Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Fri 2 Aug 02 18:11
I was very motivated to write that book and very clear about the story, the themes, the characters. It was also around the time that Bridget Jones Diary came out and I read it and thought I can not relate to this book. At all. This is not the way things are happening in L.A. At least not that part of L.A./Hollywood that I live in. Also, though the book is not about (producer) Don Simpson, it is an homage to his spirit and to all of my favorite Hollywood Bad Boys.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 4 Aug 02 09:56
What is the title of the next book (if you know it)? And can you tell us what links the three books of this trilogy? Themes? Characters?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Sun 4 Aug 02 10:48
Mr. Famous is the title of book three. The main character is a forty year old action-hero movie actor who essentially has to save his own life. The tone of the book is the same as that for Cigarette Girl and Secret Celebrity. And all the same elements are there: Humor. Sex. Insider look at Hollywood. In fact Elizabeth West, the main character in the first book, who also makes a cameo appearance in book two, will be back in book three. However, what really links these three books is the city - L.A. Or more specifically, the Hollywood side of life in L.A. As I've said before, there's no shortage of stories to tell about this world. I pick up information every time I go out. And most of the stories are wilder than anything I put in my books.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 4 Aug 02 10:55
Do you have any scripts in production right now? This seems like an insecure life, living from project to project? On the other hand, I know a guy up here in northern California who has made quite a bit of money writing scripts that never get shot.
Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 4 Aug 02 11:42
As long as he got paid! Does that happen a lot, Carol, that someone pays to have a script written, and nothing happens with it?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Sun 4 Aug 02 14:00
I think of the insecurity (and yes there's lots of it) as the cost of doing business. The script I've just finished is still in the development stage which means I'm waiting for notes from the director and producer. Most scripts don't ever make it to the screen, so most writers adapt to that reality and enjoy the money they make for writing them. If one gets made, it's like a bonus. But I'm talking about features here. In TV it's different. The writer is king in TV. Guys like Aaron Sorkin and David E. Kelly have a lot of power. A hit series is the brass ring.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 4 Aug 02 14:41
Have you written for TV?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Sun 4 Aug 02 16:47
Actually one of my favorite jobs was doing dialogue polish on thirteen episodes of Jerry Bruckheimer's first TV show - Soldiers of Fortune. (1997) Doing a dialogue polish is a great job. You have no responsibility for the plot or characters . All you have to do is go through the script and come up with up some better lines. This, by the way, is almost never done in TV, though it's done all the time in features. But Jerry Bruckheimer can pretty much call the shots on whatever project he's working on. He wanted to hire someone to punch up dialogue and the people financing the show okayed it.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 4 Aug 02 16:58
And how did you happen to be the one he hired?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Sun 4 Aug 02 18:19
Because I worked for Jerry, and his then partner Don Simpson, on the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence movie "Bad Boys" . In fact ninety percent of the work I've gotten in Hollywood has come to me because the producer or director was familiar with my work or I'd worked for them before. In my case, agents serve more as deal makers than job finders.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 4 Aug 02 18:21
How did you ghet started? Where did you grow up, go to school, etc?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 5 Aug 02 08:37
I grew up outside of Boston in a horrible factory town. When people ask me what school I went to , I say I went to the University of Eric Eisner. He's a guy I met in my teens and eventually moved to L.A. to be with him. We broke up after years together but are still best friends. He's very smart and taught me a lot. I'm a big believer in mentors as the best education you can get. Eric was in the entertainment business so I got to meet a lot of people through him. One of them, Ted Field, gave me my first job as a screenwriter.
i am not a happy meal. (techgirl) Mon 5 Aug 02 10:08
carol, i loved secret celebrity. also esp loved psycho girl. she is such a great character!
David Gans (tnf) Mon 5 Aug 02 10:20
> Eric was in the entertainment business so I got to meet a lot of people > through him. One of them, Ted Field, gave me my first job as a > screenwriter. Did you have any qualifications at all? Did you go to any accredited school?
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 5 Aug 02 12:09
I love that people respond to the psycho girl character. That character is based on a few girls I know in Hollywood - only they're so much worse than what I wrote. I read interviews these girls have given to magazines (they're actresses) and I wonder do they actually think anyone believes what they're saying. Or borrowing a word I got off salon.com, the "spinsanity" is out of control. As for the question about my qualifications. I'm a good observer and have a good ear for dialogue . The rest I picked up from studying other writers.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 5 Aug 02 12:15
<scribbled by tnf Mon 5 Aug 02 12:42>
excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Mon 5 Aug 02 13:40
Carol, if it were to come to pass that you were writing the screenplay for the book, how would you deal with the fact that tons of the best stuff is internal? Wait, I'm not phrasing this clearly, I think. What I mean is, there's plenty of dialogue, but the lion's share of the best observations and the funniest stuff is a function of the narrator's character and her voice? How would you transfer that to the screen without relying on excessive voiceover?
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 5 Aug 02 14:32
Carol, do you have any hints for how to capture dialog. I always hear interesting bits of dialog but I will damned if I can remember them 15 minutes later, let along create a character based on that. I also have trouble reporting later on anything anybody said to anybody else, much to my detriment in the workplace, I've discovered.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 5 Aug 02 15:15
I think limited voiceover would be part of a film adaptation. I would also have more girltalk scenes which would allow me to get some of the internal monologue out. Not unlike what they do on Sex in the City - but also not too similar. If people are going to pay nine dollars or whatever it is to see a movie these days, you've got to give them more than what they can get for free at home. Linda, the easiest way to capture dialogue is to think like a thief. Writers steal lines. We are always on the lookout for something of value. Once you start thinking this way, you'll start remembering what you' hear. It also doesn't hurt to write down the line as soon as you hear it. I'm always scribbling something down on cocktail napkins.
David Gans (tnf) Mon 5 Aug 02 15:36
And I fcarry a little notebook wherever I go.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 5 Aug 02 15:36
Yes, if it weren't for my little notebook, I wouldn't remember ANYthing! So I guess that writing things down is the only answer.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 5 Aug 02 17:31
Or you can carry those little tape recorders. Problem with that is then you have to transcribe the tapes. And who has the time for that? At the end of the day, whatever system, training, education you may or may not have, I think writing comes down to finding your own unique voice. Writers like Joan Didion, James Ellroy, Carrie Fisher, Nick Hornby - they all have very distict voices. And however you find that voice doesn't matter - you just have to find it.
excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Mon 5 Aug 02 19:47
There was another narrative device you used that I was curious about. 95% percent of the book is from one voice, but occasionally you pop into another character's voice. (I think it was always William, and I apologize if I'm forgetting someone else sneaking in there.) It certainly helps us get some outside perspective on the central character and some added info on other characters. (I'm actually thinking of one very specific moment that I won't identify.) But I was curious: it's very unusual, I think, to have multiple POV split on a 95/5 (or 90/10 or whatever basis). Which made me wonder whether you spent more time in that character's head and decided to cut it, or added those scenes in on a second pass, or whether it just came out that way.
Carol Wolper (carol-wolper) Mon 5 Aug 02 20:24
It was always part of the plan. I wanted William's voice in the book because I'm interested in how guys look at things. I have a lot of guy friends and in fact I sometimes joke that my fantasy is to be the Shirley Maclaine of their rat pack.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 8 Aug 02 16:20
speaking of "voices," Carol, who would you say are you biggest influences as a writer?
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