Apparently, just after George W Bush opened his library, this movie, WMD, that I was one of the main leads in, will finally be screened… The project was initially written, cast and filmed when “Dubya” the 43rd President was still making decisions in the White House. Yes, years ago. You know when American soldiers were still in Iraq and Afghanistan… Oh wait. Never-mind.
I don’t know when the public will get a chance to see this film, how it came out, or if it will ever be made available.. But, anyway, the filming, and the process that followed generated so many classic stories that, at one point, there was talk of making a comedy, which would have told the story of the making of the film through the retelling of some of those tales by the cast and crew. I wouldn’t be surprised if that still happens.
So, WMD (the movie) is going to be completed, or it is finished, and in the email to the cast, inviting us to the screening, the production company mentioned that WMD will be screening during the Cannes Film Festival (I don’t have the details on that yet either)…
However, believe it or not, this here blog posting isn’t about this particular movie.
This blog is about patience… The marathon… And yes, I know, first-hand that it’s really hard to have patience when the rent is due at the end of the month, your car insurance bills are due on the 15th, and the waiter brings your check with a smiley face drawn on it as soon you put your fork down. But yet, some things, most things, take time… And, it’s not always easy to not rush things… As I was asked by some people last night, after singing two songs at an open mic, why I’m not more aggressive with my singing career… “Why aren’t you on Broadway…” “Why don’t you go on one of those TV singing shows?” I simply relayed, something to the effect of… “Because I’m still developing…” “Still learning…” “I’m getting in my reps…” “Because I went out of the gate too early the first time and got beat up, and ended up quitting singing publicly for a dozen years…”
If you’re interested in more of that story you can read some of it via the Closet Singer webpage (ClosetSinger.com)…
You may have heard the following story before, and the whole world will hear this story, in the future, when at some point things really really “go right” in my career.
Over fifteen years ago I moved to Los Angeles… On my way here, the five “LA friends” that I had, that I knew, that were all convincing me to move westward from New York, Actually all told me, while I was driving, I believe in Tennessee, in route, how it suddenly wasn’t a good week for them to have me to move to LA. They all had excuses why all of a sudden they wouldn’t be able to put me up… Although one of the five did come through, and she promised me that although her couch was already being occupied by her roommate (which it was), she would find places for me to crash (and she did), and that I should keep on driving west.
One of the first couches I crashed on, that she set up, was in K-Town, an upstairs garden apartment of a lovely couple that didn’t know me from Adam. The two of them, that if you put them together I would still dwarf, Eric and Jeannie, opened their apartment up, and were generous with their couch to a complete giant stranger for a week… Unknown to me, three or so weeks after I left, and found my own apartment, another guy, someone I didn’t know, someone more mid-size, Paul, would be crashing on that same couch (more on that later).
Several months past and Eric who was also a writer asked me if I’d be interested in writing a screenplay with him and Paul (the other couch crasher)… Well, up to that point I had written plays and sketches and had some produced in New York City, but I had never tackled a screenplay, but we met, the three of us, and we pitched some ideas… We came up with a deal and we wrote. There were some bumps while we figured out how we best worked together… But what came out of it was a very zanny comedy. But more importantly Paul and I became good friends and really liked how we worked together, and he and I would continue to work on scripts.
Over the years since I move to Los Angeles I have had five scripts optioned, three of them being scripts I had CO-written with Paul. However, that script that brought us together, honestly, in retrospect, as it was, should have never been shown to anyone other than the three of us, and might have done more damage than good at the time. Let me explain that… A lot of times you get one crack at the bat. Let’s say you know someone that “is somebody” in showbiz… And they’ll read a script of yours or watch a movie of yours, or come see you sing… Well, if you’re not really ready… That’s the image they stick on you for a long while, and you’re probably not going to get them to read your next script, or watch your next show, or hear your next song… They’ve gone and silently labeled you already.
