Sunday, August 28, 2005

DFL III: The Rise of the Crimson Ape

Where was I?


So the Dumb Fucking Lesbian and I become an unconquerable duo. I do my infinite monkey thing and she pimps me so hard we get invited to the Players' Ball where we all sport matching green alligator boots and jade pinky rings shaped like the Eiffel Tower.

Maybe. Memory's fuzzy there.

She's still working at the small agency but no longer an assistant and I've stopped worrying I won't get a job because she's out on a Starbucks run.

Which leads me to the beginning of the end.

One day I'm in Beverly Hills with a friend having lunch at a Chinese restaurant. It's a well known place and quite crowded. Furthermore, the tables are scrunched together to maximize the potsticker per square foot ratio. We're tucked into a corner crammed next to another twosome. They're both dressed in business attire and as neither of them remotely resembles a chicken potsticker I pay them no mind (the infinite monkey loves his chicken potstickers).

My friend and I turn to the menus and I try to control the excitement I always feel when ordering at a Chinese restaurant without parental supervision. Out of the restaurant noise this reaches me:


I look at my friend. He's heard it, too. It's coming from the neighoring table and so I check these two out. A woman in her mid-to late twenties, Hollywood uniform. A man of the same age, with a slightly ruddy simian quality to him. We'll call her WOMAN. We'll call him THE CRIMSON APE. Here's the gist of the conversation:

CRIMSON APE: All I'm sayin' is...Josh Friedman could do better.
WOMAN: But what's wrong with Josh Friedman's career?
CRIMSON APE: Nothing! But (Dumb Fucking Lesbian) is a lightweight.
WOMAN: Have you ever met her?
WOMAN: I have. She's great. And she's doing a great job with Josh Friedman's career.
CRIMSON APE: Hah. Grunt.

They go back to their lunch and the subject changes. I return to my menu and strategize a way to get my friend to order more food than he's going to eat so I can vulture it while still only paying half. A few minutes later...

CRIMSON APE: I'm just saying...Josh Friedman doesn't know what he's doing.
WOMAN: Josh Friedman's loyal to her.
CRIMSON APE: I'd kick ass representing Josh Friedman. Josh Friedman's making a huge mistake. Josh Friedman's an idiot.

All righty now.

My food still hasn't arrived otherwise this (and the rest of my life) may have turned out differently. But I'm pumped up on tea and Diet Coke and after all he is talking about me. I lean over and put my hand on their table. They stop their conversation.

ME: Look, I don't mean to be rude and interrupt. I hope you don't think I was eavesdropping. I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Josh Friedman.

I now witness two of the greatest reaction shots in the history of my-life-as-film. Crimson Ape's jaw drops some eighteen inches down to the table while Woman is wearing the BIGGEST SHIT-EATING GRIN I HAVE EVER SEEN. She can't help herself and frankly who can blame her.

WOMAN: Wow. This is...quite a Hollywood moment. We were just talking about you.
ME: I know.
CRIMSON APE: We're...big fans.
ME: Uh huh.
WOMAN: Yeah. (Still grinning) BIG FANS.

If I'm honest with myself I'll admit I don't think I've ever made a woman happier than I did WOMAN that day. And note this: Crimson Ape still has not said his name and I'm wondering if he thinks he's gonna get away with not telling me...

So I introduce my friend to them. And she says "LOVELY TO MEET YOU MY NAME IS (SO FUCKING LUCKY I WAS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS)."

I turn to him so he knows he's gonna have to fess up.

ME: So you said.


And he disappears through a hole in the floor.

Now the reason I'm in Beverly Hills is because I have a meeting with a producer after lunch. And I'm so excited because I'm always looking for good stories for the warm-up section of the meeting. And now I've got a doozy. I walk my jaunty walk into the producer's office, get my free Diet Coke and start in with my funniness. I get thirty seconds into the story and she says:

PRODUCER: Are you referring to The Crimson Ape?
ME: Excuse me?
PRODUCER: The Crimson Ape. It's the Crimson Ape, right?
ME: do you know?
PRODUCER: He's a friend of mine. He called me from the car right after lunch.

Now understand this: the Crimson Ape had NO IDEA I was meeting with this woman. But he called HER. I am a little unsettled by this and begin to wonder about his powers. I decide not to tell the Dumb Fucking Lesbian the story because she's a little high-strung and I fear her knowing we're being stalked by a Crimson Ape.

