Inside the development process

The Bitter Script Reader gives us the inside dope about how one production company works. Knowledge is power, so enjoy the feeling:


by the Bitter Script Reader

I think that every blogger who’s out there anonymously has to be aware in the back of his mind that the day will come that their identity is known.  From the beginning, I’ve been cognizant of not putting something out there that I’d be afraid to stand behind one day.  Obviously there are plenty of employers who don’t look kindly at all on the idea of their subordinates running a blog and that’s the main reason I’ve hidden behind this pseudonym.  I didn’t want there to be one day where the mere existence of this site would be an obstacle to getting a job.

Because of this, I’ve generally refrained from the sort of gossipy stories that frequently dominate these kinds of insider blogs.  Yes, it would be fun to talk about how an agent was a dick to me, or how some assistants need to be stabbed in the front for their treachery, but at some point, the information will be out there to allow people to connect the dots on what stories match with which people, and I don’t want to put something out there that will embarrass anyone.

This has forced me to be extra vague when discussing the particulars of my employers, past and present.  I’ve long wanted to go a little more in-depth on how certain movies got made, but that often entails discussing failures as well as successes.  I’m leery of that because it’s one thing for me to write a review saying why I disliked THE PURGE. It’s quite another for a former boss to read an underling’s diatribe about why a movie they had a relationship with sucked.  So try to be understanding that I’m not particular to whip a deceased equine, even if I’m not naming the specific film.

I want to discuss a little bit about what goes on in production companies.  When I go onto other screenwriting sites, I see a lot of people who’ve never gotten near L.A. speaking with seemingly great authority about how Hollywood works.  I hear them talk about “Hollywood” as if it was one monolithic collective – usually with zero insight or self-awareness of their own workings.  Some of these bitter types even act as if Hollywood deliberately is trying to piss them off with what they do.  I don’t think it’s helpful or accurate to let these misconceptions stand, and so I’m going to try to peel back the curtain a bit by using one of my employers as an example.

Let’s call this company “Miracle Pictures,” and we’ll say the CEO is “Roger Bergman.”  I’m going to draw on my pre-recession experience with them, because this came at a time when the company was successful enough that few decisions were made out of fear.  Pre-strike, pre-recession, it was a different place and I think there’s something to be gained from examining what people choose to make when their jobs aren’t riding on their next film.

Miracle Pictures output could generally be spilt among four different buckets.

The Passion Project That Was Also a Prestige Picture
If it was a Harrison Ford movie it would be: Regarding Henry, Sabrina, The Devil’s Own, Extraordinary Measures

There’s a reason I’m bringing this division up first – to show that Roger Bergman always put his heart and his passion behind a story that meant something to him.  I won’t claim to have loved all of these films.  Indeed, they didn’t speak to me as a young man in my mid-twenties, and to be honest, the young ladies in the office didn’t really relate to them either.

Read it all