When asked if she liked to write, Gloria Steinem remarked famously, “I like to have written.” I used to think it was Dorothy Parker who said that but, never mind the source, it’s exactly how I feel about writing. Let me amend that. This is exactly how I feel about blogging.
Now that I’ve contributed a few entries to TheWrap, a number of people have asked me why I’m doing this. Any question can be asked in any number of ways with its specific tone and subtext. Especially in this town, every such inquiry seems loaded. If the question is coming from my wife, Priscilla (the talented film editor I have been married to for 18 years), the subtext is practical: How does this help you get movies made? If the question is asked by a cynical peer in the movie biz (not hard to find), they might be trying to unearth the ego angle – as in, “Are you doing this because you didn’t get a star on Hollywood Boulevard or do you actually have anything relevant to say?”
The simple answer is writing is something I used to do for a living (I was a reporter for Newsweek and the L.A. Times) that I miss terribly. These little missives (I’m asked to keep them to about 750 words) are like a cheap high for a junkie on withdrawal. Even though I left the L.A. Times in 1987, over the years I have contributed the occasional piece to various newspapers and magazines. I’m a passionate golfer and I’m proud to say I’m a contributing editor to Travel & Leisure Golf. A couple of years ago, I even entered The World Series of Poker and wrote a first person piece about it for “All-In” – a magazine devoted to high stakes poker. (I lasted 17 hours in the tournament and just missed getting to day two, for any poker enthusiasts).
The point is writing sharpens the brain. When you have to sit down and organize your thoughts, it’s like a mental workout. It also connects me to the community on some level. I’m a sole practitioner. I don’t have a partner, I keep a small but hard-working staff and my office is not on the lot. Producing movies is a long-odds proposition to begin with. When you are doing it on your own, it can get a little lonely.
So my intent is to reach out. I only have a few rules: 1) No gossip. I will leave that to the legions of “reporters” who unearth that stuff for a living. 2) I’m keeping the message positive. I intend to highlight the good and avoid the negative. 3) I’m going to write about whatever I want to, whenever I want to. In other words, I have the dream “column.” I don’t have a pesky editor badgering me for copy and I don’t have to take calls from angry sources who feel I dissed them. (FYI, I don’t get paid a nickel for this stuff, so that’s why I get to say what I want and write when I feel the urge).
If it all works out, I’ll shed a little light on the creative process and what it feels like to be a producer today. There’s an old cliché that we have to constantly push a boulder up a steep hill just to get something done in this business. Now, if that wasn’t hard enough, they just covered the hill in ice. But, like the Grateful Dead, I just keep on trucking. As they sang in one of their classic tunes, “I may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I’m enjoying the ride.”
See you on the Internet.