Friday, November 18, 2005

"The pen is the tongue of the mind."
M. Cervantes

My agent emailed to say A-list producer is going to call me now instead. Wow, I better get my act together, reread my script and have my questions in order. It's been three months and I've moved on to other projects -- but everything has to be fresh for when he calls. We've spoken once already (in August) and he was very insightful and easy to talk with, so I think the call will be helpful in rewriting the sports script... however, I hope he emails notes too so I don't have to take them over the phone.

I shot the TV interview with playwright Bill C. Davis and it went very well. Mark Molaro was the host and did a great job. Bill is a fascinating Broadway playwright with lots to say on areas of sexuality, religion, politics and artistry. Once the interview is edited, I'll let you know where it will air. In the future, Bill might also post it on his website.

One thing Bill said that was interesting is how "plays aren't written -- they're rewritten" -- and workshopped until it takes on a life of its own. I think it's the same in many areas of writing -- screenwriting in particular because you tend to write your version and then revise it for a committee of readers (your agent, the producer, the director, the actors). So really that first version is your baby before everybody else gets their eyes and hands on it... I heard an actor say once that he loved the auditioning process because it's the only time when the performance was all his.... before the director and producer makes you "act" their way.

Because I'm an editor by trade, I'm used to adjusting material, taking suggestions and making revisions . For most writers, myself included, it's hard to take criticism and to tackle those rewrites again and again. Hemingway said "all first drafts are shit" for a reason. But it's still daunting -- afterall, we're the ones who face that blank page, create the characters, the dialogue, the plot, revise the script a million times... and then someone reads it and decides if it's good or it's terrible. It's all so subjective, but yet as a writer you write for those subjective eyes and pray that, hopefully, they will get it.

We writers are brave souls. It takes a lot of confidence, perserverance, and sweat to stay in this game. So easy to say screw it and throw in the towel. But then you get that idea... that vision of a story... or character in your head... and you sit back down at the desk.

Or you wait for that subjective A-list producer to call.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What no wife/husband of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he or she is staring out of the window".
Burton Rascoe

Okay, let me start by saying NO, I haven't gotten the A-list producer's notes yet. 3 months and waiting... but my agent says it's worth the wait... as I said to my friend Barbara recently via email "Is he chiseling them on stone? What's taking so damn long?" BUT, he's an A-list producer with many projects... and I'm low on the food chain. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning... anxiously waiting!

Madonna's new CD "Confessions on a Dance Floor" is amazing! Madonna is back! Yippee! Ms. Ritchie, please stick to music/dance, not acting -- this CD is great for working out or just getting you motivated (to write maybe). Highly recommend it! Madonna still has it. Not bad for 47 years old, huh? Watch this one to rise up the charts like a rocket.

On that note, strike a pose!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector."
Ernest Hemingway

I'm still working on my crime drama script. It's been a really busy week away from the computer (making a living here and there editing), so I haven't been as dedicated to writing as I'd like. Next week my schedule looks clear and I'll have no excuses. Aren't writers always looking for excuses not to write? Cleaning, shopping, bathing the dog, Christmas shopping... but sooner or later, the work has to get done with butt in the chair.

I'm helping a Canadian fellow put together a "demo" for a talk show. Mark's super intelligent and a great interviewer. This would be a NYC arts and culture-type program. It's coming along great. We shoot our first interview Sunday with playwright Bill C. Davis (Broadway's "Mass Appeal", "Avow"), who incidentally was my playwrighting professor at Marist College. He's a bright, animated guy (who is running for the U.S. Congress in Connecticut in '06 with the Green Party). The interview should be really great. I may have a website soon for you to watch the edited DVD once it's done (good program about the playwrighting process).

My good friend Hillit Dayan is soon returning to the USA after spending over two years in England (attending grad school in London). I can't wait to see her and catch up. It will be interesting too to get her take on the USA from abroad. I can only imagine.

I walked by Rockefeller Plaza today and noticed the Christmas tree is already up (just not lit yet). The tourists are arriving in droves around St. Patrick's and Saks. Gotta love NY this time of year (even if it means getting shoved around by the massive crowds on the streets)!

Peace, everybody.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


"Writing -- is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."
Mary Heaton Vorse

So I contacted my agent about not receiving "the notes" yet from the A-list producer.
I was gentle about it implying maybe he's too busy and we "should move on". She replied by email to tell me basically to chill out and shut up. Not that harsh, of course, but her take: his notes are FREE -- and in the screenwriting market worth a LOT of money (some consultants charge thousands to give you notes on a script). Right there she said the wait is worth it. Then she proceeded to say once I apply those notes into the script and he carries THAT script into a major Hollywood talent agency -- THAT big agency has clients under contract that need projects -- and they will trust A-list producer to supply that work for their A-list star, director, studio, etc. She said forget TV -- we're going for the gold with this one. Feature film it is.

I said what about the holiday lull fast approaching? Things are going to slow down soon. Life is passing us by. Agent says "Fuck the lull. '06 here we come!"

That gave me a much needed laugh and a kick in the pants. My agent is terrific. She pulls no punches and tells me like it is. Remember in the Mary Tyler Moore Show in that classic scene where Lou Grant says to Mary "You got spunk, kid." And she smiles proudly. Then he growls "I hate spunk!". Funny scene. If you haven't seen the old MTM shows, rent the DVD on Netflix. MTM and her cast were brilliant and it's all set in a newsroom (which I can relate to). So bottom line, in an agent... you want spunk!

So, no more complaining! I'll keep writing my other scripts and wait for those damn notes to arrive come hell or high water.

Then the really hard work begins.

Over and out.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


"Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living."
Gustave Flaubert

I've been working on the detective story. It's coming along scene by scene, page by page. It's basically, as I've said before, about a cynical detective who rediscovers his faith when he investigates the murder of a Catholic priest.

Speaking of religion and newfound faith... I watched author Anne Rice on "The Charlie Rose Show" last night on PBS and it was an amazing interview with the legendary writer. She has written a new novel called "CHRIST THE LORD: Out of Egypt". And here is the description of the novel by the publisher: Having completed the two cycles of legend to which she has devoted her career so far, Anne Rice gives us now her most ambitious and courageous book, a novel about the life of of Christ the Lord based on the gospels and on the most respected New Testament scholarship. The book's power derives from the passion its author brings to the writing, and the way in which she summons up the voice, the presence, the words of Jesus who tells the story. In stores November 1.

Anyway, Rice went on to tell Charlie that she was an atheist for nearly 30 years. Her late husband was an atheist. However, she said she rediscovered her faith while he was still alive, returned to her Catholic faith and told her husband they needed to get married in the church. He agreed without a fuss. Since his death, Rice has devoted herself to extensive historical research (her forte) on the life of Jesus. She says this new novel will be a trilogy. The story is told until Jesus turns eight. Charlie asked Rice, after all her research, what was the most important message she derived from Jesus... her answer? "To love one another". And the biggest impact on her life since writing the book and revisiting her faith? She treats people better and with more compassion.

I haven't read the new book, but I certainly plan to. If it's as captivating as her interview, it's a must-read for the holiday season. So the Vampire Lady of New Orleans, who now resides in California, is devoting her professional and personal life to Jesus Christ.

Who says miracles don't happen in modern times?