I see her four hours later at a fund-raiser she's guilted me into attending. This is the first thing out of her mouth:


And now I'm starting to feel like the monkey in Outbreak.

I tell her the story and she takes it with good humor but now I'm totally freaked. The Crimson Ape has taken a story that ostensibly makes him look like a loudmouth jackass and is spreading it ALL OVER TOWN. He is taking MY STORY and making it HIS STORY.

And I begin wondering if he's doing this on purpose to take the sting out of my version of the events, or he's just such an insane megalomaniac it never occurs to him not every story which stars you makes you look like a hero.

The Crimson Ape may be a genius.

But like one of those movies that opens on 200 screens and then bursts onto 1200 the next week when the studio realizes its per screen averages are through the roof and word of mouth is wildfire, The Crimson Ape Story becomes a sleeper hit. People I've never met ask me about it but I stop bringing it up myself.

I realize with every telling the Crimson Ape gets stronger.

And then I hear something that chills me to the jelly. The Dumb Fucking Lesbian tells me that she's met the Crimson Ape at a party. And he's quite smart and funny (if a little obnoxious). They laughed and laughed about The Crimson Ape Story. And boy isn't he kinda self-deprecating in a weird way...

Do you see where this is going? I didn't.

ME: Yes, Dumb Fucking Lesbian?
DUMB FUCKING LESBIAN: You know I've been talking with my agency about giving me a little more respect?
ME: You mean money.
DUMB FUCKING LESBIAN: Well, no. I mean...Yeah. Money.
ME: What about it?
DUMB FUCKING LESBIAN: I'm moving to another agency.
ME: What? Really? But I love our little agency!
ME: Our little agency has pizza party Fridays! With beer!
ME: Does our new agency have pizza party Fridays?
DUMB FUCKING LESBIAN: Josh I'm moving to The Crimson Ape's agency. He talked me into it.

Oh Dear God the Crimson Ape is a motherfucking Warlock.

I cannot begin to describe the horror and anger. I'd gone to bed a member of the Rebellion and woken up a Sith droid. How dare she! But understand this: there was never a thought in my mind of not going with the Dumb Fucking Lesbian. As I've said before, it's the agent, not the agency that matters.

But for God sakes she's taking me to the Nest of the Crimson Ape!

So the Dumb Fucking Lesbian leaves her skanky stroll in Westwood for a shiny bordello in Beverly Hills. And we bitches go with her. But I make one thing clear to her: I will not meet with other agents. I will not talk to them on the phone. No one calls me but for my Dumb Fucking Lesbian. IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES (such as, the Dumb Fucking Lesbian is out sick and I need someone to make a phone call) I will pre-approve one or two other agents. And at no time will The Crimson Ape do work on my behalf.

By the way have I mentioned that I'm insane?

And then one day it happens. I stop by The Nest to drop something off with the DFL. And there he is, strutting the polished marble hallways like the alpha ape warlock he is...Before I can gut-shoot him he's got a vice grip on my hand and pulls me close in what innocent bystanders may think of as an affectionate almost-man-hug but I immediately recognize as the death hold of some ancient evil spirit.

He bares his teeth in a "smile" and whispers in my ear:

"One way or the other, dude. Gotcha."

Some of you may not know but in a previous life I was Boris Spassky's cut man in his world championship battle against Bobby Fischer. I was sitting next to Spassky in Reykjavik when Fischer dropped him like he was Yuri Averbakh if you know what I mean. I'll always remember Spassky's vacant stare as I pulled him out from under his bed at the Reykjavik Hilton. But it was not until my encounter with the Crimson Ape in his Nest did I truly understand Spassky's last words to me:

"Goddamn. That cocksucker really fucked me."

I wish this was the end of the story. But a Nest lined by the black magic of the Crimson Ape was sure to spawn darkness. Sure enough, I began hearing stories from the Dumb Fucking Lesbian about how unhappy she was. The Nest was a big corporation and (back then) a dysfunctional one. There were no Friday pizza and beer parties and while my memory is fuzzy I'm pretty sure they didn't even have Fridays.

One day she asks me to lunch. Never a good sign, by the way. Dinner with your agent: something good's happened. Lunch with your agent: something bad's happened.

