Jordan Peele Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Below you’ll find a list of every film in Jordan Peele’s filmography that is available online. Watch the video below to get a deeper insight into the writing process. If you find any of his missing screenplays please leave the link in the comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

Listen to his interview on the Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast

GET OUT (2017)

(OSCAR WINNER) Screenplay by Jordan Peele – Read the screenplay!

THE LAST O.G. (2019)

Pilot – Teleplay by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders – Read the teleplay!

US (2019)

Screenplay by Jordan Peele – Read the screenplay!


101: The One – Teleplay by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders – Read the teleplay!
102: A Family – Teleplay by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders – Read the teleplay!
106: Below – Teleplay by Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders – Read the teleplay!

NOPE (2022)

Screenplay by Jordan Peele – WILL POST ONCE AVAILABLE!

Star Wars Movies Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

What can be said about Star Wars that hasn’t been said already? Here’s a collection of every Star Wars screenplay available on-line. If you find any of his missing screenplays please leave the link int he comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

Can’t Find What You Are Looking For? – Search for Available Screenplays Here.

Click below to download (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

The Star Wars (Story Treatment) (1973)

by George Lucas

The Star Wars (1974)

by George Lucas

The Star Wars (1974)

by George Lucas (Later Draft)

The Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Starkiller (1975)

by George Lucas (Later Draft)

Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)

by George Lucas

Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

by Rod Warren, Bruce Vilanch, Pat Proft, Leonard Ripps, and Mitzie Welch

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan

Star Wars VI – Return of the Jedi  (1983)

by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

by George Lucas

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clone (2002)

by George Lucas

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

by George Lucas

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)


Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (2019)


Star Wars IX: Duels of the Fate (2019)

by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow (UNPRODUCED)

The Mandalorian – Pilot (2020)


The Mandalorian – Season 2 (2021)


The Mandalorian – Season 3 (2022)


Obi-Wan Kenobi – Pilot (2022)


Can’t Find What You Are Looking For?
Search for Available Screenplays Here

Sam Raimi Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Below you’ll find a list of every film in Sam Raimi’s filmography that is available online. Watch the videos below to get a deeper insight into the writing process. If you find any of his missing screenplays please leave the link in the comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guests like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

Watch Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead “Prequel” short film Within The Woods.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

BOOK OF THE DEAD – Early Draft of Evil Dead (1979)

Screenplay by Sam Raimi – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel – Read the screenplay!

DARKMAN (1989)

Screenplay by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Joshua, and Daniel Gordan, and Chuck Pfarrer – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen and Sam Raimi – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi – Read the screenplay!

ASH vs EVIL DEAD (2015)

Written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Tom Spezialy – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Michael Waldron & Jade Bartlett – AS SOON AS IT’S AVAILABLE

Sam Raimi – How Does Horror Comedy Work?

A horror comedy, in theory, seems very hard. Comedy provides joy by making us laugh, and happy. While horror movies prey upon our deep emotions, disturbing and unsettling us. If successful, they thrust us out- causing uncontrollable laughter or genuine fear. While their aims are different, comedy and horror movies both affect us on a base level. This sets them apart from other genres of movies. So what happens when the line between these two genres fade out? What is so fascinating about horror comedies is that there are so many radical ways to approach it. Maybe the most appropriate method is putting comic features as well as characters in scary movies (which started way back 1948). There is also the medi-textual approach that balances both genres (having a horror and comedy scene).

There is another method used by one of the experts in the horror-comedy “Sam Raimi.” Unlike most horror comedies, there is a scary part and funny part. In this case, the funny parts are the scary parts and vice versa. What Sam Raimi understands is that the creation of a scary movie is more or less the same as the construction of a comedy. There is the setup and a payoff, suspense and then a scare.

Horror movies, like action, is the kind of genre that relies totally on the manipulation of a formal element (the controlled perspective, or the style of editing that can be utilized to create vivid stretches of pregnant intention or immediate action).

The makeup of a scary movie and that of a comedy are the same (a payoff and setup). These two genres rely mainly on ‘timing’ to get the best results. Without the few seconds of intensity to arouse some form of anticipation, both the laugh and scare will fall flat. On an emotional level, these two genres have a significant disparity, but on a physiological note, there is so much in common.

However, when the two genres are being combined, the result can be a very strange satisfying experience which plays with two main opposing sides of our subconsciousness and at the same time gratifying both. And so, even if you decide to play it out through an open comedic situation, dialogue, or gags through a unique creation of Sam Raimi or just as Edgar Wright does, it is entirely up to you.

There is no wrong or right method to produce a horror-comedy movie, but Sam’s approach is much subtle than most directors in the game. The outcome of the integrated piece is hard to recognize and very unexpected, thus making it thrilling, potent, and surprising. So instead of making these two scenes a distinct unit, he intertwines them, making it the same thing. Like the ‘Evil Dead’ movie by Sam Raimi in 1981, the primary tool in his approach tones just like me musical note. Playing them in the right sequence to put the viewers in a role of ‘mind blowing’ experience.

Lily and Lana Wachowski Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Lily and Lana Wachowski (aka The Wachowski Siblings & The Wachowski Brothers before transitioning) are best known for writing the masterpiece that is The Matrix, but if that is where you stop reading you’d be cheating yourself out some amazing screenplays. We’ve put together the definitive collection of screenplays written by The Wachowskis.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings (UNPRODUCED) – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!

BOUND (1996)

Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings (UNPRODUCED) – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Treatment by The Wachowski’s Siblings (UNPRODUCED) – Read the treatment!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the transcripts!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings – Read the abridged screenplay!

SENSE8 EP. 1 (2016)

Screenplay by The Wachowski’s Siblings & J Michael Straczynski – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell & Aleksander Hemon – COMING SOON

The Matrix: Breaking The Rules

The Matrix is an absolute classic film. It did quite a lot in its way to revolutionize the use of quality visual effects and bring some of the most remarkable fighting scenes ever filmed to the big screen. It also formed and established one of the most real environments in science fiction. But while imagination fuels the world of tThe Matrix or The Matrix environment, it also has an abundance of rules. Most movies in other genres have rules that defined how the characters respond or interact, by limitations and motifs that drive the narrative’s conflict.

In some other movies, the rules may make cause the conflict to escalate to give it the desired feel and effect. However, in The Matrix, the rules are the battle of the narrative. Where the hero of the story is a sentient program. To destroy The Matrix, the protagonist and the other heroes must break the rules of The Matrix.

In The Matrix, the rules are always at the core of the narrative. It is what holds the heroes back and what they are consistently and always opposing. Perhaps the top rule that most characters face is the rule in the narrative. For example, how Neo gets to establish himself as The One is a classic example of the hero’s journey. What makes this work and blend into the film’s primary attempt to breaking the rules is how it challenges the character at every turn and questions legitimacy.

The heroes are only as powerful as they opposing forces they face. For a character like Neo, he fights so many. And although most of the action takes place in a computer simulation, it is not as light as in games. There are consequences for certain things that happen in The Matrix. Failure in The Matrix will instantly lead to death outside of The Matrix. It adds and raises the stakes for the action and thrill throughout. And it is also used to create significant setbacks for the film’s narrative (Ciphers betrayal). Inevitable death awaits any of the heroes that confront an Agent. This affects Neo when he must choose to confront an agent or run away.

The rules aren’t always about death but significantly revolve around the life or death of the protagonist. The Oracle doesn’t give Neo a confirmation that he is the One but instead gives him another prophecy that he will have to choose between his life and that of Morpheus. This put a lot of things in motion in his journey. When he comes to save Morpheus, he is aware that he might die. He saves everyone but gets left behind, and manages to run away until Agent Smith seals his fate. All the rules come crashing down on Neo pointing that he must die. But then, a new rule is introduced – Love. It is through this that all others are broken. Much like a computer program given contradictory data, the rules crashed, and Neo becomes the One.

Aaron Sorkin Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin is a giant in the screenwriting world. You know you are reading a Sorkin script just by how the characters are speaking. His dialog is legendary. He created or perfected the “walk and talk.” Sorkin doesn’t just write screenplays, he has created some of the best-written shows in television history.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

Aaron Sorkin also teaches an amazing Screenwriting Masterclass. To learn more about this game-changing course click here.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

SPORTS NIGHT (Television)(1998-2000)

Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin –TV Pilot and Episode

THE WEST WING (Television)(1999-2006)

Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the TV Pilot!

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (Television)(2006-2007)

Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the TV Pilot!


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!


**Won the Oscar** Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin –  Read the screenplay!

NEWSROOM (Television)(2012-2014)

Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the TV Pilot!


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin – Read the screenplay!

Top 12 Unconventional Christmas Movie Screenplays: Screenplays Download

There has been a lot of controversy about certain films being “real” Christmas movies. One such film is Die Hard. Now I don’t want to get into a debate here since this has already been settle by the data. You see why Die Hard is a Christmas movie here: Is Die Hard The Greatest Christmas Movie Ever – Yippee ki-yay!

Now there are a bunch of other films that are also unconventional Christmas movies. I compiled a list of those films here, as well as their screenplays so you can see for yourself. Here are the Top 12 Unconventional Christmas Screenplays in no particular order.  Do you think we’re missing a script?  Let us know by providing the link in the comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Screenplay by Steven E. de Souza – Read the script!


Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the script!


Screenplay by Shane Black – Read the script!


Screenplay by Chris Columbus – Read the script!


Screenplay by Charles Haas – Read the script!


Screenplay by Daniel Waters – Read the script!


Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Frederic Raphael – Read the script!


Story by Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson; screenplay by Caroline Thompson – Read the transcript!


Screenplay by Shane Black- Read the script!


Screenplay by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa – Read the script!


Screenplay by Roy Moore- Read the script!


Screenplay by Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shield- Read the script!

William Goldman Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

William Goldman is a legend in the film industry. He’s a screenwriter but also the best selling novelist. He has written some of the best films of the ’60s and ’70s. Screenwriters should read and take notes on how he structures his screenplays. The screenplays below are the only ones available for free online.

If you are a screenwriter you also should take a look at his definitive work on the screenwriting craft, Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the transcript!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by William Goldman – Read the screenplay!

“William Goldman is, by far, one of the most popular storytellers of our generation,” says Sean Edgar, an author.

Stated above is one the millions of great testimonies people around the world have to say about the iconic writer, William Goldman. Though his name may not ring a bell with people who are not the within the entertainment industry, but it is definitely a household name anybody who works within the industry.

William Goldman, one of the most successful and prolific novelists, playwright and screenwriter ever, was born on August 12,1931. His fiction novels became popular in the 1950s and after then he ventured into the into the world of writing screenplays, for which he won so many prestigious awards including two Academy Awards(firstly, for the western Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid in 1969, and then for All the President’s Men in 1976)

His books on the craft of screenwriting are legendary and a must-read for any screenwriter.

  • Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting – Amazon
  • Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade – Amazon
  • Four Screenplays with Essays – Amazon
  • The Big Picture: Who Killed Hollywood? and Other Essays – Amazon

William Goldman was born into a Jewish family in Chicago. His father, Maurice Goldman, was a businessman whose successful business eventually went south due to his alcoholism. Maurice later committed suicide when William was still in high school. Consequently, William and James, his brother, were left alone to cater for their mother, Marion Goldman, who had a hearing impairment.

William Goldman obtained his BA degree from Oberlin College in 1952. Afterward, he joined the army as a typist and was sent to the Pentagon as a clerical officer in 1954. After he was discharged as a corporal from the army, he went to Columbia University for his master degree. Meanwhile, in his spare time, he resorted to doing what he loved the most – writing short stories – and strove to get them published.

According to William Goldman himself, he said he began writing after he took a creative writing course at his alma mater. It should be noted that, initially, William did set out to be a poet and novelist but not a screenwriter, which he was later well-known for across the globe today.

Before he started his career as a screenwriter, William Goldman had had five novels in prints and three plays produced on Broadway. His debut novel was TheTemple of Gold, which was a success. Marathon Manwas the thriller he wrote after the death of his first agent, prior to which he focused on serious literary works.

His writing career to a sharp turn in 1964 when an actor, Cliff Robertson commissioned him to adapt the screenplays for Flower for Algernon, which was renamed Charleyand for which Cliff won the Academy Awards for the Best Actor. Having seen the job well-done by Goldman, Cliff had him rewrite Masquerade, which was Goldman’s very first screen credit.

William Goldman spent eight years researching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, his first original screenplay and sold it for a record $400,000 in the late 1960s. Afterward, he used several of his works as the basis for his screenplays such as the Princess Bride, All President’s Men and so on, except his novel No Way to Treat a Lady which was translated by somebody else. One of William’s most popular un-produced works is a pirate adventure, The Sea Kings but it was scrapped because the budget was way too high.

One of the greatest creative confessional ever written about the entertainment industry is was Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade, which opening sentence

“Nobody knows anything”

was the most famous personal quote line ever written by Goldman. The idea of the title actually came from Dylan Thomas’ collection of stories titled Adventure in the Skin. The book was an interesting exposition on how the Hollywood entertainment industry works and contains virtually everything an intending writer needs to know about the industry. The book explained how the success of a film is affected by the stars, the producers, the writers and other professional players associated with.

It also tells the story of each film in the life of the great screenwriter, William Goldman and then finally, the book went on to give a step-by-step, comprehensive exposition on how one of William Goldman’s masterpieces, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was made with a full presentation of the screenplays. The book was actually about Goldman’s feelings about his business. He wrote the screenplay of the Butch and Cassidy and the Sundance Kid while he was teaching creative writing in the Christmas vacation of 1965-1966. All studios he showed it to rejected it except one, the 20thCentury Fox, which finally accepted it.

Then the 20thCentury Fox embarked on the project of the filmmaking. The filmmaking was directed by the George Roy Hill whom William Goldman considered to be the greatest and most prolific director he has ever worked with. The movie stands out as Goldman’s biggest success commercially ever. After the production of the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid film, he began – perhaps motivated by the success – to more novels and screenplays.

Often, he would tell his daughters, Jenny and Susanna, bedtime stories and on one fateful night, he asked them what the title of the stories they wanted him to tell them, and then one said “Princess” while the other said “Bride”. And that was how he got the title for his superb novel, the Princess Bride in 1973 and shortly after then, he wrote the screenplay for the novel. According to him, that is the only novel really likes. Perhaps the likeness was a kind of emotional attachment to the work which would be, most likely, as a result of the anguish of mind he experienced because the work took an unusually long time.

William Goldman disappeared from the limelight in the entertainment industry for almost a decade after writing to Mr. Horn in 1979. This was, definitely, not because the stream of Goldman’s creativity has dried up but because the self-financed producer, Joseph E. Levine, he was in a screenplay writing a contractual agreement with, could not finance the budgets of the filmmaking, so none of these works was produced during those years.

On the other hand, Goldman too made a lot of efforts personally to get other studios and producers to help him produce some of them, but that too was to no avail. Meanwhile, he continued to write several other books, one of which was Adventure in the Screen Trade which finally became a best seller.

Fortunately, he was able to secure a job with Creative Artists Agency (CAA)in 1986 and within a month he was offered the rights to adapt An Invisible Man, memoir authored by H. F. Saint and, luckily for him, the film was produced.

However, his first real comeback movie was in 1987 when one of his novels, the Princess Bride was produced. In 1990, he was also commissioned by Rob Reiner, director/producer, to write the screenplay for Misery which was adapted from a novel authored by Stephen King. He continued to write popular screenplays in the 1990s, namely Maverick in 1994, The Chamber in 1996, the Ghost and the Darkness in 1996, and Absolute Power in 1997. He also co-authored the screenplay for the General’s Daughter with Chris Bertiloni in 1999.

At the dawn of the new millennium, another of Goldman’s memoirs was released titled Which Lie did I Tell? It reflects the usual honest, down-to-earth style characteristic of Goldman’s literary works. In the book, he explained all a writer need to know about the screenwriting business and how to thrive in the business.

Goldman is prolific not only in the art and craft of screenwriting but also in novel writing. The following are some of his many works:

Theatre: Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole (with his brother James Goldman), Misery, A Family Affair.

Screenplays: Masquerade, Harper, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hot Rock, the Stepford Wives , All the President’s men, A Bridge Too Far, Misery, Year of Comet, Chaplin, Indecent Proposal, Last Action Hero, Maverick, Malice, The Chamber, Dreamcatcher, Wild Card, Absolute Powers, The General’ Daughter, Wild Cat, Dolores Clairborne, Heart in Atlantis, Twins, The Ghost and The Darkness etc.

Novels: the Temple of Gold, Your Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to Bow, Soldier in the Rain, Boys and Girls Together, No way to Treat a Lady, The Thing of It Is…, The Princess Bride, Magic, Marathon, Tinsel, Control, The Color of Light, the Silent Gondoliers, Heat, Brothers, Father’s Day, Control

Non-fiction and memoirs: the Season: Candid Look at the Broadway, Adventures in the Screen Trade, Hype and Glory, Which Lie Did I Tell? Wait Till Next Year, the Picture: Who Killed the Hollywood etc.

