This post has been ‘haunting’ me for a while and I finally have time to exorcise, not to be confused with exercise because time is even more scarce for that. (I will say that a treadmill or walk around a lake is great for perfecting a pitch, but I digress).
Ghostwriting is most associated with memoirs, or other stories of fame that those who have achieved it have done so without the ability to put it down on the page. In fact, if you Google ghostwriting you get a barrage of pay per click ads for everything from a $10/hour freelance service to writers of attorney briefs (don’t get me started), but there are writers who have made a substantial living providing this service for those that have an amazing story to tell but don’t know the first place to start.
When I started this website, I immediately got frequent requests from people to help them with their life story. Mostly just regular Joes and Janes that felt that the World should know what had happened to them. Some I helped, some it was immediately evident that crazy stuff happened to them because they were indeed crazy, and some I found just needed a cathartic shoulder to type on. Which is where the concept for the STORY STUDIO came from, to help anyone at any stage in the process focus their story. And it is coming, I promise. I’ve been working on that in my sleep — the only real spare time I have — because why? I have somehow become a point person for ghostwriting screenplays.
But when people started questioning why I would consider writing a screenplay or treatment even as a ghostwriter, I admit for the first time, I paused.
Then I went back to work.
It’s not as if ghostwriting is spec writing — you get paid and paid well. The only thing you don’t get (immediately) is the stroke to the ego. Frankly, I’ve been surrounded by show business for a very long time, and I know we all put our pants on the same way. For me, I do so much consulting and judging on projects that I will never get a writing credit for, this is just more of the same. I write, if I’m not writing for someone else, I’m writing for myself. I know and love story, and I know how to translate words to imagery via any constraints, financial, production, or otherwise. And I get paid for that passion and knowledge. I don’t need a screen credit to validate what I do. The validation comes later, as I shall explain shortly.
If you don’t believe me, check out Andrew Crofts, he enjoys ghostwriting so much — he wrote an incredible book about it AND much of his text from the book was used in the novel THE GHOST.
In the past 4 months, I’ve been granted two amazing stories to put to screen, one from the Nobel family and the current one I’m on is a story that spans history and irony like Forrest Gump, only it’s true and more controversial and more universally appealing. These projects just came to me, I did not advertise that I was a ghostwriter, I’m a writer(.) Based on my documentary experience and flair for story and getting to pith of it, when it has to cover such large expanses on time — they came to me as a Karmic gift — and I have enjoyed the research and learning things I would have never bothered to know about our World as much as I enjoy writing a compelling story.
For a writer trying to break in, that wouldn’t mind a credit on screen or spine, I still insist that if you have the opportunity to ghostwrite for someone take it.
Because here’s the beautiful part, both of these projects have come back to me and said once they go into production they would abso-frickin’-lutely, give me credit. They could never in good conscience take credit for my dedicated, hard work. They just had material for a great story and had no idea how to get it out.
So there you have it, I believe in the ghosts of writing (and actually the other kind have made a good point more than once in my life too).
Stay tooned… there’s a whole lot of good stuff on the way in what I hope is shorter intervals.