putting it out there: i love you nancy meyers

In ALL, INTROSPECTION, MOVIES by Stephanie Klein16 Comments

Photos from Its Complicated 1250603626384
Photo from the upcoming film It’s Complicated by Nancy Meyers

I am putting it out there into the universe. What I want is to be the next Nancy Meyers. And before I go any further, let me just say, it takes guts to throw it out there like that. It’s equivalent to standing up on stage in middle school, Talent Show Night, and singing "All By Myself," all by myself. You’re just laying it out there, all vulnerable and raw, and it’s scary! I never realized this before, but it can actually be frightening to admit and name your dream. Because there you’ve said it, flung it open, and you worry… if it doesn’t happen, I look like an idiot. Or a failure. Or an idiot failure. But if you don’t admit it, really name it and claim it, you really are the idiot.

So then, back to admitting that I want to be the next Nancy Meyers, I should clarify that be isn’t the right sentiment. After seeing enough "wish" movies, I realize I need to be very specific when it comes to wishing. When you’re vague you end up back where you started, appreciating life before you ever made the wish. Not the worst place to be, but not exactly what I’m going for here. I just want to create a film I’m in love with, a film like Nancy’s "Something’s Gotta Give," like her "Baby Boom," like (crosses fingers) her upcoming film "It’s Complicated." I want to create something I love and FEEL as much as I feel her chick flicks. That’s what I mean when I say I want to be the next Nancy Meyers. I want to make it, to put it out there, to share it with every chick who lives for chick flicks as much as I do. Smart. Funny. Make you kinda hurt inside but feel like wearing socks and a blankie afterward. I want to share that passion and obsession of mine.

I appreciate my life now. All of it. The dinner parties, the sandbox Sundays, swim lessons, and even my routine "You’re going to get up and exercise today!" pep-talks. I love all of it, the silly songs we sing, the arguments we shouldn’t have… all of it. But what’s always been missing, what I’ve always really wanted is a mentor without the men part. Why is it so hard to find female mentors in Hollywood?

Nancy Meyers & Nora Ephron are deities as far as I’m concerned, and I’m taking it upon myself to learn everything I can about what advice they have, studying what they’ve written, to get to where I want to be as a writer. I’m at the point where I want, so much, to learn their secrets. There’s always talent at play, or course, and you can’t teach someone that. But you can teach structure and form, you can teach technique and story telling best practices (and knowing when to ignore them). There are secrets, little paths that help lead you on your way, and I think they can also come the hard way. If the mentor isn’t there to share them with you, you might be able to study their work, figure out why they made the creative choices they did, and learn from it. And that’s the path I’m on right now, learning, reading all I can, so when it’s my turn, I can be proud of my first romantic comedy.

 
4 YEARS AGO: Stemmm, What’s On Your Bedside Table
5 YEARS AGO: An Exercise in Digression

Comments

  1. I have rolled my eyes at many a Stephanie Klein post, but this one really made me like you. Putting the question of whether wanting to be Nancy Meyers is a decent goal (I’d settle to simply be a character in a Nancy Meyers movie, complete with Hamptons House in SGTG), what is fascinating and illuminating about this post is the glimpse into how your mind works. You are an industrious achiever. Endgame in your sight, you are now doing all you can within your control to reach the finish line. The rest of us are merely dreamers and critics. Go to it.

  2. Hi, Love your blog! I also LOOOOOOOVE Nancy Myers. Something’s Gotta Give is the one movie I can watch, and immediately start over and watch again…love love love it. Also, I want a house at the beach like Diane Keaton’s character has. Duh! :)

  3. Honey this should be easy for you. Half the battle is knowing exactly what it is you want. You definitely have an idea of what kind of movies you want to write (guessing you are leaning towards screenwriting now right?) so that helps. It seems like you are meeting people in the industry too so you must know someone who can connect you directly with Nora or Nancy. Meeting them and picking their brain would be exciting and I am sure that is not too far off from happening anyway. Keep plugging away. Honestly I am not sure I would see a tv show of yours (so many bad tv shows now, even if you write something great they have people who edit the shit out of things, and actresses they pick for you and they might not deliver, etc) but as for a movie I would def. be more inclined.

