the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: screenwriting

Are Mojitos Gay?

I am writing a screenplay with another writer back in Los Angeles.  We get along well, but waste a lot of time getting into ridiculous arguments on the phone about the direction of the scenes.  The problem is that we have different word views about men, women, and relationships.  I am married.  He is not.  I have interests that could be considered “metrosexual” — like enjoying Broadway musicals.  He is more of a guy’s guy who watches sports every night.  I find many of his ideas sexist and filled with stereotypes.  What bothers me the most, is that I have a nagging feeling that his views better match that of the average American movie-goer, who is usually an idiot.

We are working on a comic scene where our two lead characters go to a bar, try to talk to two hot babes, and then get rejected for some funny reason.  He calls me with an idea:

“The two guys are talking to the hot girls, both with great tits, and everything is going well, and then the bartender brings the guys over their drinks — and it is two mojitos — and the girls look at them funny, as if they are gay, and then split.”

“What?  I don’t understand.” I ask.  “The girls with the tits LEAVE because the guys ordered mojitos?”

“Yeah, they think the drink is gay.”

“That is ridiculous.  I like mojitos.  I thought they were supposed to be trendy.  And no girl is going to leave because a guy ordered a mojito.”

“You haven’t been to the bar where I go.”

“That’s because you go to some stupid redneck bar.  Which is a little weird, considering that you are Japanese.  But our characters live in Hollywood.  They’re cool guys, like the guys in Swingers.  They would have no problem ordering mojitos in a hip bar.  And no girl would have a problem with a mojito, or think they are gay.  I’m not putting that into any script with my name on it.”

“Ok, so let’s make it like they order two of those fruity drinks with the umbrellas?”

“Like Mai Tais?”


“I like Mai Tais, too.”

“They’re pretty gay.”

“What is the matter with you?    Are you saying that if I go into a bar and order a Mai Tai, everyone around me will think I am as gay as Clay Aiken.”


“That’s bullshit.”

“What do you know?  You never go to bars.”

“Well, make believe it was a Tiki bar, like Trader Vics.”

“Our scene is not in a Tiki Bar.”

“Still bullshit.  And I don’t appreciate these lame gay stereotypes.”

“Why, are you gay?”

“No, I’m not gay.”

“So, what do you care?”

“Because it is stupid.  You know, the next time I am in a bar, I’m going to order a Mai Tai just to f*ck with your mind.”

“Not with me there.”

“Are you homophobic or something?”

“No, but if I am in a bar wanting to get laid, I’m not going to give off the message “I am gay” to the girls by ordering a mai-tai.”

“So, what are you saying — that if you order a scotch, you’re sending the message, “I have a big dick.”

“Even gay guys will say a mai-tai is gay.   Ask one.”

“You want me to ask some gay guy if he thinks a mai tai is gay?  That’s insulting.   There is no such thing as a “gay” drink.  There are gays who like lemonade and gays who like Diet Coke.”

“Ask around.  Ask all the women on your blog.  I guarantee that they’re all going to say that if they went out on a date with a guy and he ordered a fruity drink with an umbrella — that something is different about this guy.”

“What if I was Hawaiian, a manly Hawaiian, but this drink reminded me of home.”

“Even Hawaiian guys don’t drink those fruity drinks with umbrellas.”

“What if I just came back from Hawaii, where I f*cked seven different girls, and I am drinking this Mai-Tai because it reminds me of how manly I was while I was there, and how I f*cked a different girl every night, and I tell this story to one of the girls, and she gets totally turned on by me drinking a fruity drink with an umbrella, because she knows it means I am a total stud.”

“Sorry.  She will still think it is gay.”

“What if after I finish the drink, I take the umbrella and stick it in my arm without showing any pain, to reveal how manly I am.”

“OK, you got me there.  Then she would f*ck you.”

“Great.  Let’s write that scene.”

Three Years Ago on Citizen of the Month:   The Funeral

Saturday, May 24th


In the morning, I went to see an apartment that is being rented.  This is a big step for me.  I’ve been telling you that I’m moving out for… about six months now.   To make the whole situation more pathetic, Sophia (my separated wife, for newcomers) came with me to check out the place!  Before you make the comparison of mommy accompanying her child on her first day of school, I will do it FOR you. I was nervous about seeing this rental.  I found it on Craig’s List.

“Why is it so… inexpensive?” I asked myself.  “Is the economy this bad?” 

The reason…? Let’s just say that the neighborhood was so-so, and the apartment manager seemed to have a side job running a meth lab.  New theory:  It is OK to use a coupon at Olive Garden, but not in apartment hunting.   Even Sophia hated the place.

