Friday, March 27, 2015

theOffice announces its 2015 Fellowship!

I was recently contacted by my friends at theOffice who were trying to get the word out about their new 2015 Fellowship. Looks like a great opportunity!

Announcing the 2015 Fellowship to theOffice

If you're looking for the perfect place in LA to leave the distractions of life behind and finish that screenplay/novel/short story/what-have-you, enter now to win a FREE 6 month Premium Membership to theOffice.

theOffice is a quiet, communal workspace on 26th Street in Santa Monica (across from the Brentwood Country Mart). There are 26 ergonomic workstations in the room equipped with Aeron chairs, wifi, a reference library and all the coffee and tea you can handle. Charter and current members include JJ Abrams, Matthew Carnahan, Clark Gregg, Gigi Levangie Grazer, Jen Celotta, Gary Glasberg and many more. It's where serious writers go to GET IT DONE.

The contest is free to enter. All of the details are on theOfficeOnlineBlog.com.

Hurry!! Deadline to apply is April 15th.

Send Submissions to: theOfficeFellowship@gmail.com

Find us on Twitter: @theOffice_LA

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More on meetings, why you should be in LA, and industry growth.

It's been interesting seeing the passionate reactions to the post I wrote last week about why aspiring writers still need to move to L.A. I honestly didn't expect quite so passionate a response because I felt like it was a topic that had been covered a number of times. My assumption was that the new followers of this site would take it in, but that most readers would go, "Oh yeah, we've had this talk."

What I didn't expect was that this would blow up as much as it did on Twitter, to the point that a lot of working writers I follow ended up discussing it - and largely agreeing with it. Even knowing what sometimes happens on Twitter, it was unexpected to see some really aggressive responses spitting venom at those writers for daring to say this. I think that most people who bothered to read the entire article took it to heart, but there is definitely a vocal minority who registered their displeasure with a lot of rage.

The dissenting opinions typically fell into one of the following categories:

1) "No, you're wrong." - no effort made at refuting the points I made in my post. No effort at providing a counter-argument. Just "you're wrong." Persuasive.

2) "Well, Gary Whitta/Justin Marks/C. Robert Cargill/etc don't live in LA and they're successful!" - Marks spent a decade building his career in L.A. and didn't move away until after he was hired on THE JUNGLE BOOK, and he still regularly comes back to L.A. for meetings. He's made a name for himself, so he can be absentee. Whitta and Cargill came into the industry after making names for themselves in other aspects of it (and in Cargill's case, he pretty much had director Scott Derrickson demand he write a script for him.) There are unique circumstances like this for most of the names people threw at me.

Also, my whole post was about how just finding exceptions doesn't disprove the rule. Amy Purdy didn't have legs and was runner-up in a dancing competition, but that doesn't mean every amputee stands a chance of keeping up with the cast of the next STEP UP movie. So when someone responds to a post about exceptions by saying, "Hey, I found an exception!" it suggests they kinda missed the point.

3) "You're just trying to keep people from becoming competition!" - Geoff LaTulippe had the best comeback to that, saying something to the effect of, "I don't need to discourage people to come to LA in order to protect my job. Lack of talent does that for me."

4) "There are plenty of indie filmmakers who live outside of L.A. so you're full of shit!" - I wasn't talking about indie film in my post, so it's weird to try to move the goal posts here. We're talking about being able to make a living as a writer, and that's very, very hard to do in independent film. Indie film is often very low budget and the writer is not going to make a great deal. Yes, the exception is if one happens to write My Big Fat Greek Wedding or a Slumdog Millionaire AND if the writer's deal some how cuts them in on the success of that film. It's hard to overlook that the indie film successes make up only a fraction of the indie films actually produced. Indie screenwriters tend not to be rolling in dough - at least not from their films. If you knew the right indie filmmakers you might be able to see your stuff produced, but writing a $500K feature is not the sort of thing you'll quit your job for.

5) "Moving to LA is hard! It's expensive! I don't want to uproot my family!" - Not really addressing any of the points I made. I'm telling you what you need to do to have the best shot at making it. You're telling me why you can't do it. Your inability to follow through does not make my point any less true.

Here's the hard truth, folks. You think moving to L.A. is hard? It is a fucking cakewalk compared to how hard it is to become a writer strong enough to sustain a career. Moving to L.A. is the easy part of this plan. Anybody can move to L.A. It's WAY easier than getting a sale.

