WilderWorks

Dec 23, 2004

Very Early Indeed

My most recently completed feature-length screenplay, A Darkling Plane, has been chosen as a Quarter-finalist in the first round of contests it was submitted to. In particular, the American Screenwriting Competition, sponsored by Hollywood Scriptwriter Magazine and Flat Shoe Entertainment. It represents the top 5% of those screenplays submitted.

Now, this is very early indeed, and the likelihood that it will progress is very slim, particularly since this was the original draft. However, it is rare that Quarterifinalists are "published," even online, and because it has been published, online, it makes for an excellent addition to my resume, joining Intelligence, Blaring Static, and Occult Blood amongst those scripts of mine that have received some recognition.

Wish me luck, and here's the website.

American Screenwriting Competition Quarter-finalists.

Dec 22, 2004

Your Whole Life, Even Twice

Should you live your whole life, even twice, and do nothing else, you need never hear the same song twice, you need never read the same sentence again, nor view the same picture or painting for more than a moment, and neither film nor play nor episode nor even joke need ever be repeated to you: for you will not run out. Life is so very full.

Dec 9, 2004

Everything Up in the Air

I wrote an e-mail to inquire about the progress of the selection process on my LA internship. I received the following response:

I apologize for not getting back to you. The process has indeed been delayed. Everything is up in the air. As of right now, I'm not sure when we will have our new intern start. It might not be until after the Holiday. I will keep you updated. Thank you for your interest and persistence.

Jennifer Graff
Niad Management
3465 Coy Drive
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423


So, I'm taking visitors until January. I probably won't be sleeping much until then, so it's the perfect chance to bid Wilder good-bye, before he heads to Los Angeles in January, as the plan had always been.

Dec 5, 2004

Back from L.A.

My month away has come to a close.

The sad part is, it was freezing out west. Blistering, wind-burning cold. On my drive across the Mojave mountain pass, between Vegas and LA, I was trapped in snow. I-15 was closed off, with me on it, first at Primm, at the state line, and later at Barstow. A four hour drive became 18 hours, stranded in a snow-covered desert. Quite an experience, but I made it to the interview on time.

Now, I'm in an oddly unpleasant place between boredom and anxiety. I don't know whether to pull for or wish against the internship off Mulholand drive, where the girl wore a Grover tee-shirt. Winning it would mean a long-awaited step toward a career, a step away from Christmas decorations, skin biopsies, and patient charts, but it would also mean a sudden and too-expensive relocation to Los Angeles. As in - Thursday.

Losing the internship would mean incredible disappointment and self-doubt, and a future without any direction, and still, an expensive, if now more gradual, relocation to Los Angeles.

I fear that I will see none of my friends in the short while left before I travel to LA, no matter the time table. My friendships are all internet fantasies. Spammers show more loyalty. Promises are made to cross the digital divide, but no one can find the time to come through. Their lives are on track, and can't afford being derailed. I understand that.

I've considered throwing myself a going-away party. It would be quite a laugh.

***


Christmas is drawing near. It is, as always, my favorite holiday, but with it comes a timeless feeling of solitude and poverty. The lonely are lonelier at Christmas. The poor are poorer. Somehow, my previously perfect credit score has taken an inexplicable nose-dive, leaving me utterly unable to secure any new credit. With the massive expenses of relocation ahead, it's hard to imagine surviving, or even being approved for an apartment, without any credit. Money slurps away much faster than I can make it, even when I'm willing to travel the coutnry, slaving over costly decorations.

***


I lost $1.50 in Vegas. I won about $0.75.

Taking a shower one morning, two quarters fell from nowhere onto the bathtub floor. Clunk. Clunk. Were they stuck in my hair? Had I slept on them, and gotten them affixed to my back? Or were they magic quarters, destined to secure my future? I'll never know. The slot machines don't take coins anymore.

I'm thankful for a brief visit from Barb. I am thankful that I am home, and my puppy is here to keep me company, dirty as he is. He missed me, and he's still excited to have me back, even while I'm finding it hard to be glad I'm back.

Being away from home kept away the demons that taunt me to find a direction. Being back gives them trumpets.

***


Ben, the DP from Momentary Engineering has asked me to write a short film for him to produce. The requirements he set out are a bit daunting:

1. 5-15 pages, approx. 10 mins.
2. Action covers one complete event in continuous time; no flashbacks, flash-forwards, jumping around in time.
3. Minimal, if any, dialogue; no voice-over narration; I want the piece to be more visual than verbal.
4. Surprise/twist ending, something that completely blindsides the audience.
5. Some comedic overtones, even if the story isn't a full-on comedy; there are just too many dour, overly serious student films out there.


