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  • Paul Davidson

In the Darkness of the Night

Supertramp once sang, “And at night, when all the world’s asleep, the questions run too deep for such a simple man… Won’t you please, please tell me what to know. I know it sounds absurd, please tell me who I am…”

I found myself singing it to myself at 5AM in the morning.

That’s the problem with “thinkers”. Creative people. Once your mind gets spinning, there’s not much else you can do about it than get up and write about it. Spinning, spinning, spinning.

There’s this super-duper, ego-centric gym out here in Los Angeles up on the Sunset Strip called “CRUNCH”. They’ve got them in a few of the major cities of the US, including New York. Literally, it’s populated by actors and actresses and the people who want to be seen by actors and actresses. They even have this crazy thing there – while you’re working out on the floor you can look up and see the silhouettes of people showering up on the second floor. It’s sort of a titilating and stupid thing if you ask me, but it seems to be the thing that a lot of people mention, in addition to the quality “spinning” classes. (In case you were wondering how I got from my mind spinning to a gym.)

I was actually up there the other day at the Virgin Megastore Complex (where they have Crunch, and Virgin, and a coffee shop called Buzz Coffee, and Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant) and I was sitting there reading my most recent favorite book by Joe Eszterhas called Hollywood Animal (1) when Mr. Matthew Perry himself showed up chain smoking with his chain smoking friends. It’s so surreal, Los Angeles. I mean, I’m used to it now after being here for 10 years or so, but it’s always an out-of-body experience when you run into people like that because although they’re untouchable when you see them on TV and in Magazines, they’re also somewhat untouchable in person, as well. It’s not like you have any reason to go up and talk to them. I mean, what do you say?

“Hi, Mr. Perry? You are SO great on Friends. Yeah. By the way, I have an XBOX and I wondered if you wanted to come over and play some football Head to Head!?”


“Chandler, Chandler, Chandler! Dude, do I have a script just for you — I just finished it and it’s about a talking giraffe, and you my friend could play the voice of that hilarious chain-smoking giraffe!”

I attended the Critic’s Choice Awards last year (which is a small dinner event thing, with no more than 300 people there) and they have this pre-awards ceremony drink thing where you just hang around drinking wine and socializing with these 300 people in a small room. I’m standing there, surrounded by people like Steven Spielberg, Nicole Kidman, Michael Moore, Ed Norton, Salma Hayek, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams, etc etc etc… And as a writer/producer, you’re looking at these people thinking frustratingly to yourself — These people could so help me in my career…, yet you can’t say a thing. Because when it all comes down to it — if you ever dare say hello and do that cheesy you are my idol talk, you can kiss your chances at ever professionally working with them again, especially if they remember you. Because, you don’t want to be that guy.

That’s a constant thematic thing with me. I don’t want to be “that guy”. I want to be the guy who shows up for a meeting with them, on the heels of a masterfully written screenplay or book, and when I shake their hand it’s one of those, No I don’t believe we have ever met before… scenarios. You start the relationship from a fresh perspective — all spurred on by quality creative material.

And that, of course, is what got me up at 5AM this morning. I have those moments here and there, every once in awhile where I wonder if things are progressing as they should. Are things moving fast enough? Is getting a book published and producing TV shows and writing screenplays that people rave about but do not have the money to purchase, enough? Is it all worth it?

That’s the question. But the answer quickly comes on the heels of the question. Because, when it comes down to it — when there’s only one thing you desperately love to do, you simply can’t do anything else. There is no other option.

I wonder what’s on TV.

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