Writing Matters

Boy did the Tigers look bad last night. I think I’ll follow my grandmother’s advice and choose to remain silent on this subject since I have nothing good to say about them.


There was an interesting article in the October 16 issue of The New Yorker about how some people have come up with a computer program that can predict whether or not a movie will be a box office hit. (Yeah, that issue came out awhile ago, but if you’re on my mailing list, read the email I sent out today and you’ll know why I’m behind.) So what did these guys who developed this computer program conclude?

That stars didn’t matter, that the director didn’t matter, and that all that mattered was story—and, by the way, that you understood story the way the people on the inside, people who had spent a lifetime in the motion-picture business, didn’t.

Basically, their argument is that if you have a good story that people can relate to, a lot of the other details don’t matter. Though I don’t fully agree with this, it goes to show how important the story is. Too often Hollywood bigwigs think that a big name star or special effects can compensate for a bad screenplay.

The truth is storytelling and the ability to write matters and is a big reason why many of the movies (and television shows such as LOST) are successful. Unfortunately, it’s often the part of the whole movie making process that is often overlooked or rushed. Why spend decent time and money on a story when you can have Brad Pitt or Uma Thurman make the money instead. If only studios paid more attention to their writers, they might end up with more hits.