Dreams on Spec (2007) - full transcript

"Dreams on Spec" takes an intimate look at how far people will go - and how much they will sacrifice - for the chance to pursue their dreams. This feature-length documentary delves into the lives of three aspiring Hollywood screenwriters as they pour their hearts into their spec scripts, pitch their ideas to anyone who will listen, go to meetings, hold table reads, and work at low-level day-jobs - all in the hopes of one day seeing one of their beloved creations made into a movie. These poignant portraits are intercut with wisdom from a "Greek Chorus" of superstar Hollywood creative-types like James L. Brooks, Nora Ephron, Gary Ross, and Carrie Fisher to forge a funny and compelling look at inspiration, creativity, and solitude in the movie industry.

[Steven] Well, Jack Warner
may have been celebrated

for calling writers
schmucks with underwoods,

but 20 years earlier,
Irving Thalberg was asked,

who is the most important person
in this motion picture process,

and Thalberg famously said,
The most important person

in the motion picture
process is the writer

and we must do
everything in our power

to prevent them
from ever realizing it."

♪ ♪

What's the line from
Death of a Salesman?

You're out there
on a song and a shoe shine

or something like that.

It's actually written well by
Arthur Miller who died recently,

but you're hearing
no all the time.

It's a business of rejection.

[Ed] Without a lot of people
to validate you

and most of the time

you keep getting the
opposite of validation,

why would anyone keep going?

[David] It's best described
as a mocumentary,

horror, slasher flick.

[Deborah] There's a girl in it
who's obsessed with life.

[David] Teen horror film but
it's told from the perspective

of the killer.

[Deborah] There is an accident
where he loses his ring finger.

...a coming of age story.

A young man from town goes up
the Appalachian Mountains.

[Deborah] And so it's
sort of romantic.

[David] It's, you know,
a very unique story.

It's not something
we've seen before.

♪ ♪

[waves crashing]

[David] I just started surfing
last summer, and I'm learning.

I was learning and
trying to get better.

I like the challenge of it,
and there's this really strong

parallel to writing.

You kind of have to wait for
that momentum to come to you.

You can catch a really
great wave and you can ride it,

you know, all the way into
the shore just the same way

that you can get
a really great idea.

It's not like
I've done this a lot,

but there's moments where
I've stood up and it's quiet,

and I know I'm sort
of in the sweet spot.

It's a very
similar reaction to me

when I'm writing and I know
I've slipped into the zone,

and the characters are speaking,
everything's flowing freely.

I'm essentially just
along for the ride.

♪ ♪

[Joe] I've been married
almost 16 years to Hillary.

I have a 12-year-old
daughter, Lexington.

We call her Lex.

My wife takes care of
most of the stuff with her

in the morning as far as
getting her fed and stuff.

I might help with the
shoes and brushing teeth,

and then eight o'clock,
we're out of here.

We start walking.

Get me by the neck.

When Lex was about
two and a half years old,

we noticed that her
development plateaued.

All the other kids
kept progressing,

and she didn't, and in fact
regressed and so we took her

around to experts until finally
we got a diagnosis of autism.

My wife went to work full time.

She had benefits and so
I became a full time trader.

I trade in the morning,

and I write in the
afternoon and evening.

♪ ♪

So, why do you like
hanging out in cemeteries?

I don't know.

Why do you like
working in one?

I don't know.
Different I guess.

The current state of affairs
is we don't have underwoods.

We're still the schmucks.

We're the low people
on the food chain.

Let me talk about
Little Rascals for a minute.

For the first time ever,
I heard actors saying my lines

and my partner's lines, and it
was, it was extremely thrilling

because the kids, most of them
were too young to change them

so they're actually
reading them as written,

which was nice and hasn't
happened a lot since then.

Although I have to mention that
one of the kids who was 10,

came up to us when we were
doing rewrites and said,

"You know, can you write
some more stuff for me?"

And I thought this
is good training.

This will get me ready for
the Jim Carreys of the world.

Okay. Well,
I'm going to go chant,

which is probably
what I should have done

when I first
got out of bed but did not.

[bell rings]


I have been practicing
Buddhism for 14 years,

and it's definitely, you know, a
central point for me in my life

in terms of, you know,
where I go to connect with me

and get straight with the rest
of what's going on in the world.

- I just need him to read it.
- Yeah.

And then after he reads it,
either today or tomorrow...

- Right.
- Then after, you know,

I'll just find out
what's in his brain.

- Right.
- And I'm talking about

because he can get us,
he's that guy that...


Who has those
studio relationships.

Okay. Well, hopefully,

we'll be going out

and actually pitching it,

which would be fabulous

because I wrote them,

you must be swamped,

but it's killing us over here

any word, and she wrote
thanks for the info on Bill.

As far as meeting the investor,
I had to go to Chicago,

but we will be meeting with
her in the next day or two

so pray for us.

It was when I started putting
my resume together to like go

and approach another place
about doing the same thing

somewhere else,
and I just was like no way,

you know, no way.

I'm... no.

I would rather
have the, you know,

fist in the pit of my stomach
of anxiety that I wake up with

pretty much every day than be
sitting in someone else's office

with a bunch of scripts behind
me that at the end of the day,

I don't care if they get made.

Are you ready
to do labels?

Part of my sort of dual
existence in Hollywood

has been working
at AK Talent Agency

and trying to balance that
with writing on the side.

The morning grind.

I work as an assistant
to the theatrical agent.

Why don't you try
from tray one?

See, there's labels...

You have a tray
here with labels

already loaded in there.

There's a lot of them, too.

I have a pretty
young literary manager.

Right now, the most important
thing is to find out

exactly what they
want from you.

She helps me to keep my finger
on the pulse of my own career.

She helps me to prioritize
what I need to address next.

Selling a script
that gets produced is,

that's the homerun ball.

Don't choke, Craig,
pressure's on, man.

You're printing,
printing labels.

Do I want to be walking down
a red carpet and have paparazzi

snapping my picture some day?

Yeah, I do.

I want to know what
that experience is like.

Printing labels has ground
the company to a halt right now.

I've been writing
for going on 20 years.

Normally, I write a screenplay
in about three to six months.

I have been working on my new
story which is called Rattled

for about three years.
I am in year three.

It's just that
complex of a story,

difficult of a story.

It's soulfully difficult.

It's character difficult.

It's just a hard process.

There's a lot of
feeling that well,

why am I doing this?

Am I doing it for money or
a career, because the truth is

I can have a career as a
trader or a financial advisor.

I'd make more money,
and if I really stopped writing

and focused on that, I could
probably be a millionaire

in less than five years.

If this story doesn't do for me

what I'm saying that
I need it to do,

I've got to get real serious
about considering

whether I'm going to
even write another one.

Rattled is like 99 pages,
and it's like these 99 pages

have to determine my future.

Oh, God.
I remember on Dave

I had written a bad draft,

and I was like on
page 150 and climbing.

I had no money then.

I went home,
and I said to my wife,

"You know, I think
I have to write this again

because I'm not satisfied,
I can't turn this in."