Short stories: Something Blue, Rogue, the Ice Cream Eat, Till the Right Girl Comes Along, Da Vinci, the Simple Pleasures of the Rich etc.

Almost 50 years career as a professional writer, Goldman has won awards to his name including two Academy Awards(both for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men), two Edgar Awards, he also won the Laurel Award for screenwriting Achievement in 1985.

William Goldman is indeed one of the greatest American screenwriters of all time.

Bill I think in the books that you've written about screenwriting that you've become famous for to two averages, one of which is that nobody knows anything. And the other is that screenplays are structure, that nobody knows anything. It's funny, it's caught on. And what I is I remember what I meant by it was that nobody has the least idea What movie is gonna work. I mean, the big movie that's opening this weekend is Sex in the City, too. And nobody has the least the first one was a free kit. And people loved it. And now they've done the sequel. And sequels or horror movies, as I've written, the only reason you do a sequel is to make money. And nobody has the least idea. Is it going to be a phenomenal success? Or is it going to be? Is it going to take, I was talking with a studio guy, recently, and he said, we'll make movies that cost under 25 million and movies that cost over 75. And I thought, total horseshit, what he meant was, they would make quote, unquote, an art film.

And they would make special effects movies. But that leaves out a gigantic percentage of what most of us fell in love with movies for I mean, it wasn't because of the special effects stuff that they're doing. They'll understand that Avatar was terrific, etc, etc. But there were other things besides Avatar was the movies I liked. I started my first screenplay, I think in 1964. I mean, I don't know that Tom Cruise was alive in 1964. If he was he wasn't like, and it was such a different world then because now, the numbers are so terrifying. The studios, I think, from what I'm told are scared shitless because the amount of money that they're spending in movies, I mean, the first movie really, that I did was Harper and had pulled him and bless him who was, I guess, the biggest star in the world in? And I think it cost $3 million? Well, you figure that was a long time ago monies. But it's still you can't you can't get a major stars gym teacher for $3 million. today. It's just the prices are I think the big change that's happened right now is the money. And, and I don't know if it'll ever go back to being where it was a little bit more sane. I think if you're a kid, and you want to start out in movies, you used to be able when I began in the 60s, you could pretty much write anything you wanted to write and pray. Because they weren't you know, they wanted romantic comedies, which they really thank you. I guess they do now I thought date night was terrific. But they don't really, you know, they wanted westerns. They don't want Westerns anymore. I mean, it's very limited as to what they're making because they're panic, as I would be to if I were running a studio, because they have no idea what's going to work.

And they have they've got to keep making their stuff. And they just don't know. I mean, every it always was a crapshoot. But now the numbers are so I think the numbers are the biggest difference. And if I were young screenwriter now you can only write, this is a sound. So we're binnacle. But you can only write what you give a shit about. And you've got to keep doing that. If, for example. You don't like special effects movies. Don't try and write one because it'll suck. And for example, I don't like special effects movies. I mean, I love jaws. But for the most part, I don't like you know, all the things coming down from the planet to kill us and all that stuff. And it would be ridiculous for me to try and write one you've got to try and write something you care about. That sounds really corny, but it's true. When I started.

There weren't film schools I never saw in my life. Not even for a second. I never saw a screenplay until I was 33 years old. And a lot of kids are finished with their careers when they're 33 because they've been to film school. They got their first movie done when they were 23 or 25. And then the now that they're 33, there's something there directors or whatever else. And it was a different world. And when I first heard of film schools, I thought it was the stupidest fucking idea I've ever heard of. Why would anybody you know because we fell in love with movies by going to the LCN theater in my little town in Illinois and You went to the movies, and they were wonderful. And then now movies are important, which they never were when I was a kid. I was born in Chicago and 31 live there for six years, then we moved to HetLand Park.

And I have childhood amnesia. So I have no memories, whatever, are the first six years of my life, I have very few memories of the early years at all, but the Chicago years and I wish I knew what it was like then were totally blocked. My father was in the clothing business. And my mother was his wife. And he, he worked for a company of Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, where the two biggest and my father worked for the third, which was not a giant company, and he was always coming in New York and, and clothing, business, etc, etc. And then it was a family business. And my mother who was much more powerful, and my father became convinced that my father would never be made ahead of the company, because it would be a family business, and they would screw him. So she made him retire, which I don't think he wanted to do, and start his own business. And he did. And his alcoholism got out of control. And his partner in the new business which he started, which was doing well close the business because my father was a hopeless drunk. And then he came home to live. The last four years of his life, he lived upstairs in the house, as I was growing up, and then he killed himself when I was 15. And I found his body and No, I've never written about it. But it was a very fucked up child.

And yet, there was something in that childhood, there was something in your upbringing that inculcated but I mean, but you and your brother both became writers? Yes. Unusual, very unusual. And you went to the theater as a kid, I know not to mention the Alcyone you just

know, but also legitimately did a lot of theater going my parents like to theater. And we would go to see road companies or whatever hit musical was in town. And I would see and then we came to New York twice, and saw a lot of theater and I love theater. I still do. It's just very when it's wonderful. It's better than anything, but it's not wonderful, so much. And you'll have to basically, for a when you go ahead, it's going to be something that you'll have memories. And, and like that. So my upbringing was very fucked up. And I guess I might as well talk about my writing. I showed no signs of talent. I showed no signs of talent. And the fact I've been a writer for half a century and more now is insane to me. Still, you were at Oberlin. I was at Oberlin. But I was when I went to Oberlin, we had a literary magazine, and I was the fiction editor.

And it was a poetry editor and an overall editor. And everything was submitted anonymously. And these two girls were just brilliant. And when my I would submit my short stories to be published, in which I was the fiction editor, and they wouldn't, you know, and it was all anonymous, and they would look at it. And I was so nervous, my story was coming up. And they would say, what, we can't publish this shit. And I would say no, that we can't publish this shit. And I never got anything published. I think I must have somewhere in my life 100 rejection slips from magazines. And no one had the least interest. I never got a little thing back saying, show us your next story. I remember once. This can't be true, but I think it is. I submitted something in the New Yorker, a short story and I got it back the same day. Now the males are not that good. But I remember as I opened my mailbox, that was a fucking story that I just sent out to the New Yorker. And I took a I took a writing course at Northwestern and got the worst grade I took a short story course at Oberlin and got the worst grade. And my dearest old friend is a fabulous figure in my life. John Kander, who has had amazing success in Broadway. Catherine M, they wrote Chicago and cabaret in New York, New York and, and Johnny was there. And I remember, Candace saying, One day we were having coffee, and we had to submit a story the next day, and I'd written mind weeks and working on it. And he said, Well, I got to go back to my room now and write the story and I said, you haven't started it yet. And he did. And then Johnny got B's and A's and I got C's. And I was a very bad student.

That'll Rowland, and I went in the Army in 52, everybody was drafted. And in those years, the army was 16 weeks of basic training, eight weeks of learning to throw a hand grenade and marching and how to use your rifle, and eight weeks of something else. And because I knew how to type, I was sent to clerical school. And there were seven of us that day, who arrived in clerical school the same day, and we were all college kids. And the head of the clerical school was a captain, who was a golf net. And he realized having just come, because he would have the seven of us run the clerical School where he played golf every day. And she will he wrote a letter to the Pentagon, requesting we be taken out of pipeline, and be given to the clerical School for the next two years, because we were fabulous. And he wrote this bullshit letter. And the Pentagon got the letter, there was a famous story in World War Two, about the five Salomon Brothers who were sent overseas after basic training, and this ship sunk, and they were all five killed. And the government felt that was unfair pain. So they passed a rule, which I think is still in effect, that everybody after basic training in the military gets two weeks to go. And so we all went home, the seven of us for two weeks, and then met at the Pentagon. And we had discovered the Pentagon had gotten the letter and thought, if we were so fabulous, they wanted us at the Pentagon said we were sent to the Pentagon. And in those two weeks, the jobs they had for us were filled. So they were gonna keep us there until the next levy to Korea happened. And it never happened because the Korean war was ending. So the seven of us had nothing to do for essentially 22 months.

And I mean, it was amazing. The people who rent the civilians who were in our offices loved us, because the more people they could have working for them, the higher their ranking wouldn't be in the civilian world. So we had nothing and I remember I was given jobs, I was given one job to do to make a deviation up for every job title in the army. And I remember, I made the Washington Post on that by name, because some of my abbreviations were longer than the job titles. And they thought What kind of an asshole thisand years later the Washington Post would pick up very important anyway. I would write shorts I would we were in Fort Myer, Virginia, across a little thing from the Pentagon. And every night I would go to the Pentagon and write my short stories. And I never got anything published. It was just horrible. And then, after military, I came to New York, and I was going to Columbia. But my grades at Oberlin were so shitty. I couldn't get into Columbia. So I got in and pull ahead of the music department and wonderful man named Douglas more, got me in. And I got a Master's at Columbia. And I didn't know what I was going to do in my life. And then I felt I know what I'll do, I'll get a PhD. But then I realized I have no language skills. And that would have been an extra two years to learn two languages. And I desperately I was living with my brother, who was at this point of failed play, right? We're all in our 20s and Kander, who was not successful yet he was giving voice lessons.

And I realized I'd gotten a masters. And I wanted to be a writer, I'd show no signs of talent. No one ever had the least notion that I wouldn't succeed as a writer. And I went back to Highland Park. And in a frenzy of three weeks, I wrote my first novel. And I remember so clearly. I was on page 50. And I'd never been on page 20 before because the short story is worlds short. And I wrote the novel. I had met a guy in the army who hadn't met an agent. So I called up the agent who was just starting wonderful man named Joe McCrindle. And I said, Can I send you my novel? And he said, Sure. And he knew an editor at Club and he sent the novel to the editor, and they had a very odd reaction to it. They said, we'll publish it if you'll double in in length, which was very strange. So I went frantic and I doubled it in length, and send it back and was waiting to hear. Now I never had anything published, ever, ever, ever hired showed no signs of talent. And I got a phone call that morning. I was alone in the apartment in New York that they hadn't accepted the book in candor, came home about two hours later.

And he said, Have you heard about the book? And he said, Yes. And he said, and I said, they're going to publish it. And he said, Oh, Billy, which he's the only one who calls me Billy. Isn't that wonderful? Is everyone thrilled? And I said, I haven't told anybody. And he realized I've been walking around having a catatonic fit, because I didn't know how to deal with this news. And Candace said, Would you like me to help? And I said, how would we do it? And he'd say, well, we'll sit at the desk. And I'll call people and dial him and tell him your book was taken, and that you don't want to talk about it. And you can say, Isn't it wonderful? And they would say, yes. And then we dial it next purse. And that's what we did. We tell everybody we knew, and said Billy's book has been taken. And that was how I started. And I still am staggered. No one remotely thought I could ever succeed as a writer. And what I, when I got my master's, the only the only job offer I got, I think was from a high school in Duluth, Minnesota that said, I could come and teach English. And I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to go to Duluth and teach English. And probably what would have happened to me was I had an uncle in who was in advertising in Chicago. And I think probably, he could have gotten me some kind of menial job in an ad agency. If I, and then I wrote the novel, and that changed everything. But it's still

freakish to me that any of this happened. They felt they'll find me out. And what I had to do was write a novel every year. So the next year, you know, what I did was I was living in New York. And I go to the movies every day. Because it was possible. It was wonderful. 42nd Street at that time, had 17 I think movie theaters that showed double features, and you could go down, it hadn't become dirty yet. And I'd go down there and didn't know what there was a double feature has been played westerns, in one played comedies, you know, you can go see anything foreign film double feature. And that's really those years. I where I got my movie education seriously. I mean, I went to movies all the time when I was a kid. But I just went to shitload of movies those years. And I wrote an album that was temple ago came out in 57. And I had a novel came out in 58. And I went to Broadway, which is a disastrous thing for anybody to do, and novel in 1960. And then I wrote a very, I wanted to write a long novel. Don't ever write along, though. And it took me a long, long time. It was, it was a book for boys and girls together, eventually changed a lot of things in my life. And I'd gotten about it was 1000 pages, typed as long fucker. And I had gotten halfway through, I stopped for a year and a half to do theater. And when I came back, I was blocked, which is everybody's nightmare. And I didn't even know I had 600 pages typed. And I didn't know what to do.

And one day, I read an article, I think, in the Daily News, the big crime at this time was the boston strangler. And the new theory in Boston, was it there might be to Boston Strangler. And as I was walking up to my office, a notion never happened before, maybe once again, an idea dropped into my head, which never happens, which was what if there were two Stranglers and one of one of them got jealous of the other. And I called up some friends and said, I've got this idea for a novel. But I want to write my long novel and they said, Well, if you can write this strangler book quickly, why don't you do that? Maybe we'll get you juiced up to finish up the lawn but and so I wrote the strangler book in 10 days, and it was became a novel and it became a movie was called no way to treat a lady. And the reason I'm going on about this is I wanted to make it seem longer. then it was. So I had a ton of chapters, because each new chapter, I could start on the top of the next page. And I think there were probably 50 or 60 chapters in 150 page book was a weird looking book.

And the reason I go into this was because that's what got me in the movie business. Lovely actor named Cliff Robertson. Somehow got ahold of no entry lady. And he came to my apartment, and he said, I read your screen treatment. And I remember thinking shit, that wasn't a screen treatment. That was a novel, but because of all the chapters, and sometimes it'd be a one sentence chapter and then the next page. And he said that his career, his great successes went on television, but that when the movies happened, he didn't get the parts. So we had optioned a marvelous short story called flowers for Elgin, by Daniel Keyes. And when I write a screenplay, and I had never seen a screenplay, and so he left, and I was talking to my wonderful wife, Eileen. And I said, I've got a good time to turn down the Time Square was midnight, or one in the morning, and see if I can find what a screenplay looks like. So there were bookstores that were open late in Times Square in those years. And there was one, I don't know what it was that was published at that time. And when talking 64 and I bought it, and I brought it home, and I looked at the screenplay. And I realized I could never write in that form, because the screenplay is all double space, faded and double space, build double space, he is sitting in a chair, but all in motion. And I realized I could never write in that form. And, and I didn't, and then

for some reason, Robertson, I was writing the screenplay for him. But I hadn't done remotely anything on it yet. And he asked me to come over and Dr. Movie, which I did when he was shooting a movie, I think Sean Connery was supposed to play the lead. And then he couldn't do it. So it was they had a real change the the dialogue. And I did that for a couple of weeks, and I came back, finished Flowers for Algernon, sent it off to Robertson who fired me immediately. I'd never been fired. It was a horrifying experience. And he got sterling silver had to write him in the movie was Charlie, right? He won the Oscar. Not a sentence of mine was in the screenplay. But that's how I got in the movie, because it's all a fluke. I mean, if Cliff Robertson doesn't miss read my, my novel and think it's a screen treatment, he never asked me interesting. And I never and I said I was 33 years old. And I'd never ever seen a screenplay. Nobody. This has any interest in our business now can say that. There's a screenwriting convention that happens every year in California, and used to be before the crash. 1000s of kids came from all over the world, and they would listen to agents would come and people would, you know, talk about how to make the movie but

so how do you feel about that whole sort of orthodoxy of screenwriting? That the books and the Robert McKee and theMickey I remember, I listened to him, but he's very good. I mean, he really is a good speaker. I heard him once I went to a lecture he gave he's a very skillful fellow. There were no rules on this things happen. I mean, when I think of, there's no way if I wrote which Cassie today, which is the most successful movie I've ever had been or will be connected with. They don't make that movie. They don't make a Western. The only way they might make it is if Mr. Eastwood felt an urge to make a Western and he got together with George Clooney.

And he directed it and whatever. I don't know. But otherwise, they don't make westerns. Westerns flop. I mean, John Wayne was the biggest star, John Wayne couldn't get arrested. The greatest dancer that ever lived, Fred Astaire couldn't get arrested. Now. What part? I mean, what part Have you seen in a movie that Fred Astaire could have played? They don't make Fred and Ginger movies anymore. They don't do it. It's all different. And when you think about those giant stars of my childhood, Gary Cooper, what is Gary Cooper gonna do? What is Jimmy Stewart going to do? Are any of them going to get?

I think they'd be on television. They'd all have TV shows. That would be how they are in delivered But I don't think. And when you think of the big stuff, we live in a time right now. 2010 I don't think this has ever happened in the history of sound. There was one movie star. And that's Will Smith. And yes, Johnny Depp put them in a pirate movie. Sure. But Will Smith in anything, the way they the way they look at movies out in Hollywood? is does the movie open? Which means the first weekend, does it new business. And the reason they pay stars, these obscene amounts of money or you used to was because they felt the stars would open the picture. Tom Cruise will open a picture. Well, he doesn't anymore. He has a movie coming out this summer. If it's a big hit, maybe they'll love Tom Cruise again. But it goes very fast. And one of the reasons actors are the way they are, is because it's not gonna last and they know it. And they know it and it's scary for

you net, you never moved out there. You know, I

don't like California. I have no sense of direction. I hate to drive. I had a wonderful summer in the boot camps and each summer. But that was a different world. You know, we, George Hill and I met every day at his office on the Fox lot for the day. And we talked about this and talking about that and this line in that line. And they wouldn't do that. Now. It was like the summer, we spent working on the script that we had. Redford and Ross and Newman in for 10 days that three of them just heal in myself and the three actors. And they were also gorgeous.

