Five figure advice

John: Let’s talk more life stuff for her in terms of a five-year plan. In terms of a five-year plan I think you have to ask yourself, “€œWhat kind of writer I perceive myself as being?€ Do I want to be a feature writer who is known as a brand of a writer?” If so, then probably picking a genre and being very true to that genre will serve you very well.

If you want to be a writer/director you need to start thinking about, when are you going to direct a movie? If you perceive yourself as being a writer/producer, like Kurtzman/Orci or Simon Kinberg, you need to start thinking about writing the kinds of movies that require such care-tending.

– Care-tending? Care-taking?€

Craig: I like care-tending€ Own it.

John: — Care-tending that requires such oversight and such producorial function that people start perceiving you as the guy that can keep the ship from sinking. You look at the writer/producers who do that and they are responsible people who are good writers but are also able to deal with all the politics and all the personalities of getting a movie made and can deliver a movie for a studio.

Kurtzman/Orci do it for Dreamworks; Simon Kinberg does it for Fox. There’s a lot of value.

Craig: The thing is, you have to know what your goals are and lay out perfect what the options are. Plan implies that you can chart a course that is followable, and I have to say I don’t think there is such a thing. What we’re dealing with is a highly chaotic business, and at its best there is still this enormous questionable outcome.

Even if you get your movie made, who knows how it’s going to hit the audience, how it will perform, how it will be received within the business, how the perception of you as a writer or writer/producer or director changes?

The important thing is to keep your goal in mind. Try and nudge this thing towards the goal, keep moving forward as best you can, but prepare to adapt, because you will get thrown curveballs. You may say, “I want to be a writer/director,” and you may turn out to be a writer/producer or just a writer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Hard to plan, I have to say.

John: I think it’s hard to have a plan. It’s easier to have templates. I remember as I was first getting started, Go’s production offices or pre-production offices were actually shared with Kevin Williamson’s space. I would see Kevin Williamson writing Dawson’s Creek.


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