September 30, 2009
Screenwriter, Diablo Cody
Hollywood scribe, Diablo Cody (Juno) is on a roller coaster. Her heavily hyped new horror movie, Jennifer’s Body (starring Megan Fox) bombed at the box office but her edgy sit-com The United States of Tara pulled an upset at the Emmy Awards, as actress, Toni Collette beat Tina Fey for lead actress in a comedy.
Why do we care? Well, we don’t. But Miss Cody wrote a column for Entertainment Weekly (10-2-09) dealing with her highs and lows that does interest me.
Cody’s Hollywood resembles Ad Land in so many ways. After creating work for difficult clients, it is then subjected to marketplace whims and awards show politics…
Like her, we may act indifferent to it but criticism takes a toll. How could it not? Between the many clients, consumers, trade press, blogs and award shows our work is scrutinized more than a pig at an airport! Insecurity is inevitable. So is arrogance, denial and jealousy. Under such pressures many of us succumb to our defects.
I’ve talked about this before on Gods before and will do so again. But what struck me most keenly about Diablo Cody’s article was her treatise on the creative process, the part that makes it all worthwhile. After swooning over her movie’s bad press she gets back to work:
“I poured myself the first of many glasses of wine and headed into (my partner’s) breezy, bohemian office. As we eased into the rewrite, I found myself getting lost in the sheer pleasure of creation. It felt good. I’d forgotten that the process is always more enjoyable than the result. Ad-libbing scenes with a friend beats the crap out of suffering through a test screening or paging through reviews.”
I would also add the tremendous sense of purpose that creating something brings. I am never more engaged than when I am writing. Never.
Something else she wrote: The process is always more enjoyable than the result.
This is a big and controversial truth and one, I believe, that is at the crux of why creatives and suits are often at odds. The former likes the creative process, while the latter only cares about its outcome. Consider how frustrating the following question is to both parties: “How’s it going?” We want the creative process to last forever. They wanted it done yesterday.