The responses weren't ALL dumb, though. Landon recently wrote me with what is a fair question:

With the current film industry growth in places like Atlanta and Vancouver, do you think in the next 20-30 years that we might see some small time screenwriting opportunities pop up in those cities? Or do you believe the vast majority of screenwriting opportunities will continue to be in and around LA for the foreseeable distant future?

Twenty to thirty years is always hard to forecast out. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the film industry growth in Atlanta and Vancouver will have basically no impact on screenwriting opportunities. They're production hubs, but they're not where the real business of TV and Film is. L.A. is always going to be the center of that aspect of the industry, just as the American financial machine is always going to have Wall Street as its Mecca.

Atlanta and Vancouver, as well as New Orleans are hot spots for shooting thanks to tax incentives that drive down production costs. Those love affairs are only going to last as long as it's financially viable to stay. It's really no different than the production companies that shoot a lot of movies for cheap in Bulgaria or Budapest, and that's been going on for decades without the business end of things packing up and leaving L.A.

This is where the powerbrokers are - the agents, the studios, the decision-makers. If your job requires an interface with them - and as a screenwriter it does - Hollywood is the place you want your roots. If you were trying to work on a crew, then moving to Atlanta or one of those other places probably makes sense.

I heard from a lot of people via Twitter after that post. Some of those who agreed with me were people who regretted not moving out to L.A. sooner when they could have capitalized on their own heat. One writer had been a Nicholl finalist and regretted not making the leap when people still cared who they were. There were a couple other people who'd tried it at a distance and wanted to turn the clock back too.

You might take 150 meetings just to get that one meeting at a production company that likes your script. Think about that - 150 meetings. That's not something you can squeeze in during an occasional week-long visit to California. Then there's the "shit happens" factor, the reality that a lot of meetings get bumped and rescheduled several times - especially when you're a low priority. Being told your meeting on the Warner lot is two weeks later is no big deal when you live in Echo Park, but when you're from Wicker Park... I trust you see my point.

If you write a good script, there's a strong possibility that many of your meetings won't be about making that script so much as they're a "hey, we like your writing. Maybe we can find something to work on." That usually means feeling out their tastes and pitching a new idea they like. When that happens, you'll probably be writing on spec. Should you find yourself in that position, make sure you know if you are able to take that script elsewhere should these people say no. If they hand you a graphic novel and tell you they'd love your take on it, you won't be able to do anything with that intellectual property elsewhere.

There's also the possibility that they're going to have multiple writers working on different pitches and treatments for that I.P. simultaneously, which again means more meetings without any guarantee it'll lead somewhere. Then after all that, they'll need to make your deal to write it - or they'll have you write it on spec and you're praying to God that some studio somewhere falls in love with it.  If you're not writing it on spec, you'll probably be pitching it, and again, that means more meetings.

Time. Meetings. And very little cash. Being out of L.A. only prolongs this process.

I think people have this idea that you can just write from your hometown, send the script in, and two days later get the response, "Great! We're going to make this script! It'll be a movie. Tell us when the next script is ready." Your average film is the result of so many meetings, development sessions and general glad-handing that you need to have a presence in town. It's the invisible part of the process that many aren't aware of, but is critical to a writer's sustainability. I don't see that aspect packing up for Atlanta, nor do I imagine it being conducted over Skype.

And to wrap up, I want to collect a series of tweets written on Tuesday by GOING THE DISTANCE screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe. It fits neatly into our discussion of the advantages of being in L.A. versus everywhere else.  Geoff gave his permission for me to do so. The only alterations I have made has been in combining some sentences into paragraphs.

Allow me a couple Twitters in a row here to tell you a story. [The] story is about how important both professional and personal relationships - which often end up being the same thing - are in ths industry. And it's a pretty good reverse flowchart of how just LIVING in LA drastically improves your position as an aspiring screenwriter. So come along with me on this journey back in time, won't you?

The project that's currently getting the bulk of my attention is set up at one of the major studios. It is my first project with them. This project was set up with two production companies, one of which was founded by a music industry icon. It is my first project with them. So how did I come to partner up with this company? Through the second production company involved. Production Company A came to Production Company B with an idea, because B owned the rights to an article of that exact subject matter. They hit on the shell of an idea they liked, and decided to go out and find a writer. I was suggested first by the producer at PC B.

Why was I suggested? As it turns out, this producer used to be at a different major studio, and was overseeing another project there.

Why was that project there? Because one of the producers on THAT project had a strong standing relationship/track record with the studio.

