Diablo Cody's Tips for Blogging Your Way to Hollywood Success
By John Scott Lewinski 11.16.07
Photo: Courtesy of Diablo Cody
Screenwriter Diablo Cody is a force on the front lines of the Writers Guild of America strike, an up-and-coming scribe who's making waves in Hollywood. And she got started as a blogger. If you're a blogger, but not even a foot soldier in your local paint-ball league, it's time you take some advice from Cody, a former stripper who's become an online legend and one of Hollywood's hottest screenwriters.
The 29-year-old Cody (real name: Brook Busey-Hunt) will see her first movie, Juno, hit U.S. screens in December. She's also executive producer and head writer for Steven Spielberg's TV series The United States of Tara, scheduled for a 2008 debut on Showtime. She's got more movies in the works, and last month the Hollywood Film Festival gave her the Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter of the Year Award.
Ready to taste that kind of success yourself? Follow Cody's "Five Easy Steps to Blogging Your Way to Hollywood Success." It's a foolproof system, really.
Step One: Study Writing in School
It's indisputable within the halls of higher education that every student who majors in creative writing in college goes on to be a successful celebrity scribe. Never mind that Cody's professors thought their future star would collapse into white dwarfdom soon after commencement.
"One of my teachers told me that I was lazy," Cody explained. "He said, 'I think you're the best writer I've ever taught. But I'll never hear from you again because you have no ambition.' I never intended to get my writing out there. I always thought of published writers as honor roll students -- the real overachiever types. I never intended my work as a springboard to anything else. I write because I'm addicted to it. It's my confessional."
Step Two: Start Blogging and Wait to Be Discovered
After college, Cody left her native Chicago for the romantic Twin Cities -- trading Post-it Notes for pasties while exploring the frosty Minneapolis underworld as a stripper. She described the perils of pole-dancing on the popular Pussy Ranch blog.
Because there are only a few blogs online these days (Technorati currently tracks a mere 112 million), it was a safe bet that a successful Los Angeles literary manager (Mason Novick) would find Cody's work and inquire from 3,000 miles away about her literary ambitions.
"Before Mason found me, all I'd written was the blogs for City Pages in Minneapolis," Cody said. "He asked me if I'd thought about writing something else. I started my book after that."
Step Three: Write Your Memoir at Age 24 and Publish It
After Novick stirred Cody into action in defiance of her cynical writing instructor, she cranked out a memoir documenting her experiences in the sex industry, Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. Novick lined up a publisher for the completed manuscript, and Cody soon found herself hawking her wares to David Letterman and CNN's hosts du jour. "Without Mason, none of this would have happened," Cody said. "I'm not awesome at self-promotion. Mostly I was just blogging in my own little bubble. I'm lucky I did what I did when I did it."
Step Four: Write/Sell Your First Screenplay
Following the success of her book, Cody took a shot at movies. Her first script (for Juno) landed director Jason Reitman on the heels of Thank You for Smoking and a cast including Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman. (Cody and Reitman are also working together on horror-comedy flick, Jennifer's Body, according to The Hollywood Reporter.)
"It's been fun, and I'm enjoying it while I can," Cody said. "I think there's room for more talented bloggers to break into Hollywood. It seemed like a fluke when I did it, but I won't be the last blogger to have a film produced."
Step Five: Produce a TV Show for Steven Spielberg
As executive producer and head writer for Spielberg's The United States of Tara, Cody is lending her quick wit and golden touch to cable television -- while waiting for the next blogging star to chase her down Sunset Boulevard.
"There are so many talented people that exist in the marketplace," Cody said. "So, don't look for a plan. Put your blog out into the world and hope that your talent will speak for itself."
See? It's just that easy.
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