This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 151: Greg DePaul Talks About His Screenwriting Comedy Career.
Ashley: Welcome to episode #151 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Screenwriter – Greg DePaul, who wrote, “Savings, Silverman, and Brideworks.” We talk through the early years and how he broke in. And how he’s managed to stay busy as a writer since. So, stay tuned for that.
If you find this episode valuable please help me out by giving me a review in ITunes. Or leaving a comment on YouTube, or retweeting the Podcast on Twitter. Or liking us on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the Podcast and are very much appreciated.
And websites or links that I mention in the Podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with each episode. In case you would rather read the show or look up something else up later-on. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast, and look for episode #151.
If you would like my free guide, “How to Sell Your Screenplay in 5 Weeks?” You can pick that up by going to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free, you just put in your Email address and I’ll send you a new lesson, once a week for 5 weeks. Along with a bunch of free bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. How to write a professional log-line and quarry letter. How to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for new material. It really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay. Just go to – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide.
A quick few words about what I am working this week? Once again, the main thing I’m trying to do is? Get my feature film through Post-Production. And I’ve been working with the editor the last days to try and polish-up the rough cut. It’s a slow process, but it’s been pretty-fun. You know, get along great with the editor. And it really is where the movie is made. I mean, all the script, and all the shooting and everything is really sort of culminates in this moment. So, it’s been a pretty fun experience. It is a lot of hours just sitting there with the editor. I’ll just briefly try to describe the process that we’re going through here. Basically, the editor, after we shot the film in July/August/September, I guess it pushed into October. The editor basically ripped up a rough cut of the film, without a lot of direction from me. He really, just said, he wanted to just take my pass at it? He had the script obviously, he had the footage. And he just looked at the script and the footage and put his ideas together. He kind of just sort of felt like story-telling, telling a story. He might be able to come up with some things that I wouldn’t even think of? So, for the first rough cut, is really his cut of the film. And then for the most part. S o, once I got that rough cut back, then I just went through it scene-by-scene and wrote down my notes and this was like literally 30 or 35 pages of notes on the script. So, now I go to the editors office and we are really sitting there at the computer, going through it scene-by-scene, implementing all of these notes that I’ve written down. I spent about 4 half days doing this. And we are a little bit more than half-way through the entire film. So, I’m hoping another 3 days and we’ll be through this rough cut. And then, once we’re through that, you know, it’ll probably be the same process again. But hopefully, it’ll be less than hopefully my 36 page document or whatever it was?
35 page document, hopefully on this next pass we’ll be 5 pages or something? And we’ll just keep working right, like that until we get it to the point where we feel it’s as good as it can get. And then that will be locked-picture. And then we’ll be bringing in sound, special effects, scoring, music, all of that stuff, color correction, all that stuff once we get the picture locked.
So, the other thing I did last week? Was, I went down to AFM, I talked about AFM on the Podcast numerous times. AFM, stands for, American Film Market. It takes place once a year. I think it’s typically in early November. Which is what it was this year, in Santa Monica. Basically, it is a marketplace for films. And distributors set-up booths. So, the distributors get films for film makers that distributors set-up booths. And then buyers from all around the world will come to Santa Monica. Go to the various booths, and potentially buy movies for the channels that they represent. So, for instance, you know, there might be someone for from some Chinese you know, television station that comes to Santa Monica. Goes through sees what films he thinks his audiences would like. He has probably a certain budget? He probably has relationships with as many as these distributors so they can kind of sit down and talk about what they have and then they buy them. But, the other piece of that all of these distributors are there in one place. And as the festival, marketplace comes to an end, I think it’s a week, or 10 days long. So, the last couple of days things start to slow down. So, distributors are willing to meet with film makers. And potentially talk about them and their films. So, if you have a finished film, or in my case a nearly finished film. You can meet with distributors and start to get a sense of who might be interested in helping you distribute this film? So, one of the actors from the pinch, Braxton Davis, who is also a producer, and he owns, “L.A. Grip.” “L.A. Grip”, is the company that I used for our grip, and I rent equipment on “The Pinch.” He went to AFM with me. And we’re talking potentially working on a project together. So, he suggested going down there and pitching, “The Pinch.” And as a side note, I think this is interesting to note, and to realize. Braxton is not someone that I knew before making, “The Pinch.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just getting out there and doing stuff, Is the best way to meet people. So, Braxton is just someone I met through the process of making “The Pinch.” As I said, he owns, “L.A. Grip.” And that was really the key, one of the keys to getting the pinch off of the ground. We did a co-production with them, so we got insurance through them, and also as I said, the light and grip equipment. I also have a bunch of sets as well. And we shot on their sets for two days as well. And Braxton I understand casting. And he is also a producer and I ended up casting him in the films. So, we got to know each other through that, and through getting to know him. And going through, “The Pinch” anyway, that’s how we started. That’s how we started talking on potentially doing another project together. So, anyways, if you are looking to shooting a film, in L.A. Definitely check out “L.A. Grip.” Their website is literally – www.lagrip.com I’ll leave a link in the show notes. But, tell him you listened to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” And he will give you a great deal. As I said, all types of production stuff he can help you out with. So, anyway, Braxton suggested going down to AMF, and pitching “The Pinch.” But also, one of our main interests is? Trying to talk to distributors, and find out what they are selling? Which you know, in other words is, finding out what we should be producing? So, I Emailed a bunch of distributors and pitched them on, “The Pinch.” But, I really didn’t have much to show them. I did set-up the website for them for, “The Pinch.” I mentioned that on the Podcast. You can check that out, I think it’s literally – www.thepinchfilm.com. I just set-up a website, there’s no real trailer. I have a little teaser-trailer, and a bunch of stills from the production, behind the scenes stuff. So, there’s a little bit of stuff about the movie, but we really didn’t have much to show. And that was a bit of a problem.