I've been wracking my brain, but his requirements concerning dialogue and time play directly against my strong-suits. He seems to be describing a Three Stooges short. But I'll give it my best shot, since I remain honored to be asked.

***


I'm also trying to write Storybook Park.

I've revised the first chunk down to 30 pages. With a few more tweaks, I'll be ready to move forward, but my passion is low. Low passion has become all-too common. It results from a lack of synergy.

I have a hard time convincing myself that writing has a purpose or a future for me. These stories are not shared with anyone. It's hard to work hard on something that is ultimately ignored. It's hard to put in months on a piece that gets an hour of discussion from those you know, and then is forgotten.

I feel the lack of a partner.

It's a dull, lingering feeling.

Nov 15, 2004

Boom!

Outside my window, a few blocks away, they just imploded the second section of the old Desert Inn.

Feels good. It's been such a fucking frustrating day, and I've been stuck in this room, where I can't throw or break a thing. Let the buildings collapse.

Until next time, keeping the anger alive, and having my eyes opened in Vegas,

Assembling Christmas Cheer

My mall decorating on the east coast is done. Every bone aches after two weeks of non-stop, all-night work. I'm cut and bruised. And buff, of course. My feet, objects of pain on even a normal day, have gone well beyond their customary donation of discomfort. My steps are like dragging bare bones, wrapped in raw nerves, like wreaths wrapped in twinkle lights, across rough concrete.

This is no common interior decoration job. This is heavy construction. Fifty foot cranes. Twenty foot scissor lifts. Scaffolding and power tools. Ornaments of welded steel and chicken wire, big enough to stand in, heavy enough to crush you, hung from aircraft cable and chain.

The scale and expense of these decorations is mind-blowing. A crew of twenty works night after night to make hallways blink with lights, to build elaborate sets for elves and Santa pictures. The money. The time. The effort. The human experience. All for a massive project that will be laboriously dismantled, packaged, and lugged to storage, with trucks and freight lifts, in less than two months.

It seems as ephemeral and indulgent as a fireworks show - in which I'm a firework.

And yet, I'm told that this is nothing when compared to what is ahead. Vegas is the capital of overkill. All the malls together will not match the opulence and scale of the tacky monstrosities to be installed at Caesar's Palace and Forum Shops.

I never thought I'd say these things: I miss the sun; I dread the flight to Vegas, and even the stay; and somehow, most unbelievable of all, I feel more isolated now than during all my months in Millville.

This will be the longest month of my life, and all to finance a move to LA, all to watch the meager pay vanish in moving costs. Poof!

So temporary. So exhausting. So un-engaging. And so sad.

Nov 13, 2004

Landmark Mall, Alexandria, Virginia

Within spitting distance of the Pentagon...




Each side of this wreath
weighed 350 pounds...




Nov 9, 2004

Jersey Gardens, Elizabeth, NJ

Pulling out before visitors can arrive, and getting cancellations every day...
Welcome to North Jersey!








A stripper could dance inside these ornaments,
without movement impeded. Of course, the chicken wire
would cut the stripper to pieces, and the frequently
electrified steel cross-beams would probably knock
the stripper unconscious. Trust me.

This tree is 60ft tall.

More to come!

Nov 5, 2004

Park City, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country...









Oct 31, 2004

Prelude to Exodus

Today may be the last day of my present form of monotony, though I may exchange it for a worse one. Tomorrow, I will head off to join the seasonal staff of Center Court Displays, a little company that owns and installs Christmas decorations for malls and casinos. I will bebop around. During the days, I'll be staying in hotels they've provided, eating on their meal passes. Through the nights, I'll be hanging enormous Christmas decorations. Nocturnal Christmas installations for one month.

My schedule looks like this:

Monday, November 1st - Friday, November 5th:
Park City Mall, Lancaster PA.

Saturday, November 6th - Wednesday, November 10th:
Jersey Gardens Mall, Elizabeth NJ.

Thursday, November 11th - Sunday, November 14th:
Landmark Mall, Alexandria, VA.

Monday, November 15th:
Travel to Las Vegas.

Tuesday, November 16th - Wednesday, December 1st
Ceasar's Casino and Forum Shops, Las Vegas, NV

Thursday, December 2nd
Travel Home.

Somewhere in there, I will somehow find a way to contact the management company that's promised me an interview. That interview will take place in late November. To pursue that non-paying three-month internship, I will probably have to skip a couple days at the paid job I'm on, rent a car, and drive to Sherman Oaks, up in Los Angeles, CA.

