You have to understand that by the time Jean and I sat down to work on my script for The Forest Littles, I was already a professional writer. My first published novel, No Place Like Home (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), was a bestseller. Sherry Lansing, who would go on to become the longest serving CEO of a motion picture studio (Paramount Pictures), shepherding films like Titanic, Fatal Attraction and The Accused, bought the film rights to the book and I’d followed with three more successful novels.
I’d spent two years in L.A. as an associate editor at Entrepreneur Magazine, afterwards writing commercials for voiceover genius Mel Blanc’s son, Noel. And I’d sold a movie script based upon my occult novel, Beyond Forever (Signet). So while I may have been a newbie in the television industry, I was no babe in the woods.
Up until now, Jean had treated me with the respect I thought I deserved. But now that he had my first television script in his hands, the honeymoon was over. We spent two long hours in my rented condo going over my script, each page with his hand- scrawled notes on them. Every note described what was wrong with my script. There wasn’t a single note that said “Good job, Jack!”, “I like this!” or “Very clever!”
And his attitude was different now. Where before he’d been friendly and even jocular, now he assumed the persona of a college professor. It would be many more editing sessions with my scripts before I came to appreciate the reasons for the change in my mentor.