Saturday, February 26, 2011

Over The Hill

You might notice that my writing is strikingly more mature from this point forward.  That's because about three hours ago, I turned thirty-two.*  Now I can buy cigarettes and Four Loko and look at naked pictures of my fellow adults.

This "turning of the page" merits some hindsight (specifically, forty-eight hours worth).

In the last two days of my "immature period," (as it will come to be known), I was particularly prolific.  I completed a fourth draft of the musical, T (music and lyrics by Melissa Carubia), which will open (and close) at ImprovBoston this June.  I sent two more letters to agents regarding my young adult novel.  I also completed a fourth draft of my screenplay, which had languished inside of me, marinating in my creative juices since its  reading in September.

For the moment, let's not dally on T.  After all, it's going to get a lot of blog-face-time in the future.  And let's not dally on my progress in getting my young adult novel published.  Those efforts are well-documented.  Instead, let's compare my screenwriting career to that of those who have "made it" and see how I stand.  Shall we?

After all, this is a competitive business.

Let the games begin!

William Goldman

He published his first novel at twenty-six, but his first big screenplay hit was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which came out when he was thirty-eight.  Of course, by that point, he had published five novels and had three plays produced on Broadway.

Point: Goldman  (0-1)

David Mamet

His first screenplay, The Postman Always Rings Twice, came out as a movie when he was thirty-four.  He later won an Academy Award for a screenplay he had written several years earlier, around age thirty-two.

I think he did some other stuff, too, but I doubt it was all that well-received.

Point: Toss-up (0-1)

Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan

. . . if that is your real name.

His breakout film, The Sixth Sense, came out when he was twenty-nine.  Since then, he has made every effort to break back in.  Now, at age forty, he's somehow several steps back from where he started.

Plus, I satirized his ass when I was writing for MOSAIC at age 28.

Point: Me (1-1)

Christopher Nolan

His career took off at thirty with Memento, and he has never looked back.^

Impressive.  Especially for a Brit.

Point: Nolan (1-2)

The Epstein Twins

Casablanca came out when they were both thirty-three.  I imagine they finished the script around age thirty-two.  Toss-up, right?

Wrong.  Not only are there two of them, but they had help from at least three other non-family-member writers.  Thirty-three times years times five people is . . . well, I'm not a math guy, but suffice to say that I have some time to catch up.

Point: Me (2-2)

Herman K Mankiewicz

Citizen Cane is widely considered the greatest movie of all time.  Unfortunately, it took him forty-four years to get there.

Point: Me (3-2)

Mario Puzo

It took him until age forty-nine to pen The Godfather.

I'm really racking up the self-esteem points.

Point: Me (4-2)

James Cameron

The Terminator came out when he was thirty, and he's never gone back from there.^^

Point: Cameron (4-3)

Guillermo Del Toro

His film career started when he was twenty-nine.  (Point: Del Toro)

Then again, I personally hadn't heard of him until two-thousand-and-six, when he was forty-two. (Point: Me)

Then again, he did write Pan's Lanyrinth.  (Point: Del Toro)

And his spanish is marginally better than mine.  (Point: Del Toro)


Point: Del Toro (4-4)

So far, it's a tie.  And because it's my birthday, I get to choose a tie-breaking opponent.  I choose:

Abraham Lincoln

He became president at age fifty-one.  As far as I can tell, he never wrote a screenplay.

Also, thanks to John Wilkes Booth (an actor, by no coincidence), he never will.

Point: Me

It's my birthday, and I win!

*For example, when I was thirty-one, I might have written, "That's because about 1 hr ago, I turned 32."

^ Ha.  Get it?  The movie Memento . . . plus "never looked back."  Ha!

^^ Ha.  Get it?  The movie The Terminator . . . plus "gone back."  Ha!

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