Rex Pickett Papers, 1940-2013 (bulk 1970-2013) (MSS 750)

Restrictions: Original media formats in Series 5 are restricted. Viewing/listening copies may be available for researchers.

Extent: 24.6 Linear feet (38 archives boxes, 3 flat boxes, 7 card file/media boxes, 11 film reels, and 1 records box)

The papers of Rex Pickett, an American novelist, screenwriter, film maker and playwright best known for his novel Sideways, and his play based on the novel.

Rex Michael Pickett was born on July 9, 1952 at Castle Air Force Base in Merced County, California. Rex, the second of three boys to Major Russell Raymond Pickett and Mrs. Anna Marie (Kuchta) Pickett, attended grade school through high school in San Diego, graduating from Clairemont High in 1970. Pickett describes the first time he realized his potential as a writer was with a poem he wrote for his high school annual poking fun at the principal which garnered some attention, "And I thought, hmm, the power of words."

Pickett went on to attend the University of California, San Diego. He was a student of the American painter, writer, and film critic Manny Farber, whom Pickett describes, along with C. G. Jung, as being his greatest influence. In Farber's classes Pickett met fellow film student Barbara Schock. The couple would later marry and start their own film production company, Nightfilm Production, Inc. and later, Deadwood Productions. As an undergraduate, Pickett was a founder, co-editor and contributor to the student publication, Crawl Out Your Window, and co-wrote and self-published a book of poetry, If ears could see, if eyes could hear… (1973). Pickett graduated summa cum laude from UC San Diego in 1976 with a B.A as a Special Projects major, his diploma reading, "Specializing in Contemporary Literary and Film Criticism and Creative Writing".

After UC San Diego, Pickett enrolled at the University of Southern California graduate film school. He left USC after one year to pursue making independent feature films. Pickett and Schock worked together on two feature films during the 1980s and early 1990s, California Without End (1984), which was sold to Bavarian Radio Television, and From Hollywood to Deadwood (1989), sold to Island Pictures, now part of MGM. Their most successful collaboration to date was Pickett's screenplay, directed by Schock, entitled My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (1999) for which Schock won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.

The early to mid '90s was primarily a period of screenwriting for Pickett. He wrote over 25 screenplays, including an uncredited rewrite of the 20th Century Fox film Alien III (1990); Striking it Rich, a screen adaptation of the Craig Vetter novel (1992); and an original screenplay The Road Back (1993), optioned to Silverfilm Productions and DePasse Productions, which later formed part of the basis for his second published novel, Vertical (2011). In 1996, Pickett began his first novel, a mystery entitled La Purisima, which he hoped would be the beginning of a detective series. La Purisima, although never published, landed him representation with the Curtis Brown Ltd. literary agency and paved the way for Pickett's next novel, Sideways.

As the backdrop for Sideways, Pickett, an avid low-handicap golfer, fell in love with California's Santa Ynez Valley. The uncrowded golf courses and inexpensive winery tasting rooms inspired the set up for the story based on his road trips out to the valley with his friend Roy Gittens during the 1990s. Pickett describes his writing style, epitomized in Sideways, as having a quality of "verisimilitude." Finished in 1999, Sideways was rejected by over 100 publishers on three separate rounds of submissions. In 2000 the novel was optioned by writer/director Alexander Payne. Payne decided to make About Schmidt before Sideways, and the novel was eventually published by St. Martin's Press in June of 2004. The film, adapted by Alexander Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor, was released in the fall of 2004. Sideways went on to win over 350 awards including the 2005 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and two Golden Globe awards. In 2006, the screenplay was voted by the Writers Guild of America as one of the 101 Greatest Screenplays of All Time.

Dissatisfied with the lack of promotion for Sideways, Pickett went the self-publishing route for Vertical (2011), his sequel to Sideways, and founded his own press. Vertical went on to win the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2012.

Inspired by the success and cult following of Sideways, Pickett was approached by the Ruskin Group Theatre Company in 2011 to do a stage adaptation of his novel. The play opened and ran for six months at Santa Monica's Ruskin Theatre under the direction of Amelia Mulkey. In late 2012, Pickett was invited as a guest of the goverment of Chile to research and write the third installment of the Sideways trilogy.

