Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Screenwriting Group

The last time we talked, I mentioned setting up an invite-only online screenwriting group.

I'm happy to report that things have gone off without a hitch.

All but one person accepted the invitation to join the group - and we just had our first meeting this past Sunday.

We're starting as a small group, only ten people - so that we have a solid foundation to build upon. There were a few others I wanted to invite, and several people emailed me to join - but I think starting small is the way to go for something like this. Any bigger and we'd be risking a chaotic start.

The group is really, really solid - and everyone involved is quite talented and a go-getter.

We'll be reviewing scripts every other week, and on alternate weeks I'm going to be asking special guests to join us (readers, pros, and so on), so we'll see how that goes.

I really think it's going to be a fun and fruitful experience for everyone involved.

Anyway, that's about it - tonight was the season premier of Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, not to mention episodes of Californication and Weeds - so I have a lot of Tivo to watch.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Big News

While I'm still busy with the work, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about something that's been brewing.

I'm putting together an online screenwriting group.

Annabel and I are working on the domain, website, forums, and so on as we speak - and they should be done in a few weeks.

As for the group itself, it's going to be invite-only. I'm beginning to send out emails to the people we have in mind this week, and we only have a limited amount of space and most slots filled out.

For the time-being, it's people we already know (whether through various blogs, forums, or in person) and all the slots have been allocated.

But in the off-chance you think I may have forgotten you, or would like to throw your name in the hat for future consideration - drop me a line and let me know.

That's about it for now - I'll have more info on the group, the website, and all that at a later date.

For now, I need to get back to slaving over some ad buys.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Still Alive

Just a quick note that I'm still alive.

Been working lots with the client I took on for the month - they're riding me. Hard.

Haven't written, sadly - but enjoying the time off from thinking about writing.

I do have some stuff to talk about - so stay tuned this week as we explore the awesome that is David Duchovny in the new series Californication.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ladybugs & Vomit

It's getting fucking depressing around here.

At first, I was bummed about turning 30 (which you've heard me bitch enough about by now). Then, I was bummed because both my parents and my girlfriend had planned vacations over the long weekend.

That's right. The woman whose vagina I came out of, and the woman whose vagina I go into - BOTH decided to be out of town. On my fucking birthday.

Needless to say, I was one heroin addiction from going all Owen Wilson on myself.

But a funny thing happened as I posted my depressing six month recap...

At four in the morning, on a day of what can only be described as smoldering weather here in Los Angeles - in my smoke-filled office - as I clicked "Publish Post" to put up my recap... a ladybug started walking across the top of my monitor.

I shit you not.

Right on top of my monitor, when I was feeling my worst - a little bit of happiness walked across my screen.

Now I'm not really one to believe in signs or superstitions. I never wore the same underwear because they were my lucky pair, and I never not washed my jock strap just because we won a football game while I had it on.

Still, this was a nice surprise. I couldn't help but be a little touched.

So, I decided to suck it up and go out with some friends and celebrate my birthday. After all, it would be downright morose of me to still be depressed after that touching little moment with an insect.

If nothing else, I could drink until I puked all over myself.

And out we went. To the wonderful world of Oz.

And by Oz, I mean a strip club.

Not a nice strip club, either. The kind of strip club where you wouldn't be surprised if a roach climbed out of the strippers hooch and did a pole dance as part of her act. The kind of dirty, stinky, seedy strip club that you actually have to drive out of your way to find.

It was like being home again.

Up to my old shenanigans, I felt like a kid again. A kid with a huge boner.

The night wouldn't have been complete, though - unless right in the middle of a lap dance, as a dirty, dirty naked woman is grinding all over my crotch - my girlfriend calls to tell me that she cut her trip short to surprise me. The only way this call could have come at a more inopportune time was if I were balls deep in this dirty, dirty woman.

With one hand cupping a slice of silicon heaven, I answered the phone anyway to let her know where we'd be in half an hour.

"You don't want me to just meet you at the strip club?"

What the fuck? Did she have a nanny cam installed in this chick's nipple? I inspected the nipple further.

"Where else would they be playing Motley Crue, dickhead?"

She had a point.

You haven't lived until you've had your girlfriend walk into one of the dirtiest, nastiest strip clubs in town - take one look at the place - and ask for a paper towel to put on the seat before she sits down on it.

"I am not fucking you tonight if you get a lap dance from her," was heard several times throughout the evening.

Overall, it was a really great time. We drank until the wee hours of the morning, I remembered what it was like to not be such a whiny bitch, and I managed to squeeze in a few lap dances from women the girlfriend wasn't totally repulsed by.

