Where he writes: In an approximately 300-square-foot office on New York City's Lower East Side. "It's in an industrial, old building full of everyone from fine artists to architecture firms," McCarthy says. "There's a guy down the hall who makes pickles." In attendance: his "black lab hound dog mutt" Georgia. "She's a perfect writing companion because all she does is sleep." Instruments of success: iMac laptop for traveling; desktop iMac for the office; a wall in his office covered with Ideal Paint, which turned it into a whiteboard. Germ of a notion: For his story about a lawyer who coaches high school wrestling and takes in a young athlete, McCarthy was inspired by his friend Joe Tiboni for "Win Win." "We were both on the high school wrestling team, and we were laughing about our shared horrible experience," he says. "So it started as kind of a joke." Working it up: McCarthy and Tiboni started sketching it out about two years ago, and finding the right tone was a challenge. "Elder law, let's be honest, it's not the most dramatic area," he says. Final draft: Around 20 drafts later, "Win Win" was ready. "I always attribute rewrites to tightening the hubcaps on a tire," he says. "You have to keep going around until it feels balanced." End notes: When stuck, McCarthy visits bookstores. "I love randomly picking books off of shelves and reading in bits and pieces," he says.
Kimberly Wright / Fox Searchlight
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