In 2013, Pickett brought Sideways: The Play to the campus of his alma mater, UC San Diego, with extended performances at The La Jolla Playhouse under Tony award-winning and La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus, Des McAnuff. Pickett has continued to promote the play and work on his third novel of the Sideways trilogy set in Chilean wine country.

The Rex Pickett Papers document Pickett's professional career as a novelist, screenwriter, film maker and playwright. Materials include biographical information, journals, correspondence, manuscript and typescript drafts of his novels, screenplays and other writings, and photographic material. It also includes media such as reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, VHS, and digital media such as CDs and discs.


Container List


Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS: Includes juvenalia, such as Pickett's childhood and school photographs and diplomas; address books; family photographs, portraits and Pickett's wedding album of his marriage to director, filmmaker Barbara Schock; some realia relating to Pickett's career in the film industry, scrapbooks and other biographical materials are also included. The materials range in date from 1943, which includes family photographs, to 2012.

Box 1 Folder 1
Address books

Certificates and Awards

Box 1 Folder 2
Birth announcement, certificate of Baptism, International Driving Permit, 1952, 1953, 1971
Box 1 Folder 3
Junior High and High School certificates and memorabilia, 1967-1970
Box 1 Folder 4
Little League Baseball certificate and team photo, 1964 July 11
Box 1 Folder 5
Independent Publishers Book Award, for Vertical, 2012
Box 1 Folder 6
Contracts - Agents and Lawyers
Box 1 Folder 7
Golf memorabilia


Box 1 Folder 8
Family photographs - Pickett's parents and siblings, ca. 1943-1975
Box 1 Folder 9
Grade school class pictures, 1958-1964
Box 1 Folder 10
Box 1 Folder 11
Sideways cast and crew
Box 1 Folder 12
Wedding album photographs, undated
Box 1 Folder 13
Misc photographs
Oversize FB-525 Folder 5
Oversized photographs - Rex Pickett with Alexander Payne at Sanford Winery, Pickett on set of California Without End, undated
Box 45
Realia - Wallet, watch, ring, personalized matchbook, Sideways baseball cap
Box 1 Folder 14
Slides - Cheyenne, WY, 1985 and undated
Oversize FB-523
Scrapbook - Sideways Oscars, SAG Awards and Golden Globe Awards buzz, 2004-2005
Oversize FB-524
Scrapbook - From Hollywood to Deadwood, My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York, and Sideways reviews, articles, invitations and other memorabilia, 1988-2005
Box 1 Folder 15
UCSD Special Studies form and UCSD Bachelor of Arts diploma, 1974, 1976


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) CORRESPONDENCE: Arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Letters, cards, postcards and some printed e-mail and includes personal correspondence with friends and family members as well as professional correspondence with agents, publishing houses, film production companies and others related to the publishing and film industries. Notable correspondence is with Pickett's publishing agents at Curtis Brown, Ltd. and include letters from publishing houses regarding his novels La Purisima and Sideways. The series ranges in date from 1973 to 2003.

Box 2 Folder 1
Carlson, Krista, 2002 & undated
Box 2 Folder 2
Curtis Brown Ltd. (Letters from publishing houses to Pickett's agents Mitchell S. Waters and Jess Taylor) , 1997-1999
Box 2 Folder 3
Freilicher, Melvyn, 1973-1974
Box 2 Folder 4
Hoshen, Shiri, 1996-1997 & undated
Box 2 Folder 5
Nations, Opal L., 1975 & undated
Box 2 Folder 6
Orange, Wendy, 1973-1974
Box 2 Folder 7
Payne, Alexander and Michael London (re: Sideways), 2000, 2003
Box 2 Folder 8
Pickett, Anna (mother), undated
Box 2 Folder 9
Schock, Barbara (ex-wife), 1994-2003, & undated
Box 2 Folder 10
Woodard, Miriam and Ken. Mark Woodard photograph, 2000 and undated
Box 38 Folder 13
Independent Feature Project, newsletter, correspondence and playbill featuring California Without End, March-October, 1983
Box 2 Folder 11
Miscellaneous correspondence


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) WRITINGS: Includes handwritten and typescript drafts of Pickett's articles, journals, novels, screenplays and plays and includes both completed and unfinished works. Arranged into four subseries: A) Articles, B) Journals, C) Novels, Screenplays, and Plays; D) Collaborations and E) Other Writings.

