Friday, April 15, 2005

Better Than Most

Another entry in my series of "Stuff I wrote but didn't use anywhere else." This song lyric was written as an exercise (again, a self-imposed exercise; I've never been much of a workshop guy, though I probably should have been). The idea here was to try and write an opening number for a musical about contemporary Hollywood, so I decided that such a number would be set at a bus station, where the main characters, on their way to Los Angeles, would meet other people who were on their way from L.A. It was a longish thing, but I kind of like it because it's an upbeat song about a downbeat subject (which I much prefer to downbeat songs about, well, anything), so I'll post it here.

Better Than Most


When I moved to L.A. I was only equipped
With a rag and a bone and a comedy script,
And my script made the rounds,
My script made the rounds.
While I worked at a Starbucks for minimal pay,
My script caught the eye of an agent a day,
And the agents would constantly write me to say:
So I stayed up at night and I wrote some more specs
With a little more punch and a little more sex,
And my scripts made the rounds,
Those scripts made the rounds.
And I pitched my ideas to a studio head,
And I pitched and I pitched till my throat was all red,
Then the head shook his head, and you know what he said?
I left L.A.
On the next available bus,
And I’m A-OK,
Not inclined to grumble or fuss –
‘Cause I’ve got so much to discuss!

OTHER EX-WRITERS: Just like us!

Refrain 1

Although I didn’t achieve what I hoped I would,
Although I wasn’t the toast of the Coast,
I got a waiter to say that my scripts were good –
So I did better than most,
Better than most.
I never dated a star with a five-inch waist
Or had a fat millionaire as my host,
But I bumped into a star and I wasn’t maced,
So I did better than most,
Better than most.
I got a look at the sign on the hill,
I got a spin in the Hollywood mill;
They never made me a Hollywood shill,
I wish they would, they never will –
But still,
I got a look at a world full of pills and pools,
So I have plenty of reasons to boast.
I may have wasted my time at those screenplay schools,
I may be heading back home to where boredom rules,
They didn’t give me the breaks,
I didn’t have what it takes,
And yet with all my mistakes,
I did better,
Better than most.

Refrain 2

I dreamed of writing a film and a tell-all tome
About how much or how little it grossed.
I wrote a film that was made in a porn star’s home,
And that was better than most,
Better than most.
I never read stupid jokes off the yellow cards
At some pathetic celebrity roast.
I got ejected from somebody’s roast by guards,
That’s really better than most,
Better than most.
I sat and wrote till I looked like a wreck,
And then I handed an agent my spec,
I also handed my landlord a check,
The spec came back, so did the check –
Oh, heck.
I never talked to a tabloid reporter guy
About how I and my friends overdosed,
So now I’ve nothing to lose, and I’m clean and dry
Except for dust on my shoes and a misty eye,
I didn’t meet with success,
I didn’t bully the press,
But I was there, so I guess
I did better,
Better than most.


I didn’t cut it, but it doesn’t rankle,
I missed the plate, but still, I took a throw.
This town hates poets, so it’s time to ankle,
But at least I’ve got my Guild card, just for show.
They paid me as a gofer, then a gaffer,
The writers called me “whatsisface” and “creep.”
But still, I know a sitcom’s called a “laffer,”
And that info makes my parents think I’m deep.
So I know what I can, and I know what I can't;
I'm the almost, the could've, the Oscar Levant.
Well, I don't want to get off on a rant:


They say the flame of your dream should stay lit,
They say defeat isn't fit to admit,
They say a lot of ridiculous shit,
Here's what I say to all of it:
I quit.
So while they gave all the Oscars to trendy hacks,
And I was gypped, getting pipped at the post,
At least my soul’s not a trademark of Mirimax,
And so I'll thank you to spare me your quips and cracks;
I've got a job that I hate,
I've got a bi-monthly date,
I've got the usual fate,
But please allow me to state
I did better,
Better than most,
Quite a bit better than most.

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