Cool Million: How to Become a Million-Dollar Screenwriter

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And that was tough. Real tough.

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I'd gone from spending every day with Izzie to twice a month. But when life gives you lemons, you write. And that's what I did. Tons of free writing in hopes something would spark. But nothing did.

Phoenix Screenwriters Association | Imagine. Create. Write.

The coffers emptied and the credit cards filled up. My twice a month trips to see Izzie became once a month. Then every six weeks. My agents lost my number. So for the first time since I took an hourly job.

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I worked for UPS during the Christmas rush. When that ended I took a 7 to 4 job in Toyota customer service.

imagine. create. write.

And felt blessed to have it. I never broadcast it. Only close friends knew because we have to pretend to be more successful than we are. I had bills and a six year old and although I was doing what I had to do, in terms of Hollywood, it would have most likely been perceived as failure. Hollywood likes to hire success. So I quietly worked my job, wrote when I could and slowly paid down my credit cards.

I got a ghostwriting gig which eased some debt burden but nothing that would allow me the freedom to write full time. At the beginning of a complicated situation got more complicated and I ended up having to move out of the place I was staying. At first I stayed with friends North of LA but I quickly realized, that while I could pay "some" rent, I couldn't afford a place of my own.

Not with LA prices. I had bills. I was sending money to TN. I was flying to TN every four to six weeks. My friends said I was welcome to stay with them rent free, for as long as I liked. And I love them for that. But there was another catch. I leased a car with a limit of 12k miles a year.


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They lived 50 miles from work. That was a miles a day. Do the math and welcome to a lease contract.

How to Make $20 Million a Year

I thanked my friends and explained I would have to find a place closer to work. But that was okay. I'm glass half full. It was temporary. Just until I found shared accommodations, close to work, that I could afford. What I didn't want to think about was that I had been a relatively successful screenwriter since and I was homeless. For the longest time I didn't tell a soul. Not only was I embarrassed but Hollywood likes to hire success. But it wasn't so bad. I had a car.


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  • And a Prius is remarkably more roomy than you might expect. But I'm 6'2". Sleeping in one is a challenge. There were other challenges too. A big one is pooping. Peeing is workable. We boys just need a tree. Or a bush. Or a Mountain Dew bottle. But pooping? Well, I'm a bit of a princess when it comes to pooping.

    Men's public bathrooms are notoriously horrific. I learned where all the best poopers were located. Malls are great. Specifically, Macy's. Furniture section. For whatever mystery of life reason, nobody poops or pees near the furniture section so privacy goes to Targets are clean but there's a lot of traffic if you like your privacy as I do.

    Then there's the little challenge of being noticed. When you visit your local Target every evening to make a pottie, employees will eventually take notice. I had a 10 dollar a month gym membership which turned out to be a life saver. My routine became, work, gym and shower then find a place to park. It's the little things.

    A shower. We all so take for granted the wonders of a simple shower. Did you know it's illegal to sleep in your car in Ventura and LA counties? It is. At first I would find dark neighborhoods. But that's tricky because homeowners tend to notice strange cars.

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    I learned to park on the property lines. And vice versa. But even when you find a good spot there are obstacles. Especially when it's cold. And cranking the engine will draw attention to your illegal sleeping activity.

    So you wrap yourself in blankets and shiver. But then your windows fog up. Police officers actually look for that. And when they see a car with windows fogged at 2am they know someone's in it. There's a tap and a bright flashlight and your heart pounds. Both times I was told I couldn't sleep in my car and to move along.

    I learned to keep the windows cracked which cut down on the fogging but froze me half to death. My back was a mess. My nightly trips to the gym became a necessity just to straighten out my back. Work, gym, shower, car and write until my laptop went dead. For a time, only my therapist knew where I was sleeping and the challenges associated with it.

    She worried.

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    When the Spec Script was king

    She gave me her address and said I could sleep in front of their house. Kind of her but I never did that. All Rights reserved. You will be redirected back to your article in seconds. Powered by WordPress. Close the menu. Film Expand the sub-menu. TV Expand the sub-menu. Awardsline Expand the sub-menu. Box Office Expand the sub-menu.

    And then I do it over and over again. Six months after graduating in , Taylor, who is originally from Tuskegee, Alabama, was accepted into the Universal Writers Program. After the one-year program, he went from project to project for the next few years before landing it big, as the co-writer on Creed II.

    Taylor met Steven Caple Jr. Taylor co-wrote the film with critically acclaimed actor, director and writer, Sylvester Stallone, who starred in the first six Rocky films and co-starred in Creed. The groundwork, including characters and storyline, had already been laid out by writers Cheo Hodari Coker and Sascha Penn. Then it was up to Taylor and Stallone to rewrite and formulate the final script.