At the time it was purchased, the Producer on my CURRENT project wasn't even aware of me. They took a chance because of the relationship. Now, how did the producer on the EARLIER studio project know me? We have the same agent. In fact, she was going to write the very project I ended up attached to, but she got too busy, so she farmed it out. I was on the farm!

How did I get on that farm (in other words: with my agent)? She was the very first person one of my friends, a producer at a major prodco sent GOING THE DISTANCE to when she initially read it, literally days before it sold to New Line. How did I make THAT friend? Through one of my best friends at New Line, where I started as a reader. The same guy I developed GTD with.

How did I meet THAT friend? He was one of the very first people I met in LA, at a Dodgers' game, introduced to me by my mentor.

And how did I meet my mentor? On a screenwriters' Internet message board, way back in the late 90s.

My mentor started as an aspiring writer, moved out to LA, optioned a script, became an assistant became story coordinator at New Line and then several years later hired me. We'd stayed in touch the whole way through and he liked my writing. It was as simple as that.

So that's about 10 layers of an industry relationship onion there. It all started off with a personal connection I made on a message board. Five years later, I moved to LA. The next two levels up in that story? People I met here, on the ground, within six weeks of touching down.

Would ANY of that have happened to me if I'd stayed in PA, hoping to become a writer from my parents' house? No. Christ, no. I had to move here, act like a person, meet people, establish relationships, and then make the most of my opportunities when I had them.

Anyway, some had been asking for a practical example of how being in LA helps writing careers. That was my arc. Hope it helped to read it.

PS - I don't say it enough, but I owe many of the best things in my life to said mentor, @lukeryansays. I'm nowhere if he doesn't pluck me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The secret histories of Lost and Pretty Woman

It's Hollywood legend that Pretty Woman was originally a much darker story about prostitution called 3,000. Instead of a fairy tale ending, that version of the script ended with an overdose and the two leads not being together. In a true example of Hollywood rewrites in action, the "darker, grittier" version was thrown out and turned into a film that most women of my generation regard as a sweet romantic comedy,

Kate Erbland (who seems to write for every site I read), has penned an interesting Vanity Fair article looking back on the evolution of the original 3,000 script, talking to several of the surviving key players. The whole thing is worth a look, but I'm most amused by the comments from screenwriter J.F. Lawton, who says he decided to do 3,000 after his comedies weren't getting any attention. He figured the only way to get any heat was to write something "serious and dramatic."

This probably comes as a surprise to those familiar with stories of screenwriters bemoaning all the ways that "the suits" bastardized his or her script, but Lawton is pretty pragmatic about the whole thing, speaking without a hint of bitterness.

“If I had written the final draft, or somebody else had written the final draft, I don’t think it ever would have gotten produced,” he offers. “I think it got produced because the original script had gone to Sundance, it was prestigious, it was viewed as serious art, so it was allowed to touch into this area of sexuality and money and prostitution and all of that. It gave Hollywood permission to do it, and then Garry was smart enough, because he’s got incredible pop instincts, to say, ‘O.K., this is what people want to see, they want to see the fairy tale.’ ”

How's that for irony? It had to be edgy and serious so that it had the credibility to turned into an uplifting rom-com. It's kind of like if While You Were Sleeping got its start as a spec about a lonely woman raping a coma patient.

One the favorite bits of trivia I discovered is that Lawton wrote and directed the B-movie Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, which was a mainstay of Comedy Central's lineup in the mid-to-late 90s. I swear there was a year there where Comedy Central owned only three movies and this was one of them. I always seemed to land on the scene when the Cannibal Women were preparing to boil Bill Maher - yes, that Bill Maher - alive in a large pot. That the film also stars Adrienne Barbeau and Shannon Tweed probably gives you an idea what to expect. It's free on Amazon Prime, but fair warning, if you watch it, you'll be explain for months why the site keeps suggesting "jungle girl" movies.

Maybe someday Erbland will write an oral history of Avocado Jungle. Until then, have a look at her Pretty Woman retrospective.

And TV writer/producer/creator/showrunner and one-half of Children of Tendu, Javier Grillo-Marxuach has just made available a comprehensive, nearly 17,000 word essay on his time working on LOST. If you ever wanted a window into the kind of work that a TV writing staff does - particularly in the early development of a series - I would go so far as to call this essay essential. From figuring out the characters, to discovering the show's format, to the evolution of the series's mythology, it's all here, told from a man who spent two years working on that mysterious island.

