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Best Laid Plans

21 Jul

You know what’s better than getting fired?

Getting laid off.

Really.  It’s an amazing concept.  Instead of just saying –

“Hey.  Thanks for nothing.  Get the hell out.”

They say:

“Hey.  Thanks for nothing.  Get the hell out.  Oh – and take this lump sum of money with you.”

Yeah.  Think about that for a second.  They pay you to leave.  They send you on your way with money in your pocket – don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

Really – it’s an amazing concept.

I have nothing but nice things to say about my old company.  There are amazing people there.  People I like.  People I love.  People I will miss.

And a couple I won’t.

But they took care of their employees.  And they sent me down the road with a little something something for the effort.

For all my professional life till now – I’ve been freelance or owned my own company.  This was my first “real” job at age 38 till now.  It was like being the first white guy in China hundreds of years ago.  Everything was new and different.  I got to work amongst the natives and observe them in their natural habitat.  And now I get to move on.

Amazingly – there has been a great show of support.  From people offering help, advice, a grip truck to move with… I feel blessed to have such great friends.

From the day I took this job – I would smile every day that they asked me back.  I couldn’t imagine making it in that environment.  And now – self fulling prophecy – I didn’t.  But I had a good run.  I put together some great shows and spots and now its time to move on.

When I came out here – we had just lived through two years of hard work putting a film together.  It was nice to have something that paid twice a month and paid well.  They paid to move me here to SF.  What better deal than that?  Now – even though they won’t be paying me anymore – they have given me the money to move down to LA.

21 year ago next month – as a small baby – I married the woman of my dreams.  We got married – and two weeks later, I started grad school for film.  When it was done – a lot of my friends left immediately for LA and jumped into the business at different levels.  I ended up getting work where we were.  Lots of work.  Really fun and good work.

The work was so good – I stayed a lot longer than I would have otherwise.  It took 10 years before I remembered I wanted to make movies.  So I finally left and went to make a movie.  That opened so many doors.  And then it crashed and burned – but those doors are still open and that movie is still trying to get made.  In the midst of that, I got this job.  Now that is over – and I am finally on  my way to LA.

I talked to a friend yesterday who went to film school with me.  I said – well, we’re finally on our way to LA.  It only took 15 years.  She said – what took you so long?  I said – I’m slow.

My son said to me when I came home the other day:

So Dad.  You got fired?

No, Son.  I got laid off.  It’s like getting paid to be fired.  Its way better.

Ok.  So I think you should just make that movie you’re always talking about.  It beats working at fast food.

(He really said this.  And if you’re working in fast food – take heart.  So did I.  It’s almost better training for the movie business than film school.  You learn how to work with idiots, how to multi-task, how to interact with crazy people, and how to make food.  Really there isn’t much more to it than that.)

So I think I’m gonna see what’s out there.  I hear LA is a really nice place for old men with families that are slow writers.

You know that cheesy old Footprints poster from the 70’s?  The one that shows the footprints in the sand – and the guy is talking with Jesus and there are two sets of footprints – and Jesus says that’s cause I walked along side you all the way in life’s journey.  Then suddenly there is one set and the guy is like – Hey Jesus, where’d you go?  And Jesus explains – well, that’s where I carried you.

In mine – there is also:  Hey Jesus, what is that big deep hole in the sand.  And Jesus is like – that where you dug a pit and hid out for a few years.  And I’m like – and then why is there only one set of footprints for like a half mile – and then a big indent in the sand where it looks like a body was laid out like a snow angel?  And Jesus is like:  That where I had to kick you in the ass to actually do something and you flew through the air for half a mile before you fell on your face.  Next time, maybe you can walk on your own.  Here, let me help you get that sand outta your eyes.

So here we go.

I have 30 some days to find a house, pack this house and get out. The adventure has truly begun.

And what better way for me to avoid writing for a whole month than to say I got laid off and have to pack my family up like Abraham and head into the desert?

