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SIEG HELL YEAH!

And that is the big news, folks!

“But what does that mean,” you ask? Well, let me explain.

You may remember that my recent spec script, Saving Charlie Chaplin, made it on the Black List last December. That was a huge honor for me, and I felt humbled just being included on the list.

A few weeks ago, the Black List reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in turning my script into a live event. Uh… yeah? The result of that initial conversation will take place live on stage in Hollywood on June 10th.

Every year, the Black List chooses a handful of scripts from its list and turns them into a live-read event. A live-read is an event where actors are cast in roles, and then, instead of acting out their parts, they do a full read-through of a script in front of an audience. Last year, the Black List produced seven of these events. This year, Saving Charlie Chaplin will be their third event.

What this means, in a practical sense, is that on the evening of June 10th, eight actors and one narrator will take to the stage and read my script out loud to an audience. Since I wrote the script, I will be directing the read/evening.

I also have a say in casting talent, which has been a remarkable journey so far. We already have a couple people cast, but we’ll be officially announcing them as we get closer to June 10th, so be sure to keep checking back for updates.

Trust me when I say this, though: It’s not often that a guy gets to work with both childhood idols and talent he holds in high regard. On June 10th, I will be fortunate enough to do both of those things.

Unfortunately, this event will not be streamed or recorded, so you have to be in Los Angeles to witness this live, one-time event. If you’re able to make it, awesome. If not, I totally understand.

For those of you who are interested, here are the details:

The Black List & Warby Parker
present
Black List Live!

Saving Charlie Chaplin
Written & Directed by Justin Shady

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 @ 8PM
The Montalban Theater
1615 Vine Street, Hollywood

You can reserve your tickets here.

Learn more about the Black List and their live events here, more about the Montalban Theater here, and more about Warby Parker here.

There will be a ton of updates in the next couple weeks—cast announcements, poster reveal, etc.—so be sure to keep checking back.

Until then,

-Shady

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,

-Shady

Old Poop!