screenwriters don't do "prep work"




I stopped over on ScriptChat tonight.  It’s a Twitter thing, everyone hits one website [the ScriptChat website] and then chats it up and the site automatically adds a hashtag, #scriptchat to the conversation. Which all plays out on Twitter like Twitter comments.


[If you are not on Twitter, that will all be Mars speak to you.  Sorry.  Maybe you should get out more.  Hmm.]


Sometimes there are guests.  I have been a guest. This scriptchat there was no topic or guest, but I had a Sunday night off and thought I’d go see what people were talking about.


They were talking about “prep work.”


Oh sweet Holy Fucking Jesus.  Seriously?  Prep.  Work?


Okay, creatives, let me put this plainly and succinctly.  Artists and writers do not do “prep work.” 

Busboys and busgirls in restaurants do “prep work.”  Lower level chefs do “prep work.”  8 AM bartenders do “prep work.”  Folding napkins, polishing silverware, slicing up limes?  That’s “prep work.”
Screenwriters don’t do fucking “prep work.”


14 Responses to screenwriters don’t do “prep work”

  1. What are they calling prep work, anyway? Research? Erm… sharpening your pencil?

  2. Max

    I have no idea. I went into shock and walked out.

  3. For me, “prep work” for writing involves closet cleaning, grocery shopping, gardening, making phone calls, doing laundry, etc. But there’s a better word for all of that: procrastination. I would never call research “prep work” because when I’m researching I’m constantly writing down ideas, beats, snippets of potential dialogue, big story points. Research is an integral part of writing. Now please excuse me while I go clean my bathroom. You know. “Prep work.”

  4. What you call it makes no difference. Call it whatever the hell you want. Wannabe as well as established writers tend to do a lot of preparation before starting a project. Don’t be so touch touchy about terminology. Call it foreplay. Whatever makes you feel important.

  5. Max

    What you call it makes a very big difference. We are writers. We, more than most people, know the power of words.

  6. Hmm. What is “a lot of preparation” before starting a project? Maybe I’ve been doing this wrong for the last thirty years.

  7. Fair enough, Max. You just seemed a little pissed about it. It’s not worth a hemorrhage. You can go on-line and learn all the proper screenwriting jargon, pass yourself off as an expert, charge consulting fees and not know a damn thing. The opposite can also be true. You may not know any terminology, sit down and start writing, never take a class or do an outline, and bang out a masterpiece. So much is instinctive. When everyone’s going north, you need to go south. Separate yourself from the herd. At least that’s what I believe.

  8. Robert, You can do it a hundred years and still stink. I don’t mean you. I’m sure your work’s extraordinary. I mean other, less exceptional writers.

  9. My work IS extraordinary, but that’s beside the point. ;)

    All kidding aside, you still haven’t said what “a lot of preparation” means. I assume you must mean SOMETHING. I’m curious to know what it is. Seriously.

  10. Robert, We can go back and forth over semantics. I know you want to defend your girl’s honor, but we’ve beaten this to death. You’re welcome to the last word.

  11. Max

    You’re clearly looking for a fight, Id. You need to go poke the bear somewhere else. I’m not in the mood.

  12. Semantics? You haven’t yet explained WHAT YOU MEAN. At least not here. What is “a lot of preparation?” I’m asking you a serious question.

  13. Robert, I’d like to know, too. Seems to me that one is either writing or not writing. Other than grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting down at your laptop (which would fall under definition #2 below), I’d love to know exactly what specific activities constitute “a lot of preparation” or “prep work” for writing?

    1) the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.
    “the preparation of a draft contract”
    2) something done to get ready for an event or undertaking.
    plural noun: preparations
    “she continued her preparations for the party”

  14. Max

    Silly rabbits, “prep work” is sticking slices of orange and maraschino cherries on little plastic swords.

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