And I remember I was walking back to his office one day. And he said in a quiet rage. I feel like a mutt because they were here were these three gorgeous. They are and they were and I think the three Ross was the best horseback ride. I've always thought I've been told it. But and then we had the crew in for like two weeks we had everybody in the editor and the camera man and bla bla bla, talking what problems do you have with this? What do you have, we're gonna have trouble making that work well, so that when the shoot actually happened, the movie went like a dream because we had had an amazing amount of, of work on the script. And on location. Before the movie shot, they wouldn't do that. The novel I mentioned, no way to treat a lady, which was published I think, in 64 was published under a pseudonym Harry longbow, which was the real name of the Sundance Kids.

So this is five years before the movie came out. So I'd obviously been trying to, there was not a lot about them at this point. We know anything. We still don't know really anything about long, but we think he was from we think he was born and brought up in New Jersey. And he was clearly as good with a gun as anybody at that time. And he was, and he went to South America, which Cassie Cassidy was a fabulous figure. There are only two figures in the history of the West, who were famous at that time when they were alive. One of them was Jesse James, and one of them was Cassidy. Cassidy was so well liked. This happened. If he was being followed by someone, he would go up to your house and say, Hi, I'm Butch Cassidy. The sheriff is after me. Can you hide me in the basement?

And they say sure, come on in. But everybody loved it. He was this marvelous, strange figure who had no violence and we never shot anybody really went to South America. And he was he in the Sundance Kid, we're friends. Why in the world, it was wonderful material. And one of the great stories about this is true. As a young man, he's in jail. And the governor of the state and I'm going to say it was Colorado says I'll make you a deal. If you promise me you'll go straight. I'll let you out. I mean, he was not in murder. He was whatever. I'll release you from prison. All you have to do is tell me that you'll never commit crimes again. And Cassidy said, I can't do it. He said, but I'll make you a deal. If you'll let me out. I promise I'll never do anything in college. Again, and the governor took the deal, and he never did anything in Colorado again. It may have been I don't know what state it was. But he was may have been one.

But he was an amazingly likable figure Cassidy was and that he had arguably the biggest gaming and he ran it. I mean, it's ridiculous. Why would why did they all follow Butch Cassidy but they did. Until Harriman they robbed railway them. It's like the movie. It didn't make much of that up. They robbed rail and eh, Herrmann. It was a billionaire at that time, whatever the equivalent would have been. went nuts. That Butch Cassidy kept robbing history. So he formed the greatest law outfit.

And your super posse, the super posse, and he had six guys from around the country who were the top law men in America. And he got them all together. And he said, All you got to do is capture Butch Cassidy. And when Cassidy heard about it, he realized they would kill him. So that's why he went to South America. I mean, the idea of going into South America was insane. But you know, he was, it's a wonderful, he was a wonderful figure. Not like really anybody else.

So he wrote it on spec, basically, I tended to do that a lot. I wrote my novels on spec, etc, etc. That means not having a contract by roadbook Jones back and I had a very great agent named ever Ziggler. And he decided to have an auction. And everybody turned it in, except one studio. And they wanted to change, which was the studio guys said, they can't go to South America will buy this if you don't have them go to South America. And I said, but they went there. In the studio guy said to me, I don't give a shit. All I know is one thing.

And then this great line, John Wayne don't run away. And of course, John Wayne didn't run away. It was a very unusual thing. For Western heroes. It's one of the other things that made the story so wonderful. And so I rewrote it. Changing almost nothing. And Ziggler auction did again. In every studio wanted it you set one. And there was this insane auction. And I have to mention the number. It was sold to Fox Richard Zanuck, David bro, bless them. For $40,000 Which now we're talking about what 1967 Whatever it was, it was a shitload of money then. But it was really a freakish amount of money now. And it got in all the papers. Because nobody at this time knew anything about screenwriters because all they knew is an actor's made up all the lines and directors and all the visual concepts. And the idea of this obscene amount of money going to this asshole who lives in New York who wrote a Western drove him nuts. That was the most vicious stuff. And when the movie opened, the reviewers were pissy because they hated me. And the movie, basically caught on and became what it became. But it was the writing of the screenplay and the amount of money that it went for. That basically changed everything in my life. I think I'd written a couple of things that hadn't gotten made. And then Harper, and then there was something else. And then I wrote Butch I mean, I wrote, but my second daughter was born in I think, 65. And we moved to Princeton, because I'd spend a little time I didn't go to school, everyone. I spent a little time in Princeton, you're teaching. Now I was just basically out there. I became a teacher later, and we decided to move to Princeton. We were gonna have a second kid. It's a great town, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'll tell the story. It's it's a huge change in my life. We move to Princeton. I am planning to be a writer.

A guy who I admit who was the writing professor, came up to me and said, I have a chance suddenly for sabbatical. Would you take over and be the writing professor next year? You know, I've always thought I'd like to teach teaching writing at Princeton, there weren't that many kids that take writing. I'll do it. So I taught writing. At Princeton at that, that was the over I wrote Butch over Christmas vacation in Princeton, New Jersey. I mean, I've been working on it for I don't know how many years. And I tend, once I have the confidence that I know what I'm doing to write quickly in movies. In other words, I don't know what it took me three weeks, whatever it was, but I've been working on it for x years, so you don't know. And I had done apparently a quality job in my teaching there that year. And I got the same guy who was cutting back said, would you take over and be the other writing teacher here at Princeton? And I thought, well, we'd like, for instance, so and so and so and so yeah. So I was gonna be a professor of writing at Princeton University. And I didn't hear from the guy and I didn't hear from the guy.

And finally, I ran into him, and he said, Oh, God, I've been avoiding you. And I said, What do you mean? And he said, There was a revolving head of the English department in that time, I have no idea if they still have it. And the guy who was the head of the English department that year, I had mentioned a book, I wrote a long book called boys and girls together, it became a gigantic hit in paperback. And it was about a bunch of people, young people who come to New York and fuck up their lives, boys and girls, gays and straights, all kinds of stuff. The guy who was the head of the English department that year, said, I will not have our students this direct quote. I will not have our students worshipping at the Shrine of a pornographer. I mean, the son of a bitch call me a pornographer. And I'm such a nice Jewish boy. It's so ridiculous. And this was, I went back to Eileen, the kids were then born, I called Mr. Ziggler. And I said, I am leaving Princeton. I don't know that I'll ever come back. You must give me something to do somewhere this summer. I don't care what it is. I want a doctor something this summer somewhere.

Get me out of here. So we moved back to New York that week. I think in the 40. Some years, I've been back to Princeton once. And I have no intention of ever going back. And it's a swell school and all that shit. Lindsay got me a job, I think in London, and we were off that week, where I spent this summer and I've lived in New York ever since. But it was if either I think of the other two English heads had been running the department that year and never would have happened. This one guy hated the book so much. Wow. And like that. That was a big. And that was a big deal. Because I was 3334 Maybe 35. And I had planned to be a professor. I really thought I was going to be that. And then that all changed. So I came to New York and I've been a writer reversals. Interesting. Yeah, fascinating for me. Well,

yeah, but luck. I mean, you know, the, the role of chance and oh, yeah, Chance favors the prepared mind, though, at the same time. You said about this. One other question about Butch Cassidy wishes that you said that everything you could from your Hollywood career came as a result of the cliff scene?

Well, it's, it's from Gunga Din. I think, for me, the greatest movie ever made is a movie directed by George Stevens called Ganga Dune, with Cary Grant. Victor McLaughlin and Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Santa Fe, Sam Jaffe in the title. And I went to see it at the LCS. And I remember I was so rocked by that. I went back the next day. And I remember when Grammar School everybody was stunned that I'd gone back to see a movie again. And I remember some kids said to me, how could you go again, when you knew when you knew who won something like that? And, and I did, and Gaga then I've seen it 16 times. My best younger than story for me, is the day I got out of the Army in 1954. I was back in my small town in LA Really. And there's an Army post fort Sheridan about two miles away. And a friend of mine was getting out.

And I called him. And I said, you know, I'm back when you're getting my mama. And he said, You'll never guess what's playing on the post tonight, Ganga did. And I said, Because I saw it every chance I ever got. And I knew it by heart. I said, I'll be there. And he said, there's a problem. You have to be in uniform. So the day I got out of the fucking service, I got back in uniform and snuck out into Fort Sheridan. So I could see Ganga did that so much. I loved it. I am moved. I written this and I believe it's still true. I am moved for reasons I do understand more than anything, but what I call stupid courage. And the two best examples I know where I don't want to spoil the plot and bring it in. But at the end of young at the end, there was a real shot to shit.

And The Waterboy Sam Jaffe is also wounded. And there's a tower and the British troops are going to get massacred by the evil, the evil criminals. In Cary Grant says the Colonel's gotten to know and indicate use him as a trumpet and go get in crops crawls up to tempo to go, which is what my first demo was called, and blows his bugle and gets killed, but the British are safe. And that was so moving for me. And the other thing that moved me out of control was one of the great musicals ever written this Porgy and Bess by the Gershwins, and Porgy is a cripple, and he's got a goat cart, and it's down south. And he's in love with a town beauty.

His name is Bess. And there is an evil person in the thing called sporting life was a drug pusher. And he gets us down south. And he convinces Beth to come to New York with him and he gives her drugs and they go off to New York, and Portuguese in jail because he has killed a town bully. And then he gets out of jail. And he comes back, and he's crippled. And he's on a cart. And you just sit there in the audience thinking, Oh, God, mess is gone. What's he gonna do? He's got no lives and crippled mama. And he says, Where's Bess? And there's a embarrassment from the people. And then they say, she's going for you.

She's going to New York. And there's a pause. And he says, three words. He says, Bring my goat. And when I heard that, I got so hysterical, because I realized, fucking Porgy was gonna go in his goat, his goat cart, having his goat pull him from the deep south to New York City. And I thought, Oh, my God, and I started to sob hysterically. And it's at the end of the show, and there's curtain calls and chairs. I'm still hysterical. And I can still remember when we left the theater, people would touch me pat my head and say to my parents, Is he all right? Is there something wrong with your son, because I couldn't stop hysterically crying. So that, you know, stupid courage moves.

So I mean, the cliff scene of Butch Cassidy really is a Ganga, Dean. Oh, it's totally, totally. I knew the Sundance Kid couldn't swim. I knew that because all those years I was doing research, I found out that most cowboys couldn't swim was not a thing that was part of their life. And I remember thinking shit, that, you know, like, clock that way. And so when you come to the thing, in which case that you were at the cliff, and they're about to get killed by the super posse, and voice says, We'll jump and the Sundance Kid says, I can't swim. That was a big fucking moment at the movies that people just shrieked and then they jump off the cliff unsavoury. She did

it. For me, it was like and then when Newman says, Well, it's the fall that'll kill you.

But that moment was one of the moments that and the other moment I think that I think they did die that way. There's a lot of dispute as to whether they were killed by but I think the militia got and that last scene where that they have when they're gonna, when Bush says let's go to Australia And then they go out and get shot that word because they never talk about the fact that there's a fucking militia out there and that they're bleeding to death as they speak. And they're going to die. They just talk about can we go to Australia, it's got nice beaches, whatever the dialogue is. And you could learn to swim and the kids that swimming is not important. But here they are talking about going to fucking Australia.

And they know they're going to die. And that's, again for me stupid courage that worked. That worked. And it was, Oh, I got to tell a wonderful story. Halfway through shooting, he'll has me out to look at like the first hours of dailies that he's done in the woods. Wonderful. And we're going to set after I'd seen hours and hours and hours and stuff. And it was just when they were going to Mexico for this up American secrets. This is a directing story. We're walking to the set. And a guy walks past.

And he's carrying a hat and he says hat, okay. And he'll nuts. And then we go on the rest of our walk, and suddenly Hill almost drops to his knees because he realized what the guy was saying is this hat that I am showing you. Okay for South America, because if he hadn't got it was the wrong hat. And if they had gone to Mexico, and the Sundance Kid and didn't have a hat, that was the same hat that he was wearing in New York, or wherever it was, they're fucked. They have to stop shooting. Someone has to fly from Mexico that loss and whenever whenever, and I'll never forget that because directors have that kind of problem.

Because if there's a thing if you need something, and you're a director, and you need this for a shot, you need that kind of crowd that kind of hat. You better have it or your fuck. I had Harper and Butch in the 60s. And there was other stuff. But I mean, those were the two and then I'm trying to think there was a long period. Oh, God, when was I a leper I wrote about it was when I wrote the season. No, it was when I wrote adventures in the screen tree. And I hadn't realized that I had basically, I had written some movies that hadn't gotten made. Right. And suddenly I was a leper. And the phone didn't ring.

Well, you wrote a great movie that I love, which is the great Waldo pepper.

Yeah, that was neat. That was for George Hill. That was only because George loved old airplanes, right? And whatever. No, but there was stuff. It's just the interesting thing about Waldo pepper. It was Redford and hill again. And the advance height was terrific. And we had a sneak in Boston. And I think it was Susan Sarandon, his first big part. And she was wonderful. And there's a scene where she's trapped on an airplane so that you know, old old older planes, and she's frozen on this airplane. And and Waldo makes a plane to plane transfer, and goes over and rescues it. But she loses her grip and she falls to where do the audience went fucking nuts.

They felt so betrayed. I never felt more panic in and I thought they might attack us, because there were people getting up and in a rage because we had done this. And the reason I mentioned this is today, if we had seen that it's a half a day's reshoot. All you have to do is put some footage in the same dress, bobbing up out of the lake and waving or fist and anger up at Waldo. And there's and she's fine. But we didn't do that. Then we didn't do the reshooting which happens now which is a big part of moviemaking. We didn't do that. And what are we talking about 40 years ago? It was we never thought part of it was hell. But we never thought of reshoot it. It was never mentioned by anybody. No, we can do this. Because it's an easy reshoot.

I've ever seen that the old Rivoli Right, yeah. So how did you learn? If you had not seen the screenplay before and the ones that you saw were fake to be around by again, I've been very lucky in that I've only written movies. I want to write.

In other words, when I got offered a special offer Facts movie. I know I couldn't do it.

And you can only do what you can do. I think that sounds. But you know the other thing that I wrote that caught on other screenplays are structure, you're telling a story. And you've got to basically, you've got to believe in the story and sounds really corny, but you do. You can only write what you think you can make play. And I think for anybody who's starting out, if you try and do something that you don't give a shit about, you're not going to get it made. And I was very lucky, in that the movies that I wanted to do got made in there for a long period, at least for the first 20 years of my career. They were all movies I wanted to write.

And you were never one for pitching.

You know, I only pitched once in my whole life. And I pitched her friends at Castle Rock. And it was so awful. I quit after a few minutes. I couldn't, you know, it's, it's my problem. I just couldn't do it. And you know, I got very, I was very, I was very in demand for a long time out there because Harper was a hit. Great line, the producer of Harper. We went up to him, Newman's house in Connecticut. And I remember walking, talking about the script. And we walked around the streets, the back streets of I think Westport.

And he was the two best stars I've ever worked with are Eastwood and Newman, they're just they were fabulous. And I remember with Newman, he had pebbles. And every time a car would come by, throw a pebble in the woods. So it was back was to the car. So no one stopped and said, Oh, my God, that fall moment. And he said he would do it. And we drove back into the city. And the producer said, you don't know what has happened to you? And I said, No, my first movie. And he said, You just jumped past all this shit. And that was true, because Paul Newman said he do it. So the movie good movie. He was that biggest star in those days? And, and had a fabulous career.

Can you tell the story of the opening credit sequence for Harper, how that came to be and what it was, I got a call from the director saying, I don't like being on the set. First of all, I have a tendency to fuck up the shot. I tend to stand in an area where the kid was going to move. And, and it's boring. For me, I don't want to I never wanted to direct. I don't understand actor. I never remotely except when I was in my, you know, hot streak, whatever. And people will want me to direct I would never want to do it. You know, it was ridiculous. And the director said, We need a credit sequence. And I thought what the fuck was my, you know, I didn't know about movies. But I knew what I knew what the credits were there, those things that come up to start and I thought, well, he's got to wake up in the morning or write about him waking up. So I did. And I got the notion that he was out of coffee. And he was living alone.

He was a detective. And he was living alone. He was divorced, whatever, had a miserable life. And he's not a coffee. So he has to make his coffee, with coffee grounds in the garbage. And then he made his coffee. And there's a moment where he sips it. A look of sheer horror comes over his face. And when I went to see the movie, they were having a screening of it in New York and I went to see it. There was this huge laugh, which I had not known who was going to be there. And one of the reasons I think when he when Newman's face when he sips his coffee was a huge laugh. And that's what people were talking about the movie was a big success, a good success. And one of the reasons it worked, I think was that moment in the beginning, when he makes that face the audience just liked him from the other story, which is true when I went to see the this sneak the screening. I walked in, it was a guy at the door.

