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  • Paul Davidson

Screenwriter Angst in L.A.

Los Angeles is the best place for listening to other people talk, especially when it’s screenwriters who are frustrated with how the town works. Especially when it’s screenwriters who are frustrated that the town isn’t recognizing their superior creative talents.

Especially when it’s screenwriters who are frustrated that the town isn’t recognizing their really strange and sometimes stupid superior creative ideas.

(Picking through clearance items at Brookstone in the Beverly Center) Her: They said they didn’t get it. Him: They didn’t get it? Her: It’s a pretty simple concept. Hell, I kept it simple for them. They’re creative executives and all. Him: What was the concept again? Her: Goldilocks and the three bears, meets Die Hard. Him: Uh… How is that supposed to work? Her: (Throwing her hands up in frustration) They’ve obviously gotten to you already, too.

(At a coffee shop in Hollywood) Her: She’s a lab assistant at an unnamed University when she’s involved in a terrible chemical accident which causes her to grow these angel-wings on her back…you know, like real life angels… And she can fly and stuff and has this halo growing above her head too, you know, like a real angel you’ve seen around and stuff and then periodically she feels the need to do good deeds and stuff like a real angel does and realizes that she’s the guardian angel for this hot guy she so had a crush on at the University and this is why all of this has happened… All of this was fated for her, she was meant to turn into an angel to be this guy’s guardian angel… Her Friend: So, she’s gonna like help him through life? There to guide him? Her: Uh, nooooooo. She’s gonna hook up with him. I’m talking angel on guy action. Her Friend: Eiw.

(Eating Foster’s Freeze ice cream cones at a hybrid El Pollo Loco location) Him: Yeah, I’m working on this family comedy. Hell, my agent keeps telling me it’s all about the family comedy. Blah blah blah. That’s what people are buying. So, I came up with something right up their alley. I call it “Soccer Dad.” His Friend: Well, it’s great except for the fact that Will Ferrell just signed on to star in some movie where he coaches his kid’s soccer team. Him: Totally different. In mine, the father turns INTO a soccer ball. It’s hilarious, his kids don’t even know that their dad IS the soccer ball. You know, “be the ball” and stuff. So, when it comes down to the big game, Dad is right there with his son…he never spent much time with his son so it’s touching in that way, but Dad can also move himself, as the ball, into the goal. So you see the ball whipping around and doing curves that no ball could ever do. It’s sort of like a magical Bad News Bears. His Friend: But the father is the ball. That’s sorta eerie. Do you see his face on the ball? Him: Only when he gets angry. You know, then his eyes bug out and stuff. (Off his friend’s strange look) But I’m still tweaking that. Not locked into anything just yet.

Hearing such things as this sometimes make me wonder if I (a) shouldn’t talk about my scripts in public, (b) scratch my current script idea called “Football Dad” where a father turns into an actual goalpost and/or (c) never go out into public for fear of hearing other people’s ideas which convince me that my ideas are possibly, maybe, really stupid too.

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