Chocolate-covered strawberries, people

Anyone going to see what happens when Matt Groening interviews David Chase at the WGA tomorrow night? There are still tickets. I can only hope it's going to be every bit as entertaining as it sounds. I'm a bit worried about spoilers though, since I'm only half-way through the third season of The Sopranos.

Look for me at the dessert reception. I'll be the one who looks like the person in that picture just over there (but with shorter hair). See you there.


What is a night-life baby, anyways?

My brain feels like sludge. I just wanna go watch TV. But before I do, here are a few more things I picked up at the WGA (dirty!).

During the pre-game show, Winnie and Robin set forward the concept of willful denial as a useful tool for wannabes. For example:

Powers That Be: "You'll never make it in showbiz, kid."   Willfully Denying Writer: "Yes, I will."
PTB: "Your chances of getting a job are almost zero, kid."   WDW: "Almost zero? Great!"
PTB: "Your writing sucks ass."   WDW: "No, it doesn't."

And so on. The idea being that if you admit to yourself how hard it's gonna be, you'll just give up and go to dental assistant school.

Later, the Rhimes rolled out these gems:

On pitching Tell 'em it's a sad story and they'll think it's a sad story. Tell them it's funny and they'll think it's funny. Ahh, the power of suggestion.

On film school It ain't gonna teach you how to write. It can teach you a whole lot of other things about the business and give you all sorts of contacts, but if you couldn't write when you went in, you're not going to be able to write when you graduate. 

On notes No matter how stupid the note (and some of them are pretty damn stupid) you'll find that it's coming from somewhere. There's a reason for it. You just have to figure out what that reason is.

On creating character Figure out 'what's in their lockers'. Or handbags. Or backpacks. Or pockets. Or whatever. Just work out what that character needs with 'em to get through the day.

There you go. That's what I took away from the evening. That, and some cheese and crackers (in my belly).

Artery Cloggery
Might have an orange later. That's all I have room for because I'm all full up of the Fish Taco Sampler Platter from Senor Fish on Eagle Rock Blvd. Yum! You should totally go there. But it closes at 9.30pm, so go early, go often.


I love the night-life baby

I finally went to my first (and their last) in the Anatomy of a Script series at the Writers Guild. Before I get into what a cool person Shonda Rhimes is (or appears to be) let me briefly rant.

Can someone tell me why these events cost $50? I assume they're meant for struggling WGA members and other struggling writers as a way to meet like-minded people and improve their craft. Guess who doesn't have $50 to fork over for an evening out? Struggling writers. That's who. There should be a struggling writers rate or something. "See how thin and pale I am? Please let me in for a mere $30, oh WG powers that be." Actually, scratch that. A lot of writers aren't that thin - it comes from sitting around on our butts all day, thinking.

Another rant. Why are there always a few people at these things that just don't know how to behave? You know who I'm talking about. Ladies chatting in French throughout and British bloke who, in an almost empty room, came and sat in the chair right next to mine, and then spread his legs all out into my chair space. I thought he was just being friendly, until I said 'Hi' and he merely grunted his reply. I guess if I had known then that he was a Brit, I would have understood that to mean "I want you to bear my children" and not "leave me the f--- alone". Oh man, I hope those people don't read my blog.***

Okay, back to Ms Shonda.

I would guess, from watching her show, that somewhere deep inside, SR is a bundle of neuroses tying themselves in ever-tightening knots. But in person, she was positively cucumberesque. Not Winnie Holzman's constant interruptions, always preceded by "Not to interrupt you but..." (it was cute), nor Robin Schiff's mention of the Isaiah Washington Golden Globes debacle could shake her. I was a little shocked, Shonda was fine.

Here are a few random items from the evening.

The way she deals with, erm, less-than-brilliant notes. Turns out, silence is golden. She keeps mum and lets the note-giver ramble on until it somehow comes out that the reason they want Meredith Grey to get a pet labradoodle* is to make her seem less like a hideous she-devil**. Still kind of an annoying note, but hey, at least there's a reason for it.

