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Writer/songwriter/teacher/script consultant Billy Mernit can often be found walking Venice Beach.
Recent Activity
The Best in Romantic Comedy 2014 Sad but true: Roughly a year after the rom-com genre was universally declared dead, Hollywood affirmed this trope. Virtually no major romantic comedies were released by the studios in 2014, and those that were... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Nichols Quotes for Screenwriters In the weeks since the demise of American icon Mike Nichols, I’ve been poring over the man’s pronouncements on page and screen, and have come up with some key quotations which – while not originally directed... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
[Today is Kurt's birthday and Veteran's Day, so this photo of Vonnegut in the Army seems apropos. Also seems a good time to reprint this earlier post.] Tucked into the grab-bag collection of loose ends that is Bagombo Snuff Box:... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Can an actor be an auteur? We use the term to characterize directors or writer-directors who explore a recognizable personal theme in their films. But it seems to me that in her last three feature releases, Scarlett Johansson has created... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
People keep asking me if I’ve seen They Came Together, since it’s a parody of romantic comedies. I did see it, but I did it the wrong way – alone with my TV on pay-for-view - so I thought it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Once upon a time, all romantic comedies ended in one way. Love and marriage went together like a horse and carriage, and this tradition lasted well into the 20th century. At the movies, while there were a few exceptions (see... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
The last time I went to teach in Sweden it was the dead of winter. It was dark when I arose in my hotel in Visby, a cobblestoned, walled city in Gotland, and soon dark when I was done with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Let's get the hyperbole out of the way: No one, nowhere - not on TV, in the movies, in theater, in any spoken medium - is writing romantic comedy right now as brilliantly as Louis C.K. Much as we (I'm... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Having recently proselytized about my monk-like dedication to The Work, blathering on about the wisdom of diligently writing for twenty minutes a day, I think it's only fair that I own up to my own failure: there were a couple... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
There are so many romantic notions about being a writer. Some are perpetuated by writers themselves (it's always advantageous to make your work sound more mysterious than it really is) but the worst, the most pernicious evil of this sort,... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
mernitman is now following JLM
Apr 1, 2014
No romantic comedies will be produced or released in America from this day forward, studio heads announced today (the first of April, 2014). "No one in this country has any interest in seeing a movie about two people falling in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind The tenth anniversary of its release seems an appropriate moment to celebrate the existence of this Charlie Kaufman-Michel Gondry collaboration, a film that arguably increases in stature as time goes by, and to emphasize... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
I came upon this quote in the January issue of The Believer, in an interview with the writer Ann Enright. Because I'm in the midst of writing a novel, and it so beautifully articulated a truth that I have to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
[Note: This post has been updated to reflect reader response and my own second thoughts.] Will the decade of 2000-2009 come to be seen as the last heyday of the traditional rom-com, before the genre turned truly 21st Century (Hello,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Due to confusion at the front desk, when they’re supposed to be connecting me to the management to clear up the problem with the restaurant bill, they connect me instead with my own hotel room. Inexplicably, a woman answers. I’m... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Can this marriage be saved? All you need is a Netflix subscription, apparently, according to this latest study done by a pair of psychologists and their research team at the University of Rochester: Discussing five movies about relationships over a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
It's that time of the year again. Everyone who's got a beating heart knows that as soon as February rolls around, there's a major holiday to be reckoned with, one that's come to symbolize the meaning of love and romance... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
In the wake of this past year's "the genre is dead!" trope making the media rounds, we now have some statistics - actual facts and figures - to support the "why" of it all. Due to the enterprising efforts of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
The act of writing is an act of optimism. You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt it didn't matter. - Edward Albee But what about those times when hope fails? When you feel that it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2014 at Living the Romantic Comedy
The Best in Romantic Comedy 2013 This was the year the genre was officially declared dead, and while that claim has been exhaustively debated and refuted here, there’s no disguising the fact that 2013 was certainly in no way a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2013 at Living the Romantic Comedy
You’re the most important person in the world, aren’t you? I know I am. Given the nature of the human condition – the ravenous “I” at the center of any individual’s perception – the survival of romantic love, with its... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2013 at Living the Romantic Comedy
I was trying to avoid the whole thing, honestly, because so many other people were blogging and snarking and ranting about the subject, but now a friend has sent me the definitive Most Delightfully Mean-Spirited Takedown of Love Actually Ever... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2013 at Living the Romantic Comedy
If you’re looking for a holiday gift for someone in The Industry – and by that I mean anyone working in movies, television, theater, even in dance or the music business – the new biography Fosse by Sam Wasson has... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2013 at Living the Romantic Comedy
Barbara Stepansky, one of 2013’s five Nicholl fellowship winners, is a former student of mine, and her winning script Sugar in My Veins was developed in my screenwriting Master Class at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. As the Nicholl, presented... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2013 at Living the Romantic Comedy