Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Speed dating for writers

A question I’m always asked is “how do you find a writing partner?”. I met mine in the army but I sure don’t recommend that method. The WGA has come up with a nifty idea. Speed Dating. Just like the social version with the same success rate of getting laid. Every so often the Guild sponsors evenings for writers looking for that perfect scribe mate. I’ve never been to one of course, but I imagine you hear some pretty wacky responses. As a public service, so you don’t make these gaffes, here are few of the responses I would not want to hear. (I'm sure you can think of some more yourself.)

Dennis Miller is funny now. He never used to be but he is now.

We can work at my place. I live in Bakersfield.

Hey, hey, don’t touch my Naomi Watts photos! They’re not bothering you.

I can work anywhere any time. In fact, if you’ve got a couch I could crash on, that would be sweet.

If I could go back and work on any classic sitcom from the past, it would have to be MAMA’S FAMILY.

You would be…let’s see…my eighth partner.

I’m really good at editing. You pitch me ten ideas and I can tell you which is the good one.

It's nothing personal. I don't look anyone in the eye.

Do graphic comics count as books I’ve read?

Look, if you didn’t go to an Ivy school I don’t even know why we’re talking.

Everyone who’s read my script thought it wasn’t funny. That’s why I need a partner.

I do my best work between 2 and 4 A.M.

First things first -- who gets top billing?

Let’s work at my place. That way I can watch my twins. They just started walking!

You don’t remember? You slept with me at the Sundance retreat and never called me back, you shit!

I have a spec ELLEN I could show you.

This rubber band? Whenever I start feeling this building smoldering rage my shrink says play with this rubber band. Does it bother you?

There’s a British version of THE OFFICE?

You have beautiful hair. Can I touch it?

Do you have a cigarette?

How long have I fucking been writing? Fuck knows. But I guess it was, fuck, I dunno, some fucking time around the end of last fucking year or some shit.

The only thing is… I don’t drive.

I took Robert McKee’s class twice. So I kind of see myself as an expert on story.

Would you take my hands and join me in a prayer?

Okay, well…if you’re here and I’m here it’s pretty clear our partnership isn’t working.

Tomorrow: my weekly AMERICAN IDOL review/autopsy.


Ian said...

As always, Ken, you're right on the mark. A red flag for me:

"Yep... I've pretty much got the rights to Tonya Harding's life story wrapped up."

Unknown said...

The only reason I need a partner is to keep me motivated. And, there are parts of my back I am unable to reach and wash.

My friend's lover promised she can get Billy Bush to look at our spec. Oh, wait, I think I got that mixed up.

The most important thing is to not step on each others toes...so, what color ascot will you be wearing to Starbucks tomorrow?

Dick Van Dyke? You mean the guy from Diagnosis Murder?

I discovered script writing as a thing to do on the computer besides porn.

We can write at my place until the home incarceration cuff comes off.

I am working on a project based on my family called, “The Felons Who Won’t Move Out of My Basement.”

Can you type? Or would you prefer I write everything longhand using the blood of orphans?

I'm terrified of pickles. Really, really terrified.

Anonymous said...

You can't explain funny. It just is. And that column is! Laughed out loud more than once.

Anonymous said...

Ok let's hurry this up. My mom's waiting outside.

Anonymous said...


...I need some help to flesh out the details but it's about how the holucaust was just a big hoax...

Willy B. Good said...

I find Dennis Miller very funny now too now that he has died his hair and beard trying to look like a hip Bert Reynolds

Anonymous said...

I'm just doing this for some pocket money until my directing career takes off.

My parents gardener is the cousin of the nanny for Spielberg's ex-wife and he says she can get him the script... so I've got that going for me.

Believe me, I talk to a lot of successful writers when I'm serving latte's at Starbucks, and I'm just a smart as they are.

Anonymous said...

Just remember when you attend one of those things: When you write with a partner, you're not only writing with that partner, you're writing with every other person that partner ever wrote with....

Anonymous said...

The biggest warning sign was the unintentional one:

Tomorrow: my weekly AMERICAN IDOL review/autopsy.

Anonymous said...

Great column. I loved the part about the "Ellen" spec...
I just talked to someone who wants to be a writer, and asked if she can still use her "Dharma and Greg" spec. Um, no. If you want to be a writer, why not write a new spec?
argh. that annoys me more than someone writing in starbucks any day.

Anonymous said...

"I'd like you to meet my love interest: Yoko."

writer said...

"I get most of my ideas from the voices in my head."

Anonymous said...

How long have I fucking been writing? Fuck knows. But I guess it was, fuck, I dunno, some fucking time around the end of last fucking year or some shit.

You'd turn down David Mamet as a writing partner?

Ian said...

"I really think the time is right for another Inspector Gadget movie."

"I don't really want a writing partner, but my sponsor thinks I should have one."

"Don't worry -- it's not contagious... and these are just paper cuts."

"Trust me."

joshm said...

I enjoy writing.

Writing can be fun.

Writing relaxes me.

Anonymous said...

"I'm Mel Gibson's anger management coach, and -- Hey! Where are you going?"...

Diane said...

Too Ken and all the previous commenters - those were all hilarious! And to the captain - I do actually enjoy old Diagnosis Murder re-runs . . . but yes, I do also know what came before

Emily Blake said...

"I have this really awesome story about my childhood and it's the best story you've ever heard. I've never actually written a screenplay before, but that's where you come in."

IQCrash said...

I smoke, I curse, and I do do my best work after 2:00am.

Christ, you just made me want to slit my wrists, Mr. Ken Levine.

Anonymous said...

Very funny post.

I met a writing partner once at the unemployment office. Oops. We wrote a spec "Happy Days" that got read at the show, and rejected for reasons I didn't see coming then, but understand now.

It was about Fonzie getting drafted, and his friends helping evade the army. (No, we didn't use faking being gay. It was 1976.)

We were told, "Fonzie is a role model. He can't defraud the army or even want to evade the draft. He's a hero."

This biker-thug was a role model? News to me, and of course, I was a big draft-protester and saw his actions as being those of a role model.

And they say the media is liberal-biased.

Mary Stella said...

Sadly, those are better come on lines than I heard at my speed dating event.

Kidding. I don't speed date. I believe in slowly torturing myself by dragging out truly awful dates. That makes for much funnier stories when I tell my friends.

Ken, you could incorporate a speed partner event in your writing room seminar.

Looking forward to your Idol recap! I already wrote mine and always like to see if we found the same things bizarre. *g*

Anonymous said...

All I have is the title. Basic Instinct 3.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Write? Well, I'm a fast learner.

Grubber said...


...I need some help to flesh out the details but it's about how the holucaust was just a big hoax...

Thought big Mel would be able to afford to hire someone for that gig.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Very funny, Ken.

All the others here are funny too, but most take two sentences to get their point across. Getting there in less words is half the craft. Ian's are very good, though.

Anonymous said...

I like the "Basic Instinct 3" one.

One more...

"Sorry Mel... Jews for Jesus are meeting next door."

Jesse Wendel said...

My first outline may be a bit late; the voices told me to clean my guns.

I'm not only a Jehovah's Witness; I also sell Amway.

Anonymous said...

One final one from me:

"You had me at 'Script Wizard'"...

Anonymous said...

Did you catch Leno last night?

Anonymous said...

They always say write about what you know. Wanna see my flasher script?

Dating said...

I stopped reading when I was distracted by the Naomi Watts picture.