Things He Lost At The OTB Parlor

This week's installment of the LAT's Scriptland feature, the paper's weekly attempt at chronicling the hopes, dreams, and fears of the industry's institutionally disrespected, keyboard-pounding underclass, shares the uplifting story of Things We Lost in the Fire, Soon To Be A DreamWorks SKG Motion Picture With Academy Award™ Winners Benicio Del Toro and Halle Berry screenwriter Alan Loeb, who heroically paddled away from a precarious position between the Scylla of gambling addiction and the Charybdis of a painful dumping by his agent to achieve industry "It Boy" status:

Half a dozen other projects that Loeb has touched are actively working their way through development. He's even — contrary to his own best instincts — begun dating actresses.

Just two years ago, however, you might have spotted Loeb hunched at an L.A. bus stop contemplating the spectacular slow death of his dream. He had been a struggling screenwriter for 12 years and lost any money he made on the occasional script sale to the implosion of the tech bubble and a voracious gambling addiction that sometimes swallowed $30,000 in a weekend and left him with $150,000 in credit card debt [...]

"Literally the minute I quit gambling my writing changed," Loeb says. "It was magical. I had been giving so much emotional energy to gambling that only half of myself was out there writing. Gambling was a time suck, an energy suck, a creativity suck. I started going to GA meetings every Thursday night, and the writing flourished. It had so much more energy and passion."

Despite this recent run of enviable success, it seems that Loeb, like many recovering addicts, has merely substituted one time/energy/creativity-sucking vice for another. We hope to read in a future Scriptland feature about how the writer quickly kicked his talent-sapping actress-fucking habit and finally rode his fully actualized potential to Oscar glory.