This is ostensibly a joke:
Two development execs meet in the hallway. One says, “Hey, what’s cooking?” The second one, extremely excited, replies, “I just bought this script. It’s the most perfect piece of writing I’ve ever seen. Characters, story, EVERYTHING about it is A-number-one. Academy Award time.”
“That’s fantastic,” says the first one, dripping with envy. “So when do you go into production?”
“As soon as I get the rewrite.”
Writers are indeed the bottom of the Hollywood totem pole, as Bill Quick explains:
[T]he powers that be there think that all a movie needs is a big package of director, actor, and producer. Any writer can provide enough of a script for them to hang their great acting and marvelous special effects on, thus guaranteeing a hit. In Hollywood, writers are dogs, and treated as such. Which is why Hollywood movies have, as a rule, been awful of late. The writer may have produced a good script, with a story not riddled with holes, but by the time the producers, the director(s), the actors, and their various boyfriends, girlfriends, advisors, and hairdressers have finshed tinkering with it, it sucks. And when the project crashes and burns, because the critics said the story made no sense and left viewers feeling they’d just been force-fed twenty pounds of gray sludge, they blame the writer(s).
There’s a Farkism to the effect that “Hollywood is out of ideas.” Were I running a studio, I think my first official act would be to kill any and all projects with working titles containing any number greater than 1, either in Arabic or Roman numerals. (My second, of course, would be to update my résumé, because my days would be numbered.)
Disclosure: All I know about screenwriting is “One page per minute,” and I wouldn’t bet my life on that.