IFH 148

IFH 148: How to Write a Super Natural Hit Film with Beetlejuice Creator Larry Wilson


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If you were a kid of the late 80s or early 90s then today’s guest definitely had an impact on your life. Larry Wilson is the co-creator of the cult classic Beetlejuice (directed by Tim Burton), writer of Addams Family and worked on the legendary television show [easyazon_link identifier=”B001CT05SA” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Tales from the Crypt[/easyazon_link].

Larry wasn’t always a screenwriter, he worked on the studio side of things as well as an executive. In this interview, he tells the story of how he championed a young and pre-[easyazon_link identifier=”B00153ZC8Q” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Terminator[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link keywords=”James Cameron” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]James Cameron[/easyazon_link] to be the writer/director of [easyazon_link identifier=”B01I0K018W” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Aliens[/easyazon_link]. Great story!

Larry Wilson was also a screenwriting teacher at UCLA, arguably one of the best screenwriting programs in the world. He has continued to teach through his very popular workshops. His latest workshop Larry Wilson’s Method to Madness-A Fantasy and Horror Workshop is filling up quickly so sign up. Here’s a bit about the workshop.

As your teacher, my goal is to inspire leaps of imagination by creating an environment that resembles an awesome story conference—the kind myself and my partners experienced while creating Beetlejuice. First, that means we’re allowed to be strange—I’ll encourages your creative quirks and far-out ideas, as long as they’re entertaining and help to tell your story.

I’ll be your guide for workshop writing assignments, role-playing games, and group journeys through the dark realms that will keep you engaged and entertained while you’re creating your best story—ever! We’ll jump off the creative cliffs together. What I won’t be doing is lecturing for hours, hoping you’re staying awake. And, even if we’re talking about the darkest story in the world, I’ll make sure we’re having fun (if we’re not laughing, it’s not happening). 

There’s a method to my madness, I promise, and I also promise that you’ll enjoy the ride.

Below you’ll find the episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that both Larry Wilson and Tim Burton worked on together and started their Beetlejuice adventures. The episode was called “The Jar.”

Enjoy my spooky and funny conversation with Larry Wilson.

Alex Ferrari 0:05
Now today I have a special treat for you guys. We've got the writer and creator of Beetlejuice Larry Wilson. I mean, I don't know if you guys have if some of you guys haven't seen Beetlejuice for God's sakes go and see Beetlejuice. He also wrote Addams Family. He also worked on multiple episodes of the classic legendary show Tales from the Crypt. So he has a genre that he really likes, which is the supernatural, and somewhat horror aspects but more supernatural stuff like Beetlejuice and Addams Family. And I, you know, talking to Larry Larry was not only a screenwriter, but he was also a studio executive. And in the interview, he tells a story of how he actually fought for James Cameron to get the aliens job. That Terminator had not even been released yet. And he was working with Walter Hill at welter Hills Office, and they were bringing him in to do the sequel for alien, which is obviously aliens and that people did not they didn't really believe that James could do But Larry fought for him. And among other amazing stories, Larry has been around the business for a long time has worked with everybody under the sun. And it was such a pleasure having him on the show. I learned a ton of stuff from him. He has great stories, and just on just the Beetlejuice story of how Tim Burton and him got together is insane and how that whole project got off the ground and development hell and all this kind of stuff because if you guys know Beetlejuice, can you imagine trying to get a movie like Beetlejuice? produced by a studio today? I mean, it's just unheard of. So even back then Beetlejuice was such a unique situation that the studio really had no idea what to do with it, or how to make it, but it got made and boy, was it ever a launching pad for both Larry and for a little guy named Tim Burton. But anyway, without any further ado, I want you guys to enjoy my very spooky and enjoyable conversation with screenwriter Larry Wilson. I'd like to welcome to the show, Larry Wilson, and thank you so much for being on the show.

Larry Wilson 6:04
Oh, you're welcome, Alex, thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 6:06
It. Um, I'm a huge fan of your work. I'm a 90s guy. So you know, a lot of the work you did, especially in the late 80s, early 90s. Is, is I was in my video store days to during that time, so Okay, I think I sent you a picture. Did I send you a picture of my?

Larry Wilson 6:25
Yes, you did.

Alex Ferrari 6:26
Yeah, I just happened to be going through it. And I saw it. I was like, this is just too perfect. And I was standing right next to a standard for Adams Family.

Larry Wilson 6:35
It was I had one of those in my basement until it burned up in a house fire. Actually, I had I had one of those standards. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 6:43
I wish I still had some of those things. So anyway, I wanted to first ask you what made you want to get into the very easy and profitable world of writing?

Larry Wilson 6:54

Alex Ferrari 6:57
I there's some sarcasm in that question.

Larry Wilson 6:59
Yes. There should be I you know, I, I came to Hollywood, not knowing I was a terrible student, high school student, you know, didn't just but I had a passion, very, very unspecific. That's a word passion for films and wanting to do something. And I took a standalone. This was like a million years ago to Alex. I mean, I took a standalone screenwriting class at the time was being taught at Stella Adler. And the instructor whose name sadly I'm going to forget actually saw some first pages and said, you could be good at this. And it just, you know, it lit a fire. And I said, I just told myself, I'm going to be a screenwriter and I started writing it was back before there were a lot of resources, as there are now about you know, how that works. All that I got ahold of a couple of scripts and tried to mimic them and and I just, I just kept at it until I suffered a severe case of writer's block. I sort of had a golden door out of writing, which was I was a studio executive or I was a script reader and about to become I had a chance to become a studio executive at Paramount under Jeff Katzenberg and Michael Eisner. And I did that and I was doing it pretty well I think. But I really miss writing and I was really having qualms about the notes. I was giving writers and we were sort of the iron fist in the velvet glove studio at that point. And then I went back I finally made a decision I cut the histories lesson short, to jump back into writing and the first thing I wrote co wrote with my partner Michael McDowell was Beetlejuice.

Alex Ferrari 8:57
Now how did Beetlejuice come to life because that is a very unique story.

Larry Wilson 9:02
You know, it's so funny because it the the first stage of it was so was so just a really over a weekend I had a producing partner to theirs. It's both late, the late Michael McGough sadly, both of these was my writing partner and the late Michael bender was my producing partner. And that the three of us were just talking about what we wanted to do together, we decided to have this partnership. And I said psychedelic ghost comedy. I didn't know quite what that meant.

Alex Ferrari 9:40
It's a very loose. It's a very loose term for sure.

