Resident Weirdos of the Screenwriting Community

I was a member of an online screenwriting community for many years. We’ll call it Scripts OnLine, or SOL for short (yes, I’m disguising the name; don’t bother looking it up). From 2005 until about 2013, I was one of the top 20 posters on the site, which consisted of a forum where writers can post their screenplays and receive feedback from other board members. For the most part, this is a great resource and I met a lot of wonderful people here.

However, despite this generally positive experience, I have had no desire whatsoever to make a return to SOL, or any screenwriting community for that matter. The problem is always in the people, where a few rotten eggs can spoil the omelet for everyone. From an overly-lenient webmaster to disgusting senior members who would flat-out humiliate other writers in a public forum — and routinely got away with it. Why would I want to be part of that?

Here are some of the most notable rotten eggs from my time on the boards.

The Webmaster

First and foremost, the Webmaster was a nice guy. Perhaps a little too nice. While he would moderate arguments and even temporarily suspend people for being excessively vulgar, he generally subscribed to a philosophy of absolute free speech. This meant that the same handful of bullies (named below) would regularly humiliate and run people off of SOL without any significant repercussions. Tons of people ditched SOL over the years because of these individuals, and nothing was ever done about it because the Webmaster “didn’t believe in censorship of any kind,” if you actually want to call it that.

Those were his words, not mine.

The problem is that these bullies would regularly take advantage of the Webmaster’s good nature and abuse their status as powerhouse posters on the discussion board. Fights would regularly break out and “constructive criticism” of a script would turn into a dogpile of public humiliation for the writer. This went on for years until the Webmaster finally worked up the nerve to permanently ban these people.


Zit was probably the most obnoxiously loudmouthed ass-clown on SOL. He was also well into his 50s, but you wouldn’t know it since he had the mentality of a baked potato. The lone positive aspect of Zit was that he read a lot of scripts on the site. He was capable of giving very insightful feedback, but half the time he would orchestrate creative ways to put writers down and mock their writing.

Zit coined the phrase “piss-take,” which refers to a script that is purposely written to be bad and then submitted to the One Week Writing Challenge (Note: the OWC is an exercise where you have one week to write a short script based on a prompt; scripts are posted anonymously for one week after that. Writers who participate can vote for their favorite and the author with the most votes wins an SOL mug). The problem with these piss-takes is that they were a colossal waste of time. If you have a batch of 40 scripts submitted to the challenge and some are purposely written as a joke, then they take quality reads away from the authors who actually took the exercise seriously. The irony is that Zit would routinely submit these piss-takes to the challenges as a joke and actually got away with it for years. The Webmaster saw who was submitting scripts and still allowed this practice to continue until I publicly made a case to have Zit’s removed from one particular challenge. Amazingly, the Webmaster agreed and the script was deleted.

Zit was eventually banned for fighting, which was about 92 years overdue.


Have you ever genuinely disliked someone from the second you laid eyes upon them (or, in this case, their forum messages)? That was the case with Phil-do. This guy was one of the “big dogs” on the forum and, for a long time, had the second-most posts of all community members (behind the Webmaster). Every time he posted, he was always terse, arrogant, rude, and probably believed that his farts didn’t stink. This was further evidenced when he would routinely get into fights with, well, everyone.

Phil-do (whose name was coined by a fellow board friend) would probably roll around in the mud just to prove a point, even if he knew he was wrong. See, Phil-do always had to be right. Always. No exceptions. If he says that 2+2 is 900, then he’ll argue that to death. He’d fight with moderators, he’d fight with children, and he’d never relent, ever. It’s no surprise he and his wife started a civil war on the board years later (more on that below).

The thing that especially irked me about Phil-do, though, had nothing to do with the above. No, instead it was the fact that during an OWC, Phil-do artificially inflated the post count on his submission as a way to generate more reads and interest. Even though the writers were still anonymous at this time, Phil-do asked everyone questions about the story so people would keep coming back.

The thing is — his script sucked. It was about two moron film executives who are pitching a “comedy” about a girl named Anne who “goes to camp.” Yeah, you can see where that’s going. Despite its mediocrity, he was still able to manipulate the voting so that he finished second while my script came in third. I’m not saying I would have leap-frogged into first place had he not done that, but it bugged me. For a guy who’s always telling people how they should behave on the forum, it was irritating as hell to see him manipulate and deceive so blatantly.

Phil-do’s Wife

I’d say it was pretty safe to assume that even if you didn’t like Phil-do, you probably liked his wife. Whereas Phil-do was mean and combative, Phil-do’s Wife was kind…at least for a while. I was told through a mutual acquaintance that the Phil-do’s spearheaded a civil war on the forum, dividing members into two camps. You were either with the Phil-do’s or you were with the naysayers (who, I guess, were the moderators in this case). I’m unsure if they were banned or left willingly after that.

