Here we go again. Honestly, the last thing I need is to convince myself that the work I'm doing right now is any harder than it actually already feels (which believe me is like death), but this just seems to keep coming up in this case, when I was listening to the recent live ScriptNotes at the ArcLight in Hollywood, where host Craig Mazen (Identity Thief, Hangovers Pts II & III) and guest host Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas, The Wedding Date) had on Rob McElhenney (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and not to mention director of three Breaking Bad episodes, including "Ozymandias").
Rob: Yeah. I don’t even like writing. I hate writing. And if there’s any other writers in here, you guys know that writing is the worst.
Dana: It’s horrible.
Rob: It’s like the dumbest, dumbest job.
Craig: We’ve said it many times.
Dana: It’s like sad, and painful, and thankless.
Rian: Well, I mean, there are so many directors that I love, but writing, like you said, writing sucks, writing is terrible. I hate writing.
Craig: Welcome to Scriptnotes.
Rian: I feel like directing is the fun thing. No, writing you love writing
Craig: If I go through the pain of writing, then I want to direct it?
Audience Member: My question is for Rob. You mentioned that it took a lot of encouraging from I think you said your agent to get you to finally write something. And I was wondering what finally got you to do it, or now when you don’t want to write, or when it’s hard, because like you said it kind of sucks, what gets you to finally do it? What helps?
Rob: Desperation. I mean, because the truth is I hate it. If I didn’t make that clear. I hate it. It’s the worst. It’s the worst. The worst. And I wasn’t working. I was working in a restaurant. And I just got sick of it. So I started writing. And now I do it for money. And when there’s a deadline and I have to do it because we’re shooting. You know, and the truth is when I’m really – when we get into it and things are happening and things are moving forward, there’s not a greater feeling in the world, because as you know if you’re a writer, staring at a blank page or a blank computer screen is the absolute worst, but when you fill it up and when you read it back through, and you truly believe in your heart. And you know that it’s good, you created that.
And it’s the only art form in our industry where you create something from whole cloth. And what can be more satisfying than that? So I still fucking hate it, but I derive an incredible amount of pleasure from a finished project.
Craig: Got any advice for the blocked or the reticent?
Rian: No. I think that it’s, I don’t know, it sucks. There’s no cure for it. Except I find literally just switching and thinking about something else for a while or if you don’t have the luxury of doing that, yeah, then staring at the wallpaper until it starts peeling off.