Tuesday, November 30, 2010


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

"Are you sure the screenplay has to be about hookers?" said Nicky as she snapped back into her former development exec role. "If you use hookers, then the film will get an R-rating."

I stood my ground. I'm going to write my screenplay the way I want to write it. If a studio wants to buy it ( if we ever get to that phase), then shit, you bet your ass I will make whatever concessions that need to be made in order to cash a check.

Most not-creative people think that writing entails the physical act of writing. What they don't realize is that that is just the next-to-last-step (and the last step being editing what you write, which is something that NEVER HAPPENS HERE, which is why I love blogging, because I can be lazy and just turn on the mic, pollute the airwaves with my propaganda, and then exit stage left). Writing encapsulates many layers of pre-writing. This is what happens when I'm walking down the street, flipping through the channels, reading a book, or discussing a potential screenplay with my girlfriend. Most of the writing is done inside my head -- that is to say, only on thought out pieces because my afternoon writing (freelance stuff) is more calculated.

However, there are times like right now, when I just go for the stream of consciousness and open up a blank page in Blogger and begin typing, and that's what I think people think is writing, when that's more like dictating -- the pundit inside my head is preaching and I'm acting like a court reporter and just jotting down all that excessive verbage. I thoroughly enjoy that free-form for writing which I get to do most of the time in the early mornings. I can't think of a better way to start my days. I usually do my best writing after a free-write and a break when I can gather my thoughts into a more coherent structure before I sit back down to write a second session.

Even though I was not actually sitting down to write late last night, in just one thirty-minute conversation, I trashed two potential drafts as a screenplay and then decided to take the story in an entirely different direction. That's one of the benefits of living with someone who spent a decade in the entertainment industry, but then again, one of the downsides is that guidance can often hinder the creative side and all I start thinking about is commerce instead of art.

I had an idea to write a futuristic dystopian thriller about a zookeeper, but the humans are the animals so he's enslaving his own race, meanwhile a cross-bred race of human and reptilian-aliens are controlling the world. The zookeeper falls in love with a hooker seeking redemption -- one blow job at a time.

Of course, if I were trying to get a gig in Hollyweird, I'd be writing young adult screenplays about mopey vampires, or trying to write a spec script called Hangover 4: Puking in Prague, rife with plenty of homophobic jokes, S&M humor, and non-shaved nether regions on Eastern European women because most of the flick is filmed inside a Czech brothel.

These days in Hollywood, the bean counters only want to fund established brands, sequels, and whatever is trending. That's why everything kinda sucks or you see so many re-makes. I dunno how many times I've moaned, "For the price of this bomb, they could have funded ten indie flicks." And yeah, six or seven smaller indie films might be self-indulgent fodder, but I betcha you will find two or three compelling stories told in a unique and artistic way that doesn't involve any CGI or three-story high explosions in the sky.

And just so we're on the same page -- I love Michael Bay as much as Noah Baumbach. The thing about Bay is that he knows what he is doing is total bullshit, so he just decides to crank it up to the Nth degree. Instead of the Spinal Tap analogy of "11", Bay pushes it to 111. Meanwhile, Baumbach pushes the limits in his own nerdish-intellecutal New York mishmash. My point is this -- you can make three Baumbach films and five Jim Jarmusch films for the same price as a Michael Bay production -- but the bean counters in Hollywood don't want to gamble their money on spreading around the wealth. When they bet, they want to bet huge -- which is why so many sequels get a juiced-up budget compared to the original.

But I do like to see things blowing up -- mainly because I don't write about stuff blowing up. I don't think I can write a screenplay about that sort of stuff, which means I don't expect to find a job as a screenwriter in this town anytime soon. I know my screenplay concept is a derivative of "Blade Runner meets Pretty Woman meets Planet of the Apes", but that's not going to deter me from writing my "dystopian, Reptilian overlord, zookeeper falls in love with a hooker" tale.

Save a hooker, save the world.


  1. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Have you seen Christopher Guest's directorial debut The Big Picture (1989)?  It's a hilarious satire of how the Hollywood process affects creativity, egos, and relationships.  Kevin Bacon as a naive filmmaker, Jennifer Jason Leigh as his wacky indie arthouse friend, J.T. Walsh as a studio exec., Martin Short as a slimy agent, and introducing Teri Hatcher as a fame hungry starlet.  Definitely worth checking out.

  2. Jerry2:01 PM

    I'll be the extra in the first scene get the BJ...