As the distributors really wanted to see the film, to know if it’s really something that they can distribute. But just through the website, I was able to send out, through the Emails. And they were able to look at the website. I was able to set-up seven meetings, plus there were a few other companies that just said, hey yeah, just walk in here’s our booth number, come on in any time during these days, and we can talk. So, you know, we probably met with ten companies. And again, just pitching them on the idea of potentially distributing, “The Pinch.” But also asking them a lot of questions? And trying to figure out what is it you are selling? What is it we should be producing. I’m not sure we got really, any type of consensus on any type of what the distributors thought they could sell. But it was one of those. It was interesting to talk to them, and start to see some kind of pattern immerge. And that was the key. There was no “Silver Bullet” or you know, just magic cure. I mean, if the distributors knew precisely what they could sell? Then they would just be producing it themselves. So, you know, there’s always risk. And you can never get a firm answer. But, as I said, there is some patterns that start to immerge. And I’m happy to sort of share that. And I’m going to share some of those things in a moment. But, one of the keys, to this kind of thing is. Like, no matter what I say, what I, you know, if we were to sit here and have a face-to-face conversation. Or anything I mention of the Podcast. There’s a lot of subtle to it. And just actually seeing distributors, and listening to them. There’s sort of some reflection, if you’re listening to me? You’re going to kind of get it second hand. And so, actually seeing a whites of their eyes, and really talking to distributors is a very valuable thing. So again, I would really recommend that people do some of this type of, before they write their script. Do some of this sort of pre-marketing of your material. Or just getting to know producers and distributors and understanding these markets. Because, you can listen to Podcasts, and you can read articles and stuff. But, at the end of the day. There’s a lot of subtlety nuance that’s simply can’t get conveyed without actually talking to them, the distributors. With that said, I will tell you about some of the patterns, “The Pinch” the way I’m pitching it? And you can see the poster is actually behind me. If you go to www.thepinchfilm.com. You will see kind of our basic poster. It has a lot of guns and looks very action’y. And so, the people who are responded to this, I think they were looking, typically kind of looking for action film. Because that’s kind of what I’m pitching. So, there’s a little bit of, you know, if it’s. So, there’s a little bit of bios in what I am about to tell you. Because as I said, the people I met with were people that were potentially interested in “The Pinch.” I’m sort of pitching as an action thriller. So, again, keep that in mind, if you have like a family member comedy? That might be something that there’s distributors out there for. But, those are not the distributors I was meeting with. Because that’s not the film I have. In any event? The distributors I would say, they are across the board almost every distributor we talked to was looking for
low-budget action. I mean, again, that was not surprising. Because, you know, it’s the kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Because that’s the pitch I made to them, was sort of for that. But, definitely be all the distributors seemed excited about the film and low-budget action films. Another things that came up with several distributors were, psychological thrillers. That was something that got, a term that sort of got bounced around quite a lot. So, really, intense psychological thrillers. Maybe even some psychological thrillers with a horror elements. Again, something that I started to hear from a few distributors. We had one distributor tell us about a film maker that they had worked with. Who had literally made a $5000.00 horror film. Which sounded basically like a “Halloween” I don’t even remember even the title of it? I don’t even remember the name of the film maker. But it sounded kinda like a “Halloween” kind of like “Friday the 13th” type of film, with a lot of T & A.
And that, this distributor thought that was just a great angle. They had sold, and been able to sell that film. And as I said, the film maker kept the budget super-super low. So, it seemed like it had been pretty profitable. So, that’s another angle for super micro-budget films. The one thing about getting, and doing something
low-budget horror film. And having, you know, having some nudity, you’re really pushing that
T & A factor up. Is, that can sort of work as the star of your movie. Like a psychological thriller. I think if you were going to go and produce a psychological thriller? You would need to get like. You would need a couple of $100,000.00 because you would need to spend $150, $25,000.00 you would need to spend at least some of that money, a big chunk of that money. Getting like, some pseudo name actor. And we’re not talking Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt here. We’re talking about the Tom Sizemore, you know, the Danny Glover, or those types of actors that are sort of past their prime and doing a lot of these “B” movies. You would need one of those in the psychological thriller. With the low-budget T & A movies, I suspect you can get away without a name talent. Because the nudity and the sexy girls are kind of what you are selling. And they don’t necessarily need to be famous. So, you can probably do that on a super-super-low budget. Which as I said, is sort of a point of what they, this guy seems to have done with this $5000.00 horror film. Anyway, that’s what I’m working on.
I want to take a minute and answer a question that came into me, this past week. It’s one I’ve gotten a number of times. So, I thought it was worth talking about. The question was? What is the difference between a synapsis and treatment? I’ve gotten this question a bunch of times. I answered it in an Email back to the writer. So, I thought I would just basically answer the same thing now. There really isn’t a difference of what a treatment synapsis will look like. In both cases it’s just the story written out without any screenwriting format. So, it’s written just like a novel. Still you know, first person present tense, you know, that kind of thing. But, it’s basically going to be written out without any, you know, dialog or anything like that. It’s going to be the beats of the story. I mean, they can range in length, you know, to a page, up to ten pages,
20 pages, or even more. Now, typically when I’ve heard the term, “Treatment” and when a producer is talking about a treatment. It’s typically a document that’s written before the script, this is common. When, as a screenwriter, you get hired to, hired by a producer to write up a script for them. Whether it be based on an idea that they have, based on a book or something? Or some other literary property belonging to someone else, or some other literary property they have? Typically, that’s how it’s going to be structured. You are going to do a treatment. Probably take two or three or more passes of the treatment. Because the treatment is much more easy to modify than a full-length script. So, the producer wants to make sure that you’re going in the right direction with the story before you actually spend a lot of time writing the script. And this is for everybody’s advantage. It can be a little tedious writing the treatments and passing back and forth. But, in the long run, it’s much better to write it as a treatment and work with the producer to modify the treatment so that everybody’s on the same page. And then you can actually start working on the script once everybody’s signed-on the treatment. This will prevent a lot of problems, because as a screenwriter you don’t want to deliver a script and then the producer says, “This isn’t what I want.” If you have that treatment and then everyone’s agreed that this is the story you’re going to write. And then you don’t want to deviate from that treatment. Now, sometimes things will come up. And you might have to go back to the previous and say, “Listen, I’m thinking about this, or I’m thinking about that. There’s going to be some changes.” But, just in a perfect world, you would write that treatment. And then you would write the script based on the treatment.
And then when you hand the script to the producer there’s no surprises. He should be set-up and happy with that script, and you haven’t wasted a bunch of time, writing scenes writing dialog, writing all this stuff that’s never going to be used. So, that’s kinda how I heard the term, “Treatment.” But, there’s no real like, physical difference of how a synapsis, of how it can you can have a ten-page synapsis and give a one page synapsis. What I particularly do, write. Once I finish a spec. script, I will write a one-page synapsis and I can use it on something like, “Ink-Tip.” I also put it on my Screenwriting website, just that little one page synapsis. But also in many cases. When I’ve pitched a spec. script. to a producer. That producer will then comeback and say, this sounds interesting. Do you have a short treatment or a short synapsis that I can see? Then I have it ready to go, and I can Email them that. And hopefully that’s enough for them to say, “Okay, this sounds good.” Or, “No, it doesn’t.” But hopefully, they’ll say, “Yes, it sounds good.” Send me the whole script. So, sometimes it’s a stepping stone to getting a producer to read this script. But as some other utility to have it ready to go. So, it’s typically what I will do. Is I will write that synapsis, and I will try to keep it to a page, or less. Once I finish a spec. script. And again, keep in mind and I think this is kinda where this question came from was? In this case, I think the producer said, “Do you have a short treatment?” And so, the writer was confused?” Well, do you want a synapsis or do you want treatment. And typically, I’ve heard the word treatment used more for writing a mechanic before the script is written. And maybe a synapsis is written kind of a document written after the script is written. But, the two terms are basically enter-changeable, so if someone asks for a treatment or a synapsis it’s really, not going to change anything you do. You’re just going to give them a sort of summary of the story in a concise a manner as possible. And you know, that’s basically what you are going to do. I wrote a post on synapsis writing, with actual examples of, and I’ll link to that in the show notes. And you can also check out my screenwriting website, it’s literally just – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. And you can see log-lines and synapsis’s for most of my scripts. And you can kind of see how I’ve structured those synapsis. So, most of those are about one page synapsis. If you have a question? Please check-out the SYS frequently asked questions page. Which you can find at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/faq. I just, a lot of the time, people Email me questions that have already been answered on the “faq page.” So, please check that out first at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/faq. If you don’t see your question answered there, feel free to send me an Email and I’ll will hopefully be able to answer your question?
