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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

So I Saw United 93

It's harrowing, and extremely well-made.

See it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

How I Became a Reader

Q: How did you become a professional reader?

I'm sure this is addressed somewhere in the ether of this blog, but to save the several people who asked this question from rustling around the cellar, I'll retackle it here, with lots of new stuff.

When I was a young boy, my friend Glen's older brother had every single Hardy Boys book ever written. Glen was too afraid to read them (he was under the odd impression that they were scary), but I picked up the first one, and absolutely devoured the rest. There were probably about 50 of them.

That was about 20 years before I ever read a script professionally, but I think that set the basis for everything. Because loving to read is key. I went on from there to devour things like the Wizard of Oz series (there are a lot of those, too), the Danny Dunn books, the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series. I even read my sister's Judy Blume books.

Fast-forward into my 20s. Armed with a useless English degree from a large eastern university (the State University of New York at Stony Brook), I was managing a movie theater when I met the friend of a friend, who was working up samples to try to get a script reading job. This was the first I had ever heard of the profession, and it sort of blew my mind. That job exists?

Someone will pay you to read?

Plus, not only was I a guy who read a lot, I was an avid filmgoer. As a theater manager, I probably saw 150 movies a year, and paid for about 10. I had a card that got me in free to any theater in our chain, plus even rival movie theater managers would let each other in for free.

And I liked to write. I even wrote a rambling column for my college paper, that if there had been things like blogs back then, would certainly have been a blog instead.

And that's the skillset for being a professional reader. You need to love to read. You need to be able to put down your thoughts in a concise matter. You need to like and understand movies, and what will work, and what won't, and why.

(And doing it all quickly enough to make it worth your time helps too. If you can't read a script and churn out coverage in 3 hours or less, it's going to be tough to make a decent living at it).

So, anyway, I learned this job existed, thought it was amazing, but I lived on Long Island. The friend of a friend was visiting from L.A., where most of the reading jobs are. So it wasn't a job that was in the cards for me at that point. (It wasn't for him either; he didn't get the gig. But he is now a well-paid location guy, so it worked out).

Eventually I moved into Manhattan. I managed movie theaters there, and while doing that I also met a guy who got me a gig reading plays for Broadway's Circle in the Square theater. They didn't pay me, but they gave me a ton of free tickets to Broadway shows, which was very cool.

I used samples from that to get a part-time gig reading scripts for New Line, before they moved out to Los Angeles and took the reading work with them. I also got a gig working for HBO-NYC, which eventually turned into a very full-time job; for a while I was their only reader, and often had an ongoing pile of about 15 things on my desk, that would keep being replaced as I knocked them off. HBO was generally getting submitted very good stuff, too, so as a reading job that was about as good as one got.

I had still been working as a theater manager, but as the reading gig got fulltime, I was able to escape that job. I was a professional reader.

When one of the execs from HBO went over to Miramax, I started reading for Miramax, too. When I moved out to L.A. in 1998, Miramax fed me reading work out of the L.A. office, as well as continuing to give me books from New York; I'd just pick them up at the library, or if necessary, at the bookstore.

As Miramax ebbed, and flowed, I picked up jobs for other companies to supplement that job, and with Miramax falling apart (they shut down their development long before the eventual Disney divorce) I have come to rely on these other companies. I'm currently juggling work from four good-sized production companies, plus a few others that very occasionally throw me work, plus my $60 notes stuff.

Sometimes a company won't give me anything for weeks, and sometimes all of a sudden I'll get buried in work, which generally all has to be turned around in a few days. Extreme unpredictability is part of the job. So is getting a lot done on weekends -- 9 to 5 this isn't. Friday night, stuff will roll in -- maybe 2 scripts, maybe 10, maybe 3 books and 4 scripts -- and most of it needs to be done by Monday morning.