And he didn't have my name. And he said, Who are you? And I said I'm a screenwriter. And he said, I don't know if I can let you in and I'm Eileen said he's the screenwriter for Christ. He wrote it. So the guy let us in. But I mean, that was also a good example of the power of the screenwriter. Nobody wanted to tell us that you said that screenwriters rank somewhere between the the man who guards the studio gate and the man who runs in the men who run the studio.

I think that's you know, they It's it's an odd most screenwriters I think, are only doing it because they want to get on to other things. They want to direct. I think most screenwriters really want to direct and I understand that because a director a makes more money but be as power. And you can if you're lucky as a director, and you have talent as a director, I mean, I think it's a terrible life. But it's better in many ways than being a screenwriter. I mean, it's not movies or an on movies are very, very odd way to make a living. They really are. Because for everybody, it's not just stars that lose it. Directors, nobody wants this director anymore. Nobody wants that writer.

Nobody wants that editor. A lot of technicians have long careers. I was a great, great editor just died DDL. And she had been around. I mean, she didn't start too young because she was a woman and there was prejudice in those years. But, I mean, she ran a lot and a wonderful run. But a lot of technicians if they're really skillful cameramen and editors can have long careers. There's a documentary out now about screenwriters. And what's interesting is, screenwriters tend to tell the same story? Because most of us have the same experience. These are people who have had careers, but you have the same things that didn't work.

It's interesting, you're talking about Director's Cut, because you you talk about the perplexing what you call the perplexing relationship between the writer and director, you say that the writer needs to be as supportive of the director as possible. You've also called them insecure lying assholes.

Well, I think basically, that's true. I mean, a lot of directors are wonderful people, Ron Howard. The two nicest people I've ever met in the movie business. Richard Attenborough in England and Ron Howard here in terms of just plain nice, decent professionals. But most directors are, it's weird, because it's hard doing it. Because you don't Oh, my God, you can't get you can't get this room. I thought we had this room sewn up. No, we don't have it, we have to go here, or it's raining out.

Or there's a million things that can go up that can screw up a director and most directors. It's hard. I mean, George Hill is the best director I've ever worked with. George didn't work that much. George would basically not work for like a couple of years, and then would do two movies back to back. And why he worked that way. I don't know. I don't know it was his rhythm. But it wasn't that he wasn't wanted, because it was offered everything. But I'm in a lot. It's a strange. And if you have a movie, that's a flop and you're the director, they remember that. I mean, you got to look up people's careers. A lot of guys have a long time of years between work. It's because the studio the last movie flopped, they don't want you.

So it's never been a desire on your part. You'd never had any desires direct,

I would have died rather than do it. I wouldn't know what I wouldn't know what the fuck to say to an actor. You know, they're I mean, actors. wonderings about actors. It's true, like everybody else, even though they're cuter than we are. They're very insecure. And when an actor wants the lines changed, you don't know. Is he really saying I don't like this line? Is he really saying, I want more lines? Is he really saying? I want everything in this scene to be about me? What did they really say? I don't know. I mean, they're, they're very peculiar. You know why? I don't know. I? I don't know why actors say yes, I'll do this part. I don't understand them. And they are what they are.

But in the case of Paul Newman, and Butch Cassidy, you had a great example of an actor saying not not worried about his co star not worried about the co star getting more attention or getting more lines or no,

but that was Newman Newman was. I mean, he was remarkable figure I think one says such bullshit about actors Oh, so and so was, but Newman really was.

But I remember this is an awful story. I wrote a movie in the 90s. It was a very successful Western Maverick. And James Garner played Gibson's in turns out his father, and I thought Shit, Paul Newman would have been great for the park because he looks like. And I went to Mr. Newman and showed him the script. And he had some suggestions. And then he said, Let's do it. And I remember he hit his dead, what the hell? Let's do it. And then there was a pause on this is Paul Newman. And he said, I hope they don't lowball me, meaning I hope the studio doesn't try and Chin's me out, or whatever my salary shouldn't be. And I said, that's not going to happen. It did happen. It did happen. They low balled, Paul Newman. And the big female star that time was Meg Ryan. And they low balled her.

And suddenly, Mel Gibson, I was told this, who was a giant star at this point. Got in a rage, because he didn't want to be the only star in the movie. So they went to James Garner that day? And he said, Yes. And Gardner had been in the you know, and it was a very, very, and they went to Jodie Foster and offered her more money than she'd ever been offered. And she said, Yes. So they suddenly over a weekend had their cast. But it was, you know, why would they? I still don't know. How anybody would Lobo? How can you basically take one of the great figures in film history and offer him enough money? Less than he felt? He wasn't a greedy man. And I don't know. It's a strange thing. But that's, that was a horrible story. Because Paul was probably Newman was probably 70. Wonderful looking always.

Yeah, the eyes, everything, just everything. He said that he had it all to do over again, you'd have written everything you've written except for All the President's Men.

Yeah, it was a terrible experience was an swell movie. It is. But it was a it was just a complicated film. It was you know, I wrote about it once. In a book it was, it was just that's another movie they don't make today. I mean, even if a big star wanted to make it which Redford was then a big star. It was just a very unpleasant experience. And the movie, it doesn't matter. The movie had some wonderful things. And I think the actors were swell, and we got through it. But it was a very, here's the deal. It doesn't matter. If you have a shitty experience on a movie, maybe eight people on earth? No, that is shitty experience and that movie, because I wrote about it in a book. But other than you don't, doesn't matter. It doesn't matter, the movie itself, whatever is up there on the screen or on your TV shed or on your little whatever those things are. That's what matters. Do you like that experience of being around that movie for that period of time? And it doesn't matter if you have a good experience or have a bad experience, except to the particular person. You know, did the director have a shitty time, you know, whatever, I don't know,

it was such a complicated story and so many different characters and names. And oh, God, the names were so terrible, I'm terrible. But it was Bob Woodward, who was one of the writers of it was a huge help to me. And the movie doesn't work as well as it does if he wasn't as helpful as, as he was, and then has gone on to having a fabulous career. But it's like, just in general, whether I have a good experience or a bad experience, making a movie writing a movie. I mean, let's talk about the writing of a movie, writing for me, my work habits are, I can't do anything until I think I know what I'm doing. And I only know what I'm doing, when I know the story from beginning to end. And then what I do is, I'll put on my wall, I'll tape to the wall, a yellow thing maybe with 15 or 25 numbers. It'll say interview, rain, whatever it is. And the rain means that when I'm going home today, there's a storm and some people are hurt because there's lightning, whatever it is, right? So I'll just put a few words down. But that's really the story of the movie. So and once I have those words up on the wall, I can write the movie and as I said, I mean one of my favorite writers ever Graham Greene, very, very great writer used to count the words.

And I think he wrote 300 words a day. And when he got to his 300 word, he stopped middle of his sentence screaming which you know what? Got me well That's crazy. But that worked for him. There's no, but once I know what I'm doing, once I have the notes up on the wall, I tend to be able to write fairly quickly. And that's, that's what that's me telling the story of the movie that I want to tell, or that I think I can tell. And that's the way it works for me, everybody else is different. I know right at home, but I had an office for years, don't go up there and whatever, whatever. But the main thing is, it's someplace quiet. And I think that basically, what we do, there is no, there are no rules for writing. You know, as I said, at the start of all is the fact that we're talking about my writing career. The fact that this happened is just inconceivable, as Xeni would say. You know why I decided to write a novel, when I had never written one. When I you know, why did I want to? It's crazy. It's just, it was a bizarre experience, and makes no sense. But here we are.

How do you tell the difference between what seems like a great idea, and something that's Oh,

I just think it's something I can make play. I remember I was talking about stupid courage. I read a book when I was a little boy, called Scarface the score story of a grizzly, I have no idea if it's in print. It was about a huge bear. And his adventures and bla bla bla bla bla. And at the end of the book, Scarface is old, walking along a cliff edge, an avalanche starts. And he doesn't try and run to the end of the ends. He turns, gets up on it and fights the rocks as they carry him to his death. Well, I couldn't stop crying for hours. And I didn't know why. I mean, basically, it was that same thing that moves me. So basically. I mean, there were three famous movies that I've turned the Godfather, which I loved as a novel, and God, I loved it. But I had just done something to do with crime. Maybe it was Bush. And I didn't want to write another crime story, not ontologically. That feels right. Yeah. And the second one was the graduate, which I didn't get. The movie I think is wonderful, blah, blah, blah, but I didn't get it.

And the third one was Superman, which I desperately wanted to do. Because I was I am a comic book nut. But I remember them saying we need to star and I knew enough to know that no movie star was going to play Superman. I met Warren Beatty, once we were he was a very smart and fellow. And they wanted him to be Superman. And they gave him the costume. And I think this is true. I think he told me, he went and he put it on, walk outside of his house, looked at himself and thought what the fuck am I doing and what took it off. But I knew that know when they were going to get eastward you know, but Sonny's was not going to. This is a long time ago, but you're not going to get a movie started getting that stupid costume. And I knew that. But they said, No, we're going to get a star. And of course they didn't they get the lovely Christopher Reeve no longer with us. It was wonderful in the movie. But those are three movies that I look back on. And it would have been wrong. I mean, the graduate was not a big deal. It was a small novel. But I didn't know how to make away. I didn't get it. The novel is different than mean it's forgotten who wrote the scripts a hell of a script.

But they made change. I mean, like, Godfather, I just can't remember turning down Godfather, loving it. I mean, usually when you love something you can, but I think it's I didn't want to do a crime thing. I think I don't know what I can't remember there was Was there another gangster movie that night? Or something? I can't remember what but those are. I don't regret them. I mean, the only one I wish I'd written them. The three that I wanted to write was the Superman and I was too smart for the room because they insisted on having a star now you wouldn't. I think if you were doing a special effects movie now, you would know enough. You're not going to get Will Smith to play. Maybe you will if you're lucky, but you're probably not going to get him you're gonna get somebody or somebody who's not famous yet.

Well, what about adapting I mean, you're talking about adapting novels and adapting someone else's work as opposed to adapting your own. I mean, you've, you've done both you've adapted. So

you know, I'm basically when you, when you do an ad, it's all the same thing. You've got to, you've got to like the story, you've got to think I can make this play. I can make this play. And if you have that confidence, I mean, I don't think any of us are ever confident about anything we right. God knows I never was. And I remember I'll talk about Princess Bride. I don't like my writing. I should say that I never have liked it. I don't like it. I've only liked two things I've ever written like Butch Cassidy and I like the princess. And the Princess Bride. I was going to California. My kids were little. I said, I'm going to be gone. I'll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?

One of them said for instances one of them said brides nice. And that'll be the title. Blob, I wrote a couple of pages that I don't think exists anymore in Los Angeles. Then I came back. And I had a lot of scenes, I had the fencing scene, I had a lot of stuff. But I didn't know how to do it. And I remember walking around the city. Because I really wanted to write this for my children. And I couldn't make it work. I couldn't figure it out. And I was gonna never write it. And then one day I got the notion that I didn't write it, it was written by this other finger in a Morgan stir it all of a sudden, that meant I could build from one good part to another to another. And all of a sudden it opened up for me if that doesn't happen. Marathon Man only exists. Because one day I was walking I think it's 47th Street. We're talking about 40 years ago, the diamond is sure. And in those years, it was filled with Jews who had concentration camp marks on their arms and stuff. And I remember walking on the street and thinking Jesus Christ What if the world's most wanted Nazi was walking on the street?

Suddenly the rest of it happened. But if I don't walk that street that day, or if it's winter and I can't see anybody's marks. I never wrote marathon if I hadn't thought of the fact that somebody else wrote Princess Bride. It never is written. It's all fluky how it happens. God knows. But it's always for me a crapshoot. It's stuff you know if I don't read that paper of what's there were two Stranglers I never write no way to treat a lady, which is what got me in the movie business. I mean, a lot of this stuff.

Is it safe is one of the great lines to me, and worked, because there's an ambiguity there that you don't know for a long time at work.

And well, that was a great thing working for Mr. Great Olivier story, who was the greatest actor that ever lived arguably.

He had been ill. I was working with John Schlesinger no longer with us.

Marathon meme was a thriller. John was not known for doing it, but he had done a movie that he thought was going to tank and he thought this could save his career on here.

He doesn't need a locust maybe.

Maybe it was I don't know, but he thought it was going to take. So we're in London. And we try and get Olivia Olivia has been. He was very ill with a bunch of diseases. And Slazenger. What am I thinking? Nobody knew if he live. And then I remembered this marvelous thing. Richard Widmark a wonderful actor, was in London and called up Slazenger is and I know you want Larry, can I read for you and Woodward got very famous in his first movie kiss of death, playing an evil figure named Tommy Yuda, who pushed the woman down the stairs. And he came, and he was fabulous as the evil Nazi as you can, if you think of it, even kiss of death. And then Olivier got strong enough to do it.

And he's bald in the movie wall in the book, blah, blah, blah. And we were terrified that Olivia, who was a very ill man, and had been gorgeous, as a young star might not want to have all his hair taken away. And I wouldn't have blamed him. So we had a barber. And we hit him in the basement of the place where we were doing rehearsal. And so Lawrence walked in and said this lesson. First words, elements. We shouldn't really do something about Getting rid of my hair. And so that only went to the barber and he came back bald and he was just fine with extraordinary. Yeah, he was he was the fabulous figure.

We'll talk a little bit about agents Have you have you had a number of them? I mean, who have been your?

Well, look, I live in New York, I basically think of myself still as a novelist who happens to write screenplays, even though I haven't written the novel in 25 years, 20 years. And I've written a bunch of nonfiction over the last decade or so. But I haven't written a novel. I remember the first agent I had I mentioned Joe McCrindle, who was the agent for Tableau goal. And I think Joe, Joe became I don't know if I have this right. We're going back a long time. Joe had been an editor. And he didn't like it, because he was dealing with agents all the time. So he became an agent, to deal with writers. And he went around the country. When he was just starting, and he went to all these schools that had writing programs. And he picked up I think, Philip Roth, he picked up who was a kid, and you know, but he picked up a bunch of writers. And then Joe was my agent for several years. And then he got bored with it. And he went out and lived in Princeton. And there was a wonderful woman named Monica McCall.

There were at this time, all the big agents in New York. For books were women. There was Monica McCall and Obi Wan, and I can't think of the third right now. And they had everybody and Monica became a agent. But I didn't need a movie agent in the beginning. And then what, eight years later, after I'd been a novel, whatever. Mr. Ziggler was a wonderful figure graduate of Princeton. Really a bright, bright man. And he then he died. So do you have? Do agents really do anything? Yeah, zig did. I mean, the auction was a huge thing. But he liked it was an odd thing that misters he had a he liked it doing auctions. When he got a script that he thought he could sell for a lot of money, he would call up all the studio heads that he knew. And say, I've got this terrific script. I'm sending it to you Friday. You have to have an offer in by Monday. Boom. And that was what he didn't.

Any he liked doing that. And, and he was very successful. But agents, I don't know what to say you need one. You desperately need one. But it's a strange life they have. Because people are always leaving. I mean, it sounds like the world we live in. Everybody's always leaving everybody. But it's fucking true. I mean, almost nobody is that Oh, yes.

Oh, so it has been waiting for 40 years. You always hear that someone says it to him, whatever it is. All I can say is you hustle. You have to not mind rejection. You have to send stuff off to an agent with a letter and pray that somebody in the office will read it. And pray that whoever reads it likes it, and gives it to somebody else in the office and somebody says, Wait a minute, I think we can sell is in which case you have an agent, but they're not your friends. That's not what they do. And like that, but you have to have,

I should say we're changing cars. We were just talking about that you have this extraordinary year where you were a judge both at con and a judge at the museum,

my wife? Absolutely. It was just a marvelous experience, because everybody on the jury has a different job. And when we talk, you know, we see, we'd see each other like every six movies. And we talk about did we like this? Do we like that? What about whatever, whatever. And it was so interesting, not just being around a director or an actor, but a photographer and an editor. And we all were, it was fascinating. It was a marvelous experience.

But you were that you judge Khan that was the was probably the conqueror.

Yeah, it was really it was such a great, yeah, incredible move. It was a wonderful. It was a wonderful experience.

That was that during this period, there was that you said in the eight years prior to 78. You had seven pictures. And then there was an eight year desert was a period of eight years nothing happened.

Nothing got made. It was amazing. One of the things was I got involved with a marvelous figure not dead named Joel Levine. And he wanted to work with me because a bridge too far brought him back. And he had been in the wilderness.

