Poor As Poor

By Leroy James King · April 15, 2010

So I have my big rewrite meeting on Friday, regarding that first rewrite I finished up last week. I’m equal parts nervous, excited, and apathetic. Explanations:

NervousI’ve never revised someone else’s scriptfor money – only broad shot lists and treatments. So if they don’t dig my rewrite, I’m afraid I’m not going to get paid either fairly, if at all. And who’s to say that they’ll even own up to the fact that they like it? For all I know they’ll say that they hate just to screw me out of payment, even thought I’m somewhat “close” with the director. But if I’ve learned anything from Hollywood it’s that NOTHING IS SACRED, especially relationships. Plus, again, I failed to bring up a specific rate for myself to begin with. So yeah…

ExcitedWho knows – this could be my big “in.” Lets say they love the fucking thing; based on the conversation I already had with the director (mind you, before I accepted the gig) he’s prepared to fight to have my name on the script. And based on research I’ve done, I should be getting paid no less than $5K for the one script revision (and that’s a low ballfigure). This. Could. Be. It. The REAL beginning of a career.

ApatheticI kind of figure the reception of the rewrite is gonna be in the vein of, “Hey! Good job!…” And that’s that. I also figure that I will get screwed out of payment, but big surprise, right? I don’t think they’ll straight up NOT PAY ME, just that they’ll definitely low ball the hell out of me… say, instead of 5K, the all too vomit inducing figure of… 5…H? Wouldn’t be surprised. But hell, I’m broke as shit anyway, so 5H will still help… kind of.

Regardless of what happens, I’ve yet to really start in on the next rewrite. I guess this is mostly because I wanted to get feedback on this one first, seeing as it’s coming from the same dudes. But tonight I’m going to start tearing it apart. I mean, what else am I gonna do? Work on my own script? Nah, that would be way too intrinsically fulfilling. Might as well dilly dally and refine this other mess for what I’m starting to refer to as “Maybe Money.”

“Maybe Money” is torturous in the same way that debt is torturous. It hangs over your head, putting you on edge, making you wonder, “how the hell did I get into this mess in the first place?” I’m beginning to wonder if it’s too late for a career change – that I’ve possibly wrapped myself up in a delusion of what seems like work, but the delusion is really just repetitive wastes of time. I’ve never been this destitute before. And I think it’s making me develop a potent, omnipresent feeling of “I’m fucked… but who cares?”

And this brings me to a very important point. Don’t get cynical, and don’t think nobody cares about you. These 2 things combined will be the unpoetic knife in your heart if you indulge them too often. Remember – you’re a writer. When was the last time you heard about a writer who had any success without a period of severe struggle or pain or destitution? Yes, maybe there have been some, but that’s besides the point.

Dear God,

Let me get paid. And let me continue to write for a “living.” Oh shit, that was cynical, sorry God.

And let me to continue to write for a living. Amen.


I think I’m losing it a little these days. I’m doing really good work… but when is the compensation going to match? I feel like a Farm Animal without farm right now. Shit.