Larry Wilson 9:43
Yeah, yeah. You think Yeah, so but it sounded good, right? Sure. I'd watch that. And Miko was living in my hometown. My writing partner is living in Boston at that time. And he called these that I and he said, Okay, here's what it is. It's the ghosts haunting The humans, and that was like the first thing that we just went, Wow. Okay, that's cool. And what I came back with after Michael said, it's the ghosts are the humans haunting the ghosts, excuse me, the humans haunting the ghosts. And I said, Oh, that's great. I love that. And Mike and I had a kind of a funny relationship, just in the sense that he was very well educated. I want to say Harvard, it may have been another prestigious university, that very sort of sophisticated man, shall we say, and I had grown up, you know, a surfer, a borderline high school dropout. So we sort of had this it was always in good fun, but kind of this class war thing going on. And I said, Okay, Michael, it's the humans hunting the ghosts, and I'm the ghost and the humans are you. And so that was part two of it. And then Part Three was, and this again was over just a few calls over a weekend. We said, well, the the humans are just too or the ghosts are too nice. They don't know how to get the humans out of the house. So they need to hire a gunfighter and that gunfighter course became Beatle twos and it was that the premise was locked down over over like a weekend of maybe three four phone calls. And that was you know, that that that was the start of it, then of course, all we had to do is write the script,

Alex Ferrari 11:23
right there's that little part of the whole thing. Yeah, now when you so I'm assuming you went to pitch this, I mean, and this was the ad so it's a different

Larry Wilson 11:32
time. You know, what we we decided to mic on, I wanted to learn to write together. Michael McDowell is an incredibly professional writer and and even though I had been a studio executive at that point for several years, and I was also head of development for the great director, Walter Hill's company, like I said, I had sort of given up on screenwriting, or maybe I didn't say this, but I had a real case of writer's block, there's no doubt about it. And and Michael helped me break through that, but we decided to write the script on spec. And so that we we never even thought about pitching it. And Michael was a writers writer. And the idea of going in and pitching an idea at that point was kind of an anathema to him. And so we you know, we we wrote the script. And if you want to if I can share a kind of a funny please please add a you know, Alex, I've learned I hoped, I hope you in the audience doesn't mind as I sort of learned not to name names. It comes back to haunt

Alex Ferrari 12:37
You're not the first guest to kind of dance around certain names, but they like to tell stories,

Larry Wilson 12:42
and I'm gonna dance around this one, but all I'm gonna say I what I'll say is, I took the script to a very prominent studio executive, and asked him to read it because he liked my, my work as an executive. And he said, Yes, and he took it. And he read it over that when the first draft was finished. I gave it to him. And he and he read that over a weekend, and I actually got some into his office on Monday. That's his first draft of BLT. So obviously, and I thought, Wow, he's calling me into the office already. He's read it. He's, you know, fantasizing he's gonna love it and all that and he and he literally called me into his office to say, What are you doing? Your career? This thing is so weird. So out of touch with any kind of that I can imagine he said, you know, you have a very, you have a bright future. Why are you just gonna blow that with this piece of shit? And, oh, my God, you can imagine I was like, I was like, you know, I was pretty devastated. But there's an unsung hero in all of this. That you mentioned. Well, when we, when we were talking right before we started here, I taught at UCLA extension for over 25 years. And I had a student named Marjorie Lewis, who had a very sort of low level development job at the Geffen company and she was sort of the smartest young woman in my class at that time and I'd given it to her to read over that same weekend because I just was curious what she'd say and and after after having fed just completely derailed by this conversation with the studio executive and and then he asked me what what we thought we were going to ask for the video exactly what what we were going to ask for you know, in terms of a sell a price that I think I said like $100,000 and he just laughed, you know, I mean, he so but I called Marjorie and I said did you read it? She said yes, I said Did you like it? She said like it I'm going to get the Geffen company to buy it you know and and knowing Marjorie she just kept pounding people to read it you know so so so it The idea came quickly the first draft came pretty quickly with Michael and I and we put no limits on ourselves we had no thoughts about a demographic a you know yes I suppose it's the only PG rated movie with an F bomb in it right and and you know and then we then we sold it to the Geffen company

Alex Ferrari 15:32
now yeah cuz you could anyone who's seen Beetlejuice that you can tell there is no demographic involved at all whatsoever but now when did Tim Burton come into play? Because it is Beetlejuice is is it's so I know you guys came up with the story but I guess the way it was directed and brought to the screen it is so Tim Burton in his in his aesthetic How was it collaborating with a kind of young and pretty raw timber? He had only done a big top beat or no babies Big Adventure at that point so he was still very unproven.

Larry Wilson 16:06
Yes exactly. You know and and I think it's pretty common knowledge that there was a bit of a a battle between Tim and and Paul Reubens peewee about his movie it really was, you know, it really was the Tim Burton was not the Tim Burton at that point.

Alex Ferrari 16:24
Yeah, peewee peewee is not a Tim Burton esque film at all. You can tell it's not you can see a little bit of it in there, but not really.

Larry Wilson 16:31
Yeah. So So, you know, yeah. So as you said, Tim was, you know, still somewhat unproven. He was he as as we all know, a very idiosyncratic person and he frightened a lot of studio tech.

Alex Ferrari 16:46
Still, he still frightens

Larry Wilson 16:47
them. Yeah. Which I love about Yeah. But But So Michael Bender, or excuse me, Michael McDowell and I wrote we got to know Tim because he gosh, you know, Alex, I'm trying to remember how he got his hands on the first draft of Beetlejuice. But he did. And he asked Michael knight to write the Alfred Hitchcock television anthology show. sure this is a bit of 80s history, you might remember that they colorize some of Hitchcock's openings to the show. And then we wrote Well, many writers wrote new episodes for the anthology but based on the Alfred Hitchcock introductions and Mike and I did one of those for Tim It was the first time we worked together called the jar which is available on YouTube, if any Tim Burton historians want to dig into that. And that kind of cemented their relationship and Tim told us he said I love Beetlejuice I would love to direct it but I've got another project that other project that there's a long development hell story that can go with this but that other that that other project finally fell through at a time when we really needed someone like him to step up and rescue the script from what what a very grueling and very counterproductive development hell

Alex Ferrari 18:14
yeah, I was gonna add I was gonna ask about studio notes specifically with this because it seems like it is as far from a studio movie as I've ever seen. The how, how crazy was the notes because I can imagine people you know, in the studio system just could not wrap their head around it. Well,

Larry Wilson 18:31
I'll tell you again without naming names, names. And this was not David Geffen himself. When David Geffen became involved why you say it's like, unlike almost any studio movie, you can imagine it was because he ran interference for us and of course did it with all his clout and all his brilliance. But we Michael McDowell and I felt that we spent a year ruining the script that all of that could you know, it has so many like just if it made Mike on either laugh or if it felt right, it went into the script. And you know, there's references to psychedelic music there's references to Mexican horror movies or references to Tom and Jerry cartoons. All of all, this weirdness didn't feel weird to us. But we got into one of those situations with it with the development executive who just tried to flatten everything that was quirky idiosyncratic out of it. And, and we were pretty much at the point feeling like we had ruined the scrap when thankfully and again, it's a it's kind of a long, complex story, but but when we were managed to say to Tim and Tim's other project had fallen through, would you want to step up and direct it? And Tim said yes, but he said he essentially said I want to do it if I can go back to what the first draft was the pot this huge break as you can imagine and and yeah and Tim at that point he wasn't the Tim Burton yet and I and you know Mike and I built the rocket and you know put it on the launching pad but Tim launched it to the moon and of course his sensibility it's a it's all there and it was just this very you know it was one of those unique yeah and and and the thing about Tim and me at that point was the things that we shared together were were like the drive in movies we'd gone to see you know, the ice movies Corman movies and and you know just just all this all this kind of what was kind of at that point as you'll remember like the the kind of like this trash sensibility, you know, it's very brilliantly said that we were the acceptable edge of the unacceptable would say

Alex Ferrari 20:55
great line.