So, now let’s get into the main segment. Today, I’m interviewing screenwriter Greg DePaul, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Greg to the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast” I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Greg: How ya doing?! Thank you so much for having me.
Ashley: So, maybe to start out, you can just give us a little bit of a background on kinda how you got into the entertainment industry? You know, as far back as you want to go. I sometimes find it interesting people, they were that kid who was really running around with the Super-8 film camera. Were you one of those kids, you know, high school, college, kinda bring us up through the early successes in the industry.
Greg: Well, a little bit I guess I was, I really come to it through a writing background. So, I don’t know that I fantasized about making movies. I was always writing. I used to write songs, I used to be in a rock band, I used to write poetry. So, for me, I am kinda like I think. And now that I’m, I’ve been writing a lot more plays as well, as well as screenplays. I think I’m a dramatic writer first and foremost.
Ashley: Okay, okay. So then just talk about maybe that transitions. So, in college did you, were you some sort of writing major? And then, what did you do after college to actually start to become a professional?
Greg: I went to NYU, I was a history major, I did some acting there. Because everybody there was an actor or a dancer except me. So, I decided, I lived on campus for four years. So, I decided, to do some acting. I was in a couple of plays in Greenwich Village, and at NYU, there was my dramatic writing program. And then, after I graduated, and I wrote stuff there. And after I graduated there, I went back to DC, the Maryland area. And I worked for the
“Washington Post” for a couple of years. I was like a news-aid, like a copier in the newsroom. And I got an MFA in “Playwright” at a Catholic University. So, I was writing plays, and songs, and poetry. That was like my main thing, I was like Catholic. I took a screenwriting course by a guy named, “Mark Stein” who wrote a movie with Goldie Hawn. I mean, it was like in the early ‘90’s and Steve Martin called that, “House Sitter.” And I was like, “Oh, maybe I can do this for living?” I packed up all my stuff, in my car and went to L.A. basically.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. And then so, you drive into L.A. what are some of your first steps, to actually okay. Now you’re here, you get an apartment, maybe find a, some sort of temp. job, maybe talk about that, a little bit? I get a lot of people that are getting ready to make that transition. So, even if you have some just tips about where you looked for apartments? Where you found, as far as tips and tricks about getting established in L.A. and what kinds of jobs you were able to get.
Greg: Do you want my Westside Rentals password, from years ago?
Greg: Save $100.00, That’s exactly what you’re talking about. That’s exactly what I did. I’ve talked to people the day I moved to L.A. It’s weird because now I live back on the East Coast. But, I was out there a dozen years. I went out there in the late ‘90’s. Basically, or ’97 I think, or ’96? Basically, I had very few contacts. And I went out there, and I found a place to live. I actually had an Uncle who lived out there for a while. He used to be a comedian, but he was not in the industry per say, he was a stand-up comic. I had a place to live, like a couple of months with him. And then I found a place to live in Hollywood. Because of a connection back East, for a guy that needed a house-sitter. And while I was there, I got job. I went everywhere looking for a day job. I got a job at the Hollywood Creative Director, you know that book?
Ashley: Absolutely, yeah, yeah.
Greg: This guy Alex Horbeck, who, himself is a screenwriter, and film maker, that was his
Cash-cow. And he did very well with it, those books. It was just before the internet hit, they had those. Now you can get it online. It had all the industry referential information. So, I worked there, and I was Todd A. Studios, in Santa Monica. Because that’s where the
Hollywood Creative Director was based. So, I got to run into directors, and film makers and stuff, just working there, and the writers. And it was just through that guy Alex that I got into something called, “The Writers and Actors Lab.” Which was, it’s still meets, I haven’t been there in a while, in a long time. But they, for me on Monday nights, at a theater in Hollywood. And they were reading each other’s scripts. Actors and writers, every Monday night. You pay a small dues, to be in this crappy little old theater. And there was some great writers in the group:
Jim Uhls, who wrote the screenplay for “Fight Club” was in it. Blake Harron, whom I think wrote, “Bourne Ultimatum”, or “Bourne Identity” or one of those. There were a whole bunch of people who were working. And so, I got to write my comedy in that group. And because they needed material. Because the actors had to keep reading stuff, so they could be busy, and people thought I was funny. And that’s what got me my first on-screen appearance.
Ashley: Okay, okay. So, now let’s talk about some of your first professional successes. And we talked about this being the Email, when we first started corresponding. I sold a script in, I guess it was ’98, “Dish Dogs” and I think it was the same producer.
Greg: Oh yeah, right.
Ashley: Yeah, he produced, “Killer Bud.” But, I think she found that in the back of the trades, literally. They put an ad in the back of the “Hollywood Reporter” saying, we’re a production company looking for scripts. I sent my script in. They read it, they liked, and they ended up making it. But I’m curious to hear kind of how your foray into that? Now I was doing this on a real, on a really like, I was submitting a ton of scripts at that time. So, I’d be curious to hear your side of the story? And how you got in touch with those same guys.
Greg: You know, it was funny. You left us in the same place. What I didn’t mention from there.
Ashley: And I’m actually from Maryland as well. And I came out here in ’94. And I’m from Annapolis Maryland as well. So,
Greg: Oh, cool.
Greg: So, we came out almost simultaneous, yeah, that’s certainly interesting. I grew-up in College Park. So, what happened was, I started working in that writers and actors group bad. I wanted to write sit-coms. I was bringing in sit-com specs. for old shows from the ‘90’s. Like, “Friends” and “Fraser” “Men Behaving Badly” and all this stuff. And people thought it was funny, and I met with another guy named, “Hank Pelican” who was younger than me. He had just graduated from USC film school. And he already had a manager. And he was a very good film, talented director as well. And he got approached, we became friends. Right about that point, he got approached by CAA. Because they knew about him from USC Film School. Because every year in those days. They made an in-house kind of comedy video about with their own talent, and their own agents. And they gave him like $3000.00 or $4000.00 and he said, “Gee, I don’t want to write this by myself. Hey, Greg, can you write it with me?” And then Hank will go out and shoot it. And so, I said, “Sure.” And we stayed up all night and 3 or 4 weeks and a little bit of money. And we wrote this script, which was supposed to make fun of
“Jerry McGuire.” Remember, “Jerry McGuire?”
Ashley: Sure, sure.
