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Stories from a seasoned screenwriter. Take heart! Your creative source is infinite and un-ending. Sometimes Hollywood just rips up the roadmap back to it. The bottom line is that Hollywood is not at all as bad as it sounds. Additionally, it's worse than you can imagine. Remember to pack a sense of humor.


I am a screenwriter living in Southern California. I've written screenplays for most of the Hollywood studios over the past 20 years. One of the uncredited writers of FANTASTIC FOUR, I wrote FIRE DOWN BELOW starring Steven Seagal, and the TV Movie 12:01 PM starring Martin Landau and MANEATER with Gary Busey. I have directed short films. I have written on numerous Hollywood studio assignments, some for big shot actors, some for small shot nobodies.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Gladiator The Musical

No, it's not a joke. It's real. And I saw it last month. One night only. Tickets not available. You only hear about it because you get a call because you know somebody who knows somebody.

It was a workshop, of a full fledged musical, staged with no set and minimal props, mostly for Dreamworks executives and others of note. Ridley Scott was in the audience as well, invited to see what had been done to his masterwork in the small theater in the valley where the evening was staged.

I was there because an old friend of mine played (brilliantly) the Oliver Reed part of Proximo, and stopped the show with his song. And in the musical Proximo's part if beefed up and he goes all the way to the end.

The book is incredibly faithful to the movie, they work with Hans Zimmer's existing score, and the the songs are quite good.

It's a remarkable testament to good writing, the structure of the piece is so sound.

What was most amazing, from a back stage point of view, is that the cast of thirty some odd broadway professionals had 12 days to learn lines, rehearse and put the entire show on its feet.

Though purportedly Ridley Scott mumbled something to the effect of 'they should have left well enough alone...', I thought the whole production to be quite good.

As a writer who is used to writing material on spec and tossing it to the market place with fingrs crossed, I was most impressed that in many ways this was a spec. musical, in that if Dreamworks passed on funding it, the producers would have to find funding elsewhere (they had already okayed the concept).

Well, they kicked ass apparantly, because the show is now scheduled to open on London's West End.

What's next. Star Wars?

A very hollwood moment.


Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Few people thought Les Mis would work.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006  

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