Larry Wilson 20:57
It is right. Yeah, I've always thought about that. And I've tried to sort of live by that code. Maybe sometimes to my, my commercial demise.

Alex Ferrari 21:07
No, one so yeah, yeah,

Larry Wilson 21:09
that but that Tim became involved and it kind of went back to what the first drafted ban and then his sensibility and it gels into what Beetlejuice is.

Alex Ferrari 21:18
And for people who I mean a lot of we have a lot of younger audience members listening to this if you guys haven't seen Beetlejuice you gotta go watch Beetlejuice it is a triumph of creative triumph without question but a lot of people forget it was a pretty monster hit when it came out

Larry Wilson 21:33
it was and and yeah please if you have if you haven't seen it it's everywhere Oh copies and you know so and that was another thing that there were there were people at Warner Brothers marketing executives particularly you hated the movie oh my god they hated them and and you know they there there was a movement within that that those people to change the title the house ghost that was oh my god out you know and and just kind of dump it the way that it is because they thought it was they just didn't get it and and that that the first weekend it came out which was actually really cool because you know the Winona Ryder character Lydia which you know she's so great yeah you know it's become like this iconic goth girl character and that was that one I mean the initial vision of her I will take credit for because I had gone to hear another 80s reference I'd gotten to see the band The Cure Yeah, you

Alex Ferrari 22:42
read my mind I'm like he's gonna say the key here is that Yeah, you

Larry Wilson 22:44
know, I'd gone to see him at the Rose Bowl and I thought and it felt like it away I was in an audience of like 50,000 teenage girls dressed in black you know and and and so so you cut to the opening weekend of the movie and I went the first night to see it and the audience was coming out at some people loving it, some people hating it, which I actually thought was really good now, because we had wanted to write something that was a definitive statement, not something that would please everyone. And that was certainly Tim's goal to Yeah, and and so then I went back on Saturday night to see it again. And I saw all these girls like these teenage girls who had who had obviously seen it the first night gone into their closets the second night and come back dress like Lydia deetz you know, the Winona Ryder character and that's when I knew Okay, this thing is going to take off and it did and it was a huge you know, I mean surpassed everyone's expectations and then continues to do so you know, it's amazing to me that it's become this pop called classic that has become but it has,

Alex Ferrari 24:00
its it I remember I mean I was I went to the theater to see it and when I was in high school, and it blew my mind because you'd never seen anything like that before. And I think that pretty much announced to Tim Burton was really quickly and announced Tim in a huge way and then obviously right afterwards he got that little movie called Batman that little thing that went out but I'm always fascinated about how studios you know the you always hear these horror stories of studio execs or just you know, development executives always trying to get in the middle of ruining something. And I've heard other options do that they actually do help sometimes. But with something like this it's just so outside the box. That's why I was amazed. And I guess I don't know if a movie like this could get made into I don't think it would get made in today's studio system unless you had a big gun like a Tim Burton or someone behind it. But in the 80s it was a little bit more wild wild west. Do you agree?

Larry Wilson 24:55
Yeah, it wasn't I don't want you know, I because I've been a studio Exactly. Do I don't want to it's so easy to use that brush, you know, ain't them all that they're always right away. And they're always messing up your project and all of that. And it's not necessarily true. And we had, you know, we did have fans and and within Warner Brothers and people who did get the movie, but there were there was a, but the main thing we had was David Geffen on our side and need a champion. Yeah, as as the champion of it. And there's a there's one more funny story that I'll tell if it isn't going on too long. Sure, sure. But at so after this weekend, where the film just exceeded everyone's expectations, there was like a marketing meeting that we were invited to. And one of these marketing executives, who who had been so passionately hated the film was having to confront the these weekend Groasis. And he said, Well, at least we got the little girls and black to come in or some line like that, right? When we walked out of the meeting, Tim said, well, who did you think we made it for? You know, I did so. Yeah, so it was it was a film that divided everyone in the beginning, and now everyone, including myself will take credit for it being, you know, this pop classic.

Alex Ferrari 26:26
Now, I mean, Tim, obviously got Batman afterwards. But you also got another great gig right afterwards, which is Addams Family. Yes. Yeah. How was how was it? I mean, bring in such a classic TV show to life. Because, I mean, it's still being done to me, for God's sakes, we had chips coming out for some godforsaken reason, but, but that, you know, this whole t turning TV shows into Yeah, I think it started in the late 80s, early 90s is when this this kind of pattern started happening, correct?

Larry Wilson 26:56
Yeah. And that I got involved in The Addams Family and wrote with my great partner and friend Caroline Thompson, it was Scott Rudin who brought us together and Caroline and I sort of had this writers blind date at a for those of you who aren't in LA there's a very famous drive thru restaurant called Bob's Big Boy and Caroline and I met there and had a hamburger and decided we could work together and work on The Addams Family together and we were brought together by Scott and Scott Rutan and and the thing that people People always remember the TV shows the origin but the actual origin were these new yorker cartoons by john adams and that sort of animated our sensibility of it or we of course we refer to the TV show and you know borrow borrowed characters from that particularly thing the hand and that's great you know, but it was really the Charles Adams a New Yorker cartoons aesthetic that we really tried to really tried to emulate and yeah i mean i i'm sure there was another you know at that point taking a you know, a TV show and rewriting it into a film but we were definitely one of the first and started that that trend for better or for worse I don't know

Alex Ferrari 28:26
I mean, I can't I mean I'm sure there are good TV shows that I mean, there are but I just can't remember like Charlie's Angels I guess the first one was a lot of fun but anyway, we can we can go on and on. But Addams Family, actually I really enjoyed Addams Family was it was a it was a monster hit to it was another another Grand Slam. Winner.

Larry Wilson 28:44
Yeah, it was it was huge.

Alex Ferrari 28:47
And it was bear it was at Barry sonnenfeld, his first directorial movie?

Larry Wilson 28:51
Uh, yes, it was and he had, you know, he and his cinematographer for the Coen brothers. And it was his first directing feature directing gig and, and again, there were a couple of, of executive suits who were very suspicious of him stepping up and doing it but of course, you know,

Alex Ferrari 29:18
he's not okay with himself, the men and blacks and so, and

Larry Wilson 29:22
again, it was someone who had a brilliant sort of idiosyncratic vision and took what we had done and you know, brought it to life in just an incredible way.

