Julie Gets a Gun

A reader sent me a New York Times article about a Big Deal Screenwriter who likes to shoot his unproduced screenplays. With a gun. He brings them to a rifle range, loads a .45-caliber pistol and pumps a few rounds into the pages, watching the shot-out shreds waft to the ground like confetti. He initially considered chopping his reams of spurned pages into small cubes with a table saw and filming the process in some skewed attempt to commit his life's work to film, one way or another. But then he had a vision of one of his failed screenplays, riddled with bullets, bronzed like a baby shoe. He plans to exhibit twenty-two of his re-conceived works of art at a Santa Monica art gallery in a one-man bronze sculpture show he calls "Shot by the Writer - Works on Paper: 1982-2004."

Me, I go straight for the trash can. Better yet, there's an industrial dumpster at the end of my drive for a construction project next door, into which I have just deposited every last item related to the Big Deal Studio Assignment I didn't get this week. Every draft of my spectacular outline, every e-mail to and from the Bright and Accomplished Producer, every Post It Note memorializing every last one of my highly original thoughts. Even the silly little novel I surely would have adapted into the box office smash of the year was laid to rest beside an outdated porcelain toilet and scraps of termite-ridden molding studded with rusty nails.

I came back into the house feeling surprisingly renewed—until my Take Charge Lawyer Sister called to say she can't take as much charge of my bills as usual this month, since she's having a fight with her pool man and has to hire another lawyer specializing in criminal landscaping. She wanted to know why I haven't been pursuing my Big Temping Career with my usual zeal, forcing me to re-visit my failed bid for the gold that preoccupied so much of my time over the last six weeks. Apparently the tone in my voice wasn't fawning and pathetic enough to inspire much support, since she hung up on me mid-sentence. I can't say I blame her, really, since I'd have hung up on me several thousand bucks ago. 

I was left with no choice but to get myself a gun. It's a plastic one that shoots water, which I keep in a stainless steel basket under the bathroom sink along with a wind-up boat, a rubber duck and a variety of aromatherapeutic bath salts. I briefly considered shooting the Wiener Dogs with it when they refused to come inside, but they would only think it was a new game, falling all over each other for another drink while alternately rolling around the lawn on a spot where the neighbor dog likes to pee.

I could also come back inside and fill my pretty pink gun with some cooking sherry my sister left behind when she made her famous mushroom tarts for my film school graduation party last year. I can't afford a decent bottle of wine any more, but I've got enough residual rums, cognacs and liqueurs left over from various baking projects to keep me going through the weekend, one squirt at a time.

Another thing they won't tell you in film school is that while drinking alone is never a good idea, it's definitely better than turning to a life of crime. I pictured myself putting the gun in my mouth, my finger quivering on the trigger as I prepared myself for the inevitable. Then I would came to my senses, pull the plug, and empty the barrel into the sink. Cooking sherry. Now I'm suddenly Betty Ford on top of all my other problems.

Later this evening, I do have plans to fill my new favorite toy with bubble bath and get in the tub, where I intend to remain for many hours. For now, though, I'm just not ready to feel that good.


  1. Do you do the mass throw away with every project, or is this one special? I'm the opposite. I can't seem to throw anything [writing wise that is] away. I'm always going back and sometimes cannibalize myself, which I'm not sure is that good of a thing.

    I'll toast one to you tonight in your honor.

  2. [waves "hello" to another starving artist in Hollwood-land] ;)

  3. Please don't kill it, burn it, shoot it or otherwise discard it... lock it away in a chest somewhere. The next Big Deal is waiting around the corner, and someday you will be so busy with too many paid projects that you will NEED that stuff! You KNOW you will.

  4. Everything I tossed was specific to this project, which is fully dead to me. I don't tend to keep much around anyway, just let the completed script speak for itself. I supposed I'll be in trouble if I ever have a WGA arbitration, which feels pretty much like the least of my problems on a day when I'm doing amaretto shots out of a squirtgun.

  5. Anonymous4:00 PM

    that guy is a fool, what a waste of perfectly good bond paper...doesn't he know it is way better to realize the writing is shit in advance, and delete the Final Draft folder on the desktop instead of printing it all out

  6. If you click on the link to the art gallery there's a picture of one of the shot-out bronzed scripts. It's actually pretty cool looking. But yeah, I also like a good trashcan.

  7. Hahahahahaha.

    "... doing amaretto shots out of a squirtgun."