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12/22/2001 - Down Time

The entertainment industry pretty much shuts down as of yesterday, so suddenly everyone's mind must turn back to family and other simpler matters. It's strange to go from a 24/7 focus on development to the hopeless quest for a gift for Uncle Fred. You know what the holidays tell me? I LIKE being a workaholic.

I am a creature of habit - the thought of being away from my apartment, pets, gym and fellow cranky Angelenos is unsettling. So unsettling that my pre-travel psychosomatic injury has already popped up. This year it looks like a pulled scapula muscle, which should make running the airport gauntlet especially pleasant.

So what else will I do besides complain for a week? I'll read. I have a big, fat book to get through as well as a couple of scripts. Beyond that I'm embarking on more independent reading than usual. My New Year's goal is to bring in a steady flow of "discoveries" - scripts and books not sent in by agents or producers. The Development Czar already has the network of established agencies, book agents and producers, which obligates me to seek material in other places. Looking in the haystack means I may have to read a lot of hay, but there are goodies to be found. At least this way I may find something that hasn't been already been read by everyone else.

First off is a novel that apparently everybody in Hollywood wanted to make about five years ago, but a deal was never cut and the writer eventually died in disgust. My husband insists that there's something there, so I'll give it a go.

Next is a boxing script by a breaking young director. Man, I love boxing stories. Seriously. I don't know what it is, but boxing stories mesmerize me. ALI is going to be my Christmas treat.

After that, an alternate-reality action spec by another young director. I am also a huge alternate-reality fan. Although my company would most likely not produce a picture of this scale, I could hand it over to someone who would, so on the pile it goes.

Next year I hope to run into more projects that sound appealing. It's not that difficult - last night at a dinner party I found myself sitting next to a fledgling writer who spoke about her newest efforts, so I gave her my card. She had just the right amount of hesitancy about her skill to make me hopeful. I like to think that those are the writers with higher standards, the people who try harder and take enough time to produce an interesting script. We'll see.

I'll report on these projects and more after the holiday. For all the writers out there taking the holiday break as a writing marathon, good for you. Finish that script, or that draft.

And get something decent for Uncle Fred.


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