Alex Ferrari 29:32
Now, real quick, I had to ask, I forgot to ask one question about Beetlejuice. Is it beetle juice or beetle geis what why what's the difference? Because I know

Larry Wilson 29:41
as I as I remember that day the beetle guys being the constellation and it was Michael McDowell who who came up with with the the pine. I don't know if it's a pine exactly, but the idea of that we would take beetle guys but pronounce it beetle. juice and then we changed it to beetle juice as like the juice of a beetle which was another thing that a lot of people hated was you know the name but in

Alex Ferrari 30:09
the actual movie it's the title is beetle guys if I'm not mistaken and that is that well, it might have changed.

Larry Wilson 30:17
No it The title is beetle juice Jiyu I see yeah there there were some beetle guys references are very early on it Scott. I don't remember exactly but thank God it wasn't called house ghost which

Alex Ferrari 30:32
that's at the end of the day we're all grateful for not being called house. Now, do you have any advice of from in this? This actually is a good question because you're on both sides of the fence here. Any advice on how to deal with studio or producers notes as a writer?

Larry Wilson 30:48
Yeah, it's it. It is it? Well, yes, I do. And I'm just I'm just taking a breath here because I want to say this simply because it's a it's a subject I could go on about their day, there's a there's a dance involved in it, there's no doubt about it, if you are that that young writer out there who it sells his or her first script to a studio, be prepared to write many drafts get a lot of notes and, and and deal with it accordingly. And accordingly to me means you need to be respectful the processor, don't sell them the scrub, you know, it'd become a DIY director, which is of course doable. Now you're doing you know, I mean, if it's just your vision or no vision, do it yourself, I know, which was not an option, particularly in the 80s in the way that it is now. But but there's that there's a dance involved in working with studio executives and you do need to think a little bit about well, first of all, you have to be open. And and, and don't assume that someone an executive won't have anything smart to say or good to say to you and don't take all of these studio executive horror stories. So seriously, that you aren't willing to listen. And often you will get notes that will make your script better but you do also have to have at it kind of an internal courage and a resolve that there are things that you will say no to and you can you can say no respectfully you can say you can say it in the context of realizing that that you're you're working with a team of people who are hopefully trying to make the best movie or TV show possible. But you have to know what you can well you have to be open to listening and maybe there's a better idea it's a collaborative medium to use that horrible cliche. But but but it within that, that dance, you also have to have things that you just absolutely say no, that that that so destroys the vision that so destroys the essence of what we're trying to do that we can't go there. And it's you know, it's not for the faint of heart. Is it Alex?

Alex Ferrari 33:27
No, it's

Larry Wilson 33:27
Yeah, you know, and I've, and I say this after, you know, decades of experience doing this, I've got a new animated film coming out. October. This was this year, Halloween 2017 here's an animated version of the little vampire action version. Yeah. And that, you know, I, my, my, my producing partner and writing partner, Richard Klaus, we have we, we go back and forth. Sometimes it feels endlessly on scenes. But at the end of the day, I know he has the best interest of the film and at heart and I do too, but there's things he said he said to me, absolutely. No, this isn't what we're doing. And there's things I've said to him and then there's things where you say okay, no, you have a better idea or let's try it at least and it's it you gotta you gotta have you gotta have some if you're going to play that studio game, and I don't want to game is too light of a term for you make your movie through a conventional movie studio process. You got to be willing to play that we'll call it a game or call it a dance. You got to be willing to play the game or do the dance. Yeah, and, and, and do it do it intelligently. And And again, it's being open to good notes, but be but then having that sort of the intestinal fortitude, fortitude, the guts to say no, I can't do that. It doesn't work.

Alex Ferrari 34:58
Right until until You know you become James Cameron that you just tell him no it's not going to happen and this is gonna happen this way

Larry Wilson 35:05
you know and and it's so funny because if you look at like Caroline Thompson my you know who my Addams Family right? You know is written so many brain films from Edward Scissorhands I just watched the Corpse Bride again last night. I had to go I mean I could go on and on with her credits, but but she's, she says sometimes if we ever think about collaborating together, she'll say Don't you think at this point we should be able to walk into one of these executives office offices and say, here's here's our resume here's what we've done. Can you please just let us do it and leave us alone? Right I mean, but it's just a joke because it never happens that way if you're working for a studio you're going to get notes you're going to you're going to be in that airplane that game or doing that dance and

Alex Ferrari 35:54
but like can you can I can I'm trying to think of a writer who has that kind of power there's very few I mean Tarantino obviously but he's a director, but like who is a writer and just a writer not a director has that kind of power because there are directors who do have that power there's very few but there are they can kind of do what they want depending on the budget of course you know, but like Woody Allen does what he wants when he wants but he also keeps the budgets at a very low let's say the Coen brothers or another group that these guys just literally do whatever they want and I don't think they get a lot of studios but are there any writers do you think I mean there's obviously some very monster writers out there who you know who are you know at the upper echelon if you will of writing but do they have that kind of power anymore? Is there anyone like that

Larry Wilson 36:42
I you know, I mean wow that that would be a list of what like two three people

Alex Ferrari 36:47
right exactly it's a very small

Larry Wilson 36:50
I there's I consider myself depending on the arc of my career I guess a list down to a minus list. You know, I'm I am well respected at this point and be sure will will will will listen to me but when Steven was at a plus list that maybe Aaron Sorkin but you know but they're miserable to a director I mean, right if you want to if you want to do it yourself you got you know really do it and and it's your vision and all of that there because the names that you listed the Coen Brothers Tarantino Of course, they're brilliant directors and and, and and they're and they have both those things going it's screenwriters, not so much

Alex Ferrari 37:37
and that's that's the cliche of like the screenwriters never never never get never never get the respect that they deserve because I mean without without the word there's nothing

Larry Wilson 37:49
yeah and and and that's that's another one of those things that that that's a truth that can be untrue I I sometimes you know because I'm heading into my god I'm knocking wood here Alex you know i mean like 30 year run of you know, great years not so good years pretty good years but you know, I've made my living as a writer now for over 30 years which is like kind of insane

Alex Ferrari 38:16
it really it is it is a miracle honestly

Larry Wilson 38:20
yeah it's a yeah and and and i i'm very I'm very aware of it and I have a new film coming out this year is like it's like a really brilliant thing. But uh, but you know, am I can I it was like I was saying when Caroline Can I walk in a room and say this is what I want to do. And this is how I'm going to do it and look at you know, if you want the you know, everyone wants to know Beetlejuice until you think you've given it to them and they get scared I mean in studios and, and and it's in screenwriting, it, you're not going to be with maybe again, maybe we could come up with a list of three people, four people and even

