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A New Strategy: The Table Read


Fat Guy, Hot Wife
has been getting some attention!

Here’s the backstory: this summer I attended an alumni event for folks in the entertainment industry, and one of the guys I met there asked me to punch up a script that he and his writing partner had created. I did, they liked it, they asked for samples, I sent them, I heard nothing. When I finished FGHW, I e-mailed it as another writing sample, just because. Suddenly they wanted to meet ASAP. They were working on converting their script to a sitcom pilot, and wanted to meet with me about the idea. I think I had reminded them I was out there. Long story short, we’ve been working on that project, and it’s going well. I enjoy working with both of these guys, and when we work together, pages come out fast.

Meanwhile, when I met the second fellow, I pitched FGHW, just as part of introducing myself. He made an off-handed comment that we should shoot it. I wasn’t sure how seriously he meant it; people in L.A. say a lot of things. But he brought it up again later, so I sent him the script, mentioning that I was contemplating doing a reading (I sorta was) and meanwhile he was perfect for one of the parts.

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2006 Screenwriting Expo

This last weekend I attended the Screenwriting Expo. It was my third in a row, though my first with a Los Angeles name tag. I might not have attended, except that I now live 25 minutes from the site, plus I received free admission (for making the finals in the CS Open at last year’s Expo.) That being said, I’m very happy to have gone.expo

First things first: the location moved this year. The last two were at the Convention Center downtown. This was at a pair of hotels by the airport, no doubt to save some money and attract more out-of-towners. Overall, it gave the Expo a bit more of a casual feel. It was easier to get to (at least for me; this was a point of contention with my carpool partner.) There was better access to reasonable places to eat than at the Convention Center. Any of these small advantages, however, was horribly outweighed by one big disadvantage: uncomfortably small rooms.

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Seven Itchy Years (my writing thus far…)

quill


“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
–Richard Bach

They say it takes an average of about seven years to become a writer. If that’s true, the good news is that I’m about due. The bad news is that at no point during those (almost) seven years have I felt the tiniest bit patient about it. And a thought troubles me. If it takes an AVERAGE of seven years to become a writer, it must take some people more. Here’s hoping I’m average.

I had the good fortune/foresight to put together a sketch comedy troupe back in 1999, and we played together for nearly five years. It was the kind of experience you don’t want to repeat and yet you are infinitely happy to have gone through. (Like circumcision.) Want to know if your writing is robust? Stand on stage and try to get laughs with it. Live. You will learn to make your dialogue sharp and vigorous. And short. Do this with several other people, all with different styles, and you’ve got yourself free grad school.

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The Streisand Incident

At the age of 18, I had the fortune to participate in a program called the Academy of Achievement. Long story short, about 400 high schoolers spend a weekend at a lecture series put on by this organization that recognizes leaders in numerous industries. I shared a meal with the gentleman who proved the existence of quarks, and another with renowned Looney Toons director Chuck Jones. I made chit chat with Dolly Parton and Tom Selleck.streisand

Returning from an event at Hoover Dam, a friend and I were discussing politics when a producer on our charter bus took interest in our conversation. He chatted with us for the ride back to the hotel, then invited us to skip the next lecture and hang out instead. “I’ll show you how they treat the stars.” he said.

We followed him into this foyer, where a couple of guards stood against the wall. You would have walked right past it. But they pushed open a hidden door and we walked through into another hallway. Or at least so we thought. It turned out to be a huge suite the size of the adjoining lobby, with a bathroom larger than the room in which I was staying.

We had started on politics again, when a woman approached, whom the producer introduced as his friend Barbara. Yep, it was that Barbara. For the next half hour or so, the group of us continued with politics moving to growing up, parents, and other topics. At one point in the conversation, Ms. Streisand asked us if we had seen her recent movie, Nuts. My friend had. I had not.

I don’t think she did it on purpose. She had been truly lovely and welcoming the whole time we were there. But there’s no denying that when I said I hadn’t seen her movie, Barbara Streisand turned her shoulder several degrees away from me, and my participation in our conversation was over.

Nowadays, committed as I am to pursuing a life in the entertainment industry, I do what I can to keep this from happening again. I watch everything. If I meet someone, I want to have seen their stuff. You never know.

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