Sunday, February 15, 2009

Movies, YouTube, and Screenwriting with ScriptGirl


Age: 29
Ethnicity: Thai/German
Born: Offutt Air Force Base--Bellevue, Nebraska. Military brat: Raised in Omaha, San Francisco, and Ipswich, England.
Education: University of Iowa; art history major.
Employment History: All manner of lowly production jobs. Production coordinator on EPKs for various studios. Studio marketing department (DVD box sets). Agent's assistant at Original Artists, Beverly Hills. Producer's Assistant.

Youtube: link
Facebook: link
MySpace: link


Who is ScriptGirl?
ScriptGirl is an online persona whose stock-in-trade is a weekly report on Hollywood script sales. She eats, sleeps, and breathes screenwriting. She’s an ambitious young woman who has dedicated herself body and soul to the glorification of those talented souls who battle the tyranny of the blank page every day so that the rest of the world can be entertained. So basically she’s me. Kristina. But in far more revealing shirts. (laughs)

How did ScriptGirl come about?
A producer I worked for had me compile and read to him a list of script sales every day. Half the time he would doze off in the middle of my spiel, so I entertained the idea of videotaping them so I could continue on with my other duties. I never did it. Anyhow, I told some screenwriter friends about it and they convinced me to give it a try and post them on YouTube. And here we are.

Now that you are a YouTube celebrity, are you planning to use your ScriptGirl image to benefit your career, and if so, how?
Well it’s odd. A lot of opportunities have come my way due to ScriptGirl, but they don’t necessarily jibe with my career goals as a screenwriter. I’ve been offered some TV hosting gigs and those folks could not care less about some brilliant rom-com I have in my car. Likewise, the producers I meet with aren’t the least bit impressed by my Internet alter ego. In fact, I think it may actually diminish my credibility. Well, that and the fact that I tend to show up at meetings late, inebriated, and wildly belligerent! (laughs maniacally)

I know that you work as a producer's assistant, and one of your duties is to do coverage on scripts and novels. What are three reasons that you often reject a story?
Significant lack of any of the following…Originality, point of view, or specificity.

On rare occasions I will trashcan a script based solely on formatting issues. But they have to be pretty epically egregious issues!

On your MySpace page, you have 'screenwriter' as part of your occupation. What has your journey been like in Cali as you pursue a screenwriting career?
Well, I didn’t go to film school, so when I arrived in LA after college, I was such a rube. Really just impossibly green. After a very brief stint working at the Getty, I decided what I really wanted to do was work in the industry. My first paying job was as a PA on an EPK (behind-the-scenes movie.) I was almost fired the first day for being 3 hours late because I couldn’t find BURBANK! That’s what a dolt I was. Even then I was already fancying myself a screenwriter.

I’d written 40 pages of a script that I was convinced was a work of genius. It wasn’t. It was actually quite horrid. But God bless the potent combo of naivetĂ© and ambition. I showed that awful, partial script to every professional writer I crossed paths with. Most probably rolled their eyes and laughed their asses off behind my back but one, David Fuller (NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, THE TAKING OF BEVERLY HILLS) either took pity on me or saw some faint glimmer of hope. He said “Great. Congratulations. You’ve written your first script. Sort of. Here’s the bad news…it’s terrible. But the good news is…the next one will be better.” And with his help, it was. And his wife got me a job in the marketing department at the studio where she worked. Needless to say, I am forever grateful to them both.

A couple of years and five or six scripts later, I managed to find an agent who liked a romantic comedy I’d done and sent it out. It was optioned by the production company of a pretty big-time actor (whom I shall not name) and as a result, for about a month, I took meetings on every estrogen themed project in town. But nothing came of it. The project died a slow death and promises of other jobs dried up. So it was back to office work for me. Which leads us back to ScriptGirl.

What are three pieces of advice you would offer to those wanting to break into screenwriting?
Make friends with rejection. The numbers are always going to be against you. That’s a fact, Jack.

Optimize all opportunities, big and small. Actually, just assume they’re all big.

Write from your heart. But get a good agent or manager to handle your business. Financially raping writers is a sport to producers. Like golf or polo.

What are your three favorite movies and why?
CITIZEN KANE…for all the usual reasons but also because it’s my dad’s favorite movie. And I’ve had a crush on Orson Welles since I was about 12.

BADLANDS…because Malick captures all the inarticulate rage and romance of youth in the most poetic fashion imaginable.

RUSHMORE…because I WAS Max Fischer growing up. Female model. But perhaps I flatter myself.

Who is one of your favorite writers, and how does he/she inspire you as a writer?
Billy Wilder is my all time favorite screenwriter. The breadth of his career boggles my mind. He created masterpieces in half a dozen genres and his dialogue never seems dated. All that in a second language. He’s the Brett Favre of screenwriting. There will never be another like him.

Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
MOVIES: Magic shadows
CELEBRITY: Pretty razorblade
HOLLYWOOD: A state of mind
SCRIPTGIRL: Cynical dreamer

1 comment:

Dennis said...

Interesting interview. Best of luck with your work.