Alex Ferrari 39:03
then those You're

Larry Wilson 39:04
right, you're not going to be that that where it's you and it's you and everyone you're not going to be they don't they don't celebrate the screenwriters too much do that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 39:14
not really. And even those guys are on that list. You're right, they do have to answer to a director eventually. And you know, unless there's both the same person that the screenwriter is, I mean, there are some that have a little bit more clout and obviously a little bit more muscle, but even then, at the end of the day, it all depends. And if they're working at that high level of budget, generally speaking, the director that they bring on is going to probably be at that high level as well. That's why I was like, I always tell people like we you know, I have such a great respect for a James Cameron because he really is probably the only guy on the planet who could have done avatar. The way he did it, like not even, I mean, Spielberg was, you know, hat in hand for Lincoln for years. And like, it's Steven frickin speed. Yes, right. Yeah, you know, like in Martin Scorsese. was trying to get silenced them for 20 years like he's Martin Scorsese you know so yeah you know so it really is you know it's a very small crowd that can kind of work in the studio so I mean Chris Nolan right now is probably one of those guys who can pretty much you know even David Fincher Can't you know and he's David frickin Fincher you know, I had Jim moves on and we were talking about Fight Club and the battles that they had with Fight Club and, and all that stuff, not him and Fincher, but the studio's a very similar thing they get mad they just didn't get it like it. Same thing with Beetlejuice, they just didn't get it. And it's now become a masterpiece. It's considered a masterpiece. So with them, so you also worked a bit in TV with tails in the crypt? How does your work differ when you're writing for television? versus writing for feature films?

Larry Wilson 40:50
Well, you know, Tales from the Crypt, which I understand is being revived was like, just one of the great anthology shows of all times Oh, yeah, I feel very blessed. I wrote six episodes I wrote and directed an episode of first directing gig that I'm still remain really proud of. And it was it was like, just one of the best run shows imaginable it was and and the show runners name was Gil Adler. And he I got to know Gil personally, after the kryptos kind of winding down, and he was two different people. He could be very, he was a very nice man, actually, I'm sure it still is very nice, man. I'm seeing him in a while. Offset, but onset and during the making of that show. He could be really intimidating if he chose to be. And I always considered it, you know, it spoke well of me that I got invited back every season of the show to do an episode. But the thing about it was I mean, I'll just start right at the beginning that scripts had to be 21 pages. They could not be 22 pages, they could not be 20 pages, they had to be 21 pages. So you had to really learn to write that succinctly. And and if I did it my sin probably every season was that my first script? first draft would be, you know, too long by a couple of pages. And I would say to Gil Well, can I have an x page and I'll be no 21 you know, I mean, which is light and and and you know, this whole flash story movement that you may be aware of, you know, where you write, like 100 word story and, and, or a 1500 word story. I love that and it seems,

Alex Ferrari 42:46
can you tell me a little bit more? I don't know about that. Can you tell me a bit about

Larry Wilson 42:49
that there there's a literary movement out there I guess you'd call it called a flash writing. And it's the idea of writing a short story with a very specific number of words that you have to tell your story I came across this there's a horror writer named David Lake who published an anthology book of 100 word stories and I and I read a few of them and I went Wow, this is so cool. It's because it's such a great piece of discipline. And then I started to explore it and it's actually like it's it's like a literary movement you know, and I mean, and there's there's Twitter stories where you have to write a story with how I forget how many characters you have with your Twitter feed 140 characters Yeah, there's you know, there's there's there's 100 word story there's 1500 word story, and it's just the idea how much can you convey and how good of a story can you tell with this very, you know, within this very limited frame of just a certain number of words and I sat down after reading a few 100 word stories, and wrote my own 100 word hoard. Sorry, I went oh, wow, you know, it actually because it was you know, it was probably like 150 words when I finished the first draft and then you know, cut it out, cut it out, cut it out, cut, I kept, kept cutting those exactly 100 words. And it was amazing to see and I'm sure you can relate to this as a filmmaker, about how much you can cut and how many things that may seem precious to you cut them away and you can still convey the essence of the story. And that was very true on Tales from the Crypt. Like I said, we had 21 pages to tell a story and everyone was a miniature movie. There were no repeating characters. There was no you know, everyone was very different from the next and it was an incredible bit of writing discipline. For me, it was it was it was incredible to have to tell the best story possible and within that limited frame of you know, I guess that would be 21 minutes, you know, give or take. And and that was you know, I've never done series television I because i think i think too much beginning middles and ends. That's not a bad thing but that's the way my brain works but but I guarantee that one of the disciplines of TV even in this you know, this great era we're in now you know where you can do, you know, like, like the Breaking Bad, you know, four seasons, all that but the essence is still economy, I think television.

Alex Ferrari 45:24
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. It's a great discipline, that concept of flash writing. It's a great discipline for writers, any writers listening out there try to do that, because it's wonderful.

Larry Wilson 45:44
Yeah, that Yeah, Alex it is and it's something that that I just really came across a very short time ago. And I love it and I know we're going to get around to talking about some of the workshops, but it's something I'm going to utilize within within those workshops because I just think it's it's an incredible it. It's like the perfect discipline for a screenwriter who's taking a day off from screenwriting but still wants to get their you know, their writing muscles. exercise that day, that this idea of 100 word short story because it's a very cinematic way to tell a story you have to do it with very key images and just those moments that really can convey what you try to convey. I mean, it's basically

Alex Ferrari 46:33
a workout for your your writing muscle it really is because you have to do it within this framework. And it's a great discipline to carry on with all your writing. Yeah, so it doesn't get to you because sometimes writing gets away from you.

Larry Wilson 46:49
Yeah, and I and my first drafts are always overlong and then they go into the digital drawer now for a while and I go back to them and I always realize that in your first draft a lot of what why they're you know my drafts are probably like 20 pages too long is I'm still explaining the story to myself in that draft you know and and and then it and you'll cut things away that you will think oh I can't lose that but then you you you lose it and most often you don't miss it and of course if you know that's the miracle the computer you can you can you can cut it then you can undo the cut and put it back but I know I like to be relentless with my first draft after I've written it and put it away for a few weeks and just cut it to death and see where it stands

Alex Ferrari 47:41
now and you're talking about Tales from the Crypt to actually bring it back marry amazing stories Did you hear that?

Larry Wilson 47:47
Oh no I hadn't heard about that one I forget who it is is bringing his bringing Tales from the Crypt back I should probably go knock on their door

Alex Ferrari 47:54
you should you absolutely should. Yeah, but amazing amazing stories was one of those shows from the 80s to I mean I think there's a lot of anthology theology starting to be a little bit in vogue now and they're starting to bring them all back

Larry Wilson 48:05
so glad it's great yeah and it's it's and the right the right show and the show that was run as well as the Tales from the Crypt was run it was it was a chance to write a movie in miniature and also be you know I always said you know it was my chance to be sort of like a you know like like if I had a heavy metal a static in me that was the crypt you know, I could be dark and disturbing and spew a lot of a venom is awesome

Alex Ferrari 48:40
yeah you get you get to play in a place that you might not want to invest in entire feature film or try to get a feature film off the ground but for a 21 minute piece like you know, I really have always wanted to play with this idea. So let me just throw it into this short and space is basically a short and I think in today's world that's why anthologies are starting to come back because the attention span for a lot of younger generation is it works as an anthology as opposed to the longer formats as well but I want to ask you something. What are your tips do you have any tips that you can share about writing horror and fantasy since you've done it so often in your life?

