Screenwriters share the deranged comments they get from Hollywood people


Originally published at:


This reminds me a little of one of the readings John Scalzi did at the Brookline stop of his Collapsing Empire book tour. Several times during the reading of Script Notes on The Birth of Jesus he commented that he knew he was going to hell (and in fact he said exactly that in the first comment in the original blog post.) But all of us were laughing our heads off at some of the feedback the VP of Story Development, Peter Stone, passed along to authors Mark and Luke from intern Chad.



Can you imagine you spend al day making these smarty comments, and sometimes, you just feel like you have to write something, even… if…


And they said, ‘Taylor, you have to look for the note within the note.” I said, ‘OK, but why don’t you just give me the note?’ They looked at me dead seriously and said, ‘Well we don’t know what the note is.’”

Which further underscores my belief that executives will sometimes speak just to justify their existence.


About 10 years ago I worked on a Short Called Fortune Hunters. It is the story of a chinese American Guy, (Kelvin Yu) who graduates from college, and spends the summer working at his dad’s (Gedde Watanabe) Fortune cookie factory writing fortunes. Having broken up with his girlfriend his regret begins to show in the fortunes he writes. You will Die Alone, Two Words, Colon Cancer…etc. He then types up a love letter to the girl saying he was sorry and asking her to come back and meet him at a club on Friday or something. But the letter gets sent to the fortune software instead and the cookies go out to all the lonely hearts in the region. Who all show up at the club to find love. Very cute and a really positive story strongly supported by the local asian community. The Asian guy gets to kiss the girl in the end.

So they shop the short around LA to see if they can sell it for a feature length version. And were literally told, We love it but does he have to be Chinese?


…while also wielding power and influence to greatly affect the course of a production. It makes you wonder with every movie you see if the things that didn’t seem to work were the result of a bad script, a bad director, or the studio execs just bullshitting their bad ideas onto it.


On a similar note the transcripts of the behind-the-scenes brainstorming sessions between Lucas and Spielberg while developing Raiders of the Lost Ark are kind of bananas, full of weird and racially offensive gems like this (discussing the nationality of the villain who was eventually become Belloq):

As the linked article above notes

“Italians are too crazy?” What does that even mean? I can’t tell if Lucas thinks Italian characters are too crazy or Italian actors are. Like, is he worried that the audience won’t believe an Italian dude would be interested in something banal, like the Ark of the Covenant? Or is he’s suggesting that Italian actors are, by nature too crazy to be captured on film? Does Lucas think Italian people are so clouded by their own madness that they wouldn’t be able act? Too crazy to travel all over the world looking for the Ark of the Covenant? Too crazy to fight Indiana Jones in the fictional universe you’re creating?



I think you guys posted a few months back about the creators of “The Walking Dead” meeting the suits at NBC. They loved it, but they asked, "…Do there have to be zombies?”

And then, after being convinced that, yes, there have to be zombies, NBC proposed: Make The Walking Dead a procedural where two protagonists “solve a zombie crime of the week.”




That’s weird. Lucas doesn’t seem the type to traffic in crude ethic stereotypes…





To be fair, I actually enjoy the zombie procedural iZombie.


I had a boss for whom I would always introduce some really ridiculous design element so that he would have something to improve. If I didn’t provide the easy change, he’d inevitably want something important changed, so he could think of himself as the designer and me as just the tech help. Fine, whatever, do they teach a specific class on how to be an asshole at MBA school?

These execs definitely sound like every MBA I’ve ever worked for, while they drove the company into the ground. It’s a bit of a pattern, it seems.


I thought that’s what an MBA was, actually. Asshole school! :wink:


they wanted to remove the final drum solo from Whiplash? that’s the whole point. that’s how the protagonist wins. there is no movie without that climax.

He’s good at drumming. We get it

I don’t think you do…


Sounds like a duck


Masters in Being an Asshole. Makes sense.


Or, you could take the brave, healthy step of ending your abusive relationship with Hollywood.