A) Articles: Clippings of published articles written by Pickett. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by title and ranges in date from 2004 through 2012. Included in this subseries are the awards: North American Travel Journalists Association Best Domestic Magazine Article, 2006 and North American Travel Journalists Association First Place Award, 2008.

B) Journals: Arranged chronologically. Contains Pickett's personal journals with typescript and handwritten notebook pages. Included in this are dream journals as well as filming/project journals from Los Angeles and London. The materials range in date from 1972 to 2013.

C) Novels, Screenplays, and Plays: Includes handwritten and typescript drafts of Pickett's work. Many drafts include marginalia and edits. The series is arranged chronologically by title of work, and includes most notably drafts of his two independent feature films California Without End (1985) and From Hollywood to Deadwood (1990), his short screenplay My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (1999) which won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short, his first published novel Sideways (2004) the source material for which Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor won the 2005 Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, and Sideways: The Play drafts of Pickett's novel adapted to the stage. This series also contains some related professional correspondence to editors and film production staff. The series ranges in date from 1974 to 2013.

D) Other Writings: Earlier works such as drafts of unfinished screenplays, poems, treatments, notes, short scripts, novelettes and other works by Pickett. The files range in date from 1974 to 1984 include many undated partial works. In most cases, the files retain Pickett's original folder titles.

E) Collaborations: Pickett's early work on a self-published book of poems entitled If ears could see, if eyes could hear, if hearts could be everywhere and omniscient! which he co-wrote with Kim Vacariu, June 1973 and his collaboration on the UCSD student publication Crawl Out Your Window from June 1975.


Box 2 Folder 12
Blown 'Sideways' Through Life, The Biz, Premiere, 2004 October
Box 2 Folder 13
Case Closed: the Guy Who Came in From the Cold, Wine Enthusiast, 2004 October
Box 2 Folder 14
How I Got 'Sideways', Travel and Leisure Golf, includes North American Travel Journalists Association Best Domestic Magazine Article Award , 2006 May/June
Box 2 Folder 15
La Purisima, California Golf, 1992 December
Box 2 Folder 16
Looking into Golf's Future, California Golf, 1993
Box 2 Folder 17
Ojai Valley Rhapsody, Travel + Leisure Golf, Includes North American Travel Journalists Association First Place Award , 2008 January/February
Box 2 Folder 18
Reds, Whites and Greens: The Connoisseur's Guide to the Best of Wine and Golf, Travel + Leisure Golf, 2007 March/April
Box 2 Folder 19
Take Me to the Valley, Travel + Leisure Golf, 2009


Box 3 Folder 1-4
Dream journals, 1971 December-1972 September, and undated
Box 3 Folder 5-7
, 1972 May-1973 February
Box 4 Folder 1-9
1973 May-1980 December
Box 5 Folder 1-9
1981 January-1986 July
Box 6 Folder 1-8
1986 April-1991 January
Box 7 Folder 1-9
1991 January-1993 July