Larry Wilson 49:15
Yeah, I think so. And and and then the the big tip about it is look horror horror, particularly fans you know, but but we all now can go to a you know, a multiplex fantasy movie or multiplex comic book movie, which is essentially you know, it's a fantasy movie. And you see the trailers preceding the movie, and they and they all they they all bleed into where they feel like it's the same movie you know, like you see six versions of the same movie in the trailers and then you see the movie, and it's the same movie. So and, and, and but horror particularly it runs inside Someone will do you know, something like paranormal activities, you know that there's sort of this groundbreaking film in terms of, you know, how we shot the budget that we shot out and all of that, and then it will be heavily ripped off in and you know and beaten to death. Yes. And and and so how do you how do you be original within the context of Jacques art are in a sense they are based on repetition, there's only so many ways to scare people. And the thing that I try to teach people and say to people about it is you need to be personal, you need to really, I think they're really be scary, you need to go inside yourself and find that peace of darkness that and I don't consider myself a dark person by any means, you know, I consider horror a nice place to visit, I wouldn't want to live there. You know, in my life, obviously, but, but you got to kind of go inside and find that thing that just scares you to death scares you to death. And start there. And that's where you're going to find a voice and and, and that's where you're going to find originality, by bit by by taking a genre that too often, again, once at once a you know, whatever the horror movie does your is, it will be ripped off endlessly in usually, you know, a rapidly declining way. But if you can be personal, and if you can just really, really look inside yourself and say, what's my darkest impulse? Or what is the thing that scares me to death and start there, then you have something to build on? And then you have something that that that has a chance of, of having some originality?

Alex Ferrari 51:54
Yeah, I that's a very, very good point. And, you know, and

Larry Wilson 51:57
just quickly to go back to tales, Tales from the prep. You know, they were all based on these 1950s Horror comic stories, you kind of took the premise of the story, they wrote something new around it, but I can look at all of my episodes now. And without going into, you know, the family psycho drama or any of that I can see exactly where they came from, and feel myself within them, even though they were based on on another story and and, you know, a comic book story. And of course, you know, it was, you know, an anthology of I forget how many episodes per season, but I can look at all of those episodes, and see some of my worst fears and some of my darkest impulses, I guess you'd say within those stories. And I'm proud of that.

Alex Ferrari 52:45
Now, can you and I think this is a really important point to kind of stress to the audience. Can you agree with me that all good art and specifically art in the scope that we're talking about, which is filmmaking, and screenwriting, that audiences really connect with truth of some sort, whether that be the truth of you, like you just said, It scares the hell out of me go scare the hell out of me. So I'm going to make paranormal activity. And there's that that that ends the essence of truth from the filmmaker themselves or from the writer themselves. That and that's what people connect to do, or or some sort of truth within the Zeitgeist of the world but truth is what we look for Do you agree in that sense?

Larry Wilson 53:28
I completely agree. And it's I suppose it could be very very easy to be cynical about how much truth there is in you know the Hollywood blockbuster the you know, that 200 $300 million movie but the ones that that really work and that really I think, step out of the pack they do speak to they speak a truth and and a truth that that just that just grabs you by the throat and you want to go back to it and you can go to something Yeah, we can talk about the scary that scary dark truth. But Harry Potter is full of truth and truth and and at that. I mean, I speak to a worldwide audience and particularly a young audience in a very profound way. And and and I think if you go back and read the first book, you and you understand that that came from a very personal space and she was on welfare it sitting in the back of a car, so we're writing it, exactly, you know, and, and it is and it's, you know, it, that truth is within that story and, and, and those aspirations of breaking out of that, that cycle of you know, despair and poverty and, and all of that and, and you You know what if you if you're going to if you're going to do this gig as screenwriters, yet you better have something to say and people you know yeah you you're going back to the development part of it, you'll have people who will try to beat that truth out of it sometimes and that's when you went when you really have to put down your foot and say know that and that's what I was talking about destroying the essence of it you just really summed it up better than I did Alex if they're destroying the truth of it and I've always written you know, I didn't know I had a theme until I had enough work where I could say oh my work has a theme for the most part and for me it's about you know, the families that have fallen apart who are brought back together in some very bizarre way and and and that that comes from from from a place within me and it's something that when I when I start thinking story it's sort of naturally where I go and and I I feel sorry for young writers out there who are just trying to emulate Yes, art night or whatever, you know, whatever it is that they've watched it so many times that they think they can write that without having their own that without having their own truth within them, you know,

Alex Ferrari 56:15
well that's the thing that I've said this many times on this show is that you know, when you try to emulate as a director or a screenwriter, like I'm gonna be the next Quentin Tarantino like we don't need another kwinter and you know, we've got a quick guarantee and I guarantee you quitting does it much better than you'll ever do it yeah, you know, and it's a bit original.

Larry Wilson 56:33
Yeah, you know, you're talking about James Cameron earlier and and my last development job was I was I was working for Walter Hill and I was tasked with the job of finding a writer for the alien sequel which of course became aliens and I met Jim Cameron at my office and that was right after Terminator so he was yeah and and I don't even think as I as I remembered at least I don't think Terminator would have even been released yet but I got a hold of the script and and this was not some brilliant call on my part because if you read the script Terminator at that point, and you couldn't see that this guy was going to become the Jim Karen you You didn't deserve the job that I and and and you know, he came and met me in my office and at that time, this will put this back into the 80s he was he was working on a movie called New Year's Eve 1999 all this brilliant conceptual art and, and and talked about it so passionately and I'd read Terminator and I went to Walter Hill and I said, Okay, I found our writer and of course Jim became the writer and director and I went through a lot of development meetings at Fox with in the room with Jim and some studio executives over there. And yeah, you talk about a guy who knew what he wanted to do and knew how he wanted to do it and knew how to say no and that was James Cameron and I and I'm in terms of my development life that's my proudest achievement was was connecting James to the a, you know, the alien sequel and in the early stages,

Alex Ferrari 58:16
and that's still arguably my favorite, I think of the alien of alien movies. And it's just I mean, if we could we could talk for hours just on James, but it's pretty remarkable that you know, I personally don't think he's made a bad movie in his career other than maybe Parana the spawning, but

Larry Wilson 58:35
that's what I had to show people to begin there was no Terminator yet. There was no you know, there there was a terminator I had parotta

Alex Ferrari 58:44
Roger corvis

Larry Wilson 58:46
it's the next big deal. here look at Piranha

Alex Ferrari 58:51
no no no Piranha to the spot not even the original Piranha

Larry Wilson 58:56
but you know but but again if you if you if you read Terminator and your madam Oh boy, you just you had to know.