PERFECT!  It’s like the excuses write themselves… 🙂

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Half Analyst – Half Therapist: All analrapist

20 Jun

Have you ever been asked to do a take?

This is how you get to the table as a screenwriter.

You write. You write more.  You write even more.  You finally get someone to read what you write.  You rewrite what you wrote. Then you rewrite that.  Then an agent gets involved.  And your script goes out.  And now people want to meet you.

And after years of investment in getting better and finally getting somewhere –

You get to do a take.

A take is where a company likes you enough to have you come to their offices and tell you about a story they like.  And they want you to pitch your “take” on it.

Let’s look at it another way:

Imagine you are a cook.  You love food and you love to cook.  You spend years in the kitchen with your mom – and you grow up and go to cooking school.  There – you excel at cooking.  Everyone tells you you’re a good cook.  You might even get some restaurant work.  You might even have your own restaurant.

But one day – the big restaurants call.  They have a recipe they like.  Like – they might say – Hey!  I think we should have steak.  Anybody know anything about steak?  And they all gather together and they think about it – and they decide:  You know what’s a great idea?  Let’s have a bunch of cooks come in here and tell us how they’d make this steak.

So they call you.  They want to see what your steak looks like.

They want you to come in to their place.  And bring with you all the ingredients you would cook the steak with.  They want you to lay out your ingredients – and talk through exactly how you’re gonna cook it.  You spend time – thinking through every kind of steak you’ve ever had.  You cook hundreds of steaks over the next couple weeks – trying to come up with a amazingly original steak.  The best you could ever come up with.

Then – you go to their office and you talk up your steak.  You explain why this is the best steak ever.  Then – you leave the ingredients behind and they’ll decide if you’re the one they want to cook this steak or not.

Cause there are a lot of other cooks in the waiting room.  All with their own ingredients.  And the great thing is that – since its their steak – they can evaluate everyone’s ideas – and then pick the best of them – and hire a cook they’ve worked with before to combine the best of all the ingredients and ideas into a new recipe.

And it doesn’t cost them a thing.

And that, my friends, is a take.  Free steak.

Now – I don’t want to say that anyone tried to screw me or take my ideas or combine them with anyone elses.  Cause none of the things I came in on have ever made it to the screen.

As far as I know.

But after my script first made the rounds – I made the rounds.  I met with lots of people over a two-week period.  Two to three a day for two weeks.  And we made nice talk.  We shook hands.  And then I was given a few pitches.

So here’s where it gets interesting:

The first three ideas I was given to do a “take” on all had a moment in them that predominantly featured anal rape.

So there is a part of me that can understand this.  In advertising – a world I was partially a part of – you get pigeonholed immediately.  They want the “car” guy to do the car commercials.  They want the “TV” guy to do the “TV” spots.  I lost a job once because I didn’t have meat on my reel.  I had lots of things the client wanted to see – people in a store, people outside, kids playing – but no “meat.”  And everyone knows – you can’t just walk up and shoot meat.  It takes someone with the proper meat experience.  Meat is an unruly mistress that will not open up for just any director.  Only a proper meat director knows the secrets of the meat.  And I was not that guy.

But apparently – I open the floodgates on anal rape.

My script was a suspense/thriller.  It was dark.  It had bad guys in it.  But – and I wrote it and I should know – the one thing it did not have?

Anal rape.

I’d like to think I’m as open minded as the next guy – but at the same time I found this odd.  If one of the scripts had anal rape – that would be strange.  Two – and I might chuckle.  But three?  It was as if the universe was trying to tell me something.

Look – we’re all trying to break in.  Most of would do just about anything.  Judd Apatow has the corner on the gross out comedy with a heart.  J.J. Abrams gets to do the crazy action film with geek roots.  James Cameron – the most expensive films ever.

Me? Apparently –  I was the anal rape king of Hollywood.

Come on – everyone has a dream.  I can’t say this is what I asked for when I saw the shooting star – but you stick with the horse you ride in on.

