Happy New Year! First, I want to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog. For those perhaps expecting my ten best-written movies of the year, this is not that post. I’ll do that next week. I’m planning to spend some time this weekend catching up on the awards season contenders, so I’ll have a more complete group of candidates from which to select my best.
Today I’m going to look back at the year in this blog. There are several topics that I regularly cover here:
Obviously, the craft of screenwriting is a big subject for me. In 2013 I wrote about craft topics like Setting the Scene, Writing True Stories When We Know the Ending, and Do You Need This Scene?
I also often talk about the business of screenwriting in such posts as What Does a Million Dollar Spec Sale Really Mean? Because of the publication of The Hollywood Pitching Bible, I wrote a lot about pitching this year, with posts like How to Get Buyers Emotionally Involved in Your Pitch and Different Pitches for Different Situations.
I have done interviews in the past. This year the only interview I did was with Ken Aguado, the producer with whom I co-wrote The Hollywood Pitching Bible. Maybe it’s time to plan some new interviews.
I also occasionally reviewed screenwriting books and answered reader questions in mailbag posts. This year I did not do much film analysis – maybe I’ll have to put that on the agenda for early 2014.
If there are things you would like me to cover, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. I don’t promise I’ll write about anything I don’t feel like – I’m offering this for free after all – but I like the blog to be useful.
Blogger allows me to see how many views each post gets. The range is fascinating. Of course, over time posts build up views, so the more recent ones have a pretty low count. (Is it arrogant to do a “best of” list of one’s own stuff? Probably.) Anyway, looking back, here are the top five most popular posts from this blog in 2013 by views:
1. Help! My Screenplay is Too Short – Apparently, writing too short is a common problem!
2. Six Techniques to Build Suspense in a Scene – this is one of my personal favorite posts of the year.
3. Structure vs. Formula – Want page views? Engage in a controversial viral debate!
4. Help! My Screenplay is Too Long – Again, length seems to be a big issue for screenwriters.
5. Hollywood Etiquette for Screenwriters – I like to do posts where I can reveal something I wish I’d known about the business when I was starting out.
Interestingly, many of my more business-oriented posts have the least views. Apparently writers are more concerned about writing well than selling what they write. I guess that’s natural, but it surprises me a little because it seems like the latter information is harder to come by.
2013 also had a sad note within my career – the passing of my long-time agent and friend Lew Weitzman this summer. It seems only appropriate that I close out the year with a little memorial to him. Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook page:
My long time agent Lew Weitzman has passed away. Lew was an old school guy, from the days before managers and email who valued phone and face-to-face interaction with his clients. Every few months he would say, "Come by the agency, I'll buy you a turkey sandwich" - whether I was earning for him or not. He was also a master teller of bad jokes. One of his favorites was, "It's so hot today I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking." He was a fierce defender of writers. I once went into a meeting with a producer who was late on paying me and the producer said, "You don't have to worry about whether Lew has your back - he just ripped me a new one. We'll have a check cut ASAP." Any time someone asked me to do work for free, Lew would say, "Someone needs to tell them Lincoln freed the slaves." Then he would take care of it. If we hadn't talked for a few weeks I'd get a phone call. He would say, "Just wanted to make sure you were breathing okay." Breathing just fine, Lew. I'll miss you.
To all my readers: Happy New Year, and best of luck with your writing in 2014!