A Good Script’s Journey to Being a Bad Movie

Our hero The Bitter Script Reader scores again:

by The Bitter Script Reader

L02A_Final Mechanical_Front SectionAbout a half-year into the life of this blog, I conducted an interview with screenwriter Dan Callahan.  With his writing partner Adam Ellison, Dan wrote a pretty good script called COLLEGE that got turned into a rather terrible movie.

I feel bad saying that, but Dan basically says as much over the course of this interview.  Rotten Tomatoes agrees, rating it at just 5%.  I’ve read the version of the script that sold, and while it’s probably not anything that would make the yearly Black List, it is a perfectly good teen comedy.  It was rather fascinating to read that draft and then see what resulted on-screen.  There’s a lot to be learned just through examining that development process.

Unfortunately I can’t provide a copy of that original draft, but I can provide the next best thing – an in-depth interview that covers everything about the script’s development and how certain plot points that once made sense became inexplicable on the journey to the big screen.  All is revealed in this five-part interview.

Part I – The Writing Process 

“There’s writing and there’s the business and they go hand in hand. The more professional your scripts look, the more seriously you’ll be taken as a writer. Reading scripts was the first thing that got me… before I ever wrote College, I had read a ton of scripts. Nowadays with the internet and having access to scripts online, there’s no reason someone can’t go and find scripts and read, look at it, and go get Final Draft…. Access to interviews of writers, and some of my favorite books are just interviews with writers and how they did it.”

Part II – Getting an Agent and Selling the Script

“She passed the script off to a colleague of hers at ICM… He read it on vacation and came back and was like, “I’ll take it out next week.” It literally was that quick. He read it. He knew what it was. He liked it. I don’t even remember if he had any notes. If he did, they were minor. Stuff we could fix in a week. He basically said, “Fix this. Get it ready. We’ll take it out next week.” 

Read it all