The idea is very troubling. I won't know what hotels I'll be staying in until I get there. I don't know if there will be internet, or what my life will be like. I don't know when the interview will be. I don't know how they will take my exit, or how it will fit into my flight schedule. I don't know anything. All I know is the sort of people I'll have to spend my time with, having worked with some of them at the Amusement Piers in summers past - and I don't look forward to resuming their acquaintance.

I hope that the visitors, who've kindly offered to stop in, may actually come.

If, by some fluke, I actually get the internship, I would have to move immediately to LA, since it begins on December 13th. I'd be traveling out on the 8th of December, and who knows where I could find to live at such short notice.

So, this could very well be the end of this three-month period of my life, and the beginning of a very hectic, uncertain period indeed. I wish I could say that I felt more up to it.

For now, I'm going to give Bacon a bath.

Oct 23, 2004

Sleeping Muse

I'm having a very hard time finding motivation. I'm having a very easy time finding resistance. I'm repulsed almost by the act of writing. Looking forward to a month of hanging Christmas decorations, without a project to return to at the end of the day, or an idea to consume the hours during it, is not appealing at all.

Since, of late, the things I've been successful in writing have all been for production, I can only imagine that my reluctance still rests in my desire for interaction. Even now, two years later, it appears that Darwin's Kids has spoiled me. Before it, I had no problem losing myself in a project, even with only one interested party, even if that party was only me. Now, without feedback, without people waiting for the next draft, without dreaming about and debating over the production, I can't get through the surface.

My thoughts drift. My will is weak.

I've never felt in such a haze; I don't feel engaged. My old dependable obsession has left me. Where is the madness? Have I grown sane, and lost my work ethic as a result? Is it simply a phase, or has rejection and isolation beaten me down? I can't even focus on this entry, except to think that it is a dull list of complaints. The critical devil on my shoulder, always nearly mute, now out-screams the obsessive muse. She seems to be asleep.

Oct 18, 2004

Lithium Bromide

I am feeling wretchedly untalented this evening. In response to a bunch of screenplay synopses that I sent to a producer, who requested said synopses, I received the following message:

"It's hard to tell, based on your synopses, whether I would like to read the scripts or not. They could all go either way, be fascinating and brilliant, or somewhat bromidic. That can be a good thing, you make me curious, but people with little time, might put you back on the stack."

For those who aren't certain, here's what I think that means:

bromidic adj 1: dull and tiresome but with pretensions of significance or originality; [syn: corny, platitudinal, platitudinous]

To make myself feel less like a complete jerk, I did what I often do: I made a list of things I have accomplished. My list looked like this:



This is a very pretentious and, ultimately, silly list. I decided I had better start anew. So I've been working on a new short script. This is what I have so far:



And this is a picture of some e-mail I got:



I thought it was appropriate. This entry proves that I'm a big dick in action.

And, just to finish off my photo fun (which prevents me from having to write), here's a picture from explodingdog.com called stupidwords.



I'm off to smoke and wonder what became of everyone.

Oct 17, 2004

A Souvenir

Here is a souvenir from my little tiny road-trip up the east coast, through North Hampton and Amherst, through Boston and Salem, to a little Sheraton shaped like a castle, up in a town called Braintree.

Sep 27, 2004

I Like Saying "Tomb of Decay"

My first day attempting a strict new routine - one with coffee, and exercise, and writing - has been barely half successful. I vastly overslept, then immediately lost focus when I received an e-mail informing me that my new $600.00 miniDV camcorder would be rush-delivered to my apartment in Harlem. Where I don’t live.

Of course, I didn’t order the camcorder, so no problem. Except the identity theft.

Hours were spent on the phone, canceling the order, reporting the card in my hand “stolen.” All I can say is - FUCK THE POST OFFICE. They’ve managed to forward 1 out of every 35 pieces of my mail - at best. This has already cost me late fees and lost me replies from contests and producers. Now, it’s put my credit card bills in the hands of some creep that’s moved into my former residence, who’s ordering camcorders and merchandise from jessicalondon.com. FUCK THAT CREEP. AND FUCK THE POST OFFICE.

Most of all, fuck NEW YORK CITY. Just cause. May that dank, crowded tomb collapse in decay.

In the immortal words of Soul Coughing:
New York, New York
I won’t go back


To which, they add, in another tune:
In one way or another,
We are all going to Reseda,
Someday
To die.

Sep 25, 2004

Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Groom

Gabe and Gwynne were wed yesterday. I caught the garter but had no date; my lesbian accompaniment stood me up. Both of the bridesmaids were spoken for.

Afterward, I went to see Shaun of the Dead with Shaun and Michelle. I can't imagine why anyone would feel the need to keep making zombie movies after recognizing the existance of this excellent flick - but that seems to be Misplaced Planet's next indulgence, led by Benni's obsession and money.

