M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, September 25, 2002  

I’ve spent an unhealthy percentage of my time on this earth trying to win money from Ben Affleck, and it doesn’t show any sign of letting up. One might say that when calculating the percentage of one’s life spent trying to win money from Ben Affleck, anything over zero is probably a sign of nothing good. Yet I can’t seem to stop.

It started a couple of years ago, when I entered the first Project Greenlight competition. Since I don’t have a file cabinet overflowing with finished screenplays, I didn’t have time to do more than a screen adaptation of a stage play I’d written a couple of years before. It isn’t accurate to say that I actually wanted to win the contest, per se; I just thought it would be good to make it to the later rounds and maybe get a little attention for my work. God knows that learning how to direct actors, figuring out camera angles, and teaching myself how to helm a feature film in front of the cameras of a reality TV show wasn’t exactly my idea of a prize. Look at what happened to the “winner,” Pete Jones, and his movie Stolen Summer. He got to deal with casting and logistical nightmares, being screamed at by the executive producer, looking like a schmuck to every viewer in HBO’s audience, and rumors that he only won because the “real” winner passed up the grand prize, all so his movie could get dumped onto three screens nationwide with all the fanfare and publicity of a Black Ops mission. Weigh that against the possibility of a few interested phone calls from someone at Lions Gate or Sony Classics and my real reason for entering should become apparent. Fortunately, my screenplay was idiosyncratic enough that I never had to make that decision.

I’m currently working on final revisions to the screenplay I’m planning to submit for PGL2. This time the deal is a little more tempting, since there are two separate contests for writers and directors. That means the winner of the screenplay contest a) wins $35,000, and b) doesn’t have to direct. Woo hoo!

But that’s not all. I’m also seeing what I can do to win the “million-and-change” that’s being given away in conjunction with Affleck’s current TV series, Push, Nevada. Although in this case, it’s not really accurate to say I’m trying to win it for myself. I’m sort of trying to do this with a group.

To be honest, even that isn’t accurate, since I don’t seem to be contributing much to the effort. Other people are much smarter and more committed than I am. On the other hand, judging from the show’s ratings, the field of potential winners is going to be fairly small. So there’s that.

I don’t know what it is that makes me so keen to relieve Ben Affleck of large bags of money. Could it be some kind of deep-seated envy I might feel towards a guy who’s younger than I am but already has a screenwriting Oscar? Nah, too obvious.

* * *

Several years ago, Trash and I took one of those online quizzes that supposedly match you with your ideal celebrity mate. This was before the Internet was awash in personality tests that tell you everything from your I.Q. to which character from What’s Happening!! you resemble the most. My results matched me up with Jennifer Lopez. Like I said, this was several years ago, so she was post-Out of Sight and pre-pop-diva-backlash. Not to mention years before anyone heard the phrase “J. Lo.”

Guess who Trash’s celebrity match was? I’ll give you a clue: he was post-Good Will Hunting and pre-Oscar-backlash, years before anyone had heard the phrase “put on this earth to make Matt Damon look smart.”

So now our celebrity matches are dating. Some of the gossips have claimed that their relationship is not long for this world. I’ve heard the talk. But if whatever is going for my wife and me is also going for them—and by the transitive property of equality, it may well be—I think these two smug, overexposed media whores might just stand a chance. Best of luck to you, kids. I mean that.

posted by M. Giant 3:25 PM 0 comments


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