The major studios employ union readers (which pays well, and they get benefits), but it's pretty impossible to get into the union. So I'm freelance, which sucks on a lot of levels. I always have to hustle for work, I have to pay for my own medical insurance, and the self-employment taxes are brutal. No paid vacations, no sick days.

Plus I have no time, or inclination, to do any leisure reading at all. And it's a bitch trying to write your own stuff, when you have about 15 scripts/books a week clogging up your brain. (Though that has been incredibly educational as well).

But no punching a clock, either. If I want to read out by the pool, or in a coffee shop, or while eating lunch at Denny's, or while riding an exercise bike, I can. I can generally arrange my schedule the way I want to, while now that diet and exercise is a priority, that works for me as well -- I have a kitchen full of healthy food, and there is a gym in the complex.

And I'm making connections in the business. Which someday will serve me well as a writer.

And there are signs that the geography of the job is changing, too -- more and more, I'm getting scripts e-mailed to me. There may be a time when readers won't need to live in Los Angeles at all, though currently there is still a lot of messengering, and still some driving on my part to pick up work. Thankfully, most of the people I work for are centralized in Burbank, about 10 miles east by freeway.

A lot of people are shocked that I can read as much stuff as I do, and still stay sane. But I love my job. I love picking up a script, and hoping it's great, and sometimes it is. I love getting paid to read books that I would have read for nothing, or to read the manuscript of something by a name writer that won't even be in bookstores for 6 months. It helps balance off the eye-rolling drek, or the pure mediocrity that makes up most of the reading.

So the job isn't for everyone. To anyone considering this as a possible career, again, you have to love to read, you have to be able to write quickly and concisely, you have to love movies and be able to judge stories. And you have to not let all the bad writing drive you crazy. And living in Los Angeles is still pretty much a requirement, though there is still a little reading work in Manhattan.

But so far, so good. 9,222 coverages, and counting...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

United 93

I have to say I have very mixed feelings about whether or not I really want to see this film.

When I first heard about it, I had no interest. Not that I'm one of those kind of people who need their movies to be escapist, but this must be one of the least-escapist movies ever.

The history it is presenting is recent, and raw, and the biggest problem might be that everyone knows going in pretty much everything that is going to happen.

Still, it's supposed to be great. Apparently Paul Greengrass made a lot of strong choices, including not casting any recognizable faces -- some key roles (like the head of the air traffic controllers) are even played by the actual people.

It's not just about the people on the plane, it's about the air traffic controllers, and the military trying to mobilize and stop whatever is going to happen.

But it's going to be a tough two hours, just to see a sad sad story that I'm already familiar with.

There are some cases in which I'm not sure that "It's a great movie" is quite enough. I guess it comes down to what we want in a movie experience -- maybe even what we want in a movie experience on a particular day.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If I Had a Nicholl For Every Time...

So I'm biting the bullet this year, and finally entering the Nicholl Fellowship competition again.

I've entered it a few times in the distant past (Ten years or so ago? More? Yikes.) with an early, underrealized version of my psychic girl script, which even (once? twice?) got a notation that it had just missed making the first cut. Now, as far as I know, they put that notation on a whole bunch of scripts (there's probably a stamp), but it helped make the cut a little less painless.

Still, the Nicholl is the big dog, since even being one of 300 or so scripts to make the quarterfinals has a certain cachet. Plus I know one of the winners from last year, and a guy who was a finalist a few years ago. And they're writers, just like you and me.

So, as one of the steps to launching the year that I become "Scott the Writer", I've temporarily back-burnered my supernatural thriller in mid-rewrite, and I'm submitting two other of my scripts instead.

There's my legendary frozen-time script, which almost got me an agent a few years back, though the problem was that the frozen time movie "Clockstoppers", was currently in release sucking all life out of the genre. Still, everyone always loved my script, and I finally finished the rewrite/polish that I gave it early last year. It's in shape, it's ready, it's going in.