Novels, Screenplays, Plays

Box 8 Folder 1-5
Suicide Last Summer, 1974
Box 8 Folder 6-7
Crash, 1975
Box 9 Folder 1-4
Critical Mass, screenplay by Rex Pickett and Howard Cohen, 1976
Box 9 Folder 5-8
a.k.a. Eric Dolan, ca. 1976
Box 9 Folder 9-10
Operation Culiacan, 1978
Box 10 Folder 1-4
Operation Culiacan
Box 10 Folder 5-6
Point of Decay, 1978
Oversize FB-525 Folder 1
Point of Decay - Poster for film by Rex Pickett, Howard Cohen and Henry Witkowski, 1978
Box 10 Folder 7-10
The Decision, 1978
Box 11 Folder 1-4
The Decision
Box 11 Folder 5-8
Fashion, Flesh and Fantasy, 1979
Box 11 Folder 9-11
Interior Night L.A. (1979)
Box 12 Folder 1-4
Interior Night L.A., also notes for A Novel of Desire
Box 12 Folder 5-11
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) (1985)
Box 13 Folder 1-8
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) (1985)
Box 14 Folder 1-10
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) (1985)
Box 15 Folder 1-9
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) (1985)
Box 16 Folder 1-13
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) (1985)
Box 17 Folder 1-7
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) (1985)
Oversize FB-525 Folder 2
California Without End (also under title, A Time of Uncertainty) - Director's clapboard
Box 17 Folder 8-11
Who Shot Samuel Ray? (also under title Who Shot Sam Fuller?) , 1983
Box 18 Folder 4-7
Red Wind, adapted screenplay based on novel by Raymond Chandler, 1983
Box 18 Folder 8
Decoy or Man Bites Dog, 1990
Box 37 Folder 9
Decoy or Man Bites Dog
Box 18 Folder 9-14
From Hollywood to Deadwood (1989)
Box 19 Folder 1-20
From Hollywood to Deadwood
Oversize OM-1 Folder 1
From Hollywood to Deadwood - Laserdisc
Oversize FB-525 Folder 3
From Hollywood to Deadwood - Director's clapboard, 1986 December 18
Box 19 Folder 21-22
Knife in the Heart, 1989
Box 38 Folder 11
Knife in the Heart - Contracts and related correspondence. Under original proposed title This Little Ziggy
Box 20 Folder 1-8
The Road Back (also under title Sheboygan, WI), 1995
Box 21 Folder 1-7
The Road Back (also under title Sheboygan, WI)
Box 22 Folder 1-11
Alien III, 1990
Box 22 Folder 12
Alien III by Walter Hill/David Giler, 1991
Box 23 Folder 1-2
Alien III
Box 23 Folder 3-8
Baja Hideaway, 1991
Box 24 Folder 1-6
Baja Hideaway
Box 24 Folder 7
Lily, an adaptation of a short story by Jane Smiley, 1991
Box 24 Folder 8
Dreamboat, 1991
Box 25 Folder 1-4
29% Less Full, with notes by Barbara Schock, 1992
Box 25 Folder 5-6
Striking it Rich, 1992
Box 37 Folder 10
Inside of Me, 1994
Box 37 Folder 11
Raw, 1994
Box 37 Folder 12-13
Desperate Measures, 1995
Box 38 Folder 1-2
Gryphon, based on a short story by Charles Baxter, 1995
Box 25 Folder 7-12
My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (Also under title My Mother Dreams the Hell's Angels in New York), 1999

Includes typescript drafts, publicity and Academy award news and related correspondence.

Box 38 Folder 3-7
My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (Also under title My Mother Dreams the Hell's Angels in New York), various dated drafts
Box 25 Folder 13
The Squatter
Box 26 Folder 1-7
La Purisima (A Raymond Savage Mystery), 1996
Box 27 Folder 1-4
La Purisima (A Raymond Savage Mystery)
Box 32 Folder 15-17
Repairman, 2007
Box 38 Folder 8-10
Vertical: A Novel - Proofs, 2011


Box 28 Folder 1-2
Novel by Rex Pickett, under original title Two Guys on Wine, 2003
Box 28 Folder 3-7
Drafts of novel , 2003
Box 29 Folder 1-7
Drafts of novel, 2003
Box 30 Folder 1
Drafts of novel, 2003
Box 30 Folder 2-4
Proofs of novel, 2004
Box 30 Folder 5-6
First draft of adapted screenplay by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor , 2003
Box 31 Folder 1-4
Drafts of adapted screenplay by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, 2003
Box 31 Folder 5
Sideways: The Play - Draft, 2013
Box 31 Folder 6
Sideways: The Play - Memorabilia, 2013
Oversize AB-28-E01
Sideways: The Play - Poster from the La Jolla Playhouse production, 2013
Box 32 Folder 1
Cartoons by John McPherson and Jeff Stahler, 2005
Box 32 Folder 2
Contracts, related correspondence with Endeavor
Box 32 Folder 3
Related correspondence
Box 32 Folder 4
Japanese contract
Oversize FB-525 Folder 4
Canvas from "director's chair"
Box 32 Folder 5
Memorabilia, various
Oversize MC-021-08
Movie poster, 2004
Box 32 Folder 6-8
Publicity, press kit, promotional materials and correspondence
Box 32 Folder 9
Shooting schedule
Box 32 Folder 10
Ticket for Academy Awards and playbills
Box 32 Folder 11
Production materials
Box 32 Folder 12
Writers and Artists Agency correspondence and payments

