Porn Surfing As Talent Search: How A Horny Manager Discovered Diablo Cody

This week's Scriptland column, the LAT's weekly spelunking expedition into the dark, dank caves where the little-seen, bizarrely bioluminescent creatures known as "screenwriters" can be found, follows up last week's feel-good, kicked-gambling-addiction-to-Hollywood-riches fable with another "It Writer" creation story, this time looking at how stripper/blogger/memoirist Diablo Cody was discovered by a manager in the course of his daily porn-surfing routine:

Enter Mason Novick of the management firm Benderspink. "I don't know exactly what I was doing on the Internet, but ... we'll call it what it is," he says. "I mean, yes. I was reading her dirty, dirty blog, and it was funny." Novick eventually cold-contacted her, discovered that she had a memoir lying around and got it to a literary agent, who sold "Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper" for six figures a few weeks later.

Novick then asked for some movie ideas, and by Valentine's Day 2004 Cody, who had since abandoned sex work for a job at a local newspaper, sent him a completed screenplay called "Juno" that burned with the same incredibly original voice that had made her blog such a unique read. [...]

But the real lesson here, as Novick has proven, is that surfing porn at work can no longer unilaterally be written off as unproductive. "I gotta hand it to him, because I don't know many people whose instincts would have led them in that direction," says Cody, crediting Novick's management for much of her success. "Naked women on the Internet are not usually thought of as being fonts of screenwriting talent."

Of course, Cody, who has enjoyed quite a bit of success since the fateful day that Novick discovered her, is the naked-person-exception that proves the rule. Each and every day, agents and managers all over Hollywood embark on similar online searches for prospective clients, with one hand gripping their talent-divining rods and the other tapping out, "Hey, u ever think about writing movies?" on their keyboards, but these efforts usually just yield impatient demands to input their credit card numbers for another twenty minutes of chat, not highly buzzed-about spec scripts that net them handsome commissions.