The one concept that had the most buzz around it didn’t just give a passing glance to anal rape. It was a short story – written by one of my favorite authors – and  anal rape was featured as the climax of the story.  Everything ebbed and flowed from this glorious moment.  Building and lead up to it.  I read the short.  I read it again.  I rubbed my eyes in shock – washed my brain out with soap and read it again.

Yup.  No way around it.  This is about anal rape.

So I did the best I could.

They paired me with a really great producer.  An awesome guy who couldn’t be any more supportive – and since this happened – he has gone on to make bajillions for his studio – without me and – more importantly – without any … you know….

So I finally went in and met with the studio and did my pitch.

You know what they said?

Um… that part with the anal rape?  We don’t like that.  Can you get rid of that?  That would sort of stop the whole movie and everyone would walk out.

But the entire story is about anal rape.

Well… yeah.  But we thought you might come up with a take that takes place “in” that “world”  but didn’t actually go that far.

Ah.  My steak has a bit too much anal rape in it.

But how could I continue to hold on to the title of anal rape king of Hollywood if I was to give up all the anal rape?  I told them they were sacrificing the integrity of the project – and if they wanted to take out the anal rape – they would have to take me out as well.

So – they took me out.  Who knew?

I’m sorry.  Did I say I had integrity?  I think I did… but this was back when I was younger.  The old me would nod and smile and make a joke like – of course this movie would be so much better if we remove the cornerstone of why the story was written in the first place.  Lets go back to the drawing board.

Let’s make a different thing.  I know you gave me a steak – but let’s make a vegetarian lasagna instead.

And in the process – I learned the art of the big sell out.  The Oh silly me thinking that this is what you might want cause its so great – let me instead give you this thing over here that is so much worse.

I dishonored the title of anal rape king of Hollywood.  And the title was stripped from me.

I did takes right and left.  For Comedies.  For medical thrillers.  For Romantic Comedies about basketball.  For books written in Chinese.

Doing takes.  For free.  Free work….

One nice thing about doing takes is you get to see a lot of stories that the studios have bought or optioned. Things that others have sold. And you can compare them to what you’re working on. It’s never apples to apples. And that is a great thing about this business… Your script is not up against mine – there are a million people not sure what they are looking for – all trying to catch lightning in a bottle – and they hope that yours is the one that strikes for them.

I read these scripts, ideas, stories – and I usually feel the same way. 40 pages in – I think – wow… What could I do with this. Its great. I can’t write like that. They are so smart – witty – funny – scary… Whatever…

And then – I finish.

And I have the same feeling most movie goers have. Wow. That didn’t pay off. What did that have to do with anything? Why wasn’t that set up better… And you see what you can bring to the table. And you start to break it down to see how you would go about putting it back together again… And in my case – you go out and watch all the movies that did it better and try to find a way to make this one different and appealing. And find how to take that magic from the first 40 and sustain it.

You bring yourself to the process. Your life – your experiences – your “take.” Cause there is only one you. No matter how you try to hide from it, you are all you’ve got….Dig down and try to find the way that you can make this thing uniquely yours….

And… If you are me…

You find somehow, somewhere to squeeze in a little anal rape…

Cause everybody needs a calling card.

How to get an agent

31 May

Are you sitting there thinking:

You know what would really make a difference?  What would get me over the top?

It would be having an agent.  That guy/girl would change everything.  Tomorrow, the sun would come up and everyone would finally recognize my genius – because this guy/girl has put my script in just the right hands and now I sit back and collect the checks.

It’s a great dream.

I dreamed it.  I’m still dreaming it.  But as a great man once said – Wish in one hand, spit in the other and see what fills up first.

Let me put this out there right away:

An agent is great.  An agent is helpful.  But the biggest thing an agent does is help you once you have something going.

There are pages and pages devoted to query letters, conferences, blind script drops – anything to get yourself read.  Its so hard to make it in this business and we are always looking for the silver bullet.  We write for an industry that hates to read.  How crappy is that?  To get someone to read your script is only complicated by the fact that for every good script – there are a thousand awful ones.  No one sits down to read something thinking its gonna be good.  And to actually like something – you have to put yourself on the line – so its hard.  And we all think that the best way to navigate through this sh*t storm is to have an agent.

