“Like every writer or almost every writer, who goes to Hollywood, I was convinced in the beginning that there must be some discoverable method of working in pictures which would not be completely stultifying to whatever creative talent one might happen to possess. But like others before me I discovered that this was a dream.
Too many people have too much to say about a writer’s work. It ceases to be his own. And after a while he ceases to care about it. He has brief enthusiasms, but they are destroyed before they can flower. People who can’t write tell him how to write. He meets clever and interesting people, and may even form lasting friendships, but all this is incidental to his proper business of writing.
The wise screenwriter is he who wears his second-best suit, artistically speaking, and doesn’t take things too much to heart. He should have a touch of cynicism, but only a touch. The complete cynic is as useless to Hollywood as he is to himself. He should do the best he can without straining at it. He should be scrupulously honest about his work but he should not expect scrupulous honesty in return. He won’t get it. And when he has had enough, he should say goodbye with a smile, because for all he knows he may want to go back.”