Or the ability to control the distribution of this movie?
If I am the movie’s distributor, I need a contract. I need to write it. I need to do everything on time, and I need it in motion. I need a schedule in which if the movie goes over, I get paid for it. How far does it go? How fast does it go? How is it marketed to the public? How is the audience’s perception of it? How is it marketed so a small-time independent filmmaker who is just starting can make this movie? I need contracts; I need a budget.
When I was working as a production assistant on the movie, I wrote and created some new contracts. When you take the scripts out of a script book, it gets messy. It’s a hard thing to explain to people. But if I had to go into the contract to explain the money, I would never get to the point where I could read a script, find out who wrote it, and then say, “I’m not going to do this now,” because it would just take me a long time to figure out what’s in my contract and what they want me to do with it.
The film’s script is full of dialogue that is written as an outline, but then you don’t know when a character or dialogue is going to be spoken, so you need to go back and rewrite it. Every single script is a different style of rewriting.
How have you managed to be one of the highest-paid screenwriters?
I am a good writer, but not a great one. I do that because people believe in me. They’ve seen my script. They’ve seen my work. At the end of the day, if I can get it on the screen, that means the producer, if there’s one, was impressed by it.
I think it’s more important if people believe in the material. That is, if I can read something on the page, whether it’s a movie script or a story idea or something on your brain, I know it’s good. If I know it, I know what my life has been up until now, and it’s important that it has led me there. If I can read that and say it makes sense to me, if I have a sense of it myself before I saw any other way or any other way than what’s in the script — if it’s going to lead me to a place where I want to follow it