Other Writings

Box 33 Folder 1
Metaxy: Passkey, 1974 May
Box 33 Folder 2
...And Then Pomeroy Drew His Knife, 1974 July
Box 33 Folder 3
Tetrakis, 1978 May
Box 33 Folder 4
The Ca$tle, 1978 May
Box 33 Folder 5
Hollywood Babble On!, 1978-1979, 1991
Box 33 Folder 6
A True Story Never Told
Box 33 Folder 7-8
Wiretrap, 1978
Box 33 Folder 9
Out of Context, 1979 January
Box 33 Folder 10
The Disco Phenomena - Article for Eros Publishing, 1979 May
Box 33 Folder 11
Diary of a Screenwriter, 1979 June-July
Box 33 Folder 12
The Long Goodbye, 1987 November
Box 33 Folder 13
Style as Sensibility in Wim Wender's Kings of the Road, 1980 February
Box 33 Folder 14
The Real Estate Broker's Anxiety at the Close of Escrow, 1980 February
Box 33 Folder 15-24
2nd Raymond Savage Mystery, 1983-1984
Box 34 Folder 1-3
Against the Tide, undated
Box 34 Folder 4
The Avacado Nightmare, undated
Box 34 Folder 5
The Avacado Op, undated
Box 34 Folder 6
Beverly Hills Cop, undated
Box 34 Folder 7
Beyond Alcohol and Art, undated
Box 34 Folder 8
The Black Eagle, undated
Box 34 Folder 9
The Chicken Man, undated
Box 34 Folder 10
The Combat Zone, undated
Box 34 Folder 11
Del Mar Alexanderplatz, undated
Box 34 Folder 12
Disengaged, undated
Box 34 Folder 13
The Director, undated
Box 34 Folder 14
Disclosures, undated
Box 34 Folder 15
Drought, undated
Box 34 Folder 16
Duty Calls, undated
Box 34 Folder 17-18
Fragments of a Piece , undated
Box 34 Folder 19
The Gemologist, undated
Box 34 Folder 20
Herzog's 2nd Phase, undated
Box 34 Folder 21
Hitchhiking Nymphos, After-School Naughtiness, and Hot & Horny Hustlers (under pseudonym Irv N. Tons), undated
Box 34 Folder 22
Important Parts, undated
Box 35 Folder 1
Innocent Victims, undated
Box 35 Folder 2
It Was One of Those Wild Free You Call Nights, undated
Box 35 Folder 3
The Kid Mayor, undated
Box 35 Folder 4
Killer in Suburbia, undated
Box 35 Folder 5
Lanny Budd, undated
Box 35 Folder 6
The Leper Cowboys, undated
Box 35 Folder 7
Making It! A Series Comedy, undated
Box 35 Folder 8
The Mogul, undated
Box 35 Folder 9
Moths to the Flame "Bill Haller", undated
Box 35 Folder 10
Notes of a Maniac
Box 35 Folder 11
Paradise Heights, undated
Box 35 Folder 12
The Profit God, undated
Box 35 Folder 13
Queen of the Mist, undated
Box 35 Folder 14
Reconciliation Junction, undated
Box 35 Folder 15
Relief for an Advanced Case of Fear, poems and notes, undated
Box 35 Folder 16
Return to Mystic, undated
Box 35 Folder 17-18
Special Team, undated
Box 35 Folder 19
Take Me to the End, undated
Box 35 Folder 20
This is How I Lost the Mystery in My Soul, undated
Box 36 Folder 1
The Video-tape Ritual Sex Murders, undated
Box 36 Folder 2
Vindication, undated
Box 36 Folder 3
Wing and a Prayer, undated
Box 36 Folder 4
Cartoons - The Screenwriter's Saloon, undated
Box 36 Folder 5
Documentary Ideas, undated
Box 36 Folder 6
Early love story/notes on relationship, undated
Box 36 Folder 7
Manny Farber film notes/questions, undated
Box 36 Folder 8
Miscellaneous early writings, undated
Box 36 Folder 9
Miscellaneous notes, undated
Box 36 Folder 10
Notes for seminar, undated
Box 36 Folder 11-13
Screenplay ideas, various
Box 36 Folder 14
Shot composition notes, undated
Box 36 Folder 15
Treatments for Allison/Dart Productions (various titles, some under pseudonym Rexford G. Pickett), undated
Box 36 Folder 16
Untitled partial script, undated
Box 36 Folder 17
Various writings , undated

