The Golden West: Hollywood Stories, by Daniel Fuchs

Critics and bystanders who concern themselves with the plight of the Hollywood screenwriter don’t know the real grief that goes with the job. The worst is the dreariness in the dead sunny afternoons when you consider the misses, the scripts you’ve labored on and had high hopes for and that wind up on the shelf, when you think of the mountains of failed screenplays on the shelf at the different movie companies…

brother, I hear you, but also c’mon, it beats working for a living.

An old-timer in the business, a sweet soul of other days, drops into my room. “Don’t be upset,” he says, seeing my face. “They’re not shooting the picture tomorrow. Something will turn up. You’ll revise.” I ask him what in his opinion there is to write, what does he think will make a good picture. He casts back in his mind to ancient successes, on Broadway and on film, and tries to help me out. “Well, to me, for an example – now this might sometimes come in handy – it’s when a person is trying to do something to another person, and the second fellow all the time is trying to do it to him, and they both of them don’t know.” Another man has once told me the secret of motion picture construction: “A good story, for the houses, it’s when the ticket buyer, if he should walk into the theater in the middle of the picture – he shouldn’t get confused but know pretty soon what’s going on.” “The highest form of art is a man and a woman dancing together,” still a third man has told me.



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