I’ll let you in on a secret: having writers visit is one of my favorite parts of being a story editor. Even as a story editor/writer, a lot of my time is spent in solitaire – sealed off in my office, either editing a writer’s script or writing one of my own. That’s why you’ll see writers at a studio – much more than artists or most other staffers – periodically coming out of their office or workspace to cruise the floor and bother other staffers.
You have to understand that writers draw their inspiration from human interaction, so being isolated is anathema to all that being a writer is. And that is why I enjoy writers’ visits.
Ray Dryden’s visit on this day was a particular pleasure. Ray and I go way back. I first met him when I was working as an associate editor at Entrepreneur Magazine.
Ray had produced a couple of B-horror films – The Clonus Horror, starring Peter Graves (Mission Impossible) and The Attic, starring Oscar-nominated Carrie Snodgress (Diary of a Mad Housewife) and Oscar-winner Ray Milland (Lost Weekend). We struck up a friendship, so I was happy to give him a shot on Heathcliff.
In my office we chatted for half an hour. I gave him the Series Bible for Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats and said I was open to him submitting story springboards. If I got them approved he could write treatments based on them and if the treatments were approved then he could write scripts based on the treatments. That was the process.
Ray thanked me for the opportunity and left. He came back the next day just before lunch and handed me twenty story springboards. I was glad I’ve given him a shot at the series.