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DEVELOPMENT HELL

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You are reviled by studio types, directors, and producers. You are cheated out of money, credit, and human dignity. But you love every minute of it because ! you’ve learned the twisted truth: You don’t make it as a cool, big-time screenwriter until you’ve been screwed over big time. Welcome to Development Hell, the waiting room between those who are on the outside looking in and those who are on the inside laughing. Take the case of Screenwriter X, a 28-year-old woman who got her first job writing a screenplay in the ”fantasy” genre. Her fatal mistake? She agreed to work in 20-page increments, which she would then hand in to the director and producers for comments. ”They were all involved,” says X, who was forced to spend her Thanksgiving vacation working at the director’s country house. ”I was even getting notes from the producer’s girlfriend.” It got better. One day, when X went to the producers’ office to deliver her pages, she innocently picked up a script lying on a desk-and found that another writer had been hired to rewrite her pages as soon as she turned them in. ”Out here,” says the weary, battle-scarred X, ”paranoia is a very healthy thing to have.” P.S.: Since that incident, she has sold two screenplays. Now what she really wants to do is direct.

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