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Memento to Paths of Glory that will Die Hard

Timothy Kim | June 17, 2011 | Story Best of the Bay

Thanks to the success of its 12-year-old National Novel Writing Month (37,500 novels finished last November and one former year’s submission, Water for Elephants, made into a movie this year), the Office of Letters and Light, the Bay Area nonprofit that gives would-be writers what they most need—a deadline—added an even more unglamorous, uncollaborative art form to its program in 2007: scriptwriting. And Apatow wannabes have been snapping up the bait ever since. This April, more than 19,000 participants in Script Frenzy, 10 percent of them from Northern California (drunk on Coppola lore), each banged out 100 pages of script in 30 days before typing “Fade out.” To combat the isolation, they met up at places like Farley’s in Oakland and the Epicenter Cafe in SoMa, swapping plot twists, commiserating over writer’s block, and ignoring Oliver Stone’s advice that “writing = ass + chair.” “People get to hang out and write together, which gives you emotional fuel to get through writing 100 pages of a script,” says Steve Shepard, a South Bay participant who has also created Storyist, a word processing application to further help aspiring writers. Script Frenzy’s local “wrap party,” held at the arts space Root Division, found exhausted finishers tossing back brews while the comedy sketch group Killing My Lobster performed scenes from submitted scripts.


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