I see a lot of adverts on websites like mandy.com requesting screenplays. I read them with optimism. Go back to them looking for a glimmer of possibility. But ultimately rejecting them as more trouble than they’re worth. Am I cutting my nose off to spite my face? I don’t know. I do know the promised credit. Festival submission. And copy of the film. Is not enough. If you want my work. I want to be paid. Even for a short. Getting paid means they take my work seriously. I am also a little suspicious of would-be directors who have no writing skill. Because it seems to me. If they have no writing skill. Then they have no understanding of how hard it is to actually write something. So no respect for the pages given to them. How do I know this? Because every time I have given a director one of my screenplays. They have requested changes. Massive changes. That change the story. As if I hadn’t thought about every aspect of the story. Every word on the page. And made a concious decision to write the story that way. It seems to me the directors job is to tell the story. As written. Not the other way round. Perhaps I will regret writing this. Because it will no doubt alienate potential collaborators. But that is what I am looking for. Collaborators. People who respect what I have done. Enough to tell the story. As written. Especially when requesting speculative screenplays. The posters of these adverts could write the screenplays themselves. That’s why I started writing. I had stories I wanted to direct. Failing that. If they have stories they want to tell. And are unable to put it on paper. They could hire me to write it for them.
You may have noticed that the previous post is very similar to a post I made back in October. I had to give someone a five hundred word example of my writing. I didn’t have one. So I went back to a previous post. And took another pass at it. I felt like the proverbial dog returning to its vomit. But why? I am very used to rewriting. Don’t they say “writing is rewriting”? I do numerous drafts of a screenplay. So why did this fell so different. Perhaps because I have made the changes in public? Or is it as the proverb concludes. So a fool repeats his folly.
I see the MiddleClass as psychopaths. When you say the word psychopath. Images of axe wielding homicidal maniacs come to mind. But the truth is considerably less histrionic. And comes in the form of the compulsive liar who always gets what they want. The social butterfly who leaves a whirlwind of destruction in their wake. Or the “interspecies predator” who controls others to satisfy their own selfish needs.
I have always been suspicious of the MiddleClass. Never really able to understand their demeanor. But when I came across Dr. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist. While researching on my first screenplay. It all fell into place.
The checklist is the psycho-diagnostic tool most commonly used to assess psychopaths. It is a clinical rating scale of twenty items.
- Glibness/superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self-worth
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Shallow affect
- Callous/lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioural control
- Promiscuous sexual behaviour
- Lack of realistic long-term goals
- Juvenile delinquency
- Early behaviour problems
- Revocation of conditional release
- Many short-term marital relationships
- Criminal versatility
When completed. The test subject is scored anywhere between “0” and “40”. The prototypical psychopath scores the maximum “40”. A score above “30” diagnoses the subject as psychopathic. I see scores above “30” manifest all the time in the attitudes and behavior of the MiddleClass. Individual members may not be psychopathic. But as a class it’s a different story. Take that core member of the MiddleClass. Bankers. I’d score their behavior as follows.
- Glibness/superficial charm (2)
- Grandiose sense of self-worth (2)
- Pathological lying (2)
- Cunning/manipulative (2)
- Lack of remorse or guilt (2)
- Shallow affect (2)
- Callous/lack of empathy (2)
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions (2)
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (2)
- Parasitic lifestyle (2)
- Poor behavioural control (2)
- Promiscuous sexual behaviour (2)
- Lack of realistic long-term goals (2)
- Impulsivity (2)
- Irresponsibility (2)
- Juvenile delinquency (1)
- Early behaviour problems (1)
- Revocation of conditional release (2)
- Many short-term marital relationships (0)
- Criminal versatility (2)
That’s a Checklist score of “36”. They should be banged up. But they’re not. They’re allowed go about their business. In the name of the free market. And a profit.
I see scores above “30” in the well dressed politician who demonstrates a complete lack of empathy by admonishing the long term unemployed. There in the grandiose sense of self-worth innate in parents who set up a school for their children. And there in the bankers who fail to accept responsibility for the whirlwind of destruction they left in their wake.
I have no idea what to do with this insight. But there is some small satisfaction in being able to j’accuse. “It’s ‘cause you’re psychopaths!”