Monday, January 30, 2012

Waiting for a producer feels like in dog years

So I know producers are busy. I get that. And since what they love to do is juggle projects, then they always have more and more projects, which means more and more juggling. I get that too. But since as screenwriters, all we want to do is write and see our scripts get made and put onto the screen, then we really have one focus: which is to get our script made. So when a producer says, hey, we're going to lunch this month, or I'll call you this week. Then we go okay, that's cool. Talk to them super soon. Super duper soon, in fact. And then we don't hear from them. And then they say, sorry, we'll set it up soon -- again. And then we wait, and it doesn't happen. And to us, it's like where in the world are they?! What could possibly be more important than meeting with me? I'm a nice writer. I bathe. But to them, they're sooooo busy on project A, and then project B is picking up, and then project C all of a sudden comes back. And they have nooooo idea we're over here going, what happened to that producer?! Oh, the agony of waiting. I get it. I'm keeping myself busy. I check in with said producer every so often and hear back most the time. But sheeez,we just must be on different time lines. They're on dog years time, and we're on..."want to get produced now" time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Defeat doesn't have to be stinky

How do you keep on going when you feel defeated as a writer? It could be maybe a rejection letter from a contest. Or a "no thank you" from an agent of manager. Or seeing other writer friends who you're just as successful as move further ahead of you. There are many things that can just take the wind out of your sails. And not that I have any magic answer, there are things you can do to keep you going and not being so sad.

First of all, don't see the world as black and white. This is only one moment, not the end of your writing career. There are going to be times when you want to give up. But then the next day, wake up and remember, hey, I love writing, this can't stop me! Creative types tend to see the world as black and white. So you have to remember, there's a whole lot of gray in there. And just because one thing didn't happen to propel you to stardom, that doesn't mean the next day or next month, your success can't be just around the corner.

Secondly (I think there's more than one idea right?), there are always more things to learn. Perhaps a friend did better in a contest because his script really was a tad better. But that doesn't make you a bad writer. Maybe that next screenwriting book, or screenwriting class, is just the thing you need to get to that same level or even surpass that friend. There's so much screenwriting knowledge out there, just keep on learning. You're never done learning in this business. So the more you know, the better you'll get. And if you're not getting the success you want, then keep on learning till you do.

Thirdly, remember things are so subjective. Just because one manager turns you down. You don't know that the next one won't say, "yes, this is what I've been waiting for"! It's only one person that says no. And that one person can't stop you. Just keep knocking on doors till the right one opens up.

Fourthly, maybe it's just not your time. But that doesn't mean it's not coming up, sooner than you think. If you're persistent, you'll get there. You know you will. You feel it in every part of your soul. So that's why you became a writer!

So be sad for the day. You get only one day! Because the next day, you're going to pick yourself up, wipe yourself off, and continue to make strides until you reach that writing success you're looking for.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting out of the way of writing success

I know I was put on this earth to be a writer. I didn't always know that, but over the years when it became apparent, there was no turning back for me. And other writers would stop writing and be in awe that I knew with certainty. And I did. I just did.

And I can see now that every thing in my life has led me here, connected me to all the people I was supposed to meet. So that my life would play out the way it did. Now it didn’t just happen easily. I had to do the hard work myself. I had to take the journey. The journey of taking classes, and learning the craft, and being disciplined. I did all the sweat and toil. And at any time I could have stopped or given up. But then I would have been the one who missed out on what I was put here on earth to do. Write.

And even though many times I had wished the success would have happened sooner. I am realizing and seeing that it’s all unfolding as it should. Because now I can see, the people who were to help me, or I was to meet, weren’t ready or weren’t lined up in my life yet. Heck, one of the people reading my scripts now didn’t even live in LA before a few years back. And I just because friends with his wife this year, who gave her husband my scripts. So none of that could have happened sooner. And even another producer, he just met the producer he sent my script to. And even the writer I pitched with this year, we weren’t friends before this year. And that’s the idea we got to three producers. So it took all that time for all of these things to line up just right.

