Following is a reprint of an actual online interaction from a website, which shall remain nameless here, along with user I.D.’s having been changed, to protect the identities of those involved:
(01.) “Final Draft”
screenwriting @ 2003-06-22 21:30:00
“This is my first post to this group. My name is [PIRATE] and i’m writing, directing and starring in my first feature based on some short stories that i’ve written at [PIRATE’S URL]. Anyway i’m still in the scriptwriting phase and its killing me…I know Final Draft is a big time saver…
“I tried to install a copy my friend sent to me but i need the customer number from the registration card and he can’t find it…if i get someone else’s customer number, will that work or is is specific to this disc? Is it worth it to find someone else with a copy of it already? I can’t afford the $200 to buy the software… i need help.”
(02.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (01.)
BY: [WRITER RESPONDS] 2003-06-22 18:37
“My response to this is, bad idea. Pay your own way, and/or figure out alternatives to the software until you do.
“You can learn screenwriting formats and write your own in a Word document, for instance.
“As an aside, someone asked Michael Crichton what advice he would give to other writers, just starting out or in the midst of that. Crichton says, ‘the best advice I can give anyone is to stop asking for advice.’
“Best advice I’ve ever heard. Anywhere, from anyone.
“Part of any work, professional task and practice, is learning to pay your own way. So, start now.”
(03.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (02.)
BY: [PIRATE] 2003-06-22 18:47
“sorry but i think that’s bullshit. Nobody gets anywhere without help from others. Michael Chricton can be a pretentious asshole sometimes.
“but thanks for your ‘advice’. LOL…i’m opting to keep asking… “
(04.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (03.)
BY: [WRITER RESPONDING] 2003-06-22 18:55
“Do whatever you want.
“But, learning from those who have mastered a craft you’re interested in learning to master yourself, is pretty much what everyone who’s now mastered the craft, has done, and continues to do.
“Find your own path, though, yes. But, I don’t think Crichton’s ‘a pretentious asshole’ — far from it.
“And, the software is written and licensed because someone else who worked successfully, is asking to be paid for their work, and for others to respect their authorship.
“Which is a big aspect to becoming a successful author, by the way.
“And, which are the points I was making earlier.
(05.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (04.)
BY: [PIRATE] 2003-06-22 19:30
“i understand your point about authorship…tho i’m sure the makers of Final Draft are living quite well…
“when you’re broke, you do what you can to survive…if i had the $200, i’d buy it. but i don’t, so i’m not.
“i really don’t wanna get into an argument about principles and such. its evident that mine are slightly different than yours… and that’s cool”
(06.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (04.)
BY: [ANOTHER PIRATE] 2003-06-22 19:34
“‘But, learning from those who have mastered a craft you’re interested in learning to master yourself, is pretty much what everyone who’s now mastered the craft, has done, and continues to do.’
“uh, wouldn’t that fall under the same category as, say, taking ‘advice’?
“you sound like an idiot, though that’s to be expected from someone who would model his career views on a watered-down and generic author like crichton. plus, the girl was asking for help regarding software, not on how to write a good story. there’s a big difference, and as peers, we should be helping and encouraging eachother to get our stuff out there rather than try to make someone feel stupid for being broke and wanting to pirate structuring software (which i’m assuming that is.)”
(07.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (06.)
BY: [WRITER RESPONDING] 2003-06-22 20:12
“I can tell by how you’ve retaliated to and about someone who’s innocently stopped by and tried to help you out, that, what you don’t need is anyone trying to interact with you, to help you out.
“Which is unfortunate, but tends to prove out what Crichton was saying, in that sage advice of his.
“I didn’t write to you out of idleness nor in any state of negativity or hostility, but in kindness and in an effort to help. It’s extremely unfortunate that you cannot perceive these qualities, which, too, are from a sense of community of one writer ATTEMPTING to assist another.
“Which the creators of Final Draft, are, by the way: other authors. If you could recognize that fact, you might not be soliciting someone to ‘help’ you rip them off.
“Anyway, that’s about it, from me, as to you. Good luck.”
(08.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (07.)
BY: [PIRATE — FIRST ONE] 2003-06-22 20:50
“i appreciate your attempt to help me but it felt like you were attacking me…so that’s why i responded in that way…
NOTE: User [WRITER RESPONDING] begins to consider that Users [PIRATE ONE] and [PIRATE TWO] may be THE SAME PIRATE using two distinct I.D.s
(09.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (08.)
BY: [WRITER RESPONDING] 2003-06-23 16:52
“No ‘attack,’ none whatsoever. Just trying to respond with sincerity to your issue(s).
“The pejoratives used on the thread, however, indicate ‘attack’ mode, by whomever/whichever in previous commments TO mine, not from me to either.
“I’m just offering the best advice, as a working writer, that I can: everyone has to figure out, for themselves, how to do what. Because, at the end of it, it’s an individual, alone at a keyboard, who does or does not, write original content.
“It’s never too early to adopt professional standards, and, as to copyright protections for software and other original works, that’s why we have lawyers, unions and guilds in the arts: to protect original content.
“The standard formatting for screenwriting can be easily learned from a number of readily available texts, and although Final Draft (and ‘Movie Magic’ software, too) provide excellent time saving helps (I use both, and both are well worth the money that they require for them), but, for anyone who wants to write a script, you can with a word processing program.
