I went to the gym this morning. Gyms are another important part of the LA lifestyle. In fact, “Where do you work out?” is the third most asked question at parties (right after “What do you do?” and “Where do you live?” “What do you drive?” is probably fourth). I go to Gold’s Gym in Venice, known as the birthplace of modern bodybuilding and made famous by the distinguished former Mr. Universe and California’s current governor, Arnold. It’s a huge, no-frills gym, but it has its share of local celebrities (Ray Liotta, James Caan, Dennis Hopper, and The Rock), as well as plenty of steroid-filled monster-men and some women who clearly blur the gender line. Add to that the strippers- er, “dancers” and porn stars, and Gold’s Gym is truly an L.A. melting pot.
And then there are the regular, scrawny and/or flabby folks like me. I was terrified of joining Gold’s until I took a visit and saw that there were others of my ilk in there, toiling away, pumping iron and trying to improve themselves. No one has attempted to break me in half or pin me under a stack of dumbbells. Yet. It’s been a year now since I joined and, I hate to say it, but I can’t live without exercise anymore. My days are long and useless without it. I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, but there it is.
I’ve been working on a short film this past month, a wacky little comedy that my co-writers and I hope to get out to the festivals at the end of the year. I can’t tell you what it’s about (sworn to secrecy for now) but it’s very timely and everybody involved has high hopes for it. It took a month to plan and five days to shoot, a welcome break from a full year of sitting in my apartment, tapping at my laptop and wondering if any of the lines my characters were uttering would ever make it further than the computer screen. So two actor-friends of mine and I came up with a funny idea, wrote a script and shot the film for about two thousand bucks. Since I still consider myself more of a “filmmaker” than a writer, I directed the short. Now I’m editing it on my Mac. It’s not easy being the director and the editor, but I love having all this control for a change. (I have not yet allowed my actor-friend-writers see a cut, because I know they will overwhelm me with their own personal neuroses about each and every shot in which they appear). The great thing about the digital era of filmmaking is that you can do most of the post-production yourself. Whoever thought I could use professional editing software to cut my movie at home, on my own time? It boggles the mind, I tell ya.
In other news, a feature-length script I wrote with my friend was sent out to the studios and various producers yesterday. It’s only been twenty-four hours and we’ve already got two “passes!” (A “pass” is not a good thing. It’s what it sounds like. As in, “Do I want to buy this script? I think I’ll pass.”) But there was news that a producer wants to take it over to one of the studios, so that’s good news. I’ve been doing this long enough to know it’s not “great news” (a signed check is “great news”), but I’ll take it. All told, probably about twenty people in Hollywood will read our little supernatural thriller this week. There’s something exciting about that, even though we all know the odds are slim that anybody will buy it. It’s a similar feeling to buying several lottery tickets a week before the drawing and having several days to wonder if yours will be the winner that week. Perhaps you, dear reader, will share in the suspense for the next few days…