Early Collaborations

Box 36 Folder 18
If ears could see, if eyes could hear, if hearts could be everywhere and omniscient! - Rex Pickett and Kim Vacariu (two copies, enscribed to Pickett's parents; and Jocelyn, with related correspondence), 1973 June
Box 36 Folder 19
Crawl Out Your Window, UCSD student publication, various contributors, original typescript draft with photograph by Philip Steinmetz , June 1975


Scope and Contents of Series

Series 4) WRITINGS BY OTHERS: Arranged alphabetically by author. It contains a draft of an essay about UC San Diego film professor Manny Farber written by Barbara Schock, and reviews.

Box 37 Folder 1
/Hough/S/0 Prove/His/Him o/So He Kep/a/1/./T1. - Howard Cohen, typescript excerpt for Crawl Out Your Window, edited by Rex Pickett and Charles Heimer, 1975 March
Box 37 Folder 2
Boowzh Out on Highway Nine, four performance compositions by Anton Czerny. Performed by The Heartaches: Howard Cohen, Melvyn Freilicher, Rex Pickett and Adele Shaules, 1975 May
Box 37 Folder 3
A Hard (Wonderful) Look at the Movies, essay on Manny Farber by Barbara Schock, undated
Box 37 Folder 4
Reviews of From Hollywood to Deadwood, various
Box 37 Folder 5-8
Reviews of Sideways, various


Scope and Content of Series

Series 5) MEDIA AND RECORDINGS: Includes films on celluloid, VHS tapes, BetaMax tapes, and digitial media including a DVD and 5 ¼" and 3 ½" floppy discs.

Box 39
CD-ROMS, 2002-2005

Drafts of Sideways, Repairman, The Corn Exchange, Moths to the Flame; article entitled "My Life on Spec," and Rex Pickett interview on The David Lawrence Show.

Restrictions Apply


Box 40
5 1/4" Floppy disks - Journal 1985-1989; From Hollywood to Deadwood drafts; Knife in the Heart draft; Letters to Barbara drafts; Word documents backup.

Restrictions Apply

Box 41-44
3 1/2" Diskettes - drafts of Sideways, La Purisima, The Road Back, Striking it Rich, Alien III, Baja Hideaway, Squatter, Decoy, Lily, Desperate Measures, and other drafts of scripts, letters, email back up

Restrictions Apply

Film reels

Box 46-49
California Without End, 4 reels
Box 50
Fragments of a Piece, 1 reel
Box 51-53
My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York, 3 reels
Box 54
Neon Stains, 1 reel
Box 55-56
Pt. of Decay, 2 reels
Box 57
University of Southern California Film School graduate school project, untitled, undated. Super 8 film, 1 reel
Box 59 Folder 1
Hard drives, 2000-2012

Restrictions Apply

Video cassettes

Box 58 Folder 1
California Without End
Box 58 Folder 2-6
From Hollywood to Deadwood
Box 58 Folder 7
Box 58 Folder 8-10
My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York
Box 58 Folder 11-13
The Academy Awards 2000
Box 58 Folder 14
Demo, untitled
Box 58 Folder 15