Tag Archive for 'California'


Nightbird Publishers interviews Heywood Gould about his new book SERIAL KILLER’S DAUGHTER and about his life as a writer 





Will we be seeing another Heywood Gould project on the big screen soon?

Hope springs eternal. There’s been some early interest in SERIAL KILLER’S DAUGHTER.

Do you miss Hollywood and the director’s chair?

Yes. The best thing about directing is you’re not writing, but you have a good excuse. Also, a driver picks you up and takes you home. You have your own trailer where you can nap undisturbed. You’re allowed to cut the lunch line. The crew guys call you “sir,” and pretend to be impressed with everything you say. As a writer you’re an object of disdain. As a director you have the illusion of being in control.   I can’t say enough terrible things about the movie business. How harshly you’re exploited. How your work is cheapened; by illiterates who take credit for your success and blame you for their failure.  The way the valet parker somehow knows you’ve had a flop… But I would drop everything to make another movie. Any movie. Anywhere…

Who were some of your favorite actors you have worked with on your films?

The ones who knew their lines and did what they were told, which means the day players and character actors. It was fun watching the big stars at work. Peck, Olivier, Newman, Cruise—they really are larger than life. There were some who understood the script— Bill Devane, Elizabeth Shue, Brian Brown, Jon Seda, Rachel Ticotin. Richard Portnow, John Capodice, among others–and said the lines exactly the way I heard them in my head.  In the beginning I would become frustrated when an actor’s portrayal didn’t match my conception. But, after a while I realized that the character changes from page to screen and an actor can rightfully claim ownership of the person he/she is playing. You hope for the best. 

How does the process of writing a screenplay differ from the process of writing a novel?

A screenplay is the characters and the story. A novel is authorial presence, ideas, language.A novelist agonizes over every word. The screenwriter has a few automatics—“Interior, Exterior, Fade In, Dissolve To—and all-purpose phrases—“the car explodes,” “she moans with pleasure, “the wizard turns into a hissing dragon,” “Will Ferrell drops his pants” etc.  A screenplay doesn’t require elaborate, eloquent scene setting, back story, insight …But that doesn’t make it easier to write. A screenplay that someone has labored months over will usually be read in one sitting over a Starbucks frappacino by a frazzled assistant who has to write reader’s reports on five more scripts by the end of the week. Most people in the movie business don’t know how to read a script so it has to be as novelistic as possible. The scene and character descriptions have to be vivid and concise. Some idea of the “attitude” of the movie is necessary, along with simple explanations of motivation and action. The entire script has to have a hypnotic pace that keeps the reader’s jaded attention. The novelist can learn from the brevity and focus of film dialogue. The screenwriter can learn from the airtight plotting of a good novel. Screenwriters should notice that most great movies were made from novels.



You’ve lived on both east and west coasts, what do you like best about each?

In California you can go skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon. I did neither. In NYC you can you can hear great jazz and get mugged outside the club. I did both. In Cali some guy can decide you cut him off on the freeway and blow your brains out.  In NYC the train you were taking to Brooklyn can end up in Queens, leaving you freezing in a crack war zone waiting for the shuttle that never comes. The weather’s not so great in Cali. New Yorkers aren’t half as smart as they think they are. I lived in Cali for nineteen years and never went to the beach. I was born in NYC and have never been to the Statue of Liberty or the top of the Empire State Building. The Mexican food is better in Cali. The Italian food is better in NYC. In NYC the literati can decide you’re just a hack. In LA the whole town can suddenly decide —as if someone sent out an e-mail blast– that you’re not bankable. You pick your poison.

Who inspires you?

James Joyce, who went days without eating. It took him years to find a publisher for “Dubliners,” and then the printer refused to print it because it had a few “bloody”s in it. Fitzgerald who died broke in Hollywood convinced he was a failure. The Russian writers– censored, exiled, murdered. The contemporary Chinese writers– muzzled. The Cuban poet who was imprisoned for twenty years.  All I have to whine about is some editor/producer/critic/reader who doesn’t understand how great I am. And boy do I whine.

Tell us about your military experiences. It’s well known you were a reluctant warrior during the Vietnam conflict. How did you end up being drafted? What kind of action did you see? Did that experience shape your storytelling in any way?

