Crowe's debut screenwriting effort, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, grew out of a book he wrote while posing for one year undercover as a student at Clairemont High School in San Diego, California.Later, he wrote and directed one more high school saga, Say Anything, followed by Singles, a story of twentysomethings that was woven together by a soundtrack centering on Seattle's burgeoning grunge music scene. After this, he was given a green light to go ahead with a pet project, the autobiographical effort Almost Famous.
As Crowe wrote in his film diary, "I was in the process of rewriting an old script of mine at the time. I wanted to write something that captured the feeling in that room. Despite the presence of local rock stars, Crowe didn't set out to make a movie about the Seattle scene: "People thought 'Singles' was going to be 'The Mark Arm Story.' [Arm was the lead singer of grunge frontrunners Mudhoney.] What 'Singles' was always meant to be was 'Manhattan' set in Seattle.4."'He was saying, 'I like the script, but have you seen my movies? There was also wig drama with Campbell Scott, who played nice guy Steve.''' Crowe told journalist Tim Appelo in a 1992 interview. The studio hated Dillon's grunge look (which was inspired by Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament). Dillon also hated his long-haired wig, as video director Josh Taft, who shot the making-of movie, recalled in Mark Yarm's book, "Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge," "We all had to go and give our opinions on 120 wigs that they pulled. He'd already shaved his head to play a cancer patient in "Dying Young." Crowe worried that the actor was so thin he "looked like a leukemia victim" and the studio called to complain, "Campbell Scott looks sick." Campbell looked so bad, in fact, that the studio wanted to replace him, but Crowe decided to keep him, and his real hair.Crowe calls the movie his "least successful" and admitted, "I never got that movie cast right.It's the only movie that I've directed that didn't feel right."6.