When I first started reading scripts for pay, for New Line Pictures in Manhattan way back in November 1991 (a gig that didn't last long, but which paved the way for others), it occurred to me to log every script and book I got into a little notebook, just so I'd have a record of it.
I'm not particularly hyper-organized -- at all -- but in this respect I was.
And it's a handy thing. It helps with billing, and with being able to track when I might have read something in the past, both if I get a rewrite of the same script from the same company, or the same script itself from a different company.
It also, by it's very nature, leads to quantifying my reading. X number of titles on a page, X number of pages in a notebook, Right now, I'm on notebook number five.
So though I am usually content to round to the nearest thousand when asked how many paid coverages for scripts and book that I have written, I have the easy ability to figure out that number. Today, I sat down and figured it.
(And that's just paid reads. That doesn't count the several hundred plays I read for Circle in the Square in exchange for theater tickets. Or the scripts I've read for friends for free, or the pro scripts I read just for the hell of it, or any number of books I read in the days when I actually had time to do things like read for fun).
Nine thousand, nine hundred and twenty-three.
That's a lot of plots. A lot of stories, good, bad and mediocre. A lot of cliches, that pop up again and again. The same old typos and misunderstood words, over and over (note to all: It's Times Square, not Time Square. And your character is "fazed", not "phased").
That also means the big 10,000 is coming, probably around the end of August. I once promised myself that I'd sell a script before that happened, and manage to avoid that magic number. It doesn't look like it's going to happen now.
Actually, I guess it is going to be a race now, between me and that large-headed Barry Bonds guy, to see who is going to hit their milestone first. The way that Bonds has been struggling lately, the 5 homers he needs could stretch well into next month.
I'm going to beat you, Barry.
Seventy-seven more scripts to ten thousand. Doesn't sound like much. And again I love my job. Most of the time.
But by the time I stop professionally reading (which could be next year, or at age 80 or 90, who knows), I hate to think about what that total might be up to.