I implore any prospective or fledgling screenwriters out there to see the new documentary Tales from the Script. And afterward, if you still feel like attempting to break into that highly competitive and rarely rewarding side of the movie business, then it's possible this is indeed the right dream and career for you. As Taxi Driver and Raging Bull scribe Paul Schrader says in the film, "if you can be happy doing anything else, do that."

Tales from the Script is basically just a supplement to the recently published book of the same name by Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman (or vice versa, the book can be seen as the companion piece to the film). Hanson also directed the documentary, which features interviews with a number of celebrated screenwriters, including Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) and William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), as well as lesser-knowns like low-budget action scribe Michael January (CIA II: Target Alexa), Golden Age Oscar-winner Melville Shavelson (Houseboat) and My Favorite Year screenwriter Dennis Palumbo, who ultimately quit the field and became a psychotherapist.

Palumbo may be the only one who quit, but at times the other talking heads in the film seem to be on the verge of doing the same. Honestly, the whole point of the film appears to be a response to a statement from John Carpenter, who was one of Hanson and Herman's first interviews. He says that "if you knew what was gonna come, you wouldn't do it." Well, kids, here's what terrible things came with the careers of your favorite screenwriters: starvation on the way to success, starvation after success, lack of respect, lack of control, lack of credit, unwanted credit and disheartening interactions with anyone from Uwe Boll to Steven Spielberg.
categories Columns, Cinematical