Greg: CAA totally, packaged that, they represented Cruise and Crowe and all that. And I think maybe Zelwiger, and all these people. We called our script “Jerry Suginaw.” And they said, “Fine, well make this video.” And they gave us a crew and we shot with Matt Damon and people, and Jeffrey Rush, and Ellen Barkin, and Demi Moore. And it was all because Hank knew these people at CAA, and trusted him. And nobody’s ever seen that video, it’s like banned. But it was played at their agent’s retreat. Love was in it, all their agents were in it, it was ludicrous. And so, that, we did that. And people knew about us in town, and we got around from that. Even though, we couldn’t show the video. We were able to get meetings. We were go into the meetings, and they would say, “But y ou don’t have a script.” So, we said, “Let’s write a script.” And so, we wrote a script called, “Killer Bud” because in our meetings, everybody was saying, you need a pot comedy, we want more pot comedies, and sex comedies. This is what we are waiting for, reprisals. So, we wrote a script. Two guys, so this is how we get to your thing. We wrote a script about two guys who break into a convenience store, and they get trapped on the inside. And they are in there the whole second act. That way it’s cheap to shoot. And it was a great idea. And the movie didn’t turn out very well, because they didn’t direct it very well. But, it was the funniest script I ever part of writing and meeting. Hank and I had a great time writing it. And it was the leanest, most muscle. I mean, there was not one word on that script that didn’t need to be there. And so, it was really for what it was a “Cheech & Chong” type of movie. It was probably the best thing that I’ve ever been a part of writing. And me and Hank put it together. And we gave it to our manager. And he didn’t know what to do with it. And we gave it, and somehow we got it to this agent named, John Clain. And Clain loved it, and he called us up, in the middle of an acupuncture session. And said, “I got to represent you guys!” In the mean time, we had quit our day jobs. I had quit the Creative Directory. And we were just in our crappy little Westside Apartments, like in Palms, or you know, I was in on Bundy, you know. And we were just writing ten, twelve hours a day, our jobs. Living off of, on canned clams from, you know, Shop Rider, Von’s or whatever it was? So the long, short of it was? We got this call from
John Clain, he wants to meet with you right now. We have a meeting with him. And he says, “He must represent you. I’m going to sell your script. I’m going to sell your pitches.” And he gives us this whole classic, “I luv ya.” Rep. you’re next, and you’re the comedy next Wright’s Brothers or whatever it was? And to keep us on-board, you know, also so we would get rid of our manager. He didn’t get along with at the time. Because it was like a competition for us. So, it was like, “I’ll sell “Killer Bud” somehow?” And then he calls us up in a week later, and says, “I got this low-budget production company what’s it called? Seven Point Ratios, three point two, something like that?” He’s like, they want to do it! They’ll pay you four grand $4000.00 or something? And we’re like, we’ll take it, we’ll take it!! And so that’s how we got sold to them. And we split it, and I think, you know, after taxes, we still have $1500.00 of it in our pocket.
Then after taxes, and oh man, and the agent, and what the hell ever lawyer? And so that’s how that got it, and was doing it along with your thing, which was “Disc Dogs.”
Ashley: Yeah, yeah.
Greg: So, it was like a little cash money sale. Within like, a couple of weeks of that. He said, “You got to go out, he put the script out. And people thought it was funny but, no one wanted to buy it because it had pot in it. And it was kind of, it had some gore in it, and it was really
off-the-wall, kind of R Rated. And so, and that got us these meetings in Hollywood with producers. Those producers said, come in and pitch us. And we pitched all kinds of crazy shit. And we went in New Line, we pitched what’s his name? Richard Brenner. We pitched him, at New Line, this new idea called, “Wrecked.” And imagine it’s like 1998-1999? So, “Clueless” is still a recent movie, and people still remembered the movie, “Alive.” You remember, they were on the airplane. So, we pitched this movie “Wrecked.” It was about a group of Beverly Hills High School students, who are on their way to a ski weekend at Veil. And their plane crashes in the Rocky Mountains. And now, it’s “Clueless”, meets “Alive.” So, they’re like eating their football coach out in the woods, you know it’s like that. It’s totally Ludacris, totally Ludacris. And Brenner thought it was funny, and New Line bought it. I think they paid us $75 again, $150. So, now we had this low-budget movie getting shot. And this other pitch, we never got made at New Line. They were paying us to write $75 grand so we could at least afford A. a car. I was going around L.A. with no car, and no health insurance. And we were on our way, even though they sold like a month apart from each other Clain worked it out so, when a friend of his at
“The Hollywood Reporter” wrote the article, it was. The article said we sold both in the same day, to make it sound sexy.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Greg: So, we could get an article out of it. And then that got us into more rooms. Because people read the trades.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay so let’s keep going with this story. So, then you got “Wrecked.” Which wasn’t sold.
Ashley: In development. And then what was, Clain able to get you something set-up with more meetings? Where did say, Sade Silverman, come from?
Greg: We got more meetings. We were total pitch machines. We pitched everywhere, we stayed up all night, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch. While we’re try to write “Wrecked.” And, I think Silverman, might have had the next thing we sold. We had a meeting with Matt Deerman, who was at, there was a roadshow working with a guy named Burnie Goldman. Who’s, I don’t know where he is? He made “Running Bill’s Road Show.” And so we pitched, we came up with this idea, “Saving Silverman” because we were at a friend’s engagement party, I’ll never say who! But, we thought he should not marry this woman. This woman is a terrible whore, human being, she’s an ice queen. And he’s such a sweet nice guy.
And so, wouldn’t it be funny, as me and Hank thought, drunk off our butts. Wouldn’t it be funny if we kidnapped him to Mexico or something? And he couldn’t marry her. And suddenly met the right girl? So, in the beginning it was about you know, kidnapping him and putting him in the trunk of a car. And kept changing, and so, we got that as our one liner, two liner ideas. And we kept pitching that to all the places that Clain got us meetings. People thought it was funny and the reason they thought it was funny? Was because they could relate to it. They were like, oh we have a friend who’s marrying some woman or some guy they thought or feel they don’t like, bla, bla, bla, bla. So, the young executive is related to it. The young marriage age. 20’s, 30’s executive is related to it. And so, it went to different producers out, Mark Gordon, wanted it. So, he had it at a certain, you know, you don’t have to pitch the same producers with every single territory. So, we had Mark Gordon’s people wanted it. And they took it to a couple of territories, including what’s her name at Paramount, who’s still there. I can’t remember, the President of Production. And then we had Neil Maritz, and his guy Brad Luff, and they heard it. And they wanted it for other territories. There may have even been a third producer? We were pitching it with different producers at different territories, in the same, like, couple of weeks. And the one that bought it, was, no, I take it, the one that bought it was “Village Road Show.” And then, they said, “We’ll make it with Neil Ritz, attached to produce, and Brad Luff. And then they basically said, “A, basically start writing.” We were working on it for, you know, off and on for virtual notes until they called us up on day and said, “Columbia” likes it. So now, Sony/Columbia is going to co-produce it with us and get us Dugan is on-board to direct. And then as Dugan starts showing up at our house. He’s the guy who directed, “A Millionaire” movies. And Dugan started showing up at my crappy little duplex in Beverly Edge, and writing with us, or telling us what to write. And then he came up with this idea, after many, many drafts. And we kept getting paid, of course you want to get paid, right? He came up with this idea that was totally ludicrous. Which was, guys, I’ve got it! I’ve got it! We’re going to put Neil Diamond in this movie. And me and Hank are like, are you crazy?! How does that make any sense at all? He’s like, 7000 years old? Sweet guy, but he wasn’t a favorite of mine, I never listened to him. And Dennis liked Neil Diamond. He said, “You got to put him in this movie!” Because we had used, we had used, who’s the guy who writes, “White Wedding?”
