You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘screenplays’ tag.

The Black List 2016

Last week, I mentioned how humbled and honored I was that my newest script, Saving Charlie Chaplin, had made it onto this year’s The Hit List.

This morning, things got even better when I found out that Chaplin had also made it onto 2016’s The Black List. To make matters even more awesome, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris officially made the announcement on Twitter.

Again, I can’t express how much this means to me, and I’m so thankful for all of the love, encouragement, and support.

Guess I better get started on a new script now, huh?

Learn more about The Black List (and see the entire list) here.

2017 is the year,


The Hit List 2016

Yesterday, The Hit List—an annual ranking of the best spec screenplays of 2016—named my newest script, Saving Charlie Chaplin, as one of the best of 2016. The list is determined by members of the film industry who vote for their favorite script of the past year.

To put it in perspective, 372 scripts were eligible. Of those, 92 made the list. And of those 92 scripts, Saving Charlie Chaplin came in at #14 with 47 votes.

"Saving Charlie Chaplin"

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar with the film industry (or this list), this is a pretty big deal. I’m so honored to be on The Hit List this year, and am super appreciative of everyone who voted for Saving Charlie Chaplin.

Now… let’s sell this thing!

Robert Downey Jr. should reprise the title role,


PS: You can view the entire list, and learn more about The Hit List, here.

We’ve been living in L.A. for a little over six years now.

On the day we arrived—November 4th, 2008, to be exact—we admittedly had very little going for us. KB had just accepted a temporary (three-month) contract gig with Variety. I had just signed with a literary agent (who is now long gone), and there was some interest in adapting The Roberts for the screen (a process that, to this day, is still in development).

Essentially, we moved here on a whim with the idea that if it failed, we could just move back home.

Six years later, KB has moved her way up the ranks at The Hollywood Reporter (after being hired away from Variety in 2010), and I wrote a movie that will be released sometime next year. (No, I still don’t have an exact date yet.)

But our recent L.A. anniversary got me thinking: “If I had a time machine and could go back and tell the 2008 me what to do, what would I tell myself?”

To be honest, my answer to that question is painfully simple:

1. Immediately start writing as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Just because you have people interested in your work and an agent representing that work doesn’t mean shit. Those materials will then become equity because they will be your intellectual property (I.P.) forever, no matter if you sell it the day you finish it or twenty years down the line.

2. Write whatever the fuck you want. If you want to stick to film over TV (or vice versa) or a particular genre (or all genres), awesome. If you want to do the opposite of all that, also awesome. Write whatever you want to read/watch, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Because—

3. —nobody out here knows what the fuck they’re talking about. It’s like that old saying: “Opinions are like assholes… everyone’s smells like shit.”

Never let someone tell you what you should be writing (or, for that matter, how you should be writing) because I promise you they’re almost always wrong. If I’ve learned anything while dabbling in this ridiculous industry, it’s this: NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

And I’m talking about everyone: writers; directors; talent; producers; execs; managers; agents, and even poor, sad-bastard interns who are stuck doing shit work for free/credit. I also admittedly include myself in this equation.

The truth is, there is no math that can be applied to this industry. If there were, everyone would be rich. Instead, we’re all just throwing mountainous piles of shit against the walls and waiting to see what sticks. When it doesn’t stick, you’re to blame because you created an inferior idea. When it does stick, they take the credit because they’re the geniuses who discovered/championed/rallied behind you.

Whatever. They can lay claim to that shit all day long so long as it also pays my goddamn rent.

This train of thought then lead me to another question: “If I could go back and redo the first full year we were out here (in this case, 2009), what would I do?” My answer is this: “I’d write a shitload of screenplays, one right after the other, and build up my I.P. library.”

One of the people I aspire to be like is screenwriter Michael Arndt. Some accounts state that Arndt was a script reader before he hit it big, but the story I heard was that he was an assistant to John Cusack for many years. One day, he realized that if he didn’t do something to change his situation, he’d die John Cusack’s assistant. I’m not sure which of these anecdotes is true (or if either of them are true, for that matter), but the basic premise of both scenarios is this: Arndt had a shit job, realized he was meant for something greater, and then did something to change his situation by working his ass off.

Specifically, he saved up enough cash to quit his job for a year. During that year, he wrote seven screenplays. One of them—the last one, if I’m not mistaken—was a little script called Little Miss Sunshine. Next thing you know, he’s winning an Oscar for it. His next script? Toy Story 3, which landed him another Oscar nomination (though not a win). Since then, Arndt has contributed to the new Star Wars movie, and he also wrote next year’s Pixar release Inside Out.

To be read: This guy committed to his craft, buckled down and wrote a shitload of original material, and then came out the other end of it not as a script reader or John Cusack’s assistant, but as an Oscar-winning screenwriter.

That’s the fucking guy I want to be.

So then I got thinking: Arndt wrote seven scripts in twelve months. The quickest I’ve ever written a screenplay is ten days. I wrote a quiet little dramedy (I really don’t really like that word, but whatever) called America’s Guest in ten days in May 2012… mostly in bars in Cannes… and completely drunk on rosé. To be read: THE ABSOLUTE BEST WAY TO WRITE SCRIPTS.

Anyway, I figured if I could write America’s Guest in ten days, I could easily write another screenplay in 30. And then that got me thinking: “I wonder if I could write a new script from beginning to end for every month in 2015.”

And so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Because, you know, I really should’ve done it back in 2009.

Over the past six years, I’ve (mentally) collected a ton of ideas that are just waiting to be fleshed out, so I went ahead and created a script lineup for next year. Some of these are working titles, but I already have a lot of the logistics of these stories (characters, arcs, anecdotal ridiculousness, etc.) already worked out in my head. That is to say, I may not have anything down on paper just yet for any of these, but my brain is filled with the direction, details, and dialogue of these stories.

And so I officially announce my outline of twelve scripts in twelve months in 2015. Or, as I like to call it:

12 in 12 in ’15

JANUARY: Christmas Is Gonna Be Awkward This Year (Dramedy)

FEBRUARY: Life Sentence (Action)

MARCH: Pop, Rock & Andy (Comedy)

APRIL: Thai Village (Horror)

MAY: Tether (Thriller)

JUNE: The River Otters (Comedy)

JULY: A Reluctant Villain (Animated)

AUGUST: Father (Horror)

SEPTEMBER: Nightbeast (Stage Play/Musical)

OCTOBER: My Fellow Americans… (Comedy)

NOVEMBER: I Did It (Comedy)

DECEMBER: Dick, David & The Ladybug (Comedy)

Obviously, if I finish a script early I won’t wait around for the month to end before I get started on the next one. So, who knows? Maybe I’ll be done before the end of 2015. But I wouldn’t count on it.

I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress as the year flies by (which it will).

Wish me luck,


Old Poop!