My brother Tod just returned from speaking at the East of Eden writers conference in Salinas, California where he had some hilarious encounters with aspiring writers. He lists a few of them on his blog. Here’s a sampling:
3. Number of writers who attempted to present me with velobound manuscripts: 9
4. Number of writers who asked me to write their ideas: 4
5. A conversation with a very nice woman who wanted some advice on her short story:
Woman: I think my short story would make a great musical.
Me: Uh, okay.
Woman: I’ve already written all the lyrics and am adapting it for a movie musical.
Me: What was the last musical you saw?
Woman: Oh, I can’t remember the last time I saw a great musical. They don’t make great musicals anymore.
Me: Then why do you think a movie studio would want to make a musical out of your short story?
Woman: It’s a universal story, I write wonderful songs, it would be
just a great musical. My screenwriting teacher at the junior college
thinks so, too.
Me: What kind of movies does your screenwriting teacher make?
Woman: Documentaries and technical films for businesses.
I was a keynote speaker at the same conference a few years ago, shortly after one of the surgeries on my arm. Just before I went on stage, I spilled an entire slice of chocolate cake in my lap. I tried to wash it off and only made myself look like someone with both a severe bladder control problem and irritable bowels. Nothing earns you respect and admiration when you’re standing in front of hundreds of people like a pair of soiled pants.