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Depressed screenwriters upset over their latest rejection should check out this unusual front page New York Times story detailing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s failed Hollywood screenwriting career. Quoting documents just unearthed from the Fitzgerald estate and collected at the University of South Carolina, the story paints a portrait of an earnest, dedicated writer futilely struggling to balance art and studio politics on a succession of never-realized pictures. There are some great quotes in the piece — Billy Wilder dubs Fitzgerald “a great sculptor who is hired to do a plumbing job” — and the documents overall correct, in the words of University of South Carolina scholar Matthew Broccoli, “this distorted view of Fitzgerald’s Hollywood years, the idea that he was just staggering around drunk all the time and not earning his salary.” Indeed, the story describes Fitzgerald “drinking Coca-Cola by the case in a not entirely successful effort to stay off the hard stuff” while he scribbles away, earning $1,000 a week.

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