I’m working on a short book of comic (I hope) memoirs about being drafted. The world will have to wait with bated breath.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Sit around and beat myself up for not writing.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be?

A very bitter person in a job I hated. Although lately I’ve been thinking I might like to raise goats.




NEW YORK, N.Y., August 18..Leah Schldkraut has a rallying cry: “Interns of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your non-paying, exploitative jobs.”

Schildkraut, youth labor specialist of the Anarcho-Feminist coalition, issued a call today for “all unpaid interns in all fields” to observe a general strike on August 21st. “Demand an end to this insidious form of bourgeois slavery,” she urged. “Withhold your valuable labor until you are given a retroactive minimum wage and shorter hours.”

In a press conference outside the Goldman Sachs headquarters on Maiden Lane in downtown Manhattan, Schildkraut denounced the “pernicious culture of unpaid internship, which not only exploits eager young people but widens the divide between the classes and the races by reducing the dwindling opportunities for middle-class and minority workers.”

Schildkraut harangued an indifferent lunchtime crowd of financial workers, who hurried by, immersed in their Blackberries. “Interns have been brainwashed into believing that the corporations are doing them a favor when in truth their labor is needed,” she declared. “They are covering seven figure executives on their summer vacations. They are helping to grease the trillion dollar corporate wheels during the dog days, while their mentors”—she paused, then scornfully repeated—”their mentors— are off on luxurious vacations paid for by the sweat and sorrow of bankrupted, dispossessed and demoralized workers.”

“In the newest turn of the exploiter’s screw you now have to pay for the privilege of working for nothing,” Schildkraut charged. She cited a recent article in the New York Times which revealed the existence of companies that arrange unpaid summer internships for a fee. “Thousands of families have laid out $8,000 to a company called Universe of Dreams which promises to secure hard-to-get internships at prime employers,” she said. “Many employers allow these companies to choose their interns, without even bothering to interview all the applicants themselves…”

The effect of this, Schildkraut said, is to exclude lower and middle class students from the intern market. “Even if they want to work for free their families cannot afford the extortionate fees of the recruiters.”

Schildkraut paused, trembling with indignation, and gathered herself. “Amnesty International, which represents the rights of political prisoners and oppressed peoples all over the world uses these recruiters to find interns, who will work long hours for no compensation. Do they not see the contradiction in this? No, they do not!”

Schildkraut also decried the “phony furlough” tactics of employers and state governments in which they give employees a forced unpaid holiday ostensibly to save money, but really “to get free labor.”

“So-called furloughed employees of the state government of California have come to work anyway to keep up with a punishing workload that will pile up and affect their productivity ratings. They know their supervisors are watching. If they don’t work for free their chances for promotion and advancement will be compromised…”

A young Asian man carrying bags of takeout Chinese tried to sneak past Schildkraut into the Goldman Sachs building, but she jumped in front of him.

“Excuse me, are you an intern?”

The young Asian man ducked and covered his face. “No intern” he said…”Food delivery…”

Schildkraut pursued him. “But didn’t I see you this morning in a suit carrying a laptop?”

A man at the curb called out. “Be careful, dude. Big Brother is watching…”

He pushed her away, muttering through clenched teeth. “Get outta my face, bitch. If the security cameras show me talking to you I’m done…”

The man at the curb laughed scornfully. “You won’t sell your revolution on Wall Street, girl.” He identified himself as Efraim Durg, a freelance lobbyist. “These people know they’re being exploited and they don’t care.”

“They don’t understand that corporations are using the downturn as an excuse to institutionalize free labor,” Schildkraut said. She quoted a study that showed the disparity between is rich and poor is at its greatest since 1917. “The capitalist system is creating an atmosphere of fear in order to have a more pliable work force.”

” They know that, baby,” Durg said with a patronizing smile. “This is what they have to do in order to get the plum job that will allow them to support gouging landlords, eat in overpriced restaurants, become secretive and vindictive and plot against their fellow workers. It’s either that or live with their parents, wait tables and sink into dissipation and despair…”

Schildkraut approached him with a suspicious look. “Who do you work for?” she asked.