So we took out a loan
on our house,

a second mortgage to
finance the next draft,

and Mike Ovitz, a very
powerful agent in Hollywood

at the time, was kind of yelling
at me to deliver the script

for one of his powerful
clients because I was late.

It was a huge
amount of pressure.

[Gary] I literally threw
the first draft away,

started again and
wrote it from page one.

[Deborah] I started writing
something about someone

who can't be in a relationship
and why that would be.

We hope When You're Not There
will be shooting March,

late March here in Venice.

I've got to print
out a new cast list.

Our cast hopefuls rather.

I think there's an initial
kind of perception that maybe

men know a little better,
you know, what they're doing.

Okay, that's Jessica's stuff.

As a woman, maybe you need
to be a little more prepared,

but ultimately your passion,
what you believe in,

what your work ethic is,

all those things
are the bottom line,

and anybody who's good who works
with you is going to get that

and is going to respect
that and support that.

These are budget samples.

We're going to put
everything we have essentially,

you know,
financially and, you know,

which is what you're
so not supposed to do,

right, but we're doing it.

If in the next six to eight
weeks something significant

hasn't clicked into gear, then
we need to take a step back,

which would
include getting a job,

not that this isn't a job but
getting another kind of job,

you know, a stop gap, you know.

It's a very male business, and
it has in vast portions of it

the whole action movie
part of it, might as well be

the United States Army in 1943

in that the ethics
of it are, you know,

boot camp and action movies
and guns and explosions

and all the rest
of it, and that,

so that means that about 50%
of the business is not only

pretty much closed off
to women,

but women don't even
want to be in it.

[Scott] I could.


And I was told they financed,

but are they interested
in financing?

Are they interested in...?
They are?


All right, well, I mean,
look, you convinced me.

Can we set up a phone call
with them tomorrow?

I'm so grateful for all
of your help and generosity.

I feel a little awkward that I'm
taking up so much of your time.

All right.
That was interesting.

I have so much stuff
to tell you.

It's good that you can get
Bruckheimer on the phone

like that
whenever you want.

I had no idea that
would take that long.

There's a company in
Spokane, Washington

called North by Northwest,
and you think he eats olives?


And what it is is,
it's a production house

and a
post production facility,

and it has it's own
distribution stream,

and it has
every crew member

on its annual payroll
so literally

you go and raise money
and you're a director

and you go up
to Spokane,

and they deliver
your film.

I guess my biggest concern about
a company like that is that

it would be sort of an
adversarial relationship

because it's, you know,

me versus this
whole production house.

Then it's just sort
of a one stop shop,

and you go up and they
kind of do your movie.

My instincts say that
I don't have a great feeling

about this sudden
new option.

- Really?
- No.

- How come?
- It's too easy, man.

It's too much like a,

it's like a car salesman
sort of mentality

to me when it's like,
just don't worry about it.

The infrastructure's
in place,

everything will be
taken care of for you.

All you got to do
is just direct it.



If there is fun in this,

it's going to be putting
all the pieces together

under your control.

But this could
be so unfair to,

you know, it could,
that could be very unfair.

Maybe these guys are...

I'm going to shut up
and eat more pizza.

[Ed] The director is clearly
the key instrument

in the making of film.

The first screenplay I ever sold
was something I'd written with

Chris Matheson,
my sometimes writing partner.

It was Bill and Ted's
Excellent Adventure,

and we had a meeting
with the director,

not Steve Herek who
ended up directing the movie,

but a director prior to that
who had some really lame ideas,

and Chris and I said, "I don't
think that would really work",

and this director said, "If you
don't think that's a good idea,

we'll find some writers
who do think it's a good idea."

That was, you know, meeting one.

We thought, oh.

♪ ♪

[Joe] You know, I'm driving
an hour and a half

to get here for this meeting.

I pay a lot of
money to see her,

but the thing is, it's like my
whole career is riding on this,

you know, this script is really
going to determine a lot for me

about my life and so, you know,
I'm pulling out all the stops.

I'm finally to the point
where I'm happy with it,

and that's why I'm curious
to see what Dara has to say

because we'll see if she agrees
that it's there or not,

but if I'm right,
then I'll be, you know,

days away from sending
it out to producers

or whatever I do with it,

but if I'm wrong and
she has a lot of comments,

then I'll be back
in my office working again.

It's a long, arduous road
to get from the idea

to the finish script,

and there are
many times when you are,

you hit the wall.
Why don't I just quit?

And there are lots of
stories that I have quit,

but I guess I can say well
those are the stories that

I didn't want to tell
at that time.

This one I've been
working on for three years,

so I guess there's
something in here

that I really want to say.
It's just hard to dredge it up.

- Hello.
- Hey, come on in.

- I'm Joe Aaron.
- How are you?

- Hi.
- Nice to meet you.

So, we meet at last.

How are ya?
Hey puppies.

If you don't mind, we're going
to work in the office here.


[Joe] All right. I was hoping
you were going to do that.

[Dara] I wanted
to get this on tape

because I'm just
so impressed.

Oh, good.

Just a wonderful,
wonderful rewrite.

Your writing is just
so incredible anyway.

I'm a big, big, big fan.

There is one area that I
still think needs some work.

And that area,
it's a tough area,

it's still is with
the protagonist.

I just feel like you're still
holding back a little bit

on your central character.

- Okay.
- How do you feel about that?

That's always a
problem of mine.

- Uh-huh.
- My main guy winds up being

kind of like this,
you know, boring guy.

And I know that,
and I fight it.


And I tried to make him
more active in this version

than nine months ago,

but it's, it's,
it's an ongoing problem.

I'll probably have it
with my next story.

He's not a weak protagonist,
but he's so subtle right now.

- Uh-huh.
- That he's not giving your

story enough strength,
enough momentum.

This is where
you're taking, I'm taking.

This is more
like a setting.

It's in the Ethers.

I mean it's not
grounded in any time.

In the first act, you want
to constantly create

as much of a sense
of urgency as possible.

I think the answer
is in your rewrite.

I'm not... You are
so image oriented,

I'm not really
worried about this,

but I would like you to
consider as you are rewriting

that it is, we, you've
got to pause into this.

If you're a bricklayer,

your raw materials are
mortar and sand and water,

and you got to mix them
all up and make bricks.

For a writer, his or her raw
materials are their inner world

of experience and memory,

and they have to risk
putting that out there

and hoping a brick's
going to form.

What makes writers so brave
is that when it doesn't,

they get up the next morning
and mix those materials again

and hope again
that a brick will form.

All right.
I'm going to try Scott again.

- Are we ready?
- Yes.

I'm on your schedule.

This is so cool.

People are waiting
on me and stuff.

There's news apparently
on my, on Mask.


So, I'm waiting to
hear what the news is.

It tickles.

Does it?

- Yeah.
- I know.

Most guys are like...

I figure the first place
this will be used

is in my hometown newspaper.

- You know, the story.
- Yeah.

- Local boy makes good.
- Uh-huh.

In the trades. Mask.

