honesty is cool, but what happens if one day you are in script note discussions with someone you dissed, or sitting next to an actor/actress you bad mouthed? Shit rolls downhill and they have more power than most third world countries, so I do not want to be on the reciving end when they wave their magic wand. Karma is the big boomerang of life.

Brett said...

So just do what I do-- take the goofy true facts of your life and dump them into stories and scripts where everyone just assumes that it's all fiction anyway.

I have (had?) a story in my past wherein as a ten year old I accidentally (honest) brought down a sheriff's helicopter. There were no injuries, but I'd never told anyone about that—the pilot in question was the only human to know about the event, and for various reasons he was none to keen to share the tale, either.

Then one day in a script I had need of a goofy new way to wreck a helicopter. "VIOLA!" My secret shame becomes a cool set piece.

Take all you can—give nothing back. All good stories deserve to be told, somehow, some way.
.
.
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B

Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Go to it Bill. For me the most interesting screenwriter blogs are the ones that deal with the day to day experiences of being a struggling or working screenwriter. I'm not interetsed in what the writer had for breakfast or what he thought of the latest hyped-up monsterbuster spewed out of the Hollywood machine. I want real life experiences that humour and inspire me, encourage me, tell me what not to do, (I'll probably do it anyway ;-)) etc. I understand your problem though, I'm using a pseudonym and I still hope people don't read the blog in too much detail and end up putting 2 and 2 together. Hang on a minute! I know this guy!

I look forward to your juicy Martell-confidential posts :-)

Bill Cunningham said...

"If it's the truth then it's a lie. If it's a pack of lies it's pulp..."

Go for the pulp...

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