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.