Perhaps of the most interest, he answers the question "Did we know what we were doing, or were we just making it all up as we went?" In fact, he answers it repeatedly and I think the answers might cause some viewers to meditate on exactly what it means to have a plan, and if rigid plans are really the aspirational peak when it comes to television stories.

I'll also take the opportunity to get in a plug for Grillo-Marxuach's recently-released book of essays about television, SHOOT THIS ONE! It's available on Amazon for a mere $7.99 - or free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

How do you become a television writer? What does it take to create your own show? Did the writers of Lost really have a plan, or were they making it all up as they went? In a career spanning far longer than he cares to admit, Javier Grillo-Marxuach has not only written for some of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) shows — from the Emmy Award-winning Lost, to Charmed, Medium, Law & Order: SVU, and seaQuest — but also worked as a network executive, created a comic book that became a cult television series, co-hosted a popular podcast, and contributed essays on the entertainment industry to such publications as The Los Angeles Review of Books, io9.com and Apex Magazine. 

Collected for the first time, Grillo-Marxuach’s occasionally far-too-revealing essays offer a true insider’s look into the good, the bad, and the frequently bat-guano insane inner workings of the entertainment industry. If you have ever wondered how shows actually get on the air, how it feels to win an Emmy Award, and why a grown man would have to swear off watching Star Wars for an entire year, then this irreverent collection is not only the book you want, it’s also the book you need! "Javi is willing to open up the hood and tell you exactly how it's done... if it is your ambition to be a writer -- or any kind of storyteller, really -- reading this book will not just entertain you but spare you some heartache and headaches as you embark on this magical, heartbreaking, brain-melting path." -- from the introduction by Maureen Ryan, TV Critic, Huffington Post

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aspiring writers asking the wrong questions

I've held onto this email for a while. It's an example of an email or a tweet I get now and then. Sometimes I'll pull out terrible emails as lessons in what not to do, but I tend to reserve that for the writers who are the most obviously entitled and/or belligerent. "Earnestly naive" is a little harder for me to make fun of, and so I'm putting this not to make fun, but to try to enlighten.

However, so as to not embarrass this person, I'm not going to use their name:


I stumbled across your blog and was hoping you could help with my situation.

As the subject line states, I am not a writer, nor do I want to be one. However, I have written a 30 min comedy pilot doing the best I can with formatting and story form and would like to give it the best possible shot of getting made. I don't want to make it. I would damn near give it away if I could, as long as I knew it would make it even somewhat close to air.

I am thinking the best way to proceed is have a script doctor or reader take a shot at it and give notes, then register it and start the query letter, contest, submission route.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on my situation, I would appreciate some guidance. Also, if you have a script doctor/reader that you would recommend, I would be grateful. 

The most succinct reply I can give is probably that if you're not in this to build a career as a writer, I probably don't know how to help you. It is so hard to break in and maintain any kind of ongoing career that I find it hard to pretend that a dilettante will have much success.

Also, I think you'll find that if you're not "all-in" it will be hard to get your connections to go the extra mile for you. People aren't inclined to put their own integrity with agents and managers at risk if the client they tell them to pick up ends up only writing one script.  Going into this with the attitude of "Oh, it would be fun to see a script of mine made" is the wrong tact.

It's not any easier to get a network or studio to make your pilot even if you're "damn near giv[ing] it away." The two big factors you're always going to be facing is: the level of competition, and your own level of talent.

The competition is fierce, and you're up against people who've taken the time to write many scripts, to carve out time to write each week and to consistently rewrite, improve, move on to new stories. The fact that you're still hung up on questions like "How do I get the format right?" tells me that you probably haven't read many TV scripts (red flag) and that you haven't done enough of your own research to find these answers already, because they're out there (double red flag.)

In other words, you're very early in your writing pursuits. Experience tells me that your first script - and especially the first few drafts of your first script - are probably going to need work. Is someone with one foot out the door really committed enough to do that kind of work? My skepticism comes from the fact that a good writer must be driven to improve. They've got to have that hunger for success because that's what's going to push them to spend time getting it right, to not settle for "good enough," to look deep below the surface story and find the depth that'll really make their stories resonate.

The first concern any writer should have is not "How do I get an agent?" It should be "How do I get good enough to get an agent?" It's like asking how to apply for the Olympics when you haven't yet spent years doing two and three practices a day and honed your body into peak physical condition. "Oh, but I don't care about medaling. I just think it would be fun to be an Olympian."

Get good first. And you don't get good unless you're really playing to win.

