I haven't been trolling through my litany of screenwriting blogs lately on account of I haven't been writing anything since I started focusing on going back to school. I still have three screenplays to rewrite and the nucleus of one that will remain in the back of my mind until I've completed the first three. (My New Year's Resolution kids - finish what you start!) So it was a pleasant surprise to go through the old blog roll and see what the professionals and aspiring professionals have been up to this past week.
My two favorite entries came from John August (natch) and Mystery Man on Film.
First off, if you haven't read John August, you are missing out on screenwriting gold. Not only is he someone who knows what he's talking about, he's also very funny. And he gives great examples backed up by real evidence based on either something he's been through or something he's witnessed that other's have been through. In other words, he's not pulling advice out of his butt, so he's worth paying attention to.
August showcases a great post on what he calls The Duluth Dilemma, the idea that you could be the next best greatest screenwriter in the world, but if you live in Duluth, or some other out of the way town, instead of LA, the chance of your movie being made greatly diminishes. He posts several responses from people who agree and disagree with him. What it truly boils down to though is this: are you willing to move to a city you potentially can't stand in order to become successful? That's the crux of the matter. Some people are attached to where they live and don't care what the Hollywood bigwigs say, they're staying where they are, dang it. Others are OK or ecstatic to get the heck out of Dodge and go where they action is. I agree with the second group of people. You're more likely to succeed in your chosen profession if you go to where the jobs actually are.
I'll use myself as an example. When I graduated from college I wanted to work as an editor for a publishing company. Houston, TX is not the publishing mecca of the world. I knew that if I wanted to succeed in my chosen profession, I would need to move to New York, Auckland NZ, London, or Japan. Why? Because that's where all of the publishing houses were located. Even though I applied for jobs in NY, it was not until I moved to NY that I actually got my first publishing job.
I personally think that people who want to make it big in screenwriting without being willing to go to LA are diluting themselves. You HAVE to go where the action is 99% of the time. Sure, you hear about people living in Who-knows-where,USA who make it big, but the reason you hear about them is because it happens so infrequently that it makes a great Yahoo! news tidbit. This is the reason why even though I don't care about California, I know I will eventually live there because that's where most of the animated movies in America are made.
As for Mystery Man on Film, he makes a good argument involving character arcs and if they are truly necessary or not that's worthy reading in its' entirety. Enjoy.