Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Two years ago a young guy in L.A. called me up. He was interning at a production company and had read one of my scripts "WAR BIRDS", co-written with Pete Flores. It's an animation story about birds at the time of the dawning of man. Steve, the intern, left me a voicemail and said he had no power, no clout, but he was planning on becoming a producer one day in the future and wanted to keep in touch with writers he respected.

That was a cool phone message to get. A few days later I called him back. We chatted about my scripts and I could tell this was no ordinary intern. This guy knew his stuff. He was in his 30s and served in the military (Air Force) and was now in Hollywood. He planned to be in NYC soon and hoped to meet with me. We did. We had coffee for two hours and he gave me all the inside scoop on Hollywood, talent agencies, selling your script, etc. from his perspective. It was two hours well-invested.

Months later he optioned "WAR BIRDS" for a $1,000. He shopped it but wasn't able to sell it. However, Steve remains a great contact. Last week, he now works for a TOP talent agency in L.A., sent me the script for the new movie "The Break-Up" and three "The Sopranos" scripts, two written by its creator David Chase. "The Break-Up" was fun to read, but in places, it seemed too formulaic and I didn't particulary care for the main characters. They were both annoying as a couple. There were some funny laugh-out-loud lines that I could imagine Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston saying. I'm seeing the movie so I'll be able to see how closely they followed the script. It's a good script, but it didn't blow me away.

Now... Mr. Chase is another story. Wow. "The Sopranos" is outstanding on the page alone, not to mention once the actors get these lines. The dialogue is not sparce, but each line fits the characters perfectly and gives deeper meaning usually. Reading Tony and Carmella's lines are priceless. The scenes move (even when just talking heads are involved). I plan to reread "The Sopranos" several times over. There is a lot to learn from David Chase, similar to when I read "DEADWOOD" scripts written by creator/writer/producer David Milch. The talent is on the page in black and white.

So keep writing, people, but more importantly, keep reading great scripts from great movie and TV writers (many more in TV of late).

That intern is now close to becoming a bona fide Hollywood agent. I'm glad I returned his phone call when I did. See, ya never know.

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