It's not quite the same thing, but there's a little bit of overlap with the people who approach working writers and say "I've got a great idea for a script. Why don't you write it and we'll split it 50-50?"

Never say anything of this kind to a working writer. The idea is way less than 50% of the value when you're breaking down what goes into a script that sells. You can give a brilliant idea to two different writers (one experienced, one still learning) and you'll likely get scripts of wildly divergent quality. Actually didn't the reality show "The Chair" basically demonstrate this hypothesis?)

Getting your work made starts with giving a damn about how good it is. When you ask me, "How can I get something made with a minimum of effort?" I feel like you're not only wasting my time, you're wasting yours.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Questions that WILL not die: YES you need to move to LA to be a writer!

I probably would be a terrible teacher because after five years of covering the same material with successive classes I would likely be at the end of my rope at having to answer the same questions again and again, year after year.

Running a screenwriting blog, I've found there are certain questions that will. not. die. Sometimes this is because it's a basic question and other times because the answer is unpopular and people keep asking in the hope of finding exceptions.

Top of the list? "Do I need to move to LA to become a screenwriter?"

YES YOU NEED TO MOVE TO LA TO BECOME A SCREENWRITER!

I don't care that you think technology makes it possible to do your work from afar and build your career. I don't care that you may have put down roots somewhere and have a desperate need to believe that you can enter a few contests and compete on the level of people who have come to down, done the legwork and done a far better job of landing in the right circles.  This is a reality of the business. If you are serious about being a writer, figure out a way to get out here.

"But, what about---" NO. Shut up and read this post covering the subject. Read the other posts linked within it.

Then go watch this video.

I know my audience, and I know that there are people ready with one or two exceptions, as if that impeaches my entire premise.  Yes, there are people who managed to get repped from afar via the Black List, and that's great. There might even be one or two sales there - that's also great.

I'm also not going to pin my hopes to that. I've got a friend who got great representation via the Black List, but as he's currently living and working out of town, he's ended up trying the routine of flying in for a week once ever four months or so.  His reps are good at packing those weeks with meetings, but I know he's gone on a fraction of the meetings that local writers have. Those meetings are what build relationships and relationships are what really provide the foundation for a long career.

Once you've written a couple half-billion dollar blockbusters for the studios and you're the first guy or gal they're calling for every assignment and rewrite, you can move to Antarctica for all they care. But those writers have earned the right to be so remote.

But I can hear you. You're still about to tell me about the exceptions. So let me tell you a story. Have you ever heard of Amy Purdy?

Amy Purdy is an Olympian. She won a gold medal for snowboarding in the 2011 Olympic Games. If you don't follow sports, you might also remember that she was the runner up on last spring's cycle of Dancing With The Stars.  Pretty impressive, right?

Amy Purdy also did all of this with two legs that had been amputated below the knees. Yes, she won a gold medal and a dance competition while using artificial legs! Her competitors, despite not having the handicap of needing to learn to walk all over again on leg prostethics, still got their asses kicked!



It's an inspirational story. It's an exceptional achievement. But does it mean that everyone who has their legs amputated will be able to hit those heights? No, of course not. Amy is an incredible exception.




When you tell me you don't believe me that staying in Sioux City, Iowa is making things harder for yourself, what you're basically saying is that you think you're Amy Purdy. When you get your gold medal and get to the finals of Dancing with the Stars, I'll tell you I was wrong about you. Until then, my advice is always gonna be "Get to LA."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Do we have not enough good content... or too much?

I realized this past week that I have not been motivated to go to the theatre for any new 2015 releases. There were a number of films I saw throughout January, but all of them were holdovers from 2014, as I caught up on the Oscar nominees. Since then, there hasn't been anything I've been passionate enough about to go see on the big screen.

This isn't to say that I wont see anything from these first few months of release. I recently went through and added several films to my Netflix queue, movies that I wasn't going to pay $14 for or even $8 (I often go to the early-bird cheap AMC screenings on weekends), but that I wanted to eventually have a look at. Looking at what I had consciously skipped unwittingly gave me a window into how I chose my entertainment options.

For example, I've like a lot of Michael Mann's past work. The trailer for BLACK HAT did very little for me, but had it gotten incredible reviews, I probably would have checked it out. Instead, most critics really disliked BLACK HAT and audiences stayed away. I know of a couple friends who sing its praises, but that's not enough to sell me. I try not to be a slave to reviews. If there's something really I want to see, I don't care how bad the buzz is. But if my internal gauge is apathetic, middling notices are only going to reinforce that.

