ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Monday, March 20, 2006

Must Be Nice.

So there's this guy named Russell Gewirtz.

7 years ago, his family sells one of their NY clothing stores, leaving 33-year-old Russell with a pile of money.

He was a lawyer, but now he doesn't have to be a lawyer, so for the next three years he just lives the high life, travelling between Cannes, Brazil and Miami Beach.

As he happily says "I didn't have to wear socks for three years."

Russell had written some short stories while younger, and while watching movies he feels an affinity for film, and decides to write a screenplay.

Russell runs into a producer friend at Cannes, and pitches an idea he has. The producer loves it, and helps guide Russell through the process of writing his first screenplay.

Within a year, the script is in good enough shape to take to an agency.

Ten days after Russell signs with an agent, the script is sold to Universal.

Three years later, the movie is coming out on Friday.

"Inside Man". Starring Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. Directed by Spike Lee.

I'm not sure if this is a tale of hope, or if it is going to be one of those things that bad amateur writers cite when they try to sell their first screenplay. Maybe a bit of both.

All I know is that I wish I had the chance -- the time -- to do nothing but write.

With no socks on.

15 Comments:

At 9:02 AM, Blogger taZ said...

Interesting story...

See, I CAN sell my first screenplay! He did! :)

And I'm without socks too. Not because I'm rich but because I can't aford them.

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

what tales do good amateur writers cite?

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Chris said...

hey, I'm a lawyer! but i wear socks. so i guess they both cancel each other out and i'm in the same boat as anyone else.

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

Lawyers, having a captive audience of 12 isn't good enough. They want to force the collective to bear witness to their 90 minute closing argument.

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger Georgi Rimsakov said...

NOW I'm depressed!

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Brett said...

It's these kinds of stories that actualy give me hope, as they prove that it's not gettting a cool story into the hands of someone who can do something with it, and far less about all the nonsense you see people arguing about on some of these alleged "screenwriter sites."

What do you want to bet that this first screenplay would have been flamed horribly by some of the free "workshop" sites for not sticking to whatever gospel of formatting and structure that particular reader was a believer in?

(Note to self-- start a company and then sell it for a huge profit so that I can fart around on a beach, scribbling a cool story onto a cocktail napkin to then be sold to some Hollywood muckity-muck....)
..
.
B

 
At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

I think one of the best part's of the story isn't so much that it got made into a movie. It's that the story was good enough to attract stars like Jodie Foster, Clive Own and Denzel Washington.

I think there was many professional writers who would still dream about having a cast like that in their stories.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, what's interesting too is the fact that, if this guy's family hadn't been rich and sold this store, "Inside Man" wouldn't exist. It never would have gotten out of his imagination.

I can't help but think there are a lot of movies that are locked in other people's heads, because of time constraints and other reasons.

 
At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Lucy said...

I'm barefoot, and pregnant and spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Now I'm bitter too, especially as I was rejected AGAIN yesterday!

Still, it's nice that he had the chance to do what he wants and I should be more appreciative that as a twenty-something script reader I do get to write an awful lot AND live in a nice place in comparison to so many of my peers who balance 9-5's in between school runs, office jobs and tube journeys.

Ah, my chi is restored.

I think you're right though, Scott. I reckon my Mum could've been a brill writer if it wasn't for the fact she had half a dozen kids in half a dozen years and then spent the next 20 years acting as a mediator!

 
At 4:50 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Somewhere in the last week I glanced at an article (web? magazine? blog? I dunno) that said daydreaming may be the more effective choice to creativity than enforced brainstorming. I'll see if I can trace back to wherever I saw that.

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

My friend (who never wrote a script) sent it to Fade In - and Won (not the grand prize but 1st place in Noir). So, it happens.

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

(Sorry to send this again, but it wasn't finished!)

My friend (who never wrote a script) wrote his 1st script and sent it to Fade In - and WON (not the grand prize but 1st place in Noir). So, it happens.

 
At 5:29 AM, Blogger The Moviequill said...

if the shoe fits (and you have cute toes) then fling them off and get writing

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the same Russell Gewirtz that wrote for the show Blind Justice? If so, it seems he's been writing more than most articles about him let on.

Most articles play it like he basically woke up one morning, wrote a screenplay out of the blue, and sold it practically overnight. Of course it makes for a bbetter story.

But if it's the same guy, maybe he's been at it longer than we think.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

His imdb bio has nothing but Inside Man on it.

Of course, he sold Inside Man in 2003, and Blind Justice was on a year ago, so it could have been a gig he got after selling it.

 

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