Cool Job: The Girl Behind the Punchline
Photo: Courtesy of Caprice Crane
Caprice Crane might not be the most followed author on Twitter, but she could just be the funniest. Her tweets say what we wish we could say but don’t, or what we simply never thought of. Like her shout-out to all the mis-styled fellas out there: “Hey, men in sandals: Nope.” We couldn’t have said it better! Her latest hilarious venture is much longer then a short 140-character tweet. It’s a gut-busting, try-not-to-laugh-out-loud-and-embarrass-yourself-in-public novel about a superstitious DJ who falls in love but is convinced the relationship is doomed from the start. In fact, she announced the release of the novel, With a Little Luck, to her followers in a way only she could: “My new tweet is out today and it’s only 441,285 characters! (Some might call it a book.)”
Photo: Courtesy of Bantam
We chatted with Caprice about that longer-than-a-tweet book and what it was like to grow up with famous parents (her Mom, Tina Louise, played Ginger on Gilligan’s Island and her Dad, Les Crane, was a talk show host), plus some more thoughtful topics, like why isn’t there another word for thesaurus?
ELLEgirl: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Caprice Crane: I did. I started writing really bad poetry in the 3rd grade. I moved onto bad short stories and graduated to screenplays with sparkling snappy dialogue and no plot anywhere to be found. When it was clear that I wasn’t going to stop, I decided to focus on writing in college and then by the time I graduated film school, I had a fairly good handle on it. Which doesn’t mean everything I wrote back then was any good either. But it does mean if you keep doing something, chances are you’ll get better at it.
EG: Good advice! Where does inspiration for your novels come from?
CC: My new book, With a Little Luck (Bantam), started from a belief that everything happens in threes. I thought: What if a really superstitious girl had just dated two jerks in a row, and was certain that the next guy would also be a jerk so she wanted to just get that 3rd guy out of the way…and then that guy seemed kind of amazing which confused things. It grew from there but that was the initial nugget. As for where my inspiration comes from in general, I think you can partially blame my having been an only child. That type of solitude leads to a fervent imagination. But mostly, I have a lot of free time. Some ideas come when I’m sitting around wondering why more people aren’t following me on Twitter—@capricecrane (ahem)—others come when I’m pondering life’s great mysteries like why isn’t there another word for thesaurus or why did it take this many years for them to discover red velvet cupcakes or how come that guy still hasn’t called me?
EG: Wow, never thought about that… What’s the hardest thing about writing screenplays?
CC: Besides all of it? I’m kidding, I actually love writing. The hardest part for me would have to be making myself write what I’m supposed to be writing. There are so many distractions out there, sometimes it can be difficult to “turn off” so you can really focus. And sometimes I’ll have a book due at the same time as a screenplay deadline so time management is what it really comes down to. That and ignoring the constant grammar & spelling corrections from my dog. He’s such a know-it-all.
EG: You grew up in the household of Hollywood, but your successes are all your own. What effect did your parents’ fame have on your career?
CC: I learned to never trust someone if they say “they’ll be back in three hours.” Honestly, what my parents did and what I do are vastly different and also many decades apart so I can’t say their fame really affected my career. I can say it made me want to make a name for myself in my own way, without riding their coat-tails in any way. And in some instances I think having famous parents hindered me more than it helped me. People assume everything has been handed to you when it hasn’t, so you have to work harder to earn respect. But I did get to meet Rick Springfield.
EG: Ahh, totally jealous! What’d you study in college, and how is it helping you in your career now?
CC: As a writer of books, film and TV, I wear many hats. I went to film school so I studied film and TV. I did regular undergrad stuff but at Tisch (at NYU) I really focused on screenwriting. It helped me in that it was practice but I’d have to say I’ve learned the most by doing. And sometimes you have to do things badly (in other words, my first unpublished book) in order to learn how to do them better (my first published book).
EG: If you could write for any TV show, current or old, which would you choose? (Caprice has written episodes for 90210 and Melrose Place)
CC: Anything that isn’t a re-make of an old show!
EG: What’s your average day like?
CC: There’s a lot of caffeine involved. There are at least two or three times when I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to take a picture of my dog because he looks so incredibly handsome. There’s some internet dabbling. More caffeine. Maybe some crying. Seeing what my DVR has to offer. Really just a lot of procrastination. And then forced focus. (Interspersed with any and all of the above.) If I’m writing on a show and working in an actual writers room, none of this stuff will happen except for the caffeine. And the crying.
EG: Sounds a lot like our days too! Whenever we need a break at the EG office we always check out your Tweets, which are always hilarious. Do you think social media is important for someone getting started as a writer?
CC: Thank you! You know, it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s one of those distractions I mentioned in an earlier question but also I think it’s a great way to reach a wider audience. For someone just starting out it’s a great way to find your voice and to see what works and what doesn’t. Because, believe me, if you write something that someone doesn’t like, they will feel free to let you know. I’m looking at you, @ihateyoulotz
EG: What are your favorite books?
CC: High Fidelity, Confederacy of Dunces and Catcher In The Rye will always be my version of “the classics.” I’m reading one right now that is literally mouth waterin— nevermind, this is an Applebees menu.
EG: OMG, yum! What are you working on next—not a menu, hopefully?
CC: As always, I’m working on a couple screenplays and some TV ideas. But the newest and most exciting thing I can tell you is I’m currently writing a young adult novel for Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) that will be out in 2013, proving the Mayans wrong about their 2012 end of the world prophesies. Take THAT, Mayans!
Pick up With a Little Luck! today! For more info on Caprice visit her website, like her on facebook, or follow her on Twitter @capricecrane!
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