She doesn't outline. She writes a show that has nearly 97 main characters, and easily tells 35 story lines an episode, and the woman doesn't outline. There must be a virtual whiteboard in her head. There must be. I still can't quite believe it.

She's a monster rewriter. Like, she rewrites *all* of Derek's speeches cuz "I just know how Derek would say it". In fact, sometimes her writers even leave a blank space and a note "Derek speech here" instead of bothering to write something that's just going to get thrown out. I wonder how she manages that while working on two shows?

Her big break? After writing such monster movie hits as Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2, she was signed to a TV development deal. Her first pilot got picked up but not made. Her second pilot was Grey's. She had never been in a TV writers' room before she started running her own show. Excuse me? Would that ever happen today? Because if it would, I'm dropping everything and writing a silly family film. Stat.

There were actual words of wisdom imparted last night, but you'll have to come back next time to find out what they were.

*Mentioning labradoodles is a total clam.
**I made that up. I'm a writer. It's what I do.
***By 'those people' I didn't mean Brits. I mean the guy and the French ladies at the thing. I like Brits. I really do. I want them to read my blog. Wot wot?

Artery Cloggery
Do you like chocolate? Ice cream? Waffles? Yes? Then you should now be in your car driving towards the 101 Cafe at dangerously high speeds (hell, we all know there are only like 2 traffic cops in all of LA). When you get there, order the Chocolate Brownie Waffle. Order two. No, on second thought, only order one. It's amazing, but one is more than enough. You should probably share with a friend actually. Wouldn't want to get so fat you miss out on the starving writer discount at the next Writers Guild event.



I have two posts kinda ready to go, but this is better.

This came to me via Jane via Defective Yeti (very entertaining) via the comment from Dale.

Hey, I'm supposed to be doing my Canadian taxes, so many links will be followed this morning.


It's called ultimate. How can you not want to play?

A writer can and will write anywhere. It's not always easy to stop. You can come up with scenes while stuck in traffic, or while having your teeth scraped white by an evil dentist, or during a romantic meal with your sweetheart. It can be a problem.

The only time I can guarantee to be not thinking about writing is while I'm playing Ultimate (Frisbee). The outrageous physical exertion combined with the intellectual elements of the game is all-consuming. There's just no room in my brain for anything else. It works wonders for stress reduction and it means I can eat yummy cupcakes and drink margaritas without having to worry about out-fatting my pants.

Ultimate is also one of the most welcoming sports for absolute beginners. Especially if you're a woman. There's always a shortage of female ultimate players, so fit young men will line up to teach you to play. 

If you're a woman (doesn't matter how old or young) and this all sounds kinda fun to you, here's your chance to give it a try.
Women’s Ultimate* Clinic
Sunday April 20, 2008
10 am – 1 pm
On the beach in Santa Monica
(at the end of Ocean Park Blvd)

*Ultimate is a fast-paced, fun, non-contact team field (grass or sand) sport that is played using a disc (sometimes called a frisbee). It’s a great way to get in shape, have fun, and meet cool people.

Even if you have never thrown a disc before you can learn to play. Beginners are especially encouraged to come to the clinic, but experienced players are welcome as well. All ages.

What to wear/bring:
• 2 t-shirts (1 white, 1 dark-colored)
• comfortable athletic clothing
• sun protection (hat, shades, sunblock)
• water bottle

The clinic is free! To sign up or for more information call or email
Nicole Belle Isle at womensleague@laout.org (626) 644-8845. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.

The following 4 Sundays there will be a women’s league – same time, same place. Registration is $15 online at www.laout.org
Fit young women will be the teachers at this particular event, but, hey, you may be into that, too. I strongly encourage you to check it out.

Artery Cloggery
My parents were just visiting. We ate every conceivable form of bad-for-you food imaginable. Chocolate covered blueberries with wine anyone? They taste as weird as they sound.