“Some of the best screenplays were written both in longhand on a yellow legal pad and with manual typewriters (Ed Cannell still uses his electric Smith Corona to write his content), and, there are many commercial facilities that specialize in typing and formatting notes, either long hand or typewritten.
“So, focus on the script, the work itself, and then acquire whatever software you think will make your work easier, when you can pay for it yourself. Which is a good standard to learn, and learn at the beginning.
(10.) Re: “welcome” Responding to Previous Comments # (09.)
BY: [PIRATE, THIRD I.D.] 2003-06-22 22:10
“Anyway i’m still in the scriptwriting phase and its killing me…I know Final Draft is a big time saver.
“I tried to install a copy my friend sent to me but i need the customer number from the registration card and he can’t find it…if i get someone else’s customer number, will that work or is is specific to this disc? Is it worth it to find someone else with a copy of it already? I can’t afford the $200 to buy the software… i need help
“I haven’t yet bought it, though I intend to, and I know there are pirated copies to use, but if you lose information, something screws up, and you have no backup, then you have serious problems.
“Rather than focusing on the software (despite what we might like, it won’t write the scripts for us) what about tutorials on what areas you’re having trouble with your script.
“Is it plot, characters, page formatting, or adapting from your stories that is the most problematic? (sorry, it’s late, I haven’t looked at the links, don’t have time).”
(11.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (10.) (“welcome”)
BY: [PIRATE, FIRST I.D.] 2003-06-23 07:56
“i guess as a first time scriptwriter, i’m having the most trouble coming up with interesting dialogue. i just think what i’m writing sounds so cheesy and bland. But its the first draft..whatever”
(12.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (11.), “flame retardant”
BY: [YET ANOTHER PIRATE] 2003-06-23 02:58
“You can get Final Draft v5 from KaZaa. Paying hundreds of dollars for a word processing program is unjustified. Alternatively you can make a document in MS Word and Save the appropriate TABS. Type in Courier font and bingo.
“P.S. Don’t take any advice that has Michael Crichton involved…That’s like taking music advice from Michael Bolton.
(13.) Re: Response to Previous Comments # (12.) (“flame retardant”)
BY: [PIRATE, FIRST I.D.] 2003-06-23 05:57
“Thank you so much!”
ED. SUMMARY:So, it’s the “ethics be damned” crowd [PIRATEs ONE, TWO and THREE] — “my theft is justified because I want (it)” immaturity of the criminal mind at work, denigrating good, sound advice because it rocks-the-vote of the ethics-be-damned (and bad) “writers” group. Who, I note, can’t even engage in a civil, constructive conversation without cursing solutions and avoiding alternatives to bad ethics (imagine the swiftness of people coming up with the resources necessary to pay their own way instead, too easy when you’re determined to steal instead). I would loathe to see just what they “write” elsewhere under guise of “being creative.” If online admissions were graded as work, this crowd denigrating the ethical solutions offered to them would get an “F”. And get kicked out of any credible educational program (academic dishonesty, for starters).
As can be read in that interaction, Users [PIRATE ONE], [PIRATE TWO] and [PIRATE THREE] agree that pirating is meritorious, that successful writers *who do write dialogue all by themselves* — *and who almost surely are buying their own utilities themselves by legitimate means* — are to be dismissed. Conclusion is that, to these PIRATEs in this conversation, pirating is a means in and of itself, to pirate instead of academic and ethical understandings is the goal. And that anyone suggesting otherwise is “attacking” them — the “attack” is bad, the pirating is not, from what I’ve read there: in other words, bad ethics devoting a good deal of negative energy to rationalizing more bad ethics while attacking the good ethics or reasonable solution/s.
(14.) Re: Response to Previous Comments #(12.) (“flame retardant”)
BY: [WRITER RESPONDING] 2003-06-23 16:55
“The attitudes you’ve expressed are exactly the reason that some artists press for legislation to protect copyrights.
“I’d have said earlier that Micheal Crichton would probably be willing to donate the resources to help out a few eager writers, but, now I think he’d just laugh about the idea.
“Corruption’s just a start of the process of writing badly. The rest is up to you.
“I hold Michael Crichton in great respect and regard, but have little of either for pirates, in general, where original content is concerned — theft of any sort, for that matter — but theft of creative content is particularly loathsome.
“Something about that has a royal read, after wading through the pond of pirates on the above, copied interaction. As anyone who knows King’s literary and personal stories is aware, King’s often ridiculed, as Crichton was, by various pirates in the conversation reproduced above, but King does write books, as does Crichton, that keep me turning the pages until the flight is over, the day is done and/or the night becomes day.”
Perhaps the moral of the story is that, bad ethics lead to bad writing, or, perhaps, are the theoretical equivalent of a cart before a horse, and which horse isn’t interested in staring down a moving cart, or, something close to that.
Either way, the cart may roll down a hill, the horse may, but probably won’t, follow the cart, and I doubt that the cart will get up the hill after the downride, without the horse to take it upward. Trying to explain the sense of the wheel itself, to someone sitting in a cart without a wheel is like trying to explain what rolling is. Much less, what the theoretical horse is and what it can do for you.