The other is the umpteenth incarnation of my psychic girl script, which I printed out yesterday to read, something which I'll hopefully get around to sometime in the next few days. I think it's only a small polish away from being a valid candidate as well.

Otherwise, my theory is that a decent percentage of good amateur writers must hang around the scribosphere, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if a solid number of people who at least make the quarterfinals are reading this right now. Yes you. And you. And that girl over there. And the guy in the cowboy hat.

Who else is entering this year? Show of hands. Let's kick this competition's ass.

And for those you on the fence, entries must be postmarked by Monday. You can even download the application off the Internet.

Tick, tick, tick, tick...

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm Not So Drunk on Power

Q: How often does a reader really make or break a project? Has there been a script which you read where you made the difference, either yay or nay?

I think a reader does have a certain amount of power, though it depends on the submission.

A lot of scripts (often from name producers or with people attached) are going to be read by execs no matter what my opinion is going to be; I'm just covering them so there will be a synopsis of it available.

Other scripts, that maybe come in from lesser producers or agents, may need favorable coverage from me to even get read by execs.

The irony, of course, is that I rarely am told which of these categories a particular script falls into.

One instance I know of when I did affect something was when I was reading for HBO, and liked a war script I read called "When Trumpets Fade". HBO wound up making it. Had I passed on it? It's likely it wouldn't have gone much further.

On the other hand, even if I put a consider on something borderline, it still has to be good enough to make it past a lot of other people. So my consider only has limited power, though my pass may have a lot more.

At the same time, depending on the company (and whether or not they like to develop things), as many as 40% of the things I read will get a Considers from me, just because I'll slap it on anything that's good enough to make it to the next level. So the tough cuts really aren't coming from the readers, they are coming from the execs.

Plus, even if I do put a Pass on something, I like to think my synopsis or comments are good enough that if an exec reads it, he can still spark to something that he might ultimately like in the script.

Of course, I read for fairly big production companies. I'm sure a reader at an agency giving a Pass to something from the slushpile will likely kill that script immediately.

I'm sure there were things I passed on that might have gotten a serious look if I put a consider on it, though those are harder to isolate.

The bottom line is this: Just write a great script. And if your script is at least very good, it won't be the reader who shoots it down, it'll likely be the person the reader works for.

So, sadly, sleeping with the reader probably won't help all that much.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Down the Wrong Alley

I'm currently reading the second script of the week that relies fairly heavily on recurring scenes taking place in Manhattan alleys.

What many writers don't realize is this -- there really aren't any alleys in Manhattan. Certainly not in the midtown area.

And anything remotely resembling an alley (like a space behind a building where there are dumpsters and such) is inevitably fenced off.

Just a recurring thing that, as a guy who lived in Manhattan for a decade, routinely makes me roll my eyes.

One of the scripts even had a scene that takes place in a phone booth. There haven't been phone booths in Manhattan in a long, long time.

I won't go as far to say that you should actually visit the city that you are setting your script in. But it certainly helps....

Thursday, April 20, 2006


So I'm going to start regularly tackling the questions from responses to the last post. Feel free to add any more you think of.

Q: Honestly -- are you nearly so hung up on all the formatting specifics as what many newbies suggest in their advice to fellow newbs on websites and chat boards?

The answer to this is... sort of.

The thing with format is this: I think it's clear that there needs to be a standard format that screenplays should be in. Screenplays are essentially a blueprint, and they are an awkward animal, in that they are really just a transitionary form; they aren't really the art itself, but just a stop on the path to the finished movie. They really aren't meant to be read, and anything that makes it easier -- like standardizing as much as possible -- makes it easier.

So it really becomes a question of where to draw the line.

My advice (honed yesterday, after a conversation I had with industry friend Scoopy) is this --

Learn proper format, learn the rules, and try to stick to them where you can. Then, if you want to bend something here or there, it's fine -- if it honestly improves the script.

And that's a key thing. I think too many aspiring screenwriters just rebel for rebellion's sake; they don't want to be told there are rules.

