A Glorious Career in Screenwriting Awaits me
A transcript of when I pitched my idea for a new movie in the Ghost Rider franchise to a big time executive.
Me: Okay, so Nicolas Cage is a writer, right? And he’s working this crappy temp job doing data-entry or something that’s super lame, right? Just to make enough money to get by while he works on his masterpiece.
Exec: I follow you so far.
Me: Okay, so he’s like, “I wish I didn’t have this stupid job! I need more time to work on my novel!” That’s when decides to sell his soul to the devil. In exchange for his soul, the devil lets him live for free. You know, like, just hang out and write all day.
Me: But there’s a twist. He must become the “Ghost Writer.” Like, he’s got the whole flaming skull. He’s hideous! He’s a monster!
Exec: Oh, I get it: it’ll be this struggle where his book becomes famous but he can never show his face! Maybe the Ghost Writer makes a pact with someone, kind of like a modern Cyrano thing where he’s feeding the guy what to say and he’s jealous because everyone thinks his stand-in is a genius?
Me: What, no way! That’s not what I’m saying at all. No, the movie would just be him in his room writing.
Exec: That’s it? There’s no action?
Me: No, there’s tons of action. You see, the first morning of his new writing-on-fire life he’s just getting settled at his desk, drinking his morning coffee, when all of the sudden he has, you know, to go.
Exec: He has to pee? That’s the action?
Me: Yeah! Because he’s the Ghost Writer, it’s all, like, you know...
Exec: No. I don’t know. What’s it like?
Me: Well he’s a flaming skeleton, so it’s like… not normal.
Exec: Not normal how?
Me: Like, it’s flames.
Me: Yeah, flames! He pees flames.
Exec: That’s the only action in the whole thing? A scene of him peeing fire?
Me: Well, not exactly. That’s not the only action. Because, he sits back down, and now he’s thirsty again. So, he decides he’ll have a Diet Coke. And you know what Diet Coke leads to…
Exec: So it happens again? Right then?
Exec: So two back-to-back scenes of a Ghost Writer peeing fire? That’s what you’re here to pitch?
Me: No, no! Not just two scenes. Because you see, diet soda, coffee, those things dehydrate you! You’d need to drink some water after all that. And that’s just what Ghost Writer does, and so then obviously he has to…
Exec: No. Don’t say it.
Me: Don’t say what?
Exec: What you were about to say.
Me: That he pees again?
Exec: Yes that. Don’t say that.
Me: Okay. I won’t say it.
Exec: So does anything else happen.
Me: Other than…
Exec: Yes, other than that.
Me: Nope. Nothing else really happens.
Exec: Okay, well, I’m afraid your pitch’s a bit light on plot. A bunch of scenes of a guy peeing fire do not add up to a film.
Me: I understand.
Exec: So, for that reason, I regret to tell you that I can only offer you a budget of $340 million to produce it.
Wear this shirt: while you drive angry.
Don’t wear this shirt: if you only wear shirts made of wicker, man!
This shirt tells the world: “Someday I hope to write something that everyone in America will love and cherish, a national treasure, if you will.”
We call this color: Black. And Dark. Perhaps, even as dark as the arts practiced by a sorcerer’s apprentice.
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