IFH 694: Screenwriting for Schwarzenegger & Stallone with Miles Chapman


Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:19
I like to welcome to the show Miles Chapman, man. How you doing Miles?

Miles Chapman 3:40
I'm good man. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:42
Oh, thank you for coming on the show. Man I am I'm excited to talk to you about all sorts of things that happened in your career. But before we get into all of that, how did you get into the business in the first place?

Miles Chapman 3:54
All right, well, I was a I came by way the theater. Okay, I had gone to grad school as an actor of all things and met my wife there and moved to New York afterwards was kicking around and had always I had been an English major in college before getting an acting and it always been interested in in stories. Long story short, we had a theatre company in New York that was good. I wrote I wrote a play and realized that the writing of it was so much more fun to me than the acting of it, I realized it wasn't writing parts for myself. And then my wife who was still an actor, she started testing for pilots out here. I was writing more plays than anything else that I would transition into being a trying to be a TV writer and then got a got hooked up with a manager on the film side. Now this is a while ago, so back then you could still do movies or tv nowadays managers, you know, kind of have to do both. And that was kind of how I got started. just knew I wanted to tell stories knew I wanted to write and after having read and written a couple plays just felt like I wanted to be a little more I don't know. expand my horizons a little bit.

Alex Ferrari 5:05
Now, when how well first of all, when did you when you get your manager? How many screenplays had you had written prior to getting that manager?

Miles Chapman 5:14
Right So, first manager I had who's not what was not home with now, I was through a connection. It's a funny story. Um, my wife who had been testing for pilots out here in LA and flew home one time with a fella in a wheelchair. She got to talking to him, he was a writer. He had some connections in LA so when I flew out to try to meet some people, he had very kindly taken a few I've written I think I had written a west wing and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer spec so it tells you Yes. And it was back when you wrote TV specs. I hear now that it kind of fluctuates sometimes. Sometimes specs are in sometimes original scripts are in. So he had passed those along. Also, you know, friend of a friend. My wife had taught acting in Georgia with Tony Shalhoub, sister Tony Shalhoub, the cheerful

Alex Ferrari 6:05

Miles Chapman 6:06
Yes. And so my wife shot a little movie in New York that Tony was the star of Tony found her in her dressing room chair instead of you, Erica, Erica Yoder. And anyway, Tony had passed a few of my things along to so that kind of all happened one week out here in LA, I was still living in New York and I, I ended up meeting the fella in the wheelchairs manager. And that became my first manager experience.

Alex Ferrari 6:34
That is such an LA story.

Miles Chapman 6:38
You know, my wife, my wife is the most social person in the world. She saw him zipping around the gate, and then ended up sitting right next to him on the airplane, they got to talking. He's a lovely guy, and was nice enough to pass along my material. So you know, it. It worked out. I wasn't when I was with the manager of just a couple years and I to answer your question. I had never, I had never finished a film script before,

Alex Ferrari 7:03
really, really

Miles Chapman 7:04
written these two TV pilots for us. And I'd written a couple plays, none of which had gone to Broadway.

Alex Ferrari 7:13
And it was so not Hamilton, it wasn't the not so much. wasn't anything like so but also but to for the audience to understand that. That would not happen more than likely today. In today's marketplace that you would just pick up with two pilots. Unless the pilots were written like, you know, it was Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin had a kid.

Miles Chapman 7:34
Yeah, yeah. I think so much of that era. 2000 or so was about potential. I think I think managers back then were still looking for agents as well. Potential who, who seems like they can write it seems like they have a commercial sensibility, whatever they're looking for. That appears to happen less so today. That it today It seems more like and again, I should preface this by saying like, you know, we all have our own experiences, what I say I'm sure you've had, you know, you've had 1000s of screenwriters come on and talk but in my experience, you know, if you don't have a piece that somebody feels like they can do something with actively, they're probably not going to sign yet. I don't know what your experience has been. But it's my reading of the market today.

Alex Ferrari 8:21
Yeah. And it's and it could be Yeah, I've seen people get like a sign based off of potential there is still a little bit of potential, not as much just a couple of pilots but like if they have a screenplay, or a pilot that's really powerful or more like a screenplay that has it's a good writing sample, and just go Alright, this guy has or This girl has potential, they might sign it or they might I've heard of heard of managers and agents also just like putting them on the shelf and like stewing them is a term like let's let's let's nurture them. Let's see where they come let's keep writing carpet pocketing.

Miles Chapman 9:01
That was a famous

Alex Ferrari 9:02
Yeah, it was kind of like a hip pocket. Yeah, like I'm hip pocketed at a hurt. I've heard a I've heard filmmakers and screenwriters say I'm hip pocketed by an agent in CAA. I'm like, that means nothing. Right.

Miles Chapman 9:15
It was one of the and I think really in thinking back Alex, those guys probably were hip pocketing May the guys I first got with because we weren't we I had an original idea for a script and we worked on it together. And you know, it didn't really get any better. And so we agreed to kind of part ways after about a year, year and a half. And, and it was right after that. I went off and as I say I went off and kind of learned how to write a movie. I think I had some arrogance like a lot of people coming out to LA I've seen a lot of movies. I must know how to write one.

Alex Ferrari 9:45
It's It's It's the only business I know of you never go and go look at that cake in the bakery. That, oh, I just heard a symphony. I can write that. like no other. I Oh, look at that building. I can build that. No but screenwriting specifically, even worse, it's worse than filmmaking.

Miles Chapman 10:05
It's tricky. No, my wife who acted for a while she doesn't anymore. But you know, she did a pretty high budget short film, where they fell in directing it. You know, who was awesome. He was a former editor, he had a great crew, he had everything. You know, the one thing they hadn't hammered out, as well as everything else was the script. And, you know, it sounds like you're to your point like that, that sometimes is like, well, if I can see it, I've got these great visuals in my mind. And that doesn't always lead to great filmmaking.

Alex Ferrari 10:38
A lot of times in my experience, filmmakers a lot of times get so caught up in the the the romantic, the romantic image of Kubrick, or Nolan or Fincher or Spielberg, or Scorsese and the, and the shots, but the thing that they don't understand this, those are all masters of the craft. And understand story, first and foremost, before they got all these cool, technical aspects of it. I mean, Kubrick is an amazing example of that, you know,

Miles Chapman 11:09
in a weird way, like, so I left that manager and then kind of learned how to write a movie, I kind of said, okay, maybe I should take this a little more seriously. Not that I thought that I wasn't I moved out here and everything. But sure. And then, and then I wrote a script or two. And then actually, that got read by the manager, who is still my manager today. And so this is back in 2004, maybe. And that one, but they were cool. They wanted to work with me on it and see where we landed rather than it is made at least back then there was a lot of this Oh, sign with us. And we'll give you our notes. Yes. Isn't

Alex Ferrari 11:46
that happened today?