“Nobody,” Durg replied brightly. “I’m on the cutting edge of the New Economy–the unknown intern. I’m lobbying for Goldman, but they didn’t hire me and don’t even know I exist. I’m hoping Lloyd Blankfein will pass by and say: hey this kid’s got originality and initiative. Let’s give him a chance to work for nothing.”


SANTA MONICA, California, Oct. 17th…An amazing thing happened in Fenway Park last night.

Red Sox fans walked out on their team.

In the bottom of the 7th inning all seemed to be lost. The Sox were down 7-0 to the upstart Tampa Bay Rays, a team of hard-nosed youngsters that had bedeviled them all season. The pitchers weren’t competing. Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria  looked like they were taking batting practice when they hit back-to-back home runs in the third. Even ferocious closer Jonathan Papelbom had stumbled, giving up a two run double to B.J. Upton in the seventh to widen the score to the seemingly unbridgeable 7-0.

At that point the unthinkable happened. Red Sox fans began to leave.

“It looked like Dodger Stadium for God’s sake,” says Brian Flanagan, a regular at Sonny McLean’s on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica where the patrons actually stop quaffing to sing “Sweet Caroline” in the Fenway tradition. 

“They booed Big Papi,” waitress Maude Gunn said in disbelief.

A short, pleasant survey of Red Sox bars in the area revealed that not one stool had been vacated during the game. Of course, many of the fans were unable to move, but those who stayed alert were rewarded with the greatest comeback in post season play since 1929 when the Philadelphia A’s rallied from 8-0 to beat the Chicago Cubs (Who else?)

Because baseball is a signifier for the economy, the mental health and the sex lives of most Bostonians, analysts were busy soon after the first disdained now deified J.D. Drew drove Kevin Youklis home with the winning run.

“Boston has the highest average ticket price in baseball at $46.46 per,” said Morley Whiteshoe, Professor of Marketing at Babson U. “Boston was the fourth team in baseball history to sell out a whole season. But the more people pay the more they expect. You don’t buy a Bentley and expect it to break down.”

“It’s interesting that we use the word rally to describe what happened,” said Carmen Invidiosa, Tom Clancey Professor of Comparative Literature at Boston University. “In the 1929 Depression and in today’s economic crisis the baseball teams are said to have rallied when the markets could not…Pointless,  meaningless and totally irrelevant perhaps, but interesting.”

“I blame it on global warming,” offered J. Gladstone-Bagge, Yuri Lysenko Professor of Environmental Studies at MIT. “The unseasonable heat raises the percentage of negative ions in the atmosphere causing a condition similar to Santa Anna winds and Mistrials in the Mediterranean, which gives rise to irrational behavior.”

“We’ve gone from a victim to a victor’s mentality,” says Arnold Farb-Blodgett, Wilhelm Reich Professor of Psychology at Harvard. “Victims band together and empathize…Victors become individualistic, arrogant and insatiable. Victims find solace in the smallest triumph. Victors are inconsolable in defeat…”

The morning after the euphoria still hadn’t faded for Sox transplants. This reporter donned a Red Sox tee (Ramirez, the only one he had) and took a stroll down Main Street in Santa Monica.

A harried young mother looked up from her fussing twins to smile: “Go Sox.”

Outside the Rand Corporation’s new building a young construction worker slammed himself in the helmet. “Damn! I turned the TV off and went to bed. I always miss the comebacks.”

“Ya gotta believe,” said an older colleague, echoing the rallying cry of the ’69 Miracle Mets.

Further down a red eye gleamed from within a  pile of dusty Hefty bags. A homeless man rose, a thick black scab on his sun baked face. “I had it all,” he said, pointing to his headphones. “I stayed with ‘em to the very end.”

At Ocean Park Avenue, the truly miraculous occurred. A California fantasy jogger, a tall, tan blonde female in a halter top and bikini bottoms stopped at the sight of the Red Sox tee.

“What a game, huh?” she enthused. “Did you see it?”

“Sure,” the reporter replied. “I always stick ’till the last out.”

“My boyfriend says he’s a fan, but he fell asleep in the seventh,” she said. 

“Time to dump him,” the ever hopeful reporter said.

“Yeah,” she laughed and offered a hi-five. “Go Sox…”

All was right with the world. The Red Sox were front runners again.

For the next thirty-six hours.