Ashley: Oh, Billy Idol.
Greg: We had put Billy Idol in, and I couldn’t stand that. And that worked. We were like, okay. And then, at that point, even if you don’t agree with it, you know, your choice is? We write it the way the director wants it or be kicked-off the film. So, we got to writing Neil Diamond into our script, and hoping he would never do the movie. And what happened was, Dennis was like, this is great guys, I love it, this is great! I’ve got a meeting with Neil, at the polo lounge, or whatever, next week. I’m going to talk this up, and we going to get him on-board. We were like, god we hope Neil Diamond doesn’t come on this movie. And then he came back after. Is it okay to tell you this?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Greg: Because, I it’s great.
Ashley: No, go ahead this is interesting stuff!
Greg: Nobody cares now, I mean, I was lying about this for years. Because people would ask me? Oh, I love Neil Diamond. It didn’t matter whether I loved him or not? I just didn’t want him in the movie. So, then Dennis came back, and he was like, “Guys!!” In my little apartment. He was paying for all the sushi every night, when he showed up. And he’s like, “Guys!” And he says, “Guys, Neil’s not going to do the movie.” And we were like secretly, Thank God! And then, he was like, boys you guys need to write him a personal letter to get him to do the movie. So now, I’m like, oh my fucking god, I’ve got to, so it’s all right. So, we’ve got to sit down and write this letter. First we had to listen to Neil Diamond. Neither one of us knew much about him? And we were too young. Now we had to listen to this movie, his music. We rented and bought his CD’s. We write this letter, please, this guy takes this whole idea of what this movie’s about. It wasn’t, but we had to beg him. And then Dennis had another lunch with Neil I think? And brought him the letter, and Neil said, “Fine, I’ll do it!” And that’s how we stayed on the movie by selling out every possible direction we could sell out. I mean, it was like, you know, I don’t know, there was no part of my vertebrae that had not been bent over at that point. I liked Dennis, I wanted to work with him. He was so much fun, he’s a really, fun guy. And I love Hank. So, we all just wanted to be on-board. So, then it was like, great, we’re doing a movie with Neil Diamond, and here’s this cast. There’s going to be J.J. Biggs and there’s going to be all these people, and Jack Black. And you’re going to fly to Vancouver, for the entire summer for the entire shooting of the movie. And who doesn’t want to fly to Vancouver for a whole summer? We did! And we were up there while they made the movie, and we were on set. And we were wearing the cool headphones. And we had the funny director’s chairs. I still can’t find mine, I know I’ve got it here someplace, with Greg DePaul on the back. We did all that. And we watched them make this movie. And I knew when they were making it, that it would fail. Because it just wasn’t working. And no matter how hard we try, it was hard justifying putting Neil Diamond into the script. So we re-wrote, and we re-wrote, and we re-wrote. And then one day, I came up with the answer. We got to make Dennis happy. And again, I love Dennis, he’s so cool! He’s the coolest guy. Which was, I had been in a rock and roll bands in my 20’s. And friends of mine had been in cover bands. So, I thought, the way we’ll justify it? We’ll say the guys in Sam Silverman are in a cover band, a Neil Diamond cover band. Get it? And then he’ll show up and satisfy them. And then at the end. I didn’t know, that when I came up with that idea with Hank, Hank didn’t know that actual Neil Diamond cover bands actually exist? We just thought, wouldn’t it be funny in a movie? So, we wrote it in, Diamond liked it, Dugan liked it, all the pre-people liked it. I’m not, I don’t think Neil was over excited, it didn’t matter. And they flew him out there, and started scenes, and it was what it was, it was still funny stuff. I got to meet these great stars, Amanda Pete, Amanda Detmer. Yeah, Neil Diamond was a wonderful guy. He flew us around in his private jet.
Greg: Yeah, his private jet, you know, I mean, I would have tongue kissed him if they had asked me to. That never came out in conversation. And it sort of was, the movie and we were there for everything. We got to improvise stuff with the actors on-set. And it was pretty much what you think.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a great story and I think it’ll be fascinating for a lot of screenwriters to hear how some of those things get worked into it. So, let’s talk about your pitching, just for a minute. You’re out there pitching these things. You seem to have a good sense of like say Silverman, that this would be something that would appeal to these executives in their 20’s and 30’s. Maybe take us through that process a little bit. Was it intuitive were you guys coming up with a hundred ideas. And then just narrowing it down, or was it just?
Ashley: A, maybe just take us through that process of how you actually came up with an idea, say like, “Silverman.” Which as you pitch it to me, I can totally see what you’re getting at. The original is fresh, and the people you are pitching it to would totally get it. So, maybe just take us through that process of how you come up with a pitch that works?
Greg: Well, at that time, I was working with a partner outside. It was a lot easier to come up with ideas with the two of you, than one. Because I’ve sold scripts both ways. And it was
pretty-lonely after working with a partner to be so involved, let me tell ya. At that time, we were sitting down reviewing, writing specs. Or we were trying to satisfy. You’re going to meetings and they say, what do you have? So, yeah, a lot of it was, like you said, a hundred ideas. One of us sitting in a white page. And one of us walking, or sitting by a white screen. One of us walking back and forth going, “I don’t know, dogs, pigs, I don’t know.” And then there were another game we used to play, that I talk about in my book, “Bring my Funny.” Which was, we would play “X meets Y.” Which is how you get “Wrecked” which was “Clueless” meets “Alive.” Like the most improbable. You know, because we are all comedy. So, it was the most improbable cast for where the movie is. You know, we were always saying, things would be
“Saving Private Ryan.” You know what I mean? What if, you know, “Fried Green Tomatoes” was on the beach in “Saving Private Ryan?” How would those old ladies deal with that? You know what I mean? So, you’re constantly throwing out those. You’re constantly throwing out two movies that don’t work at all, to see if it’s a funny result? And so, we were doing that, like, you know, ten, twelve hours a day. While just eating take out sushi, and drinking coffee, and going out of our minds. And so, that was the brainstorming. And then we were going into meetings with a short list of 3, 4, or 5 ideas maybe. And they were only 4-5 sentences long. And then hitting them with these executives. Who were, at that time, I was younger and these executives that were young and wanted to hang with us. Because they thought we were funny and interesting. And especially when you got a movie in production before it comes out. Some of these people know you, that it’s going to get made. And then while it’s in production getting made, before it bombs, as high as it can be. In terms of their radar. You can call up and say, “I want to come in and just, you know, take a crap on their desk.” And they’re like, “How quickly can you get here?” Creative Directors and Producers are just like anarchy people in the movie, in rock and roll, the way it used to be in the ‘70’s to the ‘90’s. Where by you got some producer, some rock producer, or some rock record executive in his ‘50’s. And he has some kid in his ‘20’s. And he’s going to all the bands and meeting with them and seeing what’s hot, and gauging talent. Creative Directors are listening to every writer’s ideas. So, that they can report back to the boss. So, we just wanted to be there, doing that, and we did. And seeing we were one of them. And kept getting traction with them. So, when we got traction, we followed-up and filled out.
