Quentin Tarantino's script leak: Film-makers should worry more about their thieving friends than their obsessive fans

It has always baffled me that some fans are so keen for advanced material

Share

Who is the biggest enemy of film-makers and writers? Their thieving, online-sharing enthusiasts, according to the usual narrative. Sticky-fingered fans won’t hesitate to pirate work and share it. As a consequence, writers are earning peanuts, films aren’t making back their cost, and the cultural end of days is nigh.

Fans have even been blamed for their excessive enthusiasm influencing the creator: is it Steven Moffat’s fault that the last series of Sherlock wasn’t up to scratch? Nope, it was those pesky fans again, liking his show too much and somehow therefore encouraging him to focus too much on the nerds and not enough on the mass audience.

But, as Quentin Tarantino has discovered, it’s your friends you should be worrying about, more than your fans. The director has this week announced that he is – for now – scrapping work on The Hateful Eight, a Western whose first-draft script has been leaked by an acting agent. Tarantino declared himself too depressed to continue with the project in the short-term.

While there will doubtless be people accusing him of diva-dom, it’s a perfectly understandable reaction. Rewriting is the hardest part of writing but also the most satisfying. There is a succession of tiny eureka moments where one problem  after another is resolved and improved. Having people read a first draft is like having them eat uncooked dough instead of bread, and then telling you they think it’s a little under-baked. Your work is being judged on its unfinished state, and for a writer to reclaim the enthusiasm needed for fixing mistakes (when they’ve already been seen and discussed by all) is a very tough ask.

Tarantino has stopped just short of naming who he believes to be the guilty party but remarked that he gave the script to three actors, one of whom has the leaky agent. Tim Roth is apparently in the clear, which must come as a relief to his management. So although those too-keen fans might be at fault for reading the leaked script, they didn’t start this. As other writers have found before, it is often the industry people who can’t be trusted.

Stephanie Meyer found herself in a similar position to Tarantino a few years ago, when an early draft of one of the Twilight books was – again – leaked by someone she knew. It wasn’t a crack team of Edward-loving teens who swiped her manuscript, but someone she had trusted to read the 12-chapter chunk for professional reasons. She found herself too saddened by the leak to continue working on it. You may think the world a better place with less angsty Twilight in it, and I wouldn’t disagree. But the point is that her enthusiasm for the work was destroyed, at least for the past five years, because the story was seen too soon.

Industry leaks have always occurred: JK Rowling’s law firm was responsible for the highest-profile one last year. But, vexed as Rowling was by the revelation of her nom de plume, it didn’t stop her from writing another book as Robert Galbraith. The loss of anonymity was frustrating, but at least the work remained in her control, even if the secret did not. The moment where we – the readers – saw the book was still decided by her.

It has always baffled me that some fans are so keen for advance material (scripts, photos from the set, plot-twists) as though the true sign of fandom is to know everything about a film or book before actually seeing it, thus ruining all chances of being surprised by a work the first time you see it – one of life’s tiny, perfect delights. But these fans couldn’t get the material they crave if the insiders didn’t leak the stuff in the first place. This week, a man was hauled out of a cinema in Ohio for wearing Google glasses (which can record film, though they were switched off and acting as mere prescription lenses). He was rightly annoyed to be treated as a potential criminal. The film industry shouldn’t be frog-marching its customers out of screenings; it should be checking its own attitude to copyright and confidentiality.

There’s a hefty price to pay for marital bliss

I have been in America this week, to give a talk on Classics and discover what cold weather really feels like. As always, I am intrigued by the shift in focus that happens when I visit. I could have gone another 20 years in Britain without knowing about change-of-heart insurance. But one brief trip Stateside and I now know you can be insured against being left at the altar. Sure, your heart will still be smashed into a thousand shards,  but on the plus side, you will get the money back  for the cake. 

 An average wedding in the US (I now know) costs about $30,000, which is serious money and, I presume, a sizeable cake. And, as one insurer pointed out, you wouldn’t buy a $10,000 ring without insurance (she’s right there: I wouldn’t buy a $10,000 ring at all).

So why take the risk on a whole wedding, when you might end up with a broken heart and a broken bank? At least this way, you’ll be writhing in pain while filling in a claim form.

I see the practicalities  of this argument but can’t help thinking that the solution is simpler than it looks: have a cheaper wedding, or live in sin. No insurance necessary.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Police officers attempt to stop illegal migrants from jumping onto trucks headed for Britain in the northeastern French port of Calais on October 29, 2014  

Tighter security in Calais won’t solve the problem

Nigel Morris
 

Football needs its Martin Luther moment, and soon

Boyd Tonkin
US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines