Okay, he can win, in that he's an incredibly successful screenwriter and producer who, I'm guessing, has been richly rewarded for his efforts. HOWEVER. Lindelof is also a guy who gets an incredible amount of shit online—not only because big parts of his projects like Lost, Prometheus, and Star Trek lend themselves to being obsessively critiqued, but because the amateur critics offering those critiques are usually the relentless, furious sort of fanboys who dig away at movies and TV like the meth heads on the 15 bus dig away at scabs.
In an entirely excellent interview with Alex Pappademas at Grantland, Lindelof talks about that—and Star Trek Into Darkness, his TV adaptation of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, the upcoming Brad Bird film Tomorrowland, and stuff like this:
It doesn't come naturally to have a work ethic. Maybe it does, but not to our generation, certainly, and for me, my work ethic is largely derived from a competitive spirit of people telling me what I can't do. I was never the guy who looked at myself in the mirror and said, "I feel special, and I'm going to achieve great things." I always felt like, "Man, I love writing so much that it would be a real sick joke if I can't make a living doing it, but in order to accomplish that, I'm going to have to really work my ass off, long and hard, and face a tremendous amount of rejection, and then once I break through, I'm still going to face a tremendous amount of adversity. And when I'm not feeling the adversity, I need to go and find it."
... When I take the blame for something, when I fall on my sword and I say, "Hey, I made a mistake; I wish it could've been better"—that feels good. Like, it feels good for me to say it, and I think it feels good for people to hear it. Because I love hearing it from filmmakers that I love and respect, or even sports figures, who are basically saying, like, "I friggin' missed the shot. I shouldn't have even taken the shot." I have so much more respect for them than the guys who basically say, "I just knew if they gave me the rock that it was going in." It's like, no you didn't! What are you, Nostradamus? There's no way you did!
It's a great interview, and a great look at the gears of Lindelof's brain. If you watch TV or movies—or have ever written anything, or commented on the internet, or, like me, have harped on Prometheus' flaws a few too many times—you should read it.
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