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09/10/2001
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"From An Audience Of Brass Fasteners To ?Must-Meet status' for the Big Brass." Part 4

Paul Buscemi's Column for Monday September 10th, 2001. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

Those little brass fasteners that gather around my keyboard as I write are getting a little feisty. Frankly some of them have become little SOB's. A few of them are ?booing' me as they read this right now. You see, this is the problem. They have gone from being cheering fans of my work to outright hecklers. Yes, they're quite opinionated these days. I think little-script has been talking to them.

Howard Klausner certainly doesn't have these kinds of problems. His audience is the big brass of Hollywood. (Not some ungrateful, steroid taking, over glorified staples.) In previous installments of this column we learned all about "Space Cowboys," which he co-wrote with Ken Kaufman and how his life changed after the sale of that spec script. Now we turn to the ?writer's life' as it's called. What is the day to day life of a Hollywood screenwriter anyway? And how does one ensure their longevity as a screenwriter in the fickle world of Hollywood?

"The answer to that question can really be misperceived," begins Klausner. "I'd first start to answer that by saying, what I spend most of my time doing now, is being like the Roto-Rooter man. Have you ever just had one really horribly backed up toilet? That guy shows up at your door and you say, ?I don't care what you do or how you do it - just go do it," he continues. "I find honestly, a lot of producers are looking for that guy. More work comes my way with ?I don't care how you fix it, I don't even know how you're going to fix it - but it has to be fixed and fixed now," Howard states. Klausner believes 50-60 percent of a writer's job is to know how to write. "If you don't - you won't go far. They'll figure it out pretty quickly."

"I think the other asset (the other 40-50%) and probably as equally important, even though it shouldn't be, is your ability to put people at ease," explains Klausner. Howard believes in two ways a producer can feel at ease with the writer. The first comes from their need for you to do the job for them. They are at ease knowing YOU will be doing the job. The second is, "you're easy to be with. I'm comfortable sitting with you," he begins. "Anytime you get into a relationship with a producer or production company, they're going to be in business with you for six months to three years. If they know you're a pain in the ass, you could be Earnest Hemmingway or Stephan King (caliber of writer) and they still won't want to work with you," concludes Klausner. Instead Howard explains a writer should have, "An air of confidence as well as ease and just be a normal person who happens to do this job - like the Roto-Rooter man. He's a nice guy, he's wearing the cap - go do it man and here's your check."

As I have been writing this, those sons-of-brass fasteners have disappeared one by one. Well, if they are done with me then fine, whatever. Who needs them....

....of course it is a little unnerving to not know exactly where they are at this moment. They are sharp-objects after all. It's very late as I finish this and the only light is that of the computer's monitor. Wait! What was that sound? Nothing.... I guess.

More of Klausner's wisdom for all writers (and the ?Mystery of the Missing Brads' ) - next week! Stay tuned....

c.2001pdb

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