Since yesterday I quoted Pirates of the Caribbean co-screenwriter Ted Elliot, I thought today would be fitting to quote the other half of that writing team Terry Rossio. Elliot & Rossio’s fifth Pirates script Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tide will be released later this year. Rossio won an Oscar for co-writing Shrek (along with Elliot, Joe Stillman and Roger S.H. Schulman). Here’s part of the secret of his incredible 20 year run in Hollywood:
“We’ve never cared so much for dark, bleak, and cynical. Though the entire town here seems to think that’s what audiences want. And so dark, bleak and cynical screenplays get attention, and dark, bleak and cynical films get made. Fine. That leaves the top of the box office to us, and Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron, and David Koepp. What’s really going on is producers, writers, development executives, directors and actors are overly worried about looking not-cool. They fear ‘corny’ so profoundly they err on the side of long dark coats, neon lights, reflections in the water, smoke, blue lighting, black sunglasses, and sneering looks. They are so afraid of heartfelt they take refuge in dim and bleak and ugly. You’ve never seen anything as funny as a producer wax all excited about how they’re going to reinvent Superman, give him a costume of chain and black leather.”
That quote comes from the excellent website Wordplayer.com that was created by Rossio and Elliot to provide some of the best advise on screenwriting that you can find on the Internet.
And if you need something anti-dark, bleak and cynical today here’s Terry Rossio-related video for you: