Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Screenplay Diary: "Between Love and Orgasms"... Taking a Turn for the Words

My favorite story (out of many) about the bringing of story to screen is the story of the 2005 Academy Award nominated film Sideways.

The film was an adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by a relative failure by Hollywood standards (author Rex Pickett), ironically about a man who is a failure as novelist. The story also mirrors Pickett’s life as a quasi-alcoholic in search of success in mid-life, after years of failed attempts to break through to mainstream industry acceptance.

Sometimes lost in the story of the making of Sideways is the tucked-away fact that Pickett’s novel was still unpublished at the time it was being turned into the surprise hit of 2004. Director Alexander Payne “discovered” the story, reading the novel in waiting on a flight from Edinburgh to Los Angeles. But for me, the part of the “lost in the story” story that influences me the most is that a finished, but unsold, story served as an industry “calling card” to get the story of Sideways in the hands of the right person to make Rex Pickett’s words make it to the big screen. Which led me to this conclusion...

What’s wrong with a novelization of my story Between Love and Orgasms before it becomes a screenplay?

This past week, I had a nice conversation with one of the founding members of Expats Post about turning Between Love and Orgasms into a novella... if for nothing else than for the potential optioning of the story for screen. Call it an extended “treatment”... something with the potential to be both literary, and commercial, all at the same time.

So this week, I began the novelization of Between Love and Orgasms. Call it my 120 page calling card to the industry. Call it taking a turn for the words. This is a big shift for me, but one that I think is the right thing to do at the right time in my progress as a writer. And somehow, I think all this may actually be a way of playing to my strengths as a writer.

I'll leave you this time with the words of Rex Pickett, in an interview granted around the time Sideways was being shaped into the Best Picture nominee it would become.  It sums up how I've come to view the whole process of writing for paid publication I have finally found myself on.

"Sometimes you get lucky. It's not about fate, it's about luck, and having the goods when luck beckons. Most everyone will one day get their chance. But they have to have the goods."

And of course, if you’re reading this, and you know anyone in desperate need of a script doctor to punch up some really boring dialogue... I’m still your guy.

And, as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Next time... exploring the idea of working with a co-writer.

Bill Friday can also be read on the website Expats Post.

Copyright © 2012 Bill Friday


  1. *** Edit this part of this message please:
    , ironically about a man who is a failure as novelist. (as a novelist.) ***

    This is a brilliant step for you to take. I believe you would write stellar scripts and stories ... just the type I would want to go to the movies to watch. Bon Chance Mr. Friday. Bravo!!!

  2. Getting paid to write seems really strange, I could never do that.


    1. Avy,

      I think that sometimes, it's the ones who can never picture doing something, who are the exact right ones to be doing that something in the first place.

      Thank you for the comment.

  3. I have seen the movie Sideways. Its really a good movie to watch and learn.

  4. I really loved the movie Sideways. Its a nice movie to watch and learn. A good movie learns us a lesson.