On Friday, my weekly column on The Good Men Project was about the time I met with Dr. Dre to discuss my screenplay, .33 Reverse Gunther. Everything looked very good for an amazing moment in time that I will never forget, and then Hollywood broke my heart and crushed my spirit.
The essay did have a happy ending, though, as I vowed to stop running from Hollywood and try to revive my once promising screenwriting career.
Like any breakup, this one left scars that might never heal. Blogging has become my avenue of writing for the time being, but every so often, I find myself daydreaming about screenwriting and how good we were together.
But then I remember that screenwriting is a part of Hollywood, and the pain that town inflicted on me is still too much to bear.
I’ve written several screenplays since the Gunther deal fell through, and even had two of them produced outside of the Hollywood system, but the passion that was once there has definitely died.
Lately, there haven’t been any new screenplay pages written, and I will be the first to admit that it isn’t because of a lack of ideas.
No, Modern Philosophers, Hollywood just broke my resolve, shattered my confidence, and scared me off to my quiet corner of the blogosphere where I can write in peace without anyone seductively dangling multi-million dollar budgets in my face.
Yes, I have been too afraid of failure to open up Final Draft and type FADE IN: because that is how much Hollywood traumatized me.
And it will always be easy for me to blame others for why I left Hollywood and closed off the part of my heart that once loved screenwriting.
Ever since spilling the Dre story to my therapist, however, I’ve realized that my crush on Hollywood might not be completely dead.
As I’ve worked to make myself a better, more positive person, I’ve come to realize that screenwriting is an essential part of who I am.
I’ve been afraid to face that fact, but the time has finally come to see if the door is still open and Hollywood will take me back.
So last night, I sent the link to the Dr. Dre article to my friend Matthias, who directed The Retirement Party, and has long been interested in producing Gunther. In fact, Matthias had originally wanted to direct Gunther, but another producer held the option on the screenplay when he approached me about it.
Luckily, he liked my writing so much that he asked to read another script and decided to make The Retirement Party instead.
I’m not sure why I sent Matthias the link. I guess I was hoping it would remind him that Gunther was still out there waiting to be made. Maybe if he read about how interested Dre once was in the project, it would rekindle his own passion for it.
Whatever my reasons for sending it, I didn’t expect anything to happen. I hadn’t heard from Matthias in months, and even though I was currently crushing on Hollywood, it had probably lost all interest in me. I wasn’t the same young, handsome guy I was fifteen years ago, and everyone knows Hollywood prefers the young studs.
To my surprise, I discovered two missed calls from Matthias about an hour later. When we finally connected, he told me how ironic it had been that I’d sent him the article, as he had just come from a very promising meeting with a company that might be financing the flick!
I’m not going to bore you with the mundane “How a movie gets made in Hollywood” kind of details, but this was the most positive Matthias has ever been about Gunther going into production.
As a battle weary veteran of Hollywood relationships, I allowed myself a mini-celebration, an excited phone call to the significant other in which I blurted out a whole lot of business information in one long breath of non-punctuated dialogue, and then locked it down like the bank vault at the very heart of Gunther’s plot.
Yes, Hollywood has tried to apologize, but I’m not some naive ingenue just off the bus from Topeka thinking I’m going to get discovered while sipping a milkshake at the corner soda fountain. I’m well aware that I need to play hard to get and not just hand over my heart again on a silver platter.
If Hollywood wants a clean slate with me, it will get it only when the contracts are signed, locations have been locked down, and Matthias shows me the actual slate with “.33 Reverse Gunther” printed on it.
When Matthias yells “Action!” and the cameras finally roll after all these years, only then will I put on Hollywood’s varsity jacket again and allow it (Hollywood, not the jacket!) to take me to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.
Yes, I need to keep myself from getting too excited about all this because that’s the only way I can ensure that I won’t be crushed again if Hollywood relapses into its horrible past behaviors.
Down deep, though, Modern Philosophers, my heart is pounding excitedly, I’m imagining a life spent working late on rewrites and then rushing to the set with fresh pages, and I’m daring to dream that I’ll live happily ever after.
The movie business is not for the faint of heart, but if you love roller coasters, you might want to think about taking up screenwriting…
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