She was quitting. And not just the Nest. She was quitting being an agent and taking a job as A STUDIO EXECUTIVE. Whatever it was that had made her happy and love her job and talk in capital letters had been lost...It had been replaced with insanity.

I was going to kill that fucking Ape.

But there was a catch. And here's where Hollywood will fuck you if no one else will...The Dumb Fucking Lesbian had six months left on her contract with the Nest. In order for her to leave and go take another job they had to "release" her from her contract. And while she won't say this at the lunch I read between the lines: the only way they're letting her leave is if she convinces me to stay. At the Nest. The Ape's Nest.

HER: Just until I get settled.
ME: How long do you think that'll be?
HER: Six months.
ME: You mean the remainder of your contract?
HER: Is that what it is?

So because I love that goofy little pimp and I want her to be happy I stay. They assign me another agent--he's smart, cynical, urbane and skinny. The anti-Ape. But because I'm insane this is what I do: I sit in my house. And do not write. And do not take a job. And do not make the Nest a plug nickel. For the next six months.

Boy I showed them.

I begin planning my escape. (This doesn't really require a lot of planning unless you're also planning to enact a specific revenge fantasy against a specific Warlock Ape.)

In the middle of this New Agent calls. Here's what he says:

NEW AGENT: Have you ever heard of the book "The Black Dahlia?"

That was eight years ago. I'm still there. So is my (Not So New Anymore) Agent.

And so is the Crimson Ape.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you, Josh Friedman. I want to have your abortion.

8/28/2005 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant that in a very funny, throwaway Fight Club line way. Your blog rocks.

8/29/2005 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That wasn't me.

I know when to stop beating a dead horse.

You rock. (Josh)

8/29/2005 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the reason you hate APE so much is what exactly? that he badmouthed the DFL in a chinese restaurant, while having no idea you were there?
are you sure you didn't grow to hate him later and projected it backwards to your first meeting?

8/29/2005 12:59 AM  
Blogger Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) said...

Oh well.

The story ends with no more agent dumping in sight. You'll have to dump this one so you can write another whitty post.

Then again, I guess agents get you in touch with a lot more money than a whitty blog post
Ok, it's up to you: Stay true to your fans, or sell out to Hollywood :)

8/29/2005 1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

josh, get out of this game, write a memoir, a book, a warts & all account of what it's like to work within the Planet Of The Apes. i'd buy that for a dollar!

8/29/2005 3:11 AM  
Blogger Roger Alford said...

Man, this story just keeps getting better and better. Ready to hear more.

8/29/2005 5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this blog. What a great story. Lots of laughs, man. Nice surprise ending too.

8/29/2005 5:52 AM  
Blogger Melville said...

I don't know what to say. I'm overwhelmed. I want a baby from you. Please?

8/29/2005 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, those two agents probably engineered the whole thing from the beginning, including sitting next to you at the Chinese restaurant, and pretending they didn't know you were sitting right there.

Actually, I find it difficult to believe they DIDN'T engineer it. If they didn't arrange to be seated next to you, they saw you and started talking, loud enough so that you'd overhear them.

They planted the seed at the restaurant, and once they found out you'd never leave DFL, they hired her. I mean, this is how it's done.

I say the restaurant incident wasn't an accident. You should ask the Crimson Ape.

But I don't understand why you didn't work for six months--how were you wronged?


8/29/2005 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post, Josh -

Though it seems that you have a lot of affection for DFL, even though she left you holding the bag, you never quite explained why you call DFL dumb (the fucking lesbian part I can figure out on me own) - sounds to me like she went from assistant to agent to bigger agent to studio exec, mostly on your back, that's not too terrible, is it?

8/29/2005 7:16 AM  
Blogger writergurl said...

Your a good man Charlie Brown, er.. Josh Friedman...

Loyalty is a rare thing, anywhere, these days.

Rock on, brudda man, rock on.

8/29/2005 8:41 AM  
Blogger David Almeida said...

Great blog, Mr. F. Thank you for sharing, please don't stop!

8/29/2005 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'I began hearing stories from the Dumb Fucking Lesbian about how unhappy she was'...and bringing this all into the open again is going to get you a Hallmark card and flowers from her? Do you have any nice positive stories to share or is the dark portrait of Hollywood you are painting basically it?

