Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ahead & Down, Behind & Up

A few days ago, I had a good day writing, headed to the casino... and lost some money. I ended up dragging myself back to my hotel late, went up to my room... and my mag-key did not work. This meant going all the way down to the front desk, when I really wanted to remove some beers and go to sleep. And, for some strange reason at that hour of the night... or, actually, morning... there was a line at the front desk. Figuring this will only take a minute, instead of going to a restroom to remove the beers, I waited in line. Where it took longer than expected. Because they told me they needed to do some routine maintenance on my room and would need to move me somewhere else for the rest of my stay... would a suite be okay?

Sure. Free upgrade. Cool.

Problem is, I would have to pak and unpack again. Not a big deal, but I wanted to just sleep. I have no idea what was wrong with my old room, and even when I got into it to pack up my stuff (after removing the beers) I could see nothing wrong. But I ended up in a really nice suite several floors up. Some high roller probably canceled, and the room was available for me... the low roller.

The next day I had a terrible day of writing - I think the sleep-to-caffeine ratio was off - and after banging my head against the story wall without much to show for it, packed up and hit the casinos... and won $360. Now, I’m ahead for my stay at that point..

But not by much.

My theory on gambling in Vegas: it’s all about free drinks. If I were back home in Studio City, I might wander across the street to Residuals and have a few beers with friends. A Guiness over there costs $5, add a buck tip per beer and by the end of the night I have probably spent $25. And if I buy a round or two for my friends? Well, I know that I’ve dropped $100 before in one night.

Now, when you gamble in Vegas they *give* you drinks. Free. You still tip, but the costs of the drinks themselves are paid for by the casino. They want you to drink so that you’ll keep playing. So, I figure if I lose $25-$40 by the end of the night, that’s not much different than going to Residuals. The free beers cover the cost of playing for a night. If I lose $100, well, that’s not gonna make me happy, but I’ve spent $100 on drinks before. So what I lose on gambling I gain in free drinks. Once I lose more than I can drink, I quit.

So, it’s all about free drinks - the gambling is entertainment.

My theory on the writing and losing thing is that when the writing goes well I get cocky and take risks that I shouldn’t... and when the writing hasn’t gone well I play more conservatively. Or maybe there’s just some God Of Gamblers that takes care of screenwriting (a major gamble) and fools who wander into casinos? If there is a God Of Gamblers, can there be sequels and can they all star Chow Yun Fat?

Anyway, now I’m in an excellent suite for the rest of my stay - looking out over the lights of Vegas.

And by the end of today, I should have finished all of the CableNet projects. A bunch of synopsis to throw against the wall. Some will miss completely, some will hit and slide off... but I hope that one of these suckers will stick so that I’ll have a deal. I’m going to work on the second studio sequel project when I get back... and focus the rest of my stay either on the spec I’m in the middle of writing or another project.

It seems that every day the writing goes well, I lose money. Every day the writing doesn’t go well, I win. Winning $360 is covering the loses at this point, but Vegas is set up so that they make money from you. I guess the good news is: that means I’m going to have some more days of good writing!

- Bill


Anonymous said...

sounds like a great scenario for a story: man gets bumped from his Vegas room because _____ and while he is drinking a Guiness at the slot machines ______ happens

wcmartell said...

There is kind of a mystery surrounding the room - and thoughts of RED EYE flashed through my mind. You see, the Mayor of Vegas is going to make a speech not far from the hotel, amd I wondered if they needed a room with "sniper access" - but I have a much better view in the new room.

Yikes, maybe I'm the sniper and this is some MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE thing.

Now there's an idea - MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE in Vegas - every time he sees the red queen playing card, he does whatever the next voice he hears says to do.

"Hit me!"

- Bill

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