He was We did an original screenplay deal and none of the screenplays got made it was. I mean, God, it's one of these things you think about it. I wrote a screenplay. This is like Butch. I wrote a screenplay about two pirates, which happened. One of them was a man named Stede Bonnet, who lived in this is hundreds of years lived in Barbados, and was the richest man in the island, was married to a monstrous, very lovely woman, but evil.

And he'd been in the service but he'd never seen action. And he got very ill one winter. And he thought, shit, I might die. And he always wanted adventure. This is true. So we did something totally, totally never done before since he built a pirate ship pirate ships were always stolen. Bonnet built his own fucking pirate ship, got his butler to find a crew and he went off sailing to be a pirate. And he didn't give a shit. If he died.

He just wanted action. And through a wild fluke, he attacked the greatest pirate that ever lived black. And they sailed together for a while. And I wrote a movie called The sea kings. And I still think it's a fabulous fucking idea for a movie, because they had adventures. And, you know, they were they were just totally all Blackbeard wanted to do was get enough money to retire.

He was so sick of action. He was so sick of adventure. All he wanted to do was just get out of it. And all Monat wanted to do was see some adventure before he died. And I had these two guys as my heroes and it was I still think it's a great story. And it killed me that never got me, but it never would have higher it's became prominent in Princess Bride.

Yeah, yeah. But I think the reason the pirates there was a big pirate movie that tanked shit, I can't remember what it was cut through an island. And if someone were and they aren't, you know, oh my god pirate movies. Nobody wants to see. And then you know, Jerry Bruckheimer did the pirate movies and everything. But it was it's still, I think, a marvelous story. I think what we do is right, what we hope will move us and we hope that you can translate that emotion to the reader, whether it's a poem, or whether it's a novel, or an essay, or a movie or a play. You want to move people and you want to help people say,

Well, I didn't know that. Whatever, whatever. And it's, it's tricky. It's just tricky. Princess Bride though. And you said that was your favorite?

That's my one. That's what I really love. It really can look at it with it. When I said I don't like my writing, I really don't like my writing. And that doesn't quite track into my nonfiction because nonfiction that's not you know, it's not the writing style. It's so important. It's what do you, you know, whatever. But when I write fiction, I really don't like it. I when I when I look at it, I almost never, I almost ever reread anything I've written.

Because it's so horrible for me. I just don't like it. I wish it was better. But Princess Bride, I really, really like. And in bridge too far with something that you said you really was terrific. Well, that was a great experience, because Attenborough's such a fabulous figure, and we got I mean, it was an amazing story. And a really good book and it didn't work. It's funny. It didn't work commercially, as well as it should have. Everybody loved it until the audience came.

And it was long. Yeah, it was. It was not filled with heroic stuff that you could say, Oh, John Wayne wouldn't been great in this. And sort of the anti longest day. Yeah, it really was. And it was but you know, you as I said, You never fucking know. Nobody knows anything. Nobody has the least idea. What's going to work? And screenwriters are the basis I think of everything.

Because if you have a shitty script, even if you had Bergman or Fellini, or David Lean is not going to work as a movie. It's just is it and everything. I think everything begins with the script. And I think when you see a movie that that's not very good. One of the reasons is just the script and more. It's not the elegance of the prose is not the language for me in terms of moving.

He's only talking movies. It's all fucking story. That's really all it is. If the story works, if the audience, if you're moved by whatever the goddamn story is, you have a chance to have a movie that works. And if it doesn't, if the story isn't well told, or nobody cares about the story, you know, it's not going to work. It just isn't, it's going to be you'll say, You know what I was? You know, I'm sorry, I saw that. I don't know a lot of people that walk out of movies, I tend not to. But you know, half an hour in usually, if you're bored, or you really do when you sit there now, you've always said you have to get them in the first 15.

I think so. And get the beginning is really what it's, it's a weird if there was any logic to it. We wouldn't be here. The fact is, it's not logical. And most. Most, it's very hard. I don't mean for me, it's hard for anybody to tell a quality story, to have a good beginning and a middle and an end that works and all that stuff. It's just difficult. And you look at even the greatest writer directors did turds. And you say why? Well, because the story that we're telling didn't we're not all really well, it was wonderful. Right? Some of it was not even burden, my hero, that all of it was wonderful.

Was it because of Attenborough that you worked on the chaplain felt?

Yes. That was because he needed work at my doctor did for him. But then I got billing, I guess. But it was funny, you know, Downey, we live in a world where one could argue the two biggest actions are not John Wayne and Gary Cooper. They're Robert Downey and Matt Damon. And that's not possible. It's not possible at Robert Downey isn't Julia Anakin. But he is, you know, and he's a terrific guy, and a wonderful actor. But when we did Chaplain If you'd said, Well, who's really going to be an actor? You'd say, what are you smoking? But that's the world we live in. A lot of it is, you know, in Matt Damon in the Bourne movies, they're marvelous scripts by Tony Gilroy. But you know, Matt Damon's Wonderful.

Well, speaking of Tony Gilroy, you had an experience with with Tony on absolute power.

Absolutely. You say my I was. The movie works, it's okay. But I was having terrible trouble. There were too many characters, trying to figure out the story. Eastwood is just as fabulous figure. I remember when he said he would do absolute power. I fly out for a meeting on the script. And this is what it's like, you'll go through the thing and they'll say, this scene here. Could it be shorter? And I'd say that would be good. And then it goes in? Could this be funnier? I can try and good. All of a sudden, half an hour later, I'd say.

That's what he does. And it took anybody who's worked with him. He's the fastest guy, you know, he's still I mean, he's gonna be 80 years old, and he's still directing to movies. I don't know how he does it. But he has a crew that he's all worked with before. And it's like lightning. It's a marvelous experience when you work with him. And I mean, I don't know how he does. It's amazing. My theory on why Newman and Eastwood are the two fabulous figures that they are. And we're is because they did not make it when they were young. They were close to 30. East wind was digging swimming pools in California.

Newman was desperate to try and find any kind of work he got. And they both got lucky. They both got lucky. Eastwood told me he was walking in a movie studio to see a friend who had a job not as an actor, but as a in a guy stopped him and said, Excuse me, sir, are you an actor? And Eastwood said, Yes, sir. And the guy said, we're trying to cast a television show. Would you come read for us? And it was this what was in western that he did that was so raw. And the reason that they wanted him was because the other guy they'd already cast was really tall. So they needed a tall guy to play rowdy and Eastwood was tall, most actors are short. One of the things you must know when you're a screenwriter is they're not

the same experience you had with Sylvester Stallone. Oh, yes, I was. I was staggered by seven

I believe this is Caribbean This is a story I think Eastwood told me. It's his first year and the thing and Ryan, he comes home to his wife, whatever the wife was, and he said, I was offered a piece of shit Western. But I turned it and she said, What was? It takes place in Italy? And she says, We are in Italy when they pay you. And he says, oh, yeah, $25,000. She said, Well, wow, we can use six. Okay. So it goes over shoots this Western and Italy comes back to raw who never hears the Western Union. There's another movie. That's a gigantic phenomenon all over Europe. Nothing is ever heard of. months later, he gets a call from the producers as cleaned. Cleaned. Can we do it? You come while we do our sequel, Eastwood says to what? And they changed the title from A Fistful of Dollars, and no one had told him. So he said, let me see it, certainly send them home. And He's creeping, you know. And I think he rented a little movie theater in his town and had some friends. He says, I don't know what this is. And he liked it. So we did the sequel, then the third one and the end of that he was the biggest star in the world. But I mean, if he doesn't walk down that hall at that moment, and then the consistency of his stardom. Oh, it's amazing. There's ordinary over nothing,

Oh, nothing. I think he's the greatest star in Hollywood history. I really do. But then the director is so freaky, that he's become this man. I mean, arguably, this fabulous director has a just incredible. And Newman was fabulous. He didn't direct as much as he might have. But I remember Newman did our town a few years, he was wondering, but they were they were both late 20s, I think when they broke through, so they had years of suffering and whatever. And I think that's why they were the decent figures they turned out to be.

The reason I asked you about absolute power was because you said that you'd had screenwriters mess around with your novels that you had never really? He never said to somebody else. It's true.

It was hard. I don't know. Sometimes you just can't do it. I don't know. Anything. Finally, you want to say is there? No, it's just basically it's it's just what we started out with screenplays, their structure. The story I think is everything. And you've got to really try and do stuff you think you can make play. It's hard. You know, it just is you've got to do your job and don't fuck it up and don't screw around. Just do what you're trying and tell your story or whatever they want you to do, as skillfully as you can and and hope and hope

Jason Reitman Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Take a listen to Jason Reitman as he discusses his screenwriting and filmmaking process. The screenplays below are the only ones that are available online. If you find any of his missing screenplays please leave the link int he comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Screenplay by Jason Reitman & Gil Kenan – WILL POST AS SOON AS IT’S AVAILABLE

Men, Women & Children (2014)

Screenplay by Jason Reitman – Read the treatment!

Labor Day (2013)

Screenplay by Jason Reitman – Read the screenplay!

Up in the Air (2009)

Screenplay by Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner – Read the screenplay!

Juno (2007)

Screenplay by Diablo Cody. Directed by Jason Reitman – Read the screenplay!

Thank You for  Smoking (2005)

Screenplay by Jason Reitman – Read the screenplay!

Harold Ramis Scripts Collection: Screenplays Download

Below are all the screenplays written by the legendary comedy genius Harold Ramis available online. Watch the video below to get a deeper insight into his writing process. If you find any of his missing screenplays please leave the link in the comment section.

When you are done reading take a listen to Apple’s #1 Screenwriting Podcast The Bulletproof Screenwriting Podcast, with guest like Oscar Winner Eric Roth, James V. HartDavid ChaseJohn AugustOliver Stone and more.

(NOTE: For educational and research purposes only).


Screenplay by Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, and Douglas Kenney – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd- Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd- Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Peter Tolan, Harold Ramis, and Kenneth Lonergan – Read the screenplay!


Screenplay by Peter Steinfeld and Harold Ramis – Read the screenplay!

YEAR ONE (2007)

Screenplay by Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg – Read the screenplay!

BPS 144: A Writer’s Guide to TV Development with Kelly Edwards

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with writer, producer, former studio executive and diversity thought leader Kelly Edwards. Many of us want to be able to pitch our shows to a network or studio but just don’t know how the game is played. Kelly not only knows how the game is played she wrote a book on how to do it.

Her new book is The Executive Chair: A Writer’s Guide to TV Series Development. 

To make compelling television, our industry depends on enthusiastic new voices with fresh ideas. While there are plenty of books about the mechanics of writing, this is the first time an insider has detailed the invaluable TV executive perspective. As key pieces of the entertainment puzzle, executives hold institutional wisdom that seldom gets disseminated outside network walls.

The Executive Chair breaks down the business from the gatekeeper’s point of view, illuminating the creative process used by those who ultimately make the decisions. Whether developing a project for the entertainment marketplace or merely probing the executive mindset, The Executive Chair dispels myths about the creative process and takes the reader through the development of a pilot script.

There are a million ways to break into Hollywood. Your journey will be unique to you. Meet all the people. Work all the angles. But most of all, enjoy the ride.” – Kelly Edwards

Kelly Edwards recently transitioned from inside the network ranks into a writing and producing deal with HBO under her Edwardian Pictures banner.

In her former executive role, she oversaw all of the emerging artists programs for HBO, HBOMax, and Turner. The pilots she produced through the HBOAccess Writing and Directing fellowships have screened at major film festivals including Tribeca and SXSW, and garnered multiple awards.

Prior to HBO, Edwards was a key corporate diversity executive at Comcast/NBCUniversal for over five years where she oversaw over 20 divisions, launched employee resource groups, and introduced diverse creative talent to NBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Telemundo.

Edwards’ career spans both television and film. Early in her career, she worked as a creative executive in features at both Disney and Sony under such talents as Garry Marshall and Laura Ziskin.  After moving to television, she served as a senior executive at FOX where she developed LIVING SINGLE, CLUELESS, and THE WILD THORNBERRYS.  While heading up UPN’s Comedy division as the SVP of Comedy Development she developed GIRLFRIENDS, THE PARKERS, and MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.

In 2000, Edwards co-founded the non-profit organization Colour Entertainment, a networking group for diverse creative executives in TV, Film, Digital, as well as assistants, all designed to connect current and future industry executives with one another.

Kelly and I had an amazing conversation about the business, how to pitch a television project to a studio, and much more. Enjoy!

Right-click here to download the MP3



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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome to the show Kelly Edwards how you doin' Kelly?

Kelly Edwards 0:14
I'm doing great. Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 0:16
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm excited to talk to you because you've got your new book coming out the executive chair, which is the executives point of view for of the entire television process, and actually what it takes to make a television show and all of that, and I really wanted to kind of dig in, because that's kind of the mystery that's like, the man or woman behind the curtain for a lot of writers. Yeah, they want to know what's going on. They all want to go to oz.

Kelly Edwards 0:44
Everybody wants to go does everybody thinks they want to go to oz?

Alex Ferrari 0:49
Oh, I understand. Everybody wants to be in the film business.

Kelly Edwards 0:52
There are a lot of wicked witches in Oz.

Alex Ferrari 0:56
And there's not nearly enough houses dropping on them. Anyway. So how did you get started in the business?

Kelly Edwards 1:04
Oh, well, let's see, I got into the business right after college, I came home. And my dad's like, you've got to, you've got to get a job. And I'm kicking you out of the house. And so I knew I needed to work. And I always wanted to be a part of the industry. I just didn't know in what capacity. And I ended up getting a sort of a hookup from a friend who was working for a very well known manager, talent manager. And he was leaving the job. And there was another person coming in a month later. And they said, Oh, would you bridge the gap between, you know, him leaving and this new person coming in, and it was only a month. And so I went to work for this manager. And then I proceeded to be terrible at it. I was just an awful assistant. And I screwed up more things than I care to admit. And before I got fired, there was another job across the street working for a casting company called the casting company. And I went I worked work there and vowed to be a better assistant that I had been before. And that was sort of you know, I was off to the races it was. I've always said that every job that I've ever had in this business has been a hook up for a friend from a friend. So one thing has led to another and led to another. I've never gotten a job as a cold call. I've never just blindly sent my internet my resume in and it had an interview. It's always been there's been some connective tissue from the last job to the next job. And so I got on this road working through as an assistant for this casting company. And one of the casting directors who was their days champion happened to be friends with a guy named Jerry was again, who was just coming off of a deal. He's just been writing with Don Segal on the Jeffersons and they were looking for an assistant. So I went to work for them. And that really was the real, I think, kickoff to what I'm doing now because I was a writer's assistant, and we were in development. And then there was a they had a show on CBS. And they weren't development on a number of projects. And I got to see the real nitty gritty of not only being in production, but also the develop development process from the writer side. And I really thought I was going to be a writer than but looking around the landscape of television at the time, there wasn't a lot of black women on shows. And, and so I decided, well look, I've got to get a job because my dad's breathing down my neck and I've got to make some money. And and so I ended up I end up going into the into the executive route, which I loved. And, you know, it was still working with the written word, it was still working with writers it was still being super, super creative. And I I went on that road for many, many years, I started in features, and then went into film, and I'm sorry, pictures. And then when I went into television and rose up the rings on the television side and then watch it at Fox worked at UPN as the head of comedy development and then decided that I needed to have another skill set because you know, there's a life expectancy to every executive and I could see my expiration date coming down the pike. And I left UPN to go have my own production company, I partnered up with a guy named Jonathan Axelrod, who had a deal at Paramount And together, we were in business for about six years, we had a show on the air, and I got to see, you know, the selling side of it, which was an incredibly important piece of the puzzle. Because as a buyer, you know, you're in this reactionary, you're receiving pitches, but you're not really in it. And then as the as the seller, and working with the studios and then going out and pitching. I was learning a whole new skill set that was really, really important to having career longevity. And so I did that for about six years and then We founded the company in 2007. And, and I went to work for NBC Universal on in the diversity capacity. And it was a very big corporate job. And I had 20 networks reporting to me and did a lot of work with the presidents of all the different divisions. We did a lot of diversity workouts and a lot of big, big gigantic projects in the diversity space. And then I went to HBO, to work for to set up their their diversity efforts, which really consisted of the writers and directors, programs, a set of topics and some photographers programs, and a lot of emerging artists programs over there.

And then, and then at the top of last year, they came to me and said, there have been a big shift, because, you know, the at&t merger had happened. And a lot of things were changing. A lot of people were, were changing chairs over there. And they came to me with a with a big offer and said, Look, you could have this, this huge, huge increase in pay, we're going to give you worldwide diversity. And you know, don't you want to do this. And I said, I said no, because by that time, over the last couple of years, I had gone back to, to school to get my MFA in screenwriting in TV writing. And also I had gotten into Sundance and the experience of those two things together really showed me that I had really been living in the wrong skin for a long time, I was probably supposed to be a writer all along. And I had poured all of my energy into making other people's dreams come true, and helping them and really learning along the way as I was teaching them about television writing. And this was my chance to do it on my own. And it was a huge risk, because, you know, you've given up a 401k and a Cush paycheck every other week, and great healthcare to, to go off on my own and start my own thing. So that was a long story. That's the that's the whole that's the whole megillah about how I got from here. But it's been a crazy, crazy, fulfilling last 12 months that I have been on my own. I do this, I'm gonna say it's a first look, HBO deal, but also I'm on a staff of a show. So it's, it's my dream has really come true over the last 12 months. And I feel like I feel so renewed where I feel like you know, many people get to this part in their career, and they just kind of go well, let me just write it out until retirement, I only have a few more years left for me just sort of enjoy it. And I'm just getting started.

