ASK STUDIO READER STAN
If you actually have a question, send it to StudioReaderStan@aol.com. If it’s legible, we might just post it here. As you can see, I'll answer just about anything.
Kevin from Parts Unknown asks:
Studio Reader Stan, why wasn’t Jethro featured more in the cartoon?
Well Kevin, seeing as how he’s mute and invisible, it poses a unique challenge that we haven’t been able to overcome. But don’t let that take away from his brilliant performance. Remember, mute and invisible monkeys are people, too … or something like that. Anyway, we’ve hired scientists from Cal-Tech to help us with this dilemma. By the way, what's the weather like in Parts Unknown this time of year? I've always wanted to visit.
Patty from Wisconsin asks:
Studio Reader Stan, in the cartoon, why would Mr. Gold not want to read scripts? Isn’t his job to make movies?
Mr. Gold is based partly on an executive who has reached that point in his career where he’s had success and is no longer that hungry. If he makes a new movie, fine, but he’d just as rather be out on his yacht in the Mediterranean. I partly based this character on someone I’ve actually dealt with, and so the depiction is sadly true.
Lacey from Florida asks:
Studio Reader Stan, have you ever thought about posing for Playgirl?
Lacey, I’m flattered that you find the drawing of Studio Reader Stan to be so sexy. Unbelievably, however, you are the only one to feel this way. Therefore, until the masses rise up and demand it, it won’t be happening.
Peter from Hollywood, California asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I have a brilliant screenplay idea. I just don’t want to have to write it. What do you suggest?
Acquire 10,000 boxes of Alphabets and place all the letters on a long table until you have your screenplay completely spelled out. Then photograph it from above so it can be read and then send it to every literary agency and producer in town. Also send it straight to Bellevue, since you’ll soon be reunited with it there anyway.
The Grim Reaper from Parts Unknown asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I’m filling out my calendar, would you be so kind as to tell me where you plan to be in five years?
I don’t care for this question.
Stacey from Florida asks:
Studio Reader Stan, what do you really look like?
Looks are not at all important, and that’s what true… but since you asked, I look like a horse’s ass and I smell like one, too….................. But at least I can rhyme.
Mike from Connecticut asks:
Studio Reader Stan, what would Shakespeare think of working in Hollywood today?
He would have to deal with getting notes from studios like:
Russell from Ottowa asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I believe you can tell a lot about a person by how they prepare their toast. So which is it, butter or jelly?
Neither. As I said in my old FAQ, I’m a card-carrying member of PETB (People for the Ethical Treatment of Bread).
Daniel from Arizona asks:
Studio Reader Stan, can you predict the future?
I have enough trouble predicting the present, but sometimes I get lucky, as with strip # 35 where Ms. Pantsworth decides to remake (word for word) hit movies from 25 years ago. I wrote that strip a while back and put it into the rotation a few weeks ago. Then, to my great enjoyment, I read a few days ago that some studio has decided to remake “The Big Chill” – using the exact same script!
Janet from Studio City, CA asks:
Studio Reader Stan, are you planning on capitalizing on Paris’ troubles?
Well, I already had a few more Rome Marriott strips written, so I’ll either tailor them to current events, or scrap them. I have mixed feelings. She’s such an easy target right now, which makes it less creative for me – not to mention we’re being over-saturated with the whole thing. On the other hand, if I think the strip will make people laugh, then I don’t want to lose it. I guess you’ll find out in a few weeks when the next one is set to appear… I do, however, make fun of her enabler publicist in an upcoming strip. I find him kind of creepy and I think he’s earned being made fun of.
Craig from New York asks:
Studio Reader Stan, do you have any suggestions for dealing with criticism?
I assume you’re talking about as a writer and not something personal like, “Hey Studio Reader Stan, I find you facially uninteresting.” There’s not much upside to that.
Carla from Michigan asks:
Studio Reader Stan, how come you never answered the questions that you said were the most asked? (I received several emails similar to this, so here goes.)
1) "Is Studio Reader Stan autobiographical?" No. He’s based on two different people who were readers. And many of the other characters are based on real people as well. So while some of the situations are embellished, these are who these people are. It may seem absurd at times, but that’s because the entertainment business often deals in the absurd. 2)"When can we see pictures of your handsome left ankle?" My ankle is on the same appearance schedule as Halley’s Comet – so around the year 2062.