Miles Chapman 11:49
Think do the manager thing was a lot newer back then there were a lot of people trying to kind of carve their niches managers. And therefore they wanted they wanted volume, I guess,

Alex Ferrari 12:01
and potential potential because they wanted to get as many kernels of corn in the in the pan to see which one pops?

Miles Chapman 12:08
Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough. But that that's kind of how, and then through working with them, we worked well together. They then submitted that script to some agencies. And that's how I got my first agent. And and I always just want you to I always, anytime someone comes on who has, you know, credits and experience and are obviously professional writers,

Alex Ferrari 12:30
I want you to just please lay this without an agent is only interested in people that they can make money with. And an agent is not a guaranteed check is not a guarantee that they're getting a worker.

Miles Chapman 12:44
Yeah, yeah, that first thing you said? Yeah, I have this conversation all the time when people are like, do you like your agent? Well, then there's a second question is that are you making your agent money like that, that, you know, you probably don't like your agent, if you're not making and they're not really calling you a lot if you're not making them money, that's that's the

Alex Ferrari 13:06
business transaction.

Miles Chapman 13:08
Yeah, everyone who loves their agent, it's because things have worked out.

Alex Ferrari 13:12
Either they've made a tremendous amount of money for them in the past, and that kind of goodwill carries you over. But that does wear out to even these big movie stars that were once making 10 or 15 million when their star starts to dim. You see them change to new agencies,

Miles Chapman 13:26
I've been with through for three or four agents over my career I have liked as people like them all. And, you know, someday they the relationship is based on what's happening in the workplace, you know, if they usually when you sign up, if you're a fortunate you get a kind of a honeymoon period. And if you don't convert for whatever reason, that kind of dissipates because, you know, especially at the bigger agencies, they just got way too many other clients to to try to serve.

Alex Ferrari 14:01
It's whichever horses making the money. It's, it's as brutal as that is one horse is making the money.

Miles Chapman 14:07
So good to point that out, though, because the romanticized notion of the agent. I think creating I'm a big one on not wasting energy and emotional energy. Specifically, what we do takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of banging your head against the wall. And I'm not good when I'm in chaos. Some writers are some creative people are I'm good when I'm locked in. And spending energy worrying about why my agent hasn't called me in 14 hours. You know, I'm watching the clock called him yesterday at noon. Why haven't I heard about it? It's just not something that I do anymore. And, and some of it is having enough experience to recognize that if I do my thing, right, hopefully, they will be calling me. Okay, man, you never know. But But and I can't expect them. If I'm not getting calls. I need to write a new thing. You know, like sit around and badger them over the over Escape Plan, which came out now seven years ago, is used, like there's no, there's no, you know, unless you want to just get frustrated and say bad things about the industry, which is what that leads?

Alex Ferrari 15:14
Well, yeah. And also to, for writers, you know, we we look for any excuse not to write. So we're like, Well, you know what I'm not gonna write today because I'm gonna be pissed off at my age and and I'm gonna, and that's an Am I am I right? We look for reasons like tomorrow Oh, but I'm gonna I have something else to focus myself on and it's you if you're doing your job just right, just right you shouldn't be waiting for someone to call you you should be writing and constantly creating product or potential product that can get you to the next level. And if you'd like you said it was such a great comment. If you're doing your job, right, they will call you

Miles Chapman 15:54
think so? I think so. Like and and, you know, we I think we've all had friends, I probably done it myself who, you know, you say Oh, so and so loved my script. Okay, that's all great that in a free bowl of soup gets you a free bowl of soup. So if your script is being loved 10 times, but you've not gotten a job, you've not sold it you're not you start. It's a look in the mirror moment. I'm a big, big one on those two, like, how can I I can't fix somebody had ca or somebody had, you know, imagine or I can only take care of myself. And if I'm not getting the results I want maybe that script that I thought was so great. Maybe it's a lot easier to say we love it, then they sit down and give notes that are really helpful. That's another thing I've found to be true that I do think people have the best intentions in terms of saying stuff. But if you say you're lukewarm on something, you have to explain why. And it takes time, especially to give giving good notes is think is one of the hardest, most time consuming things to do. And, you know, some people just don't want to spend that time on a script script they thought was an so they say it was great. It was great. But you know, we'll see what we can do with it.

Alex Ferrari 17:05
So do you do you also, I mean, in LA specifically, you can be loved to death. Like, there's so much love, everyone's loving your script. Everyone's you're the next hot thing. I'm like, Yeah, but the checks aren't coming in, the jobs aren't coming in. I've never and I've said this 1000 times, this is the town that gives you the best FAQs I have ever seen. anywhere in the world. There's it's an art form here. They will never straight up tell you. This story sucks. Your writing sucks. You shouldn't be in the business. I will never hear that from a major agency or I mean, just because you just don't the reason why they don't do is because you don't know. You know? I think that's

Miles Chapman 17:47
right. You know, you never know if that thing with the dread tweak or the right twist or the right rewrite.

Alex Ferrari 17:53
or five years down the line. He writes Titanic.

Miles Chapman 17:57
You don't want to be the guy who said or the woman who said, Man, you suck, you should leave to go back to Iowa or go back to Philly or go back to, you know, Massachusetts, wherever you came from. Like Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. And and I do think it's it's, it's so hard to figure out. The other thing, another great, I'm gonna give your audience a lot of ways to waste your time and energy. Fantastic ways I used to waste energy. I'm like, Well, wait a minute. I saw that movie. That movie was written by person x. And that movie wasn't that good. But then person x got to write another movie. And that movie wasn't that good either. Why is person x so much further along than I couldn't be a bigger, more natural but bigger waste of time? Like Yeah, because as you know, the things that go on behind the scenes and what goes well, what ends up on the movie screen sometimes has very little to do with what that writer actually wrote in that first draft that got everybody excited and got every attachments popping and got the studio buzzing by the time that thing ends up being filmed. It can be sometimes it can be a lot better, but sometimes it can be a lot worse. Like it's such a The thing that I always call it the castle wall like the writer starts out outside the castle wall in the studio and the green light is on the other side of the castle wall. And everything we're doing is to try to get through that cap over that castle wall and it feels like it is the hardest thing that's ever been done in the writing world right? How have you ever get over it whether with studio executive they attach a big star then it's like it seems like everything speeds up it's all about just getting that movie made and the care and the time that maybe happen outside the castle wall now you've got to go movie it gets a little crazy it gets a little so many moving parts so much money

