The War of Attrition


In the final paragraph of her introduction to her book Is There Life After Film School: In Depth Advice from Industry Insiders, Julie MacLusky writes:

“When I set out to conduct these interviews, I wondered if those who succeed have any personal qualities in common, or particular routes to success. I found that they did share a realistic idea of the business they were getting into, which was married to a fierce determination. They were also prepared to do their time in lower paid jobs and earn their experience the hard way. And finally they were prepared to keep going when others might have chosen to give up. Screenwriter Peter Dowling told me he believes success is down to a war of attrition. Thus, if you graduate from a class of thirty-two screenwriters, and five years later only two of you are still writing, your odds will be greatly improved by the reduction in competition.”

One dictionary defines “attrition” as a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death. Another word that comes to my mind is cutthroat.

Peter A. Dowling shares writing credits with Billy Ray on Flightplan (2005), a Hitchcockian thriller starring Jodie Foster. Is There Life After Film School? was published in 2003 by Continuum.

Julie MacLusky is Assistant Professor of Screenwriting at Chapman University. Several of her short stories have been published in anthologies, and she has also written and produced documentaries for BBC Radio.

Contiune to part 2.