Check Your Ego: Getting Paid a Living Wage to Write Movies Is a Blessing.

CJ Walley
4 min readSep 21, 2019
Photo by izayah ramos on Unsplash

So, this may come across a little ranty because it’s something I want to get off my chest. Just know that it comes from a place of love and empathy.

My need to say this has come from what’s actually a wonderful forum thread I stumbled upon about script listing websites and recommendations. I was delighted, and a little moved, to see my own free site, Script Revolution listed along with the pay to play sites Black List and InkTip with a bunch of positive success stories surrounding it. After three years struggling to get the site off the ground, I have to admit I got a little misty-eyed.

However, since I am a defensive pessimist, I of course had to find something in there to find a beef with and this beef has been brewing for a long time.

Whenever the conversation comes up about script listing websites, someone always feels the need to mention that some sites, usually InkTip but this certainly should include my own, only tend to attract small production companies that produce very low budget films. Now, that is a true fact, one I cannot argue with, and I see the value in making screenwriters aware of that. I’ve nothing against someone making that observation.

What frustrates me though is the stigma.

I mean, I get it, everybody wants to win the Powerball by selling a spec script to a major studio after a furious bidding war, have that script decimate the box office, secure a top agent, and spend their lives getting paid handsomely to write what they want while being hand fed olives in hot tub by nymphomaniac underwear models. In fact, in any industry, getting to the most comfortable and rewarding place possible is always going to appeal.

What I find odd is, how in the screenwriting world, it feels like anything less than that is seen as some sort of embarrassing failure.

Look, I recently broke in via a small project for a small production company and, I can assure you, it’s been bloody brilliant. I say that as someone who’s spent most of their life working freelance from home and, for some of those years, done very well out of it. That’s been sweet but it pales in comparison to getting paid to write, even if those earnings aren’t going to change your…

CJ Walley

Screenwriter | Film Producer | Founder of Script Revolution & Rebelle Rouser | Author of Turn & Burn