Alex Ferrari 19:50
yeah, especially when you get you know director egos involved producer egos involved actors egos involved. I mean if you read if you read Shane Black's his last boyfriend out. And you watch last Boy Scout. It's just, you know, completely different. just completely different. The script, his script is amazing. And the movies not bad. I enjoyed it because it was Tony Scott and all that good stuff. But it was so much better on the page. Yeah. And on the opposite side, you read the original pretty a woman. And you read the film version of it, which then Garry Marshall, Garry Marshall did. You know, I knew a producer who worked on that. And he told me the whole story. And it was just brilliant. Because the this is such a screenwriter thing to do. He wrote this gritty ending to Pretty Woman it was I think the movie was called 1000 bucks or 3000 bucks or something like that, if you remember, right. Yeah. And then at the end, Richard Gere's character literally throws Julia Roberts out into the street and just throws the money at her and drives off in the limo. And that was pretty woman, a Gary, Gary Marshall came in and did the master work that he did. And then after the first screening the screenwriters like, that's not my vision. That's not what I wrote. When I made $200 million. He's like, I did that. That was me.

Miles Chapman 21:11
And that's, you know, it's funny, I think, right here, you know, you sit, you sit in your bunker, if you write by yourself, and don't have a writing partner, sit in your bunker by yourself. It's a kind of insanity while you're doing it. And, and so sometimes you have very legitimate things that people screw up or change screw up means. That's, that's an that's an interpretation word. It's changed. And you feel in your soul as an artist that that was the wrong choice. But other times, I call it scar tissue. We have banged our heads against it for so long, that any sort of change on it feels wrong to us, but it's not like it's better or worse, it's just different and different. Feels very weird when you've spent six months to a year, you know, wrestling with something, and and so I always try to be I try to remember that film at the end of the day. It's a collaborative thing. It's a collaborative art form it you know, and if you take the money to shut up, that's my honor. Unless you're giving it back, I don't think anybody wants to hear about it.

Alex Ferrari 22:16
I may have to take that quote from you. If you take the money Shut up.

Miles Chapman 22:23
Unless you're giving it back unless you're ready to give it back. I don't think anybody really wants to hear about what studio did what to your script. And isn't that the other thing? I mean,

Alex Ferrari 22:31
you could pull up James Cameron and just not get paid for Titanic and just give all his money back and just so you have creative control and then it works out at the end.

Miles Chapman 22:37
Yeah, and you know what I am let's be clear. If you've written your Opus, your film that it but just don't sell it, you know, like, if you if you want to control it, don't sell it. Like it seems very. Yeah, that that's Words To Live By, right?

Alex Ferrari 22:57
Yes, absolutely. Now, your first gig, sir, if I may. If I may be correct. Your first gig was Roadhouse. Two. Is

Miles Chapman 23:05
that correct? That. That is That was my first job.

Alex Ferrari 23:08
So I have to ask because Roadhouse is it's a masterpiece. It's a masterpiece of 80s action. I mean, there's just no question about it as on my probably the top 10 if not top 15 of 80s action movies. And that's high praise because 80s action is pretty, pretty high competition in the 80s for action films. And, and Patrick and everything. So they come to you and go, do you want to write Roadhouse too, and I'm sure you go is Patrick in it? And he's like, No.

Miles Chapman 23:39
Well, first, so

Alex Ferrari 23:41
tell me at the start. I'll tell you.

Miles Chapman 23:42
Yeah. Um, so Roadhouse somehow gotten locked up, I guess was MGM D original Roadhouse. I can't remember

Alex Ferrari 23:51
it was Yeah. Was this was a silver Yeah, silver produced it.

Miles Chapman 23:54
Yeah, but and somehow Sony had gotten control of it. And Sony was very hot back then. In the mid 2000s, on doing direct to video sequels, binding, binding. And here's the thing that I'm sure you understand. And that I will I will crow to the cows come home, okay. It's happened to me a number of times now. Everybody had in these processes. I do believe everybody had good intentions to try to make a decent movie, okay. But when budget is not made clear to the writer, and shooting schedule, it's Pim, it's pivotal people like this disconnect between producer and studio, saying, we're gonna we're not going to be a huge budget. That means one thing. That's but that's not a 17 day shoot, like, you know, 17 no action movie should really be shot in 17 days unless it's like one location, right, you know, anything that and so they came to me and I was trying to get the job. So I love my drought. I don't know where it if I even still have in my original draft of Roadhouse to, um, it was supposed to be Swayze in it, doing kind of an Obi Wan Kenobi in the bouncer world kind of thing like teaching a younger character to sort of take the mantle. Now, if I was a little more savvy back then I would have known that there was no way he was going to do this thing like it was in the budget wasn't there? You know what the budget wasn't there. Any any established movie star like him would see how long you shooting this for? and be like, no, it's not a theatrical

Alex Ferrari 25:28
in a way. Yeah.

Miles Chapman 25:30
I mean, but they always say if it's good, we'll go theatrical. But

Alex Ferrari 25:36
that in a cup of soup gets you a cup of soup.

Miles Chapman 25:38
Yeah, yeah, maybe maybe they don't say it anymore. But, um, so but but it's still I wrote what I thought was a great I love the first one. I'd seen the first 120 times. Oh, really, you know, and can I can I drop obscenities on this?

Alex Ferrari 25:55
If we allow one per episode, so go for it. Now. Go ahead.

Miles Chapman 25:59
If I'm quoting, maybe the greatest line in Roadhouse. I say, go for it. You know, Jimmy across the river to Swayze I used to fuck guys like you in prison. It's one of the great moments. I remember the first time I saw that, like, oh, it is so good. Anyway, so I tried to write a real worthy sequel to and through the production process. Like with a lot of things where the budget isn't, you know, the first budget of the first one was huge. Like it was a big budget. It was a you know,

Alex Ferrari 26:34
Joel Silver production, right?

Miles Chapman 26:36
Yeah. And the corners get knocked off. I think that's a fair way to say it. Like, yeah, they're just certain things that happened. And so I was happy to have had the job. It was amazing. While I was working on it, to be able to tell people in parties that I was actually writing the sequel Roadhouse. I had a guy at one party tell him that movies when he realized he was gay, you know, those things like, you know, a seven, awesome, watching Patrick Swayze do Tai Chi in his sweatpants, you know, that turned to got it. Right, right. So it was a cool first experience, you know, the finished product is well, it was a it was a little bit of a mess.