New vague plan:  Go to NY and visit my real MOMMY for a few weeks and finish this screenplay, then come back and find an apartment.   I know… procrastination.  Brenda, my therapist, is going to give me one of her “looks” this week.


As I’ve mentioned to some of you, I’ve started to work on this screenplay project with another writer.  It was a long process of pitching and coming up with ideas.  While nothing is certain,  there is some interest, and I’m hoping to make some real money this year, not just the fake dollars that you can use on Second Life.  Then again… Hollywood is a risky place until the money is paid.

It is not easy working with another writer.  It is like a marriage.  It takes some time.  The other writer and I split up the work load.  I’m writing some of the scenes involving the major female characters.  I opened my mouth and said that “I understand women,” when in reality, this is an obvious lie.  Belinda from Ninja Poodles told me to read Stephen King. 

“He writes excellent female characters!” she said. 

Wht do you think?  Do you think most male writers do a poor job in creating female characters?  I don’t know about you, but I found it completely believable that the Sharon Stone character wore no underwear during that police interrogation in “Basic Instinct.”

Speaking of sex-starved screenwriters, I tried to write a scene on Saturday afternoon while shopping at Target.  Target is my new pharmacist, mostly because they give you the pills in these hip red plastic containers.  I went to Target to pick up my cholesterol medicine (and some paper towels).  This time, I travelled without Sophia holding my hand.  After walking the aisles of products of artists and architects who sold out to the Target Man, and drooling over this cool red Michael Graves toaster, I decided to have a cup of coffee in “the cafe.” 

Our new Target is a rather fancy one.  The parking and the “courtyard” are on the first floor.  The “cafe” is on the second floor and looks out over the courtyard.  I use the term “cafe” loosely.  They sell hot dogs, popcorn, and Pizza Hut slices.  However, a tiny Starbucks franchise is attached to the side, and the atmosphere is light and friendly.  I ordered my “tall” coffee, sat down with my Target bag, and decided to write a scene in the trusty black-and-white-covered composition notebook that I always lug around in case inspiration hits.

Being a New Yorker, noise and chaos is usually calming.  I have no problem writing when there is activity going on.  I just couldn’t focus in Target.  Some bratty kids were playing with the ice machine and the open mustard package sitting on the plastic chair adjacent to me was bugging me.

I decided to take a breather.  I walked over to the railing and looked down into the courtyard.  Customers were flooding in and out, some wheeled shopping cars, others with children in tow.  The majority were women… mothers.  Not surprisingly, my second floor position gave me a pretty good view of the finest cleavage that Redondo Beach had to offer.  I could look right down the tops of women’s blouses.  Hello, mothers!  Some thin, some buxom, some size 2, some size 16, some in tight dresses, some in low cut blouses.  I completely forgot about my screenplay and just enjoyed the view.  This was better than looking down at the Grand Canyon.  So many women!  I glanced up and noticed that there was a video camera.  Big Brother was watching.  This changed everything. 

“Is anyone watching me?” I wondered.   “I must look like a total pervert!”

I certainly felt like a total pervert, especially when I realized that my Target shopping experience had aroused me to the point where I had to sit and wait another twenty minutes until I could leave.

What would my mother think if she saw me on the nightly news, arrested and dragged from the Redondo Beach Target “cafe,” still aroused from looking down the blouses of mothers shopping for Pampers for their children! 

Tonight on America’s Most Wanted

“Redondo Beach is a sleepy town on the coast near Los Angeles.  It is a family-oriented town where children go to church and everyone is polite.  But every community has their bad apples, the underbelly and perverts who walk the street.  One of the favorite Saturday activities in this pleasant beach community’s is for mothers and their children to go to the local Target for some fun, relaxation, and shopping.  Little do the unsuspecting mothers know, that in the cafe, is Neilochka Kramer, the lowest form of pervert, ogling women like  one-dimensional sex objects when he is supposed to be writing realistic female characters. “


Sophia got her Wii fit delivered.  I said I would connect it and figure out how to use it, but I did the laundry instead.  I was feeling passive-aggressive.  Why are we getting a Wii JUST as I’m about to move out?

At 2AM, I turned on Showtime.  There was some soft-core movie.  I have no idea what it was about, but I watched a scene where  a sexy woman in high heels (male screenwriters again!) comes into a bar/restaurant, asks the bartender to show her to the women’s room, and then the two have sex in the cleanest and well-organized restaurant kitchen in existence.  

The minute the situation became “hot” and the woman stripped down to her bra, some annoying jazz music started to play on the soundtrack.  It made me wonder what would happen if sex really caused this John Tesh-like music to play in our minds.  Would I become impotent?  I think I would rather BE impotent than have to endure this same music every time my pants came off.  I certainly would want the sex to be over VERY QUICKLY just to stop the music.  On the positive side, women would want it over fast, too. 