Alex Ferrari 7:38
Yeah. And you know, what I love about your story is that, and this is only because of age, because as we get older, we don't realize this when we're in our 20s or even our 30s for that matter, is that your I love the comment I was in the wrong skin the entire time. And we don't kind of realize what makes us happy, too late or some people are very lucky they get that right away. But most of us don't. And but we played in the arena. We weren't the gladiators but we but we help the gladiators put their armor on. Right We were next to it. We could smell it. We organize the the the battles, if you will, if you use this analogy, but we really wanted to be in the arena. And I did that for a long time. I mean, I wasn't sure I wanted to be a director. And before I started directing, was imposed and I lived in post I was like I'm close to it. I'm adding skill sets. And that's great for a year or two but then you fast forward 10 or 15 years just like am I I'm not happy anymore. I'm like I'm not happy at this. I got to do what I love and then when I start doing what I love, then that's what made me happy. I think that's a big big lesson everyone listening should really understand is Be true to that voice inside of you. Because you can you can muffle that voice for years. It'll come back, it'll come back out. It'll come back out at one point. But you're like I've turned down my God when I was I only had two staff jobs ever in my life and I got fired promptly from both of them because I was so miserable in them, but they were Cush jobs, obscene money for the time, and I just let but I'm not happy. So it's not about the money and it's not about this it's like you guys very seductive though. Oh, so I said oh man not having to hustle for that check every week. As you know, freelancing you gotta hustle. But when you got that check coming in. oh 401k oh, I don't have to worry about healthcare. Oh it's it's it's very seductive. But it's something

Kelly Edwards 9:37
Your soul could die a little every day inside. Oh I was feeling I was feeling after a while that my soul was dying. And I knew that if even if I got out and did it for only a month or two months or I you know if I had to go back and you know, you know work work for McDonald's or you know, scrape tar For somebody shoe or something after that, that that, however many months I had would have been worth it. And that's when you know that you just have to do something, it's sort of like when we get what I think of. I'm not even sure if I'm going to articulate this well, but it's almost as though you have this light inside you. And you know that if you keep keep trying to patch it over, you know, you keep trying to sort of put something or said it doesn't really shine, but then eventually it's going to eke out somewhere, it's gonna burst out somewhere. And you might as well just open up the bag and just let it burst out everywhere. Because I've literally never had this much joy in my entire life in any job. And I loved my job. I loved working, you know, in development, it was a great experience. But there's nothing that compares to what what I've been living this last year.

Alex Ferrari 10:50
And we were talking a little bit before the before we started recording about the angry and bitter filmmaker and screenwriter. And, like, I always think the joke is, you know, in front of a film of an audience, I'll go everybody here knows an angry and bitter filmmaker. And if you don't know an angry, bitter filmmaker, screenwriter, you are the angry and bitter screenwriter, those angry and bitter filmmakers and screenwriters are the people who are not doing what they love to do, and they're in a job or in a place, that they're not fulfilling what they want, generally speaking, right? They're probably variations. But because I was, I was pissed. I was so bitter and angry. And I used to be in an editing room. And I used to see like a 25 year old walk in with a $3 million movie I'm like, and I'm looking at the movie. I'm like, this movie sucks. I'm fixing everything for this guy. And he does. He's never even seen Blade Runner. What's going on? Like, it's

Kelly Edwards 11:43
So so what changed for you then

Alex Ferrari 11:46

Kelly Edwards 11:49

Alex Ferrari 11:49
40, I was 40. And I launched Indie Film Hustle. And the film also was the thing that really took me to a place of happiness, because I was able to give back I found my I found my calling, my calling is to be an artist, and to be a creative, but in the film possible, affords me the opportunity to do that, whenever I want, when and, and also, my joy comes from writing a book, doing a podcast, writing an article, show a movie, shooting a movie, uh, speaking in front of people, I found all of that, and I was like, Oh, great, I don't have just one outlet anymore. Because if I can't, because that sucks. When you only have one outlet, if that outlet closes, you're screwed, I found five or six or eight different things that make me truly happy that gets me up in the morning. And, and they all work within the same world for the most part. So that's what kind of, and then when I turned 30, I was like, I gotta I gotta go shoot a movie. And I want to try to film my first feature, sold it to Hulu, and, you know crowdfunded into the whole thing. And that was that that was a turning point, really. But it was the audience that really gave me the strength to do that I was, I was scared to do that prior to having any film hustle. So for me, it was just like, you know what, I'm gonna go do this. And if it doesn't work, I got I got my show, and come back to my show. You know, and, and also just the joy I get to meet meeting people like yourself, you know, to sit down and talk to someone like you for an hour, there's people out there that would kill to have that opportunity to get that kind of access to someone like yourself, or any of the other wonderful guests, I get on my show. And I get that opportunity daily or weekly. And that is massive. And I get to talk to people at a very high level in the industry, and very high level executives and high level writers and Oscar winners and all this kind of stuff. And it just, it gets me jazzed.

Kelly Edwards 13:48
Right. So well you know, you said a couple of things that I think are really interesting. First of all, you didn't really wait for anybody else to give you that opportunity. Correct. You made that opportunity and not only that, but you said you found many avenues for that. And I love to tell people sometimes your vision you can't have such a myopic vision of what success looks like that you think oh I need to work at x like if you said you know to yesterday tomorrow whenever I want to go work at ABC you would then work you would then completely miss working for Hulu and working for you know, audible like your your creative muscle might might be doing something completely different. That still gives you that same satisfaction. And I think you did that you found the speaking you found the book, you found the podcast, you found the film. All of those are creative endeavors. And you're able to get that satisfaction of that love and that joy in your in your life through things that didn't necessarily look like well, I had to do my $50 million universal picture. Because I think that's what we sometimes when we when we think about oh we want this career. That's what it looks like.

Alex Ferrari 14:59

Kelly Edwards 15:00
All the things that can give you joy.

Alex Ferrari 15:02
Oh, there's absolutely no question. And I know people listening right now are like, well, what is what is success for you? Well, I have to go win an Oscar, I have to work on $100 million movie, I have to go work for Marvel or I have to go work for HBO. And do you know a game of thrones spin off and have to be in the writers? Like that's, it's a very specific goal. And my experience I don't know about you is, whenever I've made goals like that, the universe laughs at me. Because it's just does it does it never falls into, if you would have told me 10 years ago, and I would have a podcast. And that podcast would give me access to some of the biggest minds and highest big powered people in Hollywood. From my little room in Burbank, at the time when I was starting this now I'm in Austin, I would have laughed at you. Of course, it sounds ridiculous. Oh, and because of that, you're gonna be able to do this and this and this. And this, none of which were in my none of which were my plan. But you have to be open to what the universe gives you. And that's the thing that I always find. I found in my in my elder years because I'm geriatric now because I just broke my foot. But But no, in my in my years come is being open to what comes. And as a young man, I was not I was closed off. It had to be I had to be tweeting Tarantino had to be Robert Rodriguez had to be Steven Spielberg, do you have any directors walked into this? Because like, I'm going to be the next Steven Spielberg like No, you're not. Not because you're not capable. But you're talking about I'm going to be the next Michelangelo, like, that's who you're talking about. Like, there's a hand there's a handful of masters, who we all look up to. And even Spielberg was looking up to Kurosawa and Kubrick and all these other, they all do it. But you have to be the best version of you. And whatever that takes you. It's okay, as long as you're happy, and you're helping people and you're expressing yourself as an artist, and you're making a living. That's the goal of life. And that was the other thing. I don't need millions of dollars. And that was another big thing. Because a lot of people think filmmaking is about millions of dollars and fame and fortune. And when you're young, that's what you think about. But as you get older, you're like, you know, what, can I pay my bills? Can I support my family? I think I'm good. Like, I don't need, you know, $10 million a year, it'd be nice to be able to do some fun stuff with it. But it's not gonna make me happy. What makes me happiest,

Kelly Edwards 17:33
Right! I do so and it may or may not come the millions of dollars may or may not come? Who knows? And that's fine. If, if you're enjoying it. Yes, exactly. Exactly. And I think you're, you're you're just as much of a fanatic about film as I am. And I listen to your podcast. And I love the fact that you do these deep dives that you have the screenplays that you can sort of dissect on line, that I never get enough of just having conversations about content. And I think that for me, if I if I had to go work at a desk job and push paper, I would just shoot myself in a little ball. Absolutely. So any chance that I get no matter where it is, being in touch with other people who love this is life giving for me.

Alex Ferrari 18:17
Absolutely, it is a it is it is a joy to be able to do what I do every day, and I have the privilege and I tried it. I try to take advantage of it as much as I can every day. But it's about giving back Honestly, I mean, so much of our conversation, I'm asking you questions that I want answered personally. And then everybody gets to kind of listen into our conversation. These are conversations that you would have at a bar at a festival, or at a commentary or on a set. And I was like, you know, I want to have those. I've had so many of those in my career like Man, I wish I would have recording that one. Or always, you know, like that little gem that would have been great. And that's what I do for a living and I'm able to jazz myself up, but also give the opportunity to millions of people around the world to listen to to our conversations and hopefully help them along their path. Because I would have killed for an opportunity to have a podcast like mine to listen to when I was coming up in my 20s exactly Oh my god. It would have saved me but we've gone off

Kelly Edwards 19:16
Dealing with JVC tapes and you know,

Alex Ferrari 19:19
God don't don't go How old are we? Oh god Stop it. Stop it. I was cutting out a three leg. I was cutting I was cutting on a three quarter inch. Sony raises them putting putting reels together for a commercial house back in the night. And I was there I was there sell old I am. I was I was there Apple tech. For all the whole production company. I was the tech for all the computers which were all the little Macs and a little boxes. Yeah, axes. And there wasn't a Wi Fi. So in order to network everything you had to use appletalk and that was cable that you would cook and it was just like a long daisy chained cable across the entire company. And if somebody had to have I swear to God, if someone kicked one open and knocked the entire network out, and I would literally have to go and hunt down, where did they get kicked out and then plug it back. It was seen, but we have

Kelly Edwards 20:17
Okay, all right. Well, I when I was first, so I used to work on a Selectric typewriter when I was doing my first thesis and my you know, working for my, my two writers. And then I was so excited when we when we converted to Wang computers. So that was the big thing. And I loved typing on it because it made a little clicking sound. And I thought, Oh, this is so cool. So yeah, I'm gonna go toe to toe with the only person on the planet.

Alex Ferrari 20:45
Hey, listen, the struggle was real. The struggle was real. I just want to put that out there for everybody. And everyone listening is like, okay, Alex, enough with the old telling the two old farts. At least one old fart. You look much younger than me. Yeah.

Kelly Edwards 21:02
Sorry. I'm just I'm saying we're right there. This is this is the good news though. I just made a transition in my life and my career. And I'm I 30 plus years into the business. So I just turned 58. And I've just gotten stabbed for the first time. So if anybody does out there listening, go, I don't know if I can make a change. Absolutely. When I'm, you know, an adult. I've got three kids. They're all adults. They're all legal, then, you know, you can't you absolutely can't you just have to put your mind to it. And you have to make a plan. But don't ever let anybody tell you you can't make a change, man.

Alex Ferrari 21:39
Amen. Amen. Now, the executive ranks which is is a mystery to me. Executives get a bad rap. As a general statement in the film side and the television side. It's the evil executives, this is this is a lot of writers think this way. It's your evil executives who come down with their notes, they have no idea what they're doing, they don't understand what's going on. What First of all, what are the executive ranks? Is there like a specific kind of pert? You know, like, I have no idea what the ranks are. I mean, obviously, I know the studio head and head of television and things like that, but the hierarchy. And then let's first go into the hierarchy, what is the hierarchy of a standard, you know, executive ranks at a studio?

Kelly Edwards 22:27
Well, I delineate this in the book pretty early on, in laying the groundwork, because it is important for you to know what the levels are when people come in. Usually in the executive ranks, you start out as an assistant, sometimes there's a level lower than that, like an associate some of the programs that they used to have it I don't think they have any more use to start with associate, then you go to assistant and then coordinator, which is interesting, because years ago, back in the 80s, coordinator and assistant were were reversed. But now it's assistant coordinator. And the coordinator is really the junior executive on that track. And they they go from, you know, just answering phones to and creating, you know, coffee meetings, and you know, lunches, and all of that and scheduling. Travel to, okay, now you're a junior executive, and you're probably getting writer's list together, you're doing a version of notes, you're sort of you're in the meetings with the executives, and then you've got a manager. And that's even more on that scale. So as a manager, you're really fully an executive, but but you're still a junior executive, you're not necessarily running the meetings, you're not necessarily the person who's giving the notes to the higher the higher ups. But you are absolutely a utility player, you're reading a lot of scripts, and you're in the game. And then there's director level, sometimes there's an executive director level, that's really just a half step. You know, somebody, somebody HR is trying to squeeze in another steps that you don't have to get to VP, you can't be top heavy in your department. But then after director, it's VP and then Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and then you're going to sort of get into the, you know, the president ranks of the of the company, and then you get up to CEO. So there are there are steps in there, and you learn different things at different places along the way. By the time you're a VP you are, you can be heading your own department. Usually a director is not heading their own department, but a VP would be SVP for sure. EDP is in charge of a division most likely. And then present year and taught in. And I think, also what's interesting is that the more the higher up you get, the less creative sometimes it gets. So if you're a president of the network, you're not necessarily in the creative meetings all the time. You're not necessarily hearing the pitch you you've sort of aged out of the fun stuff. And I know a number of people who, who can get to that level they go oh gosh, I really Love the process of being in the middle of it with the with the writers. And now I'm dealing with marketing and sales and

Alex Ferrari 25:07

Kelly Edwards 25:08
And ratings. Yeah, exactly.

Alex Ferrari 25:11
So how So how has the when I said the evil executives, because I mean, I mean there it's been infamous like that's in Hollywood for a long time. Can you just from the point of view of the executives now you've been on both sides of the of the table? Wow. I've heard from many writers, and, and filmmakers, there are some excellent executives out there that give great notes. And really, they have an outside perspective, and they really have an understanding of story The and to have that understanding of character, and they really do help. And then there's the the egocentric, you know, climbers who are just there to like, I can't, I gotta get I got to stick my nose into this. If not, why am I here? Kind of executive? How do you deal with that kind of an executive as a creative? And how would you, because they have the power, they have the keys to the car that you're driving. But yet, if you let them drive, they're going to run it off the road. So there's this balance of creativity versus politics, which is, there is no book that I know of, there is no course that I know of that talks about the true politics of this industry. And it is yeah, it is important to understand

Kelly Edwards 26:23
It is there are a lot of things. And I think a lot of little pieces to this, because you have to remember it's not just on the executive side that you're looking at, you're looking at the status of the writer. So if you come in and your baby writer and you're getting notes from somebody, you pretty much have to take them. If you're a baby writer who's paired up with someone who can help, then you have a different level of influence. If you are coming in and you're the you know, the top eat me Shonda Rhimes, you're not necessarily taking anybody's notes. So you're depending on what you're what you're, you know, you can listen to them or not. So I think it depends on where you are as a writer on the food chain as well. Here's the thing about executives, though, if every executive comes into the business, as someone who is a fan of entertainment, the way that we are, they hopefully they're doing the work that we are, they aren't always but they love content. So they love television shows, they love film, they love books, they love the creative side of the business, just like the writers do. They're just a different part of the process. And hopefully a good executive has taken the time to figure out you know how story what you know, they read all the good books they read, you know, the hero's journey, they read, they, they know what they're, they're talking about, some people don't do that work. And I think that's when you see a bad executive, when you see somebody who's come in who hasn't been on the production side, you can always tell I can always tell somebody has or has not been in production, because you see that they give notes that aren't doable, or workable or even make sense. But they don't know that because they're they're dealing with limited information. But the executive who is a really good executive, is trying to help you realize your dream, your goal, you have a story to tell. If you've gotten to the place where you're having a conversation with an executive, it's because they like your work. So already, that's a good thing. It's not like they're coming in and saying, Hey, I read your script, and I hate it. And let me you know, tear it apart for you. That's not the goal. Everyone's goal is always with good intention. So they're going to see your material and say, This is how I think you can make it better. Sometimes the way that they deliver those notes is not great, is it can be demoralizing. I think, again, that's part of the executives journey on trying to figure out how do they become the best executive they can be. And they may be. I was telling, I was talking to the director on our show this today, who happens to be Joe Morton, who's who's in our show. And I said, I just cringe at some of the notes that I must have given as a junior executive, back in the 80s. I want to apologize to every single person that I ever gave a note to back then because I am sure I came with so much arrogance, thinking Oh, I know better than you do. And I'm going to help you make this better. Not realizing that that's not the way to to anybody's heart. And I say now I actually don't give notes anymore. I I asked questions. Because I realized along the way that the writer had a goal in mind. If they didn't make that, that if they didn't hit the mark, then it's not because they didn't try is that there's probably some missing information you probably haven't earned those moments. You probably haven't given us enough information about The character you haven't done it done the hard work, but there's something missing. That's that's not connecting. So I ask questions because usually through a process of asking questions there's a revelation that happens for the writer it's not I'm dictating the note to you but it's I'm helping you discover what you want to say and how to say it better and that's how I put things down but people don't come into the business to be horrible to be to be to be negative and they're the goal is let me help fix it. And I think that's sometimes where the disconnect is between writers and and executives in a writer can can receive that information in a terrible way if it's not if it's not given with the spirit of collaboration

Alex Ferrari 30:49
Right and there's always that thing called ego as well that gets thrown into the mix on both sides of the table this is the deal and as we get older we you're right when oh god the arrogance when you um I couldn't even sit in a room My head was so big when I was younger oh my god and my 20s oh my god it was I will fix it you have obviously you people who've been in the business for 20 years you don't understand I'm here to exactly I'm here to fix this Just listen to me I know that we will guide you right to the promised land now how has how has streaming changed the game because you You came up in a time when there was no internet no streaming there was no Netflix there was none of that stuff both of us did. So in the 80s and 90s you know we were still you know, there was cable and then there was more shows but now there's literally how many how many scripted shows are there now the 1000 a year?