That's a ways
down the road.

I'll have you go
horseback riding,

disco dancing,
and table tennis.

What am I looking at?

I'm supposed to be
pretending I'm...



Let's see that one.
Let's see the other shirt.


I'm going to
try Scott again.

- [Scott] Hello.
- Hey, there you are.

- Hey.
- What's up man?

- How you doing?
- I'm all right.

Actually, it's pretty cool.

My friend, Jeff,
is a photographer,

and he's taking
some shots of me

in case I ever need anything
for like a publicity photo.


I'm milking this
for all it's worth.

Good for you, man.
You're becoming a celebrity.

Yeah, right.

Is it all it's
cracked up to be?

Well, you're the one that's
going to make it happen, so...

All right. Let me take
you back a little bit

and then I'll catch
you up to now.

The last thing that you told
me about was you're thinking

about going up to Washington
to look at the one stop shop.

I flew up to
Spokane last week.

What they said was, "You know,
this is a really good screenplay

right now, and we
want to make it great."

They definitely wanted to,
to cut I guess 15,

20 pages out of this thing, and
we want you to do a final pass

on the script before
we really say yes or no.

At that point, I was asking you,
I was e-mailing back and forth

saying can you do this,
this weekend?

and you were like,
I got a lot of stuff...

So I was just like fuck it,

and I went and I
did a final pass on it,

and I was actually
really pleased.

All right. Cool.

I think the script is tighter
now, and I think it's...

Can you send it to me?
Can I get a copy of it or...

- Absolutely.
- Cool.

I'll send it to you.
I'll e-mail it to you right now.

Maybe it's a moot point now,
but I have some thoughts on

tightening the story and some
stuff that I want to address

- on Taylor's character...
- Cool.

So I'd like to see you know,
how close you had

to what I was probably
already thinking.

Okay. I think you're going
to be really pleased.

I'm really psyched.

It's awesome. If it's 15
pages shorter, that's great.

I just e-mailed it to you.

All right, man. Thanks.
I'll talk to you tomorrow.

- Okay. Bye.
- See ya.

All right, well,

Scott's taking a pass at
shortening the script himself.

I'm pretty freaked by that.

So it's gone from
120 pages down to 105.

Haven't read it yet.

That's going to be the first
time that I'll have read really

anybody doing any sort of
editing of my material,

so I'm pretty nervous,

but you know, his sense so far
has been good, and I trust him,

so I'm waiting with
baited breath to read

the shortened script
that he's edited.

[man] What are you
doing right now, Joe?

[Joe] Two days ago, I listened
to the tape that we made

and took notes.

Yesterday, I typed up my notes

and now I'm actually
typing on my script.

[man] Is this hard work?

This is hard, not like
digging a ditch but hard like,

like trying to bend
a spoon with your mind.

I started this about
three years ago,

and this isn't
really that same story.

It's the same basic place
and same basic people,

but it's, it's,
the themes evolve and change

as I think new thoughts
and even now, even today,

it's getting, it's getting
a little deeper I would say.

I just read what I have,

and I read what I want
to say thematically,

and I just move
within this space,

and I try to make it beautiful.

So then the question is,
so is it now great?

Right this minute,
the answer's no.

Will it be?


And if I do it successfully,
then the answer is yes.

It could be.

[James] I mean, I had a
screenplay once that was,

where I was 90 pages in,
and I knew it was all over.

I knew it was a disaster, and
it was driving me crazy because

the studio had gone down
the path with me so I,

there was no getting out,
and I didn't know how to go past

these 90 pages,
and then it all worked out,

and the, the change which
made it from absolute despair

that there was no way
to save it to it all working out

was minute, but key.

Which screenplay was that?

It was Terms of Endearment.

Appetizer size.

So this is our first premiere.

- Did you have a mushroom?
- I did not have a mushroom.

This is a trailer for the
feature When You're Not There.

Michael, what do you want?

Tell the camera what we're
going to watch, Michael.

This is everybody efforts, and
I'm extremely pleased so I just,

you know, I really want to
convey how much this means

because it really, you know,
I just felt very supported

when we were doing it, and
I just feel like everybody's,

everybody's, you know,
part of what they did

is definitely in there.

I've made avoidance into an art.

It takes a lot out of me,

and pretty much anyone
who cares about me.

Keith, it's Allan.
Are we that toxic?

I want to call it fate.

I will say it's ironic losing
the ring finger on my left hand.

I couldn't go through with it.

I'm not ambidextrous.


[Deborah] Okay, so our first
offers are to help me with this,

Adrian Brody as the brother,

Cameron Manheim
as Jeanne Tripplehorn.


You know, I don't
want to be ridiculous,

but I really can't
thank you enough

because this
is really helping me.

She's getting the leaks.

She was getting the leaks a lot
on the set in New York City.

[woman] I know. Everybody
that's contributed to this

has been doing it because
they're really into it

and it's a tribute because
they read the script

and like great, I'll do it.

Because of, you know,

that we're able to go to
the people that are now

coming back with a much
bigger budget and saying,

you know,
actually be able to say,

"Yeah, I'm, I'm going
to direct this movie."

[Nora] I moved into directing
for a couple of reasons.

Most directors I discovered
need to be convinced that

the screenplay
they're going to direct

has something
to do with them,

and this is a tricky thing
if you write screenplays

where women have parts
that are equal to

or greater than the male part,

and I thought why am I
out there looking for directors

because you look
at a list of directors,

it's all boys.

It certainly was when I
started as a screenwriter,

so I thought I'm just
going to become a director

and that will make it easier.

[David] It's going to be
interesting to see what he cut

and what he changed,
but you know,

it's necessary to keep
the project moving forward

so I'm going to try
and keep this cool.

In the words of Paul Newman,
this is why I don't own a gun.

The name of the town where
the script was set initially

when I wrote it was Stillwater,

and Scott's opted
to change it to Glen Echo,

which reminds me
a lot more of The Hobbit

than it does horror films,

so I'm definitely not
really crazy about that.

I know that Glen Echo is the
name of his production company

as well, so that's a little
bit too close to home I think.

Product placement,
Toyota Prius makes an appearance

in the script
for the first time.

Let's see if we can get
them to sign a check.

That seems like a very
producer-ish thing to do.

Before, it was just
an old beat up car

that the main character
drove kind of a beat up car,

but now, it's specifically
a Toyota Prius.

There's a sense right here, the
scene heading or the scene...

the scene description,
the crew sits in Leslie's Prius

outside of Glen Echo's
greasy spoon diner.

Two strikes.

If I'm reacting this
strongly to Scott changing

the name of the town,
I don't know how

I'm going to react to some
board of development executives

changing entire characters
and plot points.

That's going to be
an eye opener.

There's something here that's
probably what's going to

trouble me the most, and
that I'm going to have to have

a conversation with Scott about.

This is something
that's been sort of

a minor point of
contention for both of us

sort of since the beginning,

and there's a big
scene here now,

and actually turns
slightly into this,

there's like a remark about
whether the character's pro-life

or pro-choice.

