Nov 27, 2007

General Updates (short version)

The producer holding the option on my feature screenplay, code name Zaniness Ensues, is hoping to get a distribution commitment, but I haven't heard any word since the 6th.

I want Barb to artistically colorize my bedroom mirrors. A lot.

I need to buy Alli her birthday present.

Our composers promised to have music finished for the Zaniness Ensues short by the end of the year, which will finally tie up that project, and get it into festivals.

I need to get Christmas presents.

Thanks to my day-job, there are now four super-fancy holiday parties at super-fancy bars and clubs, which I'm supposed to attend in the next three weeks, and that makes me sick to my stomach.

I'd like to get ridiculously dressed up and sit on a couch drinking champagne for New Year's.

In January, Shaun says he'll be shooting the Shift Work short film in NY/NJ, which may (or may not) be for entry in yet another silly competition.

In February, we're shooting the pilot for Hell Froze Over in LA, which means there will be more read-throughs and auditions before then.

In Spring, I'm either going to Disney World or to some lake-side cabin, with an unknown number of family members.

Right now, I'm hungry but I don't want to go anywhere. Plus, I don't have my car.

Same Shit in a Different Shirt

So, I've been at my new job for about a month.

I almost have a clue what I'm doing now.

Here's what it boils down to.

---> Car-pooling 12 miles, each way -- which, of course, takes about an hour or so, each way, up and down the 405. Not too bad, since I'm on salary now, and don't have to worry about being a bit late, which is like having a super power. Every day we pass a woman dressed as an old-style waitress, wearing a pale-blue gingham dress, a white apron, sometimes partially hidden under a black coat. She's maybe twenty-five with curly gold hair, and she walks west across the parking-lot that is Sepulveda, coming from an unknown starting point beyond the Galleria Mall and going to her bus stop on Venture Blvd, where the unhappy Mexican mother stand frowning at traffic. We wonder where she works, and why her glum, hurried march somehow brightens our day. She's the "Ruby Tuesday" girl.

---> Sending and reading so many e-mails that my eyes are blurry and strained -- which, I was told, by the optometrist and his very cute, oddly-disappointed-when-I-had-to-leave-for-a-dinner-date, female-brunette-assistant-in-black, was not an excuse to get those glasses I've always wanted. I still have 80%+ of the tissue around my optic nerve! That's apparently good!

---> Having lunch way too often at Subway -- which, of course, is a place I used to hate, and that's because I don't enjoy instructing restaurant employees as to which ingredients go into making my order. It feels like a test, and I always fail it. (That is, when I ask for an Italian sub, I would like you to make me an Italian sub, and please, don't ask me what goes into it. I don't know. You're the one who works at a sub shop. You tell me what meat goes into it. You tell me what cheese goes into it. Make it taste like an Italian sub, goddammit. I like them).

---> Snatching a half-hour, here and there, to appreciate the solitude of my own 3.5-walled cubicle office, and write something. Trying to make Storybook Park into a novel, but moving slowly, meticulously. Have some ideas to get goddamn Amelia Waverly off the ground as a reborn feature screenplay. Working with Shaun on a short-film about overpopulation in a 1984-style world, probably going to call it Shift Work, but really not sure yet.

---> Spending some very quiet nights alone, with my dog pillow, both of us trying, but failing, to stay awake, me obsessing over secret thoughts, him trying to squirm out of being a pillow. My roommate is working from 7:30pm until 3am or 4am, while I'm working from 9am and getting home at 7pm, which means I never really see her except on weekends, which, in reality, she mostly spends with her boyfriend, whose bed was covered with dried blood for several days. Who collects finger and toenail clippings. Ugh. Don't tell anyone I know that stuff. Not even me.

---> Still asking myself, what's next? When do I get to quit this job? When do I get transferred to that bigger pond? When do I stop working through issues, waiting through delays, and start living? When does the breakthrough happen?