Alex Ferrari 27:18
But again, that's that's that's the the hazard of all screenwriters, even the biggest screenwriters on the planet they unless they are producers or unless they're directing or unless they have you know, their their Sorkin scripts that wasn't what's working on it. There's, you know, Tarantino is probably different because he directs everything but Shane, black,

Miles Chapman 27:38
all these guys, if I can say anything to producers out there listening or one of the producers or is it is I don't understand this, this is something we're still after my 15 years in the business, I still don't get it. That step where they could have come to me and said, our budget is exactly this. We have three action scenes in it. We have let's go through it. I could have written that movie would have been 20 times better. And same budget same, because we would have problem solved based on what they had. Instead, they tried to take what I had written and in pre production, which was not very long, kind of just jamming Oh. And and that's a really, that's a really hard thing to do for a dedicated writer who's there to only do that, let alone the line producer and the director who are trying to, you know, figure out 5000 other things every day. So

Alex Ferrari 28:29
and also, I remember that time period in Hollywood when DVD market was just exploding that they were just trying to shove as much product into the marketplace and honestly, they were just using the Roadhouse as Roadhouse was the star Roadhouse was the star.

Miles Chapman 28:46
I think they could have, they could have carried on a few more roadhouses if there, there wasn't a lot of you know, I think when you do something like that, you need to have somebody who's at least looking out for the fans of the original little bit, throwing, like, you know, we wanted to bring back Jeff Healey the blind there. But they wanted to use a band from Sony record, you know, like they weren't, you know, and I get the commercial crossover. But you know, when the fans have that first one, if you throw in little bones, they appreciate it. Fans are great. Fans of these movies, know them by heart. And they appreciate when you said, Hey, the fan base is rabid about sways his car that he drove and that are these, you know, I had a guy come from direct tv in my house work and asked me what I did was working on it. And he's like, Oh, you got to put that car and I forget what kind of was but he's like, Oh, yeah, that car has to be in the sequel. Like, you know, it wouldn't have killed anybody to put, you know, I have because it turned out to be it was like Swayze his nephew. That's who the character was in the sequel, right jab, his nephew sort of driving, you know, anyway, I

Alex Ferrari 29:48
think there were subtle things that could have been done to it. So improve that film, it wouldn't have cost much more.

Miles Chapman 29:53
And oh talk though, was somebody because who knows? Who knows if there are any executives on it? Who even knew the first one You know, there's a lot of turnover there's a the game plan was like you said to get a lot of product out there, recognizable quick hitter Oh Roadhouse to I'll give that a try. Right You know, I'm trying to build word of mouth they're trying to take advantage of the marketplace and that marketplace really exist back then. But you got it. I mean, it did but now like it does now, I mean, it's part of every, you know, pitch conversate or do movie kinda is their IP.

Alex Ferrari 30:27
So let's talk about escape plan. Now, when I first saw escape plan, the trailer I was like, Oh my god, finally, this is happening. Why did it take so long? And I first I need to know how it came into being. I have so many questions, but my first The one thing I don't know if you wrote this or not, but which I think is funny. Now, you hit like a vegetarian. I did write that. I am a vegan sir. I take tremendous a fencer to the line. I've every time someone is talking to me about being a vegan, they'll use that meme of Arnold like you it's like a V neck adventure daddy and with Arnold, but now he's a vegan. So that's

Miles Chapman 31:17
that that line actually came at a really lovely moment. That fight scene wasn't originally the script went through so many incarnations as you can imagine. That line the Arnold and sly, but I thought there should be a fight scene between the two characters. Yeah. And I happen to be I was on set for a little while. And I was Arnold was not there that day. And I actually had the chance to kind of block the fight scene standing in for Arnold with Sly and the director. It's a great, great honor. I'm actually from Philly. He was one so the whole thing was really cool for me. And, and they there had been a scene that actually ended up getting cut out of the movie of them in the dining hall. Arnold tries to give I think he tried to give some steak or something to Stallone and Stallone and Breslin stones character says I'm a vegetarian. Now whether he really was or not, he didn't want that steak. And so in the fight it was when slight hits on on the stomach, we're marking it out. He says, what, what would you say here? And I was like, maybe, you know, cuz they'd come up with the scene. Maybe you hit like a vegetarian. So that was kind of how

Alex Ferrari 32:28
such a great, great, great light. All right, so how did it go? Like, how did you get the gig is original Was it an original idea

Miles Chapman 32:37
was it was a spec I wrote called the tomb back in the late 2000s. And it went through it got picked up by summit after a crazy you know, you got with us. Back then there was a pretty specific way you went wide with a spec, you know, you went out to like, you know, tons of producers on Monday, or on Tuesday, hopefully, every you know, you're trying to get a good producer who has a deal with a big studio, you want to go into all the studios with good producers. And we had a pretty good producer day and we went into everywhere and there was lots of excitement. And we didn't we didn't get bought in that first week. And it was you know, it was one of those learning experiences really don't get too high. Don't get too low because it really looked like we were going to and we did anyway summit. I'm going to do a shout out to a producer named Robbie Brenner who became a real champion of that script and wouldn't let it go away which as you know, after a spec kind of goes out and has its it can it's like it never happened if you don't get a bite and she did not let it go away. Got it. summit eventually picked it up. And I think I can't remember if it was before Twilight after Twilight, you know, because I've seen so much for Twilight is so mad after Twilight were two totally different companies. And so there were always two row two roles like the Arnold and the sly role. And there was always Breslin was always kind of that character. But the Arnold character went through all sorts of changes. And, you know, when when I think when Arnold signed on, the character was a like a Portuguese poet philosopher. It may be like, Dante and Shakespeare and and so that, you know, but I don't really like the idea of that challenge. And and so we it almost happened once with a director named Jeff wadlow. It almost happened with Antoine Fuqua and Bruce Willis. And then it finally landed with Sly and he liked it, and the Emmett furla guys came on board and they were great. And, and then Michael hafstrom, came on as a director, and then at that point, they were trying to get the other character. And I think if I remember right Right. There had been a flirtation with Arnold when Anton fubo and Bruce Willis we're gonna do it. I feel like we had a big meeting at summit was scones in the middle of the table. You know, it's an important meeting, if scones when and they were like 19 people to table and I I remember doing the good writer thing I said no, I sat there but then Arnold didn't do it then but then like a year later, or Antwan and moved on, Bruce had moved on. He did decide to come on. We had a lovely meeting with him and his house, man, the director.

Alex Ferrari 35:37
And hold on, stop for a second because I love these stories. I love these. I love these Hollywood stories, because I've been involved with some of them. And they're epic. You, You you you go to a movie stars house.

Miles Chapman 35:52
Well, so let me see. Let me set it up a little bit. Yeah. I remember we weren't sure I remember emailing the one of the producers and saying Okay, so this is is this a Arnold's is in and we're talking about how we're going to rewrite his character meeting? Or is this a we need to convince Arnold to be in the movie meeting? And I got a one word answer both exclamation point.

