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Not much to say tonight, except that I am totally pooped. This new schedule of getting up at 3 is brutal. So I’m calling it a night a little early.

Brief updates:

My guy with the needs-a-ton-of-work script thanked me for my comments and said he’d get back to me in a few days.

The potential Bollywood script seems closer to happening, but the person has been a little unreliable in terms of keeping me updated and informed. I also realized we haven’t talked terms of fees. Definitely have to get it taken care of asap.

The writing group is supposed to meet this Sunday, but there seems to be an ongoing problem with people being able to attend. I wish they would set up a definitive day and time to avoid this happening over and over again.

No Movie tonight. See above comment about being exhausted.

The long and winding road ahead…

So I looked at the guy’s script.


I will be as diplomatic and tactful as I can.  Let’s say he’s got his work cut out for him.  No matter what aspect you can think of with a screenplay, he had it, well, wrong.  Formatting, wide margins, dialogue, characters.  The list goes on and on.

If he’s taking a screenwriting course at the local junior college, then somebody needs to fire that instructor’s ass immediately.

Now, in his defense, English is not his primary language.  Based on the handful of phone conversations we’ve had, I’d go with German, or something from that region.

My usual way of editing/proofreading is to go through the document with a pen and make marks according to what needs to be fixed.

I got halfway through page 2 (out of eight) and gave up.  There was simply too much wrong.

So, once again being diplomatic and tactful, I dug deep into my brain’s storage of the basic rules of screenwriting and began explaining what was wrong and how it could be fixed.  At no point did I say “Oh my God this is awful!  Give up!  Give up now!”  Because that would be wrong.

I stayed closer to the ‘maybe you should try it THIS way’ and ‘something you might want to consider’ lines.  Honestly, it was something I would have loved to have received when I was starting out.

That’s something else I kept coming back to while I was writing this: when I started writing screenplays, I had one book (Syd Field’s SCREENPLAY), a 4th-generation copy of the first draft of something I got back at a book sale in college (ROGER RABBIT, I recall.  Based on the original book), and a simple program K got me for my birthday the year before (which took years to find because not one software store in the Bay Area had ever heard of such a thing.)

I only had a vague idea of what to do.  The internet was still in its infancy, so contacting writers and agents was limited to phone calls and mailing query letters.  Not being in LA was a definite hindrance.

But I worked at it.  And even when I thought I was making progress, which I was, someone with more knowledge than I had showed me my mistakes.  After getting over the initial “what do you mean my first draft isn’t a work of genius?” mode of thought, I worked more.

I wanted to learn how to do it right.  I went to the workshops and seminars, joined the writing group, wrote whenever I could, tested ideas out on the ever-patient K.

Even after I got back a draft covered in notes from my friend’s dreaded red pen, I buckled down and kept going.

I like to think that this is part of what has helped me continue to this day. I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t know everything about screenwriting.  But I won’t hesitate to say I know what I’m doing.

I give out the first draft and get comments back.  Some constructive, some oblivious.  I take the ones I think work, rather than just the ones I like, and make the appropriate changes.  I keep going until it’s good enough for me.  And sometimes that’s still not enough.

But I’m not giving up.  Not by a longshot.

I hope my advice to this guy helps steer him in the right direction.  I don’t know if what I said will help him or discourage him.  It’s up to him now.

He’s supposed to get back to me after the weekend, so for now, I wait.

No matter what happens, like I say to everybody who I offer to help and am told thanks but no thanks, I wish him the best of luck.

I’ve done what I could.

No Movie of the Moment tonight. Sorry.


So I signed an agreement with this guy at a local small college who’s taking a film class.  To sum it up, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

To say this is going to be an uphill battle is putting it mildly.  There are so many things he needs to learn.  And this is just after an initial glance at his pages.


And it appears that I may have the Bollywood gig after all.  The person is slow in responding to emails, but seems interested in working with me. Today they asked about meeting later in the week, and I said when I was available.  I’ve yet to hear back.  We’ll see how this works out.

So getting back to the title of this post…

On one hand, it’s fantastic that I’m working so much on script-based stuff.  It’s like I’m getting the experience I need to move ahead, career-wise.

But on the other hand, I’ve been quite lax about getting my own stuff done.  I don’t like that.  But the whole keeping busy thing kind of offsets it.

I know I’ll get my own stuff done, but doing all this other work feels necessary.

There’s also that little fantasy about the people I’m working with spreading word about me, which eventually leads to real screenwriting work.  This will be staying in the realm of fantasy for the time being.

And since I’m on the subject of writing gigs, I’m a little surprised but also not surprised that some of the others have yet to respond.  The webseries, for example.  I suppose I consider it just common courtesy to at least write back to people saying “job’s filled,” rather than just leaving it open-ended.

Then again, this is craigslist, which is not exactly a shining example of reliabiity and trustworthiness.

But for now, I’ll take what I can get and build from there.

Good things are coming.  And I’m going to be ready.

No Movie of the Moment tonight, but I did watch BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD earlier today.  It was good, even with Judd Winick writing it.  Different voices for all the characters, and some pretty good animation.  I gotta admit, there were some cool fanboy moments in it.  The next one – BATMAN/SUPERMAN: APOCALYPSE looks pretty cool.  That came out today, but I’ll probably see it in a month or two.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but last week I watched YOO-HOO MRS. GOLDBERG, a documentary about Gertrude Berg, the true first woman of radio and TV.  That was really good.

Ex. Haus. Ted.

It’s how I feel these days.  Which is odd because I didn’t think I was doing that much.

Apart from applying to writing gigs on craigslist left and right.  And looking into in-house jobs.  And working the same hours, but pushed back 30 minutes, resulting in a 4:30-9am shift, plus additional fill-in hours.  And hockey.  And exercising.

But I have to admit it’s kind of nice being able to apply to all of these gigs on craigslist.  I had no idea there were so many people looking for help with screenplays.  Yesterday there was a webseries looking for writers.  Check.  There was the Bollywood script.  Check (but still waiting to hear back).  There’s the guy looking for a story editor.  Check, and it looks like I got that one.  And it pays absolutely nothing, which surprises me not a whit.  But it’s something else to add to my resume.  And that’s cool.

Unfortunately, all of the aforementioned stuff has also been taking away from me working on BABY LIKES JAZZ.  Maybe it’s  a subconscious thing?  Since I’m not thrilled with how it’s developing, I’m looking to fill the void, as it were. Eh. Too much self-analysis.  I know I’ll finish it, but that end date keeps getting pushed further and further back.

A few minutes ago, I saw that the Nicholl finalists have been announced.  I bet there’s not one writer who sees that and feels just a bit, maybe even a slight pang of jealousy.  What writer doesn’t want that?  It also doesn’t do me any good to dwell on it.  It’s in the past, and I have to keep looking forward, etc., etc.  Will I enter next year?  Highly doubtful.  Again, I’d be happy to be done with BABY.  And there’s no way I’m entering that.

I think for now I’m happy to keep things going the way they have been, but with a little more me-writing time thrown in.

And sleep.  Definitely sleep.