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Hollywood Interruption by Josh Abraham

Inner Monologue from This Morning's Subway Commute by Lisa Grover

Flirting with Death by Scott Bares

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September 25, 2003

Hollywood Interruption

10:00 a.m.

Hi. This is me, Josh, coëditor of Y.P.R. How are you all? Good? Good. Me, I’m tired and slightly delirious. Today, I’m forcibly interrupting the normal progress of Y.P.R. to say hello to you all directly (as I’ve just done in the preceding sentences).

Here’s a little bit about me, even though you haven’t asked: I write screenplays. One such screenplay (henceforth referred to as “The Masterpiece”) was co-written with a co-conspirator sometime in 2000 (henceforth referred to as “The Good Ol’ Days”). We sent it to every single person in Hollywood, and nobody wanted it. We snuck onto four studio lots (back in The Good Ol’ Days, you could still do such a thing if you were crafty, which we were), and slipped copies of The Masterpiece into Big Important People’s mailboxes, sometimes signed with a note like “Nancy, read this, it’s great! – Schmitty,” and we left them casually lying about various sets, as if a busy producer fellow had left it by mistake. It was a blast, but the result was enough rejection letters to wallpaper a very big house. In any case, at some point, we managed to hook up with Dan the Man. Dan the Man is an independent film producer, and he, for reasons unknown, enjoyed our Masterpiece, and optioned it from us. (Yay!) It was not a Very Big Deal, but it was a little itty bitty one, just big enough to allow our overactive imaginations to begin crafting acceptance speeches. Anyway, this all happened in 2001. Since then, we’ve been doing various rewrites of said script for Dan the Man. Dan the Man has been very good to us, very patient with us, and we have rewritten it and rewritten it and rewritten it and rewritten it until the Masterpiece began to resemble, in our eyes, a Big Heaping Load of Crap, even by Hollywood standards. We just couldn’t make the funny parts funny anymore. We hated our characters. We started fantasizing about elaborate death scenarios for each. Typically, scripts run 120 pages (less for comedies). As of yesterday, ours was 187. Many of those pages included scenes that narratively contradicted each other due to different drafts and varying moods of inspiration. Some were just random notes. There were even crudely drawn pictures and schematics. There were brief scenes from the possible sequel. This script reached a point where it could no longer be saved. And we were tired.

Anyhow, Dan the Man is in town this week for some Independent Film thingamabob, and we are meeting him tonight at 5 p.m. We promised, promised, promised we’d hand in the final, final, final draft of the script, currently seasons overdue, and finally be done with it forever more. So, I took a nap yesterday evening, watched “The West Wing” season première, and then finally my co-conspirator and I got down to finishing this thing once and for all.

Since that decision, we’ve consumed:

  • 3 pots of coffee (sugar ran out after 2nd pot)

  • 2 2-liter bottles of Pepsi

  • 1 gallon apple juice

  • 2 Hostess cupcakes

  • 2 slices French toast

  • 2 bagels w/ cream cheese

  • 2 20-minute power naps

All that sugar & caffeine has enabled us to whittle the Beast down to 123 pages (so close!) and most of it (MOST) is in some semblance of order. There is still loads to do. I’m very tired. I’m delirious. This feels like a college paper in the Good Ol’ Days, which is fun, but also, not so much fun. Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted of my writerly progress throughout the day, if I’m capable of doing so, which I very well may not be.

Also, I fully intend to attend D. Kennedy’s and C. Klosterman’s readings tonight at Barbès, if I’m still conscious. I’ll see you all there.

Sorry for this rambling, incoherent blab, but, as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m tired and delirious. Tomorrow, we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled features (Believe it or not, sometimes we are actually ahead of schedule and have things in the queue). Till then, please go read about our Shameless Publicity Stunt, as shouted in large type up above.

I love you all.

UPDATE: 11:00 a.m.

Took a turn for the worse. Discovered huge, gaping plot holes by scenes cut. Page count steadily rising. RISING! Am currently freaking out.

Add to list of consumables:

  • 2 rolls toilet paper.

Be back at noon.

UPDATE: Nooooon.

Am now in official freak-out mode. Also, feel slightly floopy-doopy. Script has ground to a halt. It's actually laughing at me. Co-conspirator taking a nap. Bastard. Attendance of Barbès reading tonight looking less and less probable. Script completion, even less so.

If anybody's got William Goldman's number, I need to get him on the horn pronto. Hell, I'll even settle for the guy who wrote Kangaroo Jack.