As pointless as the exercise may be, particularly now, it would be more pointless to exclude myself. So, instead, I will attempt to wriggle my way into tackling the screenplay to Benni's story co-credit. I will try to face it as an amazing challenge (at this point, what the hell can be done to make a zombie movie unique, and in less than 15 minutes?). It will cost me only time, and, meanwhile, profit me experience, participation, and another ticket in the lottery of movie-making.

Besides, I can always use a pen-name.

I need a new one. Debrevis De La Fontes and Dmitri Deabler are getting old.

Sep 23, 2004

The Night Before the Night Before.

I've been making phone calls, pacing hands-free in the backyard. I wore a track in the grass and emptied a final half-pack of cigarettes. I smoked enough to make myself ill, and caught Stirling in a momentof drunken confession mania.

His rant was an odd balance for someone so inebriated. It sounded like a break-up from the, "It's not you, it's me," school. On one hand, he claimed to have given up film-making; on the other, he's pushing Mark D'Agostino's newest script on his boss for production, even if it lacks an ending. He said that I'd be successful and inspire the next generation of filmmakers and artists, but seemed to dismiss my work as pandering and shallow. He apologized for ditching Ladies and Gentlemen, but said he'd had different, political aspirations for it, aspirations that conflicted with mine and doomed the project. He apologized for not contributing to Momentary Engineering, but expressed his distaste for the script. He said he would've given $5000 if we'd gone with the other script (Twenty Feet Less Dead) - the script no one seemed to like - including him!

The repeated theme was that I should not listen to him, that he was a lead balloon, but also the King of New York. He said I had to escape the "intellectual" and arrogant East Coast, I had to stop him, Benni, Shaun, whoever, from holding me back.

What motivates these statements? Was it to pump my ego up big enough so I couldn't see around it and notice his dismissal of my work as just Hollywood tinsel? I have noticed.

Yet. Does he think he's not pretentious because he's called his own aims pretentious? If he sees what he is, calls a spade a spade, but holds onto his hand - does that not mean that he values a spade more? Is his adoption of the dismissive term "pretentious" not simply an attempt to speak "my" language? Does he not really mean, I am what you would call pretentious, and you are what I would call pandering. You belong on the West Coast where the air is light with whimsy. I belong in a New York tomb where the air is heavy with truth.

If so, is his calling me pandering, and thus bound for greatness, and himself pretentious, and thus bound for failure, not the most pretentious thing he could say? And, at the same time, the best way to excuse himself from the pursuit, without turning blame for that surrender onto himself? In the end, isn't this a way to exonerate himself of having abandoned these dreams, using creative differences to hide up the more significant difference in our levels of dedication?

His aspirations have shifted. He's selected financial security over what he'd called his dreams a year earlier. His path no longer run with mine. He's changed; I've stayed the same. He must now come to terms with that choice, and this is his way of doing it. His sales-pitch to me was troubling, because ultimately, while he tried to make it sound like encouragement offered to me, it was absolution offered to himself.

In truth, he doesn't know my aspirations - politically, artistically, professionally. He knows that he will no longer sacrifice stability and leisure to follow those dreams and agendas - I will - and so he must invent a line of separation, a line whose reason for being drawn he can live with. He has chosen a line that sets him on the side of unprofitable, but sincere, political intellectualism; and me, on the side of successful, shallow, pandering entertainment. By drawing the line there, he can rationalize his choice to back off. With the line drawn there, he would be silly to do otherwise.

But the line isn't there. Sincerity, political progressiveness, and intellectual depth need not be severed from entertainment. Sincerity, new ideas, and intelligence ARE entertaining. But the key is to utilize a form of communication that reaches those who live in that world (the "East Coast intellectuals") as well as those who do not ("the people I pander to"). That communication is, and always has been, STORIES.

What Stirling, and the ilk, fail to see is this: they are not put-off by someone pandering to the masses - they are put off by someone failing to pander to their intellectual crowd! If the issues and buzz-words and art-house obscurities are absent, they assume the message is not addressed to them, that there could be only foolishness inside, and they disregard it without opening it.

Both the "masses" and the "intellectuals" must accept with openness, must absorb without pre-judgment, the content of a story. One cannot dismiss the entertaining as inherently unintelligent. One cannot dismiss the intelligent as unentertaining.

Story is the first language. Its syntax is the interconnections between ideas and emotions. If one refuses to feel, ideas are lost. If one refuses to think, feeling is lost. The mindlessness of an action movie leaves the action flat and tedious. The callousness and distance of an "art" film leaves the ideas stagnant and unpersuasive. An effective story finds the emotion that makes the idea unforgettable; it finds the idea that makes the emotion unavoidable. An effective story does more than preach to the choir of its making. It is its own decoder.