Alex Ferrari 59:04
Right exactly. So now I hear that you're giving workshops now on screenwriting. Can you tell us a little bit about the kind of workshops you're given? Yeah, well

Larry Wilson 59:13
I'm, I'm, I'm, I've taught for over 25 years, I'm gonna say something that's gonna come off a bit snotty, maybe Alex but but maybe what separates me out from a lot of screenwriting teachers out there is is that I'm still a working screenwriter. And, and and that i've you know, I've been in the trenches for all these years, and I've had experiences on both sides of the desk. I've been a studio executive. I've been a screenwriter dealing with studio executives. And I've done all my teaching. Well, not all of my teaching by any means, but a majority of my teaching at UCLA extension and I taught a class at UCLA extension. A couple of semesters ago a few semesters ago and I just kind of realized that I wanted to step out of of that curriculum and do it on my own and so I have started in and here's the website everyone Larry Wilson screenwriting workshop and the first two workshops I'm going to do are horror and fantasy writing they're called the method the madness they're at Larry Wilson screenwriting workshop right now they're going to happen in LA April 8 and ninth I believe and then another weekend in April if you go on the website you can check them out and I definitely my career has has in terms of my work has been primarily in the dark comedy horror fantasy world and I'm going to get and I'm going to do my first two weekend workshops on on horror and fantasy writing and and and then but I'm also going to be consulting with with you know, I just I think because of just this sort of this life of experience I've had now you know, it's like very weird to wake up and you've been doing something for 30 years and and and the fact that I have I've kind of done in a lot of different ways I just think I have a unique enough perspective and and a fresh enough preset perspective to bring something to aspiring writers in terms of consultations or in terms of my workshops and all of that that that I and I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think I could do it you know it's it's a matter of the truth again because you don't get rich teaching at UCLA extension and there have been a lot of years I taught there where I didn't even need the money was wasn't an issue whatsoever you know, I mean, but I've just always loved teaching and and and I've loved explore you know, moving writers you know and and it's that when you find that writer in your classroom or you where you go wow, this person can actually do this that's just that's just a brilliant moment and so there's a truth to my teaching to and a passion to really help people you know, get their script get their scripts finished for one thing oh my gosh no, you know

Alex Ferrari 1:02:18
this yes the the screenwriter has been working on a screenplay for seven years that guy

Larry Wilson 1:02:24
that Yeah, and the thing that I always say to people and I make up the number in the beginning just as sort of what I think fits the room I will sometimes say 98% of you are going to fail they say that you'll fail because you'll never finish your script right yeah and and and and and that's that's a sad truth that that i've i've confronted many many times in my teaching career and and I'm oh my god please God shoot me if I say I'm motivational but

Alex Ferrari 1:03:01
I'll just call you Tony Robbins.

Larry Wilson 1:03:02
Yeah. But but i do i because you know, look I went through a very severe case of writer's block I had I had a like I say a door to walk through to become a studio executive as is and do that that job for a few years I realized I wanted to write again but I understand the fears of it you know and and and for me it was I barely had a high school education and I thought being a writer was you had to you know, gone to college and get a degree all this stuff's Of course absolute nonsense. And I think so I think I'm gonna be good for the writers who want to work with me in terms of that just getting their script finished. Oh my gosh, finish already. And so you know, the horror and fantasy wrote workshops will be based on sort of a wealth of experience and a love for the genres and a passion for the genres I you know, it's I can geek out on them. But also, you know, the practical side of it. And yes, a motivational side of it. Finish your script.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:09
Yeah, exactly. Now, um, and I'll put all that information in the show notes for everybody listening. So right, you can go right there and get links to everything. Awesome. Thanks. Now, what advice would you give a screenwriter just starting out besides finish your script?

Larry Wilson 1:04:26
Yeah, besides, which is like the I've given away my work.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:33
That's it. That that's,

Larry Wilson 1:04:34
that's, that is the biggest one. But, of course, the thing that has changed so dramatically since you were working in a video store, and I was, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:46
screenwriting Beetlejuice

Larry Wilson 1:04:48
screenwriter, where is DIY? Yeah, and I know and and I love your site. I think you love the resources that you bring to people. Because it there, it used to be very, very, very hard to get a movie made. If only because film stock was so expensive,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:12
just that alone and the cameras, yeah. And

Larry Wilson 1:05:15
and yes and and and and and and the rentals and all of the lights and the you know, and if there's it and now to state the obvious that no longer is the case. And I am going to be doing a lot of DIY preaching within my workshops too. And particularly, I heard I'm gonna forget the filmmakers name now but he's making really kind of, you know, balls to the wall. Pretty good horror movies for like $5,000 that he's crowdfunding and right. And that that story is out there in lots of different places now and he said something like that was so smart. He said, I think that that for the budgets I work on and the limitations I'm working on. You can do a good drama, right? You can do a god. Yeah. A good drama, you can do a good horror movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:11
I mean, you absolutely can. Absolutely.

Larry Wilson 1:06:15
And so there's there's no excuse left. If you really if you really want to do this, and you really want to make something there's no excuse left. You could do it for $5,000 I know you had I forget I'm sorry. I'm forgetting his name right now you had a conversation on your podcast? Just maybe it's the most recent one was someone who made a movie for $500?

Alex Ferrari 1:06:42
Yeah, I had a couple of them for 500 I had Josh Caldwell who did his feature film for 6000 which was all that night in LA you know, it's there's there's absolutely no excuse and and I just did my movie. This is Meg for a humble budget under 25 million. As soon as my audits done, I released the budget, but

Larry Wilson 1:07:06
under 25 million, right under 25 million

Alex Ferrari 1:07:08
for sure. But there's no excuse in my audiences. I've heard they're exhausted of me telling them this. But I'm glad that you're someone like you of your caliber is saying the exact same thing. And as a screenwriter, I think do you agree that at this point in the game as a screenwriter, a young screenwriter starting out instead of trying to I mean there are that you could obviously submit you could obviously try to get into the studio system. But that is a much more competitive world than writing your own stuff, teaming up with the director or production you know, to do a small $5,000 movie or do it yourself literally just go out and shoot it yourself and find people that can support you, especially if you live in LA for God's sakes. But but you can do it anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world for that matter. Would you agree with that?

