May 22, 2006
Be More Chill Movie News

Big news. I am now working with Steve Pink on the Be More Chill screenplay, and we're ramping it up quite a bit. That means a major setting change from the book, but the same basic plot and characters. It also means that I am getting my hands dirty and writing a screenplay -- dialogue, action, the whole deal. Working with Steve is wonderful and we're going to have something done soon. And it's going to be hilarious. Rock on.

Back from the Accepted set!

Man, I had a great time in old LA, with the one glaring exception, the thing that gets me every time: the city always makes me vomit. Last time I went there (March 2005), I admittedly abused my body in an all-night party (jumping off a roof into a pool, among other things) and woke up the next day with my head on fire. I somehow managed to drive my friends to work and then to get a large coffee mocha with orange shavings on it, but about two hours into my drive to my meeting with Steve Pink and the Depth of Field folks, I got the urge to vomit in my car.

Not wanting to embarass myself by throwing up out a window on Sunset Boulevard, I, uh, attempted to throw up in an Aquafina bottle.

See, I kind of thought that I could purse my lips and vomit; I didn't realize that part of the process is the involuntary dilation of the lip musculature. I assumed that the only reason I hadn't pulled off this feat before was that I hadn't tried.

Well, suffice to say, I filled up the Aquafina bottle, but I also threw up all over my rental car and my pants. It supposedly NEVER rains in LA but when I was there (as was the case six months later, in the trip that I have gone way way way far off on a tangent in describing), it was pouring Pacific buckets. I got out of my car, cupped rainwater from a gutter and used it to wash off my pants, and went into the GAP looking for one thing: a pair of size 10 dark women's jeans. I got them and got to my meeting, still nauseous, still with a nuclear brain, and what did the good folks at Depth of Field have laid out for me? Sushi.

I couldn't eat it (even though I usually love it, and I'd asked for it a week before). I begged out with a stomach ailment and drank green tea insead.

So... six months later, on my next trip to LA, I had some similar derelict experiences. But I'd like to report that everything on the set of Accepted was groovy as can be.

Yes, there was at least one piece of funny Hollywood gossip to go around, but I'm not putting it here--you have to have my phone # to get it. Mostly I was shocked by how Steve Pink, who I met TWO YEARS AGO now, has become a take-charge director, filming scenes with 500 extras and barking "Okay, let's go, let's go" and wearing his hat backwards and just kicking ass and taking names.

Also, Justin Long, Jonah Hill, and the rest of the cast were very cool. And I got to meet Alejandra Gutierrez.

I do have a few cool stories to report.

First off, when I got to the set on Monday, 9/19/05, I was surprised to find myself at a psych hospital (man, recurring theme in my life). Turns out that in the movie, the main character turns an old psych hospital into a college campus (when he doesn't get admitted to any other schools), so this was appropriate.

As I came on set (7am, guys in white beards drinking coffee, gaffers moving lighting equipment around), I asked someone in a knit cap, "Where's the food?"

I knew there had to be some free food.

"Food's in base camp. Downstairs."

I went downstairs and... figured that this was where all the mental patients in the hospital had been relocated to! There were people sleeping on the floor, people lipping cigarettes, people rubbing red eyes...

Then I realized that these were the extras for the movie.

It's a whole culture, extras. I quickly fell in with them, in particular a guy named Patrick. Patrick works for The Bat Pack; they're a "calling service" that you phone up if you need, say, a half-dozen extras with nose rings or spiky hair.

Patrick was awesome (I gave him a signed BMC) and two days later I went to a party he was DJing where I saw the most uncanny Nirvana tribute band imaginable. They sounded like them, too.

The day after hanging with the Nirvana tribute band (Penny Royale) and Patrick, I threw up. See how it comes full circle?

Okay, so celebrity sightings, if you must know:

1. Lewis Black is in Accepted, so I saw him. Mostly on his cell phone. His road manager, Ben, was very cool.

2. Kyle MacLachlan from Twin Peaks was in the indy bookstore Book Soup while I was in there.

That about wraps it up. Here's to Accepted. If the on-set vibe is any indication, it should be a hit.

