It was the end of July, a week after my last entry, when I finally wrote again. I had sent the script. Kevin and Joel read it. Loved it. I had impressed them with the speed and quality. We were then waiting on Bill’s input. At that point we would have to decide if we were passing the script to Warner (They thought it was that solid), just give Kimberly the Executive a look-see or start some changes on our own, like punch up the Lumberjack scene to be as funny as the Square Dance scene. Change the elf Truman’s characterization (he was a bit fey and maybe out of place in this version of the story) and some other odds & ends.
Then Bill tosses out the idea of a modern day fairy tale (there’s a whole lot of tossing going on); Jack and the Beanstalk. Think Tom Hanks. Think John Candy (this was off their “Splash,” “Volunteers” period). At the time I remember all this industry talk had me thinking ‘I have arrived’ (I hadn’t).
They’ll be a follow up call, they said. I’m told the “check’s in the mail” but the contracts are still being worked on. And they can’t release my first pay check until the script is completed and done. “But we’re getting there.”
Are we? Are we really?
I learned my check was still in the works. Now the WB took out CA state tax on the assumption I was a California resident. Considering that every single piece of paper I had to sign had my address on, it makes you wonder.
I was gearing up to take a few days off from work. Our house phone was out-of-order (this is before everyone had cell phones, remember). I had decided to celebrate the receipt of my first studio check clearing by buying a couple of dozen donuts and bringing them to work. They went over big, just no one asked me why I had brought them. One guy, the manager at the time, said “What’s the occasion? You hit the lottery?” laughed and walked off, so I don’t count that as an inquiry at all.
I touched base with some old friends.
Then the calls started. Kevin with notes. Joel trying to follow up. The second check shows up, less than what I was expecting after taxes. Plus $1,000 to be paid in total to the lawyer.
The legal contracts arrive. Sent a copy to my cousin in Hollywood to get a reaction.
Another week later I note I finished the “polish” and was proofreading. I got more calls to check on progress. Suddenly my script was quite the concern. I had combined daydream scenes, re-did the lumberjack scene, edited out some old detective business I had attempted to adapt for Pee Wee. Re-worked a train scene, added an elf called “Yuppie” and well as my new tagline. “I think it works, but hey, I thought the last draft worked.”
This entry winds down with other odds and ends about script the Pee Wee script and phones calls. After that, I added notes to myself. I’m starting to have thoughts about Bill Toddman’s sorcerer concept. The characters as goofy magician and assistant. A Sorcerer hiding out in a novelty shop. The team release evil wizard and are caught up in the middle of the renewed battle of good vs. evil. And, most importantly, I started thinking up some comedy set pieces.
It was something. It appealed to me. Hmmmm.
Also I note a phrase used in the paper, “Grace Under Pressure.” I thought it would be a great title. (It later was, with a TV show, “Grace Under Fire”). I didn’t know what to do with it. But I knew it could be a decent role for a female. Then some old ideas leached to it. Jilted bride. Reception held for homeless (also in the paper). Then what?
All these things would come together in time.