Larry Wilson 1:07:52
I totally agree with it. And you know that this this these workshops, the LA workshops, sign up now kids because they may be the last ones I do, and I the US for a while because I'm I my, my lovely new wife of about eight months now. Congratulations, we're moving to the Netherlands over the summer, are you That's awesome. Yeah, we're moving to Amsterdam or Rotterdam and for good or just for the summer, you know, well before for who knows, you know, we'll see what life brings about where it feels like it's going to be for good, whatever for good means, right? But I'm hoping to be speaking to an international audience very soon and you can do it anywhere in the world. And and it's and I sort of to think that you know, that that that maybe as a young writer, you can have a two prong approach have that project that you know, your your, your big studio movie, and, and, and, and write that spec script that is the one that you hope you'll sell you know, that million dollars sale, and and you know, it can be that big budget movie, but never let go of this really compelling fact that if that isn't happening, or that script gets stuck somewhere that you can turn around and you can do a movie, you can borrow the money from your parents. If you're

Alex Ferrari 1:09:27
I mean, it's 5000 bucks, 2000 bucks, 5000 bucks,

Larry Wilson 1:09:32
you know, right? Yeah. But and and it's, oh my god, the sense of liberation and relief in that is so huge. I you know, I i've because I'm going there myself and, and and starting to do some DIY work because I just because I get I get very bored with by how long It takes to get something Ah huh the studio and I you know and I'm writing screenplays and and there is no more useless document than a screenplay that's unproduced or stop right so I it's something that that I'm exploring for myself at this point and it's just a great sense of freedom and liberation and fun

Alex Ferrari 1:10:22
I'm gonna tell you when I made my I just finished my first feature and with that same that same spirit and it is the most fun production I've ever been on and I've done a ton of stuff in my career as a director but it was so freeing I answered to no one I you know, for better or worse people like it or don't like it it's on me. You know, and it's wonderful though it was the most freeing creative experience of my life and now I'm addicted to it

Larry Wilson 1:10:45
Yeah, yeah Alex I hear you and And me too and that that that my workshop students are going to get an earful about DIY because I just think it's it's it's a it's a brand new it's a brand new era of of filmmaking and and and it it's probably the best thing that's happened to movies in decades

Alex Ferrari 1:11:13
Yeah, absolutely. Now I'm gonna ask you three questions I asked all of my guests Yes. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life

Larry Wilson 1:11:25
not to get my feelings hurt?

Alex Ferrari 1:11:27
Oh, good answer.

Larry Wilson 1:11:31
Because I probably if you're a writer, if you're an artist you have a certain amount of sensitivity and working DIY or working in Hollywood is not for the faint of heart skin and I had to develop a thicker skin and and not get my feelings hurt and not realize it's all personal. I did I did as a Screen Junkies interview reason

Alex Ferrari 1:12:07
I love by the way love Screen Junkies absolutely love what they did it's pretty cool and

Larry Wilson 1:12:11
very short story I promise. And you know and it was it was about The Addams Family and and Spencer the host asked it you know, because there were Twitter questions coming in? Well, it had Addams Family Values the sequel What do you think of it and I said to Spencer honestly I never saw Oh really? I wasn't asked back you know I need for a lot of reasons but IV that's that's thin skinned dude yeah that's yeah yeah I mean and I and and so not getting my feelings hurt that's that's the answer to that question and and realizing that that that these things are very seldom personal notes are rebellious rebellions on the set and all of that they can they can be personal I guess but I just I just at this point, I just I'm kind of able to laugh about it.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:12
That does take time to build up that skin. Yeah, it does take me a few years. So what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Larry Wilson 1:13:20
Uh, can I can I can I start with like my favorite film of all times my absolute favorite film and that is animated in some way animated in the sense of brought life to all of my work and it's the Bride of Frankenstein

Alex Ferrari 1:13:33
Ah, such a great movie.

Larry Wilson 1:13:35
Oh my god you know it's the 1936 sequel to Frankenstein it is a I had the great joy of seeing it on a big screen a couple years ago. If you haven't seen it it is it is both a dark fairy tale a Christ's parable a horror movie over the top melodrama and that that film I love and him just remain absolutely absolutely passionate about a film that that so that that's that's probably number one best and I think that that Silence of the Lambs had a huge impact on us such an amazing movie yeah and and I was in my lap I was in my last days as a script reader which I was for many years I was also a story analyst a union story analysts I work at every studio in town and one of my last days as a story analyst I read the galleys to the book Silence of the Lambs. And, and and I and it was, I actually wrote in you know, the comments of my coverage. I said if done right. This can winning an Academy Award and I'm very you called it yeah I call it you know and I just think I just think it's it's the most extraordinary it's it's Is it a thriller? Is it a horror movie? Is it a police procedural or as a philosophical statement? I think it's all of those things. Yeah. That's Bride of Frankenstein Silence of the Lambs and I want to think of something recently that I saw that that that just really you know, because because I could go on and Android's about foreign films indie film studio films I've Ababa but I think it just bring it back to for the movie that really, just in the last few years, just really, really just I fell in love with was Baba Duke. Haven't heard that one. Oh, it's an Australian horror movie, made, written and directed for a very low budget by and I'm gonna forget her name now. A woman, Writer Director in Australia, and it is a incredibly compelling dark horror movie about a mother and a son. And written from such a personal space and again, I don't know the woman's history, but there's there's so much truth within that movie. So I'll just stop there for now.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:30
That's three that's good. Three. That's a good three. Now where can people find you online?

Larry Wilson 1:16:37
Larry Wilson screenwriting workshop. Please go there. Check it out. And I hope to meet you in my seminars. And and then draw door is my Twitter feed and I'm climbing back on Twitter today I the the website for the workshop has just gone up in a new incarnation. I'm going back on Twitter today. I'd love to hear from anyone. And that and Larry Wilson writing workshop. Go there. and.com dotcom.com Excuse me. Yeah, and draw a door on Twitter and I will be there and I love to meet everyone. You know,

Alex Ferrari 1:17:19
Larry, thank you so so much for being on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you.

Larry Wilson 1:17:24
Oh, well, thank you so much, Alex. It's been great. Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:27
I told you that there'd be dropping some major knowledge bombs on this episode and I had a ball talking to Larry he's, he's just awesome. It's awesome to talk to someone of his caliber who's written some iconic, iconic movies in Hollywood working within the Hollywood system. And and still giving back with his with his workshops and trying to teach the next generation so if you guys are in the LA area, head over to the show notes of this episode, which are indie film hustle.com forward slash 148. And I'll have a link to all of the workshops I think he's gonna be doing two in April. And if you if I were you guys, I would definitely check them out if you are interested in screenwriting, especially if you're interested in screenwriting within the genre of supernatural and or he's definitely a master without question. Don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book calm to download your free film making audiobook and screenwriting audiobooks from audible. And guys, if you'd like the show, and you really find some value in it, please share it, tell a friend, just drop an email for it. You know, like it, you know, share it with everybody you know, because it really helps to get the word out on what we're doing here at indie film hustle. So I really do truly appreciate it. And guys, I do have a lot of cool stuff coming up for you in the future. mag hopefully will be released in the summer for all of you. mag heads. I just made that up make it for all for all the tribe members who are interested in watching the final product of that insane journey that I went on with this is mag and still on by the way. So it should be a lot of fun. Thank you guys all so much for the support. And I'm so glad that many of you are finding value in what I do here in my mumblings on the indie film, hustle podcast and what we're doing at indie film hustle.com so thanks again as always, and keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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