Yes and no.

Let me tell you how it worked for me.

I wrote a script.  I did it so I could direct it.  I raised a million dollars to do it.  I got it to a producer through a friend and he gave it to a second unit director.  The second unit director gave it to a BIG STAR.  BIG STAR said he’d do it, if second unit director became director on my script.

I said no.

Second unit director gives it OTHER STAR – who also wants to do it.  I agree to step down as director and stay on as writer/director.  Suddenly – the script is in play with major talent aboard.  I am getting all sorts of calls from all manner of bottom feeders and foreign investors who want to do crazy things with my script – like pay me $500,000 to take my name off it and put an Italian writers name on.

An assistant at Lion’s Gate reads the script and likes it.  He calls me and tells me so.  He asks me if I have an agent – I say no.  He recommends one to me.  They have me come to a meeting at the agency.  They tell me nice things.  They are nice guys.

I say yes.

I get an agent.

They send my script out – and it goes around the town.  I have no idea how many people actually read it or not – but I do get a lot of meetings.  Two weeks worth.  Two or three a day.  And I get some traction out of it.

So yes.  An agent is really worth it.  When you have something people want – or heck – if only one person wants, but its a person that people are listening to – you are a hot commodity.  And people want to see that.  And your agent can capitalize on that.

But when you’re not hot?  Not so much.

Eventually my film fell apart.  The BIG STAR and the OTHER STAR went and left the project together to go do a giant $150 million dollar film – and I was left at the altar.    And what have my agents done since then?

Not a hell of a lot.  But that’s not their fault.  Its mine.  That script was my first.  Since then – I’ve written 3 or 4 scripts – but not things that are super marketable.  I’ve only given them one script – and it never went out.

SIDE NOTE:

I have a good friend – let’s call him Ryan, cause his name is Ryan.  Ryan is a model of what a good writer should be.  He writes.  A lot.  It seems like he has a new script every couple of months.  He writes so much – even I have trouble keeping up with reading what he puts out.  And he is good.  Getting better each script.  After his second script – Ryan sent our query letters.  He had a short optioned on Ink Tip – and had the two scripts.  He got a couple of requests back for the script – and one of them turned into his agent.  Since then, he’s written 4-5 more scripts and his agent has sent them out.  He’s gotten meeting based on one of them – and he keeps going.  Just like a real writer should.  Follow his lead.  This is how it works.

In my 20 years at failing on the edges of this business – here’s what I’ve learned:

How to make it in the film business

1. Know somebody.

Have your dad be Spielberg.  Or Katzenberg.  Or Cameron or Ford… or somebody.  Or rich.  Or be best friends with someone who knows them.

Sad reality – even if you know them, and even if you could get a project in front of them – it has to be good.  Not just good – it needs to be great.  Or you won’t go anywhere.  But at least you get read.

2.  Get Lucky/Be a genius.

You could argue I got lucky with my script.  I would argue different – sitting here eating take out pizza instead of caviar.  But the people who cut through the noise and somehow write one script and now are hailed as brilliant are one of two things: lucky or geniuses.  Diablo Cody wrote a blog for years before she was tapped to write a script which won her an Oscar.  Her next film didn’t do well – but no one is arguing that she can or can’t write.  She can write.  There are plenty of others who write one script and disappear.  Just like in music.  One hit wonders.  There are those who can capture light in a bottle for whatever reason one time only and then go away.  They might get paid for more – but that was their shot.

I’d love to be a genius – but I’d settle for lucky….

3. Hard freaking work.

Day in day out.  Write write write.  If I had more than one project when I got my agents – I might not be the sad pathetic bitter man I am today.  With writing – each project is your first.  Your last increases or decreases your chances of being read again – but your present project is judged on its own merit each and every time.  You need to keep writing because – A. you get better each time and B. it increases your odds of making it.  And each day you wake up is a chance to do it again.  Day after day – wash rinse repeat.

