“Somehow, some way, incredibly enough, good writing ultimately gets recognized. I don’t know how that happens but it does. If you’re really a good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you’ll write, and you’ll be read, and you’ll be produced somehow. It just works that way.”
Playwright/screenwriter Rod Serling (Requiem for a Heavyweight, Planet of the Apes)
1975 interview with Linda Brevelle
In the post Rod Serling’s Ohio Epiphany I wrote about the time when Serling was 27 or 28 years old and working as an advertising writer for a Cincinnati, Ohio television station. If you met Serling at that point in his life—when he was “making up testimonial letters”—you might not think he was destined for greatness as the creator of The Twilight Zone.
But if you happen to be writing screenplays in some unlikely place—in between “making up testimonial letter”—memorize Serling’s words, “Somehow, some way.” But that only happens when you’re cranking out scripts and sending them out—or making your own films.
That Ohio Epiphany post was written four years ago and in the comments section there was a reply by “Loyd” which I said at the time officially put him in the “Screenwriting from Iowa” Comment Hall of Fame. Loyd was Loyd Boldman and he died last month. I’d known him for probably 15 years and he was a true Renaissance man, and one of the most creative people I’d ever met.
He also happened to be from Cincinnati. I didn’t learn until Loyd’s memorial service that he inspired his younger brother Craig Boldman to became a cartoonist. Craig’s worked on the DC Comic’s Superman and Bazooka Joe.
Here’s Loyd’s comment written in 2010 after the Rod Serling’s Ohio Epiphany post:
“I remember Serling as a striking presence, a ghost that haunted each Twilight Zone episode. His wry sense of humor, rugged good looks and cool demeanor were an odd idea for the host of a fantasy/sci-fi series, but in a strange way, perfect.
When is the last time TV had a writer who could command such attention? Harlan Ellison has tried it and come close, but he lacks the temperament–you always feel his rage. Serling exuded a sense of control. Ellison is always one turn from flying off the rails.
Serling was a great moralistic writer, something he shared with Mark Twain, O. Henry and Nathaniel Hawthorn. Each Twilight Zone episode was a fable with a moral twist at the end. Serling also connected with so-called “common men” and understood their ambitions. He also had a hatred for the pettiness of small dictators clutching for power that always slips through their fingers.
The only name that even comes close to the output, consistency and supervisory skill that Serling demonstrated is Aaron Sorkin, who wrote The American President, A Few Good Men, The West Wing and Sports Night, and even the well-written but doomed Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sorkin lacks the range and imagination of Serling, however. In the arena that Serling created, he is still the champion.”
Writers Breaking In
Writers Not Breaking In (Part 1)
Writers Not Breaking In (Part 2)
The Myth of “Breaking-In” (Tip #58)
There are no rules, but… (Tip #93+)
Keep Your Head Down
Scott W. Smith
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