Alex Ferrari 36:12
Fantastic. Fantastic.

Miles Chapman 36:13
I think I still have that email, because I forwarded it to the director and, you know, He's, uh, I don't know if you know, Michael house Don't be directed. 14. Oh, I forget the name of it. It's a great. It was a Joel Silver based on a Stephen King book with john Cusack. Oh, no.

Alex Ferrari 36:31
Yay. I know Tony's talking about Yeah, that's a great movie.

Miles Chapman 36:34
Yeah, he's super guy. Really, really great. Um, so we go over there. And so anyway, that that was sort of the preface to it, we don't really know exactly why we're going over there.

Alex Ferrari 36:42
So you're gonna see you're going over to Arnold's house, you drive up to this,

Miles Chapman 36:46
man, you know, you got to check one and you roll up. Now. Also, it was doubly amazing, because not only had he been the biggest movie star in the world, but he's the former governor of California. So there's this secret service. There's security, there's, there's, and you know, he was married to a candidate. So that's also in that, you know, so it was really incredible. Like, honestly, when you think about, and he was great, like, super down to earth? We had a lovely chat. And I you know, I think I guess it helped getting him to do it. Because he he, he signed on and and and

Alex Ferrari 37:22
so, do you geek out? Do you like when you walk in and you see him for the first time? I mean, you your 15 year old self is probably going yeah, of course, oh my god, the only thing

Miles Chapman 37:32
that always strikes me is that, in reality, it's funny. You're never as big as you think they're going to be because you're used to seeing them in a movie script, right? A human big hands, you know, but very quickly put us at ease, you know, and, and you know, and then we were chatting, he liked the script, it probably couldn't play it the way it was written, you know, what, what, what some ideas we might have about what we would tweak it and his ideas. And, you know, it was a good back and forth. And my classroom showed him his lookbook about, you know, how he saw the movie and how he imagined it, and blah, blah, blah, so, but it did go through a lot of a lot of rewrites all through this all through that, like, and, and you know, it's funny, and this is another thing for the listener out there. Um, my wife, God bless her was very protective of me, would always get outraged whenever I would tell her about changes that were being done or being met and, and I kept saying, you know, what, I want to be a part of this movie, one. And two. You know, a lot of people involved here have made an awful lot of money at the box office. I have made $0 at the box office. So

Alex Ferrari 38:44

Miles Chapman 38:45
you try on I you know, you just want to mitigate. Like I said before, some of these need, I'm not knee jerk, but some of these things that you think you're certain because maybe they're not the Batman, you know, I had a reason for why I did everything. But that doesn't necessarily mean it can't be done another way or it can't be done, you know. And then of course, when it got to physically shooting in where the locations where they shot it in New Orleans, and you know, we have to we have to do some tweaking on the script for just the locations they had and I was happy that I could be a part of that. It was actually the whole thing was a really interesting incredible learning experience.

Alex Ferrari 39:22
And when so you're working with sly which obviously is a hero of yours as well so coming from Philly in such a huge fan arguably slice one of the the best in my opinion and people could crap on him all he wants because he's popular, but he's he created two of the most major characters and franchises in movie history himself, Rocky and Rambo, and he's also done The Expendables and he's also done this other like and continues to keep building these things. So when you have an awesome he's an Oscar in Mt. They win the Oscar

Miles Chapman 39:55
for the screenplay Rocky,

Alex Ferrari 39:58
right. So so you have an Oscar. Winning screenwriter and a legend. How is it working with him as a screener? Because

Miles Chapman 40:04
he obviously knows story he obviously knows character. And to be fair, he, you know, I don't know how he works with, you know, writers have a have a higher level than myself. Because let's not be silly, you know, like that matters. Um, but it's pretty much his show. Like he he'll he'll rewrite, he'll he'll rewrite scenes for the dialogue, he'll change stuff. I think he brought a writer in to help at some point, you know, like that

Alex Ferrari 40:33
Polish things up? Sure. Yeah, that happens, everything that happens with almost anybody. And

Miles Chapman 40:38
so it really wasn't a conversation for most of it. It you know, it's like, the things that he wanted to get done. You know, I could always shoot my suggestions, ideas, you know, not directly to him, but through through the studio or through the, you know, through the great terms with the director. So that was there. But yeah, you know, he is going to trust his gut. And he's going to go with what's worked for him. And fair enough.

Alex Ferrari 41:04
But so but you've also now worked on the last the next two as well. So, yeah, so obviously, he liked you enough. Yeah. And it was,

Miles Chapman 41:16
there was a world. It wasn't always an interesting tension in the original state plan for me. And I don't know if he liked it or not. But I always thought the fact that the character was such an you know, and a lot of ways an intellectual character. You know, he's a engineer. He's a security guy, he sees the angles of everything inside the prison with Stallone's energy and Stallone's persona, which is a little bit opposite that but he has this primal emotional force that I really loved. And I think I think one of the reasons the movies interesting is because of that, that that it's an interesting because the only thing about slides and unbelievably smart, bright and cute, incredibly successful businessman and credit, like you know. So that element of him, I think really like engineer the. And so I think in terms of world building, they thought I'd be a good way to go and the sequels the sequels suffered a great deal, Alex from what I was talking about before budget versus script. That was another thing and again, why I have it's one of my big pet peeves now, like, all three Roadhouse, too, and the two sequels to escape plan would have been. I can't give a percentage but noticeably improved if they just told you the budget, or if I had been told and what within that budget, what does that mean? Like? What are we allowed? What can we do? I love it. I love when producers say don't limit yourself, okay, fine. But I've got I've got three weeks to write this draft, which is what I had on the sequels. I'm not exactly an ideal situation there either. You mean, you wrote the full script in three weeks? Yeah. And we did some rewrites after that. But they needed the first drafts is really alone. And, and again, I would let anybody read my original drafts on those two scripts. They were they were thought out there. They're probably the first one went through such a baking period that it's, it's stronger than the other two. But I certainly but the shooting schedule, the budget, all these things really, really made it hard on the final movie. So you know, and to slice credit, again, he appreciates writers, that doesn't mean he's going to just keep everything you write. But he understands that writings are he understands that he's done a lot of it himself. And so you know, but it's pretty much though, you know, I do my thing, give it to them, and then they do what they need to do with it.

Alex Ferrari 43:46
Because he's, he's the 800 pound gorilla. Yeah,

Miles Chapman 43:49
I'm the first one. I did come down to the set while they were shooting to solve some problems. But on the sequels, no, it was you know, it was that was often running and you know, they had to make a lot of decisions based on practical boots on the ground. Fair

Alex Ferrari 44:05
enough. Now, what's the biggest lesson you learned working on the Escape Plan franchise?

