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Tales From The Script: Part 6 (Here Goes Nothing…literally)

Through comedy I know a few people.  Through her work, Lesley knows a few people as well.  In my mind, here’s basically how I thought this would work.

Lesley and I wrote a really good screenplay.  We let some people read it and give us feedback.  We wrote a better second draft.  We had some funny people over to read through it and we took notes on the comedy beats and how the words flowed.  We wrote an even better third draft.  We registered the script with the WGA.  Then we started contacting people.

Our script is basically Bridesmaids meets The Social Network.   It’s really funny.  Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids, was a stand up comedian in Detroit, just like me.  A mutual friend gave me his e-mail address a long time ago and we wrote back and forth a couple times.  He was super nice and supportive.  So, with this third draft in hand, I wrote him and asked him if he could point me towards someone who could read it.  I know there are all sorts of legal issues with asking him to read it himself.  I waited for a response.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been in LA to do some comedy stuff.  I always had a couple thumb drives in my pocket with copies of the script in case I ran into someone that could do something with it.  I ended up performing on Comedy Bang Bang at the UCB Theater.  It’s a show produced by the great Scott Aukerman, who in addition to creating Comedy Bang Bang, has been making a living as a writer since about 1994.   I got to pick his brain for a little bit after the show.

He told me that a response from Paul would be a long shot because even though I worded my e-mail carefully, the potential for lawsuits would be too risky.  Even if he did write back, it was unlikely that he’d feel comfortable passing on a thing he hasn’t read himself.  Yeah, that’s a big Catch 22.  He can’t read it because of legal issues.  He can’t pass it on because it’s good because he can’t read it.  Scott said the way to get it out there is to basically treat the script like I treat my stand up and let the work speak for itself.  I need to let people in Hollywood read it and generate a buzz.  Eventually the buzz will get around and someone will take interest.   There’s a part in the script that would be perfect for TJ Miller.  I know him a little, so maybe I’ll try to get it in his hands.

The more likely scenario Scott said was that someone will notice me from my stand up and want to be my agent.  They’ll ask if I have a script and when I tell them about this thing that Lesley and I created, it’ll make me 20 times more valuable.   Great.  Well, as good as I feel I am as a stand up, no one in nine and a half years has asked to be my agent yet.

Discouraging?  Yeah.  A long time ago and older comedian asked to take me out to lunch so he could pick my brain.  He was retired now and wanted to make a run of it as a comedian.  He was a nice guy who had been public speaking for longer than I’ve been alive.  He was comfortable on stage, but every joke he told came straight from a book.  I told him that the only way he could make a go of it as a comedian was to write his own material.  He didn’t want to hear that and got angry.  I couldn’t tell him what he wanted to hear.  I told him what he needed to hear.  Scott Aukerman didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear.  There is no secret backdoor into the writing pool of Hollywood.  He told me what I needed to hear.  There is no secret backdoor into the writing pool of Hollywood.

So where does that leave us?  Lesley has a couple connections too, but they feel like really long shots.  To make the script speak for itself, I think the plan is to do what I would do with my comedy.  For comedy, a lot of people enter festivals so our peers from all over take notice of us and hopefully spread the word.  I think Lesley and I are going to start entering the script into different script writing contests and see what happens.  Maybe it isn’t as good as we think it is.  I really like it.  When I pitch it to people, they seem to like it.  They laugh.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in nine and a half years in comedy it’s the difference between a kind and a genuine laugh.  I think they laugh genuinely.

So that’s it for now.  You’re up to speed.  I’ll let you know when something happens.  If something happens.

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More Misadventures: Los Angeles Recap!

With Dave Landau at the Chateau Marmont...about to shoot speedballs!

I’ve been so jet lagged since I’ve been home.  Jet lagged and depressed.  LA really felt like the land of opportunity. Being in Michigan feels like being stranded on a desert island.  It’s not that I can’t get off the island because there isn’t a boat.  There’s a boat.  It’s within grasp.  The only problem is I’m chained to this house.   That’s how I’ve been feeling since I’ve been home.  Feeling like I have a 700 square foot albatross.

My plan in recent years once I realized I wasn’t half bad at this comedy thing was to get decent enough at my craft so I could go out to Los Angeles and make a fair enough first impression.  I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that you only get one chance to make that first impression and that the first impression is a lasting one.  The opportunity to go out to Los Angeles and get a guest pass with the “in crowd” presented itself in April.  I’ve been looking forward to this trip ever since.    On a realistic level, I was hoping the trip would recharge my batteries.  And it certainly did that, plus it gave me direction.  On a totally unrealistic level, I was hoping I’d have an experience like Fatty Arbuckle where someone would see my little song and dance act and say, “C’mere kid, I’m gonna make you a star!”  Obviously, that didn’t happen. Read the rest of this entry