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My fellow writers,

In order to spark myself to get started on my current project, I scheduled a few days of writing with a veteran writer friend of mine - just to bounce ideas off of him and write in the same room. It helps that he's high up in a building, with a great view of the city.

He's a writer I respect immensely, not only because he has amazing talent, but because he applies it to every damn line he writes. He's worked for years now, and has created terrific projects because of it.

In my visit, we were working on our own respective projects, but there's something he said that I wanted to share with you. I've known it myself for a while, but I've never put it quite this way.

I'll paraphrase: In writing a project, he said, you want it to be something that some people will love, and some people will hate. Hopefully more people will love it than hate it, but the worst thing is just to create a script that everyone just likes. Because it's going to end up worse for you than if they actually hated it.

He continued, saying that is why you have to take lots of chances when you spec something - (and I know from the e-mails I get that most of the people who read this column are writing on spec). Make it distinctive. Make it your own thing.

It really rang true for me. Because in the past, I can think of two scripts of mine that a lot of people liked, and only a few loved or hated. I got lots of positive meetings, but neither script sold. And when I look back on them, that's basically the problem. They're solid in concept and execution, but they don't take a lot of chances, or at least not as many as they could. I made a few really strong fans and got some rewrite work from each of them, but there were way too many people who were just very positive and complimentary without ever committing to anything. On the other hand, another script of mine that takes more chances (and could even be considered controversial) got me full-blown jobs.

So if you're thinking of your next project or already working on it, keep this in mind - dare to take those chances. As my writer friend says -- better they hate it than like it.

Standing out,



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