Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Call It a Comeback, I Been Here for Years...

A close friend used to remark that I often acted as if there was a camera following me around, right down to me making sarcastic asides and raising an eyebrow Spock/Belushi-style to an imaginary fourth wall. She was right.

I was thinking about that last night, imagining my life as if it was THE TRUMAN SHOW, only significantly less pleasant.  Each year would represent a virtual TV season.  My pre-adolescence (a.k.a. the Seventies) would be a more dysfunctional version of THE WONDER YEARS, as in “I wonder how I survived those years” being the ultimate precocious smart-ass dealing with semi-hippie parents and the dissolution of their marriage.

My Eighties Era switches gears to the prototypical teen angst of a show like MY SO-CALLED LIFE, but as much as I’d like to claim kinship to either Angela or Jordan, OF COURSE I’d be Brian Krakow.  But maybe considerably more worse for wear, so mix in a little of the below-the-poverty line feel of GOOD TIMES? 

And as I fast-forward through the next twenty years, the tragic-comic moments quickly pile up like so many DVD box sets. So many stories – but all for another day.

Which brings me to the last two years.  What, you thought I’d keep up with the lame analogies for every period of my life?  Please, this is a blog, not a memoir.  But speaking of lame analogies, I got a doozy of one coming up for 2012…

Out of work for the first time in twenty-five years, I became disconnected from most of my friends and I felt vaguely disoriented on a daily basis. It was as if my own personal show-runner got canned and the TV series of my life was subsequently put on hiatus.

Thus, it was a year of tinkering and retooling, and I spent most of it working on my third screenplay: DO NOT DISTURB. When I wasn’t tapping away at the keyboard (wish it was still the typewriter era, for “pounding away” would have sounded much more visceral, albeit unintentionally sexual), I was constantly discussing the project with my friend Keith in L.A.

Acting as both my editor and conscience, Keith (or Mayhem, as I nicknamed him based on the Allstate TV spots) kept me on the right path.  Sure, I've yet to get over the fact he suggested the last line of the script five seconds before I would have come up with it myself – even as I type this, the memory still sets my teeth on edge.  Writers and their fragile fucking egos, what can I say, I’m a goddamned cliché.  Putting my pettiness aside, what’s happened over the past year is almost entirely due to his determination and perseverance.  I’m sure he’s gonna read that and smirk, as he knows I’m unlikely to ever be that gushy and nice again.  After all, I do have a rather nasty and spiteful reputation to maintain.

And then there was 2013. 

If this is the latest “TV Season of My Life” – it’s certainly been front-loaded with more than enough plot and character development than I thought my delicate flower-based system could ever handle.

I spent the first month and a half of 2013 resolving some personal issues, and while it may have been the hardest thing I've ever had to do, it was also the right thing to do. I'm happy to say it was truly all for the best, and it looks like a genuine friendship has emerged from those ashes. That pleases me to no end.

Meanwhile, news about the screenplay was starting to heat up again, as Mayhem and his fellow producer Mike (who was one of the producers of the two American versions of THE RING movies) were having meetings on a near weekly basis.  Several agencies (such as UTA, William Morris and ICM) had really liked the script and were submitting lists of possible directors. was a fortuitous twist of fate that led to a copy of the script being sent to two brothers who were keen on finally collaborating on a feature film together.  Who were these cinema-loving siblings?  Tim and Jeff Cronenweth.

Tim’s been one of the leading commercial directors for a number of years.  Jeff is a two-time Oscar nominated cinematographer whose body of work includes such films as FIGHT CLUB, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, HITCHCOCK, ONE HOUR PHOTO and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.  Hell, their dad was a legendary cinematographer who shot visually stunning films like BLADE RUNNER.  It must be "in the blood".

Mayhem and Mike got word in March that the brothers wanted to have a meeting.  A few days before my birthday (which was the 23rd for all those belated birthday card senders out there), I was told they loved the script and were on board. But, there was still the not-so small matter of actually SIGNING them. Names on a dotted line carry a fuck-ton more weight than a nod and a handshake.

In the midst of all these updates about meetings and negotiations, discussions about casting, rewrites and so on – I get a call from my old place of employment!  

Could I fill in for someone who was on medical leave? 

It was like a retired ball player being asked by his old team if he could suit up one mo' time for the stretch drive!  I agreed, not knowing a week later, I’d be juggling the responsibilities of a daily office job with the stress of working on the latest rewrite of the script.  Outside of watching GAME OF THRONES and MAD MEN on Sunday nights, I don’t think I had ever had more than an hour or two of "down time" over the final twenty days of April.

But as insane as that was, it was surpassed in sheer awesomeness (a word I saw so many times today I feel compelled to now use it myself) last night. That’s when Mayhem called to inform me that the Cronenweth Brothers were OFFICIALLY signed for the picture.

Needless to say, this is a huge step.  Not simply Bigfoot-big – we’re talking King Kong big.  The casting director is slated to be signed today as well.  Once that’s done and the latest revisions are discussed – it’s on to issues of casting and financing.  Those two subjects, plus a third -- I'm simply not at liberty to discuss in a public forum just yet.

But trust me, it's freaking Gosh-darned exciting.
Hell, it's even fucking God-damned exciting too.

So that’s my news.  That’s my life.  The idea that my name could appear on a movie screen, at the bottom of a movie poster or even a DVD sleeve – that boggles my mind.  The thought that I might record DVD commentary for a film I wrote takes that boggled mind and blows it across the wall.  And the opportunity to meet people, to get representation as well as membership in the Writers Guild, to be considered for future writing jobs in either film or television – I am both shocked and excited by such a prospect.

But it’s the fact that the next time someone asks me “what do you do” – I can honestly say “I’m a writer” – that’s truly the best part of all.

PS: Today also marks FIVE HUNDRED DAYS without a cigarette.
Add that to the list of "things I never thought I'd be celebrating".


  1. Fantastic, Scot. I'm glad your work is getting taken seriously. And I can't wait to add some Do Not Disturb memorabilia to my collection of special things.

  2. Wow! Congratulations! On the screenplay and the smoking! Looking forward to seeing your name on the screen!

  3. such great news Scot, well earned and deserved! :)