They go, and search out screenplays by bigtime writers, who break rules, and they use that as an example of how they should be allowed to break rules too.

But the problem with this? There is a difference between a spec script you are peddling, and one written by someone who has already shown their chops, and who probably wrote it having already been paid to do so.

You are trying to show that you are a knowledgeable writer, by any means necessary. And one of those means, for better or for worse, is knowing proper format.

Is it something that readers are obsessed about? I don't think that any reader would honestly say that they would reject a script just because of weird format stuff.

But a lot of times it is subtle. For experienced readers, when you read things with format differences that jump out, it is often enough to take you out of the story a little bit, and make you wonder if the writer really knows what they are doing.

Because, again, so much of the format weirdness just feels pointless -- motivated not by the screenwriter doing it because it improves the script, but because they don't know any better.

And you don't want to be seen as not knowing any better.

Recently, I've seen writers doing things like putting the slugline in bold. It doesn't look bad, it certainly makes the sluglines pop. But does it help your script? Maybe if some lazy reader is reading it.

But are you really writing for the lazy readers?

My advice is to just take formatting out of the equation. By the end, you just want to write a gripping, entertaining story, and format stuff generally won't have anything to do with that.

Today's bad analogy? Formatting is like clothing. Sure, you can dress funky, and if you pull it off, it works. But if you are beautiful enough, it doesn't matter what you wear. While if you dress eccentrically, just realize that there are a lot of toothless old homeless people out there who are wearing the same outfit.

Having said that, of course there is flexibility, if there is a reason for it. Just think about whether there is.

I spent yesterday starting to clean up an old screenplay of mine (my legendary frozen-time script) so that I could submit it to the Nicholl. One of my old habits was to capitalize important words in scene descriptions. Again, it makes them pop during the read, but as Scoopy pointed out, it's also lazy; if you need a trick like this to make descriptions work, then maybe you just haven't written them well.

So I'm going to lowercase most of them. But I still might leave a few in, if they work. If they have a point.

Scoopy's latest script uses italics here and there to emphasize words. It's different, but in moderation it's not a big deal. The script I once read, that was entirely in capital letters? Death.

Otherwise, if anyone has some specific examples of weird format stuff that works, feel free to throw them up here for public debate.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Opening The Floor To Questions

So I'm spending more and more time on the treadmill (3.65 miles this morning, mixing walking, jogging and running) and less time blogging, though I guess the trade-off is worth it, at least for me.

Still, it occurred to me that, since this blog nominally focuses on my specialty of reading, maybe it was time to see if there were any questions that anyone actually had about what I do.

So anything you want to know about pro script readers, let it fly now. Any myths you want debunked, any burning concerns you need assuaged, any dumb questions you ever wanted answered.

Anything, anything, anything. Either post under the comments, or send an e-mail to my account (

Hopefully, this will give me a nice pile of specialty-specific questions that I can draw from for future posts, in between musing about the actual nonsense that I encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Let fly.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Battle Royale

So I read the Japanese novel "Battle Royale" for a production company over the weekend.

For anyone not familiar with it, "Battle Royale" tells the story of 42 15-year olds in a fictional Asian country, who are taken to an island as part of a government experiment, where they are each given a random weapon and told that they must kill each other, because only the sole survivor will be allowed to leave the island. There are a bunch of other rules too, geared toward making sure they move around a lot and can't escape.

The book was made into an almost-legendary Japanese movie, well-known because it is so violent and because it has never been officially released on DVD in the United States.

I haven't seen the movie, but the story in the novel works extremely well, with the writer exploring a lot of different aspects of the tale, as well as the reactions that the kids have; only a few turn into real killers, with the rest trying to survive, though misunderstandings along the way cause more than a few people to kill each other.

It would be a great, dark movie that would probably find a mass U.S. audience.


Would a movie in which forty 15-year-olds die ever be made in this country? Would it be too controversial for someone to try it?