In short, Stirling, and the rest, can have their self-preserving rationalizations disguised as praise for me and deprecation for themselves; I will keep my self-preserving rationalization disguised as a treatise on the polarizing misconception that sucks life out of movies, novels, and music.

So there.

Sep 13, 2004

Awaiting Second Wind

Almost eleven at night. Another day. Another contest in which I failed to win or even place. I'm overcome with boredom. This is a mode that's grown too familiar. I get up. If I don't get a life-changing e-mail, if I don't get a life-changing phone call, if I don’t get a life-changing postal mail – the day is over. I just wait for the credits to roll. For sixteen hours.

I've taken benedryl again this evening. I risk it, though it brings me down. It will lull me to sleep. It will put a haze over tomorrow. But it's okay. I don't expect much from tomorrow. Barb is in "town," but I expect her schedule to be full. I don't expect to even catch her on the phone.

It seems like a long, long time since my schedule has been full. That was my element. How, again, did I do this to myself? And how, again, can I get a life?

Thursday, I fly to Los Angeles. I don't know what I'll do there. I say that I'm scouting for apartments, but I can't move there until the end of the year. So what am I doing? I'm filling hours. I'm guarding my sanity against solitude.

Benni called. Shaun called. Caroline called. Alli called. That should describe a banner day. In a sad way, it does. It gives me a few voices to mull over, but far too few words.

They express envy for my position. I would express the same envy, were I energized to write, were I released from this dread, were I with company.

I need to start writing again. I hate when I'm between projects. It always seems like the end of the world. But. The impossibility of my dreams hang over my head at present. I cannot spend my life this way, but I cannot get into a passing gear. I cannot get a break. Money simply drains and drains. How long can I afford to keep trying?

The things that bring me joy require unimaginable amounts of money, and many people. These two things I lack the most.

Sep 12, 2004

Storybook Park

I cracked into the long-ignored file folder for Storybook Park and found a two-page snippet of prose that I'd completely forgotten having written. It seemed so unfamiliar, I wondered for a moment whether I'd actually written it. Maybe I'd just clipped it from online for inspiration.

But no. I wrote it. I recall doing so. In Princeton. In Marguerite's bed. On her laptop. It's quite good in parts (awful in others), but somehow it captures the thrill I had about the idea that night. These words that I looked at only once, half-asleep, more than a year ago, capture the seed of the story I now need to tell. In those two pages, the stale concept that's been stewing on my back burner is fresh, intact, and exciting. I am grateful to have it. I hope it will drive me to begin, and guide me to finish.

My ten thousand dollar short is shot. My fifth screenplay, which took almost a year, which I swore would make or break me, is off to competitions and agents and producers, and bound to break me. So it's time to start screenplay number six.

I think that this one is for me.

Flat Socks

It's technically September 13th, but until Cynosure announces its winners as promised, it's still the 12th in all ways that matter to me. I have absolutely no reason to believe that I'll win or even place - quite the contrary. But waiting gives the night character. It makes my passing of time goal-oriented

I spent about half-an-hour ironing socks. I just set the iron on each folded pair and let it hiss and gurgle while I searched out the next match. They stack better steamed and flattened.

As I once again begin cutting my smoking back to "only from bumming," I speculate that my lethargy might be better alleviated by coffee than by will power. A tall cup today pulled me through the tedium of 3 PM, the third 3PM in as many days. This allowed me to put together a few more script packets, as well as preparing for cold-calling and query-lettering. I also bathed my dog, sent some mail, brushed my dog, put air in my tires, bought milk, and had an ATM refuse to sell me stamps. Post-filming, this monumental amount of activity has only been matched when I deced to mow an acre of grandma's grass with a push mower.

So, perhaps coffee is the answer.

Then again, I also spent the entire day in movie-surplus navy-blue zip-up cover-alls, courtesy of Momentary Engineering. It was meant to state my seriousness about getting writing done.

Notice. Writing was not on my list of things I got done.

Sep 9, 2004

Nostrum Plums

Since I can't find a love to motivate me, I suppose that I should start writing for its own sake again...

Momentary Engineering sure is finished. As of yet, the film has left no permanent marks of change on my daily life. It was a brief vacation from the status quo, but I'm now quite sure -- it will be virtually impossible to repeat. It was a sweet spot. A moment when compromise was in the air. A project we all cared about. Now, everyone wants to move onto their personal pet project, but personal pet projects rarely inspire group love. You are the only person who wants to kiss your pet.

I watched Shawshank Redemption, and kept thinking that surely I would write if I were in prison. But somehow, I can't write now, here, presently. I suppose, here, as in prison, I have to come to grips with the fact that writing can not free me. Writing will not free me.

