It's a known fact that LA is littered with screenwriters. Lots of them. Tens of thousands to be exact. Some are professionals, some are hobbyists, and others are uninspired goons trying to cash in on the illusory spec sale lottery. Anyone who lives in Los Angeles and has walked ten paces to a Starbucks knows that there is a good chance the coffee shop chain will be infested with amateur and professional screenwriters penning the next summer blockbuster or quirky-ironic indie cult hit.
Taking some time to investigate this topic, I came to realize that simply saying Starbucks was integral to so many screenwriters' writing processes was as much of an understatement as saying Richard Simmons is simply chipper. After starting to investigate, what I found was a much scarier, horrific, monster. Something so shocking and revealing that I knew immediately I had to share it with the rest of the world. What follows is my multi-part expose on the present state of "Starbucks Screenwriters."
Gone are the times when writers sat outside restaurants and bars sucking cigarettes and downing glass after glass of brown liquor, exhausting themselves over their next novel or screenplay. From Hemingway penning The Sun Also Rises amid cafe hopping among some of the great Parisian cafes of the 1920s, to Diablo Cody scribing "Juno" at a Starbucks inside of a Target, the times are a changin', my friend. Honest to blog? You have no idea.
"It's a known fact that screenwriting at Starbucks has increased significantly in the past several years, and one of the giveaways is due to the recent barage of screenplays with music written into the script... music from artists like Norah Jones, Paul McCartney, John Mayer, and Feist, Starbucks audio favorites."
This is what Hollywood producer Thomas Glen (Titanic 2: The Iceberg Takes Manhattan, Rocky VII: The Metameusel Chronicles) had to say about the topic, who I met at a Starbucks on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where I was going to scout out local screenwriters and try to get the inside scoop on this recent phenomenon. He was waiting to meet Lindsay Lohan to discuss a future film project, but had just recieved a text saying she's running a little late, so he granted me a few moments to discuss the state of "Starbucks Screenwriters."
"First off, whenever one of our readers gets a script that's starts with music from the likes of Feist or Lily Allen, we immediately throw that script in the trash. It's not so much that it's a bad song from the artist, it's just we as the industry know that whatever follows is not going to be quality material. It's obvious the writer has written this screenplay at Starbucks and we know that he or she is just going to be too hopped up on caramel macchiatos to write anything close to coherent.
Mr. Glen than immediately pointed to a man in his early thirties, pounding away at a netbook in the corner by the bathrooms. "See him in the corner? He's on his third act. See how much he's shaking rom the caffeine? The script is not going to be consistent." Thomas than went on to say: "We see it all the time. The scripts start off very slow, and develops a faster pace, then by the end of the second act, the characters are talking ten times as fast as the were in the beginning and scenes last no more than twenty seconds. It's from the potent mixture of the espresso and the sugary syrups. By "FADE OUT" all the dialogue is ending with exclamation points and the action sentences are just one word fragments. And they don't even make any sense at that.
Something else noticed by the upper rungs in Hollywood is the amount of scripts coming taking place in a Starbucks. Thomas pointed out several examples of scripts he's recieved in the past month... "It's like 'Snakes on a Plane' but in a Starbucks. It's 'Waiting' at a Starbucks. It's 'Armageddon' at a Starbucks. See what we have to deal with? When you've been living off vegan scones and pumpkin bread for the last five weeks, you're not in a stable enough mental state to choose what shirt you're going to wear that day, let alone write a screenplay.
Just then, Mr. Glen turned his attention to the door where it was no other than Lindsay Lohan, stumbling inside. Mr. Glen muttered "Fuck my life," and I extended my hand, thanked him for his time, and swiftly left the table.
Oh, my friends, my investigating as only begun. Stay tuned 'til next week where I interview local Starbucks baristas, assiduous screenwriters, and a special celebrity about the current state of "Starbucks Screenwriters" in Tinseltown.