‘In this business, you have the ears of so many people. . . . I feel it’s a blessed position.’
Kristi Kane wrote good graffiti in high school. Now she writes plays. She’s working on a remake of “Stage Door” for Showtime, and she recently finished the book for a Broadway musical, “My Man Godfrey.” She lives in a white cottage in Sherman Oaks. When I first moved here from New York with a friend of mine, somebody at the airport said, “Hi, you moving in? Don’t go to the Valley.” So we found a place on Beverly Glen.
We swore we’d never live in the Valley, ever! We thought you needed a visa to get over the hill, it sounded so complex. But then, in our third year, we moved to the Valley just because of this house. I love it. I know the mailman’s name, the gas station man’s name, the guy at the grocery store. It’s pretty much how I grew up on Long Island.
I’d like to stay on this side of the mountain, you know, maybe go higher up the mountain, but I don’t want to fall into Beverly Hills. I don’t like that side. I try to go there as little as possible.
When you think too much, you don’t get anywhere. You just go in little, wonderful circles. What I’d like to always capture is the caboose on my train of thought. Your mind just wanders. Then all of a sudden at the end, you have this wonderful revelation, and it’s all because you started there and let that train of thought run. I find a lot of my ideas from this roaming, which I tend to do most in a car.
I once got stuck in a story. I wasn’t sure how to come up with this story line, so I finally said I’m going to visit my boyfriend, who was recording out in Chatsworth. I knew it was a long enough ride that my mind would wander. So, sure enough, I get on the freeway and somewhere around the second exit I started getting the whole movie story. I’m watching this movie in my head, and I’m getting it all. The next thing I know, I have no idea where I am. I’ve taken two other freeways. I got the story, but I was in like another country. Thank God I don’t get into car accidents, I just get lost. It’s almost like amnesia, except that it’s just concentration.
I tape-record in my brain. I’m always taping people’s conversation. They say that my dialogue sounds real. It should. My memory is great.
I don’t want to be struggling the rest of my life. I’ve not yet made a living where everything is copacetic and non-neurotic. It gets very black and white. You fly off to Tahiti first-class, go to shindigs and wingdings, have limos and then come home and try to figure out how you’re going to pay the rent.
It’s a game. It’s negotiation. It’s just numbers, silly number bidding. If I were commanding $500,000 a script, I’d better be writing something that could be understood in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, America and the Philippines and bring absolute world understanding because, sorry, it may be good, but $500,000? For a script? Come on, that’s a lot of money.
I’m going to fight for it and I’m going to get it, but it’s only worth it because big advertising out here makes it. I’m willing to play the game. I’m not going to write a script for $12,000 just to prove my point. You should ask for every penny you can get. But, if you ever think you’re worth it, you’re an idiot. Sometimes I get apprehensive about the future. I want to do a lot. I want to direct, I want to produce, I want to write. I want to be very powerful, to be able to make my choice and do the kind of work that I like to do using the people that I like to use. I’d like to be big in this business. I also would like to have a voice for the people. In this business you have the ears of so many people, and it’s too often abused. I feel it’s a blessed position. I’d like to be a responsible human being and make an effort to teach what I think is right or say what I think is just and fair. But I don’t want to think about this a lot because it will make me afraid.