When Your Movie Sucks: Conan the Barbarian's Screenwriter Tells Us How He Feels

#Film

Sat, Aug 27th, 2011 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Sean Hood, the screenwriter for the recent incarnation of Conan The Barbarian, shares in this article on Quora, his devastation when a film he has worked hard on flops miserably. But his advice is incredibly optimistic: failures are part of life; just never give up.

The Friday night of the release is like the Tuesday night of an election. "Exit polls" are taken of people leaving the theater, and estimated box office numbers start leaking out in the afternoon, like early ballot returns. You are glued to your computer, clicking wildly over websites, chatting nonstop with peers, and calling anyone and everyone to find out what they've heard. Have any numbers come back yet? That's when your stomach starts to drop.

By about 9 PM its clear when your "candidate" has lost by a startlingly wide margin, more than you or even the most pessimistic political observers could have predicted. With a movie its much the same: trade magazines like Variety and Hollywood Reporter call the weekend winners and losers based on projections. That's when the reality of the loss sinks in, and you don't sleep the rest of the night.

For the next couple of days, you walk in a daze, and your friends and family offer kind words, but mostly avoid the subject. Since you had planned (ardently believed, despite it all) that success would propel you to new appointments and opportunities, you find yourself at a loss about what to do next. It can all seem very grim.

You make light of it, of course. You joke and shrug. But the blow to your ego and reputation can't be brushed off. Reviewers, even when they were positive, mocked Conan The Barbarian for its lack of story, lack of characterization, and lack of wit. This doesn't speak well of the screenwriting -- and any filmmaker who tells you s/he "doesn't read reviews" just doesn't want to admit how much they sting.

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