But we'd be remiss to begin the journey without first giving you an understanding of what "Development Hell" is. According to Hughes, it's the way movies really get made in Hollywood. Or, rather, the reason they often don't get made. Here's Hughes' explanation of the process.
1. The writer turns in a script so unutterably perfect they would stick pens in their eyes sooner than change a single syllable of it.
2. The producer or studio executive, too busy/bored/illiterate to read the script for themselves, sends out a 'script coverage' — advice on the potential of the script from a professional script reader. If this doesn't instantly lead to the script being junked and the writer being fired or replaced — either by a younger, hotter, cheaper model (a 'tyro'), or an older, more experienced and more expensive one (a 'veteran') — the writer will be given 'notes'.
3. If sufficiently encouraged to do so, the producer/executive might then actually read the script. "This is perfect," he (or, one time in a thousand, she) might say. "Who can we get to rewrite it?"
4. The writer then scurries away to rewrite their magnum opus, doing their best to incorporate all the different, conflicting notes, and resubmits the script for approval.
Steps 1 through 4 are now repeated continuously, with the script continually evolving — and, in rare cases, improving — until finally someone decides it's good enough (though probably not quite as good as the first draft) to make into a film...
5. This latest draft of the script is sent out to actors and directors, in the hope that it will attract one with sufficient clout to actually get it made. Since the desires of the studio, producers, director and actors are usually mutually exclusive, all of them will blame the writer, who will be fired and replaced by a new writer... taking the whole process back to stage 1.
We begin this series with a look at how The Beatles became attached to a planned adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and why it wound up in Development Hell.