Now that I’ve had a day to process the Academy Awards – as a writer, and also as a life lesson, the one thing that stood out from Graham Moore’s acceptance speech for his screenplay was not the obvious ‘dare to be different’ assertion, but to write your passion project — which might be another way of saying it.
No matter what anybody says, “Write what you want to see!” as Robert Towne inspired us to do several years ago at the WGA 101 Best Screenplay Awards.
I immediately glommed onto it then and use it as the cornerstone for my own writing and teaching every day. I made it the theme of my book on writing a pilot, “Automatic Pilot”, which in itself is my UCLA workshop on steroids where I encourage writers to ‘write what they want to see’.
That’s the best chance we have to enjoy the anxiety provoking process and also stand out from the pack.
So, Graham’s agent-manager, whoever he or she was, who begged him not to write ‘The Imitation Game’ is a wall we often confront. It takes courage and determination, let’s call it stubbornness, to go against it. But Graham did – and so did many of the other nominated and honored writers – whether they won or not – they defied the advice of the brain trust. Those ‘in the know’.
Mr. Moore, to add to your Oscar I award you the ‘Billy’ – you stand as a role model to me – a prime example of what can happen when you follow your passion. And to the Producers who gambled on his passion and went along with him – you reap the rewards as well you should. There should be more of you…Moore is more!