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Friday, October 19, 2007


My SW partner Margaux and I attended the annual Final Draft party last evening and here are the tidbits I can share - the other stuff - well, what happens at the annual FD party stays at the - oh I can't even muster the strength to summon that stale joke.

Some musician: If I pay ten dollars for a movie, something better blow up!

The writer of a movie you may or may not have seen: Character arc is simple. On page one, your character gets out of bed and kicks his dog. You don't need ten pages of set up.

A Doctor: Look, you may not want to hear this but this writer's strike makes no sense to me. It's baloney. If I buy something at the store, do I have to continue to pay for it every time I use it?

Nearby partygoer: Hey, if you rent out Uhauls, you get paid every time it's used, don't you?

The Doctor: But producers take all the risk. It's baloney.

The guest of honor was Oliver Stone, who made a brief acceptance speech for his Lifetime Achievement Award and who likened being a writer to building a ship and setting off into the open ocean for adventures unknown. He was eloquent and the audience was rapt. Stories, Stone went on, never end. You put them down for awhile and return to them and because you have changed - the story changes too. Lovely speech. And yeah I think he totally was hitting on the presenter girl. But you know. It's Hollywood.

Being that drinks were free, the noise level in the bar area was comparable to maybe lying on your back under a 747 on the runway. My ears are still ringing.

Antwone Fisher presented an award to the first place winning script in the Final Draft Big Break competition and the winner beamed. The kid won fifteen grand - I'd be beaming too!

Drinks were free but parking was outrageously expensive. Platters of impossibly tiny "appetizers" spun continuously through the crowd on the spindly arms of smiling "servers". As far as I could tell, each appetizer was just another version of the one before it. A cracker about the size of a quarter (seriously, I'm not kidding) with a dollop of pink or green stuff on it. Pink being "salmon" and the green being "spinach". Also little sticks with impaled shrimp.

I met a talent manager who by all appearances looked to be 17 year old (seriously, I am not kidding) and there were some young ladies who were egregiously under-dressed. But hey, this is Hollywood, right?

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Emily Blake said...

I love Hollywood parties because you have to put on your Hollywood party persona and be really fake for two hours. Oh, my that's great! You sound like you're doing so well! Really? You worked with him? Wow you have so many connections! Good luck with that! Let's talk more about how fabulous you are!"

And you have to sit up very straight and look very interested.

Anonymous said...

As it happens, today I was at the other screenwriters expo (I was asked to fill in for Oliver Stone, who--shockingly--canceled at the last minute...Anyway, the first speaker of the day was in the middle of his spiel about set pieces in scripts and suddenly slipped to the floor in what turned out to be a middle-of-the-road heart attack. I'll take a 17 year-old and some scantily clad young girls any day.

And to the Doctor I have this to say, Doc, I shouldn't be paying for your vacation home in Tahiti or your members fee at the exclusive country club you belong to or for your medical degree (which should be paid for by now), but I know every time I fork down my hard earned money to pay your overly inflated bill that's its the price of coming to see your pleasant face...without me (and others of my ilk) those producers you seem to be so fond of wouldn't have anything to take a risk on.

Actors, producers, studios, et al all make money every time a film plays to a paying audience, why shouldn't I? My skill has value too. All we're asking is to be treated fairly--it's a simple request.

Julie Gray said...

Oh Anonymous, you articulate rascal. Thank you for your post. Which other screenwriting expo? This was a party not an expo, by definition. Though one could argue there were attendees (aforementioned scantily clad and under-nourished girl-women) who were clearly misinformed and had they packed their stripper poles would have expo'd plenty.

I will be at the CS Expo next week and I will be looking attentively for a person with the name tag I.M. to arrive at my booth and greet me vociferously. :)

Nice riposte re the doctor. If only you had been there to inform him that it was he who was the purveyor of baloney.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the expo I spoke at had its own reception/party (I didn't go, I hate those things) and was sponsored by FI magazine...I don't usually go to screenwriting "expos" or the like, but as it happened I know someone who was one of the panel speakers and just went to hang out. And by a quirk of fate (or just plain bad luck) went it seemed Ollie wouldn't be showing as scheduled I filled in until they found some people who don't mind such events - John August was there as well and he actually filled the Stone time slot. I spoke a little earlier, imparting my limited and sarcastic wisdom on the faithful and the innocent...

As to the Doc, I'm glad I wasn't there since I tend to be entirely dismissive of those foolish folks who voice such stupid opinions and like to insult their so-called intelligence as often as possible (though I'll admit it's getting more and more difficult to insult the arrogant of this world these days), and I would probably settled on something like, "You're an idiot." and left it at that, walking away shaking my head with disgust...

As to seeing you at your expo, I'm afraid I'm painfully shy and it's likely you won't see me or my ugly mug.