I do feel like this is not the
time or the place or the venue

to sort of be launching
little remarks like that,

so I need to clarify, I need
to have Scott clarify to me

what exactly he feels
the relevance

of this particular scene is.

That's pretty significant.
I'm a little wary of that.

I'd hate to see this
whole project get scuttled

because Scott and I have some
sort of political difference.

Mostly, you write a script

and someone's
going to rewrite you.

They get hundreds of them,

but they get 10 writers
to write something.

If you have a big budget,

you can go and get
a lot of people

to write on a script,
so nothing's sacred.

I just actually heard
that somebody said,

"Your screenplay got bought
and now someone like

Carrie Fisher will
come in and rewrite you."

I felt terrible,
you know, because that,

that's not what I mean to do.

[Carrie] My idea was never to
raid something and trash it,

you know.
That's more work for me.

I got her music
that we talked about.


And that's it.

All right.

Okay, sweetie.

Let's start with...


[Joe] You know, some days, some
weeks I've put a script aside

for an entire week
and don't look at it,

and this week
I've been working on it

six and seven hours
a day every day.

[Joe] At music today with Lex, I
was reading what I had written.

I didn't even finish it,
but I read about 50 pages,

and they're good.


I thought by now I
would have, I'd been done.

I'm still wrestling
with the story.

[Joe] Earlier draft, maybe
one of the first drafts,

it worked for me. I want it
to work for other people,

so I had people read it.
I did rewrites.

It got to the point
where I felt like

I was writing it
for other people,

but this rewrite,
which I hope is the final draft,

it's getting back to my draft.

It's getting back
to pleasing me again.

We're gonna call mommy and
see if we're going to meet her,

and then we're going
to go have pizza, yes?


Oh, wait a minute.
What's here?

- It smells good.
- Yeah.

[Joe] One of the things
about writing this very hard

is finding the
time to do it,

and I think the difference
between people who do it

and the ones who don't
are the ones who do it

commit to it,
and what that means is,

is that you're getting
your writing done

and everything else
isn't getting done.

In about a week
I would say,

I'm going to have
another draft for you.

Would you read it again?

- Yeah.
- Good, yeah.

I mean, you've
written a lot of drafts.

I know.

It's just getting
better and better.

[Joe] It's tough on your
family because they're not

on your schedule.
You know what I'm saying?

It's not a normal,
it's not a normal way to live.

It's not a normal schedule,

and like I'll be up
'til two in the morning

and then I'll sleep in some days
or I won't take out the garbage

for two weeks and
then I'll take it out

plus do yard work
the next, and stuff,

you know, I'll go above
and beyond the call of duty.

It can be the source
of arguments,

but if you give into
all that and you stop writing,

that's when nothing
ever gets done.

We're trying, you know I'm
trying to get Terry Hatcher

to read my story, right?

- No.
- No.

[Dennis] A writer's life
and the writer's struggle

can be really hard
on relationships,

very hard for your mate
to understand

your ups and downs,

the fact that you're
spending all of these hours

doing something that doesn't
seem to have a tangible reward,

not to mention the financial
strain because for most writers,

the have to take day jobs that
don't bring in the kind of money

and security that they
or their mate would want,

particularly if children
start coming into the equation.

I was saying this morning,
I sort of feel like it's

bring your kid to work day.

Normally a writer is not in
the room for the casting.

Hey, where do
you want me to sit?

Where's, where's the
most out of the way place?

Well, Ned will probably
sit here to read,

and Al sat here yesterday.


And Hart's camera
is going to be there.

So, Marissa might want
to sit next to Matt,

and you might
want to sit here.

I'll go in the corner.
You got it.

[David] We're going to be
having casting for the roles

of Leslie and for Taylor.

Leslie is the male
lead of the film.

He's the sort of up and coming
psycho slasher killer

in the same vein
as Michael Meyers

or Jason Voorhees
or Freddy Krueger,

and then Taylor
is the female lead.

She is a grad student
documentarian who is following

Leslie in this pursuit of
this goal that he's trying to

establish himself in the
ranks of these killers.

Everybody ready?

How do you want to do this?

Trust Taylor, where is it?

Trust? Right.

Where is it coming from you?
Who's Doc Halloran by the way?

Who is he really?

Who are you, while we're at it?

[man] I'm not having this
conversation in the street.

[Carmen] Why?
Because you're afraid

he's gonna come
shooting at you again?

[man] Get in the van.

[Carmen] You ever been
to Reno, Leslie?

[man] That's enough.

That's great.

Trust Taylor, where is it?

Trust? Right, Leslie.

You know what?
Where is it coming from you?

Who's Doc Halloran, Leslie?

You know what?
Who are you actually?

[man] I'm not having this
conversation in the street.

[Sarah] You afraid he's gonna
show up and shoot you again?

[man] Get in the van.

- You ever been to Reno, Leslie?
- That's enough.

[David] I'm starting to believe
in spite of myself that it might

actually happen,
that it might go

and maybe I'm setting
myself up for disaster there.

I usually try and be
pretty cautiously optimistic.

She's wonderful.

She's got potential
to be a survivor girl.

[man] You keep saying that.
What's a survivor girl?

It's a industry term.

We call a girl like
her who's, you know,

with the potential to make
you kind of walk away

from me at the end, you know?

[Sean] First you ID her,
and then you see

if she's got the right group
of friends around her.

What is it about this girl?

Well, she's a virgin.

[man] How does it feel when you
see actors reading your lines?

When it, when it's done,
when it's done right,

when things
are working, it,

it's the most satisfying
thing you can possibly imagine.

We've written some
really off the wall things

and so when you see
that come on the screen

or come into play
on the set with the actors,

you can say, "Oh my God."

Oh my God. We got a
guy playing Jerry Falwell

- delivering our lines.
- Yeah.

- What a strange concept.
- Yeah, yeah.

So it gives you
a total kick.

Right now as I wake up
this morning and start cleaning

because to stave
off the anxiety of basically

waiting now on two, you know,
these are two jobs that are,

there our jobs.

One is an action adventure
kind of thing,

one is like a
girl buddy script.

Both of these would be extremely
helpful right now in terms of

money and just having a little
bit like breathing space

while these other things,
you know, come together.

I have never been happier.

I've never been more
miserable at the same time.

You can start to
doubt everything,

and you can start to
begrudge everything.

That's my main job right now is
doing what I have to do to keep

things moving, but mostly
it's just controlling my own

negativity and doubt.

I think the thing that separates
more successful writers

from less successful writers,

the most important
thing is the perseverance.

There are a lot of
people who are lucky.

There are a lot of people who
are born with connections or

have the kind of personality
that easily makes them,

but if you don't have that,
you have to keep pushing.

You have to keep
generating ideas.

You have to not take rejection
personally because almost

everything you come up
with will be rejected,

and even the scripts that
eventually sell will probably

have been turned down by
a number of people first,

so you're constantly hearing no
and in the face of that,

you have to,
you have to persevere.

Where are you going?

I'm going to go to
my friend, Jeff's.