The same with JUPITER ASCENDING. I really would love to support original sci-fi, but the trailers looked ridiculous to me, appearing like a YA adaptation without the pre-existing IP. You can't always count on marketing to know how to sell something that strange, but again, the word on the street seemed to be "not worth it."

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? I'm not the audience for that. At some point, I'm sure I'll see it, but in the same manner in which I endured the TWILIGHT films - at home where I can eject the DVD or work on emails when my interest wanes.

FOCUS? I came close on this one. I want to believe Will Smith can get his mojo back, and Margot Robie's good, though it wouldn't have killed them to cast someone easy on the eyes. (Since inevitably someone will assume I'm being serious, I'll point out that's a joke.) This is another one where the tone of the trailers didn't pull me in, but I feel like the right word of mouth would have had me at the theatre same-day.

The only film I regret not going to see is THE DUFF. I thought it was pretty ridiculous to cast Mae Whitman in a role described as "ugly" and "fat." But again, the marketing was aimed at people younger than me who grew up on the book. The word of mouth on this one was pretty good, even comparing it to CLUELESS and MEAN GIRLS and the fact I haven't gone out to see this is more a reflection of bad timing than anything else.

But I realize that all of these choices boil down to "just not feeling it." We hear a lot of concern about "superhero movie fatigue" but now I wonder if we might soon approach "content proliferation fatigue." We have so many viewing options all vieying for our time and a startling amount of it is good. Back when most original content was limited to four or five major networks, it was pretty easy to run out of programming for your own individual tastes and still have plenty of time left over. Now, even if we exclude pay cable entirely, there's almost too much TV to find all the good stuff.

And lord help you if you come in late to a show. The backlog of quality only gets larger, expanding almost as rapidly as the current programming. It's like trying to run a marathon on a treadmill track that keeps getting longer. I'm mid-series in a FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS binge, have THE WIRE and THE AMERICANS sitting in my Amazon Instant Queue. I am SIX episodes behind on GOTHAM (which I think means I'm just not that into it), just finished HOUSE OF CARDS, haven't even had time to start UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, and if I let that go too long, I'll soon fall behind on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, VEEP and TRUE DETECTIVE. Oh, and I should probably check out FARGO too.

If you want to be part of the current cultural conversation, you need to be up on those shows. Thank God I've been able to keep current with BETTER CALL SAUL, BATES MOTEL, THE FLASH, THE GOLDBERGS, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE and a few of my other aging favorites. There's an oft-repeated claim that "TV is the new film." I don't really believe that, but looking at my apathy about film and my overwhelming list of TV options, I do believe that TV has overtaken film, at least in terms of quantity of quality hours of content. Of course, that goes both ways. One thing that's held me back from binging THE WIRE is the knowledge that it's a long haul. Doing 13 eps of HOUSE OF CARDS is a 4-day sprint I'm willing to make time for - THE WIRE is 60 hours.

So does any of this resonate with you guys? Has the bar been raised in terms of what you're willing to sit through and what is capable of separating you from your hard-earned money?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get tickets for the latest Black List Live, featuring Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actressess

LA residents! This might be of interest to you!

The Black List recently announced that Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen will star opposite Armie Hammer and Mckenna Grace in the live, staged reading of Tom Flynn’s screenplay GIFTED on Saturday, March 14.

Recent Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez (JANE THE VIRGIN) joins the cast as well. Rodriguez will play Hammer’s love interest.

In addition, Michael Beach (SONS OF ANARCHY) and Nick Searcy (JUSTIFIED) have joined the cast, playing opposing legal counsel for Hammer and Steenburgen. Narrator Cooper Thornton (PARKS AND RECREATION) returns for his fourth Black List Live! read.

GIFTED kicks off Black List Live’s 2015 reading series at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood. Tickets are on sale now.  Use this link to get tickets for $25.

I've been to two previous readings and both of them have been great fun. The Montalban Theater is a great venue (with convenient parking right next door for $10.)

The synopsis provided by the Black List reads:

Frank Adler (Hammer), a deliberate underachiever, is raising his niece Mary (Grace) in rural Florida. Things get complicated for both of them when he enrolls her in school for the first time and she is immediately labeled as gifted. For reasons that become boldly apparent, all Frank wants is for Mary to have a normal life, but standing in his way is his formidable mother Evelyn (Steenburgen), and the small problem that he doesn't actually have custody of Mary.

Saturday, March 14
7:00pm Doors, 8:00pm Show
The Montalban (1615 Vine Street)
$25 General Admission Tickets