Tuesday, April 30, 2024

King Me.

Unlike so many people I know, I am not a giant Godfather/ Godfather II fan. I like the movies. I'll watch them anytime I can, but my sensibilities are more moved by smaller movies like Elia Kazan/Budd Schulberg's "On the Waterfront," or even Fred Zinnemann/Carl Foreman's "High Noon." Somehow their scale and their lack of blood appeal more to me, though both those movies are plenty violent.

In any event, last week and I forget what I was reading, I came upon a mention of the book above. Francis Ford Coppola's notebooks on how he plotted out, wrote and directed what many people consider is the best American movie ever.

Though I am but a lowly advertising writer, I've alway marveled at the care great writers took with their great work. Rob Schwartz, also an ad writer, just sent me a photo from Dublin of four pages from James Joyce's Ulyssean note books.

It hardly matters that you can't make sense of the scrawl. The point isn't how they're making changes, it's how hard they work to get a piece exactly where they want it.

In advertising there are many who share this predilection, too. Sometimes it's to make the work better. Sometimes it's just so a boss can claim ownership. Sometimes it's because you're working for a dickweed.

Once, on IBM, I had sold a script that was a dialogue between IBM Watson and the author Stephen King. 

It was a funny script, based on a long phone conversation I had with King and my having had to read a couple of his books. I emailed the script to King and he called me. 

"This script is perfect," he said.

"I didn't realize you were hard-up for money," I replied.

He laughed.

The next time we met was on set at Kaufman Astoria studios out in Queens under the prognathous gaze of Joe Pytka.

I introduced myself to King.

"That script was perfect," he repeated. "I hope you didn't change a word."

I answered while biting the inside of my cheeks. "I changed everything. I was made to throw it out and start over," I said.

I was up all night in a "writer's room," "workshopping" a script that America's most-popular writer said was perfect.


Like I said. Sometimes you have to call the ADL. The American Defecation League.

In any event, just yesterday, the Godfather book arrived at my small ramshackletude on the Connecticut coast. I bought it used from an independent bookstore in Corona del Mar, California and he wrapped it in brown paper and put about 20 50-cent stamps on the box. It arrived like something sent by Edgar Allan Poe minus the cobwebs and the raven shit, but that only added to the overall effect.

I got to this page, took a photo and wrote this post.

A reminder of a simple syllogism.

Nothing else works like work works.

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