Kelly Edwards 31:44
Yeah probably a gajillion I'm sure

Alex Ferrari 31:45
It's insane how is the game changed and it's a lot of the stuff that we're talking about still apply in the streaming world as well as the network world or has streaming completely changed the paradigm

Kelly Edwards 31:58
It has changed it in very significant ways. And in some ways it hasn't changed at all. You still need a camera at a script and an actor so that doesn't change it's not like the it's revolutionized to the point where we don't recognize what we're doing. It's it's very similar in that way. You still call cut you still call to action and but it's changed it in obviously how the business works. monetarily change Did you ever zoom in on the executive residuals well yeah residual Exactly. But if you think about it even on the executive track you know if you go from working at a regular network to going to work for Netflix you all of a sudden become a millionaire in a couple of years so it's changed a bit a big way you know every no how's that work? No.

Alex Ferrari 32:47
So how is that work holiday let's back up for a second so if you're an executive working at CBS, then you jump over to Netflix why at Netflix is your what is the compensation difference? Why is it it's just because Netflix is just giving money away? Like it's water? Oh, yeah.

Kelly Edwards 33:01
Oh, yeah, it's it's many times just putting a time is next to that number. It's double, triple, quadruple what you can get paid at a regular network. But they also don't have contracts, they also don't have the same kind of titles. So things are different. You know, I don't think that they have pension plans in the way that you know, you have a 401k at an at another network. So I do think that there's given take a little bit but yeah, you are getting paid. Some nice, nice paychecks are coming into your direct deposit. But it's changing also in a lot of other ways in that if you think about the way people are developing content, obviously when when we went to from broadcast and a certain number of act breaks now let's go let's let's actually jump back in time, let's back in the time when I was coming up, and I was working for Don and Jerry, you know, we were working in for camera tape shows, you know, and we were looking at quad splits and we were and the directors were in the booth and they were you know, she kept the shots. It's very, very different that we went into more when I was working at UPN in particular we started to work in more of the single camera area and by that time you know Seinfeld was around and so shows became have our comedies were not just two acts with a you know, a teaser and a tag. All of a sudden it's three acts. It's you know, when Seinfeld came out the scenes were so much shorter. They were a lot of you know, comedy stings. And there's just a lot of things that change in terms of the, the way that we made shows if you watch the the pilot of Sex in the City, they have these little Chi rods in it, there's a lot of DIRECT address. There was a lot of gimmicks that were happening around that time. We don't see those necessarily as much as we do we did then. So things are always changing the evolution of television, always changing the boundaries in terms of what you can and cannot say, are always changing. When you get to streamers, we're now dealing with no act breaks. You know, we had that it. We had that at HBO, we had the HBO and Showtime and all that. But now we're dealing on a massive scale with no act breaks for your, for your, your shows. So you have to make sure that you are keeping a structure to it so that things are moving forward. Oh, there are you have to do, you have to find a way to get people to push next episode in a way that you didn't have to before. So in broadcast from before, you'd show up every Thursday night for mercy TV, or you show up every Monday night for whatever you're showing up for. And it was one episode at a time. And now we're in bingeing. But in order to get somebody to binge on the writer side, my goal is now to get someone to binge. Well, I then have to figure out what is going to get them to binge. That means a more serialized kind of storytelling. And that means I need to find a way at the end of episode one to get you to press episode, you know to get to next episode. So that changes storytelling quite a bit, you have to figure out a whole new paradigm for telling a story that might have been really successful as a one off. Let's just say you're doing lawn order SBU and everything is self contained. Well, the good news about lawn orders to you is that you might want to do next episode, just because you love Mariska Hargitay, but there's no reason that you need to do it next episode. Unlike watching queens Gambit, I have to get to the next one because the story's not finished. So we're dealing with very, very different ways of storytelling that we didn't have before.

Alex Ferrari 36:57
Yeah, like, you know, watched castle that was, you know, that was on forever on an ABC. And that was a procedural show. It had a small arc through the season, but it was a procedural show a fun, procedural SBU. So every week basically, it was a self contained episode, but there was a small like, will she ever find her mother who killed her father or something like that? There's always that one little arc that carries throughout the entire episode, or the entire series a season. But then something like Queen's gambit. Like that's just crack. It was absolutely it was absolute

Kelly Edwards 37:31
Or squid game. If you watch squid game

Alex Ferrari 37:32
I have not seen it yet. I my wife says no, because that means I have to do it on my own now and that's gonna take me more time to do because she saw she's like, that looks violent. I'm like

Kelly Edwards 37:43
It is so it's terrible.

Alex Ferrari 37:46
I've been hearing nothing about it. I have to but I have to watch it. I have to watch it right, or Narcos, when Narcos was the first three seasons of Narcos was just like Jesus every week he just wanted to keep every week every episode you want to keep going. And it just changes the whole way. You look at story structure. You were saying evolution? You know there was one. There was one show that really changed the game. I'd love to hear your point of view on it. You know when the sopranos showed up? And David chase created the sopranos. It really just changed everything. Like it changed. storytelling and television. And you know, you had you know, Breaking Bad Mad Men, Dexter, Game of Thrones, right? All of these the lineage goes right back to the sopranos, pre Sopranos. a show like Breaking Bad would have never even It was tough to even get breaking up the air.

Kelly Edwards 38:41
I really wanted a shield Come on, it was that just before it was around the same time it

Alex Ferrari 38:46
It was I think it was either around the same time or a little bit after this a little bit after I think the sopranos was the first time that was that anti hero. In a way. It was the episode The episode. It's fresh in my mind now because I just had the pleasure of talking to David chase on the show. And and that was a that was a trip. There was an episode five, I think it was episode four or five. It was happening. It was Episode Five was called college where Tony strangled a rat. On Air, like full blown. The rat didn't do anything to him. It wasn't like the guy what? And HBO had a major problem with it. They're like you're going to destroy this character before he even gets off the ground. Nobody's gonna want to follow this guy. He's your little and they murder him right on, like a glorious daylight like it's bright and everything. And that was the moment it shifted. Because prior to that, you just saw instances of that, but you never saw the brutality of Tony Soprano. And that moment, after that episode came on, everybody was even more jazzed about seeing the show. And the executives were like, oh, things are changing. We we don't need to have a hero anymore. We don't need To have a guy who has moral a moral compass, we can root for the pet guide. And that was right. It kind of just shifted everything. And movies have been doing that for a while. I mean, I mean, Goodfellas. You know, if you want to go into that genre, I mean, we were all sure we were all rooting for Scarface. I mean, you could I mean, we are all falling, but in television that would never done never ever prior to that. So what did you What's your opinion on the legacy of the sopranos and then also these other shows that kept pushing the envelope after the sopranos like a Breaking Bad like a madman, like, like, Dexter for serial killer. We're rooting for.

Kelly Edwards 40:42
Yeah, and I remember being out there, I think around the time that Dexter came out with something similar. We were pitching something with a with a couple writers under my deal at Paramount, and yeah, it was a it became a big thing. I think, I think a couple things happen at the same time, which is, when you think about the sopranos, it was remarkable. And I would love to I did not hear your David Chase.

Alex Ferrari 41:07
It just came out. It just came out, as of this week, as of this recording. Came out right there. So you can listen to that, like,

Kelly Edwards 41:13
Where is he? Like, what is he doing now? Because I, I mean, he dropped,

Alex Ferrari 41:19
He dropped the mic. That's basically I dropped the mic situation like he he's been in television for what 40 years braved the rock for files and all this stuff. But then he was given that opportunity to do the sopranos. And when he was doing the sopranos, he literally just like, I don't care. I'm gonna do it my way. And I'm gonna be bold, and I'm gonna fight for whatever I want to do. And that's and they just let HBO let them do it. It's an it's a weird. Just everything aligned. So perfect. Right at that. The timing for a show like that. And I think and I think HBO was really trying to get into television, and they're trying to make Yeah, big swings, right? And they took that. And I actually said that to David. I was like you I'm so glad you took the swing at the back because we need creators on the on Bay at home plate, taking those swings. And I go, what would what would have happened if you would have missed because it Sopranos could have absolutely missed, right? And he's like, Oh, no, I would have just gone back into something else.

Kelly Edwards 42:19
I don't care. Yeah, it was low stakes for him, I guess. Because Yeah, for I and correct me if I'm wrong, but my guess is, I think the story was that he had it at Fox first. And they didn't want to do it. Well, it was

Alex Ferrari 42:31
It was a feature. It was a feature. And, and he he wrote a feature first and he still tried to go around town with it. Nobody wanted it that somebody at HBO pitched him an idea about it wasn't a feature about the mob. It was about. It was about a studio executive who had an issue with his mother, his psychotic mother, because it's based on his life. That's his mom. The Sopranos mother is his mother.

Kelly Edwards 42:58
So when they say right, which, you know, right, which you know, it's

Alex Ferrari 43:01
exactly that, but then someone's like, hey, do you want to do a mob, a mob show? And then he then he connected the two. And that's how, and that's how the sopranos game. And then he did pitch it. I think, I'm not sure who who paid. I got to HBO somehow. And then HBO said yes, to whatever I mean, I mean, the episodes the first season was, and they just kept going with it. But then it was just this, this magic that you can't, as a writer, as a writer, and a creator, you could do so much on the page, but then the actors show up, then the director show, then the location show up, and then you're rewriting there. And then on the edits, you're rewriting there, it's like it's, he said, it was like when you saw Tony talking to this other character, you're like, Oh, I didn't see that before. Why don't we try this? That's a magic that it's lightning in a bottle. You can't get the free, you know, this as well as anybody having the freedom that he had, at that budget range on a network like HBO is unheard of, especially at the time. Right? basically let the the lunatics run the asylum for a minute. And then by the time Yeah, and by the time the show was off, the lunatics completely, do whatever they wanted. Along the way

Kelly Edwards 44:17
Exactly. But that But see, here's the thing. Remember that? When I went to HBO, they make you read a book, at least they write made me read a book about the history of HBO, and they talk about the fact that it started off with, you know, sports and movies and Fraggle Rock, would you go that doesn't make any sense amazing Fraggle Rock, and then you've got Dream on and some of those shows that we're trying to burst out, then didn't make it really, you know, for the long haul. And by the way, where is Brian? Ben Ben, because I think three years Thank you. So I feel like then, and then they had to court. big name. They had a court people, they did court people because they didn't just like when I was at foxing UPN. We were the also RANS and Everybody wants to go to NBC and ABC and CBS because that's what everybody knew. And so when you're building a fledgling network, you need to, to entice people and so we we kept going out to people and saying, you can do whatever you want. Why do you want to do just push the envelope? We can't look like a ABC and CBS, we have to look different than they do. What? What would you like to do? We'll, we'll let you have creative freedom. I think that's probably what HBO was doing at the same time, which was like, let me bring the Michael Patrick kings over, let me bring the Darrin stars, we bring the David chases, let me bring the people who would like some creative freedom who have the ability to run a show, and who have something that has, that's a big swing, and let's just give them the keys to the kingdom. And then they had, you know, the David Simon's of the world and they they took off with that model of let's let the creator be the Creator. So I do think that there was probably an evolution to at HBO that was saying, how do we entice people over here because we need to be not the weird thing on the side of

Alex Ferrari 46:09
They were not able they weren't cable they're not even Fox or UPN whether they were networks. This is cable, it was like oh,

Kelly Edwards 46:18
How do you do that you make it really really enticing and you take a big swing on something that nobody else is going to do and what's that well nudity, it's going to be violence it's going to be pushed content and it's going to be freedom for your creatives to come in

Alex Ferrari 46:33
And as an oz came out before Sopranos which was also a very big show as well but it was different than the sopranos how they they worked it and it's it you know doing doing the research I did on on that episode just as you look at us it's just it's one of those moments that just changed television forever and and and we wouldn't have i mean i'm a big Breaking Bad fan like I love Vince Gilligan and I love everything he does and and you would have never had a show like that it barely got on yeah get right they got on to a network a network a cable network like AMC that like what do you don't you play like Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind you want to make shows now. So that's the only reason again let the lunatic in. Let's but

Kelly Edwards 47:22
I think madman's the same thing. Yeah. Matt was like, you know, he was on the sopranos, he he was right. He had this thing that he loved and, and then somebody allowed him to do the thing that he loved. And he just went for it. 100%. And he asked, Where do you get those?

Alex Ferrari 47:38
Sorry? No, no, no, I'm sorry, Matt. They asked Matt, like, would you have been able to make madmen without Sopranos? And he's like, no, first, I wouldn't have been able to make it because it didn't exist. Secondly, I wouldn't have been able to make it because I didn't get to sit in that writers room for as many years as I did, and see how David broke it down and break down his stories and stuff. One other thing that was really interesting about and I'll get off the sopranos kick in a minute, but it's, it's just good. It's just a good educational television conversation. He now he loved doing singular stories episodes, that literally didn't really feed the plot of the series. Just like character development, just like right episodes of just like, Hey, we're just going to talk about these three characters that have nothing to do with the overarching arc of the scene. That was also new. That was something that was it's not a procedural it's it's it's the right so it was like a weird I

Kelly Edwards 48:30
Love that. Don't but don't you want more of that? Yes. I feel like I want more of that. And I don't feel like I get enough of that. I feel like sometimes we are. There's so much of a draw. And again, it gets back to executives who's got the courage to just let you have a two person conversation between you know what to do a play. Why don't we do more of that? Why don't we just sort of sit in the moment

Alex Ferrari 48:53
It takes it takes a it takes some courage. It takes some courage and he was able to do it early on like episode like Episode Five college is that is that that episodes his favorite. And that's the one that really changed. That's when the sopranos became the sopranos was Episode Five. And it was that whole episode had nothing to do with the story. It was about his relationship with his daughter, and this rat that just came out of nowhere. And the executive forced him to make an scene to make the rat look a little bit worse than he did originally, there wasn't even a scene. It was just like, Tony just killed a random guy that he says because they were scared that they were really scared. It was such edgy stuff at the time. And now you look at something like Dexter, which is like you're literally following a serial killer. And, and you're rude,

Kelly Edwards 49:42
But a serial killer with a moral code. That's the thing right? And you're invited into his thought process and you understand why he got the way he got. They were very, very smart about how they constructed Dexter I think, and how you really went along for that ride because you're just killing the bad guys. And who wouldn't want that.

Alex Ferrari 49:59
It's Yeah, it's when you're writing like that. And when you're creating a show like that, or a character like that, it is such a razor that you're dancing on. It's the bullet the blade of a razor, you're just like, at any moment, you can slip and get your head cut off. I mean, it's great, because if you're if you do one scene the wrong way, or you break that code that you've created, just just a smidge, you lose your audience. So you're on the creative, bloody edge of writing. And it's this is a terrible visual, but it's all visual. It's a horrible visual, but it's but it's you're really our omens dexterous, that's why I was bringing this horrible visual into mine. But your, as a writer, you you are dancing, a very, very thin line. If you if you just go a little bit off, you can lose an audience. And that's why I think in that episode of Sopranos, the executives were like, I think, I think you're going way off the reservation here. And nobody's like, well, no one's ever gone that far. Let's see what happens. And oh, right there with us. They're still with us. Oh, they want more. And, and you keep going. But again, Tony Soprano as a character, his, his, he had somewhat of a moral compass. And he wasn't just a horrible bad guy. He was a horrible human being. But yeah, you fell for him because of his mother issues.

