If you want to write for film you 100% must read William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade. It's full of advice and plus it's a brilliantly written book on a subject you're interested in so you can't go wrong.
Even if you just have a passing interest in writing or films you will have probably heard Goldman's most famous phrase, which crops up in almost all articles on screenwriting nowadays to the point I've heard it too much. We all know that 'Nobody knows anything'. Stop reminding us because Goldman said it best.
What I'm going to concentrate on here is not that piece of advice but another of Goldman's which has been ringing true on a short film that we've been trying to cast for quite a while now. Although breakthroughs seem to be occurring with that project now.
So, to quote Goldman on stars, and I think this is true of all aspiring actors when casting a short film too, he says "Here is one of the basic lessons a screenwriter must learn and live with: Stars will not play weak and they will not play blemished, and you better know that now."
Did I listen? No.
I wrote a short film about a man who seeks therapy after becoming addicted to internet pornography, to mention anymore would be to spoil the story, but let's just say the lead remains flawed, suffering even more degradation throughout the script. But, I believe, as do others that have read the script or heard the idea, that it is seriously funny.
What has been funnier is some of the responses. No names mentioned, but here's some responses from actors upon reading the script.
"I've asked my family and friends and have to take the decision that this role would be harmful to my chances of more acting work."
"Sorry it's not for me at all. Bit disgusting."
"I think you may need a different kind of help than an actor. Maybe mental help?"
I'm not saying any of these opinions are wrong. In fact, I am in the wrong for not listening to William Goldman's advice. I just didn't consider that actors at this level will turn down roles for the same reasons that stars at the highest level will; to protect their image.
Hopefully now we are closing in on casting the film, for a while we did consider toning down the content, but have stuck to our guns and now have a few audition tapes to look at and consider our options.
The film is called I'm in Love, and I will do my best to keep you updated about it.