Why 9 Screenwriters Failed by Corey Mandell - Watch the video interview on Youtube here...
Film Courage: Corey, from your time in film school and also having writinginstructors speak with you when you were a college student, did you feel embraced or discouraged? Something like what I heard in an old Ray Bradbury interview where he advised a lot of people not to take writing classes because he felt they [the students] were always discouraged in the class. How did you feel as a student?
Corey Mandell: As a student, really encouraged.
Film Courage: Did you? Okay.
Corey Mandell: But that is actually why I would…have people think twice before taking those classes because there is fixed mindset encouragement and there is growth mindset encouragement. The very first teacher that I…let me step back. A lot of teachers that I know have a philosophy that the more you write, the better you will become. And so their job is to encourage writers. And you are going to point out things they are not doing right. You are going to criticize but you always couch that with three compliments, you know? Like the sugar with the medicine.
“So my experience (for the most part) in film school was very gentle. Everyone came in and told us “You can make this. You can do this. You’re amazing.” And in my class there were 12 of us. 3 of us went on to have careers and 9 didn’t. And one thing that the 3 of us had in common, we weren’t smart than…I certainly wasn’t smart than some of the others or a lot of the others. We didn’t work harder…”
Film Courage: [Laughs] Sure.
Corey Mandell: Ultimately, at the end of the day, your job is to make these people feel like they can do this, that they have what it takes. And that will keep them writing and the more they write, they better they will become. And I don’t do that as a teacher for a variety of reasons. First (as I said) I think most writers when they first start writing, they see significant improvement. Because when we first start writing, we make lots of really dumb mistakes that we don’t know. We don’t know what we don’t know. So if you are somewhat open to feedback and criticism, you’re trying to get better and you have really smart (or reasonably smart people) in your life and giving you feedback, I do think people start to make a really good improvement then they’ll hit a plateau that they will stay on forever. And that plateau is the more they write, the higher the pile of some early flawed scripts are. Because if they have intuitive weaknesses or conceptual weaknesses, you can keep writing as much as you want and you’re going to keep making those mistakes...(watch the video on Youtube here).