But I don't know what else to do.

Is Los Angeles just another nostrum -- an arbitrary event toward which I can delay? Is it another carpet to get tugged out from beneath me, like New York?

New York's a lot like love. It seems real romantic from the outside.

What exactly is it that I'll be able to do in Los Angeles that I can't do here, that I couldn't do in New York? Answers do not come flooding in. I fear that my ambition is great, and I may even have some talent, and I may even work harder than most, but none of it will ever total up enough to overcome my introverted nature. I am not gregarious or false, and yet, I'm trying to break into the world's most gregarious, false, and closed-off business.

Keep getting up.

Sep 4, 2004

Momentary Engineering

Momentary Engineering is wrapped. It ballooned to a $10,000 shoot. Massive. Overwhelming. Exhausting. And absolutely wonderful. We were blessed with a better cast than I could ever dream. The D.P. and gaffer, though sometimes on the slow side, gave us spectacular lighting. Box-trucks full of equipment. Parking passes, permits, and the RNC protests.

Now that it's gone, there is a vacuum. This is what I want to do. This is why I write screenplays instead of novels. To see my story inspiring these people, to see them all excited and working their asses off in 120 degree humidity, until 8 in the morning -- that's what keeps me going. These moments are brief, and the work is hard, but what else could I possibly live for?

I am sad that I'll be moving to Los Angeles before Misplaced Planet can produce another short. I am particularly interested in co-directing a short with Shaun Boyle. However, soon enough, there will be bickering and squabbling amongst the team. Everyone wants to write. Everyone wants to direct. This was a magic sweet-spot, and I can't change my future plans based on the desire to work with these people -- that was what got me to NYC, to do Ladies and Gentlemen.

About that. Little story. I recently received a letter from Slamdance about the Ladies and Gentlemen screenplay. Some good ideas for improvement. Very positive. (They think I should find a name actress or small producer to champion it. I love recommendations like that. They also recommended that I grow a third arm from my forehead and learn to stand on it.) But. Since they estimated the cost to produce it at less than $10 million (I estimate it at less than 1 million) - they recommended producing it myself. At least in part. To shop it around.

Funny that. I thought the same thing.

Shame on those NYC kids. Shame on them for letting a good thing die. And shame on me for allowing it to happen.

Aug 20, 2004

Rubber Brains Bounce

Immediately after composing that last entry, I stayed up all night and finished A Darkling Plane. It was one of those crazed, 16 hour runs. When noon came, and the finished, printed script sat beside me, I covered my head in pillows and couldn't sleep. I remember a time when that was a weekly occurence. I remember, dimly, a time when it seemed nightly.

So. It is done. I may have slipped it in just under a year's time. My last screenplay, Occult Blood, was finished only weeks after arriving in Harlem, and A Darkling Plane started up a few days later. Late last August, I estimate.

Thus. I wrote four screenplays in my first year out of college, and a fifth in my second.

I cannot place what happened there, except to imagine that it's somewhere around fear and disappointment. Doubt and discouragement. How will a fifth screenplay (or, now, a sixth) do what the previous have failed? How can I believe this is requisite to entering a new life? How could writing ever free me of solitude? I suppose that as my faith in those chimeras fail, so goes my ambition, my creativity, my energy, and my spirit.

And I'm left so tired.

On the 25th, Momentary Engineering goes into production. Check it out here.

Aug 15, 2004

Brain Damage

My brain is damaged.

Nothing has ever given me so much trouble as A Darkling Plane, and I being to wonder if I'll really ever enjoy writing again. It is so slow-going. It feels vastly unrewarding. I've come to that dreaded page 60, and I fear that it's just a dud.

In fact, at times like this, I hope it's just a stinker - at least that would explain the horrendous difficulty I've had for the last YEAR.

Either the screenplay is damaged - or I am. The struggle to CARE is at times (like this) insurmountable. My mind refuses to enter the story. The moments refuse to play. The characters refuse to speak. Either it is dead, or my mind is broken. Neither seems a pleasant alternative.

I am tired. Inexplicably but inescapably tired. My head is empty. And I feel like I could lay here on the floor, empty-headed, for eternity.

Jul 27, 2004

Is Troubling

I am back in New Jersey, with a broken backspace button. I'm living in a room that allows me no space to roll my chair backward, because I'd hit the bed. But that's okay, since my chair has a broken wheel. Most of my posessions are in storage, and it's hard to not feel like my life is in storage as well. Of course, that's a foolish thing to feel: everyone knows I don't have much of a life to store. You could throw it in a shoebox and shove it under the bed ... as long as you weren't sleeping on an inflatable mattress, like I am.