8/29/2005 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Josh, is DFL still in the business?

8/29/2005 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hm. I feel like you're leaving something out. Something you don't want to tell us maybe. I just failed to glean the evil in Crimson Ape from your account of things. (Sounds like a network note, I admit.) Yes, he called you an "idiot," but what he seemed to be saying was you were an idiot for being such a talented writer stuck with what he perceived as a lightweight agent. He wanted to rep you. He thought he could make big money off you and make you make bigger money too. You were an idiot in the Josh-Friedman's-not listening-right-now sense of the word. But not an "idiot." So, I just don't get why you disliked him so much. Yeah, he's uncouth. He's an agent. And since when do writers "know what they're doing" when it comes to savvy business decisions and picking the right agent anwhow (and by the way, since when do agents know anything about life and insightful writing or anything other than how to turn the wheel of a rolodex)?

I have a lightweight agent. I'm probably an idiot for not looking elsewhere. And I wish some big powerful agent would tell me so across the neighboring table at dinner.

8/29/2005 10:53 AM  
Blogger josh said...

The question isn't whether your agent is "lightweight" or not. Sure, she wasn't a heavyweight. But people respected her, she had good taste and she was honest. And my career under her was going fine. Bigger isn't necessarily better and I believe a writer's career (both its ups and downs) are mainly his own making. What I don't like are agents who think they're more important than their clients. BTW--I never said the Ape was a big-shot agent. He was just an Ivy-league cowboy with a good suit.

And yes DFL's still happily working as an executive.

8/29/2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Sounds like an episode on "Entorage". Jeremy Piven is the Crimson Ape?

Anyway, great blog. Big Ellroy fan.
Looking forward to hearing about the Black Dahlia.

Mark's Screenwriting Page

8/29/2005 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find "The Moviequill's" case of blogger envy disturbing.

8/29/2005 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh, all kidding aside, I want you to know you saved me from my 3-week dark funk after being completely overlooked by the Nicholl (still trying to reconcile my necessary conceit with the rejection - ha ha!). (But then I keep thinking of the one studio executive connection I've got and realize he probably wouldn't "get" my script so there's a big answer there for me.)

To "joshua," Josh refers to her as the DFL because that's what the studio exec called her when she asked for a million dollars for Josh. She clearly is not "dumb" and her sexuality has nothing to do with anything, fucking or otherwise.

We should all be so lucky.

8/29/2005 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm reading a much funnier version of "Adventures in the Screen Trade." Fantastic stuff.

8/29/2005 1:24 PM  
Blogger Unsigned said...

I can't believe how funny this is. Have you ever tried to write any comedy? BTW, 8 years for Black Dahalia and the best they could come up with for the leading role is JOSH HARTNET!!! Luckily enough the plot sounds interesting.

8/29/2005 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere but, have the people described herein read your blog and, if so, what's their reaction?

8/29/2005 2:54 PM  
Blogger Frank Hannah said...

Great blog. This is a despicable fucking industry, but hey, I looooooove me some show business. Without it, I'D be the freak....

8/29/2005 3:52 PM  
Blogger nolo said...

You rock.

8/29/2005 8:01 PM  
Blogger Alex Epstein said...

I'm with anonymous. They totally set that conversation up.

8/29/2005 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. You know, Josh, the Crimson Ape used to be my agent. :) I plan on mocking him soundly tomorrow.



8/29/2005 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. But if the DFL was honest and respected, why didn't she see that the Big Evil Agency just wanted her client(s)? I mean, it seemed pretty obvious in your story. And good taste--they can beat that out of you.

8/30/2005 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Keep going. I visit every day. If there's not a new post, I read the old ones. You don't ever have to write another screenplay again...just keep blogging you great, golden god of a man.

8/30/2005 12:24 PM  
Blogger Karen Scott said...

It's a shame about your DFL, She sounds like a riot!

Are you still with the Crimson Ape then Josh?

8/30/2005 1:45 PM  
Blogger josh said...

The Crimson Ape has never represented me although I'm sure he has occasionally made phone calls on my behalf. My agency has a "team approach" so everyone does a little something beyond what my main Agent does...

Craig--Please mock him. I would but it would give him too much joy.

