I had a great time yesterday at UCLA talking to visiting film students from the University of Miami about my "journey as a writer" (mostly on the 101 and 405 to get to the campus). It's always good to experience the enthusiasm and fresh perspective of those aspiring to work in the business - and it was wonderful to see my friend, Paul Lazarus , who runs the film program at UM, where I used to teach graduate screenwriting. Paul, who is a former movie producer ( Westworld and Barbarosa are among his credits) told me a tale of the high days of Hollywood in the 1980s, when - during a negotiation on a particular project - he received a call from a heavyweight (in every sense, including the Vegas-"connected" variety) show business attorney, who asked Paul, "Are you trying to screw my client? Do you want to wind up at the bottom of a lake?" Paul - a former entertainment attorney himself (Mel Brooks was a client) - answered: "Are you threatening my
Some years ago, the British film director (and wonderful friend and collaborator) Nicolas Roeg gave me a book and told me, “Read this, it will change your life.” I had no idea what to expect – except that with Nic, I trusted that he knew what he was talking about. I went home and read the book, Paul Bowles’ magnificent novel, The Sheltering Sky , set in Morocco and first published in 1949, and indeed it both woke me up, psychologically and emotionally, and changed the way I thought about things. The novel is set in Morocco, where American-born composer and writer Bowles lived for most of his life, and among its other effects, The Sheltering Sky made me fall in love with the country, too. Marrakesh became one of my favorite cities in the world (I still dream of its exquisite architecture, its wonderful people and its unforgettable desert beauty) and the drive from there to the Sahara through the Atlas Mountains is still o
Photo credit Destination360 UCLA Campus On the morning of Monday July 26, I will be giving a talk at UCLA to visiting film students from the University of Miami , thanks to my dear friend, Paul Lazarus , Director of the Motion Picture Program of the School of Communications there. I used to teach a graduate screenwriting class at UM before we moved to LA and greatly enjoyed it, it's a wonderful school. I'll be talking about what excites me about writing, the "path" (if that's what it was, it feels more like a leap through time) that brought me here - and about the movies, books, music and entertainment of all kinds that ignite true passion in me, the kind of things that really get your (and my) head spinning! If you are interested in attending, it starts at 9:30am. It's free, please email me at email@example.com for details and directions.
Coming later in 2013, a newly updated edition of Life On Mars , my offbeat account of life in Miami Beach and Southern Florida in the 1990s - and the inspiration for the television documentary, The End of America. Carl Hiaasen wrote of the book: "Sharp and canny... You will not find a better social biopsy of Miami than this."