Film Courage: Have you ever given up on a script because you’ve lost interest?
Gary Goldstein: Here and there…you know I generally don’t start writing something unless I’ve done outlining and enough exploration of the idea to know it’s worth going to script. Particularly if I am writing somethings on spec, there are definitely things I’ve written on spec that…a few things I started and for some reason I’ve just sort of abandoned because I felt like I can go back and finish this sometime if I want to. But it’s not great enough, it’s not going to be unique enough, so it becomes a bit of an exercise. But by and large I’ve always tried not to start writing something unless it felt like something I was going to be able to finish or that it was really worth doing. It’s like reading a book. It’s like if I go to the trouble of starting to read a book, I might as well finish it, you know? But…unless an idea is terrible. We don’t always have great ideas. Sometimes there is just not enough there. But I usually can know that in the outline stage to save me the hardship of writing the script and having to sort of like squash it.
Film Courage: So what if you meet with writer who is new to the industry or baby writer (whatever you want to call them) and they just have a slew of unfinished scripts?
Gary Goldstein: Well there’s a reason you have a slew of unfinished scripts. Especially if you are starting off writing, you need one or two good solid finished scripts. So when I hear somebody has a slew of unfinished scripts, it means that they are not really picking and choosing their stories well. That they are not passionate enough about the story or they are cheating themselves out of what the story is about or they are just trying to write a thriller just because they think it is going to sell or something like that.
And a lot of people start writing without having the necessary tools. I think everybody thinks “You know, I can write.” But they don’t really understand structure. I’m not saying you have to take a course in it but you have to have done your homework in one way or another and understand how to tell a story cinematically or for television and not everybody has done that. Some people just jump in and they’re not really ready.
Question for the Viewers: How many unfinished scripts are you sitting on right now?
Gary Goldstein is an award winning writer for film, TV and the stage. He has written numerous films for Hallmark Channel and its sister network, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, including the comedies “The Wish List,” “Hitched for the Holidays,” “This Magic Moment” and “My Boyfriends’ Dogs,” and the first two films in the “Flower Shop Mystery” series: “Mum’s the Word” and “Snipped in the Bud,” starring Brooke Shields.
Gary’s feature film “Politics of Love,” a romantic comedy set during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, was released in theaters August 2011. He also wrote the feature romantic comedy, “If You Only Knew,” which starred Johnathon Schaech, Alison Eastwood and James LeGros.
In addition, Gary has sold or optioned a number of original screenplays, has a string of episodic TV credits and has sold half-hour comedy pilots to both NBC and Warner Bros Television.
On the L.A. stage, Gary has been represented with the comedies “Just Men,” “Parental Discretion” and “Three Grooms and a Bride.” His family drama “Curtain Call” premiered in late 2008 at Carmel, CA’s Pacific Repertory Theatre. His newest play, the three-sisters dramedy “April, May & June,” will have its World Premiere in March 2017 at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, as part of its 2016-17 subscription season.
Gary is also a freelance film reviewer and feature writer for the Los Angeles Times.