I'm not sure if I should hang things on my wall, and pretend this is a home, or instead continue to live out of boxes, as though this were a hotel room, just a long road-side rest-stop while I try to dig myself out of debt and pile up enough cash to finish the trip. Should I continue spending my days playing on the computer, or should shape myself into that writerly routine that I imagined? I can't decide if I should convince myself that THIS is how it will be for a while, or if I should remind myself that this is just a bit of stalling until I can make a decision. All I know is, once again, I'm lost in the solitude of self-imposed limbo.

Whatever else is true, I worry. Should I find a part-time job? Should I look into aquiring more credit-cards, to float another move, now to Los Angeles, as soon as possible? The fact that I have no one to call, no one to discuss this with, is troubling. The fact that I'm trying to raise money to produce a short-film, while not having the money to buy a new keyboard, is troubling. I wonder where the next months will lead, but the fact that so much of it will be determined by money, is troubling.

May 16, 2004

The Future is Listening

I was sucked into a cheesey sci-fi flick last night. It was called Frequency. As a result, I've been considering what I could tell myself, myself of five years ago, what I could warn, were I able to communicate through my cell phone, or maybe my livejournal...

You know, something like, "Don't take Flight 567 to LA," or "Buy Stock in Prince," or "Don't Eat the Striped Cheese." But, honestly, I can't think of much... only, I could keep it simple and just transmit, "Nah, She Won't Love You Neither." That'd basically cover it.

Hell. Maybe I'll write it now, and send it - to the future!

Nah, She Won't Love you Neither.

May 14, 2004

New Jersey Night

I went to Staples, sulked, and spent over $200.00. I now have a 19" monitor.

I must be compensating for something.

Now, here comes that unique, earthly loneliness, the one that stumbles into Jersey at one in the morning. I think it's the bastard what made Bruce Springsteen so full of blood and fire and hope and self-loathing.

Yet, knowing that it hangs here like smog over LA, somehow I always end up, here, late at night, alone, watching a movie - that makes me feel unloved. I'm like the guy in the horror movie that suggests splitting up. I'm the girl who takes her shirt off, because, hey, I'm all by myself, what could the danger be?

So, once again, I watched another cry-for-myself movie. You know, old standards like The Matrix or First Contact. Except, shit, the embarrassing truth is, it was Love Actually, and shouldn't have been effective - but was. And shouldn't have been watched - but was. The title - isn't that a dead give away? Laura Linny, topless - isn't that enough to break any heart?

This is becoming a sensitive subject, no?

Here's the thing. I don't know who to fantasize about. I should do a google search. I don't know who to pine for. I need to meet new people. I simply can't muster another lie gold-enough to con myself back into any of my present options. They're in bed with lovers, or gay, or, frequently, they're both.

I can't think of anybody. And, man, I hate that.

I'm familiar, and, yes, quite friendly, with Failure and Loss and Rejection. The old gang doesn't frighten me. I invite them in with gushing honesty. They never fail to bring a gift for my birthday.

But without a goal, I can't recognize myself. How do I know I'm alive, if I'm not activily fucking up on things that matter? In order to fail, one must have a goal. And when the topic is love, I can't think of a goal to dream on.

So, I come to Jersey to rest my worries and lighten my spirits. What does that say, pray tell? It says, pop another tear jerker in the DVD player. I elect Contact, or failing that, there's always Panic Room.

May 9, 2004

Evil, Magic, Satan Dogs from Heaven

Yesterday was not fun. Today was.

After cleaning my house in frenzied anticipation of spending my evening curled before my laptop, finally working on A Darkling Plane, avoiding my webpage obligations, I discovered the laptop covered in cola. One little dog, name of Bacon, had gotten himself up onto the coffee table, and overturned a cup of coke.

Now the laptop was dead.

I spent the remainder of the evening both fuming and waiting on hold with customer support. I accomplished nothing, particularly relief of stress.

So, I'm pissed at Bacon all night.

This morning, I woke up at around 9am, which is bizarre. I took Bacon outside, and it was the most beautiful day of the year, which was bizarre. He mopes, behaves, and does his business right away, which is bizarre.

When we get back from the walk, and I go into the kitchen to make some coffee. He slinks into the corner of the couch and lays down.

Five minutes later, I come back out into the living room, and he's up on the coffee-table again - and he's licking the laptop! I push him away. But, just out of curiousity, I open the laptop - and it's ON. And now, it works.

So, I was able to write all day today, on my steam-cleaned carpets, curled up on the floor. I made solid progress, two egg-salad sandwiches, and a bowl of beefaroni. I walked Bacon three times in beautiful weather, downloaded my first song from iTunes (Come Dancing, by the Kinks), and packaged up Blaring Static for Mr. Producer in California.

