So, you're a Hollywood screenwriter.
You have worked many years and developed your craft.
You have some excellent PRODUCED credits, including 'Tropic Thunder' and 'Catch Me If You Can'.
You are at the top of your game, and you have been hired onto the latest installment of a Hollywood film franchise that has grossed US$1.3 billion worldwide.
Your time to shine, right?
And then, there's a delay.
The film's star, Will Smith, is not happy with the script.
There's a further delay. Still no agreement.
Time passes in multitudes. What is going on?
Suddenly, a shadowy figure emerges in the distance. He's not on the project. But he is. But he's not.
Who is this Soccio?
He worked with Will Smith as a writer on 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air'? So?
And then, you realise. Will Smith has brought in this man. This Soccio.
A usurper! A new writer! What can he possibly contribute to the 'Men In Black' franchise?
Word reaches you. Soccio has worked with Smith for years in the shadows. Soccio is someone Will Smith brings onto projects to alter dialogue and make Smith's characters sound like 'Will Smith'.
Because, you sigh audibly, 'Will Smith' is a brand now. A brand that Will Smith, himself, protects.
And now, you have a question to answer.
Because, as the article says:
'But it's unlikely any of the other writers would care to make an issue of it. (After all, Koepp -- to give an example -- pulled down more than $250,000 a week for his services.)'
There's the line. You've worked hard for your craft. You are staring down a horribly delayed film, with a script in transit.
And you have been sideswiped, by Soccio.
But the money is SO good.
This is your trial as a screenwriter, perhaps as a human being. The question only you can answer.
Do you want to enrich yourself, or do you want to be the one with the real power?
The lame duck or the Screenwriter in Black?
That's your choice.
Welcome to Hollywood.
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