Monday, February 27, 2006


Less than a week to go. I'm excited. Jon Stewart should be funny (please, please, Jon, be funny. Don't be Chris Rock. You can't sing and dance like Billy Crystal, but BE funny. I know he has the potential and the writers.)

So here are my picks for the Golden statues. I may be wrong, but here goes... "Brokeback Mountain" best picture, Ang Lee best director, Philip Seymour Hoffman best actor, Felicity Huffman best actress (Ok, she won't win... Reese Witherspoon will... but see both movies and tell me which role was more demanding and required "acting". I love Reese, but Felicity Huffman is soooo good in this daring role.) George Clooney best supporting actor ( I love him more than ever!), Rachel Weisz best supporting actress, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana "Brokeback Mountain" best adapted screenplay, Paul Haggis "Crash" original screenplay, "Wallace & Gromit" best animated feature, Dolly Parton "Travelin' Tru" best song. Dolly lost for "9 to 5" twenty-five years ago. She's long overdue and just the coolest lady.

So those are my picks!

Paul Haggis was on "The Charlie Rose Show" (listen to Charlie on Google Video podcasts now. He's incredible, not to mention his guests) the other night and Haggis explained why he wrote the movie "Crash". He was carjacked by two teens in L.A. several years back and wondered often where they grew up, who raised them, what were they like at home, and he began to to write the script from those seeds. It's like anything in life -- good or bad -- we can learn from the experience and create something to help others. He talked about being broke and down on his luck often as a writer before hitting it very big writing "Million Dollar Baby" and (directing/writing) "Crash". I wonder if he'll thank those two thugs in his acceptance speech?

Some writing news for me. I may go to L.A. in April for a conference (my agent is springing for it, the conference, that is). I heard from the assistant to a studio executive who offered to read my scripts and help "open some doors". A news cameraman friend of mine is married to this assistant's sister... so he put us in touch... helps when a friend looks out for you.

Enjoy the Oscars!

Monday, February 13, 2006


Ever hear the expression "The check is in the mail."? That's usually what someone says to you when they owe you money, but can't pay up. If you think it's in the mail, you go away. What about notes? When a producer tells you he will send you notes next week... and the week after that... and after that... when do you figure he's bullshitting?

A-list producer sent me an email in January. Wished me a happy new year and said the notes were coming the following week... we're in February. This all started in September. So yesterday I wrote my agent an email and said basically let's move on. I explained my feelings, blah, blah, blah. She FORWARDED him MY rantl and asked him what's the deal? Good thing I didn't call him "a procrastinating Hollywood asshole", huh?

A-list producer writes back that he's working on a UK funded script in Hollywood... is swamped... but I'm on his mind and so is my script. He doesn't want us to get discouraged and give him UNTIL NEXT WEEK for the notes. Are you laughing yet? My agent writes me and says "What do you think?" Now she knows him well in L.A. and he is an A-list producer with major screen credits... he's no schmuck... do I wait or do I go?

My agent and I decided to wait this out until March. We just got a huge blizzard here in NYC. So when the snow is gone, I should have those damn notes. Yup and the check is in the mail.

Meanwhile, I finished my comedy script and sent that to my agent. She prefers snail mail and a hard copy (I do too). I hope she likes it. If it makes her laugh, I will be happy.

I recommend an awesome book on screenwriting by Max Adams (a woman! name sounds like an old man) and she's a produced screenwriter who has also won numerous writing awards, namely the Nicholl Fellowship, which all screenwriters know is the biggie. Her book is called "The Survivor's Guide to Screenwriting". It is hilarious and will answer all your writing questions. Read it if you can.

So my new goal is to try and read every screenplay that has won an Oscar for Best Writing. Learn from the best, right? Before tackling the old ones, I just read "Brokeback Mountain" in script form (it's nominated this year). It is amazing on the page. Heartwrenching with richly described characters (Ennis's love for his wife and girls, but his love for Jack is stronger and destroying his life.) The script is available to read on a nifty website called They have everything there! I plan to read "Munich" (164 pages!!) and "Good Night and Good Luck" too. All for free. I love the Internet.

This is a great time to read with snow drifts keeping us prisoners in our apartments this weekend. This is an old school snow storm, people. The kind we remember as kids. So enjoy... and keep reading and writing!