And I did end up puking, but it wasn't all over myself.

It's all about the small victories.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Six Month Recap

Here we are, six months into my little plan. That means time for another recap.

I've got to be honest with you - these last three months have gone by a lot quicker than the first three did, and I was a lot less productive with my time.

Here is the recap.

  • Not A Prodigy

If you remember, at the tail end of my first three months, Annabel and I had finished our first spec and were getting feedback from various friends. I honestly thought we would hit it out of the park on our first try.

Turns out, that didn't happen. I wasn't a prodigy after all.

The good news was that it wasn't a complete failure. I made some great contacts, and learned a lot during the process. Lessons we would hopefully incorporate into the next script.

  • Wrote a Short

I was having a bit of writer's block and thought that perhaps a small exercise would help get me back into the groove of writing.

It did.

I set up a short exercise on the Artful Writer Forums, and my entry (Fly Ball) received quite a bit of praise. While very flattering, more than anything, the feedback served more to remind me that maybe I can write after all.

  • The Query Letter Game

Before I came to the realization that I wasn't, in fact, a prodigy - I sent out over 200 query letters to various agents and managers to get them to read our first spec.

I got a whopping two read requests. Neither of whom I ever heard back from.

In retrospect, this was a good thing. The script wasn't ready, and we were better off not getting the reads. Still, the indifference was shocking. I was beginning to yearn for some sort acknowledgment that I existed - even if it was rejection.

  • My First Contest

Just before I dove head-first into query letters, I sent off our script to the Austin Film Festival. I may have missed the Nicholl deadline, but fame and glory would be mine in Texas.

We received our rejection letter from Austin just this past Friday. We didn't even make the second round.

I never liked Texas anyway.

  • The New Spec

This one would be much better than our first attempt. Guaranteed.

We had a killer idea for our second spec, but were having trouble finding the story. It was like having a word on the tip of your tongue, but not being able to say it.

After several weeks of brainstorming, we finally hit the nail on the head. We had our story.

And it was great. We started outlining like madmen, and loved every second of it.

  • I'm an Undisciplined Primadonna

Annabel turned in her first draft to me several weeks ago, but I've been dragging my feet getting my part of the work done.

It's a really great concept and deserves more of my attention, but between the realization that I wasn't God's gift to screenwriting and my looming 30th birthday, I couldn't focus on the task at hand.

So more than anything, the last three months have taught me that I can't always just sit around and wait for inspiration - and that even when I can't seem to focus or am uninspired, I just need to sit down in my chair and force myself to write.

  • Turning 30

Today, September 3rd, is my 30th birthday. I'm officially old.

It's been a tough three months with this birthday looming over my head. Beyond just being an immature fuck who never saw himself turning 30, there's been a lot of internal pressures associated with this birthday.

I never thought I'd be taking a year off to pursue a new career at this age. I thought I'd already have one that I loved.

I never thought I'd be breaking up with yet another girlfriend at this age. I thought I'd be married with children.

No house. No white picket fence. No American Dream.

The reality of all this has sat pretty heavily with me.

I'm dealing with it.

  • Looking Forward

As you can see, the last three months haven't been as productive as the first three were.

Such is life. I can only learn from my mistakes and work harder from here on forward.

But on Friday I got a call from a former advertising client of mine, asking for my help with a new product launch they have coming up. It would only be for one month.

Taking into consideration how out of sorts I've been and the extra financial cushion this would provide me, I've decided to take a month off from writing and agree to help them with their launch. Who knows, doing a quick bit of advertising work might help me remember why I decided to pursue this career change in the first place.

I'll still be blogging, and it's only a month. So no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

More than anything, I hope I clear my head.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Dream Interpretation

Jesus. What a fucked up dream I just woke up from.

I'm at a Creative Screenwriting Q&A after the screening of the current script I'm working on. Not only was it optioned and produced, but the movie itself - the finished product - was met with raving success too.

A dream come true.

So, there sit Annabel and I, answering questions after the audience has just finished watching the movie. It's going really well.

And in the middle of the Q&A session, just as I have the crowd roaring with applause and laughter...

I cough up blood and die.

Right there on stage. No warning or nothing.

But here's the best part.

Seconds before I die, as I'm lying on the floor after having just coughed up blood - I utter the words, "I knew this would happen."

Boom. Dead.

And of course, that's when I wake up.

Now I know most of you reading this are way smarter than I am, so maybe you have some opinions on what the hell that means.

And while you come up with theories on that dream, stay tuned this weekend as I have my six month recap to do, and a small announcement to make.