Jennifer from Georgia asks:
Dear Studio Reader Stan, what are some must-see places in sunny L.A.? And what should a writer be doing in the month of April?
I like it. A two-parter. It gives me the opportunity to provide two bad answers for the price of one. Let’s see, must-see places. Well, being a lowly studio reader I see only 3 places: the inside of an office, the inside of my apartment, and the inside of a coffee shop. And I can’t really list any of those as must-see. And being a cartoon I burn rather easily, so I can’t help you out with the sunny part either. However, if you jaywalk on certain streets (like Robertson or Sunset), there’s a great chance you’ll be struck down by Lindsay Lohan… And what a writer should be doing in April is writing. And expecting the first call in months from their agent with great news. It’ll happen on April 1st… Agents are very cruel.
Melinda from Santa Monica, CA, asks:
Studio Reader Stan, what question are you asked the most?
It’s a tie between “Is Studio Reader Stan autobiographical?” and “When can we see pictures of your handsome left ankle?”
Carlton from Virginia asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I have a great beginning and a great ending, but no middle. What should I do?
The first thing you should do is never make anyone a sandwich... The second thing you should do is try coming up with a list of extremely tough obstacles for your main character to overcome. Then, see if you can think up ways your character does overcome them. If you build up a big enough list, you’ll probably have some ideas for how to fill in your story. Just make sure each obstacle is tougher than the last.
Jill from San Francisco asks:
Studio Reader Stan, if these characters are based on real people, are you ever going to tell us who they are?
Since most of these people are rich and powerful and can probably have me killed with a phone call, I’m probably not… although if you get me drunk, who knows what I’ll reveal. (If this came off as me begging for companionship, then you completely misunderstood me, as I have many, many things occupying my time. So you should apologize. Let me check my extremely busy calendar to see when I’ll be able to accept your apology….. Uhhh, it appears I’m always available Monday through Sunday, 12 am to 11:59 pm… Does anyone need a barely used calendar?)
Alex from Nebraska asks:
Studio Reader Stan, once I’ve written a screenplay, what steps should I take to getting a literary agent?
Come up with a really good log line. Then write a really good, brief query letter. Then, most importantly, ask all your friends and family to not return your calls, followed by them then making up bad excuses for why not. That way, in the event you actually get an agent, you’ll be fully prepared for what it’s like.
Marcus from Studio City, CA, asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I recently had a string of one-night stands and now I have a horrible rash in a sensitive area. What should I do?
Yes, people, I’m running out of questions. I wonder if Ron Jeremy’s getting my mail…
Pam from Los Angeles asks:
Studio Reader Stan, what would you consider your most attractive feature?
Not to brag, but I have a very handsome left ankle.
Alice from Hollywood asks:
I’m a serious actress who cares about substance over superficiality. So where’s my piece of the pie already?
I think the bulimic socialite ate it.
Ed from Delaware asks:
Studio Reader Stan, would you recommend that I live in Los Angeles to work as a screenwriter?
I’d mainly recommend that you don’t ask me to recommend things. Almost nothing good can come of it. However, since you did ask, here’s a bad Blackjack analogy. You could be dealt a 15 and still actually win the hand, but your odds are obviously better if you’re holding a 17 (or higher). Same goes for living in LA when you're trying to break in as a screenwriter (of studio films especially). The odds are very tough to begin with, but let's say you're a really good writer. Your odds would then be about a 16, whereas living elsewhere is like a 14. Why? Mainly the personal connections you can make on a daily basis. Breaking into Hollywood is very much about who you know. Years ago (when people still used carrier pigeons) living elsewhere was about a 12... But the Internet and all the contests have closed that gap.
Rick from New York asks:
Studio Reader Stan, why do you keep going back to Dr. Melrose? He doesn’t seem to be helping you much? You could be spending your money instead on having drunk teenagers throw tranquilizer darts at your head.
I didn’t realize that was an option. As for Dr. Melrose, I truly, sincerely believe he’ll help me in our next session... Now excuse me, I have a football to kick. “You sure you’re not going to pull it away this time, Lucy?”
Kevin from Santa Barbara asks:
Studio Reader Stan, have you thought about shaving your head like Britney Spears? It seems to be working so well for her.
Not until right now! Thank you for looking out for my best interests. As I type this, I am now shaving my head. Still shaving… and it’s done. I’m now completely bald… Wait a second, were you being sarcastic?