Ashley: Yeah. And did you have some other ideas that you felt were really good that for whatever reason didn’t get traction? And I kinda ask that, just as sort of a barometer. You have a good barometer, like when this idea came up, you guys said, “You know what? We know this is going to be good.” Or you had a bunch of other ideas that you felt were as good but didn’t seem to get as much traction. A lot of our ideas, it’s like 99% were pure trash! I mean, horrendous!! And there were ideas we loved, that didn’t get traction. There is no point in pitching something that’s executed dependent. I mean, I think that, maybe “Killer Bud” may have been the best script we wrote. It was so silly, and so, for a very low concept, execution dependent, just a hook getting trapped in the building. I mean, we wrote the crap out of it. But, if I had to pitch it, it would be terrible. We pitched this idea. We were pitching things. We pitched something to the president of, “Village Road Show.” After we had, “Silverman” going, it was in the can. And it was about two guys who were going to kill themselves at the very same time. They made a
Death-pact, a suicide-pact. Like two anxed ridden teenagers. So, kinda like, “Heathers.” They make a suicide-pact, it’s like, you and me and the one guy pulls the trigger, the other guy with at the last minute doesn’t do it. And he gets frightened, and so, one guy doesn’t pull the trigger, and one guy does. And basically what happens. And so, the movie starts, that’s like the first scene in the movie. The movie is, it starts on page three. The story starts when they guy who didn’t, the guy who got winged, who barely survives it. And wakes up with like, half a head, or you know, half a brain. And realizes his buddy never died. And so, angry, he’s got to go back and punish like. You didn’t pull the trigger, okay, it’s just crazy stupid, dark, suicide oriented idea. We were pitching that, we pitched that to the president of production for a major studio. And we pitched an idea called, “Fruckers, guys who are friends for hire,” or friend whores, or friend hookers. I Fruckers, and we pitched that to people. And they were like, that is funny, does that really happen? Do teenagers do that? So, we would pitch anything. The whole goal, was actually to make you laugh. Because you buy yourself more oxygen, more air time when you make a producer laugh. If you come in with four ideas that can’t be done? And some producer laughs his ass off?! Then she’s likely to have you back because you made her day. So, we were like performers, snapping it, and really enjoying it, enjoying ourselves. And we would pitch anything, no matter how ludicrous. And so, there was a million things that were very broad, very over the top that we pitched that got turned down. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, you can’t do that, you know what I mean? They would always invite us back. If you’re getting invited back, then you’re a fixture on their wall. Like that poster behind your head. And sooner or later, you know, if you’re in their house and their buddy. Then they want you to work with them.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, I want to just. I think, “Saving Silverman” and “Killer Bud” are good examples and I always just like to bring this up with screenwriters. It sounds like you were disappointed in the results of those movies. And I’m just curious, and I’ll spare you the details, my own experiences. Which were probably equally too painful. But, I’m just curious to hear how you deal with some of those things. You know, the expectations of a lot of new writers is? Oh, I’m going to sit on the beach and write my ideas and see them up on the silver screen. And that really is not ever going to happen for most people. Even if you have a successful screenwriting career. There’s just going to be, like the Neil Diamond story. That is, like, people think that’s a weird, wild story. But that happens all the time, that’s the norm. That’s not the “A” typical thing. Like, not having to deal with those types of things is “A” typical. So, how do you deal with sort of these managing is my field. And the disappointment and like, we all come into this as artists and creative people. But, how do you say it?
Greg: I had to tell you, and I am also a playwright. And I, and since I’m not really, indie film guy, who’s had a lot of stuff done independently, other than, “Killer Bud.” And I’m not an Art Film House guy, in terms of what I write. The way I protect my ego, and my emotions is, if I have a really, sensitive meaningful story. Or something that’s really, hugely of emotional impact, for me personally? It’s about my mom, it’s about my dad, whatever it is, it’s related to something really serious, like I don’t write a movie. I don’t put that out, I don’t write a script. Because, that’s, I write a play, because the writer always has control. But if it’s something I think is funny, and could be fun to work on? That I can make money on? Then it’s a screenplay. For me there’s like that black and white definition. Not a lot of me to protect my insides. And I say this all the time. And as I think I told you? I’m also aware, and I know this, people forget or don’t know this? Screenwriters are pretty much the only creative fiction writers that sell their copyright, out right. The only ones that truly hold more. We sign this certificate of authorship. Which means, Warner Bros. is the author of my movie. And in every conceivable way I am not. It’s theirs, they thought it up. They have effectively dreamed it up. There is noting that I retain, in terms of rights, what so ever. So, poets don’t do that, novelist don’t do that. So, my thing is, if I am going to whore, I’m not going to totally whore my heart out. Do you know what I mean? I have to do that, I have to hold back a little bit. I don’t know what to say to somebody who is writing the screenplay of their dreams. And it can only be made the way they want it. And I say, you got to make it! Because otherwise, it’s somebody else’s profit. You know what I mean? And the only thing the writers go and do is, protect your credit. But, not actual use of them, they can’t protect the words.
Ashley: And so, how do you deal with those notes that you just think are ridiculous? I had another screenwriter, on and he made the point once. And this is a prime example. Where he was watching one of his movies get made. And he could tell, some of the jokes he had written. The director didn’t even realize they were jokes. And you know, there are moments like that. That are difficult to navigate. They take, you know, inter-personal relationships. Taking notes like the Neil Diamond one. That you feel are absolutely, ridiculous. How do you navigate that? And again, it’s not only just ego. It’s just, this is a crazy idea, and how do you navigate that? Work with those other people, I mean? And not get yourself, I mean, Black-listed, black-balled and that’d be the end of it, history, by offending everyone.
Greg: Right, well, I mean, The answer is, you’ve got to be a good performer. You got to, you know, keep your inner-dialog, inner. Because writers don’t have the leverage in movies that they have the leverage in some, in often in television, to get boisterous and to get tough. So, you just got to be, I mean, actors go through horrendous auditions and directors are mean to them. And they deal with it, so, I try to look at it the way actors look at it. Like my core still has to be strong. And at the end of the day, movies are about having fun. I’m not writing,
“Shindler’s List.” You know, I would feel like, differently if I was. And the other thing you can do is, where’s my thing? You get really upset, and you’re like this, you’re like I’m going to finish this role right now!! And that’s when it helps to have a partner who like takes the weapon away, you know. But, that’s what I think about that.