So when we wish for success to happen and it doesn't, we have to realize, there are so many things that are happening that we can’t possibly understand that the universe is taking care of. But there are things in life, the universe, that are pushing us towards success, building the steps and connections to get us there. But it's up to us, to keep working hard on our talent, and keep moving forward. And when we do, the success will come as it should and on the time line it should. The key for us is to be patient while it’s all unfolding. And until that happens, write another script.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Producer keeps me hanging

So my lunch with the producer has been put off again! This is the second time. And I don't blame the guy. I know they get busy. But I've been nervous about it each time. I feel like my emotions get all rattled when I think it's happening and then smashed and dashed when it doesn't. Maybe it's better. By the time we actually do meet I won't even be expecting it so I'll be all nonchalant about it. "Big producer blah blah blah. Works with huge stars, blah blah blah." Maybe that's the best way to be. I mean, I always knew I should be more calm and okay about it. But that's easier said than done sometimes. So at least this way, now maybe I will feel that way.

And I always knew that once we started our lunch meeting I'd feel fine about it too. He's a nice guy. And I felt super comfortable with him when we pitched to him in his office. I instantly felt at ease. I knew it was just the leading up to it that I got nervous about. I guess because it's a real opportunity and it's him wanting me to write something for him, instead of me pitching to him and hoping he'll buy something. So why should I be nervous about that?! I guess on paper I shouldn't. But again, easier said than done. Oh well. Now I have to wait to hear from him. Again. Until then, guess I'll finish my outline for my other comedy. I guess the good thing is, there's always something else to write, when you're a writer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Follow your dreams

So you want to be a writer huh? You want to follow your dreams? You know there are going to be a lot of people who look funny at you when they you tell them you want to be a writer. They'll take pity on you thinking you're some silly dreamer that needs to get a grip on life and should go get a real job. Well you know what I say to that? So what! We were not put on this earth to work in boring jobs and be miserable. Nope. We were put on this earth with a talent and to uncover that talent and follow our dreams. And if that dream is to become a writer, then do it. Ask any elderly person what they regret most, and that's not following their dreams. So do not be that person. Do not be that person that ends up in mid life crises panicked for going after a career but not being fulfilled.

Sure it will take sacrifices. Sure your friends might be traveling to exotic locals while you and your family have to have a staycation so you can afford to write. Sure your friends might live in a neighborhood you wish you could afford. Or perhaps they get to eat out at fancy sushi restaurants on a weekly basis while you're taking your family to Baja Fresh if you're lucky. Perhaps your computer isn't as new as theirs or your iphone isn't the latest model. But it doesn't matter! Because you're following your dream. And you're going to make it happen. And you're going to prove them all wrong by showing them following your dream can come true if you work hard enough.

Believe me, I've had maybe two friends that have supported me in my dreams. And those friends I cherish for that. And the others always kind of looked at me funny, like yeah right, you're going to succeed in this. But as I get closer and closer to success, guess what? They actually respect me now. And they say, "Good for you for working so hard for this." And one friend who was a huge TV producer, we have actually worked together on a few things now. And he definitely was one of those who kind of poo-pood me writing. And now he tells me, "You're a very talented writer." And it was so great to hear from someone who doubted me following my dream. There's nothing better proving it to those people. But that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it because I am a writer. I'm meant to be a writer. It's why I was put here on earth. So in honor of Martin Luther King day, which is today, follow your dreams. And make them come true.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

screenwriting events can get in the way of screenwriting

So a friend recently sent me a link to an event out in LA where some really interesting TV writers were speaking. Of course they were cool shows, great writers, and it all sounded really fun. Only for $10. What a great way to spend the night right? Well, I must say, I've kind of stopped going to see other writers speak about their great careers. I noticed that going to those things started to seem like a way not to write.

I know people always find things to get in the way of writing any way. Everyone's lives are busy. So adding anything, even if it's to inspire you, can just take away writing time too. Yes, of course, once in awhile is fine. But there are always so many of those, especially in LA, you really have to ask yourself, "Am I using this as an excuse to not write?" It might not feel like it, but it's funny how we can mask doing things for your writing that is not moving your writing forward.

At some point you have to take out the computer and actually write the script. Take the finished script and submit it to producers. Get what you create to come out on the screen. And anything that isn't moving that forward, has to be given up. It's the same in our stories, our characters always have to be moving forward right? So then, our career has to too. And if we're constantly having an episodic life, guess what, that's boring for us too! It might not seem like it from the outside. Sure you might see some way cool Hollywood writer talking about the way cool Hollywood actors in his show or movie. But again, do you want to just listen to a writer talk about it, or have that be you up there someday? I'm opting for the, "it being me up there" someday. And believe me, when it's my turn, I'm not going to do so many that I don't have time to write at that point in my career either.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freelance writing pays the bills

So I'm super close to having some amazing things happen with my screenwriting. But until that does happen, I need to make a living. So that means, looking for freelance writing gigs. Freelance copywriting jobs to be exact. I have been freelancing for years, but the reality is, it's kind of a lucky thing I have because I really haven't had to look for any of that work. In fact, when I started working again after I had my son, some ad friends called me up and almost begged me to come work for them, and it was from home. Since my son was still little, I wasn't sure I was ready to start working. But my husband saw the benefit of two paychecks, and said, "Uh, they're offering you money. How about try it?" And voila! I was back in the work force.