“Come on.  Stick it in and get it over with already!  Just make this third-rate jazz music stop!”

This was my Saturday, May 24th.

Two Years Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Driving in LA – In Two Parts

Trying to Write This Week


Note: This is not a page from anything I’m working on.  This is a page from the film classic “Chinatown.”   But imagine something just as well-written and influential.  Only it is about getting laid.   And there is one crazy car chase in downtown Los Angeles.  Wait, I think there is car chase in downtown Los Angeles in Chinatown, too!  Woo-hoo!  Oscar time.

A Screenwriter’s Life


Health stuff, marital ups and downs, the sarcastic wit of the gods, and especially — my own poor mental focus, have not been kind to my writing. Except for blogging, of course, which flourishes in times of chaos, I haven’t been working on any projects lately that could advance my career.  One blogger once suggested I combine some of the better posts into a book, but for the life of me, I have no idea what type of book that would be or WHO would buy it.  Even my own mother would probably wait until it was half-price at the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan.  Still, lately, I have been feeling inspired, half from therapy and half from seeing the tenacity of others, like Laurie, who accomplished her life-long goal of getting published.

Hmm… what could my book be about? —

“Me and My Penis” by Neilochka

“Separated but Unequal: My Marriage to Sophia.” by Neilochka

“One Man’s Spiritual Search for ABBA” by Neilochka

“Payola and the Promoter: The True Story Behind the Chrismahanukwanzaakah Concert” by Neilochka

 Eh, I’m more of a fiction person, anyway.

However, since this is Hollywood, I’m going to first start on another screenplay (bleh!). I was hoping to dump the Hollywood scene because I’m not much of a schmoozer. I know some of you are grumbling about the Writer’s Guild Strike and all these selfish multi-millionaire writers, but be assured — they are not the norm. I’m sympathetic to the crew members who are losing their jobs, but I don’t consider them “small guys.” These are well paid craftspeople who make a good living because of THEIR own unions! The strike is not just about the big-time writers. This strike opens the door for everyone in Hollywood to share in whatever profits are made from new outlets. Both Sophia and I supplement our incomes from residuals from projects completed years ago.

About two months ago, I received an email from an independent director in town (he made one film that did well at a film festival). He liked some of my posts and wanted to know if I wanted to work on some pitches with him. A well-known producer had seen his film and was anxious to hear some ideas — something comedic and Apatow-ish. We met a few times and we got along pretty well. We’re not officially “partners” as of yet, but we decide to join forces. We each offered something different — he was more “artsy” and I wrote better sex gags. The producer was looking specifically for certain types of projects, including scripts that might appeal to single men (you know, films about a bunch of guys looking to get laid — not that I would know anything about this subject!) However, since I’m not currently on the dating scene (and never actually picked up any women EVER), I had to do a little research to get ready. I had never even heard of the term “Wingman” before this year. Now, after watching the full “Pick-up Artist” and every Maxim magazine of 2007, I have an intimate understanding of the horny 24 year-old male (and his lingo, dude!)

My writing “partner” and I were supposed to meet with the producer two weeks ago — but just our luck, the Writer’s Strike! We certainly didn’t want to meet with him, even informally, during a strike, or we would be as bad as Jay Leno not paying his laid-off staff. So, we wait… and wait..

There is an art to pitching in Hollywood. You get together a couple of good stories and tell them verbally to the producer or development person, trying to get him excited enough to pay you to go on to the next step — writing something! If this fails for us, we might actually just write the script on spec — like real men. I actually prefer to write the script first, but since we have this opportunity to pitch it and make a few bucks, we might as well go for it. I have a habit of getting down on myself, so I’m trying to remain positive. It’s THE SECRET!

There are some writers who are known as brilliant pitchers. They stand in front of their listener, looking all confident, and spin sentences like “This story is “Harry Meets Sally” meets ‘Pirates of the Caribben” — neurotic New York couple travel to the past and become pirates!

Producer: “I want that! It’s a deal. Here’s a million dollars!”

We still don’t know when we will get a chance to pitch. It depends on the strike. I’m also supposed to go to New York for two weeks very soon. I hope this doesn’t screw up my plans.

Today, I called up my partner and said we should practice our verbal pitches over and over, just to be ready. The trouble is that both of us get distracted by life at home. The solution — we’re going to hole up in a hotel for two days and just work undistracted (yeah, right)! So later on today, I’m going to kiss Sophia, say Happy Hanukkah, and disappear for a day or so and room with some guy I hardly know. I hope we get two beds. So if I don’t blog, you know where I am. Well, you actually won’t — but it will probably be at some dumpy Comfort Inn in Torrance without wireless.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial