Friday, February 02, 2007

You'll laugh if I tell you to laugh.

Yesterday Trainer read my script and didn't like it.

That's not true. He liked it. He said it wasn't funny.

I must have looked obsessive, leaned out over my legs for way too long upstairs in the stretching area, staring at him while he read between sets on the machine he was using, holding my breath.

I'm such a writer. I was staring at the hottest dude in the gym just to see if he was laughing.

But he wasn't laughing.

He said it was a good script and the characters were really interesting and he'd love to see what they get up to next. But it wasn't funny.

We talked about what was missing. First it was the cocaine use. Then it was the sex. But maybe it wasn't the cocaine or the sex. Maybe it was the violence. Maybe it was all three together.

Oh yeah. It's that kind of script.

In the end he couldn't figure exactly what he didn't like, but it was something.

So last night Partner and I sat down and hashed it out and came to the conclusion that it's none of the things Trainer said. In fact, Partner is now concerned because he thinks I took Trainer's ciriticisms to heart too much.

Do I think the script is funny? Hell yeah. I went to sleep last night giggling over the absurd situation my characters created for themselves.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore my notes. I listened to everything Trainer said, and Partner and I discussed his suggestions. We rejected a lot of them but realized that some of the things he said were things we were already thinking. So we tweaked a line here, an action there, and our script is a lot better for it.

And maybe Trainer won't like this version either, and maybe he won't want to play the part I've assigned him. But that's okay because it's LA and I can get another actor. I want Trainer in this role (He is so very pretty and talented - and did I mention pretty?), but I'd rather have someone who's passionate about the script. I want someone who thinks it's funny.

Because it is funny. Oh yes. It is funny.


  1. Yeah, here's the thing about funny: it's nearly impossible to get two people to agree on What Is Funny.

    I love Chris Guest's movies, and you (the general you) hate them.

    I hate the Farrelly Bros. movies, and you love them.

    I love Woody Allen movies, you would rather commit seppuku than watch them.

    Heck, Epic Movie made twenty million dollars last weekend, and that looks like the unfunniest movie ever made (with the possible exception of Date Movie, which also looks like the unfunniest movie ever made) (they're constantly battling it out for the top spot, you see ...)

    One thing you may want to do, if you value Trainer's opinion, is ask what movies he finds funny. If his sense of humor doesn't jibe with yours, well ...

    Another thing may be to get all your actors together and do an informal table reading, just to hear it out loud.

    The smart thing, though, would be to stick with your vision and your voice, cuz if you try to make it funny to everyone, it's funny to no one.


  2. I love Guest's work too. Who in their right mind doesn't love Spinal Tap? Or Best in Show?

    And I don't like the Farrellys either. But I'm not that big on Woody Allen. They're kind of all the same movie.

    In the end Trainer may be too pretty for this role as an all-American average man. It's kind of impossible to disguise those perfect cheekbones.

  3. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Only in L.A. can you give a script to your personal trainer for notes. I can see that happening in New York, Paris or Amsterdam. Right.

    General rule of thumb: the more physically attractive the person, the less they'll probably fall in love with your written genius. So you may just want to disregard his opinion.

    However, how can you be not that big on Woody Allen? He did write and direct the best romantic comedy ever made, Manhattan. Maybe this would fall under the category of no two people agreeing on what's funny.

  4. Anonymous4:32 PM


    Maybe you should pop a hamstring.

    Ask him if he finds *that* funny.

    If he doesn't get it then do him. Knife between ribs four and five, never fails.

  5. I'm officially volunteering my services as a PA when you start production...

  6. Anonymous6:24 AM

    Just be careful. Two things could be happening here:

    1. You trainer is an Idiot: that is a pretty good bet. Anyone who spends six hours a day working out does not have to be too bright.

    2. You Have Fallen in Love with Your Script: it is very easy to think your script is the best thing since sliced bread. My advice is to step back a few days from the project, and then read it again. You can also give it to five of your honest friends. I say honest because most friends will tell you it is great. they don't want to hurt your feelings.

    I have a script in a producers hand right now, and my agent pitched it yesterday afternoon. I think it is the best thing in the world, but that is because I am really attached. I hope it is the best thing in the world, but it is up to the producer now.

  7. Trainer isn't an idiot. He's actually really smart - smarter than me, I think. Don't be hatin' on trainers just 'cuz they're pretty.

    But I think this is just a case of different senses of humor. Believe me, I'm extremely critical of myself.

    Four other people in the industry have read the script and they thought it was funny, so I think it's just Trainer's sense of humor. Oh well.

    And thanks, Claude. I will definitely keep that in mind for when the time comes. As long as you realize I can pay you only in carrots and ranch dressing. Are you ever going to post again?

    Monkeywhale, you frighten me.

  8. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Heh. Me: pale, weak English government employee hiding behind a pseudonym. Your profile suggests that it's you who should be scaring me ...


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