Like Fine Wine

10 Mar

Ageism for writers is a fact of life in Hollywood – I don’t even think the practice is derided. The old writers who protest ageism run the risk of looking even more marginal than they already are. I can see them now – old guys out on the sidewalk, getting dizzy in the sun, chanting and waving protest signs. From what I hear it’s worse for older television writers who are trying to get staff positions on a show. They have to sit in a room with a bunch of twenty year olds. I can imagine the lines being drawn the first day, when some old guy looks clueless as two young writers discuss MP-3s.

It’s less critical for feature film writers. With us, it’s either on the page or it isn’t.

The dicey moment for us is when we meet creative execs for the first time, after they’ve read our script and liked it. We come in for a meeting and even though we write to the moment, we’re twenty years older than the guy behind the desk. What is he thinking? That we’re the same age as his father, as his professor in school? Will he know how to laugh with us? Will he be uncomfortable telling us what needs to be changed? For some of these guys it might be impossible to feel solidarity with writers that much older than them.

I think when you’re pushing 50 and you’re standing behind your spec script, you better be twice as good as the young Turks who are hanging out at Hollywood clubs and parties with young development executives, experiencing together and for the first time such things as being out in the real world, unrequited love or that lost weekend in Vegas.

Things they’re never going to experience with older writers.



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