Why is this so off-putting to me? Is what my dad is doing wrong?

Jan 2022
1
0
MN
So here's the deal.

When I was a teenager I developed this dream of working as a screenwriter one day. I wanted (still do) to write movies and tell stories on the biggest stage. I was still in high school at the time and looked into film schools where I could study screenwriting. The best film schools in the world are (mostly) in California and as it so happened I got into a top film school in LA where I majored in film studies and minored in screenwriting. I learned a ton about film, but unfortunately I also had a very bad untreated mental illness for most of this time and for a time, I felt it was this mental illness that defined me and defined that period of my life.

Fast forward about 7-8 years and I'm in a place where I took care of my mental health issues in as thorough a manner as I could (and still do). I went to doctors and psychiatrists. I got medications and I took them. I went to weekly therapy for years. I reached a place where I looked back on my weird and unwell college years and I gave up the guilt and shame and desire for it to have been something else. I made as much peace with it as I could and I began to look forward and just move on. But it wasn't just me that had been affected. My family had been needed to get me back to health and I don't think they ever gave up the ghost of the pain I endured the same way I did.

I've been slowly but surely learning the craft of screenwriting since I became entranced by it at 17. My current screenwriting project, in my estimation, is as good a piece of writing as I could really hope to hold in my hands and say "Yeah, I wrote that." and be telling the truth. What this basically means (to me), is that the script is 'good' to the point where I could see it advancing my career in the form of a contest placement, agency or manager signing, leading to a writing assignment or job writing for a show...

I typically give my scripts to my dad for the first read with my thought being: 1)I know he's smart 2)I respect his sense of story 3)He is a professional who's feedback is likely to mirror that of online script-coverage services. Early this month I sent my dad the first 90 pages and he provided what I interpreted as his first genuinely (<--- key word) positive feedback on a piece of writing that substantial. I took this as a positive that was congruent with my own self evaluation that read this piece of writing as my best yet.

I wrote the final 30 pages and sent them back to my dad to see if he was similarly intrigued. He very unabashedly hated about half of it. This led to a conversation about his thoughts on the general quality of my writing and he seemed to not only double down on his thoughts about this latest 30 pages, but also go back on his thoughts about the first 90. In contrast to his last feedback, he indicated I've never handed him a script he thought could receive widespread positive feedback. And seemed to evade remembering his genuine positivity about the first 90 by explaining to me that he read it 3 weeks ago and who could remember what they thought about something they read that long ago.

My previous script placed in the quarterfinals of a mainstream contest (top 10%), and received multiple 'consider' ratings (generally though of as top 8-10%) and that's out of a handful of reviews. This is basically good but not great feedback. Still it's what motivated me to write this new script and I feel strongly this script is an improvement on what was good to begin with. Though I've learned to temper my expectations of feedback, I certainly would not be surprised to see further 'consider' ratings or contest placements into the top 5-10%.

I was using my dad as a sounding board for my scripts to try and get an accurate sense of feedback. But now it seems even when my writing improves meaningfully he can't find a way to get behind it. Though I've already gathered some legitimate proof that my writing is 'good' he seems convinced of the opposite. It seems he wants me to fail. Why? Regardless of what my dad thinks, I remain convinced of the positive step this script represents. It is very bothersome to me that he thinks otherwise. Why is that?

I was looking for a reason to keep moving forward and instead I get a reason to give up. What gives? Is my mistake assuming my dad knows what he's talking about?
 
Aug 2021
370
181
Texas, USA
How does your dad feel about you being a screenwriter? He may not support your career choice, not your ability. Consider using peer groups or writing groups for your feed back, you will probably get better results from other professional and amateur writers. At some point you will need to talk to your dad about what is going on. He may have just been having a bad day, he may be holding something from your past against you, he may not support your attemt to become a screen writer. Without talking to him heart to heart, you will never know, and he may not be honest and open with you anyway, but it is worth a try...
Congrats on your recovery, and good luck for your future,
Ivery
 
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Jul 2021
785
103
London
So here's the deal.

When I was a teenager I developed this dream of working as a screenwriter one day. I wanted (still do) to write movies and tell stories on the biggest stage. I was still in high school at the time and looked into film schools where I could study screenwriting. The best film schools in the world are (mostly) in California and as it so happened I got into a top film school in LA where I majored in film studies and minored in screenwriting. I learned a ton about film, but unfortunately I also had a very bad untreated mental illness for most of this time and for a time, I felt it was this mental illness that defined me and defined that period of my life.

Fast forward about 7-8 years and I'm in a place where I took care of my mental health issues in as thorough a manner as I could (and still do). I went to doctors and psychiatrists. I got medications and I took them. I went to weekly therapy for years. I reached a place where I looked back on my weird and unwell college years and I gave up the guilt and shame and desire for it to have been something else. I made as much peace with it as I could and I began to look forward and just move on. But it wasn't just me that had been affected. My family had been needed to get me back to health and I don't think they ever gave up the ghost of the pain I endured the same way I did.

I've been slowly but surely learning the craft of screenwriting since I became entranced by it at 17. My current screenwriting project, in my estimation, is as good a piece of writing as I could really hope to hold in my hands and say "Yeah, I wrote that." and be telling the truth. What this basically means (to me), is that the script is 'good' to the point where I could see it advancing my career in the form of a contest placement, agency or manager signing, leading to a writing assignment or job writing for a show...

I typically give my scripts to my dad for the first read with my thought being: 1)I know he's smart 2)I respect his sense of story 3)He is a professional who's feedback is likely to mirror that of online script-coverage services. Early this month I sent my dad the first 90 pages and he provided what I interpreted as his first genuinely (<--- key word) positive feedback on a piece of writing that substantial. I took this as a positive that was congruent with my own self evaluation that read this piece of writing as my best yet.

I wrote the final 30 pages and sent them back to my dad to see if he was similarly intrigued. He very unabashedly hated about half of it. This led to a conversation about his thoughts on the general quality of my writing and he seemed to not only double down on his thoughts about this latest 30 pages, but also go back on his thoughts about the first 90. In contrast to his last feedback, he indicated I've never handed him a script he thought could receive widespread positive feedback. And seemed to evade remembering his genuine positivity about the first 90 by explaining to me that he read it 3 weeks ago and who could remember what they thought about something they read that long ago.

My previous script placed in the quarterfinals of a mainstream contest (top 10%), and received multiple 'consider' ratings (generally though of as top 8-10%) and that's out of a handful of reviews. This is basically good but not great feedback. Still it's what motivated me to write this new script and I feel strongly this script is an improvement on what was good to begin with. Though I've learned to temper my expectations of feedback, I certainly would not be surprised to see further 'consider' ratings or contest placements into the top 5-10%.

I was using my dad as a sounding board for my scripts to try and get an accurate sense of feedback. But now it seems even when my writing improves meaningfully he can't find a way to get behind it. Though I've already gathered some legitimate proof that my writing is 'good' he seems convinced of the opposite. It seems he wants me to fail. Why? Regardless of what my dad thinks, I remain convinced of the positive step this script represents. It is very bothersome to me that he thinks otherwise. Why is that?

I was looking for a reason to keep moving forward and instead I get a reason to give up. What gives? Is my mistake assuming my dad knows what he's talking about?
If's good, I wanted to write a book with mine, but we are both busy. Have you thought of writing with him?