Miles Chapman 44:11
It was that one of have tried to find out as much as you can about what what what their capabilities are to really shoot what you're writing. action movies are expensive. I like to do it. There's a reason why so many of those, which I'm sure you saw a lot of them back at the video store. So many straight to video action movies have shootouts in a warehouse at night. There's a lot of reasons for one of them is that they're cheap. You got a big space Yeah, cap guns. Everybody shoots at each other in Roadhouse to two or three action scenes that were really carved out that I really carved Am I really worked on got turned into just flat, you know, people standing there shooting at each other scenes because again, you know, like I was like to talk about Casino Royale the first day or so. The opening action scene and the action scene at the airport with the truck probably took one to shoot as the entire movie of Roadhouse to,

Alex Ferrari 45:07
oh, easily. Yeah,

Miles Chapman 45:09
those scenes are so scripted, and they're so written, and there's character in them. And there's so many pieces to them. And, you know, and so as a screenwriter, you want to write those you want to really show off you want to, but if your budget it couldn't afford to do one of those scenes, let alone a whole movie. You've got to try to figure that out. Otherwise, things are just gonna suffer by so do.

Alex Ferrari 45:31
So that's Let me ask you a question, then. Would you recommend a screenwriter writing a script today? If it's a spec script? Should you let your imagination roll wild? Or should you work with in a budget?

Miles Chapman 45:43
I think I think if you're writing a spec, it's your original idea. Go for it. And to be clear, I'm not I'm not a believer in curtailing a writer's imagination. I mean, that's where all the good stuff comes from. What I'm talking about is very specifically when you've got to go movie, and you know, the money is going to be there for it. And back into it. Yeah. And you're and and, and so they know, they know, it's not, you know, when you write a spec, if you write a big globe hopping spy movie, you don't know that, you know, Will Smith and Brad Pitt aren't going to sign on and you're gonna, and you could very well get a $200 million budget, you don't know that. If that's the kind of movie you want to write. Man, go for it. I love those movies. But if you're, if you're being hired to write the sequel to escape plan, and you know, it's getting released, and you know, it's greenlit, you know, it's gonna be shooting in April and it's December. Try to get as much information as you can on what are the resources, what do they really have to shoot with? Because otherwise you're gonna write a script that not it's not gonna fit in the box. And, and, and they'll suffer,

Alex Ferrari 46:45
suffer and have to be

Miles Chapman 46:47
Frankenstein at the last minute. And very few good things come about when that happens,

Alex Ferrari 46:51
right? Because you can write it as $100 million movie, but if you only got 20,

Miles Chapman 46:56
exactly, but you know, get your spec. You know, you can always Hey, if somebody wants to do it for less money, and you can rewrite it, and that's great. And yeah, that's awesome.

Alex Ferrari 47:03
These are, these are good problems to have.

Miles Chapman 47:06
Right? But but so that's definitely one. every movie is so different than I've worked on. The other thing is to try not to get to be open and the notes process. I know it's hard.

Alex Ferrari 47:23
How do you deal with that? How do you deal with those? Because that is something that professionals understand it. Yeah, but newbies get so precious about it. It's, it's

Miles Chapman 47:32
first thing you got to remember is that unless you've written a really, really unique Charlie Kaufman,

Alex Ferrari 47:43
in my mind,

Miles Chapman 47:45
where where the tone and the voice of this thing is so particular to the thing, you know, if you wrote the tune, which is what I wrote, which is a, you know, hopefully a high end thriller, but it's still a prison break movie at the end of the day, right? Everybody reading in is going to bring their history with Prison Break movies, you know, what actor do they see playing Breslin, what, you know, how do we should go this way? Should it be a little grittier? Like, you know, happy on or should it be a little more Tango in cash? Like should it you know, like, there. So you as a writer, you can think okay, my scripts perfect or I know or I can defend every decision I made. Let's put it that way. But let's suppose you know, you're

Alex Ferrari 48:30
being Jim being john malkovich.

Miles Chapman 48:33
Right. I mean, the outward you know, the eternal spot to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was one of my favorite movies of all time. Um, uh, you kind of get what that movie is when you read it and you're not thinking Oh, man, maybe we have a few more. Maybe we hated it. You know, we hate the character. You know, like, however a genre movie Romantic Comedy, Action Adventure. I mean, a perfect example. Alex is the born versus bond dynamic correct. with Matt Damon rolled along the net firstborn movie, you know, the Bond movies still felt a certain way. They were a little heightened. Almost like the way that fast and furious has gone from gritty Point Break at the beginning to you know, circus chart

Alex Ferrari 49:17
likes. It's James Bond meets circus. Olay

Miles Chapman 49:20
right? But if you let's say you wrote a movie about an IT, you know, international global group of car thieves avoiding the police. Well, you could go in the direction of the first one totally. Or you could go in the direction of assuming you don't have a car turning into a rocket ship in the script, but but So my point is, is that going back to the idea of nodes, a lot of people are gonna have a lot of things to say it's a good thing if like universal comes to you and says, Hey, we loved your script. But we will we see it as being like Hobson Shaw. Not that, you know, or rather they don't give you the option. They they buy it and you're thinking I'm amazing universal just spent You know, whatever, six, seven figures on my script, and then you're like a notes call, what do you mean a notes call, I'm perfect. I can't even tell you, the amount of friends I've known who have sold movies for a lot of money, only to then give me really pummeled by the notes calls, like, and then the movie floats off into oblivion. So a studio pays a ridiculous amount of money for it, and wants to change it. And, you know, but but as the writer, you got to try to figure out how to make that work like that, that, you know, you can't tell universal, you know, unless, again, you don't want to take their money, or get taken off the project or your two options. Because you can say, after you've taken the sale, hey, I don't want to know not doing that. And I can say Good for you.

Alex Ferrari 50:49
That's not how that works out for you.

Miles Chapman 50:50
But by now we respect your integrity, and then they'll move on. And you'll never call you again. I can't you know, I don't I can't speak to that. My my notion is, you know, and again, like I said, I'm sure there are plenty of writers out there who've stuck to their guns on some notes, and it's worked out and they, you know, like, Don't Don't misunderstand me, I just feel like however you work with the notes, write, figuring out a way yourself to work with the notes is important like that, that, that there are a process and for every you know, I've been maybe I've been lucky to I feel like in general, I've worked with on things where there were going to be two and three drafts, I've had good notes, calls, and I feel people, people coming from a place of trying to make the movie better. We may not agree, but not a kind of callous. Oh, there was a character like this and this other movie. So let's put a character like this and in your movie, you know.

