Respecting Writers

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Craig: I have just general umbrage for the world of speeches that don’t acknowledge the writer. I think everyone’s speech should thank the writer. And why? Because we are first. You cannot figure out how to costume the actors if the writer hasn’t created the character, including very often the setting, the time period, what they kind of dress like, what they look like. You can’t do anything — you can’t find a location, you can’t produce a set, you can’t light it, you can’t shoot it, you can’t act it, you can’t cut it, the sounds. Every single person’s job is touched by the writer, every single one. The writer should be the first person they’re all thanking.

And it makes me crazy, crazy that at the very least the people who are speaking the words that the writer wrote specifically aren’t thanking us, but frankly I think the writer should be thanked by everyone. Everyone. I can’t help but feel that the writers aren’t being thanked because our existence somehow makes people feel insecure about what they’ve accomplished. And I want to just give everyone a big hug and say stop that. Stop it.

I don’t feel diminished by the fact that somebody had to perform this character. I can’t do it. I can’t do that. I don’t even know what lights, I don’t know how the lights work. They talk about these lights and I go, “Oh my god, it’s freaking wizardry that they know that you’re supposed to put a filter in a thing and put a light there instead of here.” I don’t understand any of it. And I’m okay with that. I love and respect everything that people do to make a movie happen. Why is it that other people should feel insecure and diminished by what we do?

Is it because we’re first? Is it because the screenplay has primacy? Maybe so. I will say this: the process for an Oscar-winning movie ends at the Oscars. And at the end of that process people get up and they accept awards for their role in making a movie. But you know how the process begins? We can’t pay a dollar to make a movie until we get a good script in.

“Well, we’re not going to be able to get a director unless we get a good script. Well, we can’t get an actor unless we get a good script.” And what are the actors, and the directors, and the financiers all say, “Well, it’s all about the script.” They’ll just say that. They will say it casually at the beginning of the process, verbatim. It’s all about the script. They say it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, because it is. And then at the end of the process the script is gone. The writer is gone. And that has to stop.

How was that?

John: There was some umbrage there. I would want to also just have a discussion about what you may say up at the podium. And I think there’s basically two tracks you can choose when you’re up there accepting an award. If you are going to talk about how grateful you are for this journey, you’re going to thank the people who gave you the award. You’re going to say something about what it means, or something about sort of an aspiring message. I think that’s an absolutely valid choice. And I think you can go down that route and then take your statue and start to walk the wrong way off the stage and then get redirected and head the right way off the stage, like everyone does. and that’s absolutely great and fine.

But I think the moment you mention any filmmaker by name, anybody who was a part of making this film by name, you mention the director, you mention the producers, you mention this. That’s when you have to mention the writer. So, you can go two different paths and I think they’re both okay — mentioning none of the actual creative team. Fine. Mentioning the creative team. Great. But if you’re going to mention the creative team you have to include the writer, otherwise you’re just a dick and don’t be a dick.

Craig: Well said. And with much greater calm.

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