As a distraction, I've started taking notes for a book about my screenwriting career (or lack thereof). Working title: “How to Waste 4 Years Writing a Script and Cram 120 Pages Into a Matter of Hours.”

See you at one. Be good.

UPDATE: 1 p.m.

Was tired. Was delirious. That was HOURS ago. Had a brief case of the twitchies; now passed. Bastard's 20 minute nap lasted an hour, but we are both awake and rockin' right now. The last, oh, 18 hours or so have been a nonstop rotation of the complete discographies of the Doves, Supergrass, the Strokes, the Police, Radiohead. Am now craving some Debbie Gibson “Out of the Blue” just to clear my head of angst-rock.

First 55 pages? Solid. Next 70-something? We do not talk about that.

Treated ourselves to some fuel. Behold, the Masterpiece Samwich (patent pending):

  • Boar's Head roast beef
  • BH honey-smoked turkey
  • BH Genoa salami
  • BH pastrami
  • Keyfood American cheese (yellow)
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • potato-bread hamburger rolls.

Verdict? Delicious. And we deserve it too. We've worked hard. I need a nap now.

Update: 1:10 p.m.

Co-conspirator just yuked up his samwich.

UPDATE: 1:26 p.m.

Hey, this is coincidental and mildly amusing. Good ol' PayHenny's daily feature today is called "Dan Is the Man," which is another installment of their ongoing feature of that title. Of course, we were calling our producer “Dan the Man” long before we'd even heard of Haypenny. Surely that means something cosmic, right? Mostly, it probably means, “Why am I reading Haypenny when I'm so damn busy????”

Am now printing pages 1 - 60. Back to work.

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.

Well, the printer just went kerplooey. OF COURSE! OF COURSE IT DID! See, we had predicted we'd be adding "printer cartridge" to our list of consumables. We're working on fixing it now, but we're not good fixers of stuff. The good news is, it all makes perfect sense. It had to happen this way. The universe still works, its grand sense of humor intact.

And G. Wolinetz commented, re: Kooch the co-conspirator's rejection of the Masterpiece Samwich: “Too many meats. Score: Meatiness 1, Kooch 0.”

UPDATE: 3:00 p.m.

Well, the excuses we're coming up with right now all begin, "Dan, you can't rush the creative process . . . "

Because we are incredibly resourceful, the printer problem's been solved: we're e-mailing it to someone else, who's graciously printing it for us, and we'll pick it up on the way to Dan the Man's. Thanks, King!

Meanwhile, first 90 are tip-top. Remaining 30 are a complete shambles. So, we can either: a) hand him a complete script which is only 75% done, hope he's got something better to read on the plane ride back to Lala-land, finish it fo' real tonight/tomorrow, and FedEx the real thing to him, or b) give him 85-90 pages and smile and hope he doesn't hit us, or c) do nothing but cry and hope it all works itself out. We're currently in deliberation . . . .

UPDATE: 3:23 p.m.

Well, we've chosen option A. We're off now to face the wrath of Dan the Man... Thanks to whoever's been tuning in all day and rooting us on. We'll remember you in our acceptance speeches. There will be a final update/wrap-up sometime this evening, if I'm awake, which I won't be.

See you on the big screen.


  • 1 more cupcake.
  • 1/2 gallon more Apple juice.

UPDATE: Post-show

Meeting went mostly fantastic. Hooray for Dan the Man. We will send the 100% real finished version as soon as we finish, which should be very, very soon. So, we kind of copped out and yet pulled through, but less than perfectly. Hey, that's Hollywood for you.

Many thanks to Dr. Copeland for his support.

I missed the D.K./C.K. reading, but maybe I'll catch their reunion tour. If anybody out there did go, tell me how it was. Thanks.

Good night.

P.S. Go read Mr. Wolinetz today up on eyeshot.net.

September 23, 2003

Inner Monologue from This Morning's Subway Commute

Knicks / O.C. / Walken / My Body Is a Wonderland / Madge / Fall TV/ Matt Lauer’s Awful Hair / My Heavy Bags

Memo to Scott Layden, G.M. of the New York Knicks: You need Kurt Thomas to play center. If you trade him, there will be no one to play there. Thomas and Charlie Ward for Nick Van Exel? I agree Van Exel is a very good point guard, but he’s been playing the 2 guard for 5 years now and one playoffs does not a point guard make. Also, adding Van Horn and Van Exel doesn’t forgive the prior mistake of forcing out the one Van you need, Van Gundy.

All right, I’ll say it. I’m addicted to “The O.C.” I can’t get enough of this show. It’s like watching a train wreck. The funny characters are funny. The serious characters are funny. The plots are funny. The smoldering looks that Ryan gives every five minutes merit mentioning also. Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows are going to start shooting off one-liners any moment. And I’ll say this also: That Seth Cohen is adorable.

