Meet Eric Estrin, if you haven't already. He's been an occasional contributor to Native Intelligence for awhile now, as well as a TV writer and a moderator of the Writer Action website. He's also had a jones to collaborate with the masses on a screenplay about Los Angeles. He pitched the idea to the Times more than a year ago and detected some enthusiasm, but his contact quit Los Angeles for a more stable journalism home and the concept never got the green light.
So today we're launching the LA Observed Script Project. Eric has written the opening pages of a screenplay set in and about Los Angeles. It has a name, Right of Way, and a mayor who may or may not be shady as the main character. You can write the rest by submitting a few pages of scene and dialogue. Each week he'll select the best pages and post them. Eric explains:
Anyone who’s been part of a writers’ room knows how exhilarating it can be to work with a great team on an exciting project. So picture LAObserved as the room and the whole world as the team....
As for the story itself, it starts with what I think is a pretty cool premise: an L.A. mayor, Russell Napolitano, hell-bent on reshaping the city by building a transit system. (No, it’s not based on anyone we know. At least not closely.)
I have some ideas about where I want the story to go. First off, it’s going to be a drama, a darkish murder mystery filled with glamour, wit and big dreams, the stuff of life in Southern California. The region, both in real life and as hinted at in the script’s opening pages, is a place on the verge of great change. The tension behind that shift should provide plenty of subtext for our screenplay. But know this: If your vision goes off in an unexpected direction, and you can convince me it works in 1-5 pages, bring it on! This will be a true collaboration.