Well, we turned in the first draft of the pilot script for the half-hour HBO comedy, The Three- Martini Playdate.
The “we” to whom I refer is Wendy Goldman, a friend I’ve mentioned in a previous column. She was the one who originally thought my book would make such a good TV show, and happily, her agent agreed with her. And eventually, HBO thought so too.
Now, if you’ve readThe Three-
It’s really because of my good friend Wendy that we’re writing the pilot together – if I had just optioned the book to one of the several companies who were hoping to get the rights, it is unlikely that I would have ended up being one of the writers. That’s the way it generally works. But paired with my friend, who happens to have a TV track record and a big-time agent, I got to be the second half of the writing team.
I haven’t had a writing partner for years. My last writing partner was my husband. In addition to writing a bunch of goofy scripts (for the Disney Channel before it was the Disney Channel), we wrote a couple of movie scripts together. Writing those two scripts was an incredibly educational experience -- and a lot of fun, too --especially after Columbia Pictures bought one of them. The movie was, sadly, never made. But the writing together? I found the actual process of writing with my husband quite enjoyable. Although I guess it all depends on what the word “enjoyable” means to you.
Most couples we knew thought we were crazy to write together. “Are you guys nuts?” was the refrain most often heard, or “you write…together? And you’re still married?” But it worked out well for us – we could work after the baby was asleep. We could take meetings after dinner. We could discuss plot points on the patio or in our bed, wrestle over character arcs at eleven at night or at two in the afternoon. Find me another writing partner who’d enjoy starting work at 9 p.m. The only way we could have finished two scripts (without a nanny and/or household staff) was having the kind of flexibility – and availability – that only comes with living in the same house.
Writing with my husband (and rewriting, and rewriting) could be intense, and our arguments fierce. We liked to argue. Although I prefer to think of our battles as “lively,” and perhaps “spirited” sounds cuter than “argumentative.” But arguing about imaginary people in imaginary situations really makes it easy to keep work and real life separate. It’s like you’re fighting over your invisible friends. I mean, you love these characters like your family, but like, dude, they’re not real. Calm down.
I am not one hundred percent sure that my husband found the process quite as lively as I, although he might admit under duress that it was less painful than many dental procedures.
In any event, after the movie thing ended, I wrote my first book. And then I wrote two more. Which brings us pretty much up to date, minus a few haphazard details. And now, here I am, writing with my second writing partner. So far, it has been an excellent experience. Which bodes well, I think, should the show end up actually getting picked up.
I am still having as much fun arguing about imaginary people, although the process is slightly gentler. I don’t know whether that’s because my writing partner is a woman, or whether it’s just the nature of my relationship with this particular writing partner. I do know that we want to write more stuff together, because it’s been way too much fun.
I can’t spill too much about the plot at this point, but it is a happy mixture of the book and my own experiences in the parenting trenches. The ones that didn’t make it into the book. And the slightly cranky, highly opinionated voice of the book is reflected in the dialogue. But if we’re lucky, and the show gets picked up – that voice will most certainly come out of the mouth of someone much taller and cuter than I.