Here’s the thing: Phil-do’s Wife had brain surgery at one point, and she was never quite the same after that. She began posting excessively on Facebook and Twitter and became politically aggressive, picking fights with totally random people over even randomer topics. I remember seeing an argument she got into on frickin’ LinkedIn of all sites, where the guy she was fighting with even referred to her as a “passive aggressive douchebag.”

I unfriended her on Facebook after she started making anti-Semitic posts, which is weird because I actually thought she may have been Jewish.

The Egomaniac

The thing about egos is that oftentimes they’re used as facades to conceal insecurities, as was the case with this guy. Everyone knew this dude was full of himself, but it was the self-indulged praise that he regurgitated onto the community that was so annoying. He would always talk about a western he was working on and pegged it as a “12-year project” as a way to dampen his disappointment over not having sold it yet. “2012 is going to be a big year, folks,” he would routinely say…in 2006.

Yeah, sure, bruh. Because that makes a whole lot of sense.

During a One Week Challenge, he wasted no time boasting about how amazing his submission would be. He claimed his script would be the best thing since humans learned how to give themselves orgasms (well, okay, he didn’t go that far, but I’m sure he was thinking it). I remember picking his script out based on the writing style and found it thoroughly unspectacular. In fact, the general consensus was that while the script was competently written, the story, characters, and dialogue (i.e. the foundational stuff) were all fantastically average.

When the names were revealed a week later, you could tell how defeated the Egomaniac was in his responses to the critiques. He was polite, but defeated. He disappeared from SOL after that and, as far as I know, never returned.

The Kryptonite

This guy tended to rub people the wrong way because he would always preach about his born-again religious beliefs…on a screenwriting board. But the thing I liked about him? Phil-do, a proud atheist, couldn’t stand the guy. While I avoided interactions with Kryptonite, I always giggled like a schoolboy whenever he and Phil-do would get into arguments. For example:

Phil-do: Blow me, will you?
*three days of intense arguing later until Webmaster mercifully locks the thread*
Kryptonite: I warned Phil what would happen if he told me to blow him again.

Note: Both grown-ass men were in their 50s when this took place.

The Poet

This woman was a brilliant writer in theory. She had a way with words and was clearly very intelligent. The problem is she was more of a poet/novelist and never figured out how to convert her talents into screenwriting. I think she was also a former hippie, so a lot of her scripts read like total acid trips. You’d read the words, you’d acknowledge the sentences, but you’d have no clue what the hell she was trying to say. You could always identify her OWC submissions because they would make absolutely no sense.

She also refused to read one particular OWC submission because the title, Dumb Animals, had “no respect.” She then proceeded to get into an argument with Kryptonite over abortion in the script’s thread for some reason.

The Award-Winner

I think it’s good to brag about your accomplishments, but there’s a time and a place for it.

Good: I placed as a quarterfinalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship!
Bad: I placed as a quarterfinalist in the Chowchilla Regional Screenwriting Contest!

The Award-Winner is a talented writer and has some impressive wins to her name, which is why it became all the more obnoxious when she’d post about every tiny irrelevant competition that she’d place in. It seems that she entered everything she had ever written into every screenwriting competition in the known universe, so every day she would post about new placements that she had received. She even had a template that she would follow because every single post was the same; “Excited to share that ‘XXX script’ has placed as a XXX in the XXX Screenwriting Competition!”

Like I said, it’s fine to brag about yourself in doses, but there’s certainly a limit.

The Brander

Even unproduced screenwriters worry about their brand. This guy and I both finished in the top 25 of the 2022 Roadmap Writers competition. Even though we weren’t best friends or anything, we both followed each other on Twitter (for which there’s a Screenwriting Community) and shared in each other’s success when the results came out. Recently, however, I noticed that the Brander unfollowed me, as he did many others. He now has 3,500 followers while following only about 500; a 7:1 ratio. I’m not sure who he’s trying to impress with those numbers, but I find it irritating when people trim their following numbers to make themselves look more important. You can’t spell “hollow” without “low.”

I initially left SOL because Zit pegged my OWC submission as a piss-take, which it absolutely was not. Since he was one of the first to review my script, other people basically copied his feedback without offering anything constructive. Instead, it was just “I agree with Zit.” I left SOL shortly after that and vowed never to return until Zit was banned. Unfortunately, it took the Webmaster way too long to finally do what needed to be done and boot the guy’s ass off the boards. By the time SOL was relieved of Zit’s presence, I had no desire to return.

I tried to associate with the screenwriting community on Twitter, but, much like SOL, it’s shrouded in drama, and I want no part of that.

The thing is…I’m a far superior storyteller and writer now than I ever was on SOL. I certainly learned a lot during my time on the boards, but I’m quite happier learning on my own.

I’ll let my screenwriting speak for itself.