Arrow Pounder

If you’re thinking of writing a screenplay or worse, carving out a career as a full-time screenwriter, you’re going to need an arrow pounder. Never heard “arrow pounder” amid such notions as “plot points” and “character arcs,” have you? Trust me every screenwriter needs an arrow pounder.

If you’re thinking of writing a screenplay or worse, carving out a career as a full-time screenwriter, you’re going to need an arrow pounder.

Never heard “arrow pounder” amid such notions as “plot points” and “character arcs,” have you? Trust me, every screenwriter needs an arrow pounder.

And here’s why ─ your screenplay isn’t selling and you’re in competition with 100,000 other writers, all vying for the gold ring as you clutch your wooden horse and ride the Hollywood merry-go-round.

Hollywood, a metaphor for dreams, reinvents itself every month and it’s harder to catch hold of than freefall Jello. The stuff that spills out of your fridge at 4 am when you grope for a shot of milk to wash down your antacids and valium.

Screenwriting is a punishing way to turn a buck and few people who write a screenplay ever get it read by the right buyer and even fewer of those writers have their opus produced and only a few of those are ever happy with what happened.

Oh, right we were talking about an arrow pounder. For that, you have to watch a Western.

Picture this:  The cowboys and Indians are fighting to the death and the savages have shot the hero square in the chest with an arrow.

Of course our hero doesn’t stop to think that maybe the savages are the cowboys who have just butchered a native village, raped and killed the women, rode over the papooses, and set the whole shebang on fire, after leaving some blankets behind, which were infected with small pox.

Nope, the hero doesn’t give two owl hoots about the evil he’s part of…he’s thinking that it’s damn inconvenient to have an arrow buried in his chest because that’s going to make it even more difficult to herd the next group of savages onto a reservation to be taught English and learn to deal with social workers who themselves could not survive more than seven minutes in the real wild west.

The one with bears that eat you.

The hero is also thinking about his fiancée who he has courted for five years and languishes now at Fort Whambang, waiting to marry him and surrender the pristine booty she has saved just for him for 27 long years.

Our hero frets that after the wedding it’s going to be a challenge to bone Mary Lou…what with an arrow embedded in his chest. The volcanic eruptions on the night of their honeymoon will surely play havoc with that arrow sprouting above his beating heart.

So our hero calls for an arrow pounder.arrow

You’d think you’d call for an arrow puller. You’d be wrong. If you pull the arrow out, don’t you see, you’ll yank out a good hunk of the hero who has already lost 15 or 20 quarts of blood. The arrow is designed to stick because of its shape. Not bad for a savage invention, huh?

Obviously you want the right kind of arrow pounder because unless he or she precisely strikes the shaft of the arrow, the impact will slam the jagged point through your heart.

The right touch enables the arrow pounder to miss your heart and the arrow will exit through your back…then the arrow pounder can break off the tip and yank it back through your festering wound so you won’t lose more than another few gallons of blood.

Later, you’ll kill more savages and then get married and on your honeymoon you’ll kind of be okay but you’ll have to lie on your back as your wound recovers and let Mary Lou do most of the heavy lifting. But don’t worry about that because most westerns are PG.

Obviously in the world of screenplays, an arrow pounder is someone who can save you, the hero (from rejection or development hell), by applying the perfect pressure to the way you’ve been shafted without causing devastating and terminal harm.

Meet Erik Bork, Hollwood’s golden arrow pounder, script consultant extraordinaire.

Erik Bork

His ideas and concepts will save five years of spinning your wheels in show biz trenches. Many of Erik’s ideas are free at his website. It’s a useful website with well thought out links where you’ll discover the latest loglines and insider news.

Erik charges for mentoring and consultations but he’s one of the few screenwriters with solid credits and the ability to nurture a writer and get him or her on track.

His fees are refreshingly reasonable since a lot of what he says can be seen on webinars. And he offers half an hour of free consulting. I kid you not, here’s his email:

I could explain Erik’s theories but he does it better on his website.

His Ten Key Principles are amazing. They are free and right on the button.

Erik hit a brief, cold spot and taught to keep food on the table for his family. Now he’s up to his ears teaching and churning out spec scripts ─ that from all reports are hot properties.

Erik’s proud of his contributions on the HBO miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS and FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON. He won two Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards for writing and producing them.

Have a look at his website. Ignore his wisdom at your own peril.

By the way, is that an arrow protruding from your chest or did you just have lunch with your agent?

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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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