Here’s an interesting point of discussion in the screenwriting community: would you share your scripts publicly?
I had a conversation via Twitter with a fellow screenwriter recently who, when I suggested I might share some work I’ve done up on the blog, warned me away from it. Two years down the road, he said, I’d cringe at what I’d posted, and what if that was someone’s first introduction to my work? Which was a fair point, and one the larger community seems very convinced by.
But, to be honest, I’ve been screenwriting under a pseudonym for seven years now. I’ve taken the good and the bad in stride. And I’m not terribly afraid that Joss Whedon is gonna stumble upon The Diversionist and read half of a pilot script from an unsold writer. I also have enough concrete evidence, in the form of awards and reactions from professors and industry types, that I have no reason to be embarrassed by my work. I’m not the second coming, but I have enough evidence to know I’m not flailing around producing terrible work.
Particularly when it’s posted with a disclaimer that it’s incomplete or in progress. Who would even open the PDF? Not someone who could make or break my career, likely.
There’s another good point, which is, you don’t want to undercut the potential of a sale later on by shooting yourself in the foot. After all, I read an earlier version of Rockne O’Bannon’s Cultfrom years back, and now I’m really hesitant to watch the show because it was terrible. Which, fair point. I’ve been very stringent about not publicly posting much about the projects I specifically want to make something out of. It’s why y’all have never seen a page of The Inhuman Condition or Timeless, for example.
But I also think there’s immense value in sharing and discussing our work without fear or, and I feel like this is a big one, shame. We need to be able to own both our successes and failures, and be willing to an open conversation about them. I’ve posted my work publicly here a few times, not only by making the connection between myself and my pseudonym explicit (opening up the chance for readers to look at stuff from when I was sixteen, god forbid!), but in the blog itself. We did this a lot at MZPtv over the years, and I learned so much, and met so many friends whose styles I know as intimately as my own, now.
So when I’ve got something like Darken House, which is experimental, which is budgetary prohibitive for real life, and is already posted under my pseudonym elsewhere… why not? Or when I’ve got a pilot like The World’s End, where I’m proud of some elements even as I know I’ll probably never finish it… why not? Nobody’s going to steal it, and I honestly don’t think having it out there in the universe is going to be a detriment to my career. And if gives readers a taste of my style so they can decide whether or not these ‘insights’ I impart are bullshit or not.
Folks, what do you think? Good idea or terrible? And, from a reader’s perspective, would you want me to keep posting things?