Alex Ferrari 51:44
And that's the thing. I just want to kind of spotlight this for a second. screenwriters don't understand a lot of times because they're just they're just focused on the writing, that there's so many politics that go on after the film is greenlit, there's so many moving parts, as you said, something as simple as, Oh, the executive or the EP, the executive producer, his girlfriend's in the movie, and we need to add that character, as cliche as that is,

Miles Chapman 52:12
I have done there, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 52:15
I mean, and you have to write that character in and I'm like, Oh, you know, and then the best is when that actress or actor, depending on the situation comes to you and goes, and they they're like, you know, a kid and never done anything. And they go, I saw this movie the other day on Cinemax. And I love this character. And can we do something like that? And you're just going? Oh, my God. Yeah, sure. And like, but that's the that's the reality of being a screenwriter. I mean, we all again, it's the same kind of romanticism as Kubrick in the screenwriting world, it there's a romanticism in Sorkin or Shane Black, or Tarantino that you know, that they just have complete control and they could do whatever they want. Like, even even guys like Shane Black, still have,

Miles Chapman 53:04
you know, you know, it's an incredible point. And I think the thing to always remind everybody is how much money it takes to make a movie. I mean, think about this low budget movies are like five to $10 million. million, like, that's become chump change in the movie business. Think about that, like, so when you've got when you start getting into, you know, a million set. Oh, forget it. There are a lot of people with a lot riding on it. And so that and that's going to create things that's gonna create personalities, it's going to create tension, it's going to create needs, it's going to create a lot, and, you know, just be kind of ready for that. Try to have fun with it.

Alex Ferrari 53:46
I mean, if we're lucky, if you're lucky enough to get there. Yeah, you know, I,

Miles Chapman 53:51
I got it. I love popcorn movies, the James Cameron aliens to the original Terminator. They were the movies I grew up on. Those are the movies I wanted to write. And so I always try to have fun, like the point of the movie is to be fun. We're not healing. Sadly, we're not healing the Coronavirus here. You know, we're not we're not curing cancer, we are delivering hopefully, smart, cool, fun entertainment, you know, the smart sometimes wavers

Alex Ferrari 54:24
depending on the day.

Miles Chapman 54:27
And so, you know, instead of, but it is, it's a trigger point. It's a dream job. I've never stopped loving it as a kid from the suburbs of Philadelphia, who had no connection to this business and know, like, it's just been, you know, and it's, you know, and it's super fun. I mean, how many people have a job where they can tell these fun stories or talk about these ridiculous things that

Alex Ferrari 54:51
you know, I make a living now with that. It's great. It's, you know, as you know, You know, all of my, all of my podcasts, all my shows, I try to be as realistic as humanly possible. And try to be brutally honest, because I would much rather you hear it on a show of mine, than when you're sitting across from a producer, or a director or an actor, and you get sideswiped by many of the things that we've just discussed right now that they would have never, ever thought of, if they're ever blessed to be in that scenario.

Miles Chapman 55:26
Yeah, I mean, perfect example was, like, you know, with, you know, for years, I tried to get the tomb go and like, it was so close, it was so close. Oh, yeah. And then Stallone came aboard, and it really started happening, and there was a director, but then, you know, instead of instead of, you have this amazing thing, feeling which is deserved, and true, but then right after it is the Well, now you've got one of the major superstars in the world on it, and it's going to be his movie, you know, and however that goes is how it's gonna go. And you may be a part of it, you may not be,

Alex Ferrari 56:02
you know, just be grateful, just be grateful you're on the ride.

Miles Chapman 56:04
Right. And, and, and again, every sick, sir, to the Sixth Circuit, I'm sorry, every circumstance is different, different, you know, one of the fun things and tough things about the movie business as it is very personality driven how people interact, is, you know, there aren't, you know, in, in big corporations, you know, there's HR, and there's a way of behaving, and some people go but but in the movies, you know, companies are, you know, very much they take on the form of like the principal, who who's the who's the person and so, you know, you get a lot of different personalities, obviously, you get a lot of different visions, different ideas, different paces different. So it just, you know, it behooves a writer to stay, you know, thankful for getting to that place and just stay open, try to stay open, try to have fun with it, try to do the best work, you can, under circumstances sometimes that are moving in a different direction.

Alex Ferrari 56:58
Like and your story reminds me of quitting, quitting when he when he sold Natural Born Killers to Oliver Stone. If you've ever read Tarantino's version of Natural Born Killers, it's it's not even it's not even the same ballpark other than the character names. Stone who's arguably the 800 pound gorilla in that situation at that time, completely rewrote it and had a different vision for a script. But you know, he can no control at the time. You know, it happens. It happens to every every major screenwriter. It has had has had, it has happened to everyone.

Miles Chapman 57:40
And and you know, I don't know what why that story made me think of just it's a little bit like the classic William Goldman quote, like, nobody really knows anything. Right? Which is been around so long, because it is so true. I mean, whether it's you know, the common joke is like if the script of Chinatown got submitted today, as a spec, it would get ripped to shreds. Yeah. Right. Yeah. You know, the opening of Inglorious Basterds, which is one of my favorite movies is like 25 minutes. No bastard show up yet? No, no, it doesn't. But it's incredible movie and credit. So you know, this. There, there's so there's such, the road is so unpredictable. And just when you think everything we're saying is true, the exact opposite will happen. And you just you just can't. And that's why I feel like another thing I've learned all these years is like when I was young and out here, and I was like, because I had been an actor for a while too. And I so I knew what it took to not make it as an actor. I already had that.

Alex Ferrari 58:40
So you had shrapnel.

Miles Chapman 58:42
I had this somewhat naive idea that well, people when they give up acting or writing or directing or their dreams, you know, it's because they don't have what it takes. That was my young person.

Alex Ferrari 58:53
Mm hmm.

Miles Chapman 58:53
And as I got older, I realized that that was that's partially true. But the thing that thing that they don't have isn't, isn't wasn't the thing I thought it was. I was thinking back then it was the talent. What it really is, is the personality type to survive. The the downs, absolutely. Like after, when I heard, you know, escape plan was gonna get made. I'm like, I will never had a I will never have a down year again, as a writer. The very next year, I had a down year as a writer. I mean, you know, like, this notion, like I remember an actor friend of mine, he's like, he got cast in a Broadway play. And he's like, I've arrived and did the play for eight months, and then didn't get work for another year, like, you know, like, so it's the personality type. And I get it. My brother is a fantastic writer would never in 1000 years be able to live check to check like I used to before, you know, I got lucky. Yeah, you know, and so that, that's the thing that when you don't have what it takes, it's you don't have the personality that can sort of live with the ebbs and flows of the arrows, the craziness, the the the unpredictability, the, you know, you're up one down, you're up, you're up one day,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:12
you're hot one day, and not do nothing the next kid

Miles Chapman 1:00:18
again, so maybe you don't that's another thing I've learned Try not to buy into that. That that idea, although there's truth to it, I mean, honestly, when I've been busiest it's been right after like I did a rewrite of a script years ago that Denzel get this isn't washed it never attached to, but he was circling it. He was

Alex Ferrari 1:00:38
God, certainly

Miles Chapman 1:00:41
two or three jobs from that. Manager being I think that's what it was because my writing samples didn't change. You know, I didn't. It's not like I just popped off a couple new scripts overnight. Because you were attached to that potential.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:56
It's just insane. Our business is ridiculous. It's insane. It's ludicrous. But we're in love with it. And what are you gonna do? I can't quit. I can't quit

Miles Chapman 1:01:06
the crazy. And if it suits you, you know, and if it suits your personality, if you're okay with the ride, as it were. It's great.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:14
You know, and it's a long ride.