Okay, back to the story… Time ticked on clocks… Eric and Jeannie sort of loss touch with Paul and I, as they had children and developed successful careers outside of the film biz… You sort of know my story (I kept kinda true to the artist life with dozens of commercials and TV shows, some singing, photography, writing, publishing of novels…) And Paul… Well, Paul, was sort of a combination of Eric’s life and mine… Since Paul and I started working together, he’s added a wife and two kids of his own to his team. He was a struggling-writer-painter-bachelor living in Eagle Rock when we first met (at yet another friend’s house), then got married, got a job, had a kid, moved to San Fran to work with some music company (a day job), had a second kid, then he moved to New York to go back to school to get a MBA from Columbia (to be able to get better day jobs), then I think he was working in Boston as a consultant maybe, then he was living somewhere else doing something else (again as day jobs), then maybe Pennsylvanian, then he was in PA but working for a company in SoCali (flying back and forth bi-monthly), and now I believe while he’s looking for a place to move his family in Rhode Island, he’s currently living in PA driving back and forth weekly… Anyway… Those details are Paul’s to correct when the time comes.
Semi-recently, when Paul was traveling to Orange County for his day job, he and I met up and had one of our walk and talks… One of my favorite things to do. We were discussing various scripts we had written, which project we’d push, how we’d push it… Which project we’d attempt to get to agents we had no idea how to reach, and which project we thought we should work on next even though we had no idea who we would show it to after we would finish.
With much discussion we decided to take that very first script out of it’s dusty computer file and do a complete overhaul on it, re-building it from the ground up… Not having any allegiance to any part of it. So, me being the lead writer as I am, I did… I whipped that sucker out and got to work. Paul and I would discuss, we’d rip the story apart obviate characters and arcs and I’d re-build… Paul would read and suggest, we’d rip parts of it apart again, and I’d re-build… All in all it wasn’t that long of a process, perhaps a few months total before we were completely happy with our newest (yet oldest script)…
We brought Eric back in the fold and sent him a draft, to which he gave us a few notes that we implemented… And then after some more thoughts, work and time, the script went to it’s next reader… My new manager… And it was delivered with it’s new very smart and brief logline and new catchy title, and as a completely new high-concept script. My manager, who had read three other scripts of Paul and mine, and was shopping two of them to productions offices around town… But while we had been getting great feedback, especially about the sharpness of the dialogue, we hadn’t yet had a sale.
Well, this newest script, this big-budget, broad-comedy script wasn’t his style… He was more of a RomCom guy… with connections to smaller companies doing smaller films. However, to his credit, he smartly recognized the marketability of the genre, the potential in a big sale, the humor and funny contained in script, title and logline… With some discussions he got on board… I won’t go into all the details, but we collectively decided that we should add a literary agent to our team, and with the clout and connections that the big literary agencies have, we figured that with a script like we had, written by two unsold writers, we would all have a much better chance of selling it and making money.
Well… This past week our manager followed up some leads and made some calls, and happily, very happily, I can say that as of last Friday morning FIVE agents, at FIVE of the biggest, most influential literary agencies on the planet, have copies of our script that they asked for copies of.
We just need one of them to recognize the potential in the script and the project… And go out with it… If they do, Paul and my careers could change forever… And if they do, perhaps maybe in less than another fifteen plus years you’ll be seeing what three guys that have a couch in common came up with 15 years ago, in a theater near you…
Anyway, I thought you’d appreciate the story…
Patience and persistence. Hopefully one of those agencies will get back to us, and my next posting will be about that… And then after, I’ll post about the sale… And then about the casting, the production… And then the opening at thousands of screens around the world. However, if I waited till the “final result” to post anything, I might never post a single thing… Because really, there is only one final destination that I know of… Besides that there is only the constant journey, of the marathon of life…
– Quiche Out
“It took Beethoven four years to write that symphony… Some thing’s can’t be rushed. Good music and good wine…” – Orson Welles (in commercial below)