In short: Yesterday was not fun. Today was.

May 7, 2004

Twenty Feet Less Dead

Besides arriving half-an-hour late for work, entirely due to hiding beneath the covers for an extra half-an-hour this morning, little has of note has happened today.

However, I used the lull in irritations to work through a pretty extensive revision of my short screenplay, Twenty Feet Less Dead.

I feel unusually positive about the characters -- and unusually lost at resolving the story. The premise and plot that motivated the creation of the characters is entirely useless to them now that they're speaking on their own.

Once again, I've sent it out in search of responses. This weekend I will be putting together another screenplay packet to Fed-ex to a producer in Los Angeles. I will be trying to build some momentum on A Darkling Plain, and tinkering with Misplaced Planet's website.

Monday, with my cast, I will be viewing another draft of the short-film I directed and wrote, Anniversary Dinner.

May 6, 2004

End of an Era. A *Subtle* Era.

When I began this job, a Quiznos Sub opened on 34th street. I was amongst the first customers, and got a little "Frequent Customer" stamp-card. Ten purchases of $5.00 or more, and I would earn a $5.00 discount.

Now, many months later, ten Q's stamped, and the card twice chewed (by dog), I have handed over my card, and received my discount. I had a Misquite BBQ Chicken with Bacon on a Flat Bread Pita, with Salt-n-Vinegar chips and a large coke.

My constant companion is gone. There is no new card to replace it. I feel a little choked up about it. My little, solitary source of pride has been traded for a measly five dollars.

Walking Wounded

The train was filled with little children -- two classes I beleive, all of them eleven or twelve years old. One girl was repeatedly asked by her teacher to take various seats as they became vacant. The peculiar girl would obediently sit, then jump up, and refuse to sit there again - because the seat was "hot." Either she was referring to the residual heat left by the former occupant's butt, or she be coo-coo.

In the station, an old man looked like Grampa from The Muensters. He played on a keyboard, played a song like a Merry-Go-Round.

In front of him, dozens of little toys - clowns, cowboys, robots, cars - danced and danced under battery power.

Beside the toys, a round-bellied, round-faced Arab man, with a tiny mustache, danced as well. He held one hand open on his round belly, and the other hand above his head. He moved only his feet. He wore a beige, too-tight shirt, with a big horizontal stripe, clearly from the early 70s.

They had my donut. And work blows. But text messaging my sister and mother has given the morning at least a single smile. When all else fails, make fun of your mother.

May 5, 2004

Madness Breeds Hairloss

It was a god-rotten day at work, and the week promises more. As I wrote in my imagined resignation letter, "they continue to pile on new work, but fail to pile on new pay."

I escaped early and blew money on things I didn't need, including a pack of cigarettes. For these splurges, I go to Staples.

Once home, I took up the dog-clippers, and cut off most of my hair. I'm not sure what I think of the results, but the cutting was therapeutic.

I now have a subtle understanding of women and random hair-dying. My appearance alteration hasn't changed the world, or even me - but it has certainly made a monument to my frustration. And since I'm largely lacking people to witness my explosions, a monument to my explosion is appreciated. Even if most won't understand its significance.

Since then, I've chatted on the phone with Sodini and Boyle. The latter provided much needed feedback on the short screenplay I'm tickering with. I think now that I have a road map to improvement - one that will shorten, not lengthen, the trip.

So! I'm off to bed - not so much to sleep, as to nap - hoping some of the calls I've tossed out there will be returned. Tomorrow, I mail Blaring Static to the producer who requested it, and Ladies and Gentlemen to the Cynosure Screenwriting Awards.

The Brisk Stress

The whole sleepy subway trip in, I composed my resignation letter.

I work on the tenth story of a 14-story building, on 32nd street, Manhattan. The Empire State Building throws its shadow across us.

Today, the fire alarm lights (but does not ring) every five minutes. It goes off four times, flashing a bright, diode strobe, like quick, tiny bursts of lightning -- FRINK! FRINK! FRINK! FRINK! -- like a minuscule camera were taking my picture.

I wonder how hard it is to convincingly fake an epileptic seizure. And if I could do it, would they let me go home, or just prop me up in the shredder closet, biting my wallet?

There it goes again... I don't think the building is burning down. But I'm not sure.

Could be terrorists.

My fortune cookie reads, "How can you have a beautiful ending without making beautiful mistakes?" But it can't read anything else.

I couldn't open the clear-plastic wrapper on a box of "Tension Tamer" tea. I got very frustrated and attacted it with my teeth. I gave up and went with Lipton. Perhaps the caffeine will settle my headache, if not my nerves.