And I'm pretty lucky it happened that way. Because I got used to making money, and that second paycheck really did help out. Especially because my husband is a freelance music producer. So we never know when we're going to get paid by his clients. So having a weekly paycheck from me, works out pretty nicely.

So when that first gig ended, which lasted three long years, then I realized, wow, we really could use that extra money. So last year I started to put out feelers for freelance writing jobs, but barely did, and then got some jobs that lasted all year. Unfortunately, it ended right before the New Year and I'm left realizing, wow, we really do need that extra paycheck. So now I'm finally looking for real, for a job for the first time since we had our child.

I'm pretty resourceful, and looking for freelance isn't the worst thing in the world for me. Some people are not good at it, do not like it. I don't mind once I get the hang of it. And since I've worked in this field for over 10 years, I've built up a lot of contacts. So, if all goes well, I'll have some nice gig before I know it. And if my screenwriting turns out as wonderfully as it seems like it will this year, then I can move right into that when I'm ready.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ups and downs of writing

Monday I had some great screenwriting news. Tuesday it got put on hold till not sure when. Today had more great screenwriting news. But the freelance writing gig I had also disappeared. It's all ups and downs and sometimes it's more than I know how to handle it. I want to just focus on the great screenwriting stuff that's on its way. But sometimes the pressure of making money is more than I can handle. Argh! How does one just focus on the good, even when the stress of the unknown is too great to bear? Even went to yoga today. So you'd think I'd be the poster child for calm. But even that wasn't enough. I also worked out! But that's also not enough. Not sure what else I can do!

I guess it's just that great unknown that seems so scary. Not sure what's coming. I've started putting feelers out for more freelance gigs. So eventually something will turn up. It always does. So why wouldn't it this time? It's just the anticipation that's just too much. So in the mean time I'm reading someone's script and working on my own. I sure hope I can be funny when I'm stressed out!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Finding time for writing

I saw a writer recently write that no real writer goes to bed early, or something like that, because of the fact that they're writing so much they just can't stop. Well, I beg to differ. First off, that was a man that said that. And as much as there are equal rights in marriages, most marriages the women end of taking care of the kids more. It just is how it happens. Even if the guy does a huge share, which my husband does. But because of that, when you're a mom and a writer, you have to learn to write in a box of time. Time is definitely limited for a mom writer. But I've learned how to work in that box, and if anything, I think I've found how to benefit from it.

Being a mom, my child has been waking me up at around 6 am or earlier since he was born. And now with school, it's 6:15. Woo hoo, a whopping 15 extra minutes. So that means I need to get in bed by like 11 pm or forget it, I'm a zombie the next day. But that's okay, because I can write in whatever time there is in my life. I've learned I don't need a special time to write, like day only or night only or into the wee hours. If I only have 15 minutes in my day to write, then 15 minutes of great writing it will be.

Also, I don't feel boxed in to wait to have creativity strike me. I can be creative whenever that time slot is around. I know some people struggle to find that lightning bolt of inspiration. Who has time for that when you're a busy mom? I make that lightning bolt hit when I want it to hit. So I guess you could say I'm in charge of my creativity. Which you know, I think is pretty darn cool.

Also, I'd read somewhere that it's really good to end your writing each night with something great to write the next day. That way the next day you're not stuck staring at a black page wondering what to write. So since I'm on a timeline of when I'm writing, I always have something great to start off with the next day. I always know that the next night I sit down to write, I'll have it!

So, maybe some people have the luxury of writing whenever they want. But I doubt that's the average writer. And as long as you're writing every day, or at least almost every day, then eventually you'll have a finished piece of work by the end of the year. And in the end, that's all that matters. It's not when you write that matters. It's as long as you do.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I'll have mine black

So today was a coffee out in the desert with this huge executive producer. He's actually friends with my step-dad, and has become a mentor of sorts of mine. Months ago he told me next time I was out visiting my parents, to come have coffee. So today was that day. Never really had alone time with him, so wasn't sure if we'd have much in common. But it went really smoothly and he was a very nice guy. It was really exciting being able to talk about movies with someone who loves the business just as much as me. That's when you realize getting into this business, with other people who have the same passion, is all about being with like-minded people.

