There Are Three Kinds Of Life Experiences…
1. Good experiences
2. Bad experiences
3. Screenplay material
I have been struggling with one of our projects. I’ve carried the script around with me for months. To the club. On vacation. If this script were a traveller, it would have enough frequent flyer points to go to Uranus.
(Insert childish snickering here).
I’ve been carrying the script around with me, as if proximity to the 3-hole punch paper would somehow impart, kabbalah-like, some hidden set of brilliant notes that would fix every problem I can’t seem to crack.
Alas, even Jewish mysticism has failed to help me come up with a way to make the jewel thief protagonist a more sympathetic character in the first act.
And now I’m in trouble. Because the writer is back in town, after being conveniently out of the country all summer long, and I still don’t know what to tell him about the latest draft, other than his script needs a major overhaul and we don’t have the development fund to pay him for a rewrite.
FLASH FORWARD-THREE HOURS AGO-EXT. HIPSTER CAFE-DUSK:
I meet with the writer for coffee, fully prepared to admit that I am the loser producer who can only complain about all the faults in a script, and offer no helpful suggestions whatsoever. For the first 40 minutes of the meeting we talk about Barcelona in the summertime and how expensive the coffee is at Intelligentsia Coffee.
I try and stall the inevitable conversation about the script by asking him what he thinks about the 700 billion dollar bailout. He’s angry about it and points to a “Bank Owned” sign on a house across the street from the cafe. “They could have bailed out that guy for a lot less money.”
And that’s exactly when I figure out how to fix the script.
The jewel thief in the script, isn’t stealing because he’s trying to achieve the American Dream, he’s stealing because he needs to save the family home! (OMG). The writer goes crazy for the idea, spending the next twenty minutes vamping on what else could happen that would drive his now likable hero into a life of crime.
In thirty minutes we figure out how to solve every character and plot problem that have dogged me for the past four months.
I get a creative bailout due to the failing market. Go figure.