Can A Screenwriter Who Hates Writing Be Successful? by Peter Russell

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: Peter when we first met you (I believe it was 2014 in the summer time), so it’s almost been four years now exactly and we heard from you (in this interview) and it’s done incredibly well (as all of your’s have) but this I’d love to play it for you if you don’t mind?

Peter Russell, screenwriter and script doctor: Sure.

Film Courage: And we have a great clip to play, so here we go.

[Peter Russell from our first interview in 2014 at Story Expo entitled I Don’t Enjoy Writing Screenplays]

“That I’m no good at it. The reason that I’m a teacher and a consultant and a story doctor is that my big secret is that I don’t enjoy writing screenplays. I tried for awhile to do it, it’s not my thing. If poetry paid, I’d be in the chips because I’m a poet because that is what I love to write and I also like to write novels.

But years ago the reason I became what I am is because years ago I failed to complete a screenplay. It got huge interest and I realized at the end of it was I don’t like this form, it’s just not for me. I love analyzing it, I love understanding how it works, I love helping other people do it but I don’t enjoy sitting down and writing a screenplay form, it’s not my thing.”

Film Courage: Okay, great. So that was four years ago. And what I’ve found from an email from you is that you’ve actually completed an historical TV series?

Peter: Yeah and I still hate writing.

Film Courage: Okay, so nothing has changed.

Peter: I’m always going to hate it. I was just telling Suzy yesterday “God, I hate this!” But I’ll tell you yes, I’ve had some success and what’s great about that is…here’s the really great thing, when you’re a teacher you don’t really know for sure…my stuff actually helps, actually turns out to work. The stuff I’ve been teaching actually has helped me which is a huge relief because when you’re a teacher you are often up there and it’s easy to pontificate “Oh do this and try this tool.” Some of my tools were terrible, but a lot of them actually worked. But I still hate writing and that’s always probably going to be the case and I think maybe there are some writers who don’t hate writing, they just love it. “Oh, I can’t wait to get to the desk.” But I’m always going to loathe it. I guess I’m good enough at it to get paid and so I’ll do it. It’s actually fun to get paid. And it’s fun to know that your stuff is actually going to be out there. But yeah I’ll tell you something else I’ve been consulting and ghost writing and story doctoring and teaching for 20 years.

And I quit writing, I quit the whole idea that I was going to write at least 6 times “Screw this!” And I meant it. “This is terrible, it’s awful. I’m never going to succeed and I stopped.” And I stopped for at least a couple of years. And I did that several times because the process of writing is so excruciating I think for me and other people…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Watch the video interview on Youtube here






Advertisement – contains affiliate links


See it on Kickstarter here – The Last White Man is a feature film produced and written by Dean Tatulli and Mark L. Mazzeo. It is a dark satire/thriller with a focus on race, identity, and social politics in modern day America. Karl Gordon, an underemployed pizza delivery boy works in his quiet suburban hometown where romantic, professional, and social failures fuel his hatred for the changing world around him, setting him on a course that can only lead to carnage. The Last White Man is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter.


THE LAST WHITE MAN is a satirical look at how a misguided obsession with victim status can lead to violence.