Friday, November 25, 2005

Unadulterated and uninhibited praise please!

Here is a funny and painfully accurate extract from Rob Long's new book - Set Up, Joke, Set Up, Joke:

When a writer gives you his script to read, he usually says something totally dishonest like, 'Hey, let me know what you really think, okay?'. In other words, he wants you to be honest. He can take it, he says. 'I know there's some rough spots in the seond act, he may say, 'so just give me your honest opinion.'

There is, though, only one response that he will find acceptable. He wants you to read his script in a kind of rapture, laughing yourself in tears at the right spots, emitting low moans of pleasure or surprise here or there, until you finally wipe the mist from your eyes, hold the script in your breast, look at him with awe and gratitude and a dash of what-a-terrible-burden-such-insight-must-be pity, and say in a low, quavery voice, 'This is one of the greatest scripts I have ever read. It is absolutely perfect.'

Anything short of that - anything even a fraction short of that - will be a crushing disappointment. The writer will say something like, 'You hate it, don't you?' And you will say something like, 'No, no! I love it! But you're right about the second act. But I love it!'
The writer will respond with: 'You hate the second act?' I thought that was the best part.'
And you will counter with : 'I like the second act. But it's just a little slow'.
Writer: 'Why are you trying to destroy me?'
You: 'I'm just being constructive.'
Writer: 'You call that constructive?'
You: 'What do you want me to say? That this is one of the greatest scripts I've ever read? That it's absolutely perfect?'
Writer: 'Yes!'
You: 'I thought you wanted an honest opinion'.
Write: 'I want that to be your honest opinion.'