Last week, I attended the First Annual WGAw Screenwriters’ Dinner. I’m not sure one should call a first-ever event “annual,” but it was successful enough that it merits a repeat in 52 weeks.
Since screenwriters tend to work alone, there’s not a lot of water-cooler talk on a daily basis. Message boards help to some degree, but WGA events are often the only venues for catching up in person. For example, it had been 23 months since I’d last seen Simon Kinberg. I know because our kids were born the same week.
The event also gave me a chance to meet a lot of writers I’d only known by name — Billy Ray and Jeff Nathanson, to pick two tablemates. Seeing my nametag, Iris Yamashita said she’d just pitched a project as being “Big Fish meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which was flattering. I wanted to point out that she has the Oscar nomination, but we were already being urged to take our seats. I introduced Jessica Bendinger to Robert Towne, even though I didn’t really know Mr. Towne. It felt like the kind of event you could get away with that.
I got roped into recording an interview for a video podcast. If it ever hits the inter-waves, you might notice my hands shaking. I had just arrived, and was incredibly hungry. The mini-pizzas hadn’t made their way over yet.