And then an agent can help.  He can negotiate.  And get you more money.  Cause when others are interested in you – your agent loves you.  Nothing makes him happier that to not have to sell you – but instead make those who want to buy you fight it out.

Until then – it’s just work.

So how do you get an agent?

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice.

And an Agent?  Writing.  Getting better.  Having more scripts to go out with.

And then do the other things.  Get  your friends to read your stuff.  Get a writers group.  Send query letters.  Try to find friends of friends in the industry.  Get them to read it.  Be a pest.  But not too much of a pest.  Enter contests.  Win contests.  And eventually – you’ll get your stuff to someone who knows someone – and if its good enough – an agent will come.

And then the world is still not your oyster.  It’s still the same.  You still write.  And wait.  And hope and pray.  And keep writing.

But you’re one step closer.

Now all you gotta do is keep climbing.

staring into the abyss

27 May

There’s a guy I played basketball with.  Let’s call him Johnny Wordell.  Cause that was his name.  Johnny Wordell.  Johnny was older – and short.  Like 5’5 probably.  With a Super Mario Brother’s mustache.  He was nice.  In good shape.  Fast.  But not the best player.  Not bad – but not the best.  If he missed a shot and you had the ball – you could guarantee that he was going to be running up behind you like a freight train and would take you out at the knees.

But here’s the thing:

Every now and then – through some bizarre chance of fate – the stars would line up and Johnny would hit a 3.  Or make some amazing behind the back pass.  You would think that would be great – Johnny having a good night – and if you were on his team – you’d be thankful.

Just the opposite.

Hitting the three – making the between the legs pass – these things only encouraged Johnny to be a little more reckless.  Try that pass again.  Take a half court shot.  All night you’d be chasing bad passes and ridiculous bricked shots.

This is how the spec sale works for writers.

It’s a lottery ticket.  Think of it that way.

Read this brilliant post from Carson Reeves:

http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-bad-scripts-sell-and-why-it.html

The hard part of making it in this business?  It takes work.  Lots of it.

The hard part of not making it in this business?  It takes work.  Lots of it.

Nothing different in step one or two – just the stars lining up.

More often than not – breaking in is a lot like that Johnny Wordell behind the back pass that makes it to your teammate and he hits the shot.  It’s a one in a million thing.  Everything was perfect – and you slipped through the cracks.  Having the talent to stay there is where the rubber meets the road.

I believe if you stay in this game long enough – everyone can get read.  By friends, by agents, by stars.  But being able to produce past that one script that get you attention – there’s the rub.

How many professional screenwriters can you name?  More than you have fingers?  Why do you think that is?

I wrote my script to direct it myself.  It is full of a lot of the things that books tell you not to do.  It might make a reader fall off his chair.  I wrote it full of notes on how I was going to direct it.  It wasn’t meant so much for others to read.  But they did.  And it got noticed.  And it got stars attached.  And multiple studios.  And a director.  And I got an agent and took lots of meetings and did takes on other projects.

Like winning the lottery.

One producer told me he thought my script was great.  I said – Really?  Cause I think it’s just OK.  Its genre.  It’s written to be what it is.  I wanted something a bit splashy and attention grabbing that could be done on the cheap.  He responded by saying:

I read a couple hundred scripts a year.  This is better than 99% of the stuff that comes across my desk.

I said:  You must get some pretty crappy scripts then.

SIDE NOTE:  do not follow my path.  If I’ve learned anything, telling the truth doesn’t work in Hollywood…

Bottom line:

Things get bought and things get made – and really, there is no accounting for taste.  The stars line up, you know somebody, a star is looking to play a hooker, someone somewhere thinks that there’s money to be made in a movie about turning people into human centipedes… whatever.  This is life.  It’s not fair.  It’s not like a race where the fastest wins.

There are a million writers more talented with more scripts out there than me.  Was it unfair that my script waded through the piles and got attention?  YES.  If it makes you feel any better – its been read and rejected by more companies than I knew existed.