Ned Vizzini | Official Site
It's Kind of a Funny Story - Hardcover
April 1, 2006
"The book is TERRIFIC I just loved it and will recommend it all over the place to teen and adult readers. You have a unique ability to convey deep and complicated feeling through simple, funny and sweet prose." -- Rachel Cohn, author of Gingerbread, Shrimp, The Steps, and Two Steps Forward

"I wanted to tell you how much I liked It's Kind of a Funny Story. Your descriptions of depression are so accurate and heartbreaking. One of my favorite metaphors was on the first page when you describe trying to talk like words coming out in chunks from a crushed-ice dispenser. So true." -- Ariel Schrag, creator of the graphic novels Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise

It's Kind of a Funny Story is my third book. It's the story of Craig Gilner, a kid in high school who gets freaked out, wants to kill himself, and checks into the psych hospital. The book details the week he spends there and how he gets his life... well, not together. But alive.

It's based, not too loosely, on my own experience on the good ol' adult psychiatric floor of Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, which I entered when I wanted to kill myself in November 2004. Yay! I've managed to stay out since then, although I've wanted to go back many a time.

There is a Myspace for the book at Press for the book is posted as it appears right here.
Be More Chill - US Paperback
September 14, 2005

[click cover for hi-res image]

Be More Chill is the story of a guy who gets a pill that makes him cool. The pill is called a "squip"--it's actually a quantum computer that lives in your brain and gives you real-time social advice. The kid is named Jeremy Heere. And that's about what you need to know.

"A fresh, spontaneous and original voice. It's fun, wacky, outrageous. I just couldn't stop reading."
-- Judy Blume

For more about the squip itself and the campaign that went along with it, watch the squip video (warning--it may take a while to load).
Be More Chill - US Hardcover
June 1, 2004
"I wish I'd had a squip when I was a teenager. Actually, I wish I had one now. You know what? Forget the squip. Reading this hilarious book is what will make you cool."
-- Neal Pollack

"Ned Vizzini writes about teenagers without the Saved by the Bell, 'boy I sure love pizza' clichs. Be More Chill is a funny, perceptive, and surprisingly well-written read for all ages."
-- Robert Lanham, author, The Hipster Handbook

"I thought Be More Chill was very funny, well observed and well written. Very clever story, beautifully executed - definitely one to take notice of, and one of the cleverest plots I've come across in a long time."
-- Melvin Burgess, author, Smack

"Authentic without pretense and honest without stifling morality."
-- Zoe Trope

"Authentic, refreshingly honest and hilarious. You have perfectly captured the angst-filled, sex-obsessed thoughts of today's teens. Also, it is an incredibly original plot."
-- Anne Rouyer, the New York Public Library

"As a two-time survivor of high school (once as a student and once as a teacher), I know how hard it is to write about adolescence. But Ned Vizzini gets it right-- the lingo, the rigid caste system, the minutiae of teen courtship rituals. Be More Chill shows that high school can be a hero's journey, a treacherous march through minefields of bullies, drugs, and unfairly complicated bra straps. A smart, funny book that shies away from sentimentality and clich, Be More Chill handles powerful themes with a light touch."
-- David Benioff, author, The 25th Hour

"Be More Chill is a sharp social commentary disguised as a high school sex (or no sex, in our hero's case) comedy. I was thoroughly entertained by Vizzini's clever take on the insanity (and inanity) of contemporary teendom."
-- Megan McCafferty, author, Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings
Teen Angst? Naaah... - Yellow
August 1, 2000
Published by Free Spirit Publishing!

One of the things that people asked for on this site site was more attention paid to Teen Angst? Naaah.... I hope this satisfies:

1. Teen Angst? Naaah... is my first book.

2. When it came out, I learned quickly that if I described it as "a bunch of funny, stupid stories about stuff that happened to me in high school", they got the point. For more refined people who only enjoyed art that pushed the envelope, I would say it was "a bunch of funny, stupid stories about SHIT that happened to me in high school." Those remain good descriptions.

3. The stories in the book span 1990-1999.

4. I wrote the stories between 1996 and 1999, inclusive.

5. A majority of the book originally appeared in the New York Press, a local alternative weekly, sometimes edited differently or in a wildly divergent form. They have great archives so many of the stories as they were originally originally written are here.

