We’ve already discussed the struggle a screenwriter might encounter in the breakthrough process of their career. Let’s talk about what obstacles they must be ready to encounter while on the inside.
Avoiding accusations of plagiarism are difficult in this day and age. As of the day of this writing, Alfonso Cauron’s Gravity is currently in a bit of a pickle with Rizzoli & Isles writress, Terri Gerritsen. Whether of not the accusations stand to be true may never come to light but there will always be genuine, well-intentioned screenwriters, who attempted to create something new without the inspiration of someone else’s work, and still end up with other writers on their doorstep, hands out.
Another repercussion is the change of someone’s original vision without permission. Alexander Payne has been known to create authentic, grounded American dramas without the aid of alienating plot twists and unrealistic characters. That’s why it was so odd to see his name attached to “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, a film including “who-dropped-the-soap” jokes, Rob Schneider taking on the role of an Asian with broken English and several insincere attempts to douse homophobia. The reason: Adam Sandler rewrote it, uncredited, with Payne and his writing partner, Jim Taylor inheriting the blame for its stereotypical and offensive content.
Last but not least, we have unfinished/unsatisfying end products. Critics predicted World War Z would be the flop of 2013. Surprisingly, the film managed to make its money back by Summer’s end. One of the reasons it looked so determined to fail: a processed to death script. Adapted from Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z started out with J. Michael Straczynski, was then passed over to Matthew Michael Carnahan. Is the story over? No. Filming began and stakeholders determined they were not satisfied with the intended ending. The solution? To hire Prometheus writer, Damon Lindelof, asking him to concoct a new one. Certainly it has to stop here, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Damon Lindelof was too invested in other project to tighten up all the loose ends so the draft was then passed on to Cabin in the Woods penman, Drew Goddard. In all of this and more, the film made a drastic change in its intended message, tone and overall outcome.