Random Things I Learned About Hollywood While Driving Across Country

While screenwriting should always be about telling a great story, it's probably a good idea to know a little something about the folks you're telling it to. Last week my friend B! and I drove a car from Florida to California, overnighting in Louisiana, Texas and Arizona and blowing through a bunch of other states comprising a good bit of the domestic box office. Here are some things about Hollywood I learned along the way:

Snark is a foreign language. There is not a lot of double talk among regular Americans, so there's no need to look for hidden meaning in every passing exchange. The waitress really is just a waitress, not a panty model with a flawed life plan and a bad attitude  When she asks how you want your burger, she really wants to know this, and is not in any way judging you for going with the full bun.
Fox News is a thing. We don't have to like it. We just have to accept that they like it. All day and all night they like it. If only my scripts featured more smiling fat guys talking to hungry former beauty queens about the whole country going to hell, they might actually sell.

Red is the new purple.  The entire Florida peninsula getting swept away in a hurricane is a popular sentiment on the typical Hollywood Facebook wall. It turns out they're posting about California crumbling into the sea when the big one hits. How can any of this be good for box office? Let's dial it back, folks. America, good. Natural disaster, bad. Texas, big. Really big. Do not mess with Texas, on or off screen.

Guns don't kill people, plucky heroines kill people. For dramatic purposes, gunplay is a good thing. Paraphrasing Anton Chekhov, guns are fun, when used properly, which is to say they come out in the first act and go off in the third. The last thing we need is for America to become disenchanted with good old-fashioned Hollywood justice, so let's keep violence off the streets and on the screen where it belongs.

People get old.  I don't know why we keep writing for young boys, since they are making their own movies now when they are not watching free internet porn and playing video games. Seniors have both money and time, so we should be charging them more for tickets, not less, and maybe even making some in which they exist, even if they are women.

We Hollywood types live in a tiny world, telling the same lies and chasing the same dream until it dies or kills us, whichever comes first. Our audience, on the other hand, lives in a big beautiful place full of big beautiful people, who often smile, free of charge, all the while relying on us to whisk them away somewhere better. I guess there's a reason they call it the heartland. I hope I can remember that, no matter how many times mine ends up broken.


  1. Wow -- that last paragraph is beaut, Julie. The whole post is... somehow I missed it in the frenzy of the past month.

    You put the whole sweaty, over-amped, air-kissing, mirror-loving, mobius-highway business of Hollywood in perspective -- a bit like "Sullivan's Travels," only a lot shorter.

    Nice work.

  2. Thanks Michael! I too have had a frenzied month and need to post soon. Hope you are well, will come visit your over at your place soon.!!