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

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hanging Out With Writers

So late Tuesday afternoon I lugged my bones down to Westwood, to meet with two fellow writers who are separately in town for the week (despite both coincidentally being from the same general area of the Midwest); one was a Nicholl semifinalist last year, and one is one this year, so we're all in the same huge subsection of aspiring-but-hopeful screenwriters.

We met at a Starbucks for an hour or two, then wandered across the street to a bar for some drinks/dinner, and just spent a couple more hours there, just talking about movies, and about writing, and the hunt for representation, and just shooting the shit.

And it was a lot of fun, and it made me realize that it has been a long time since I have done that.

There are writers in L.A. that I occasionally get together with, but too often those evenings have a different thrust; we play poker or Scene It, or watch short films, and it's great, but it's different. There isn't enough pure writing/movies talk.

One of the two guys I met the other night is about to move to L.A., despite the fact that he knows no one here. And then yesterday, on the Wordplayer board, another writer posted a similar query; he's fairly new in L.A., and wants to know where to go to meet writers.

I replied with the suggestion that maybe it's time to put together something regular. Come up with a location where a group of people meet to hang out. Maybe once or twice a month at first; maybe, once it gets rolling, every single week.

A regular place, a regular time. If you want to go, you can; if you don't, you don't have to. No pressure, no RSVPs, just a place you can drop by and find people like yourselves.

Logistically it's tricky. Just in terms of avoiding traffic (for those of us north of the hills), Saturday nights might be best. It would be great to find a place somewhere centrally located, say in Westwood, that has the space to accomodate fluctuating groups, whether 2 people show up on a particular night, or 40.

When I lived in Manhattan in the 1990s, I regularly attended a somewhat-similar group, that met in a Times Square Howard Johnson's every Friday night for years. I once blogged about it here.

Even though that group was not screenwriter-centric (while Howard Johnson's is gone, and the group has apparently scattered), it did show that the basic concept works, and there's no reason why a regular gathering of screenwriters can't work either, whether we hook it into seeing a movie the same night or not.

Anyone who is interested in attending, or helping to get this to work, post here, or e-mail me privately. Because it's time.


At 1:27 PM, Blogger scribosphere said...

Great idea Scott! I hope a lot of people will be interested in this.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Shawna said...

You know I'm game. And I promise not to take everyone's money like I do at Poker night.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

I love the idea. I had something similar a while back, but it died a long, slow death. This would be a nice kick in the butt for me!

At 2:57 PM, Blogger deepstructure said...

i'd definitely be up for this.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger S. A. Petrich said...

ySounds like a smashing idea, Scott! Unfortunately, I have one or two little things in my way:
c)Complete and utter lack of cash;
d)The Atlantic Ocean.

Alternateively, y'all could save some cash for a summer holiday in Croatia. Particularily Zadar. I live there - occasionally - and I know some good hotels around. Some folks say we've got the best sunsets in the world, plus you've *gotta* see the one and only Sea Organ in the world.

How 'bout it, folks? :-)

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Robert Hogan said...

A buddy and I started something like this a few months ago here in Columbus. We meet once a month at a local tavern and swap stories, share resources and workshop scripts. The turn out has been really good, especially considering that we are in middle of Ohio.

Keep us posted. When I make trips out to LA I would like to drop in.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Scribe LA said...

You're definitely on to something here Scott. Count me in.

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Joe Valdez said...

Count me in for this, Scott. Your idea for Saturday night is ideal for anyone who works Monday through Friday and doesn't enjoy spending an extra two hours on the 101 in their spare time.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Chris said...

count me in.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger The Film Diva said...

Koffee Klatch! I dig it. May I suggest El Compadre on Sunset, the Starbucks at The Grove (lots of not so free parking), Lucy's El Adobe on Melrose (only the patio though, or you won't be able to sit together), Stir Crazy on Melrose at La Brea, or, perhaps someplace downtown since it won't be as crowded and all the freeways converge for easy access....

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

There's always Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood. Loads of "Hollywood types" hang there.

Just about any Starbucks would fit the bill. There's also the Literati Cafe in Brentwood.

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Shrader said...

I am there!

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Tom said...

How about everyone comes up to the Bronx?

Okay, long trip, I get it.

I know there are writer's groups here in NYC, but my work schedule is too erratic for me to commit the time. At least that's what I tell myself.

Just read that entry about Movie Night for the first time. I'd sat along the long bench at HoJo's before the movie next to Debbie Harry that night, I was stunned she sat there when I was clearly not one of the Beautiful People, but she and I talked briefly and she was soooo nice. I think I even did her a favor just by being there. When some fans came back from the front and were getting close, I made a polite move to give her space, but she gently touched my knee to keep me there. With Penn on the other side, no one had a chance to get too close. Aside from her, I missed all the celeb appearances. I remember being heartbroken when I skipped the night that James Randi showed up.

Hell, my favorite MovieNight anecdote is about you, Scott, you had seen Speed on June 17, 1994 just before coming to HoJo's, saw the OJ chase on the television (yup, the same night) without knowing who was in the Bronco and thought it must be something having to do with the movie.

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Dante Kleinberg said...

Yes please!

May I selfishly suggest someplace here in the beautiful San Fernando Valley? Loads of free parking everywhere you go!

Seriously, I am desperate for something like this. I want to talk about stories!

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm game...

If you don't mind a headstrong 24 year old Canadian.

Is the farmer's market near the Grove too out of the way?

- Allen

ps, I'll email you privately with me details.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Spanish Prisoner said...

Starbucks? Guys, do they serve beer in Starbucks? If I'd come to a "hanging out with writers", then there must definately be beer!

Anyway, haven't been to LA last three years, so count on me for next year. 'sabout time for me to come for a climate change.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger Chris said...

neat. on June 17, 1994, while Scott et al were at the HoJos in NYC, I was arriving in the city myself, moving from Maryland. that was one wierd day.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger odo coileus said...

Beautiful downtown Burbank...

the sidewalks of San Fernando Blvd. Coffee, beer, pizza, movies, all w/in easy reach.

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous kristen said...

Sounds fun. The Farmers Market at the Grove isn't a bad choice if you're talking once a month meetings, but anything more frequent than that might be a hassle. During the holidays those parking lots and garages get insanely crowded.

There are loads of good dive bars in the Valley with tons of free parking all around. Studio City and/or North Hollywood are pretty centrally located for most people. Close to the 101, the 210, the 134...

I'm all for a cheap Mexican restaurant... those are always fun.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

Did someone say drinks? Hell yes! I'm in.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Fun Joel said...

I'm in. And feel free to contact me directly if you'd like my assistance in organizing, choosign a venue, etc. Thanks!

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Milehimama said...

Yeah, I'm sure funjoel knows all the hip spots for writers... those being the spots no one else wants.
Sigh. To bad I have 3000 miles of Heartland in the way to join you.
Anyone up for the Charletson Crab House?

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Sounds like a good idea in theory, but it probably wouldn't be long before everybody started talking about their scripts, which could lead to problems.

And God forbid anybody find success. That person would quickly become the most hated in the group.

Good luck with this, in a non-sarcastic way.


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