6. Teen Angst? Naaah... has a typical history of complete failure in the world of television. Soon after the book came out, I was contacted by a man named John Schultz, who came to New York, took me out for a hamburger, and outlined a sweeping vision for the TA?N movie. (The burger was good too.) I left feeling enthusiastic. Then, a few weeks later, Jane startz Productions, who had a first-look deal with Miramax Films (this just meant I could say "Miramax" in conjunction with my book, which got me one girl, no more), offered to option the book. My book company and I went with Jane Startz because of the Miramax connection and the option began. An option means that a company pays for the right to try and make a television show (or movie) out of your product within a certain period of time. We had 18 months. Jane Startz Productions brought in a wonderful gentleman named Ken Lipman; he had helmed the mid-90s cable show The Secret World of Alex Mack, which, let's look for it on the internet... ah, check out this Geocities site: Gallery of Alex Mack Pictures. Ken Lipman got to work on the show but we failed to get it picked up by any networks. Some years later (2005), Ken decided to take another shot and sell the show to The N cable network, which, in an entirely unrelated venture, I had tried to create music for. This, too, failed. By the way, John Schultz, who we ditched for Jane Startz (Schultz vs. Startz, I know), went on to direct Like Mike and The Honeymooners. Who knows what would have happened if we'd gone with him? Right now the best chance of a Teen Angst television show getting made is if you make one yourself. I'll host it, I'm serious. (Host as in, host the files.)

7. Any general questions that you have about the book, the characters, whether it's true, etc. should be in the FAQ.

8. Many people want to know why, of all the schools I applied to in the book, I chose to go to Hunter. The answer is that I did something horrible and screwed up my chance attend a different school (Columbia). What I did is probably the worst and most stupid thing that I've done in my life and I'm not really ready to talk about it right now.

9. To my knowledge, Teen Angst? Naaah... has been used in plays, forensics competitions, skits, and numerous book reports across the USA (and the Philippines). I greatly appreciate the attention that it continues to get, especially five-plus years after its publication.

10. Wormwhole lives!
© Ned Vizzini 2000-2006
Favorite Parts
send in your own

Rowell of RI says: My favorite part of Be More Chill, is when Mr. Reyes speaks in his falsetto voice "Maaaaaa!", when I try to imagine it, I can't help laughing. This is my favorite book. No Doubt. Im going to try Jimmy Heere's squip moves on some of the ladies.. :) "Maaaa!"
Rowell's myspace

Violet of NY says: my favorite part of the book was... oh, let's see... THE WHOLE THING, aka my LIFE! I live in Park Slope, took the Stuy Test, attend Pure Energy Martial Arts (Tessa Gordon's still there), and have done numerous other things that you describe in Teen Angst?Naah...
Never have i identified more with a boook than with this one. I read books for escape, but it's like escaping right back into... you guessed it, My Life!

RYAN of CO says: THe part with chloe and jeremy heere i wish it went on for longer adn that stupid brock didnt come in

Rocio of CA says: i loved the part about the prep for the Stuy Test [Teen Angst? Naaah...] since i can totally relate, even if i didn't do half as well on my own, similar, test :P
Rocio's myspace

Kathleen of United Kingdom says: I didnt have a favorite part of this book, it was all amazing, i know that I am going to read this book over and over.
Kathleen's website
Picture 11.jpg

Matthew of New Zealand says: My favourite aspect of both Be More Chill and Teen Angst? Naaah is that the parents (particularly the dads) are portrayed as decent people who are even funny and understanding, rather than as the hysterical losers/ screw up parents that are so ubiquitous in books aimed at young adults.

Janine of CA says: I would say my favourite part would be the whole Aunt Linda
conversation. I mean, I can totally relate. My family acts the same
way. And its the plot revealer... where he's just really honest (...and kinda harsh) about how he sees himself. It's the point where the book
really takes a surrealist turn.

That's my two cents... and more.
Janine's blog
Janine's myspace

Brian of NC says: My favorite part of Teen Angst? Naaah... had to be the chapter about Nintendo. I, too, was raised by Nintendo. I have also had the video gaming dreams, the infinitesimally numb ass, and the thumb blisters. Mario was my babysitter until the age of thirteen or so, and look at how I turned out!!! And they say crack is dangerous...anyone know the number to Nintendo rehab?
Brian's myspace

Robin of CA says: i liked the part when he was about to get laid but he messes up with the nipple ring and ruins it.

Ryn of CA says: God, it's hard to pick just one. In Teen Angst: Probably the part about playing Magic all night. In Be More Chill: The whole forking book. It's just hysterical. :)

Want to send in your favorite part?
I also considered using a picture of The Forbidden Castle, a choose your own adventure book
Have you read the forbiiiiiden chapter of Be More Chill? Here's the link.