A Laughing Matter

When I was twenty-four I got it in mind that I wanted to be a screenwriter. So I sold everything I owned that wouldn’t fit into a Chevy Chevette and drove across country to Los Angeles with my brother. It took me nine months to conclude that I did not in fact want to be a screenwriter, but in that time I managed to get an internship at Concord Films, a company that produced about twenty movies a year, all of which went straight to video, and all of which made a profit. My first job was to assist in the casting of Slumber Party Massacre III. We didn’t call it Slumber Party Massacre III, however; we called it Night Light. I believe the thinking was that the caliber of actor willing to audition for a movie called Night Light would be a touch higher than those willing to audition for Slumber Party Massacre III.

Casting decisions were made and shooting was scheduled to begin—but then a problem. One of the actresses was not willing to show her breasts on camera. Young shirtless actresses played a big role in Concord Film’s marketing strategy. So this actress was out, and we needed to find another soon.

Why I was in the room while this decision was being made I can’t remember. I only remember sitting against a wall watching my boss—a Stanford educated young woman a few years older than I who was also the movie’s writer/producer—laugh. She was on the phone to various talent agencies explaining that she needed an actress willing to take her shirt off prior to being killed with a power tool. Each time my boss hung up the phone, she laughed.

I can still hear her laugh. It sounded like a soprano machine gun. I actually liked this woman. I trusted her more or less, but she was on the run. I remember sitting with her on the set wondering what her actual laugh sounded like. It was all funny in a way in retrospect, and so perhaps some day she was able to laugh about it, but I didn’t know her long enough to find out. I moved to Seattle and married a woman with the nicest laugh I’ve ever heard.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

More Author Articles

Follow wdbk on Twitter