The Academy Awards are this weekend, and as is our usual custom, we’ll be watching it on TV while enjoying Chinese takeout from the place up the street.
Naturally, as a writer, the categories that interest me the most are about the screenplays; Best Original and Best Adapted. No slight against the rest of it, but let’s be honest. Movies start with an idea written down on paper.
What aspirational screenwriter doesn’t imagine that scenario where their script is the one they announce as taking the top prize? No doubt the number is legion of those who have given their acceptance speech to the imaginary crowd represented by the bathroom mirror.
Oscar-winning scripts are often held up as examples of HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE, so those are the ones we devour, studying them, picking them over, straining to get every ounce of help for our writing out of them as we can.
As entertaining and informative as these scripts are, I’ve also come to the conclusion that the kind of stuff I write – escapist adventure fare – isn’t exactly on the same wavelength as what the Academy appreciates.
Some writers want to write compelling tales about the human condition. Me, I want to spin ripping yarns involving the amazing and fantastic. Last I checked, those kinds of stories don’t usually win a statue of a little gold man.
And that’s quite okay by me. I just really like telling these kinds of stories. They may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but play to your strengths, right? You can’t please everybody.
Don’t get me wrong, being forever known as an “Academy Award-winning screenwriter” would be utterly amazing (and finally give me a good reason to want to go to my high school reunion), but that’s not what this is all about.
If I ever have the incredibly good fortune to establish a career as a working screenwriter who’s even more fortunate in being able to see their work up on the big screen, then just that in itself I would consider winning the biggest prize of them all.