6.07.2014

Djulie Unchained

Luckily there are no rules in Hollywood, or I definitely would have broken one by telling Darren Star he should be reading my blog. I also told him I would be referring to him here only as "Mr. Bigger" which was both a bald-faced lie and not terribly clever, simultaneously breaking two more rules that don't exist in the span of six seconds, give or take.

In my defense, the chances of Darren Star actually reading my blog aren't much better now than him doing so had I never spoken to him at all. He has people and minions who have people and minions of their own to not read my blog, so I can't imagine him wanting to not want to read it himself. Then again, if there's one thing I've learned about Hollywood it's that anything can not happen at any time.

We were at a Writer's Guild event where famous writers gather to tell the rest of us how that happy event comes to pass, and apparently it has something to do with following your instincts, except when it doesn't. Also it's about luck and timing, except when it isn't, and at the end of the day, it's about story and character except when it's about other stuff. One of these is being in the right restaurant at the right time with the right network president prepared to pitch a high concept medical procedural. "It's not a who done it, it's a what done it," you are supposed to lob across the table with the bread rolls. "The germs are the bad guy," you should add. You might want to use both your napkin and the finger bowl at this point, though both are optional.

This was apparently how "House' was sold, and though I never saw "House," I am impressed by the fact that the TV show, rather than say the United States House of Representatives, comes up first when you Google the word, with or without quotes. I didn't even stay to hear the "Breaking Bad" guy speak, since I never never saw that, either, and the sum of what I know about both series is 1) They are about guys,  2) They win awards and 3) None of this has anything to do with me.

Darren Star, on the other hand,  created an iconic show about four separate and fully-formed women, all around my age. One of them is a writer. Who writes about sex. And the city. He created Melrose Place even as I lived all that right here in these pages.  He gave the world Beverly Hills, 90210; I got a parking ticket there meeting with an agent who never signed me. On top of all that, he's a fellow Bruin, who told at least three anecdotes I'd heard or read elsewhere, including in the pages of a UCLA doctoral thesis around his work.

Really, there comes a point when failure and success are just a hair's breadth away from one another, and there is something incredibly liberating about being the one without a single thing to lose.

"Darren Star to produce irreverent new comedy based on unknown blog discovered en route to the men's room!" Variety would declare once we get our cast-contingent pilot pick-up after a lucrative network bidding war. "Not That Much Sex in This City," Nikki Finke would sniff come awards season, in the event it ever becomes legal for her to live snark the red carpet again. Oh, the early morning quips the big deal producer and his overweight sensation will trade with Al Roker about our kooky friendship that would have never happened but for my inappropriate stalking  old school Hollywood moxie.

I told Darren Star I had no idea why I'd shown up to this event, which was probably the nuttiest thing possible to have shared, being the painful truth and all. I write unproduced features and I write them alone at Starbucks, where we screenwriters don't even look at one another, let alone tweak pages meant to be shot in the morning while simultaneously knifing one another in the back.

"The name's Djulie," I wish I'd added over a shoulder, blowing on an imaginary six shooter and walking off into the sunset with my head held high. "The D is silent, hillbilly." He would have forgotten it either way, but he might have had someone who was anyone call the police first,  and you can be dead sure one or all of them would most certainly not check out my blog.

5 comments:

  1. But you have an audience.

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  2. Yes, Doug, I have you. That is definitely not nothing!!!

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  3. I suppose I should google Darren Star to find out who he is -- we who toil below decks of the SS Hollywood don't have much cause to recognize such names -- but I hope he assigns a minion or two to keep an eye on your blog, because it is indeed a gem.

    Timing and luck are huge intangibles in a town fueled by the power of illusion, so there's no telling when your turn in the spotlight might come up. Whether "talent will out" in the long run or not remains an open question, but it can't hurt to throw your name in the pot. Cliche has it that you must keep plugging away -- week after week, month after month, year after year -- until The Call finally comes. And on that happy day, your skills and talent will have been honed to the point where you can make the most of the opportunity.

    Trite, maybe, but I think it's true... and really, what the hell else is there to do -- become a telemarketer?

    So you keep blogging away, Djulie, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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  4. Thank you so much for your kind words Michael. I have some larger and hotter irons than usual in the fire at the moment so that come at a most auspicious time, like a fortune cookie or horoscope that just seems to have your name on it. I am very grateful! All things being equal, I should light as well as you write!

    As for Darren Star, he created Sex & The City, Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210, not necessarily in that order. He has a new show on TBS (Younger, I think) so you may well recognize the name after pick up and crew up.

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  5. Agreed. Now that I have nothing to lose and am on the opposite coast, guess where a lot of my work suddenly comes out of?

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