Sometimes you really can make lemonade out of a lemon

If you have been following the news, you know that there is currently a strike in Hollywood by members of the Writers Guild of America, who have some grievances about the way they are treated by the movie business community. While the writers are on strike, they are not allowed to work on client projects. This is a lemon situation for them. Unable to do normal business creates a void, which they can fill by traveling and spending time gathering background material. This can be thought of as using free time to create lemonade from this situation.

We are well aware of the importance of actors and directors, but they would have nothing to do without the script writers and their creative talent. We see and hear actors on the screen saying very clever things and viewing scenes that move us. None of this can exist without the creative effort of very talented script writers.

As a result of my foray into the author business, I really felt that I might be successful in having a movie made about the adventures in my book. My stories to date have pleased my readers, but I certainly do not have the talent to write a movie script. This is a very painstaking effort that involves both imagination and discipline and takes many years to learn in order to really be successful.

As a direct result of my publications, I was placed in contact with Mark Kudlow, who is a well-known professional script writer in Hollywood with a worldwide reputation for quality movie script writing. He read my book and said that he could indeed write a script based on my stories. After a big gulp by me, it was off to the races with Mark to make a script worthy of becoming an actual movie. I developed a regular communication with him as I provided all the technical details related to the story, in addition to developing some plot elements. Through our communications, I received a private tutorial by Mark, who at one time taught script writing, on how to think about structure and ways to involve the audience.

In sales training programs I attended when I worked at Honeywell, I learned that you do not want to “puke your features.” Do not tell the potential customer everything your product is capable of doing, but instead cater to their special interest. Similarly, in a movie, you do not want to directly tell the audience what is happening; instead you make veiled references and, most importantly, create surprises. You want to bring the audience into the movie and make them feel like part of the plot; this is one of the challenges of script writing.

Here is what Mark has to say about our cooperation:

“I was introduced to Charlie about three years ago. He was looking to turn one of the stories in his riveting book, THE BOOTLEGGER 40 FORD, into a screenplay and, as it happened, I had done a number of script adaptations over the years and had worked a good bit in Germany, where the story mostly took place.

At the time, I didn’t even own a car and basically didn’t know the difference between a flathead engine and a flathead haircut, but Charlie trusted me to tell his story, with his great assistance, in correct technical detail for the gearhead and layman alike. I was able to broaden out the audience appeal by putting in comedy, romance, and more emotion, and it turned out so well that we’re now having lots of fun working on a second story from the book. And miracle of miracles, I even know a little bit about engines now and, on a good day, may even be able to change a spark plug.

The main reason my wife and I are hanging out with Charlie in Denver at the moment is due to the fact that, as a member of the Writers Guild of America, I’m currently on strike and not able to work, so it was a terrific time for a visit. We’re having a great time together and Charlie, bless his soul, is hustling his butt off and trying to set up our first film project, entitled FULL THROTTLE, with both financiers and the creative community.

On a side note, it was a pleasure to meet up and have lunch with Charlie’s pals at what he calls the “11 O’Clock Club” last week where I learned that they were all pioneers in the Denver Hot Rod scene and did indeed know a helluva lot more than how to change a spark plug. Watch out, Hollywood!

Mark Kudlow

Mark Kudlow and Full Throttle script

Mark is a city denizen and in West Hollywood, as in other big cities, owning a car is as much a liability as an asset. All essential services are in easy walking distance and parking can be a formidable task. On those occasions when you need a car, you just rent one. Mark’s wife, Shellie, just passed an arduous exam and is now a real estate agent, so she needs a car. I invited them to fly to Denver and offered to assist them in finding a car they could then drive back to LA. Did they find a car that they liked? Yes indeed – MY CAR! In a visit we made to my friend Peter Freytag’s home, I learned he had a beautiful Cadillac that he wanted to sell. (I wanted that car). “Peter, I have a really nice Corvette that I do not use because it is so awkward for me to get in and out of. Let’s trade cars.” To make a long story short, Peter got my Corvette, I got his Cadillac, and Mark got my Infinity. A triple lemonade deal! Who knows what other good fortune lies ahead for me – and it’s only halfway through 2023!

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