20Q with Chris Cook
20 QUESTIONS with CHRIS COOK
Twenty things you (probably) didn’t know about literary manager, Chris Cook.
- My first job was… a paper route. I always got it there, but it was always late. You could say I pioneered outdated print news, long before the internet did it better.
- If I wasn’t a lit manager, I would likely be… I’m not sure. I wanted to be a bunch of safe things when I was a kid (accountant, pharmacist, dentist), which is weird I suppose. Once I decided I had to try to do what I actually wanted to do, it was just TV/Film. I changed my major and went back to school.
- I collect… movie posters. Badly. I started about three years ago, told myself at one point I was going to stop buying until I did more research, and then failed at that. I collected business cards as a kid for some reason. I still have a few photo albums full of them.
- My favorite word is… I’m too verbose to narrow it down.
- I’m a big fan of… documentaries. And the new Roku box I just got. I’m not being paid to say that, but I’d love to be.
- The best advice I have ever been given was… to ask “What’s the trailer?” when thinking on ideas / story. Equally important is what’s not in the trailer, but getting to the essence of something isn’t my natural forte. So hearing this early on was really helpful to me in particular.
- I have always wanted to… travel way more than I do.
- The best thing I have ever read is… an article by Gene Weingarten called “The Peekaboo Paradox.” I found the way he unveiled the information to be incredible. As I read it, each bit of information was revealed at the exact moment I wondered about it. So many people could’ve done a good job given the subject matter, but what he came up with is artful, in my opinion. This piece also led me to his article “Fatal Distraction…” which is amazing in a very different way. It’s devastatingly sad and horrifying – you’ve been warned. He won a pulitzer for the latter, and is the only journalist to win it twice in the feature category. I’ve already driven over the question by giving you two answers, so I’ll keep going: I also love Richard Russo and Dan Fante.
- People often tell me that I… have an accent. And the suggestion as to where I might be from is wildly different each time. I grew up in Southern California and don’t have an accent.
- If I knew the apocalypse was coming in 24 hours, I’d… do unspeakable acts. Or just watch TV.
- I am really proud of… the actual answer is too personal for the internet, and the others pale in comparison.
- The best thing about being a manager is… developing material. Helping to make something better, and then trying to top it again until you’ve reached your best execution of that idea. I get to be creative without being a creator myself.
- I spend way too much time… obsessing on things I can’t change.
- The funniest person in my cell phone is… my 8-year-old nephew.
- It really bothers me when… when a phrase I’m still using is mocked in one of my favorite shows.
- The worst thing about being a manager is… reading the same thing twenty times and trying to remain objective. But that’s the gig.
- One mistake that most aspiring screenwriters make is… trying to present their material before it’s ready (and/or before they’re ready). Every writer I’ve ever worked with has shuddered with embarrassment when thinking about their earliest efforts. And yet, I still see so many people trying to kick down doors with the first or second thing they ever wrote. And the improvement is exponential, so why not get a couple under your belt before deciding if you’re ready or not. You wouldn’t enter a golf tournament the first time you played. And you probably wouldn’t play at all until you’d been to the range, the putting green, et al.
- I find inspiration in… reading. I read everything I can.
- The three websites I visit most often are… Wikipedia, dictionary.com, and Twitter (and then everywhere it takes me). I’m the bazillion open tabs guy, but I recently discovered Pocket, which helps.
- You’d be surprised to know that I… spent way too much time on these questions.