By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
I could have made jokes about being in bed in any sense with Billy Crystal, but I may have to be working with the guy once this Hollywood thing takes off for me. So I let Lynda continue, throwing out a few sample stories Aaron had recently purchased.
"They look for unusual, kinda true stories. One was, a daughter is accused of killing her father because he was sexually abusing her, but it turns out she was really having a lesbian romance with her stepmother," said Lynda. "Or an abusive husband and father murders his wife when she tries to get custody of their three sons. A father cheats on his wife by ordering a call girl who turns out to be his daughter."
And are all of these things based on true stories?
"Some are, some aren't. They'll do something that's fictional if it's a really high concept." High concept. I liked that. Even though I didn't know what she meant. "Like the father that cheats on his wife, and his daughter's a call girl, they would consider that really high concept," Lynda explained, "'cause everyone gets what that movie is in one line."
At this point in our phone conversation, I felt that Lynda and I had developed a relationship. It was time to move in with a pitch, see if she would bite. Or at least nibble.
I wondered if Aaron could get Tori to star in anything he wants.
"Nope," said Lynda. "We have her attached to one thing now 'cause it's a really classy project."
"But I've got a great stripper vehicle," I said, thinking of a lady I'd written about last December named Candy Cantaloupes. Candy was enormous of chest--she'd been forced to get implants by an evil, manipulative boyfriend--yet she was a kindly person who was quitting the strip clubs to go to school and become a biochemist, I think it was. I was imagining Tori as Candy, with Anthony Edwards cast effectively out of type as the boyfriend; maybe JM J. Bullock as the sympathetic but ultimately greedy surgeon. And Courteney Cox and Tisha Campbell as the insouciant, somewhat-drug-addled stripper friends.
"I think he's kind of off of his daughter being a call girl or a stripper," Lynda hinted.
"This is a classy, touching story," I purred, propping my feet up on my desk. "It's heartwarming, but there's still sex and greed and bizarre interpersonal relationship patterns and things of that nature."
Apparently, Lynda was not bowled over by my idea and didn't think I understood exactly what she was looking for.
"One thing to keep in mind when you're looking for a story--the networks keep pounding this over and over to us--they want relatable stories that the general public can look at and say, 'You know what? That could be me. Or that could be my daughter.' Like, doctors and lawyers and scientists are not that relatable to them.
"Also, there should be a relatable situation. They just did a movie that is basically Die Hard on a roller coaster, but it's very relatable because it's a family. And Gregory Harrison's the father. They stop at an amusement park 'cause they're on this great summer vacation, and this amusement park is their worst nightmare. I think people would go, 'You know what? That could happen. We could go to an amusement park and some crazy guy could take people hostage, and we'd end up in this horrible situation.'
"That's what I mean by relatable."
Sex. Violence. More sex. Family problems. Stuff you can get in a sentence.
What was the big deal?
Lynda cautioned me:
"It's so narrow, what the networks'll buy. Things that sound like a good thing don't always play out in seven acts. Or, lots of people think it's an original idea but the truth is, I've heard it 50 times. It's really, really hard."
All right. I figured I'd lay a foolproof one on her.
"What about a guy who's a journalist who gets a mailer from a major entertainment company, he calls back somebody such as yourself, hears something like what you're saying, then goes on a crime spree in order to have something to write about, then pitches that? Then he gets turned down, and starts stalking you. What do you think--has it got legs?"
"It's a movie.