Saturday, May 15, 1999

May the Farce...

Spent the whole month sleeping out in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre to get tickets to the first showing of Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Dentist, only to realize I was in the wrong line and instead ended up with tickets to the new Dreamworks animated musical that tells the inspiring story of the Yalta Conference with Jim Carrey doing the voice of Stalin. Should be a good one. Meanwhile the White and Case connection continues to bear fuit. Master networker Felix "the Vortex" Joseph put me in touch with Leon Fan, former W&C paralegal, now an assistant at Kopelson Entertainment. I sent him The Gray Man and he had me over to his apartment for pizza and gave me his notes. It was pretty cool -- Leon obviously read the script very carefully and put a lot of thought into his comments. I got a bunch of ideas and he said if I can fix it up a little, maybe he'll show it to his boss.

I got tired of waiting around for folks to call back so I decided to shake the tree a little. I called Jude Schneider to ask if I should still be waiting for her to put me in touch with agents or should I just go out and try to find them on my own. I had the names of two agents that she knew and was waiting for her to read my script so she could give me an intro to them -- many agents will not look at your stuff without such a recommendation. She still hasn't read my script but gave me permission to use her name in calling the two agents and gave me the name of a third. Very nice of her. I called them and all three agreed to take a look. One has already kindly passed but I am still waiting to hear from the other two.

Dave Bleecher, another former W&C flunky, showed up on a business trip and he and Leon and I went out to brunch at a chic outdoor cafe on Sunset Strip. While we were sitting there I saw Peter Fonda walk by -- he looks like he's been using his daughter Brigit's hair colorist lately. A few minutes later Zsa Zsa Gabor came by and took a table in the back. Dave has taken up flying lately, mainly it seems because he found this really cute flying instructor. Kind of an expensive way to meet women, but once you get them up in the air at least they can't run away.

Another Wesleyan contact, Bruce McKenna, gave me a call after having read April Fool. I had given him a copy along with Red Herrings a month or two ago. His message on my machine said he thought the script was 'really, really, really...' at that point my machine malfunctioned and completely garbled the rest of the message. Fortunately I already had his number. Turns out he thought the script was 'funny' which is good because it's a comedy. We met the other day near his office in Larchmont Village and he gave me his notes. Again it was great having input from someone who really knows what he's talking about and really paid attention to the script. He said it's 80% there and assigned me to do a rewrite "for free" and get it back to him. If I get it right he'll show it to his producing partner who apparently had something to do with Wayne's World. For the past two weeks I've been going over the script with a fine toothed flair pen trying to "punch" and "tighten" and generally make it 100% "there."

The same day Bruce called I also got a garbled message from David Hamburger letting me know at the last possible minute that he was in town (actually in Pasadena) with the band Salamander Crossing for one night only. Tired as I was, I drove to Pasadena and caught Dave's show, which was very good. The even do a cover version of on of Dave's tunes 'Indigo Rose' which never sounded prettier -- thanks mostly to the voice of their really attractive lead singer and fiddle player whose name I forget but apparently she knows Susan and Stephan from The Buttonwood Tree. By the way, Dave will be playing the Buttonwood -- this week I think, so be sure you camp out for those tickets. They also played a couple of Dave tunes with Dave singing and I for one thought those were some of the better selections of the evening. I got to hang out with Dave and the band afterwards while they packed up the min-van and got ready for the next gig. That's life on the road. It was great seeing Dave, now I guess it's time for the Hefster to come visit me.

For about a week, I thought I was going to move into a two bedroom apartment with Brian. His lease is up and he's tired of his neighbor's dogs - so he's looking for a new place. We looked at a real nice place just a few blocks away but the timing didn't work out for me as I would have had to forfeit my deposit and pay double rent for two weeks. Besides I'm kind of enjoying flying solo. Anyway, we decided to pass and now Brian is mostly looking for one-bedrooms. I think the fact that he has a new girlfriend is influencing his decision.

Last week, to take a break from writing, I decided to go on a short walk in Topanga State Park. The park comprises 10,000 acres of hills and canyonland between Sunset Boulevard, the Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon and is very beautiful, especially now when there are wildflowers blooming just about everywhere. I left my car at 11 a.m. and took a trail called Santa Ynez Canyon. I kind of lost track of time and ended up climbing up out of the canyon and along the ridge where I hit another trail with two pretty women hiking along it. I asked them what was up the way they'd come and they said there's a great view from Eagle Rock. So I figured, I've come this far... By the time I got to Eagle Rock it was 1:30 p.m. and I still hadn't had lunch. I asked a cyclist (you wouldn't believe how many of these nutjobs are riding mountain bikes along these steep canyon trails) He directed me down the trail where I met another cyclist (this guy was about sixty years old) who told me roughly how to get back to my car. When I finally reached the car it was 3:30 p.m. and I was exhausted, starving and delerious. Judging from the trail markers, I walked at least 10 miles, but it could have been closer to 11 or 12 for all I know. I ended up running the last couple miles just to get it over with. Needless to say I didn't get much writing done that day.

Work is going well, they have no plans to get rid of me yet -- although I may soon lose my window office. The weather has settled into the typical pattern, hazy in the morning and sunny and mild all day every day. I'm thinking about my next trip east, might try to make Maine for the Fourth. Hope everyone is doing well -- I'd love to hear from y'all. Time for me to get back to the rewrite.

Love, Hollywood Dick

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