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  • The Greatest Myth in Hollywood (And The Idiots That Believe It)

    July 14th, 2011

    By Danny Manus

    Welcome to Los Angeles – land of the rich and famous – where we all live fantastic lives dining with millionaires on the finest sushi in the world and snorting coke off the asses of Brazilian supermodels while our butlers and drivers wait outside in our Bentley convertibles and everyone gets their own reality show and three-picture deal and we all have Spielberg and Bruckheimer on speed dial.

    Welcome to the biggest load of shit myth ever invented. And what’s more astonishing than the myth itself, is how many truly fucking stupid people out there believe it and judge us for it. Like if we DON’T live this life, we aren’t successful.

    Yes there are people who live like that. But I can’t tell you how many people who live outside of Los Angeles literally believe that everyone here who is in the business, is rich and powerful. And more so than that, believe that ONLY the rich and powerful are adept at giving them career advice, notes or help.

    Last year at a pitchfest, a woman came up to me after one of my classes, gave me a sob story and asked me for help. Not being a totally heartless prick, I gave her my card and told her to email me. After a number of increasingly infuriating emails, she wrote that she found out that I (and a number of other consultants and executives at the pitchfest) don’t even live in mansions and don’t drive luxury cars, so how much help could we actually give her and why would she take advice from us?

    And then just this week, I got an email that made me so angry at the sheer stupidity and gall of the writer, that I’m going to post the email here….ready? I am reprinting this verbatim – typos and all!

    “Most of the Judges in script contests got zero clue about film-making. Why are they judging screenplays. They are not super rich or well connected in Hollywood or understand the costly business of film-making, so why should we listen to them? When I google them, they are not famous or rich or power brokers like Jerry Briekheimer or Michael Bay or George Lucas or Zack Synder… Why are you using low-key Readers to judge amateur scripts in your contests? If you ask a top producer or director to read one your winning script from your contest(s), they would probably use the script as toilet paper. Really, they have said that behind closed door. I refuse to buy false dreams.”

    This writer’s name is Bill. I truly debated about whether or not I should give his full name because I’m so tired of stupid fucking people writing shit like this and we should weed people out like this immediately…but I won’t give his last name here (I did on my Facebook and Twitter though!).

    But he made me realize that some people outside of Hollywood think that only the rich and powerful are worthy of reading their scripts, that only the biggest names in Hollywood could possibly help them and be worth seeking out.  Anyone who thinks this – please – do as I told both of the above-mentioned writers – and get the fuck out! Turn around, go back to whatever US-Magazine-ridden-dumb-fuck-cave you crawled out of and stop trying to be a screenwriter – because it’s never EVER going to happen.

    Saying that you won’t enter a contest because the people judging aren’t power-brokers and therefore can’t help you is like me saying, “Well, you’re not rich or famous so how could you be a good screenwriter? Good writers are rich and famous.” It’s INSANE!

    Here’s the skinny on Los Angeles for those of you who don’t know…

    –        Many producers, managers, consultants and writers (even big name ones) work out of their HOMES. They traded their big offices for low overhead.

    –        A PA or entry level assistant at an agency or production company makes an average of $500/week.

    –        A nice ONE-bedroom, ONE-bath apartment in a nice neighborhood in Los Angeles rents for $1200-1500 a month ($1300-1700 if really close to the beach).  We are probably the fourth most expensive city in the country to live in.

    –        A two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath house in COMPTON goes for $250,000!

    –        An AVERAGE 2 or 3 bedroom house in an AVERAGE neighborhood – goes for $400,000.

    –        Parking to go out for a night on Sunset Blvd costs $25. Two drinks – another $25. Dinner with friends when you’re NOT splurging or celebrating something special – $40/each. The parking ticket you get for parking illegally because you didn’t want to pay $25 – will cost you $60!

    –        And a fucking Grande Frappachino at Starbucks is $4.85.

    And what do we get as a payoff for being forced to live like this? Well, we can drive 10 minutes in most directions and be on a beach, we can smoke weed on the street without worrying about being arrested, and we get to see celebrities walking around and sitting at our local restaurants and movie theaters.  Worth it?  Your call.

    So yes, many of us live in one or two bedroom apartments. If we all lived in some rural shack town in the Midwest, yes, we could probably afford a pretty nice fucking place. But in LA, we’re just scraping by like the rest of you! And many of us went to good film schools, which means we owe Sallie Mae a fuck-load of money every month.

    Personally, I live in a one-bedroom apartment with a view of an angry cat next door who likes to MEOW at me through the window like I just stole his mouse wife – but it doesn’t mean I can’t help you, your script, and your career.

    Everyone thinks it’s Los Angeles that’s superficial – and in some ways it is – but we don’t measure someone’s ability to help by what kind of house or car they have. And as soon as you forget about the MYTH of Hollywood and buy into the reality, the sooner you will be able to become one of us.

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