He read an earlier draft and now
he's read another updated draft,

and I want to see what he
says about the latest version.

[man] Is that helpful?

Yeah. You know,
I tend to write in my head

and all my characters
seem to be in their head.

He's one of these guys who
likes to draw out the action

and so it challenges me to,
you know, to make it better.

[Jeff] The first time around
everybody was a little wiser

than they needed to be.
You know what I mean?

For 13, she was revealing
too much wisdom for

a 13-year-old and I think
once you transferred that

from wordiness to action,

then you solved
a lot of those problems.

Like I have three that I'd
like to show more than.

But a good well written
monologue in the hands

of a really great actor
and if you don't overdo it,

you don't have 50,000
monologues once in awhile,

I think it could be
very powerful so...

It's nice to hear

his comments that
it's getting better,

you know, like I keep, like I
get this sinking feeling that

sometimes I, I'm rewriting.

It gets, it's bad, it gets good,
it gets better

and then it starts
getting bad again,

but that that doesn't
seem to be happening.

He seems to like it, and I had
a meeting yesterday with another

reader, and she liked it so I
think I'm on the right path so,

we'll see.
Now I'm off to get my daughter.

♪ ♪

[David] This is the first curve
ball I'm going to throw at you.

I'm seriously right now,
seriously debating whether

I should leave AKA.

- [Scott] Really?
- [David] Yeah.

I'm really debating right now
is the time for me to say...

[Scott] You got balls
of steel, buddy.

The money I'll
get paid on Mask,

I'll be able to live
and, you know,

I'll be able
to live comfortably

for three to four,
five months.

Now, what does
comfortably mean to you?

Lap dances on Thursday
through Saturday, okay?

And chopped Ramen
the rest of the week.

And eating out in restaurants
Monday through Thursday.

No. Continuing the way
I'm living right now.

I'm paying my bills,
doing what I got to do,

but then I free up
Monday through Friday

- essentially to write.
- With all due respect...

Yeah. I can tell you're
filled with respect.

You're a complete
imbecile if you...

See, those are
respectful words.

That's very
respectfully presented.

- And you cannot...
- You're absolutely right.

So here's the deal.

You're going to go
up there and be a PA,

be running for stuff
when you could be,

listen, the thing is...

No. I got to cut
you off because...

Don't mistake
your first film

for your
most important film.

Right, but here's, there are
two critical bits of information

that I think you
need to know which is,

actually there are three, one...

I'm a Pisces, no.

And frankly you're
not that good in bed

from what
I've been told.

[Scott] Go ahead, I'm sorry.

[David] Let me give you the rest
of the background information.

[Scott] Okay.

[David] Wendy and I are
no longer working together.

I feel that I'm progressing more
rapidly in my writing career

than she would be able to in
a literary management sense.

I've signed with
Joanie Bernstein.

[Scott] You have a manager?

[David] Yeah, and it's
Joanie Bernstein,

which is a thousand fold better
than where I was previously.

And we can send a copy to
your attorney, Mitch, as well.

[David] For Joanie
to be repping me,

Joanie is essentially
saying this is a woman

who can get people
on the phone at will.

She's already set me up with
an entertainment attorney,

so I have that.

What do you mean?
As a date?

She's smoking hot.

I understand.

No, actually, there's more
because now on top of that,

so she has been, Joanie's
saying get me your next script

as soon as you can.

I think you're, it's a great
time for you because you sold

a script and it's being
made, going into production.

That kind of makes it
interesting, right?

I mean, I'm leaping, I'm
not leaping without a net.

Yeah, I know.
This is great.

This is very exciting.

- All right.
- Moving forward.

Okay. I'm going to
grab one more donut.

Yes. Please.

Take the box.

People throw around
the term, you know,

you're a player in the
game, stuff like that.

You hear that a lot,
but I don't know.

I kind of, I get it.

You know, I sort
of start to see it,

the, it's a cool feeling to be
alert to the fact that I'm in

a different sort of realm now.

I have, for all
intents and purposes,

a pretty high powered manager,
pretty high powered attorney.

These are all people that
are working on my career

behind the scenes and
bringing a lot of weight to bear

on making it work,
and that feels great.

♪ ♪

Come here.

I want to make sure
they're done. Okay.

Wait one second, one second.
Back up.


Can you do it, can you
do it, can you do it?

I look at writing as my
opportunity or my obligation

to say what I have to say.

For example,
like a parent

has a big impact
on one person,

whereas an artist like a
filmmaker can touch millions

of people over time, and
of course I'm more than one.

I'm a parent and an artist,

so I get really
annoyed when I hear

filmmakers and/or writers
talk about they don't take

any responsibility
for what they write.

Hey, I'm just a writer or
I'm just a filmmaker or,

it's just entertainment,
why, you know,

they say just, just,
they say what they are

and they put the word just,
I'm just this.

No. Not just.

You're supposed to be the
visionary for this world.

You've got film which
touches millions of people.

You've got this power and you're
just pissing it away on just.

There's so much more to it.

There's so much more potential
that this medium has

and I want to be a part of that.

I got a phone call
quite recently

from somebody who said,
"I saw that picture you did

with Christopher Plummer
and Timothy Dalton.

It's a good little movie.

Now, I think
instead of little drama,

I know you're trying to
show you've got acting chops.

I want you to go back
to what made you

a big giant action movie,

and I have one,
you say the word,

you rewrite the script,
you're the director.

You got a $50 million budget.

It's right up your alley."
I'll say, "What is it?"

It's not Die Hard on a boat.

It's not Die Hard
in a shopping mall.

It's a fresh idea.

It's Die Hard ,
but in a building,

and we had come full circle.

[David] We finally had a phone
conversation a couple days ago

in which we, you know,
we addressed it,

and I expressed
my concerns about,

you know, how involved
I was going to be,

and you know,
I want to go to the set.

I want to be on set,
and you know,

he took as hard a line
as he needed to,

and he pretty much point blank
reminded me that there is

a context that I got to
take the check and shut up.

Scott felt his contribution
to the script warranted

a co-written by credit.

That was pretty tough for me
to give up just because that's,

I sort of felt like the written
by credit was the only really

tangible thing that
I had contributed

to the entire process.

It was my baby,

but Scott felt very strongly
about his contribution.

It was kind of a bitter
pill for me to swallow to say,

all right, you know, it'll
be co-written by David Stieve

and Scott Glosserman.

Right now,
it's 6:30 in the morning.

I'm just getting ready to
fly out of Burbank to go up to

Portland for a week to be on
the set of Behind the Mask.

The decision that I've reached
finally is that it is not

the time for me right now
to leave AKA permanently.

I'm learning as I go, and
it's become pretty clear to me

that now is not the
time for me to leave.

The $20,000 that I got
paid for the script,

you know, once I've paid tax
and commission and you know,

some other bills and
things that I wanted to pay,

which is great, that's not
enough money to live on.

Luckily, we are able
to work out a way

that I can leave for a week.

Are writers welcome on set?

