july 4th 2004

anonymous asked:

Hi, I'm sorry if you've answered this before, but I wondered if you could explain what was going on with The Ring rewrite that satisfying pissing off people in the production change was so satisfying? I'm intrigued!!


Let’s say first that I dislike dragging people in public. It’s unprofessional in the extreme. So I will not be naming any names.

…And that said: When you’ve got to the point where you’re working on a project where the various production partners have dumped sort of twenty-five million dollars into the pot (and I know, there’s one part of me that wants to say in entertainment terms, “Oh, twenty-five million, that’s nothing these days”, another part is screaming ARE YOU CRAZY, IF SOMEONE GAVE ME TWENTY-FIVE FECKING MILLION DOLLARS AT THE MOMENT I WOULD HOLD IT UP IN THE AIR AND SAY ‘THIS IS A LOT’ ) – Anyway, when there’s that much money in play, various people in various levels of production start looking for ways to prove how important they are to the project.

One of these ways is fucking around with the script. Or the writers. Or both.

Peter and I turned in the script for what was then simply called The Ring in the late spring of 2004. We had spent the late winter and earlier spring working our guts out on that thing, and when our turn-in payment came in we took ourselves off to Leukerbad in Switzerland for a week in late June or so to reward ourselves and recoup ourselves so we could get on with other work.

A day after we got back from that trip, rested and ready to get on with stuff – I was just preparing to start work on the next YW book – we had a phone call from one of our producers that was quite annoying. We were told that someone high up in the production tree had caused our script to be more or less completely rewritten, and the result was judged “unshootable”.

Not only was this personally insulting – in that something we had worked hard on had been more or less ripped up, binned and overwritten without our knowledge or permission – but it deeply violated certain other expectations of a co-production. When a group of broadcasters / investors / creatives come together to make a miniseries, one of the things that gets settled early on is what each of the various co-production partners is going to need in the script for it to be a success in their specific market. Our story and our script had been carefully built to make sure that not only was there a good story there, but a story that would resonate correctly right across all its markets.

And now all that was gone. And the co-production partners would be within their rights to say to our friends, the producers, “Wait, we signed contracts with you for such and such, and this stuff is no longer there! How about we sue you now.” And our friends would have been personally liable for the failure to deliver. This person had thrown our friends under the bus – to the point where they could have lost their company, their homes, everything – for the sake of ego.

So you may imagine I got cranky at this news. Our friends asked that one of us come out and do a rewrite, and I pulled the short straw, and went.

But wait, there’s more! Once out in LA (that was my 4th of July in 2004: flying to LA…), and pre-briefing with one of my producer friends, I learned something that rocked me right back. My friend told me that [Interfering Person], on hearing that one of the writers was going to be brought in to rework the script, asked who it was, and on hearing, said, “Oh thank God, it’s not Peter.”

We were at lunch at the time, and I had to kind of sit back and drink my wine to force myself not to say the first ten things that came into my head, about nine of which were HOW DARE YOU DISS MY HUSBAND YOU SECOND-CLASS PIECE OF TRASH. But the tenth thing was choice, and I kind of cuddled it to me a bit. Because plainly [Interfering Person] had fallen into that trap all too commonplace in Hollywood, where someone gets the idea that in a husband-and-wife writing team, the male member is necessarily the tougher / older / more experienced / meaner / smarter / crueler member of the team. [Interfering Person] had made the critical tactical error of showing his hand. He thought he was going to get an easy ride in the rewrite, because the rewriter was a gurrrrrllll.

…So all I could do was kind of grin across at my producer-friend, and say, “Did he now.”

And after that? Let’s just say the next ten days were… educational. For one of us. 

Nothing more need be said, I think. The rewrite went in, the miniseries got shot, it won awards. Our work there was done. The company was pleased enough with me to hire me back to make Sean Bean run around in the woods in tight leather pants. I’m presently working on something to pitch them later this year.

So now you know.


July 4th, 2004 Reading Eagle

Some highlights:

  • Taylor spent her summer working at the Britney Spears’ Performance camp, and America’s Camp, for children who lost parents on 9/11.
  • She was on a CD called “Chicks With Attitude”, her song was called “Outsider"
  • She wrote 84 songs by 2004.
  • She modeled for A&F