6.11.2013

The Double-Talking D Girl in White Vinyl Go-Go Boots

Back in film school, my legendary film structure professor, often referred to here as Obi Wan Kenobi, issued a questionnaire. He then asked us to fill in and shout out a few knee-jerk perceptions of various members of the entertainment industry when he said the word, for example, "Actor."

"Desperate!" "Flaky!" "Freak!"

"Screenwriter?"

"Unfortunate!" "Stubborn!" "Loner!"

"Agent?"

"Two-faced!" "Dreamkilling!" "Bottomfeeder!"

When we got to D-Girl—typically a young, female development executive whose job it is to scope out new material—our answers invariably went to her physical appearance. "White vinyl go-go boots!" came a voice from the back. "Micro-mini skirt, also vinyl!" "Kate Moss with a Seven Sisters diploma!" "And better teeth!"


After graduating and embarking, script in hand, on The Evian Tour of every lot in town, I have shared bottled water and false compliments with enough of these infuriatingly young, double-talking waifs to confirm the "stereotype" as anything but. For instance, though I have never once spoken to a D-Person who didn't "love, love, love" my script, not a one of them has managed to buy, buy, buy it—nor to hire, hire, hire me to write another. It's no wonder that somewhere along the way we Unfortunate Stubborn Loners stop believing anyone about anything.

Three years ago, a certain famous mentor gave my Little Witchcraft Comedy to a certain A-list actress. Her D-Girl called immediately to tell me it was hands down the best script she had ever read in her entire twenty-six years. Clearly she hasn't read Casablanca was my initial thought.

"It is a little dark for D----," she said. "But I'd like to send it around town, if you don't mind." She made me swear, swear, swear to stay in touch. Convinced she was lie, lie, lying, I tucked the rejected script in my bottom drawer and never spoke of it again.

Out of the blue, my very supportive manager called to say she'd mentioned my name to the D-Girl, who proceeded to pitch her the most brilliant Little Witchcraft Comedy of all time, which I'd allegedly written in school. Over Supportive's protestations that there must be some mistake, the girl further offered up a detailed outline of the characters and story, off the top of her head—something I myself would be hard-pressed to do. This is someone who easily reads thirty scripts a week—that's a good five hundred or so since mine came across her desk. She'd always wondered what happened to me, she said, and if I'd received the annual Christmas cards signed by both her and The Actress. Mystified, Supportive wanted to know why I'd never mentioned any of this to her. "I thought she was blowing smoke up my ass, ass, ass," I said.


"Don't you know who you are yet?" she asked. I guess I've been so busy figuring out who everybody else is or isn't, I gave that little detail short shrift.

One of the precepts of Obi Wan's film structure class is that in a well-wrought story, "nothing is as it appears." I guess another thing they won't tell you in film school is that every once in awhile someone comes along and surprises even a girl like me, even in a town like this.

9 comments:

  1. That's fantastic news. You'll let us know how it goes, I'm sure.

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  2. Without spilling too many beans, can you tell us a little more about this "little witchcraft comedy"? I just had a witchcraft sitcom treatment (the lead witch was male, btw) and pilot rejected. I'm sure either of our ideas would've been more magical than the Nora Ephron "Bewitched" or the final season of "Sabrina."

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  3. It's actually about a witch trying to get out of the biz by getting in touch with her inner goddess. You know, like me.

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  4. "I guess another thing they won't tell you in film school is that every once in awhile someone comes along and surprises even a girl like me, even in a town like this."

    Hey Julie,

    May your script get off the ground

    May it stay out of turnaround

    May it survive all changes with the executive regimes

    May you cap it off, with a few walk-on scenes

    Congratulations.

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  5. Great news! Looking forward to hearing how things develop.

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  6. Thanks for all your nice words, however this is unlikely to develop at all. (It's actually an older piece, recycled). Let's just go with its general theme, though, which is to say, here in Hollywood, dope springs eternal.

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  7. The beauty of this town -- and life in general, I suppose -- is the occasional pleasant surprise that springs unbidden from the ether. They teach us that we don't actually know everything, nor have we figured it all out just yet, because we still have that capacity to be surprised.

    It reminds us that, like hope, we're still alive...

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  8. That is a lovely sentiment Michael. Thank you so much for sharing it!!!

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