do i return the gift?





September 25, 2003       |       Today's Terrorist Threat Level: President Walken.       |       Happy Birthday, Catherine Zeta-Jones!

Say, that's a natty Bea Arthur T-shirt ya got there!

Okay, folks, by now you've all read our fantastic new Columns: Amy Stender's Vermont Girl, Lisa Grover's Inner Monologue from This Morning's Subway Commute, and Karen Newman's K.B.N. On. Well, tell us what y'all think. Better yet, tell our wonderful columnists.

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ugly. ugly.

H O L L Y W O O D   I N T E R R U P T I O N

Josh Abraham

10:00 a.m.


This is me, Josh, co-editor of Y.P.R. How are you all? Good? Good. Me, Iím tired and slightly delirious. Today, Iím forcibly interrupting the normal progress of Y.P.R. to say hello to you all directly (as Iíve just done in the preceding sentences).

Hereís a little bit about me, even though you havenít 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 Olí Days). We sent it to every single person in Hollywood, and nobody wanted it. We snuck onto four studio lots (back in The Good Olí Days, you could still do such a thing if you were crafty, which we were), and slipped copies of The Masterpiece into Big Important Peopleís mailboxes, sometimes signed with a note like ďNancy, read this, itís great! Ė Schmitty,Ē 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, weíve 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 couldnít 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 weíd 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 ďThe West WingĒ season premiŤre, and then finally my co-conspirator and I got down to finishing this thing once and for all.

Since that decision, weíve 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. Iím very tired. Iím delirious. This feels like a college paper in the Good Olí Days, which is fun, but also, not so much fun. Wish me luck. Iíll keep you posted of my writerly progress throughout the day, if Iím capable of doing so, which I very well may not be.

Also, I fully intend to attend D. Kennedyís and C. Klostermanís readings tonight at BarbŤs, if Iím still conscious. Iíll see you all there.

Sorry for this rambling, incoherent blab, but, as Iíve said repeatedly, Iím tired and delirious. Tomorrow, weíll 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 BarbŤs 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 O."

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 DK/CK 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





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