LEW: What is a screenwriter? Somewhere between the pulsating
pentameters of a poet and the humdrum hindsight of a historian, there
lives a curious and wondrous creature known as a screenwriter.
Working screenwriters can be found at Vegas, the racetrack, the tennis
courts, their favorite bars; nonworking screenwriters, same or at the
A writer would rather smoke, eat, drink, play golf, crochet, fix the
toaster, or even make love to their mate than face what comes after fade
in. A writer thinks he or she can act better than an actor, direct better
than a director, produce better than a producer, but the butcher, the
mailman, and the rotten kid next door each knows he or she can write
better than the writer. A writer can write comedy when he or she is
heartbroken and tragedy when he or she is happy. Some writers, like
Stirling Silliphant and Calder Willingham, have elaborate names. Other
writers are called Mel, Jane, Lew, or insert yours here.
Writers win Writers Guild Awards and Oscars and Emmys for their
writing achievements, and yet, all a writer really does is rearrange the
words in the dictionary. The most handsome star, the most beautiful
lady, must wait in the wings while a scrawny or pudgy man or woman,
with or without glasses, stares at a blank screen or piece of paper and
slowly, laboriously dreams them into bed with each other.