[Steven] I would say writers
are not welcome on the set

more often than not.

I mean, the main reason you
don't want a writer on the set

is supposedly because you
feel the writer will like start

to get agitated and make little
squeaky noises like a porpoise

because the director
is discarding dialogue

or the actors are ad libbing.

The real reason I think is that
a lot of directors don't want

someone sitting around that the
actors could go up and talk to

about changing their dialogue
or what's my motivation.

There's a great director who
directed a picture that I wrote

and who barred me from the
set quite appropriately,

and said, "I'm sorry, Jim,
when you're directing,

you don't need to
know everything,

you need the
illusion that you do",

and you know,
and I would be there,

behind him trying to
signal the actors in a way

I wasn't even aware of.

[Deborah] This is going
to be one of those things

where we're going to definitely

want to drink very soon.

You can navigate.
I have a little of...

What do you have?

I have vodka,
and I have rum,

and I have tequila.

No, no tequila.

Should we have that before
our four o'clock phone call?

Yeah. We have
an hour to sober up.

- Okay.
- Okay.

- We're all here, yeah?
- Hello.

Okay, good. Hi.

How are you guys doing?

The reality is that the people
that we're going to for money,

if we say wait
two more weeks

and we think we
can get Adrian Brody,

you know, and that means we
can't shoot 'til April or May,

they will say,
great, let's wait.

I mean, the people who stand
to make their money back

will always want
to push, you know.

The unfortunate scenario
is that you lose people

because you can't give
them firm dates.

This is the kind of stuff that
you do when you're just like

panicking, which is apply
for jobs that you're

so overqualified for it's
ridiculous and then have them

write back with this
form letter saying,

"We appreciate your interest;

however, we are looking
for people who are moronic

and have no skills whatsoever,

and want to do it for free."

I feel like our
smartest strategy

is to come up with
the, another list,

you know, of our
second choices

while we continue,
you know, to gently prod,

you know, an
Adrian Brody and their,

you know,
ilk of people,

have that second list of
people that were on to.

As long as something's
happening every day,

you can keep your energy up and
your buoyancy and your optimism,

and then, you know, of course,
there's these little chinks

in the armor which
are like, you know,

if we're not doing
this movie in March,

then we all better
get jobs or something,

you know, like what
are we going to do?

Okay. I'm just going
to put cast around two.


I don't know.

I just get so...

Come on. Up beat.

Oh yeah, right, up beat.


There's a sort of cultural
stereotype about artists

that's tormented and bitter.

I think what's remarkable
is how many writers are not,

that even when they fall
prey to depression or despair,

the moment they
have a good idea,

they're back typing again.

The thing that's so wonderful
about the creative life

is that it feeds you.

You don't just feed it.

Most writers go through

fairly significant
periods of despair

and depression,
and when they can re-engage

with their creative muse,
that tends to lift them out.


Got a movie.

Now, I can say I'm done.

This now I'm happy to show.

I will show it to anybody.

This is the final script.

It took a long time
to get there though.

♪ ♪

I see you made it.

I made it.
Are you Alley?

- Hi, I'm Joe.
- Nice to meet you.

- This is Denise.
- Hi, Denise.

Hi, Joe.
Nice to meet you.

[Joe] I'm hoping to do
a read with actors,

table read with actors because
I feel like it will help me.

I want it for two reasons.

One is to make
the script better,

and the other is
for business reasons.

I'm hoping maybe
it'll lead to something.

She's comforting herself.
She's comforting herself.

That's really... Okay.

Because there's no,
no baby there.

No, I know, I know,
but I thought maybe like

out of nervous habit
or something...

You know how Lady MacBeth
kept washing her hands,

sort of like that, although
she was like sleep walking

and she's not, but you
understand what I'm saying?

It's kind of like guilt
is really what it is.

In other words...

[Joe] I really just want
to hear if it works.

Does the story work?

I've been working on this story
for so long that I feel like

I had gotten to where I
had lost my objectivity.

It was 1979 in Mercy, Tennessee.
I was 17 years old,

well under the age
of accountability

and on my way
to becoming a man.

I was on my own and was
anxious about the future

and finding my place.

[woman] Oh shit!
Who are you?

I'm just, can I help you?

I didn't mean to scare you.

I was just cold,
so I came in here.

You in trouble?
I'd like to help.

I'm sorry.

Wait. What's your name? Wait!

Too late. Red watches her
stumble back to her trailer.

Red can only stare at her,
pull back revealed a box

she was struggling to open.

Strychnine, keep out.

[Joe] Now, I'm confident
to pursue the script.

I can send it to agents.
I can send it to producers.

It's ready now.

I have a,

I have a backdoor way
to get to Tacoma.

All right!

Another way, and so I don't
have the script to her,

but I have, she knows
about me and yet and...

So I think I need,
I'd like to have two.

Well, that's easy.

[Joe] I think Michael should
be able to find somebody.

Hey, Treat, it's Rebecca.
How are you doing?

I hope you guys had
a nice Thanksgiving.

Hey, I'm just
checking back with you.

It's presently Thursday at
about 11:30 in the morning here.

Let me see where she is.
Let's start at work.

I've got a friend's script
that's just fabulous,

and we want to send
it to you to look at.

He... okay.

Hey, how are you?
It's Rebecca.

Hey, just wondering,
you know that script Rattled

that a friend of mine
sent to you,

just wondered if you were able
to pass it on to your dad yet?


[man] I know this is naïve,
but if there's a God,

why would he allow that?

What reason could there...

Don't, okay, don't even say it.

You start thinking
like that and you just,

you can't let those thoughts
overwhelm you if you think

too much, if you
question everything

you thought you knew

and you realize it's just,
it's just not real

and you have no worth.

You have no worth.

This is, this is the
best thing I've ever written,

so if this isn't good enough
or if this isn't what they're

looking for, then that's it.

That's all I got.

Anything else I write
after this is,

it will be either
as good or not as good.

In my opinion.

Exterior mountain day.

The van drives off the
bridge onto the dirt road.

That's when I
noticed the morning sun.

[woman] Tilt up past the
lone mountain higher still.

That's when I noticed the
miracle of a brand new day.

The sun glows bright until
everything in sight is light.

Fade out.

[man] And what's your
goal now for the,

in terms of seeing
your script realized now?

[Joe] I'd like to get five
named actresses attached

to the five main roles.

I'd like to get a
few million dollars,

you know, not a kazillion,

but I don't know
five or ten million dollars

to make a low budget movie.

I'd like it to be
released theatrically

and then I'd like for
whoever gave me the money

to give me enough
creative control,

in other words,
kind of leave me alone.

I wonder what I'm supposed
to do in this room

like a far as cleaning up.

I have no,
I wasn't told what to do.

I'm just going to get my
stuff and get out of here.

♪ ♪

[David] My goal to be
on the set in Portland

is just to be under Scott's feet

and annoy the hell out of him
as much as I possibly can.


It's a unique opportunity
for me as a writer

to be able to
contribute on the set.

Right now, I'm going out
to try to catch up with Scott

and the rest of
the production team.

