Why would a young filmmaker want to take advice from former sketch-comics-turned-screenwriters who readily admit some of their movies — Taxi, Herbie: Fully Loaded — are pieces of shit? Because Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon are brilliant and funny, and they've been TV fixtures for nearly 20 years. The two co-created MTV's The State and Comedy Central's Reno 911!, and co-wrote Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and The Pacifier. Their new book, Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!, is cheaper, and more valuable, than four years at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Aside from the obvious chapters on writing and pitching — writing while drunk (encouraged), pitching with a hangover (discouraged) — Garant and Lennon dispense other how-tos on learning the art of nodding, working with a partner, getting fired and getting rehired. They even break down the hierarchy of film studio parking lots and list the best places to write, including two whole pages on every SoCal In-N-Out. The two also describe some of their career highs and lows, like having lunch with Jackie Chan and meeting Billy Crystal and Sandra Bernhard. They summarize the chapters on the last two in just one word: “dick.” Garant and Lennon read from and sign their book at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., July 5, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110.

Tue., July 5, 7 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly