Reinventing the Hollywood Wheel
I’m willing to wager a billion dollars (which I don’t have) that every idea in the “Terminator” or “Matrix” movies that Sophia Stewart claims to have thought up has a historical antecedent (“The Billion-Dollar Myth,” by Kemp Powers, July 31). The notion of our mundane existence being a dimly lit sham from which we could escape if we had just the right knowledge or stepped through the right mirror dates at least as far back as “The Wizard of Oz.” I realize that the focus of the article was the urban myth surrounding Stewart’s case, but with a little bit of effort, the author could have shown that perhaps Stewart doesn’t have both oars in the water--that she is, in fact, just another amateur writer who has reinvented the wheel.
Via the Internet
As a screenwriter who has had work produced, optioned and shelved, I think that Stewart’s story points to another problem: When people like her bring outrageous lawsuits against production companies, it makes producers very reticent to deal with new and emerging talent. Producers are afraid that if they even read a log line that has been e-mailed to them they will get sued. I think screenwriters need to learn that original ideas are only really original to them, and that the only thing new is them finding out about it.
As for Heather Robinson (“The Cyberschmoozer,” by Matthew Heller, July 31) “mining” contacts from AOL’s database . . . bravo! She found a door in this often closed system, and she pushed her way through. There is often talk of bigger entities who might recognize talent and give them a helping hand in their careers, but with people like Sophia Stewart around, this does nothing but close what few open doors there are. Thank goodness people like Robinson are bold enough to take chances.