Harsh criticism and laziness trumps "ambition"
September 21, 2006
LOS ANGELES - An Encino, CA screenwriter's group held what is believed to be the smallest meeting ever of such an organization. Host Marvin Ixter was the only attendee, and then walked out in the middle of the meeting. "The harshness of the criticism I gave myself was rude and uncalled for," said Ixter. The meeting continued without him for another half-hour after Ixter's outburst before he returned to tell nobody that it was time they "get the hell out of my living room."
In its prime, the Over-the-Hill Writer's Group had regularly attracted anywhere from 7 to 17 people to its bi-weekly(ish) meetings. Though rarely an identical combination of attendees, the group enjoyed 5 hardcore members -- at least until recently. Other attendees were a near random selection that drew from an email list of 56.
The group's declining attendance has been attributed to a number of factors. Ixter, for one, claims attendees "didn't know what the hell they were talking about." He based this claim on the criticism he received about his writing at the meetings.
"They consistently told me my writing was poor. Clearly they were jealous and felt the need to do a little back stabbing."
But Allison Marks, another (quasi-)regular at the group disputes this claim. "That guy can't write for shit," she says. "His dialogue is vapid and flat, his concepts are trite and unmarketable, and most of his scripts were either in the 85 or 185 page vicinities."
Ixter, however, remains steadfast. He says he can't recall reading any of Marks' own writing in the group. "Allison? Never heard of her."
Group founder Lance Manley offered his own take on the group's demise. "Dude, like, I can't, like, run the whole meeting myself, y'know? At least not, like, all
the time. I mean, like, this one time it was my turn to bring in my script for review, but like, surf was bitchin' that day, y'know?"
Manley mentioned other similar interruptions affecting other attendees. "This chick Lysette was scheduled to attend her first meeting. I think she was someone's friend or wife or something. But then she up and had a baby, like right that night! I mean, dude, like why you gotta flake on a meeting, if you care about it, right? Can't you pop the kid out a different night?"
Location, according to Marks, was also an issue. She points out that the name of the group referred not to members' ages or skill levels, but to the San Fernando location in which it was regularly held. "Who the hell feels like going to the Valley every two weeks? I mean, what exactly is the attraction of living there anyway?"
Manley has indicated the group will be taking a new direction over the next 2 to 18 weeks. "Nobody knows anything anyway. Isn't that, like, what that old writer dude said? So why should we sit around and have other people tell us what's wrong with our screenplays? Instead, we're like totally changing the name to The Central Los Angeles Producers group," aka The CLAP. "We figure that by becoming producers and stuff we can have a better chance of getting our scripts made."
Industry insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity, agreed that all you really need to become a "producer" in Hollywood is a business card. "And you can get those for free from Vista Print!"
Manley pointed out one other key requirement that makes his group strong "producer" prospects. "We're holding meetings in my, like, home/office thing, and it's got a sweet couch. I expect to meet with all potential talent there for our first production. It's this really awesome flick about two hot lesbian cocaine dealers who blow lots of shit up. Of course, there will be a guy along to enjoy the ride too. It's called Blow-ing
Production is scheduled to begin "as soon as we can get financing." Ixter, reportedly, has agreed to be a part of the group in exchange for a credit as a Producer, or at least as a Production Assistant.Tags: screenwriting