9.13.2006

Meet the Blogger

Although I’m proud to be counted among a group of screenwriting blogs collectively known as the “scribosphere,” please don’t expect any relevant and insightful tips on screenwriting from me. No structure notes, no WGA news, no thoughts on how to be good in a room. This is not a repository of information about the craft and business of the screenwriter, but rather the scattered reflections of another girl with another big Hollywood dream of becoming a fabulously important one.

Alas, I did not arrive in Hollywood a fresh-faced innocent with nothing to call my own but a photogenic backside and a boyfriend named Bubba bent on leading my management team. While so many fellow aspirants haven’t got much to lose either way, I abandoned what by all appearances had been a dream life. A successful travel writer, I was the original accidental tourist dutifully navigating the globe. Based in Miami, I published popular guidebooks, while also self-syndicating hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Though responsible research dictated I eat the free shrimp and sample the umbrella drinks, it became increasingly challenging to hide my only real interest in shellfish, the famous lobster scene from Annie Hall. Rum intrigued me strictly when Erroll Flynn slugged it straight from the jug. I wanted to create the next insouciante pirate role for Johnny Depp, not listen to some overtly cheerful sort with a fake parrot leading another cheesy Caribbean museum tour.


While a whirlwind romance with a Croatian cruise ship maitre d’ felt vaguely cinematic, our hasty marriage amounted to a major indiscretion certain to hold me back for years. On assignment in my husband’s hometown of war-torn Dubrovnik, I happened upon a copy of Syd Field’s Screenplay at an English language bookstore. Wildly inspired, rather than recording the actual events of my trip, I went home and wrote the Hollywood version.

Armed with my completed script, I finally gave the big Croat the boot, severed the rest of the ties that bound, and took my shot out West. In no time at all, the cruel hand of fate delivered a protracted series of near misses conspiring to fuel my mysterious belief in the imminent advent of superstardom. The prestigious fellowship that was just out of reach, the coveted studio apprenticeship falsely promising to result in highly overpaid employment. Ultimately, in exchange for my life savings, my dwindling youth and any likelihood of finding new love with a wage-earning adult, I returned to school. By graduation day I’d amassed a coterie of inappropriate young drinking buddies and a lifetime of student loan debt, earning a fairly useless screenwriting M.F.A. conferred upon me by Arnold Schwarzenegger of all people.

Happily, though, along my quest to become Rocky, the underdog defying the odds, I learned instead that I’m Dorothy. None of that winning nonsense mattered much to begin with. What mattered was making it all the way to freaking Oz and hanging with the wizard! Whatever happens next, simply by virtue of having made the defining journey of my life, I’ll never have to look back and wonder, what if?

17 comments:

  1. Bravo! What a great story.

    If you don't make a million as a screenwriter, you'll certainly make that million with a memoir.

    Oh, and we have something in common. I too have "a coterie of inappropriate young drinking buddies" that I met while reading short stories at Zoetrope.

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  2. Hey - I may have commented more than once - I thought I was typing the $%#!@! words wrong, which I often do, not realizing you are approving comments.

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  3. You're much braver than me ... I love movies much more than any sane person should, but all I can bring myself to do is talk about them, not make them .. good luck!

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  4. Loves the post. Loves it! I can't wait to see your name in lights, attached to the E.N. producer's film.
    Yay, Julie.

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  5. You are my Obi-Wan... Ewwwww. Sorry about that - it sounds so much more cool before I hit the Enter key...

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  6. You should be proud...I am. I left wall street and financial security for the same pursuits as you. Well, related at least- became a producer, though I always fancied myself a writer when I was younger. Anyway, its gone fairly well for me, as an independent, and it sounds like you're climbing the tree as well. Only been in 2.5 years, myself, but its promising.

    I think youve got a reader.

    G

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  7. you had me at "photogenic backside"....

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  8. Well, I think this post is as good as any an intro to your world. I look forward to getting caught up, because you tell a mean story(and you should of course ;) )

    My sister and brother-in-law both went to school for film, so I find the whole topic very interesting.

    MC

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  9. Steph8:48 PM

    Hey Julie -- Long time, first time. I love EN! Congrats and break a leg! :O)

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  10. odocoileus9:04 PM

    That was such a lovely post. Just the right blend of world weary wisdom and eyes wide open optimism.

    I wanted to say something weird and vaguely perverted, but I just can't find the words.

    Oh well. You got me again.

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  11. Soul Sisters indeed. That's why I'm here. Couldn't face another ten years in marketing wondering what if.

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  12. i'm really not saying this to be snarky, I'm genuinely confused..what did you mean that you realized what was important was not winning but that you got to Oz and got to hang with the wizard? Isn't that winning?

    i think i just desperately want you to say that after all is said and done you're glad you took the journey even if you hadn't gotten that big assignment.

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  13. Can we still refer to you as part of the Scribosphere? I hope so! :-)

    (And in some sort of synergy, the word verification I have here is "Yadah" which would be Hebrew for "She Knew.")

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  14. Wow, that's the first thing to come out of Hollywood in 20 years that was affirming and not irritating. You're too good for Hollywood but while you're slumming I can look forward to a better movie than I'm used to.

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  15. Anonymous8:30 AM

    Hi There,

    What a fab blog! Just like to say how polished, witty and irreverant your blog is, also how very stylishly designed. It makes other blogs seem very dull by comparison! Thank God Google enabled me to stumble upon this excellent diversion from real life.

    Good luck with your projects.

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  16. Anonymous4:22 PM

    I pray that Nora Ephron(Bless her heart)is appointed your guardian angel. You remind me of her.

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  17. Thank you Anon. That is a very high compliment indeed. And I could use an angel with a sense of humor.

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