---> Still answering myself, when you get your ass to write somewhere other than livejournal. When you turn what's on your mind into what's on the page. When the fears, insecurities, and discomforts are just dares that I've accepted.

Nov 7, 2007

Wilder's On Strike

So, on Monday I was supposed to go with a producer to the American Film Market to pitch my feature screenplay (we'll call it Zaniness Ensues) to a few production companies, studios, and distributors, seeking funding. I was ready to actually kick off my career at long last -- my first real industry meetings.

But turns out there's a writer's strike, and I couldn't cross the picketline to become a scab. I couldn't negotiate or pitch or discuss or write -- or else I'd be blacklisted and banned by the union.

Ah, the birthday curse strikes again.

But, all the same, I met with him on Sunday, before the midnight deadline. I prepared him as best I could, and he went around Monday without me. Word is, if he can push the right parties hard enough to get a domestic distribution promise, there are a few parties that might be interested in putting up the money to produce it. Of course, I can't turn the option into a sale until this is all over... but none of this means anything out here. Still, it's nice to be talking about disappointments on the multi-million dollar budget level, instead of the internet competition level.

So, even though it sucks for me, I hope you all support the writers. Don't believe the media claims that writers are millionaires marching for additional pennies. In particular, TV writers are facing an impossible future if they are robbed of income from internet downloads -- we all know that television and the internet are converging. If they aren't given pay for internet showings, which is what this is about, many writers will be unable to survive. Plus, we also know that the media corporations aren't struggling to pay their executives. I don't think it's too much to ask that the creator of something get at least 2% of 40% of the profits generated by something they created, now is it?

The internet -- it's too new!!

Anyway, if you're interested in following the strike, this is a really fascinating website with regular updates. It'll make you feel all in-the-know:

Deadline Hollywood Daily

Enjoy, and be sure to voice your support for the scribes. Comment if you can -- many of them will be checking this site when they aren't out marching. Remember, most of us are broke, and fighting to keep less than a school teacher makes. We're fighting for a living wage as much as any American, even while 2/5ths of us are unemployed. Don't forget that.

Apr 17, 2007

You Can't Even Complain

I believe that the worst kind of day is a normal one that comes after several that were significantly above-average.

Mar 28, 2007

Stupid Question

Laying in bed tonight, I was struck with something very obvious. So obvious, it's deeply important to me. It's the central question that causes me so many sleepless nights of calculating and weighing experiences, so much hopeless pattern searching and uncertainty.


Does life work out the way it's supposed to, or does it just work out the way it does?

Do we get out of life what we make of things, or do we just get whatever we can grab?

I don't know the answer. It could be any one of these, or any two, or any three, or all four, or none of them. Is there justice? Is it survival of the fittest? Is there God or Quantum Mechanics? A set future or infinite possibility?

I can make a strong argument for any possibility. I feel strongly about each. And when I'm writing about the tension between these choices, that is when I'm writing something I care about. Because, for some reason, I care about his stupid question.

Again, it's so obvious. It's been phrased a million ways. Science and religion and fiction all struggle with it at the core. I can't imagine people who don't, deep down, wonder what the answer is. Since we're constantly being asked to make choices, to place wagers on how the future will unfold, we have to adopt some sort of theory on how to gamble. Even having no theory is a theory in itself. Even a strategy of avoiding the topic is a reasonable and practical strategy. They all seem equal, and yet, on some days, one seems so much more likely than the others.

This framing of the obvious has given me a handle on my own work, and my emotional stress. So many people seem to have their system worked out, but I have no workable theory. I have no strategy. No method to handle the possibilities. They all seem plausible and wise. They all seem fanciful and blind.

Is there something, or nothing? If there is something, I know how I should behave tomorrow. If there is nothing, I also know what I should do tomorrow. But the way I should act is not the same, not even similar, between the two cases. And so -- I hesitate to act at all. That is one way of acting that is certainly wrong, in my book. I must find a mythology of my own to reconcile these two opposite ways to wager.