Even better, should a movie like this be made? Is it the next extension of violent video games, something that we should try to avoid? Is that why this hasn't been released in the U.S.?

It's almost too easy to say that the movie would be a bad thing, except that the story does such a good job walking a fine line between violence exploitation and a thoughtful examination of what would happen in this scenario.

Just thought I'd run it up the flagpole, see what people think.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Not Overdescribing, and Trusting Your Reader/Audience

From the "real-life examples from scripts I just read" department --

This script was submitted to a production company, by a producer.

On page 3, the writer describes the main character, in this paragraph (all names changed):

We PULL to reveal MORRIS himself. A tall, slim man in his 60's. His face handsome in a windswept way. Rugged. Like the outdoors he loves. By the age of 18, Morris was working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as an "Adjuster", a free-lance cowboy hired to mediate land disputes between Anglos and fragmented groups from the Indian nations. The job required some charm and skill, and when that failed, a Colt "Peacemaker". He tried always to be fair. Or at least, consistent.

This is a perfect example of overwriting. Though it's tempting to drop huge chunks of character description into an introduction, the bottom line is still the fact that there really isn't any reason to put anything into the script that the audience wouldn't see or here. If the information is that important, figure out a way to bring it across in the dialogue or the story.

So that's what I would have told the writer. Work it into the tale.

But it turns out that that would have been unnecessary. Because on page 5, we get this exchange, between Morris' daughter and his young grandson.

He didn't shoot people.

He says he did. He's an "Adjuster".

He was an "adjuster", a long time ago. I don't think he shot a single person.

And then, on page 6, we get this:

My partner and me once headed off renegade Comanches that were making trouble with some ranchers up north of the Grass River...

Extensive description of an "adjusting" incident follows.

So on pages 5 and 6, we get plenty of backstory into Morris' character and the job he had, rendering the whole page 3 description superfluous.

But the writer doesn't stop there. On page 7, one minor character tells another about how Morris was an adjuster, and what that means. On page 15, Morris talks about adjusting again. On page 22, he talks with his old partner about what they used to do in the old days. On page 26, Morris' son tells a cop:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs used to call in cowboys to negotiate border disputes. They were called "adjusters". That was a long time ago.

On page 32, Morris' partner tells another character that they are adjusters, and they negotiate land disputes. On page 53, he tells another woman "In the old days, when there was a land dispute, the Government brought us in to mediate it". On page 63, he tells a sheriff "We used to work for the BIA, just after the war. Mostly resolving land disputes". On page 69, a TV reporter describes the characters as "cowboys once hired to settle land disputes between Native Americans and Anglo landowners".


If your characters have a job that is important to the plot and a little obscure, just establish it early. And though in reality they might have to fill in people along the way about what they do, there's no reason the reader (or the audience) needs to hear about it over, and over, and over again, in the same words. Especially since it isn't a running gag -- it's repetitive dramatic exposition.

(I'm sure the people reading this know all this already. Just wanted to let you know that there are scripts like this being repped by producers. Doesn't it make you nuts?)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Still Around, Just Busy

I'm swamped, swamped with work, which explains my lack of posting more than my recent diagnosis does. Though I'm still adjusting to that, too.

I'm on a low-fat, low-carb diet. The wife and I met with a nutritionist yesterday (though we've been eating healthy for 6 days now); we're on the diet together, and we've been very, very good so far. Though of course, it's not really a diet -- it's the eating-healthy plan we're probably both on for the rest of our lives.

I've never been an eat-healthy guy, but once I started reading (and understanding) labels, wow, I realize how truly badly I'd often eaten in the past.

No more donut-breakfasts.

Thanks to pills and diet, this morning my sugar level finally dipped down into the double-digits. 98. Much better than the 326 it was at last Wednesday when I was diagnosed.

To anyone with doubts about your own health, get a check-up. Really.

