Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vacation Tip: Where to find writers

I read articles all the time about where tourists visiting Los Angeles can see stars. There are also maps to the stars homes (although Jack Benny and Lucille Ball have moved to more permanent residences. ). But what about all those millions of visitors who come to Tinsel Town just to catch a glimpse at writers? There’s yet to be an article about that….

Until now.

So for those of you scribe groupies hoping to see an actual TV or screenwriter this summer vacation, here are some places to go:

NATE N’ AL’S – This perennial Beverly Hills delicatessen is officially Broadway Danny Rose west. Here is where old comedy writers go to die of heart failure. Usually in tables of five or more, piled high with pastrami sandwiches (“I’m hungry now that I’ve quit smoking!”) the old sitcom guard holds court, trading stories of the good old days when Elizabeth Montgomery was a doll to work with but that Cosby kid was a handful. (“Two comedy albums and suddenly he knows funny!”) Morning meetings between writers and agents, managers, or producers start about 9. The ones that are over by 10 are working writers, the ones that go on til 11 are not.

THE AMC THEATRES, CENTURY CITY – weekday matinees only. Usually in pairs. Listen for the keywords: “Who greenlit this shit?”

THE FARMERS’ MARKET FOOD COURT – weekday mornings, early. They have coffee, read the trades, bitch about their fantasy baseball teams, and get the hell out before all the tour busses arrive.

Every STARBUCKS and COFFEE BEAN on Ventura Blvd between Vineland and White Oak. They’re easy to spot, sitting in front of computers, nursing one $3.00 ice blended for eight hours.

ART’S DELICATESSEN – Studio City. The San Fernando Valley equivalent of Nate N’ Al’s. Close to CBS Radford with oversized artery clogging triple deck sandwiches that include pastrami AND chopped liver. The one-time popular haunt of all the MTM writers so it’s kind of a shrine.

CEDARS SINAI HOSPITAL – West Hollywood. Home for all reunions of GRACE UNDER FIRE, CYBILL, and ROSEANNE writers.

THE SMOKE HOUSE – Burbank. Across the street from Warner Brothers studio. The bar area. Leave it to writers to think a good place to pick up chicks is at an old style red booth restaurant that’s been around since John Barrymore used to pass out there. Historic note: Captain & Tennille were discovered playing the Smoke House lounge – thus adding even more to the hip factor.

THE AROMA CAFÉ – Cute little coffee house with cute outdoor patio. On Tujunga Blvd in the valley mere steps from where Robert Blake had the love of his life whacked.

RESIDUALS – A bar in the valley that used to let writers pay for drinks with residual checks that were under a dollar. They eventually had to stop that practice because they were getting too many. I myself have received a check from THE SIMPSONS for one cent. And I’m sure it cost $5.00 to process and mail the check.

THE BRENTWOOD COUNTRY MART – Westside smaller version of the Farmers’ Market Food Court. Writers and news anchors hang out here. You’ll have no trouble telling which is which.

THE OAKWOOD GARDEN APARTMENTS -- Burbank. See recently divorced writers.

Any coffee shop above Hollywood on Franklin – Lots of guys trying to write the next PULP FICTION. Or MIKE & MOLLY.

Happy hunting. One rule though: no handing out spec scripts! Let me repeat that:


Either working writers will be pissed or non-working writers will give you theirs.

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