He was very excited for me for all my successes that are starting to unfold. Gave me advice on what to expect. It was super awesome having his ear. Even gave me some advice on the movie I'm hoping I produce. He told me to let him know how my meeting goes with the producer I'm going to be writing with this month.

He even told me he wants me to write a comedy book with him! Who would have thought? He was supposed to write with this huge comedy writer, but she sold a show and is busy traveling the country now performing her stand-up. So wow, what an opportunity! He's going to send me what he would like to have in it and see if I'm interested. It could be a great opportunity, because he knows everyone in the business. So you never know what could become of it. So why not?

And we left parting with him saying, "Let me know when you become that big writing star!" Yes! Hopefully that's this month! But it just goes to show, you never know what kind of relationships can grow and what they can become. If you have the ability to nurture a relationship like that too. I recommend it. I've always read in books on screenwriting or any success to get a mentor, to call one up out of the blue and ask them to be that for you. I never had the guts to call a stranger. But I'm glad I have this man. And I never bothered him much. Maybe once or twice a year, when I'd have a new script, ask him if he'd like to read it, or just check in with him and let him know how my career was advancing. But that's the way to nurture this kind of relationship. You don't throw yourself upon these busy successful people. There's some people who are new to this business and go overboard with these types of people and then blow their contacts. But if it's casual, and not intrusive, there's no harm in keeping up with them as you rise in your success. And then someday, you just may see them offering you an exciting writing opportunity too!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The new black

So I'm reading the black list scripts. I think I mentioned them earlier, for those who don't know what they are, they're the ones the industry has deemed their favorite scripts. The industry has a voting system and pick their top faves. Somehow every year I don't seem to find time to read them. Guess with my son a little older, it's a little easier this year. So I'm reading a comedy now, which is what I write. And it sure is fun reading and seeing a writer play around with the genre and format. I don't know about most writers, but I don't feel threatened by good writing, it just inspires me. I have a feeling some writers get intimidated by that. Maybe they don't. But for me, it really opens up what I feel I can do next time.

You always hear, the more scripts you read, the better writer you become. And I think getting a hold of the black list scripts does just that. So if you don't have the luxury of reading them yourself, just read scripts of movies you like. Even the ones you don't! Because those can be a learning lesson on what not to do too! I know I sure learned that lesson being a judge in a screenwriting contest last year!

And reading other people's good and bad scripts, you just might learn a thing or two. Or three. Or four...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

writing 365 days a year

So it's the new year and you've probably made a lot of vows to write more. I didn't make any vows for writing because truthfully I'm kind of where I want to be for the New Year. I'm more just waiting for meetings to see how it all unfolds. But I sort of ended up making a vow, without even meaning to. I got an email from The Writers Store vis Script Magazine and it included a downloadable piece of paper with 365 boxes you could check off, one for every day you write. Since I can't figure out how to include it in my blog, all you really need is an excel document with 365 boxes to mark off.

The whole point is that you're supposed to x off each box, without having any blank spots without x's. I love that! I've always been a hard working writer and always write about 5 days a week; I always felt writing every day was too much, well, my husband did! LOL But when this came, I thought it was the most awesome thing ever! So I decided to start yesterday. My son was home and playing with my husband, so I thought, why not now? I didn't even think I'd write much, since it was the middle of the day and when my son's home he usually wants my attention for something. But I figured any little bit is better than nothing. And you know what? I got a lot of writing done and my son didn't come in for quite some time!

And then, at night, instead of curling up with a movie or script to read and analyze, I decided to finish writing. It was great. I got so much headway on the outline for my latest comedy. And I really don't think I would have done it without this chart. So, I'm going to share it with you. It really was a great incentive to start off the new year writing just right.

Now the article talks about how this was Jerry Seinfeld's idea. So thank you Jerry! It's a great idea. And the article also talks about how it doesn't matter what you write. But truthfully, I think it matters because it has to be what you really hope to have a career in. Because I blog, but that's not my career focus. So when I blog, it's just fun. But screenwriting is where I hope to make a living. Blogging is just an extra writing thing for me. Gosh, I'm an ad writer, I do that almost every week. That doesn't count in my book at all as my daily writing, because that's the career I'm trying to get out of. So be sure your daily writing is really your focus and your passion and not just some excuse to not write the thing you really love. That's at least my two cents.

But use it to really start the year off right

. I think you may just surprise yourself.