8/30/2005 3:03 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I just want to say how much I love Dumb Fucking Lesbian and I really hope that she's not the executive responsible for The Fantastic Four because that would be like a hammer blow to the nuts.

8/30/2005 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reads like a movie script or novel -- I mean sure Hollywood is a small town, but two people chance talking halfway loudly about someone at the same restaurant with just the right timing, seated right nearby the main character, talking in great detail about finer details of said objects career and yet still not knowing what he/she even looks like? Not likely. Chance happenings like that only happen *IN* the movies, hence it had to be a blueprint set-up or if not directly, then quickly engineered and worked into the narrative on the spot. But the close tally of phone tag, makes it seem at least grand-plan scripted in some vague way. But scriptwriter espionage? Hollywood has gotten to that level? ;)

Mortal sin to weave self into script, but something 'loosely based on such' would make a great script slash movie itself, imho. But with the twist of screenwriter transforms himself into the agent shark he so very much hates. That has a hook already. ;)

Christopher Coulter

8/30/2005 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that made me laugh. maybe even out loud.

some of the comments on here are pretty funny too, but in a different way.

8/30/2005 4:27 PM  
Blogger JimMiller said...

I've experienced some pretty unlikely coincidences in my life and believe that this was not necessarily a setup. I'm not suggesting cosmic forces were at work, I'm just saying these things happen. My most astonishing coincidence happened about 25 years ago when I was working at Glacier National Park as a summer job. I had hitch-hiked over the mountains to Kalispell to get my glasses repaired. The repairs took longer than expected and the sun was starting to set as I started hitching-hiking back. As few cars drive through the pass at night I was getting quite concerned. Just as I was about to give up and walk back into town a car pulled up to offer me a ride. The driver turned out to be a cousin of mine who was staying with his friend who had a cabin nearby. Neither he nor I knew the other was even in Montana, let alone living just a few tens of miles apart.

8/30/2005 7:19 PM  
Blogger M said...

I was referred to this blog by a friend and it ROCKS. I want more; I don't care if you write about the phone book. You're hilarious.

8/30/2005 9:30 PM  
Blogger John Oak Dalton said...

Wept with laughter over your own bitter tears. I feel your pain, except that I'm poorer, not as funny, and don't have an agent.


9/01/2005 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so pathetic.

You're "hot" for the moment (you did, after all, have to be re-written), you've got agents talking about you at Mr. Chow, you're presumably making 750k for a draft and a set of changes, and yet you're portraying yourself as a victim of Hollywood here.

Enjoy your career while it lasts.

9/02/2005 3:14 PM  
Blogger josh said...

Dear Anonymous:
Thank you for your Anonymous comment. But I resent the implication that the restaurant was Mr. Chow's. It was the Mandarin.

I hope to hear Anonymously from you again soon.

Josh Gregory Friedman

9/02/2005 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm literally on the other side of the world but I stumbled upon your blog. Love it. Genius. Clever. Acerbic. Fuckable.

I'm coming to LA LA land soon and am very mentioned the late twenties 'woman' was wearing a 'Hollywood Uniform'. What is that? Please tell. My instinct says Juicy Couture tracksuit, hair extensions and a smug look on her pout.

I need to know. So I can wear the EXACT OPPOSITE when I get there.

Cheers Josh x

9/06/2005 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Crimson Ape

9/08/2005 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That may be the best blog entry I've ever read. Seriously. I was totally fucking absorbed by it. As I finished I realized that I was leaning way closer to the monitor than I normally do and had no idea what was going on around me. (My favorite part was the bit about how the DFL's work no longer made her talk in capital letters).

Of course, the fact that it's a Thursday evening and I'm stuck in the office in full on work avoidance mode might be a factor. Also, I'm full of Benadryl.

9/29/2005 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Reykjavík, Iceland. Bobby Fischer is a neighbour and an acquaintance of mine. I once did an interviewe with Boris Spassky as I am a cameraman. There has never been a Hilton Hotel in Reykjavík. Bobby stayed at Hótel Loftleiðir, Boris at Hótel Borg.....and Bobby never sucked cock in his life....well at least that´s what he tells me.

1/15/2006 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh, dude, you're alive! Btw, I think you'll outlast the Crimson Ape. He may be the Sith Lord, but you've got the force monkey on your side.

6/27/2007 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post: tips for whiter teeth!

12/05/2007 7:35 AM  

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