    Good luck and hell, do a ‘vision board’ while you are at it :)

  4. I echo what O.P. said – I too have rolled my eyes at your posts A LOT. But this, to me, is you at your best and I think it’s brave and awesome that you wrote this.

  5. Steph, I think you are definitely on the right track. I bought your book Straight Up & Dirty while in college, and 2 years after I bought it, I’m finally getting around to reading it.. which really couldn’t have come at a better time because I just broke up with my boyfriend of 8 years. So I think between the movies, Something’s Gotta Give & the upcoming one, It’s Complicated, you are right up there. I think it’s a great thing to say it aloud what your dream is because then you hold yourself accountable. I am so glad that I was able to find out about your book when it first came out & even meeting you last year at one of your book tours (in Dallas, I was the Puerto Rican girl that stayed later talking with ya, not sure if you’ll remember that), but anywho, I love your blog & I think you are well on your way.

  6. Yea it can be so hard to get over pride and say what you want… I’m more of the type to try to work at it quietly, on my own, and then everyone will see when you do achieve it. But it’s hard, in the meantime, not to forget what your goals are in the first place.

    And this is only semi-related, but I find creating structure to be the hardest thing in (creative) writing. It feels like such a clinical process, so different from when you just get creative ideas going, that it’s so much easier to second-guess yourself. Luckily, though, it’s the thing the reader generally notices the least

  7. you should definitely check out the women and hollywood website. woman who runs it is big advocate of women in hollywood – and tracks/has interviewed a lot of the important female players in the industry

    http://www.womenandhollywood.com

  8. I’ve had a similar issue trying to find strong women mentors who have work/life balance in check. Maybe it’s just because those lovely ladies have rather full plates without taking on a protege but I’m not giving up hope. Good luck S!

  9. I read about you in Dutch cosmo, that your blog was read the most! I thought I’d take a look. Well done! Something’s Gotta Give is awesome. I posted a scene between Diane Keaton and Amanda Peet on my blog a while ago which I thought was so beautiful. I hope you succeed because the romantic comedies are the best and inspire.

  10. You may, if you have not already, want to check out “They Can Kill You, But They Can’t Eat You” by Dawn Steel, her memoir of surviving in Hollywood. I stumbled upon it when in college trying to figure out what it was I wanted to do. It remains one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read and Steel remains up there on my list which includes Ephron as well.

  11. I love all those movies too. Just last week, when John Hughes died, I said I would like to be the next John Hughes. I would love to write movies for teenagers that aren’t stupid, that depict teenagers as real, complicated and important human beings – movies that are realistic, but not so realistic that they become dark and horrible and despairing. Movies should offer a sense of hope too. I would also settle for being the next Nora Ephron. In fact, I would settle for just having a book published and being myself without ever writing movies, even though every year I imagine which dress I’d be wearing to the Oscars when I’m nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

  12. I wonder if Nancy Meyers ever let a stranger fuck her with a bottle of Pam as lubricant.

    1. Author

      That’s where you’ve got it wrong my friend. Stranger used the Pam to lubricate his own good time… because I refused intercourse. Though oral and Pam cooking spray beats Astroglide any day and twice on Sundays. FYI.

      1. Really wonderful post Stephanie. I have been reading since last years book lovers luncheon in Austin. And BTW, olive oil is incredible for all things edible. My husband keeps sending me information from the RealAge site extolling the virtues of olive oil but it is never mentioned as a great lube! BTW, loved your fridge photo in the Statesman!

  13. My spouse and I lived as a couple almost three years when the break up came without warning. That’s what I thought first and I admit there was more anger inside me than warm feelings left. It took me a while and lots of talks to my brother until I was set to look at what might have gone wrong far before the break up. Today I see clearly that I just was focused on meand wsn’t aware enough about her view. You know, it’s not about being some kind of softie but at least I learned that if you love a woman and want to be together with her you have to open yourself for her and yes – this means less freedom maybe.

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