Otherwise, I need to get something in shape for the Nicholl, even if it is just polishing up my frozen-time thing, or the psychic girl thing. But I have no time. But I have to make time.


Tick, tick, tick, tick....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Wake-Up Call

One of the problems that has dogged me my whole life is that I'm a lazy ass.

Not completely. Properly motivated, I'll work my ass off. I'm a hard-working reader; deadlines and paychecks will do it every time.

But other stuff I too often let slide. Things like eating right, and exercising, and even writing; things that go on the back burner when there's other stuff going on, and then stay on the back burner.

It's easy to make excuses. I have a history of good health, I'm not hugely overweight, someday I'll get to the writing, the time is better spent slogging through my pile of work.

I'm not good at setting deadlines for myself. Sometimes I'll go on a writing binge; there are times in my life I have exercised. Not enough.

Not enough motivation.

But everything changed yesterday.

Yesterday I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.



Now it's all about motivation. Sweets and saturated fats are out, everything else in proportion, and small portions. I'm going to hit the gym tonight. I'm going to get exercise regularly.

Because now it's not about "should" or "could", it's about "need to".

I'm on pills, and my sugar level is already way down from yesterday's elevated levels, though it's still high. I'm in the hands of a good doctor. It's all managable (hopefully), and I'm going to manage it.

Still, it's problem that I ignored too long. Who knows how long I've been living with this (though a lot of symptoms seem recent)? Who knows how much damage has been done?

But, as my mother said, in a way it's good news. The kick in the ass I needed.

Hopefully, while I'm moving things around on the burners, the writing will get new focus as well.

It's never too late to change your life. But sometimes you shouldn't wait until the "need to".

My First Ten Verbs

Brett over at A Bucket of Love tagged me with this meme, which is a writing exercise to list the first ten verbs in your script. It's to see if your script is too passive.

I'm a little afraid, but I'm opening up the still-in-progress rewrite of my supernatural thriller. Here we go...


Interesting. It is a fairly quiet scene though, the main character sitting at a table, taking some pills.

Contrast this with the earlier draft:


Different. And sort of revealing, in a yeah-it-was-more-active, but-now-it's-gone way.

Your turn.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Harold and Kumar Go To Del Taco

So a friend of mine was chatting with an agent the other day, and the agent told him that there is a new emphasis on finding/developing scripts with corporate tie-ins plugging products, to help not only finance the film but for some advertising synergy as well.

Recent examples include the Harrison Ford film "Firewall", in which most of the TV commercials seemed to be plugging the idea that the car was the co-star, rather than Paul Bettany or Virginia Madson.

(To show how ineffective it was, I have no idea what model of car it actually was).

On deck is "The Benchwarmers", which apparently is partly financed by Pizza Hut. So in the movie, the guys hang out at Pizza Hut. A lot. Happily.

This is really nothing new. For a long time, opportunities for product placement in movies have gone out to the highest bidder.

But it's one thing if you are taking something that is in the script anyway, and taking the opportunity to take a little cash for making it a specific item. It's when the script is in the design stage, and you are trying to work in corporate tie-ins, that it all starts feeling really, really dicey.

On TV, it's getting horrible. I mean, shows like "The Price Is Right" have been shilling stuff during the show forever. But now top-rated shows like "American Idol" have the judges constantly drinking beverages out of cups marked Coke (whether they are actually drinking Coke is doubtful) while the contestants regularly have in-show music videos that are really just commercials for Ford.

"The Apprentice" has become a joke, in the way that every single episode hypes some corporate product. Last episode, the teams were even writing commercial jingles.

Of course, TV is dealing with the shake-out about Tivo and fast-forwarding through commercials, so some of this stuff is inevitable, and is still going to get worse.

Films seem like they should be a different animal. But then again, it's all about money.

The good thing, though, is that quality is still going to be important. I guarantee the car people weren't happy with the performance of "Firewall". Having your brand in an underperforming, unsatisfying movie isn't going to do anyone any good.

