Tuesday, December 15, 1998

Newsletter #2

Today I became a legal California driver. I bought my car, an '82 Toyota Cressida, from the golf pro at the Wilshire country club, a real nice guy who proved his integrity by reimbursing me for the smog test after I told him that it was his responsibility to test the car before he sold it. The car is in great shape, but looks rather crappy -- particularly the paint job. I got it for $1200 and so far have changed the oil and tranny fluid and that should be enough to keep it going for a while. It passed the smog test with flying colors, which is a good indication of a sound engine. Best of all it has a bitchin' radio with a working tape deck, I even inherited the previous owners tape collection, this morning I was listening to the Stones.

Car/Star stories:

1) driving down Mullholland, I passed blonde woman in white jogging togs walking briskly along the roadside. I pulled off at an overlook up the way and heard her walking by, she seemed to be talking to herself. When I got back in the car and repassed her I noticed she was carrying some folded paper in her hand. I slowed to check her out and could clearly hear her familiar voice, then I saw her face -- it was in fact Sally "Hot Lips" Kellerman, apparently rehearsing a monlogue as she took her Sunday morning stroll. She still looks pretty good.

2) cruising along Sunset, passing through Beverly Hills, a yellow Ferrari gets on my tail and starts crowding me. I'm thinking 'who the hell is this hotshot?' I pull to the right and as we get up to the stoplight I look over to see what kind of jerk is driving the fancy car. It is Nicholas Cage. The light turns green and Nick takes off like a rocket. I attempt to follow, curious as to where Nick might be headed, but two tight curves later the Ferrari is nothing but a memory.

Most of this week, I've been cruising around Hollywood looking for apartments. I saw a really nice one right up the street from Brian's place and submitted an application but the guy called and said it was rented to someone else. He said he had another one in mind for me but hasn't called back. There are some nice places and good deals available, I just hope I can get one of them. Meanwhile, today I am going to look at a place in Beverly Hills, which is a share in a house with a woman named Sophia. The rent is good and the location would be perfect for temp work. Although, I was kind of looking forward to having my own place for the first time in my life. We'll see.

Speaking of temp work, I signed up with an agency here that does paralegal staffing in the West LA area (Century City, Westwood, Santa Monica etc.) They had me take a spelling test, grammer test, vocabulary test, typing test and two word processing tests -- all timed. In the middle, between two of the tests, I had to run out and feed quarters to my parking meter becaue my two hours was about to run out. Fortunately, I got 100's on grammer, vocab and word processing and a 90 on spelling -- they wouldn't tell me what I missed, but it shows you what spell-check has done to me. I typed a 31 wpm with 1% error. I haven't taken a test in a long time, I was sweating like crazy. They were very impressed with me and said the would try to get me a job soon. Minimum pay is $15/hr. which should work out very well.

This was the week of tests and forms, fees and applications: on today's driving test I got four wrong (passed) but I was sure one of the ones they marked wrong was right. I went back and checked the manual and I was in fact correct -- when making a U-turn, you begin from the center turning lane, not the left hand lane. I also filled out an application forms and paid fees for auto insurance ($108), auto registration ($55), the apartment ($10), temp employment (no fee) and driver's license ($12).

I had a meeting two weeks ago with Jude Schneider (Dreamworks) she spent almost two hours with me going over Echoes of the Mekong. She felt that it was not very commercial and not a good sample to pass along to an agent. I was very grateful for her advice and attention but wasn't sure why she was spending so much time on this script when I had given her Red Herrings which was the 'commercial' script she asked for and has been getting rave reviews from all quarters. I asked her if she had had a chance to look at RH and she looked confused. 'Remember,' I said,'this is the other script, not the commercial one.' She looked up RH on her computer and sent her assistant to go dig it up. She then promised to try and read it over the Thanksgiving weekend. I haven't heard from her yet, but I am not putting too much pressure on her since she has gone way out of her way to be helpful to me.

My buddy Bill at Ed Decter's office (Something about Mary) keeps telling me that he will get to my script "this week, I promise" They are very busy putting together two TV pilots for Warner Bros. Since I happen to have a couple of TV spec scripts, I asked if I could send him one. Now he has two reasons to apologize to me when I call him to see if he's read my stuff yet.

Paul Schiff is very busy getting his new Bill Murray movie 'Rushmore' into theaters in NY and LA for one week this month to get Bill M into the Oscar nomination pool. I've been pestering his office quite frequently and the other day, I think I became an annoyance -- I got a weird reaction from Paul's assistant who said "You called twice last week" in a voice dripping with attitude that reminded me of David Spade's character on SNL. The next day I called back to apologize for harrassing him and said I was trying to follow advice given me by other writers, but that I was not very comfortable badgering people. He said he understood and that, of course, they were very very busy there. I found out his name (Jason) and told him I will try to be patient and wait my turn. He thanked me in a voice devoid of attitude.

I wrote two TV scripts for David Kohan and sent them in. Haven't called him yet -- next week. Ran into a guy at a Thanksgiving gathering with my cousins who writes for a sitcom on Fox. He was really cool and offered to look at my scripts and show them around if possible. He's out playing golf right now with Cousin Clay, so I don't need to harrass him -- Clay will harass him enough for the both of us.

Had a couple of good hangs with Brian. We checked out Malibu one evening, waves were small but there were folks riding them anyway (not us). We ate in a a pizza joint that was showing a video on the history of Malibu which was really cool. I kept saying to Brian, 'they should make a movie about this' he kept saying 'you should write it'. Last week we went to Coldwater Canyon Park where Brian's firm is designing some buildings for the "Tree People" I of course said, that's an awful lot of buildings for only 'tree' people. It's another beautiful canyon park with lots of trails and amazing views. Brian is doing well but still has the lingering effects of the nasty long-lasting flu bug that was going around here this fall. We also saw our friend Mary Schmidtberger in the new Woody Allen movie, she was great but the film was medicore.

Tricia Kiley and I went to a screening of a short film by a director from Wes who read RH. His film was pretty funny, almost in the same vein as RH. He wrote directed and produced it himself. He said he wants to talk to me about my script, but he's been so busy... Tricia is working at ABC daytime, which is also in Century City, so perhaps if I get a temp job there we can do lunch.

Still waiting for the big break. Have yet to get connected with any agents. I was hoping to get that set up before I have to start working full time, but money is low and time is running out. By next month I should be in an apartment and working in a law firm. There are still a couple weeks left, though, for something exciting to happen.

Happy Holidays to all

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