Name ten silent film stars from the year 1911 or before. Don't Google it. I'll wait.
15 names? From the entire silent film era? How is that possible?
THE 100 YEAR TEST
Cameras were rolling on the birth of movies. Think about that. Film may be the only art form to be documented in its infancy. In 1895, audiences screamed when a train came directly at them in the Lumiere Brothers' Arrival of a Train. 100+ years later, we have the CG of Inception and Avatar.
Makes me wonder: What will survive 100 years from now? And aside from making a living, why are people so utterly obsessed by trying to get their visions on film?
Will you be remembered 100 years from now? How will you be remembered?
I'll go out on a limb to predict that the films of Spielberg, Scorsese, Eastwood, Kurasawa, Fellini, Wells, Coppola will be around in 2111.
Deniro, Pacino, Streep, Johnny Depp, and Daniel Day Lewis will be there when the next century rolls around.
How about Michael Bay? Think The Island will pass the 100-year test? How about Entourage and sushi-eating Jeremy Piven?
You'll notice I didn't ask you to name ten screenwriters from the Silent era. The existence of the era's writers has come down to us strictly in the domain of historians.
Will they remember Shane Black? Will they be able to read his Lethal Weapon script? L.A Confidential will probably be around, meaning Brian Helgeland's name will survive. Maybe folks in 2111 will be like moviegoers today, going to films without really giving a damn who wrote it. Ask 100 people on the street today to name ten current screenwriters, how many could do it?
Ultimately, if the work lives, if the movie survives, then the writer lives on, even if no one knows or cares about his name.
So, what the hell is my point? I bring this up only for you to consider the bigger picture:
You want your script made. You want it bad. Aside from getting paid, have you figured out why you want it so bad? You might want to examine your reasons. Is it the chase for legacy, for your name to live on in 2111?
Maybe it's the ex-casino craps dealer in me that has to state the obvious: The true odds of being remembered 100 years from now ain't great.
Examine why is it you write in the first place. It might help to get you on your journey faster.
PAUL PEDITTO wrote and directed Jane Doe, an A-PIX Films release starring Calista Flockhart. The film was awarded Best Feature at the New York Independent Film & Video Festival and grossed over 2 million dollars.
Six of his screenplays have been optioned, among them Crossroaders to Haft Entertainment (Emma, Dead Poet's Society).
He has won semi-finalist honors at Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting Awards and Slamdance.
Other imdb credits include Home In The Heartland, and The Group, which was accepted at multiple film festivals around the country.
Four of his stage plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing Company, two of which were presented on National Public Radio's "Chicago Theaters On The Air" series. Over 25 productions of his theatrical work have been performed in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. His adaptation of Nelson Algren's Never Come Morning won 9 Joseph Jefferson Citations including Best Play and Best Adaptation. His adaptation of Ben Hecht's 1,001 Afternoons In Chicago is a two-time Jefferson Award nominee. Pura Vida, a stage play based on his novel, was produced at Chicago's Live Bait Theater, earning a feature article in the New York Times.
He teaches screenwriting at Columbia College and Chicago Filmmakers, professionally consulting on thousands of screenplays since 2002. His book Writing Screenplays is now available for purchase.