Wednesday, October 29, 2003

From the Front Lines

I was off-line yesterday at a digital-video trade show in Cincinnati. Not a great show, and a lot more homeless people downtown than I remember from the last time I was there. But I had a good meal at a great Cajun place.

I got to talking to someone about the ups and downs of freelancing and started thinking of some "war stories." My most recent one is probably seeing my script burned in a fire on the set of AMONG US, already amply detailed at this blog.

But several years back I read an ad in the paper about someone looking for a scriptwriter, and although suspicious, I called him up. I ended up going to this guy's house, and he answers the door in paint-speckled clothes and hat. I quickly learned that he was a house painter with aspirations of being a Hollywood director. He handed me a photo album which featured on its cover the guy dressed pretty much the same, drinking a Pepsi.

I opened the scrapbook up and discovered it was more or less a storyboard of a Civil War epic he intended to make, illustrated with pictures cut out of (I think) old textbooks, with photos of himself and his girlfriend pasted over some of the heads. There were also photos of John Mellencamp, who was somehow going to figure into the proceedings.

He had it all figured out; he would "green screen" all the appropriate backgrounds behind himself and the other actors and save a lot of money on the massive project. All he needed was to "just get the ideas down on paper," one of the great screenwriting warning signs (as if there were not enough already).

I peeled out of there as quickly as I could, but he still followed me out to the car.

If you're not a house painter, email me at

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