Richard from Canada asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I have heard from some people in the business that science fiction is the Shakespearian epics of the modern age. My question is what drugs are these people on and where can I get some?
The drug is called Klingon Crack. It makes you launch yourself in a homemade rocket while spouting, “O Quasar, Quasar! Wherefore art thou Quasar?” It’s obviously been declared illegal throughout the Milky Way Galaxy and, I believe, at least 2 meteor showers. However, and this is your lucky day, there’s a half-mile stretch outside of Reno, Nevada that somehow obtained a permit to sell. But you need to hurry ‘cause as soon as the Feds are done taking down all the pot-smoking grandmas with cancer, they’re going after this. And they’ll be undercover in Vulcan ears.
Anonymous from anonymous asks... er comments:
hey dude i persanaly know paris and she’s not stupid at all so their!
Well, if someone with your obvious intelligence (and spelling, punctuation, and capitalization prowess) is vouching for her smarts, then I must be way off the mark. From now on, I’ll only do comic strips about people who are truly stupid… Would you mind sending Ledhed your photo?
Richard from Australia asks:
Studio Reader Stan, if you were on Entourage, who would you be?
I already exist in the world of Entourage. It’s just that they never put me on the air because apparently I’m unhip and depressing. Who knew? If I could be anyone else, though, I’d be Ari, whereupon I would then open up a boutique literary agency representing only unhip and depressing studio readers. You’d still watch, right?
Steve from Tennessee asks:
Studio Reader Stan, in honor of Valentine’s Day, are you a lover or a fighter?
I’m about as neither as neither can get.
Peter from Santa Monica, CA, asks:
Studio Reader Stan, what is the most common thing you hear from your interaction with studio executives?
Don’t talk while I’m interrupting.
Emory from Nevada asks:
Studio Reader Stan, on your myspace page, you say you drive a 1988 Toyota Corolla. Would you be interested in upgrading to the 1989 model? I’ll even throw in a used air freshener.
If I upgraded my Toyota it might improve my self-esteem, and then what would I do with myself? I will take the used air freshener, though.
Monica from Texas asks:
Studio Reader Stan, if I go out on a date with you, will you read my screenplay?
Can you wait ‘til the used air freshener arrives?
Sue from Hollywood asks:
When a producer is mercurial and sadistic, what are some tools one can employ to dodge his random tirades and eventual axe?
A few things you can try. First, master pretending to listen while instead thinking of something far more pleasant. Many long-time married couples have perfected this technique, so find one of them to tutor you if necessary. Second, start wearing lots of “Swimming with Sharks” apparel (T-Shirts, hats, buttons, maybe even a temporary tattoo of the title across your forehead). If he asks you about it just say, “The movie’s beauty spoke to me.” That should freak him out even more… And if he often calls you at home (or on your cell), be sure to have the ‘end torture scene’ dialogue from the movie as part of your voice mail greeting… Also, if you have to fetch him things like lunch or coffee, always maintain a Stepford Wife smile when handing it to him. The contrast between that and the apparel you’re wearing (plus the tattoo), should be very unsettling for said producer. Hopefully doing all that will lead to a much healthier working environment for you.
Jesse from Glendale, CA, asks:
Studio Reader Stan, why would I want to become a subscriber to your site? Will it somehow enrich my life in ways I can't even imagine?
I’ll tell you exactly why. I believe reading my strip helps prevent tooth decay. And while I have no scientific proof to back it up, the one dentist who didn’t recommend Trident has heartily endorsed it. And as soon as the screaming in his head stops, he’ll put it in writing, too... Let’s see, what else. Oh, and you’ll also get a reminder whenever we update a new strip, and one day we might even give free SRS stuff away. But really, it’s the tooth decay thing that’s your main benefit. So, if you don’t want to walk around with decrepit chompers, then send an email to: StudioReaderStan@aol.com with “Subscribe me” in the subject line.
William from England asks:
Studio Reader Stan, do you have a certain way of dealing with it when there’s a really bad script that you have no choice but to finish reading?
Yes, have you seen “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”? Do you remember the scene where Captain Kirk looks up towards the heavens and lets out a guttural, “KHAAAAAN!!!!!!!” Well, insert “Name of atrocious script” for Khan and you have how I deal with it. For example, in Strip #1, Mr. Gold gave me a script called, “Paulie and Donnie.” So after about 59 pages of this opus, I got down on my knees, stared at a particularly big dust ball on the ceiling, and yelled “PAULIE AND DONNIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!” Since I do this about 17 times a day, I’m not loved by my neighbors.