Miles Chapman 1:01:15
There's nothing like it. It's a you know, every day I'm a phone call can change your whole perspective. But also every day, you cannot get a phone call. But sometimes, more likely,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:28
and much more likely. And the thing is that sometimes people wait 20 years for that phone call, and it never comes completely. Yeah. as brutal as that statement is. Unfortunately, it's the truth. And look, I'm still waiting for Kevin Fahey to give me a call. And if Kevin, if you're listening, I'll take the meeting. I'm I'm a fan, sir. And I can do something for you. So I've said that 1000 times on my show one day, Kevin will call me. But until then I'm working on other things and not waiting by the phone for him to come.

Miles Chapman 1:02:01

Alex Ferrari 1:02:02
so I'm going to ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests. What are three screenplays every screenwriter should read?

Miles Chapman 1:02:11
Wow. That's tricky. I'm pausing because we've just talked about how some done the screenplay. And the movie don't necessarily

Alex Ferrari 1:02:24
just a screenplay, regardless of how the movie came out. Just like the craft. Like I said, like last Boy Scout, or long kiss goodnight on Shane Black. Those scripts are amazing compared with the film's

Miles Chapman 1:02:35
Okay, so there was a movie. You know, there were writer director George nolfi. I don't he George, the Adjustment Bureau.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:44
He joins Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. I love that.

Miles Chapman 1:02:47
Yeah. Do you mean published and produced screenplays? Because this this one I'm going to?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:53
Yeah. Anything that's been published in produce? Yeah. All right. Because the one is one of my favorites is one of George's that never got made. because too many people. There's so many. There's so many of those scripts flying around. I've read some of them. I'm like, how is this not an Oscar winning film? Like I don't understand it? Yeah,

Miles Chapman 1:03:09
that's a good question. Let me think. See, I always go back and read. Okay, I say this because of the opening 15 pages screen by Kevin Williamson. So did you want to, we were talking about this with my son the other day, I have a 13 year old son and that. I remember reading that and the rest of the movie is really good. That opening is just it wrong. foots you over and over again. And really, and it reads like a little mini play as it rolled that great screenshot. That's one I've read the for what you can do with an epic scope. I'd read The Dark Knight

Alex Ferrari 1:04:08
almost anything, Nolan.

Miles Chapman 1:04:09
Yeah, yeah. It's funny, though. Um, I knew a bunch of executives who read momento before it got and they passed on it because they couldn't get through it. I couldn't. That it's such a it's such a clear piece of film. It's one of my favorite movies. Sure. Alright, so the first sort of first sort of scope epic, you know, grounded storytelling. The Dark Knight is kind of kind of one of my one of my favorites to read. Um,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:37
Chinatown. Chinatown is not bad. Can't go wrong with Chinatown.

Miles Chapman 1:04:39
But I just figured that a lot of people say that, like everyone's gonna read Chinatown, right. Everyone's gonna probably read that. I'm trying to think of some things that um, and I mean, it's one of my favorite. I'll throw out the Eternal Sunshine as well as mine. Because again, coffee, what you can what you can do with character and imagination. Like you're wearing Not tethered. I mean that's it that is about as emotionally realistic movies you will ever see. And yet it has nothing to do with reality. Like you know, another one Royal Tenenbaums the way I understand movie that is about it's fine on a movie about family as you'll ever see. And yet it doesn't really doesn't look like anybody's it's, it's a fantasy as Wes Anderson it, and yet emotionally, it is what we all go through with our dysfunctional families. And that's the beauty. I much prefer those to a movie that looks and smells like a real family movie. But doesn't get deep, like those two do, like doesn't really get.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:40
Alright, so we'll go with those. All right. And then, uh, what is what advice would you give a screenwriter wanting to break into the business today?

Miles Chapman 1:05:49
With the asterisks that I broke in 17 years ago, yes, I'm not living. do good work, do good work. Put your nose down and do good work you can be proud of stop worrying about how our movies are in. I've had that conversation so many times a friend of mine, I'll be like, hey, a bunch of horror movies just sold or this movie was number one at the box officer. And I'm like, do you love horror movies? Because there's 40,000 writers in LA who love horror movies. They're all writing one right now. And it will be better than your horror movie because you don't love horror movies. So do good work. Write what you love. Not necessarily what you know. People say write what you know. I'm a big imagination guy wrote what you love?

Alex Ferrari 1:06:33
And what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Miles Chapman 1:06:41
I'm still learning it. And that would be I've talked a lot about collaboration and when to put my foot down and really stick out for myself. Like really, really are the Matt. I definitely had a fear when I first got into the business about getting replaced getting fired, getting you know, all those things that no, you can Yeah, yeah. And, and so I'm still trying to manage that. So that because there are there are times where you're being you're being paid for your professional skills, in your opinion. And if somebody really wants it, or is pushing on it, you're being paid to give it so that goes a little bit counter to some of the things we were talking about. Right. But there there is a time and a place, you know, recognizing that, that at the end of the day, your name is on the script at the end of the day, if you're lucky. Or your names out as the director of the movie and so that you know, so So yes, realizing what what battles to really go hard for. Oh, very cool. Yeah, still still figuring that one out.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:50
Miles has been an absolute pleasure meeting you, man and having you on the show. great stories. I'm sure there's tons more that you could tell about your your misadventures in Hollyweird, but I appreciate you coming on and, and dropping the knowledge bombs on the tribe brother, I appreciate that man.

Miles Chapman 1:08:07
My pleasure was super fun interview and I'm happy to come on anytime you want me. So thank you.



  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook

Free Training of The Week


How to Produce a Profitable Low Budget Feature Film

By Suzanne Lyons

Join veteran producer Suzanne Lyons as she shows you the three key secrets to produce a successful and profitable independent film.