Jul 10, 2006

It has just begun...

My first two years out of college, I wrote five feature-length screenplays. I'd written endless skits, I'd written 21 episodes of television, but I'd never written a feature-length screenplay before. I started writing the first, Intelligence in the last months of college. I finished writing the fifth, A Darkling Plane, in my first months back from Harlem. I thought, if it didn't do the trick, I was probably done.

It didn't do the trick.

In my third year out of college, I was back home. I traveled around hanging Christmas decorations. I moved to California. And I finished one screenplay, Storybook Park. I felt, if it didn't do the trick, I was probably done.

It didn't do the trick.

This time, I hit a bump. For two years, I haven't written any new features. For two years, I didn't even start one. I kept tearing up the old scripts, starting on vast revisions that lost steam half-way through. I failed to fix Storybook Park, then I failed to fix A Darkling Plane, then I failed to fix Ladies and Gentlemen, even after recruiting Caroline as a writing partner. I couldn't get fixing off my mind. I wrote short scripts, more than I've ever written. Writing became a desperate struggle to fix what was wrong. The joy of creation had become the suffering of second-guessing and facing possible faults. Gordy Hoffman disliked Storybook Park, told me to stop wasting time on shorts, told me to stop fucking around, told me to write something commercial that I could live with.

Two years, almost. I'm nearly five years out of college. But I think I'm almost at "end bump." Perhaps it's only the full moon, but I feel a slow shift. My friendships at work seem to matter; they slowly become something. Who knows what's to come. I'm starting to settle into the long-term battle that writing will be, undoing how spoiled I'd become by having everything I wrote instantly produced.

I've been working pretty steadily on (code-name) Zaniness Ensues, my seventh feature-length screenplay, an expansion of a short that I wrote to be a crowd-pleaser, a short I wrote to be my calling card as a director, a commercial romantic comedy that I can live with, that I enjoy living with. If it doesn't do the trick, so be it, I'm just starting, and there's more where that coming from.

I've been writing a few pages of it every day. Can you imagine? I haven't done anything like that in two or three years. Sitting down, starting because I have to, but continuing because I love to. I'm remembering what it's like to be a writer every, every day.

I wanted to put these thoughts down. Maybe the magic of text will make it stick. Maybe facing this entry will force my pride to keep it true. Maybe it's just the thrill of two LCD flatscreen monitors. But suddenly, writing at my desk, in Los Angeles, feels like the place I should be.