Veronica from Australia asks:
Have you at all noticed a trend in Hollywood at the moment to completely lose the script and hire actors who improv their way through the film?
I personally haven’t noticed it, but apparently I’m not great at spotting trends. Just the other day I was told the phrase, “You go, girl,” has not been popular for at least 7 years. Now what am I supposed to say when one of my Mahjong partners plays a good hand?
Dylan from Minnesota asks:
Studio Reader Stan, regarding an answer in your previous mailbag about screenplay length, does it really affect whether a script is read or not?
It depends on the person reading it. Most people (agents, producers, execs) say they know if they like a script or not by page 10, and often before that. And most of them won’t read on if they don’t like it by then. Readers like me, however, are supposed to read all the way through and then provide coverage (a synopsis and comments). So you can imagine if you have to read that much material, you’re bound to get lots of paper cuts. That’s the main reason why we’re so bitter.
Jim from California asks:
Studio Reader Stan, I’m throwing a big party for all my friends. Will you perform at it?
Yes, I will read to your guests the screenplay for Steven Seagal’s “Fire Down Below,” and I will sing in the parts, where for some cruel reason, he chose to sing. You should ask yourself, though, if there’s a less painful way for you to lose all your friends.
Beth from Utah asks:
Studio Reader Stan, do you have any special talents?
Yes, I can complain about my life, chew gum, and type answers to mailbag questions all at the same time.
Paul from Miami asks:
Studio Reader Stan, in what way were you encouraged as a kid that’s made you the person you are today?
I was encouraged often as a kid. For example, I was encouraged to play with traffic. I was encouraged to chase bees. And I was encouraged to become a studio reader because no other job would ever provide me with such fulfillment and self-worth… And after that jaunt down memory lane, it’s time for me to play with more traffic.
Brad from Illinois asks:
Studio Reader Stan, after reading your Herb strip, it got me to thinking. What’s a good length for a screenplay?
First, I’m stunned that my strips have got you to thinking. Maybe I should be a philosopher instead. Does anyone know if that pays well and/or has a good dental plan?
Completely Anonymous from Hollywood asks:
Studio Reader Stan, do you have any idea who I am?! Any idea at all?!!
Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re the genius who greenlighted that humongous flop last summer. Good call.
Kim from Irvine asks:
Studio Reader Stan, When’s the next ‘Win A Date With Studio Reader Stan’ contest? I’d like to not enter that one as well. (Note: for info on the last contest and the results, visit my myspace blog. It was the August 17th and August 24th entries.)
It will now be held annually on February 29th, except for every fourth year… Yes, I found a dignity-saving loophole. (I have very high hopes for it.)
Keith from Boston asks:
Studio Reader Stan, you never seem to age. What’s your secret?
I put botox in my Corn Flakes.
Carly from Toronto asks:
Studio Reader Stan, how close were you to being on Barbara Walter’s ‘10 most fascinating people of the year’ list?
I’m not sure how close I was, but apparently eight cadavers finished ahead of me… Last year it was eleven, so things are looking up.
Ben from Los Angeles asks:
Is Studio Reader Stan a real person?
Yes. His real name is Ben and he’s from Los Angeles.
Dan from California asks:
Studio Reader Stan, just wondrin...like, when I like read your...umm....comic, or whatever, I like wonder what, like, movies you, like, like the best?
After giving it…umm… like hours and hours of thought…umm… I’d like have to say anything with “Part V” in the title. Those ones are always, like, so well written. (EX: Rocky Part V, Star Trek Part V, Gigli Part V… Oh wait, Gigli’s only had a Part I. Someone like please let me know when they get to Part V. Like thanks.)
Christina from New Jersey asks:
Studio Reader Stan, we need a 4th for our Mahjong game. Are you available?
I think we all know the answer to that is, sadly, yes.
Richard from Australia asks:
Studio Reader Stan, does your misery take a break for Christmas?
Yes, it does. And with this break I will now open my one and only gift… Unwrapping, unwrapping, unwrapping. And it’s……. Well, what a surprise – a lump of coal. Wait, I stand corrected. A used lump of coal… Misery back on schedule.