Caught by the Fame Monster: F. Scott Fitzgerald This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 13, 2010
When people think of Hollywood, they think of the city where dreams come true. This did not apply to F. Scott Fitzgerald, an aspiring screenwriter who’s had his share of ups and downs in what is known as La La Land. Fitzgerald was not a successful Hollywood writer because he was not good at the career path he chose. He was an amazing novelist but his efforts of turning them into screenplays ended in frustration because what he saw as great was what producers and other screenwriters saw as a lack of potential. Fitzgerald was also not as successful because of his addiction and greed for fame, which eventually led to his own fame monster.
Growing up as a boy, Fitzgerald was an often moviegoer, usually acting or directing plays. He yearned to write stories that would eventually turn into movies. The problem was, just because Fitzgerald wanted to do something didn’t necessarily mean that he was good at it. He had several gigs writing and editing screenplays, and most of these efforts ended in disappointment because he thought about the transition from script to screen too much. Most of his flaws were that his plot was too elaborate, his tone too serious or his dialogue too sentimental. He was described as “ a great sculptor who is hired to do a plumbing job- with no idea how to connect the pipes and make the water flow” by Billy Wilder, a fellow screenwriter. When given a script to revise, he would break it down, back story it, advise the producers of its potential, and then start to add layers. He was so detailed in his work that he lost the simplicity of the actual meaning. Fitzgerald was said to tackle a script as a critic or an editor rather than as a mechanic who wanted to redesign the car instead of just making it run better.
Fitzgerald’s quick rise to fame also led to his fall. In life, things are not meant to happen all at once, all at the same time and it did for Fitzgerald. At his best, three of his early stories were made into short films, including “The Great Gatsby.” As the twenties approached, the “man who commanded between three thousand and four thousand dollars for a short story as late as 1930 was forgotten by the reading public six years later.” The years after were the fame monster as he became drunk and constantly popped pills both to sleep and wake up. His marriage was destroyed and his wife suffered a mental breakdown in 1930, going in and out of sanitariums for the rest of her life. He seemed unstable and unsure about his life. Fitzgerald had another chance at success when many opportunities came his way, including revisions of Emlyn William’s play” The Light of Heart” and production on one of his own scripts, “Cosmopolitan.” These ventures were all put aside and he was right back where he started, left behind and labeled as a ”ruined man.” Fitzgerald simply wanted too much in his life, he wanted “ to be both a great novelist and a Hollywood hotshot, to write songs like Cole Porter and Poetry like John Keats.” His addiction to fame entangled with his success in Tinsel Town led to his failure as a Hollywood writer.

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Ashlert said...
Nov. 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm
I believe Fitzgeraldwas much more complicated than you're making him out to be in this article. F. Scott Fitzgerald died with none of his works receiving more than modest commercial and critical success. It was only long after his death Fitzgerald gained a reputation as one of the great writers in the history of American literature. That success was due almost entirely to the enormous posthumous success of The Great Gatsby. Yes his downward spiral was sad and due to his own persona... (more »)
KristinC This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm
This is great, and very well-written!  Fitzgerald's rise to '20s glamor and subsequent demise is such a fascinating subject.  He's one of my favorite writers, and this really adds another dimension to his career.
cutepie said...
May 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm
i wish they would talk about how f . scott fitzgerald was a written and how was he a written and how did he become a writter
surreality said...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm
Great article, I learned about a new side of F. Scott Fitzgerald that I was previously unaware of. It's interesting that such an iconic writer couldn't write screenplays.
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