Last night I went to a WGA Foundation panel on writing for children and young people. I will elaborate next week, but I wanted to get in an blog entry before I leave town for my birthday weekend celebration.
All of the writers gave a brief account of their breaking in story, but Linda Woolverton’s is the best one I’ve ever heard at any of these types of events.
Woolverton started doing some theater and one day she found herself at a mall in a dumb costume performing to an audience of two screaming brats. She said to herself, “I really need to have a bigger audience than this.” She got a job as an assistant at CBS where she mostly answered phones. She then moved on to Disney and got a job in development and eventually became a “baby exec.” Her job pretty much was to take notes during pitch meetings with spirited writers. She said to herself, “I don’t want to do this. I want to do THAT!”
So she wrote a novel during her lunch breaks. When all the others were out to lunch, she’d toil away at her book. She sent it to an editor and to her surprise, it was published. The novel was autobiographical; the story of a girl and her abusive father. She took the book to her boss an told her to read it because she wanted a shot at writing animation. Her boss told her she wasn’t ready. One day, she packed her book and drove to the animation department, which was outside the lot then. She drove through the unguarded gates easily because no one cared. In those days the animation department was way out in the boonies. She walked in the offices and no one was there. She set her novel on top of a desk and left hoping someone would read it.
And someone sure did. Charlie Fink, an executive, called her and hired her to write a Winnie the Pooh movie that was not made. Her next assignment was Beauty and the Beast. And we all now how well that turned out for her.
Have a great weekend writers.