Subtlety is also going to be important. It's one thing to watch a sweet scene in which Elliot lays out a line of Reese's Pieces for E.T. to follow. Knowing that they were paid a lot to put that candy in there? Suddenly the scene isn't so sweet.

Ultimately, I think this is very bad for movies. But beware -- it's out there, and apparently it is gaining speed.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Feeling Older, Feeling Younger

So Saturday the wife and I went to the Orpheum Theater to see Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins play.

My plan was simple: find a place to park, grab some dinner nearby, wander over to the theater, enjoy the show.

Anyone who has ever been to the Orpheum Theater is laughing, because they know the first mistake I made.

The Orpheum Theater is in downtown L.A. (and not a particularly nice section of downtown L.A.).

And it turns out that Downtown L.A. pretty much shuts down around 4PM on weekends.


We circled the theater, for blocks in every direction, looking for a place to eat. Nothing. And keep in mind, this is an area where thousands of people are about to descend for a concert.

Finally we found some hole-in-the-wall Chinese place that was about to close, that sold us some of the stuff that they were probably about to throw away. After my wife took the last of the edible-looking stuff, I wound up with sweet-and-sour mystery meat that had bones in it that I have never seen before.

I should have saved a couple, to take to a vet for identification. But some things you just don't want to know.

At least the noodles were edible enough.

Meanwhile, it's cold, so after the Chinese place kicks us out around 6:30 (about 15 minutes after we got there), we went back to the car to wait for the Orpheum doors to open at 7:00. In the car, we shot some craps on the dashboard, then played some hangman.

Then we joined the long line waiting outside the theater. Where I realized how stupid it was, because we're out here freezing in the cold, for tickets we have assigned seats to, for a show that according to the marquee doesn't even start until 8.

So I'm standing there on this line, shifting from foot to foot and wondering whether it's worth going back to the car to try to make a hard eight, when an older-looking women walking by expresses glee at seeing us.

Not because she knows us. We're total strangers.

But because, as she loudly exclaims, "I thought I'd be the oldest one here".

Jesus, lady. Fuck you.

Now I've had a touch of gray hair for a while, but I'm only 42. And hell, I'm young at heart. I should be getting mad props (as the kids put it, he said, rolling his eyes) for standing outside at line for a concert, even if it's the first one I've been to in a few years.

When I lived in Manhattan, I used to go to Roseland all the time, where the damn place turned into a huge mosh pit for the weirdest bands. Why the hell were people moshing to Juliana Hatfield?

I digress.

But you know, age is an issue in this business. I like to think my life experience is going to help me eventually sell a script, but meanwhile time is ticking by, and I keep on worrying about paying the bills (or taking a rare night off with the wife, sue me) rather than digging into my rewrite.

Anyhow, I shrugged it off (which was easier after seeing a lot of guys there older than me, bless their hearts).

I went to the show, and I even got up and danced a little next to my seat when it was appropriate.

I ran into a guy I know at a prodco on the drink line, chatted with him for a while. It made me want to get something in shape to inflict on him.

Opening acts Whisperland2000 and Tilly and the Wall were cute, and Jenny was great.

By the end of the night, I felt young again.

Hungry, but young.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

So It's Inspiring...

Some say that expecting to sell a screenplay is like expecting to win the lottery. Of course, it's a bad analogy.

I've never known anyone who won the lottery, but I know a whole bunch of people who have gotten paid to write.

There have been a rash of recent successes here in the scribosphere. Patrick Rodio over at Could You Describe the Ruckus? just optioned one of his scripts. Two other people I know have separately been hired to write scripts -- and they don't even live in California.

All got their breaks not because of who they knew, or because they went to a good film school, but simply because they wrote a good script, and got it out there for people to see.

I've known people in the past who have sold stuff. They were all ordinary people, just like you and me, who did the work and got their chance.

The dream isn't just a dream. It's tangible, if you want it.

Congrats to all.