They're on a technical
scout so I can see

where some of the scenes
are going to be taking place

and, you know, get a better
sense of the actual locations

and I find myself driving around
in a rented car in Portland

trying to find a production
staff that's highly mobile.

I think that was
my turn right there.

Hey, man, I'm on my way,

and Roger gave me directions
to the Vista Lookout.

This is a community
called Troutdale,

and it's actually going to
be the street that's going

to become Glen Echo,
which I think is pretty cool,

so I give you Glen Echo, USA.

This is just really
cool the way it's set up.

It looks like a movie set.

It looks like something off
the Universal lot almost.

It's going to become
a movie town.

[man] Are they going
to block off the street?

Yes, they will.
Barbershop there.

Yeah, they'll block off
the street and...

- We've got some shots.
- That's awesome.

How are you?

Got some good stuff?

- Yeah, man.
- Good.

This is going to be close.


Our first shot
is Main Street,

walking into Glen Echo

or is there
something else

evil lurking underneath,

All right.

So we're
going to have,

Taylor is going
to be sort of

across the street,

and she's going to
be speaking to us.

Our camera will be here.
She'll be looking.

We're going to have
a close up of Taylor.

She'll walk down
the sidewalk,

and we're going
to come out wide

to probably, you know,
we'll come out wide,

and we're going to see the
hill with the bluff first shot,

so we have all of this.

- Right.
- No, no, no.

We're going, up there,
see that bluff right there.

- Yeah.
- That's where we were.


We're 15 feet away,

and we shoot Leslie
on the bluff looking out,

and then we pick up
another shot of Leslie

and he comes down, we
start here, and we go over,

and we go over and
we do a dirty shot,

and he's overlooking
the town.

It's amazing.


[David] It's become apparent,
because of budget constraints,

that we need to
rewrite the script

to fit the sets and the
locations, not vise versa.

We can't build a town.

We can't create
a barn silo, you know,

things like that, so the script
needs to be rewritten to fit

what they have available
to shoot with so...

Do you know what
breakdowns are?


On the breakdown, there will
be a synopsis of the movie.

[David] To be able to sort of
be following Scott around and,

you know, him asking me for
feedback on stuff or being able

to look over people's
shoulders and see things,

this is not something I'm going
to get to experience again,

not like I said,
not unless it's a project

[phone ringing]
that I'm involved with.

Hold that thought.

This is David.

Hey, Jared.
Good. How are you?


That's good to hear.

Okay. Page 68.

Okay. I'm there.


Okay. So, right.

When Leslie impales
her on the hay hooks,

does he then impale her again?

I don't know. I've been
thinking about that,

and I don't know that
it's a little redundant.

From the creative
perspective, I would,

I guess I sort of thought that
if Leslie's going to hang Kelly,

it's Lauren.

If he's going to impale Lauren
on the hay hooks and then

hang her from the,
sort of the hay bale lift,

then I think if he then wraps
the rope around Shane

and hangs him, you have
a balance that both bodies

are going to hang, right?

But, I don't,
not even practically,

I don't know, whatever is
more logistically possible,

I guess.

Well, no, but here's the thing
I'm going to tell you is that

I mean I, you and Scott are both
going to freaking flip out on me

and go ballistic
because I, I mean,

there's a lot of changes
that, you know,

in this October 28th draft,
and then Scott,

I already know I'm
going to get yelled at.

Scott's going to totally bust me
because I tried to sneak in

a couple of lines of dialogue
change here and there.

He's going, he's going
to go ballistic on me.

I just know it, but all right.

Now, what time are
we going tomorrow?

So, it's eight o'clock?

Nine o'clock.
Oh, good. That's better.

Okay. All right.
I'll talk to you later.


I've just been given
more homework.

I have gone to the set and
you're kind of around in this,

it's kind of combat writing
when you do rewriting and stuff,

and it's, I feel like it's a
form of ambulance chasing or,

you know,
recently I did this kind of,

where you go, oh my God, it's
bleeding from the second act!

Quick, quick, give me a suture!

Get me the paddles!

The third act is
having a heart attack!

The star is coming!
The star is coming.

It's just this
incredibly intense process.

How you doing?

You ready to
fight over script?

Yes, definitely.
All right.

Okay. We got to have a fight
about the pro-life,

pro-choice thing.

I don't know why you feel...

You can't do that.

- Why can't I do it?
- It's not fair.

He's not pro-life.

He's not,
that's not the point.

It's not about that.

But it's such a
divisive political thing.

I don't know why you
want this in the film.

[Scott] You got to trust
me on this one. She's...

You want, should
we put something in,

I could work something in
about stem cell research

or you know,
prayer in schools

if you want to work
that in there as well.

You're, first of all,
you've got this like hang up

on the feminist,
on the whole thing,

oh my God, you're
offending women.

My point is that, my point is
that there's simply no place

for discussion of pro-life
or pro-choice in your movie.

So he would
contradict himself

if he said
he's pro-choice,

and there's no
way he's pro-life,

so rather than
be trapped,

he's going to say,
"Personal choice.

You got me.

I'm going to take
the fifth on that.

I'm guilty",
as opposed to saying...

Can he say, "I'm going
to take the fifth"

or is that too vague
for you?

Fine. I'll take the fifth.
I think that's...

That's, it's more in line
with his personality.

It's coming up to the other
end of this conversation.

This is so not what,

this is so what I didn't
want to have happen.

Why? This is good.
We just worked it out.


There have been some pretty
rocky moments with Scott and I,

and he'll, I'm sure he'll be the
one to tell you the same thing.

It's, we're both really
passionate about the project.

We both really have a
very clear vision of it.

We don't have the
same vision of it,

and that's fine.

[David] I'm lucky to be
working with Scott on this.

I don't say that, you know

there's no points
for me to win anymore.

This thing is a script I'm
about to turn over to him,

and trust his vision of it,
but I'm lucky that I've had

the relationship
that I have with him,

ups and downs, to get the
script to where it is right now.

That would be genius.

You see what I'm saying?

[Dennis] One of the hardest
things for a screenwriter

is to give up control
of their material,

of the screenplay
because a screenplay,

no matter how beautifully
written, is not the end product.

The end product is a film,

and it's really hard
for screenwriters

to have to hand that over.


There were two rewrite jobs
that I was up for.

One of them definitively is
not happening as of this week.

They're just not
doing the project.

The other one I'm a little bit
attached to because it's got

a kind of feeling of something
that I might actually really be

excited about writing.

[man] If you are forced to look
for another kind of job, what...

- What would that job be?
- Exactly.

[Deborah] It's a good question
because honestly it's not even,

I don't know.

I want to remain
slightly hopeful,

slightly hopeful, cautiously
optimistic until the last

possible second
because, you know,

if I have to,
I'll go work at Starbucks,

you know, I'm unemployed.

At this point, the way it feels,
the way it would feel

to pull out of the movie in
order to do something else,

I might as well do
that because it's,

nothing's going to
make me feel good.

