On my way to writing good scripts, I wrote many terrible ones. In my long quest to improve, I found myself at UCLA. There, I spent two quarters with Professor Neil Landau at UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. Not everyone is lucky enough to live within commuting distance of UCLA, but fortunately Neil has written some terrific books. His Screenwriting Roadmap is one of the only books on screenwriting I regularly recommend to writers of all levels.
Neil’s latest book, TV Outside the Box: Trailblazing in the Digital Television Revolution, is focused on TV’s new golden age of on-demand viewing and digital networks. Neil has a knack for distilling information down to very practical, usable points. The book is stuffed full with interviews from actual, current executives and creators. I can’t imagine a more thorough or richer treatment of this subject.
Happily, my interview with Neil is included in this book. It’s from a conversation I had as a guest in his UCLA screenwriting class. It covers my experience bringing Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street to fruition in greater detail than I’ve gone into anywhere before. Even if you have absolutely no interest in me, you should pick up this book — it’s timely, and has a high useful-information-to-page-count ratio.
A while back, maybe even before production began on Gortimer’s final season, and definitely before I cut my hair (how did I ever live like that?), Amazon sent a production crew down to SoCal to make a short video about me. It was part of a series called “Transformations” that features many authors and other various kinds of human beings who have been involved with Amazon in one capacity or another, and whose lives have been changed in the process.
Once you get past the weird feeling of being the center of attention, having a video made about you can be a fun experience. Everyone on the crew was great. Interviewer Cristin Miller has my gratitude for putting me at ease and charming me with her enthusiasm.
Cristin and team spent two days interviewing me and Amazon Studios execs. The crew shot at Amazon Studios’s office and also came to the Dave Cave to film. They’ve also incorporated behind-the-scenes footage into the story. You can make a game out of figuring out which shots are of the cave, and which are of Gortimer’s bedroom set.
The video popped up on YouTube a while back and I assumed it had been abandoned there. It’s been linked on my About page, so you may have seen it but probably not because who reads About Pages anymore. But now there’s a nice new write-up on the Amazon Transformations page. There’s a link on the front page of Amazon.com (yes, I’m bragging) but I’ll save you the bother of hunting for it. Please visit the Amazon Transformations page and enjoy.