A Handy Guide To Everything A Screenwriter Should Not Say. Ever.

Yup. Everything not to say. All in one place.

I am well familiar with the work of William Nicholson (as are you) but I know nothing about the man outside of his work. I thought well, maybe the clickbaiters are taking quotes out of context to try and drive some traffic… But there was this:

“’12 Years a Slave’ came out in America and that sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available. They were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don’t think there was much left over to be nice about our film. So our film didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, which was a bit heartbreaking.

“We showed it to test audiences very extensively and it got astounding responses. These things are measured in percentages and it was in the high 90s every time. So, honestly, we thought we had a winner. And when it didn’t become a winner it was devastating, actually, it was very distressing.

“I really thought it was going to win lots of awards, partly because it’s a good story but also because I thought I’d done a really good job and the director had done a really good job. So it has been very tough for me. Some things work and some things don’t. You just have to soldier on.”

… Ummm. Yeah…

There’s more in the Hitfix article, but be warned- it’s more than a bit heartbreaking. I mean, where to begin…?

Comparing Mandela’s struggle to slavery in America is so… misguided is the word I’m going to use.  There are others. Even going so far as to imply that people would see 12 Years A Slave (or Mandela, for that matter) out of guilt? Or that one filmic struggle cancels out the other because they both involve “black people”. What? I’m amazed he didn’t drag Fruitvale Station into the discussion. But, hey, it didn’t steal his awards thunder, so I guess it further didn’t merit a mention.

Wow. I’d honestly like to break this down further, but it’s making me too sad. This cannot be diversity in 2014, folks. We have got to do better.

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How Your Writing Really Can Make a Difference

To be totally blunt, the suckiest thing about writing for a living is the lag time between finishing your work, and your work actually being done. You can feel, sometimes, like you`ve been sucked into a black hole made entirely of lag time. (And, let`s face it, I need something that`s going to help me use up all those excess holiday stamps and address labels…)

Of course, you already know that December 10th is International Human Rights Day. If you`re looking for a way for your writing to make a difference (or even a small way to pay tribute to the life of the great Nelson Mandela), get involved in the Amnesty International Write for Rights campaign. There are letters you can write, petitions you can sign and actions you can take alongside tens of thousands of others.

If ever you worry that your writing doesn`t reach the right people, this is one day it absolutely will.

(EDIT: The link above is to the Canadian site. If you`re looking to get involved in your region, go to Amnesty.org to sign up.)