O.K., let me get this straight. Someone went into a movie studio executives office and said, “O.K., here’s the deal. It’s Midnight Run meets “George of the Jungle.” We get The Rock in the DeNiro role. We get Stifler in the Charles Grodin role. And, for the hell of it, because he hasn’t been in a movie in six weeks, we’ll get Chris Walken.” This studio executive looked this person in the face and said, “Let’s make it work.” I thought this was an SNL commercial at first, but no. This movie actually exists and will actually be in your theaters and if it actually makes money, I might start to cry.

If it’s possible, the new John Mayer CD is actually better than the first. If there are fans out there, I highly suggest that you pick this album up.

Madonna, if you are listening, let me tell you something about the kind of books I’m going to read to my children and the kind of people they are written by. They are NOT written by washed up pop singers who, in a last gasp attempt to reclaim a small piece of her once proud popularity, kiss a 21-year-old girl on basic cable. They are NOT written by women who couldn’t pronounce ‘Kabbalah’ three years ago, yet claim to be strict students of it. In a word, Madonna, they are NOT written by you. I’ll quote Jack, “Go sell crazy some place else. We’re all stocked up here.”

I get down on my knees every day and thank God that next week is “Premiere Week” for new Fall programming. The networks aren’t even showing reruns anymore. The summer was devoid of all my favorite shows in their repeats. I like reality TV as much as the next gal, but come on. You guys have to have something (read: anything) else in the coffers. 90% of this stuff is total trash. And not the good kind of trash either, like “Temptation Island.” But the bad kind of trash, like “Big Brother” or “The View.”

Hey, speaking of morning talk shows, Matt Lauer, you need to do something to stem your hair loss. I turned on “Today” last week. When you go to the barber, what do you say to him? “Um, just snip the scissors above my head for about 10 minutes and I’ll pay you”? I haven’t seen anyone lose their hair that quickly since Mr. Bigglesworth. Let that be a reminder to you that this organization will not tolerate failure.

If there ever comes a day that I get on this train and someone taps me on the shoulder and says, “Those bags you are carrying look heavy. Why don’t you take my seat?” I might just die on the spot. If I manage to avoid a heart attack, I’ll marry that person. Even if they are a woman.

Flirting with Death

Jimmy liked to live dangerously. He liked his steak rare, his eggs runny, his milk expired. He chain-smoked unfiltered cigarettes. When sunbathing, he used lotion with very low SPF. When driving his Ford Pinto (six months overdue for inspection!) he did not wear his seatbelt. He played sports without a jockstrap. He slept with hookers without a condom. He often went outside in nippy weather while his head was still wet from the shower. Sometimes, he didn’t even take a coat.

Jimmy wrote threatening letters to the mafia. He threw pinecones at beehives. He committed arson in front of local firehouses. He wrote his name on governmental forms where it was plainly marked “Do not write below this line.” He challenged Lennox Lewis to a bare-knuckle boxing match, and repeatedly taunted his opponent by affecting a lisp: “Lennoxth Lewith, Lennoxth Lewith,” he sang while dodging punches.

Jimmy kept oily rags in close proximity to his stove. He did not replace the batteries in his smoke alarm. He urinated on the third rail of the subway. He threw empty beer bottles at skunks and hoboes and prisoners on highway cleanup duty. He kept his toaster oven precariously close to the edge of a shelf above his bathtub. He flipped the bird at passing police officers, gang members, dog walkers, and people with shifty eyes. Sometimes, if it he saw a particularly dangerous-looking dog leashed to a parking meter while its owner was inside a store, Jimmy would untie the leash, then step on the dog’s paw, or pull its tail, or splash Diet Mountain Dew in its face.

Jimmy went hunting while wearing a bear costume. He swam in shark-infested waters, with chunks of raw sirloin in the pockets of his swim trunks. He wandered the streets of Harlem wearing a Klansman’s hood. He hung around Klan meetings wearing FUBU. Once, he showed up at a motorcycle rally on a pink girls’ bike while wearing Capri pants that were very tight.

One time, Jimmy tagged along with cops raiding a crack den, and not only did he refuse to wear his Kevlar vest, but also he was barefoot, which is very dangerous, he explained to me, because crack dens often have bits of broken glass and used hypodermic needles strewn about the floor and, if that wasn’t bad enough, they usually have inadequate lighting.

So I knifed him in the back, the dumb bastard. That’ll learn him good.