Ashley: Okay, so let’s talk about “Bride Wars” briefly, that’s another one of your credits. Maybe even just briefly bridge that gap between “Saving Silverman” and “Bride Wars.”
Will you continue to sell scripts? Were you getting more into playwriting? And how did “Bride Wars” come about? That was one you did not write, with your former writing partner, on
“Saving Silverman” correct?
Greg: That’s true, that’s true. I had broken up with Hank, stopped writing together. We’re still really good friends. I tell the truth is, I broke-up with him, so I could get married. This guy was like, in my, like sitting next to me for a zillion, 27 hours a day. I was never going to find a wife. And I was getting old. I was older than him. So, we stopped writing together. Just like,
“Saving Silverman” came. My real wife. That me and Hank twisted into a movie idea. All my ideas come from real life. Whether it’s a play or a screenplay or whatever? I had just gotten married, just gotten engaged to my wife. And it happened to be, her sister. Who was like a year younger, who was already engaged to a guy, back in New Jersey. And so, now the parents. Her parents are going to have to fit the bill and had, had two weddings in the same year. Just seemed kind of cruel to them? And Divora, my wife, she was like, why don’t we have a double wedding? Right, so it would be like, me, the other guy, and the two sisters. And we’ll do it all at once, and it’ll be easier for her parents. And I’m like, that’s great! Because I didn’t want to plan a wedding anyways, I just wanted to get hitched. And so, for a while, I was going to be a part of a double wedding. And the long short of it is? The other girl, the other sister, ended up breaking up. But for a long time we were engaged and we were going to be in a double wedding. And when my wife and her sisters started planning things, they had different tastes. And I thought, now isn’t this funny, now that they are arguing over the planning of the wedding. And then I thought, oh, that’s an idea. But, it got morphed into two best friends with separate weddings on the same day, some-how? But, it came from that real life thing. Do you see what I’m saying? And then, at that time, Divorna and I were living together, we were engaged, and I was like spending 10 hours a day as a solo-writer. Having put up my own spec. script, as a heist comedy called, “Fur Crazy.” And people liked that, and I had a different agent. And people, different manager, and people were like. And my manager was like, we got to come up with a different, some pitches. And I was pitching a lot of different stuff around town as a solo-writer, all comedy. Based on a news spec. I bout with, this maybe like 20 or 24. And I came up with, “Bride Wars” and I think I pitched it to my manager first. And some other producers. And they basically made a deal and got me in a room with Kate Hudson. And after MiraMax had already said, “No.” And most of the other studios had already passed. I pitched it to Kate and she, liked it a lot. And it was like I spent about 45 minutes with her in a room, and I pitched it to her. She gave me notes. And I started working on these. And while I was off working on them. They called and said, “MiraMax, they want it.” And they made a pre-emptive bid, and that’s how they bought it.
Ashley: It hadn’t even been written yet? You just had the pitch. And then you wrote it after the fact?
Greg: Yeah. I would never pitch something that I had already written. Two things that do not work together, like, if you’re working writer in Hollywood? There’s two ways to make money. From a screenplay, feature point of view. Which is, I mean, I feel very strict about this. I feel differently, which is, I wrote a spec. script, we didn’t buy it. Or I’m pitching this so you’ll pay me to write it. So, yeah, I have not written. The pitch, which had got, by the time I sold it, maybe 2 or 3 single pages of verbal script, that I would literally had said.
I don’t memorize my pitches. Because I really think that’s crazy. You’re not an actor, you’re a writer. I would walk in, I was literally, pitching. And I had literally been doing it recently. When I’m pitching, I’m walking in with a clip-board. I don’t care how tacky it looks. And I want the clip-board, and I know my story almost by heart. But, if I don’t, in fact I, when I did the Kate Hudson pitch, I screwed-up and I got it wrong. I made some mistake and I was blown. Because I was embarrassed, to be performing for Kate Hudson, about 3ft. away from her. And she was like, it’s okay, you can start over. She was so nice. She was so nice, and I did, I started back from the beginning, and she tolerated it. So, pitching for me was, clip-boards, and a lot of practice. And when the producer gives you notes? You literally pick-up your clip-board and go, “Oh, that’s brilliant.” And here’s what you never say! Here’s where writers make a mistake, they insult producers. So, let’s say, you had to think twice whether you gonna have dog in the movie or not, or whatever? And you probably decide to write the dog out, out of the pitch. There’s no dog. You pitch it, and Kate Hudson says, or Mark Gordon says, “You should put a dog in that.” You don’t go, “Oh, I had one, and then I took it out.” Put it in! You go, “Oh, my God, that is so, a dog!! A dog! A dog! I’ll put a dog in, oh thank you!! Thank you Mark, Thank you.” That’s the way it works. You’re always giving them, you know, I would say, something dirty, a this is a family station. You’re always giving them a back rub. You’re always telling them, they are the greatest thing in the world. There is no possible way people could that you are pitching to one to be truly collaborative with. The sooner you figure that out the better off you are. So, you’re shamming them, trying to sell, however you need to sell.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Good tip. So, let’s talk about your book, “Bring the Funny” maybe you can just talk about that a little bit. What it’s about and who it’s for?
Greg: Yeah, it’s our book, “Bring the Funny” and it has a back cover too. And there’s pages in the middle. And it’s really good if you see a mosquito, bring the funny, oops backwards. It is the essential companion for the comedy screenwriter, it just came out. It’s only been out for a couple of months I guess, on Amazon and all that. And what’s it for? It’s for anybody who’s working on comedy screenplays. It’s also fine if you’re writing sit-coms. Because I mean, I give you the most practical methods. There’s not one bit of theory in it. I tell you how to break down the scripts that work for TV. I use them teaching feature classes at Teacher/Writer Comedy Class, I teach at NYU. I also teach at the new school in Manhattan I teach sit-com. I teach and use the same methods really. And I teach you how to, I show you how to break down any script. I mean, my big belief is, if you want to become a screenwriter? You got to read scripts. It’s good to watch movies. But, you need to get paper scripts and lay them out, and read them on paper. So, you see what you are actually going to do. And I show you how to break it down, and when you are breaking it down. In my methods, you are actually starting to train yourself how to write better. It’s like, it’s more like coaching. It’s like I’m a coach, because I also coach sports. Everything is like a method meant to make you better with what you’re doing. So, my diagram, I learned this from a guy named, Mark Stein, that guy I told you about earlier. My diagrams are all about, you know, you take this movie, and do train wreck. In fact I use, oh, by the way?
