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    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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She Was Blinded By The Light

Dear Scott Rudin:

I hope you might be interested in my screenplay, FIVE QUESTIONS.

The story is set in the country’s first on-line dating service, now on the brink of extinction. A fortyish marketing director and mom  and a recently jilted young  guy in her department are challenged to come up with a new strategy for the company.  Flirtatious, competitive and intense, their relationship starts to spin out, affecting the satellite lives around them, principally her  teenage daughter whose dangerous behavior culminates in a terrifying encounter in a motel off the Merritt Parkway.  As the story unfolds, it attempts to explore the five essential questions on the nature of love: attraction, physical, friendship, loyalty and unconditional. I see it as a romantic tragi-comedy, a mash up of Nancy Meyers and Neil LeBute.

About me: I published two books, a bible for writers called THE FOREST FOR THE TREES and a memoir FOOD AND LOATHING. I was a trade editor in New York for sixteen years and I’ve been an agent for twelve years as a partner with Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. I have an MFA from Columbia University and I’ve studied screenwriting at Yale. I also write a daily blog about the misery of publishing and writing, http://www.betsylerner.com

I look forward to hearing from you.


p.s. my screenplay is also a lot like 50 Shade of Gray.

33 Responses

  1. I’m pretty sure the P.S. will get him, if the otherwise enticing other details don’t 🙂 I would totally watch this.

  2. Can you hear him whipping up the contract? I think I hear a printer cranking in the background.

    Love the words ‘bible’ and ‘memoir’ and ‘loathing’ and ‘Yale’ and ‘misery’ in that last paragraph. Nice voice there, Ms. Lerner. And if that fails to grab him, your 50 Shades P.S. is the ace!

    Good luck!

  3. Sparks fly when a single mom and a recently-jilted slacker are tasked with saving an online dating service.

    I’m a partner at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. I’ve got hemorrhoids that know more about story than Robert Motherfucking McKee.

  4. Dear Betsy,

    Let’s talk tommorrow.



  5. ps happy birthday,Scott

  6. ps …50 Shades of Grey
    pps..who the fuck do I think I am to correct B. Lerner?

    Seriously Betsy you are one of the bravest writers I know.

  7. i talked to steve. he’s ready to cast and wants to start shooting next week. says he doesn’t even need to see the script. meet me on the corner at sundown and i’ll have something for you to sign.

  8. A dating service in SoCal? he could call if No Country for Old Women

  9. I like the premise — I’d like to see how one might go about saving a dating service. And I’ve always liked stories that show ripple effects.

  10. i’m quite interested in the teenage daughter whose dangerous behavior culminates in a terrifying encounter in a motel off the Merritt Parkway. i can picture/smell the setting.

    i’m in a teenage frame of mind probably because i just finished TOWNIE by Andre Dubis III and holy fuck. what a book. i cried straight through the final 30 pages.

    good luck.

  11. Somehow I don’t think this will be going on the slush pile. Good luck Betsy.

  12. Marketing director: Diane Lane (or Michelle Pfeiffer)
    Young guy: Jared Leto
    Daughter: Elle Fanning

    The film’s unfolding already.

    ps – I learned to drive on the Merritt Parkway. Love those meandering stonewalls. Maybe they could make an appearance…

  13. What, no vampires? Zombies? Knife wielding maniacs in the motel? I’m thinking 3D here, blood splattered all over the audience kind of effects.

  14. The Real Five Questions:
    1) Is the sex clean? Breasts only, man on top, daughter watching.
    2) Is there a line in the beginning that gets repeated ironically by the protagonist at the end of the film?
    3) Can you edit the title down to one word? Perhaps, Five.
    4) Is there a funny gay side-kick?
    5) Can you start writing a version of this on Fan Fiction now?

  15. Intriguing premise…

    He’s right on up there…(I love most Coen brothers films)… if you’re going to go for a big producer, might as well go for gargantuan.

  16. Beggin yer pardon Ms. Lerner,

    This is L.A. You’ve got too much stuff. You don’t have to be formal and forget the book reference.

    You lose one second off the length of your anticipated response from the producer for every word used, and ten seconds for anything beyond the logline:

    How about?


    In my romantic, tragi-comedy ‘Five Questions,’ a forty-ish marketing director and a younger co-worker wrestle with attraction, physicality, friendship, loyalty and unconditional love, while reinventing a struggling company and bringing chaos to those around them.

    Think Nancy Meyer meets Neil LaBute. Go to my blog to read about my career in New York publishing.



    • I like this, with the heading : Five Questions, All The Wrong Answers. (Because you have to make the title the hook.)

      I’m on a road trip or else I would have been here yesterday.

  17. Sold. Can I be an extra?

    When you’re up accepting your Oscar, don’t forget to thank the crew–storyboard artist: Vivian; head assistant: Bobbi; teleprompter and dolly grip: August.

  18. I am sorry to say I really don’t get when you are pulling our collective leg. The p.s. makes me think you are. But if you are even half way serious, the question title doesn’t fit and the five things you enumerate are not questions. I’m kind of with S.S-S. on this.

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