Obviously, if I get
another writing job,

I'll be delighted, but, because
that will always help me,

but you know,
we're talking worst,

worst case scenario.

No writing job, no movie,
you know, despair.

[man] Why do you write?

There isn't any other time

that I feel completely human.

There is a place
in my own self that,

that starves if I don't write.

[man] Realism's all about
self-realization, right,

is that part of the reason
why you're a writer?

The founder of this Buddhism,

in the Buddhism I practice

was a 12th century
priest who wrote many,

many letters to people who were
practicing his form of Buddhism.

When you read those letters,
you know today,

they're talking about the
same problems, you know.

You read them and you feel like
he's writing to you but also

you read them and
you see how powerful,

you know, just the words
that really come from

someone's life, you know,

and I really get...

because it's one
of those mornings,

but I'm also kind
of prone to crying

whether I'm happy
or sad or, you know,

but it's just, even just
talking about that really,

I think it's one of the most
important things you can do,

no matter what you're
writing because every time

you write something, you're
literally making an inner vow.

I don't think we think
about it because we take in

so much information but
writing is never going away.

Why would anyone keep going?

Well, they keep going because
they either believe in what they

have to say or they have a need
to have what they have to say

heard, and they believe that
this is a way to get it heard,

and so they keep going.

[Joe] When you finally
get to the end

where you're happy with it

and you see what it says
and what it did for you,

then you realize,
ah yes, it was worth it.

I wasn't sure it was worth it,
but now I can see, okay, yes.

It took a long time,
but it was worth it.

Come up here.


I can't really stand movies
anymore I have to say

because when I go see a movie,

what I see are
people's first drafts,

first and second drafts,
and I can,

you know,
not everybody sees that,

but what I see is writers
who didn't do this much work.

I see, I see... phoning it in,

and it drives me insane
because I'm out here working,

and there are people
who do what I do.

I mean, I'm not the only one,
but it's like why aren't

the scripts that are worked and
are tended to and well written,

why aren't those the ones that
are getting made and putting

millions of dollars into?

Ready to go?

Let's go.
Over here.

When you go to a movie,
it should be something great.

It should be something better
than you could knock off

over a weekend, you know,
and if it's not great,

then why isn't it great?

Because there's
people who are great,

so why are you producing these
people's crap when you've got

great people, you know, little
offices like this all over L.A.

not to mention the whole world?

Yes, it drives me insane.

I think that it's very easy
to kind of give it away,

give the definition
of success away,

empower other people in
determining whether or not

you have talent,

and here's the catch-22.

The more you do that, the
less you'll be able to write.

That's the hard thing
because writing is all about

preservation and strength and
authority in your own voice.

If you give that voice away
by guessing what you think

or what you think or what
you think as you go,

you're going to have less to
say and less to be able to write

about and less of an
authoritative voice,

and then it goes away.

[man] What is the
production staff doing today?

The production staff
today is out in the field

scouting locations
for some of the scenes

to actually physically
get a lay of the land.

Essentially, it's a technical
rehearsal for the crew.

- Aaron, you been in here?
- No.

- It's really men of honor.
- Oh really?

Except we're using
the better court room.


♪ ♪

[David] This is so cool.

There's, we're in
the courthouse now,

and I'm overwhelmed by the,

it's the people that are doing
all the stuff they're doing.

There's a sound guy in the mix.

We have a stunt coordinator
walking around somewhere,

and then the director and the
DP are talking about how this

is going to look
in the courthouse.

Because you've just
gone straight that way,

and now you want to
go straight this way?

That's the whole
point of it.

It's symmetry.

It's vertical.
It's whoosh.

It's just unbelievable to me

that I'm sitting in a courthouse
in Portland first of all

but that it's so close
to what I want for the script,

and there's all these
professional people

doing their thing.

This is the coolest
job in the world.

The truth is that the writer
is one of the people

who writes a movie.

The cinematographer writes
the movie also in pictures.

The composer writes
the movie in music.

All right.
We probably need to move.

A movie is, as I always say,

the screenplay is
the big plain pizza,

the one with tomatoes and
cheese and then the director

comes in and puts a lot,
and says, you know it needs

mushrooms, and you go,
put mushrooms on it,

and then the costume designer
throws peppers on,

and pretty soon you have a pizza
with everything and sometimes

it's the greatest pizza of your
life and sometimes you think

that was a mistake, we should've
left it with only the mushrooms.

[David] How about this for
a creepy old farm house?

So guys, this is our location
for 13 of our 24 days.

- Let's start in the house.
- Start in the house, okay.

We're going in.
Careful of the wire.

Watch that
front step, you guys.



So let me take you through
here and this is great,

and everything is,
look at this, look at this.

All the lights in
the house go off.

This is pitch black.

Okay, when the
lights come back on,

he's already got the
pitchfork sticking out,

like this, and the pitchfork
gets retracted.

So the pitchfork's
already sticking in,

lights go on and
he's like oh my God,

and then it gets
retracted and he falls,

revealing Leslie right here
and Lauren is freaking out,

and now we have a reverse
shot, and Lauren's backing up,

and she runs this way and
she goes up the stairs.

[Scott] This right here
is the staging area,

so this is where they
theoretically throw in a ladder

up here, and they're going to
climb in through this window,

like more on
an angle actually,

like right about there,

and you're going to
love this shot, man.

[Scott] All right.
I think you're right.

I think it is more
natural this way.

I hate having these things in
my head for two years, then...

It can be the other way.

[Scott] No because this is,
this is the way it would look.

To be out here and to be
walking around on an actual farm

to see these abstract
ideas come to life

in a concrete tangible way,
it's unlike anything

I ever would have
realistically expected.

Principle photography has
been pushed back one week.

Unfortunately, that means
I'm not going to get to see

any actors actually
delivering lines,

but that's okay.

[Scott] She'd be looking,

say she's looking at
herself in a mirror,

you know,
like she's just so psyched.

- She looks at this.
- [man] Totally.

Well, we can do that.
Like I said, that's...

This is so awesome.

We have so much
good shit in there.

- It looks so cool.
- Dude, why didn't you tell me

that the dog
is actually black?

That's how I
wrote the script.

This thing is so far out of my
hands now, that Behind the Mask

at least it's got
it's own momentum.

I'm literally just
along for the ride up here.

I've been able to be useful,
and it's been rewarding

and I will take that
away from it,

but now I got nothing
to do with this movie anymore.

Okay. This is our tool shed,
and this, by the way,

this barn door remains locked
until Doc Halloran breaks

the lock and opens it, but
we'll get to that in a second.

[David] I did what I needed
to do to get a script that was

sellable and marketable
at least in somebody's mind,

and it's happening.
It's all around me.

It's this.
This is what I started

so now I have to start
that process over

on a different script
and because of this,

I'm going to be better for it.

[Scott] She stands up.
She looks at the thing,

slides down the slide,
and she's out.

Easy, right?

Walk through is
slightly different.

Let's go to the script.

This is so L.A., like having
a total weep session

in your car with someone over
your shoulder with a camera.

It's hilarious.