Film Courage: I almost picture it like the kid in class who finishes the test before everyone else and everyone looks around like ‘how did they finish that so fast?’
If we take that same analogy with a new writer who kind of says “I just want to get my work out there. I don’t really need all of these drafts. I know this is good.”
Wendy Kram, owner of LA4Hire: You know, it’s possible. Someone might be a savant of screenwriting and able to do it. Every great screenwriter that I’ve seen, the ones who get all of the awards, they always say that it’s taken them 30, 40 drafts.
There’s a top, top, one of the most powerful show runners in television history and she said (and this might be an obvious thing to say) but she says “A lot of people say they want my life, but they are not able to put in the hours and the blood, sweat and tears.”
I have another friend who is a top female show runner and I know the hours that she works and it’s not a 40-hour-a-week. Sometimes it’s an 80-hour-week. She loves her job and on weekends sometimes she’s there until Midnight on a Friday and Saturday working 8 to 12 hours and then the weekdays.
Like Mozart, I think he wrote his amazing compositions and he was somewhat of a savant. So I think it possible, but something that gets in the way…I understand the enthusiasm and excitement to want to get your script out there, but there can be either naivety or hubris.
And I’ve noticed that there are a lot times when the writer (and it could be the same with an actor) that they are more focused on the end results and I know for me (as the producer and the executive), I’m focused on the end result. There is nothing I want more than a movie to get made. It is the greatest high after you’ve gone through all this work and seeing it come to fruition and seeing the set designer create the sets and your actors actually performing the lines in the scenes.
But if you look at every wonderful writer, director, filmmaker, actor, the trajectory of their careers, they started out like doing little bit parts and movies that you never would have thought they would have ended up one day getting an Oscar.
So each step is a part of the process of the journey. I used to say whether it was someone like Kathryn Bigelow when she started out or Patty Jenkins (for example) when Patty did MONSTER and I think she’d gone to AFI, she just kept doing good work. These are people who just kept doing good work. I don’t think that Patty Jenkins thought when she was in AFI “Oh, I’m going to do an indie film called MONSTER.” And get an Oscar for the leading actress and then I’m going to do WONDER WOMAN, a superhero and be the first woman to break all box office records as the director.
Barry Jenkins (when he did MOONLIGHT), I don’t think he was doing it because he thought “Oh, I’m going to get an Oscar.” I think he was compelled to want to tell a story. And he told it beautifully and it affected and resonated with so many people.
So I think the most important thing for writers, directors, actors is to stay committed to the craft and just doing the best work that you can and surround yourself with people who give you really constructive feedback, even if it’s not always what you want to hear. But to be open to feedback that can be constructive and make you a better writer.
Film Courage: Do you think that’s a factor of age? Do you think young people really want to rush through it or it’s not about that, it can vary.
Wendy Kram: In my experience, it’s not about that. Because I know older writers who feel like time is not on their side. So they actually in some ways can be in more of a rush than younger writers.
Film Courage: When you see a writer whom you know has talent and you can see maybe it just needs a little more refining and you need to slow them down, what are some of the things that you do?…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
About Wendy Kram:
Seasoned Film and Television producer, Wendy Kram, created L.A. FOR HIRE, a consulting firm for production companies, writers, directors and anyone in media and PR seeking Hollywood connections and expertise on how to get their project to the next level.
With over fifteen years of experience in the entertainment industry, Wendy has supervised and produced a number of award-winning motion picture and television films for companies including: Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, Hearst Entertainment, Sandollar Productions, Granada Entertainment, CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, HBO, Showtime and Lifetime Networks. Credits include “Mad Money” with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, the award-winning miniseries, “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” with Sam Neill, and the romantic comedy, “Making Mr. Right” with Dean Caine for Lifetime Network. Wendy has a track record working with A-level talent, agents, filmmakers and executives.
As a native New Yorker who loves the city she grew up in, Wendy recognized a gap between many New York-based production companies and the Hollywood community. L.A. FOR HIRE was created to help fill this gap by providing a bridge between Hollywood’s key decision makers and companies in New York and other metropolitan cities around the globe.
Our clients come to us in order to help them navigate through the Hollywood system, where we provide insider knowledge and know-how that comes from our years of experience.