What does it mean for you?

Same as it does for me.  Nothing.  You are your path.  The way you get there is not complaining and whining. (Oh if that were true!  I would be KING!)  It is by writing.

Put your head down.  Ass to seat.  Fingers to keys.  And get better.  If not better, than more prolific.  Sometimes volume beats talent.  And the more you write, the better you get.

And when you’re not writing – make friends with rich people.  And people who know people in the business.  Cause sometimes, its better to be lucky than talented.

Go.  Do it.  And stop looking at the guy next to you.  The only guy holding you back is you.

The Next Step

25 May

There’s always the next step.

The problem with filmmaking – as in life – you never reach the top.  Let me put it another way – there are ten million people on the same set of stairs as you – all trying to reach the top.  Each one of them thinks they are one or two steps away.  But each step they climb reveals more steps.

Except for those people at the top.  They taunt and tease us.  Some of those people only had to climb 4 or 5 stairs.  Some of them climbed a hundred.  A thousand.  For each of us, the journey is different.  And that’s what sucks.

To make it in film, you can’t follow a path and be successful.  It’s not that simple.  There are schools – but that doesn’t mean you’ll make it.  You can work your way up – but it doesn’t mean you’ll make it.  You can have famous parents – and that certainly helps – but it doesn’t mean you’ll make it.

In film, there is not really a version of the guy that plays the coffee-house once a month and calls himself a musician.

There’s made it – and not made it.

Sure – there are a lot of people who exist on the fringes of the business.  Even a wedding photographer is a photographer.  But it’s not what we all are here for is it?  We have a burning desire to tell our stories.  To get our films out there.  But how can we do it when the dream we chase is so elusive?

9000 films were submitted to Sundance this year.  200 got in.  Maybe 10 get distributed.  That’s 8990 broken dreams.  And of the 10 that made it – let me ask you:  What’s the last Sundance film you saw?  That you remember?

Orson Wells said:  To paint, you need paint and a canvas.  To make movies, you need a bank and an army.

This is not easy – what we strive for.  Which is why so few make it.

Even when you’re a successful screenwriter – when you’re making more than 1 million dollars a year – it seems you write more things that don’t make it to the screen than things that do.  There are millions of scripts are written each year.  And while more movies are getting made now than ever – that’s a lot of scripts that are sitting around collecting dust.

Like mine.  Like yours.

Everywhere you go, everything you read,  says “write a great script – and the doors will open.”  If every movie that was made had a great script – I might be more inclined to believe this – but it seems like “write a crazy blockbuster script that defies logic, is based on toys from the 80’s and has a hot girl in it” might be a better path to take if you want to make it.

Here’s what I know.

You can’t control anything in this business.  Insecurity and confusion is the oil and gas that make this car run.

So what do you do?

Your best.

Each day you wake up and try to put words to paper and story to script and emotion and character to film and hope that someone out there sees what you see and they pull you up to the top of the stairs.

Here’s my path to success:

Desire to be a filmmaker

Start making short films

Go to film school and get masters degree

Make a film

Win numerous awards in over 15 festivals

Sit back and wait for offers

No offers

Start to grip on commercials

Move to art direct commercials

3 years after film – someone finally offers me a job.  Cutting down 100 episodes of a bad sitcom into a 10 minute clip reel.

hired to direct commercials

hired to produce documentary series

hired to produce/direct documentary series

hired to direct bad drama series

write my own script

raise 1 million dollars to shoot it

try to get 1 million more

end up with two major stars attached and film greenlit at 10 million dollars.  with a start date.

stars leave to do 120 million dollar film

get job doing infomercials

keep writing

The next step?

…to be continued.

It’s a long way to the top of the stairs.  Or its a short way.  Problem is we’ll never know.  Unless we stop climbing.

Why should you care?

18 May

There are so many people out there that say they are writers.  So many who pretend to be writers.  So many who try to be writers.  So many who write, but are not writers.  Sometimes I’m not sure where it is that I place myself.

