It was one of those lunch meetings. Less business and more of a casual catch-up. The producer, a fellow I’ll call Shep, had picked an Italian eatery on Larchmont. For those of you who are not Angelenos, Larchmont is a tony little two-block walk of businesses, restaurants, and coffee bars in historic Hancock Park. Upscale and hip. It was a nice chance for me to get out of the Valley.
Shep was in the middle of telling me a recent story. The best kind. A production tale gone absolutely haywire. This one involved the usual cast of egos clashing with the immovable wall of time and money and an oncoming start date.
“Wait,” he said, suddenly putting the brakes on his anecdote. “This isn’t gonna end up in your fucking blog, is it?”
“You read my blog?” I asked, truly surprised.
“Of course I do,” he answered.
“You signed up for the email alerts?”
“Naw. I just check it out every so often. Catch up on your stuff.”
“Flattered,” I said.
“Seriously,” he repeated. “This isn’t…”
“It’s not exactly blogworthy,” I answered. “Most of what I write usually happened to me.”
“So if I like did something to you that you didn’t like?”
“Might end up a blog,” I said. “But I’d probably change your name.”
We laughed, all the while I’m quietly shocked that he’d take the time to read my posts. That’s mostly because the majority of my readers are certifiably outside the Hollywood bubble and sometimes as far away as Mumbai.
Weird, huh? To find it easier to imagine some stranger reading this in Sun City, South Africa than someone I might actually know, browsing the blog while sitting at his desk in Santa Monica. Perhaps it’s because the blog isn’t written for insiders. I mean, they live this stuff. For them, my blog should play out as just another day in the life. Snore. Best move on to what’s clicking on TMZ.
No. This blog is meant for those outside the candy store, face pressed up against the window, working and longing for a seat at the counter. My rocky voyage is for your entertainment and edification. By consuming, I’m hoping the reader might learn how to navigate his own path. Much like I did so many years ago by reading William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade.
That day on Larchmont. It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked by a colleague if I was going to make him the subject of my blog. More than a few have fired broadsides at me like, “Hey! This better not show up in your blog,” or “Please! Don’t put this on your site!”
“All the better reason to stay on my good side,” I usually joke, knowing that the worry for telling tales out of school is more on me than anyone else. I’m more careful than people think. Yet, all the same, I have a thing for transparency and truth. Information is not so much power as it is so wonderfully illuminating.
This blogging foolishness began four plus years ago. I’d been given (horrible) advice by a throng of publishing and Internet (not) geniuses that I needed to build a social media presence. Oh, they all said. And you must start a weekly blog.
Sure, I replied. Of course, that was before I queried myself with a dumbfounding blog about what?
I knew what kind of time it took for me to bleed out a thousand or so words. And weekly? Sheesh! I couldn’t imagine carving out that much time out of my real writing budget. I needed to something that required less creativity and more experience. Ergo some old stories. My own Hollywood tales. The crap I’ve been involved in and how much of it actually stuck to me.
That’s how the blog was born. And I’m still at it.
Now, if there was ever a nexus betwixt this blog and voracious readers of the flavor of crime fiction I’m peddling, I haven’t yet hit it. Surely—and happily for me—many of you have tasted my LA Noir novels. And I’m forever grateful. But a weekly blog about writing in and around showbiz is hardly the place to build a crime novel readership.
I know. Like duh.
But guess what? Over the course of authoring this blog I’ve discovered another voice. My first, of course, was as a screenwriter. Second, as a novelist. And most recently, as a journeyman word jockey willing to share both his successes and, more often than not, the tragic-slash-comic-unbelievable shortcomings that come with a career in the Hollywood trenches.
And your feedback has been nothing less than inspiring. So if I haven’t expressed my gratitude enough, well, here it is again. Thanks.
Now what? After more than four years and a hundred and eighty or so blogs in the bank, I’ve culled some of my best and most popular posts into a published collection called THE SMOKING GUN–TRUE TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES. It’ll soon be available in both softcover and eBook and will make an outstanding Christmas-Chanukah-Kwanzaa gift for someone you love… or maybe loathe… depending on your perspective or predilection.
More to come, folks. Stay tuned. And don’t forget to wear your steel jockstraps.