Kelly Edwards 51:21
Right! Well, he was but again, you know, go back to the Godfather. Everybody has a code. And they he followed the code. And so what he was doing, he had completely understandable reasons for what he was doing, even though we wouldn't do that. It made sense in his world. And I think that that's when you when you do misstep is because you completely got out of the work. Here's a perfect example of that. I was just having this conversation yesterday was somebody about walking dead when they killed Glenn. Oh, and they said they crossed the line, because that's not the world they'd set up for us. That's they completely took our trust. And then they bashed it when they bashed his head in. And I stopped watching I was a rabid rabid fan, yes, loved every moment of it. But when neguin did that, I said well, that they have betrayed my trust, and I will no longer I will no longer give them my time. So I think you have to make sure that you're working within the rules of the world too.

Alex Ferrari 52:15
So can I also say I was a rabid Walking Dead fan, until Negan showed up. And it wasn't for me it wasn't the moment that he hit Glen that was pretty horrible and painful. But for me, it was a whole season because they made a cardinal mistake in that they created a villain that was too powerful. He they never gave him any wins. You didn't I don't know if you saw that scene or not, but they never gave any wins to our heroes that we loved. The problem with a villain is they have to be able to be balanced with the hero the hero has to have the ability to beat the villain. If not, it's a boring show, or a boring game story and that's the mistake they did because there was no the whole season it was just they were just getting beat up and be rocky was getting pummeled again and again by Apollo play and he never got a shot and and at the

Kelly Edwards 53:10
Lost battle every single episode exactly right. And then at

Alex Ferrari 53:13
The end of this at the end of that episode that season, they're like, Oh, look, you got to punch in FU. Screw you, man. I am angry. And we and we stopped watching. So even a show like that cuz and then you start and when neguin showed up, you saw that the ratings just go. They start dropping, because before walking dead was like the biggest show on television. Right. But neguin showed up and they handled it. That was that bloody edge I was talking about, right and mishandled it and the zombies had got cut off, I'm sorry.

Kelly Edwards 53:48
It was such a beautiful, beautiful show up into that point, it went really well.

Alex Ferrari 53:52
It was a wonderful show. Before that, I have to ask you, you've probably seen a bunch of pilots, you've written a few pilots in your life, I'm sure what makes a good pilot,

Kelly Edwards 54:01
That's like, wow, you just completely you want to be with that

Alex Ferrari 54:05
I just making you with that. I just love from cutting zombies head off to bam.

Kelly Edwards 54:12
Obviously, there are a number of things that make a good pilot, it's not just one thing, but it's a confluence of things you have to be you have to be timely. So even if that thing does not take place in this time, it needs to be relevant to that to today. So I think you have to be seeing something that makes a really great pilot, you need a great character with a new very unique point of view. And you need a construct or a world that they are in that is antithetical to who they are. So that makes the world hard for them to navigate. And I think if you have those things, you have the makings of a great pilot. So if you think about any of your, your favorite pilots, let's get back to Breaking Bad. He is a very nice chemistry teacher and he gets into the most violent world possible. So he is a very, he's got a very specific set of skills, just like Liam Neeson does. And taken, he has very specific set of skills, he is ill equipped to handle them against a very formidable world that he is entering into. So it's completely antithetical to who he is. And I think at the time, it was very, it was a, you know, we're dealing with, you know, epidemics constantly in terms of the drug world. So, I think it's incredibly prescient kind of television making. Think about any of your favorite pilots think about if you think about scandal, I talked about scandal in my in the book, and you've got a, a woman who is a hard charger, she's a badass from the very moment that she shows up on screen. And even before that, because there's a scene before she shows up on screen. And you have a character telling another character, don't you want to be a gladiator and a hat? Gladiator for this for, for Olivia? And the woman goes, yes, of course, I want to be Gladiator. And then you cut to Olivia Pope. At the time, I think it was a different name, but cut to her coming in. And she's she the way they described her in the in the, in the script. And on screen. She's just a badass. And then she comes into a scene where she's negotiating basically a kidnapping, and then you realize the kidnapping, they've kidnapped a baby. And you just go, I'm so sucked in. And I cannot wait to see what happens next, because I've never seen this character before. So she's a very, very great, amazing character. And what what world is she in she's she's a rebel, a rebel, she's a cowboy. She's in one of the most highly regulated rule. I don't know. regimented kind of businesses in the world. She's in politics, and only that but she's in love with the president united states. So we've set everything up against her she's gonna have to come up against the most formidable foes we tweet. And it's exciting and we're, we're leaning forward. And we're all into politics. We've all been in politics and you know, Brock, Obama's president, maybe it was, even Bill Clinton, where there were really charged, you know, sexy men. And then in the, in the White House, like, there's a lot of stuff that that you can sort of glean from probably the time that it was it came out along with his character and this particular place, but you want to then lean forward into character and into the world. So if you have those things, you're going to have a really great shot at pulling a pilot together.

Alex Ferrari 57:50
But so from what you've just said, the one thing I grabbed on to was that unlike movie, because you only have 90 minutes to two hours in a movie, you generally have a villain, you have one villain, maybe two or three or group of villains. But there's, there's a very specific, you know who the bad guy is. Whereas in those both those shows, yes, there are some adversaries, but there are brand new adversaries that can come in on a weekly basis, season wide basis, that will constantly give the character the leader that lead character issues. So I'm breaking bad. He's basically you're you're entering a new world. And in that world, there is 1000 things that can kill you. And that's what's exciting, as opposed to on Batman, you're the Joker. And that's the series that doesn't work that and I think that's where a lot of pilots make mistakes, if they lean you up against a villain and that could be one villain across a season, maybe even two or three seasons. But there are also others come you really should be. And correct me if I'm wrong, in Intellivision that we're talking about and we could talk about the sopranos, Mad Men, Dexter, all of them. They're not against one person or even a small group. It's generally an environment a world that they're entering, that there's 1000 places where they can get they can get their heads cut off. And absolutely, that's what makes really interesting television. Is that the fair statement?

Kelly Edwards 59:20
Yeah, they have to have many photos. Because it's if you whether you do it it's one it's like an SBU we go back to SBU or you go back to you know, whatever those procedurals are they're going to be it's going to be the bad guy of a week. Sure. But then there's got to be Yeah, a system in place it's the world is a is a dangerous place. So I have to fix the world. So yes, it's you're absolutely right.

Alex Ferrari 59:44
And it just keeps in that and that opens you up for many seasons. You can keep going. Exactly. Like with with Heisenberg, he, there was a point there was an end point there was a certain point where like You there was even even my wife when she was watching it with me. She was like, he's he's starting to cross the line a bit. He's not the guy I started liking. I'm not rooting for him anymore. He's turning into why am I Why do I like why am I following that guy? And that that it took us off the show still was a genius, so, but there were moments that you're just like, he's not a good guy anymore. He's not doing what he's doing. And he even said, He's like, I don't I'm not doing it before I first it was for my family. Now is because I like it. And you're just like, Oh, this is awesome. He's so is. It was like what it said, is turning Mr. Chips into Scarface.

Kelly Edwards 1:00:38
And Right, right. And it's and I think that that's also the beauty of Now, again, when you talk about dreamers, and how are things how have they changed, we're no longer necessarily going to 100 episodes. So we don't have to keep it open for forever, you can have a story that does arc like a movie over, you know, five season eight episodes, or whatever it is that you can tell the story that that needs to be told in that amount of time. And you don't have to belabor it, and you can see an end game, which I think is it actually makes our content better. You know, when you think about something like lost and you go Oh, lost was probably trying to figure out Hey, let's throw another monster.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:20
They were lost. They were lost. Yeah, they were definitely go.

Kelly Edwards 1:01:23
Well, it was probably a factor of Well, we've got a we've got another 22 episodes. What do we do now? We have to figure it out. Let's bring in what were those characters the three characters that nobody liked, and everybody wanted to kill off a monster. It's like the same

Alex Ferrari 1:01:39
Monster. It was I stopped I couldn't. The pilot was fantastic. It was wonderful. But at a certain point, you just like what's going on? And you're absolutely right. They needed to fill air. As opposed to the streamers you don't like I know Stranger Things has, I think they're going to do five seasons. And that's it. And I think Cobra Kai, another big show on Netflix. They're only going to do five seasons. And that's it. Like there's an out like there's only so many more seasons, we can see how many more characters you can bring back from The Karate Kid universe. Like at a certain point you're like, Ah, okay, so now Daniel and and Johnny are okay, they're fighting together against the ultimate bad guys. Okay, they're bringing back the guy from Karate Kid three. Okay, we ran out after Karate Kid three. So how many more seasons do we got here, guys? And they know in the Creator, Mr. Miyagi is not coming back. It would have been Mr. Miyagi would have been amazing magic Pat, was still alive. Oh, my God, I know, I would have made that show even better than it is. But anyway. Let me ask you, what are you up to now? What do you What's the what are the new shows you're working on now.

Kelly Edwards 1:02:44
I am a staff writer on a new show that just premiered on Fox, Tuesday nights at nine called our kind of people it is amazing. I have had the best time of my life working in this writers room. And it was again, it was a goal from when I was first in the you know, coming out of the gate, and never got a chance to get in the writers room. And this has been an amazing, an incredibly fulfilling ride for me. So we started in May, at the end of May. In the writers room, we are now shooting Episode 107, we have an order for 12. So we're writing episodes 910 1112. And it's I learned a lot I've learned a tremendous amount. I thought I knew a lot about the business and about development before I got in here, which has helped me quite a bit. But also just being in the writers room and seeing how stories are broken, and how things change and the reasoning for certain things and how to protect characters in the show. And it's been just phenomenal. And every single day is like Christmas. I cannot wait to get to work every day.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:57
Isn't that a great feeling? It's like we skip to work. Yeah. It's like you. Yes. It's like you skip to work and a smile on my face every day. And it's it's hard for people to understand, and I'm not doing it to rub into anybody's noses here that listening like Hahaha, no, it took us a long time to get here. And now we're like, oh, I'm happy. And you know, I'm like, it's just such a fulfilling feeling. As opposed to like, Okay, I got some money, but I'm miserable. I got that big paycheck. But I'm miserable. I'm like, Oh, the paycheck might be smaller, but I'm happy. And as you get older you realize happiness is a really big thing. Much more than money. Well, it's much I mean, you need money to live but at a certain point like okay, what's, where do I have enough? And I don't have to great doing something I don't like just to get more money to do what it's like happiness means so much more. And being creative is even. And being creative is even more than that. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions asking my guests. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life

Kelly Edwards 1:05:00
I will say this, this sort of ties into what what you were saying and what we're talking about. I got. I was married for 23 years, the last five, we were separated. So my big lesson was that I deserve joy. And I wasn't living in joy. And didn't I deserve to live in joy. And so I had white knuckled it for quite a while. Now this is granted, I'm best friends. I love him so much. My ex husband is an amazing person. We are besties, we talk multiple times, we're always on. We're always texting. So I don't this is not about him. This was about I think this was really about being in the right place. And being the right being the right me being 100% mean. And when I found the right combination of what I needed in my life, my joy level just shut up. Incredibly. And I think it was all precipitated by the divorce because the divorce in 2015, when we started divorce proceedings, the year of 20 2016 was I did a year Yes. And I just say yes to every single thing. And I ended up on six different continents got a tattoo met, the Dalai Lama was at the White House twice. I was I just had a complete I did, I asked twice, I just had this complete, let's just busted open and do all the things that I felt like I had missed along the way. I had kept living in this very, very tiny little box and thinking that I was like, Oh, I'm an executive, I've got it all, whatever it is. And I thought to myself, what have I not tried? And why have I said to myself, that I needed to do certain things in a certain way. So I just started living a bigger life. And part of that was I needed to not be attached to my ex husband. Because I felt like he was part of that rigidity of you have the kids, you have the house, you have the dogs, and you don't do certain things. So I kind of went off the rails a little bit in 2016, which then snowballed into, let's go back to two to get my education. my MFA, I was almost gonna say High School. Let's get out of high school, it kind of felt like it. But I went back to school, I applied to Sundance and again, it was I was thinking, Well, what why? Why would I ever move out of this executive box? Because I'm, everyone's gonna know me in a certain way, you can't switch? I always have that mindset. You know, I was I was drinking that Kool Aid. And then I went, well, why? Why was I thinking that? So why not change that thinking, just start to challenge, everything, every assumption that I had made about my life, and get back to what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be when I was 15 and 1413 years old, loving content and movies and wanting to be a writer. So it really did take 35 years for me to get there longer. But it was so worth it. Because again, it's about living enjoy. And why was I why was I okay, not living in joy every day.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:22
Oh, because we could talk ourselves into a lot of stuff gateway. Oh, God, can we? Yeah, yes. But actually, when that check shows up?

Kelly Edwards 1:08:29
That's right. But if there's one, let me be honest, you know, I, my transformation, let's just say my becoming the butterfly out of the cocoon. I don't know, for everybody, I'd like to think it is. But I have friends who complain about being where they are, and just and never make the move and don't change. And I then have to say, look, I I appreciate that you are feeling this way. But I can't listen to this anymore. Because either you do something or you don't. But not everybody is equipped to make that move. And I completely understand that. And that can be their journey in their life. And that's okay. So what I say I went out and I made a big change it just not to mean that everybody needs to go out and quit their job and completely go off the rails and do something different. It worked for me because I think I had I had set myself up for it. There was a chain of events that made sense for it. I did go back to school and might get my degree. You don't have to do that. But I was working and I was writing and then I was starting to show my stuff on social media. And I was getting positive feedback that they gave me courage to go back to school that gave me courage to go to Sundance that they gave me courage to be to say no to a big opportunity at HBO. So there was a very specific chain of events. I didn't just walk in and quit and say I'm just doing this I was financially ready to do it. I had saved some money. I was rolling into a first look deal at HBO. So I Have a support system. So there were things that happened that made it possible. But as you started off talking about the universe, the universe making plans, you make plans, and then the universe blows them apart. The universe also will catch you if you're living in that truth. And I had a perfect example of that, which is not only was when I said, I'm going to leave HBO, and when they when Christina Becker had kept coming to me, and she said, Do you want to have this big motion? I said, I really don't I'm, I'm content to sit here for another 18 months off my contract. And I'll just write and I'll just enjoy it. And I know the job, I'll just write it out. And she said, Send me your script. She read the script within 48 hours, and she called me back and she said, No, you have to do this. Well, that's part of the universe say, there's support there in a big way. And by July, I had my deal in place, I was rolling out. And I was rolling into a deal. So the universe was then providing funding finances for me. Now, did I take a big hit? financially, yes, it's half of what I made at HBO. But it was still it was enough. And that's all I needed was enough. So I got this deal. And a week after I left HBO, so it was a Thursday. That was my, my last night was a Thursday, July 17, something like that was my last day at HBO. The last day I was gonna get a paycheck from, from my regular job, and I was rolling into this deal is gonna pay me half. And a week later, I had the book deal. A week later, I got the call that I had the book deal. So again, it's the universe saying, You think you're going to fall off the face of the earth, you think you're probably going to drown, you don't know what's going to happen, you may or may not sell anything, you may or may not get on staff. Guess what I'm going to give you I'm going to show you this book, this book is going to come and be part of the next part of your life. And I had that book to deal with, deal with to write over the next four or five, six months or whatever. And it was, again another another piece of the puzzle. So I do feel as though even though we sometimes feel as though the universe's is kicking us in the teeth constantly, the universe can also bring us some of these blessings and joy that we are expecting that can help nurture and satisfy us in a different way.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:18
And where can people find your new book executive, the executive chair

Kelly Edwards 1:12:24
It's going to be released on Amazon next week, on Tuesday, the 12th so that's, so by the time this comes out, it might already have been but it's gonna be on Amazon, it will be on mwp.com. The Michael weezy Productions website, it will eventually be at Barnes and Noble. I think you can probably search for it online and probably find other booksellers that that will have it but but if you like it, please leave it. Leave it out. Yeah, a nice review on Amazon. I hope people get something out of it. My goal with the book is really to give people the tools that they might not have otherwise had about how to navigate some of the ins and outs of the industry and to know what's an executive head so that you can navigate that more effectively than you might have not otherwise had the had that advantage. So it's with good intentions but I put that out there in the world.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:23
Kelly It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you on the show today. I know we can keep going for a little while longer for sure. We could geek out about television for a while but I appreciate you coming on the show and thank you for putting the book together. And I wish you nothing but the best in your new endeavors and I'm not to sound condescending, but I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you that you took the you jumped it's the it takes bravery to leave a cushy job and to leave a good paycheck and and and as you get older it gets even more risky so that you did it and you've landed on your feet and you're happy is a hopefully an example that everybody listening can can take to heart so thank you so much Kelly.

Kelly Edwards 1:14:04
Thank you for having me. This has been amazing. And I appreciate what you do. This is what you do is is is just gives me like it really does I love with your podcast. So thank you for having me.

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