“Bring the Funny” it’s all 21st Century. I don’t talk about anything, any scripts before 2000. It’s all 2002, you know 2016. And so, if you take, like, I take “Train Wreck” and I break it down. And I make a sentence out of every major scene or set-piece. And the sentence, I capitalize the action. And so, it will say, it’ll say, Eh, actually destroys Bill’s house.” And “Destroys” (DESTROYS) will all be in caps. And that will be my assessment of a two page scene, right? Why do I put it in caps? Because every screenwriter I have ever met, does have enough action in their story. And the more you are forced to inspire, to capitalize the action. And the more, when you go to write, you got to remember to put everything in action. So, I had methods like that are about deconstructing other people’s scripts that had been significantly successful. And then I focus heavily on scene writing. On how to make your scenes funny. And I assume you know, Blake Schneider, and you know, interest field. So, I assume you know about the “3X Structure?” So, dwell on that. I dwell on how to make stuff funny and practical ways to do it.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. And you had mentioned before the interview, you’re doing a workshop on November 19th at 2:00p.m. at the Writer’s Store in Burbank. So, maybe tell us a little about that, and how people can hook-up with that?
Greg: Well, in case, I think I heard you say? November 19th, I think I heard November 19th at or in Burbank, Burbank, it’s The Writer’s Store.
Ashley: You’re going to make sure this is actually published before the 19th.
Greg: No, it is, definitely.
Ashley: Especially not. Now that I’m looking at my calendar. This is going to be published on the 21st.
Greg: Okay so, we’ll probably be talking to millions of people who have already been there. Millions of Americans have already been to that event, okay.
Ashley: But, just in general, do you do those types of things often? Those types of workshops?
Greg: Yeah. I do, I do. I did one at NYU Bookstore, a couple of weeks ago. Because that was really cool because I was with a guy named, Joe Toplin, who wrote for Jay Leno, and
David Letterman, and all those people. And so, his book is all about late-night comedy writing. And we did a duel event, that was in Manhattan. I go to conferences sometimes. I was at the Austin Film Festival, and I spoke on some panels there about writing. So, I do a lot, I try to get around, especially if I’m in the New York area. Because I live on the East Coast now.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, perfect, perfect. So, I just like to always just wrap up the interviews by asking you, asking the guest. If they are on Twitter, Facebook, they can share those handles, and on InstaGram, and this will be a great thing as you do. New courses, in the future. It would be a great way for people to find out about that? So, are you on Twitter or Facebook? Anything you feel comfortable sharing. We will publish that.
Greg: Oh, all of it, I think I’m GregDePaul on Twitter, on Facebook, I think I am just
Greg DePaul, www.facebook.com/gregdepaul. There’s one other Greg DePaul. But, he’s like a 16 year old kid, who lives in Indiana. So, you know I’m not him. And then, yeah, www.gregdepaul.com and www.bringthefunny.com, are easy. www.gregdepaul.com is easiest, it just tells you all about the book. Where you can buy it? And what I’m doing?
And, I’ve got, if you’re interested and you’re in New York and you’re watching this? I’ve got a short play going. That’s going to be produced by, “The Collective” in early December. It’s
December 7th through the 10th, in Greenwich Village New York. And what’s great about that is? “The Collective” is a theatre company that was created, a theatre and production company, created by Amy Shermer, and Kevin Cane. Kevin Cane is one of the producers of
“Inside Amy Shermer is Amy Shermer.” And I love these actors. They do my show, they do my plays, they are so funny! Outrageous. Mike Houston, who’s now one of the regular Orange is now the new black, is starring in a play. With a wonderful actress named, “Leema Meta.” And so, anyways, they’re doing that at “The Collective” in Manhattan. And if you come to the show, Email me at [email protected], I’ll tell ya all about it, it’ll be a lot of fun. And they throw great events there.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. So, I will round all that up and put it in the show notes. And I will try and get that as well, all the information on the collective and given that show. And put that in the show notes. And yeah, if anybody in the New York area can definitely check that out.
So Greg, I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today. Good luck with the book, and good luck with the play.
Greg: Yeah, you’re the coolest Ashley! I really appreciate it. This is the most fun I’ve ever had!
Ashley: Eh, I don’t know? I hope not?
Greg: Hey a couple of orgies, a couple of orgies. But this is more fun.
Ashley: Hey, I’m on top of all that, I appreciate that. Cool man.
Greg: Thanks, have a good one.
Ashley: You too, bye.
Ashley: A quick plug for the SYS Screenwriting Analysis Service. It’s a really economical way to get a high quality professional evaluation on your screenplay. When you buy a 3-Pack, you get evaluations for just $67.00 per script for feature films, and just $55.00 for tele-plays.
All the readers have professional experience reading for: Studios, production companies, contests, and agencies. You can read a short bio on each reader on our website. And you can pick the reader you think best fits your script.
Turn-around-time is usually just a few days but rarely more than a week.
The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors.
- Over All Craft – Which includes – Formatting, spelling, and Grammar.
Every script will receive a grade of – Pass, Consider, or Recommend, which should help you roughly understand where you script might rank if you were to submit it to a production company or agency.
We can provide an analysis on feature films or television scripts. We also do proof reading without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and give you the same analysis on it, or give you the same analysis that I just talked about on the treatment or synapsis. So, if you are looking to vet some of your projects. This is a great way to do it.
We will also write a log-line and synapsis for you. You can add this service to the analysis or you can simply purchase service as a stand-alone product.
As a bonus, if your script gets a Recommend, from one of our readers? You get a free Email and Fax Blast to my list of industry contacts. This is the exact same Blast Service I use myself to promote my own scripts. And it is the same service I sell on the website. It’s a great way to get your script into the hands of producers who are looking for new material. So, if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out- www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants, that’s www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/consultants.
To wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with Greg. It sounds like Greg lives and has had a lot of success in getting into rooms, and pitching. And that’s fantastic. Hopefully you can tell from the interview why pitching works so well for him. He’s very funny and he’s has a ton of energy. Those are both qualities you need to pitch especially, obviously if you’re pitching comedies. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the best method for you? I’ve talked about this before, on the Podcast. We all need to find the best sales and marketing channels that will work best for us. And I think the key is really thinking about your personality, talent, once your experiences. And then trying to apply what you are good at. To selling your screenplay. And just a quick example, you know, in my case. I worked as a programmer for many years. So, I was able to build some very robust tools to help me create a large-databases of producers and agents and managers. And then I was also able to build tools that would facilitate me to Emailing and faxing them. And I mean, obviously, this is the service that I sell through SYS. But this is also how I have sold and optioned nearly all the scripts that I have ever sold or optioned. And have been through some variation, some form of this, basically quarry letter to agents and producers. So, you know, again, that is something that fit me. I don’t necessarily think that, that’s something that will fit everybody? And you just got to think about being honest with yourself. Be realistic with yourself. And think about what you have, as a talent. What you have as your work experience, your life experience, and how you can use those in a sales and marketing, you know, format to help you sell the script. There really is a million ways to sell a script. I mean, there’s no one way, or right way. Again, it’s just got to be a strategy, come up with a strategy that’s going to work for you.
So, really try to think about what you do well, and see if there is a way of apply that to you and your screenplay marketing. I did a post a while ago, well over a year ago. I wrote a post, where I took the first seven episodes of the Podcast. And I charted how, of those screenwriters broke into the industry. So, that should give you some good ideas about possible ways to break into the industry. So again, if you haven’t checked-out that article do check that out. I will link to it in the show notes.
Anyway, that’s the show, thank you for listening.