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COUNTERPUNCH LETTERS : Story Analyst Fights Back

October 16, 1995

While I've resisted adding my 2 cents to the self-righteous war between screenwriters and readers that's been conducted so amusingly in these pages, Mike Weir's crack about "a reader at every Starbucks . . . " is the last straw ("Writers Best Avoid Reader Pool," Calendar, Oct. 9). As a longtime free-lance reader, it distresses me to think that the cliche of the laptop-toting would-be screenwriter frequenting every other table at every L.A. coffeehouse has been replaced by that of the no-talent story analyst, apparently bent on vindictively thwarting the prospects of deserving screenplays all over town. If readers are really proliferating so visibly, it could only be due to the escalating ranks of locals who believe that while novel writing is a true calling, anyone can write a screenplay.

The stereotype of story analysts as bitter hacks affords disappointed screenwriters a convenient scapegoat when their work is rejected. But I like to think I speak for most readers when I say (as someone with no ambition at all to write a screenplay) that encountering a good piece of work is easily the chief reward of our low-paid job. Far from wanting to find fault with a screenplay, I approach each script with the high hope of being moved, entertained and transported by good storytelling. I'm as bummed as anyone when the script turns out to be an incoherent piece of nonsense.

JOANNE WOLF

Venice

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