But I do write.  Not often enough.  Not well enough.  But I do write.

I have a script that has made the rounds.  It started as something for me to direct.  Went to a smaller producer who is now a really big producer.  Was bounced around.  Had two big name stars attached, was picked up by three different independent studios, was green lit – and then completely fell apart.

Twice it has been back in play.

Twice more it failed to go anywhere.

In between, I got agents for my writing.  They are not with the top three agencies – but they are in the top 5.  I also have a manager.  I made the rounds with two weeks of meetings – and got to do numerous “takes” on different projects – but nothing took.

Now my script is  – well – hot is not the word I would choose – maybe lukewarm is the better choice.  One of the original actors is now represented by my agency and they have decided to package the project and get it out there again.

That started by us making a list of potential directors – myself NOT included.  We picked three and sent it out -and got three rejections.  Now we are making another list… but other things are going on behind the scenes.  Machinations that I am not privy to – but am told they are in my best interests…. we shall see – but truthfully – I don’t feel much is done in my best interests…

There is so much wrangling that goes on to get a script to screen.  Its silly.  I spent two years of my life pushing this – at one point I raised 1 million dollars to direct it – but then we got big names and suddenly had a 10 million dollar film – with me producing.  The money was there, the film was greenlit – and then…

nothing.

So back to the workforce for me.  Directing commercials.  Working.  Feeding my family.  And trying to write something else.

And not doing so well.

I’m great at jumping in – horrible at finishing.  I love to find myself 80+ pages into a script and realize I have no idea where I’m going.  And no idea how to get out.

Now I’m in the middle of a thriller and am trying to extricate myself from the knots I’ve tied myself and my characters in.  I always think – one day, I’ll learn how to get myself out of this – but it doesn’t seem like I do.

So there you go.

I’ve been making a living in this business for 20 years.  I’ve shot over 100 hours of TV, over 100 commercials – and yet the only agent I get is for writing – and only one script of mine has ever gone out.  And its been floating around for 4 years threatening to get made.  When I stop complaining and look at how lucky I’ve been – I realize I’m quite blessed.  But somehow – I still feel like the guy who hasn’t accomplished much and is on the edge of having a career.

If only I was able to sit down and funnel all that rage and bitterness and disappointment into a great and powerful script.

Instead –  here I sit looking out the window.

Avoiding writing.

So I ask why should you care?

Well – learn from me.  From my mistakes.  From the missteps I’ve taken.  I pledge to give you nothing more than unbridled honesty and painful insight.  I can show you the road not to take – the thing not to say – the way not to handle yourself.

I do bad so you don’t have to.

Sit back and watch me sabotage what little of a career I have.  Its all fun and games while I get hurt.

Enjoy….

When to write

18 May

I like to write when the time is perfect.

Not one second before – and truthfully – not one second later.  It only works when the time is perfect.

When is the perfect time?

Good question.  I struggle with that everyday.

Usually – it’s after I have done everything else.

Cleaned the house.  Finished the to do list.  Run errands.  Read every book in the house.  Taken a shower.  Gone to the bathroom.  Twice.  Looked at every website that has every existed.  Started a new website.  Gone to the gym.  Stared into space.  Taken a nap.  Walked the dog.  Talked philosophy with the wife.  Made a list of my shortcomings. Made a list of reasons to start writing.  Made a list of lists.  Cried.  Watched TV shows I’ve never heard of.  Played legos with my son.  Fought with my daughter.  Talked to my dog.  For hours.

Then – if the inspiration is there….

I write.

Not too long – cause it might become a habit.  Not too short – although – when writing – how much is too short?  I consider each sentence a victory…

And then I feel so good.  So good,  I spend the rest of the week celebrating how great it was to write something a week ago.  I think about how nice those scenes turned out – and how proud I am that I pulled some crazy conflicted scene out of my tired beat down brain – and I rejoice all week…

Until the dread returns that its time to write again.

Now all I have to do is wait for the perfect moment….