Diverting your attention in a forward manner

Look closely and you'll see a lot of potential out there
Can you see all the potential out there?

I’ve been in contact with a few writers over the past couple of days, and several have mentioned their anticipation/nervousness over the pending announcement of the quarterfinalists in this year’s Nicholl competition.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been occasionally thinking about it as well.

And it doesn’t help that the folks at the contest have been posting positive anonymous reader comments on Facebook over the past few months. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably read them and thought, “Whoa, that HAS to be my script!” or at least “This could be interpreted in such a way that it vaguely applies to my script.”

I think the number of entries this year was somewhere in the 7200 range, or probably higher. So maybe it is about your script, or maybe not.

The point is: There’s nothing you can do about it now. It’s out of your hands, and obsessing about it won’t do you any good.

Apart from just stepping away (or even actually going outside, where the fresh air will do you good), the best way you can counteract all this hand-wringing is to redirect your focus. Channel all that nervous energy into something more constructive, writing-wise.

How about getting your script ready for upcoming competitions? (Just Effing‘s absolutely final deadline is August 15th, TrackingB‘s late entry deadline is September 28th, and PAGE International will start accepting entries for 2014 in December.)

Or maybe take a closer look at those notes on your recent draft and see what you can do with them, or dig up that killer story concept you came up with a few months ago and fleshing it out a little.

It really doesn’t matter what you do, but it’s important you do something. Your work will be further along than it is now, which always works in your favor.

No matter what your plan is, set yourself up in your ideal writing conditions and have at it.

Devilishly handsome? Sure. But lovely…?

One Lovely Blog

You never know who’s reading your stuff.

Such is the case with this blog. All I know about my readers is how many there are and where they’re reading me, geographically speaking.

So it was a very pleasant surprise to get a message from The Novice Screenwriter: “I really enjoy your blog (and might I add your great sense of humor:) and I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award.

In the words of the Cowardly Lion, “Shucks, folks. I’m speechless.”

One of my earlier bosses in radio stressed the importance of PIE. Not the world-changing, life-affirming dessert  (which, granted, is very important), but how your performance should always be Professional, Informative and Entertaining. That’s an acronym I’ve tried to adhere to in all forms of my media output, including this blog, which is why I’m flattered to get this kind of recognition.

And apparently there are rules/guidelines for this as well:

1. Add the “One Lovely Blog” image to your post
2. Share seven things about you
3. Pass the award on to seven nominees
4. Thank the person who nominated you
5. Inform the nominees by posting on their blogs

Thanks to Aarthi at The Novice Screenwriter for the nomination. When somebody tells me they heard me doing traffic on the radio, I always say “It’s nice to know somebody’s listening.” So in this case, it’s nice to know somebody’s reading.

Seven Facts you may or may not know about me:
-I’m the youngest of 5 in a typical Jewish-American family. And by “typical”, I mean there’s a doctor, a lawyer, and the one in showbiz.

-I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey. The southern half, where there are no accents.

-My wife and I saw HEATHERS on our first date. We’ve been together ever since.

-I really enjoy cooking and baking. One of my specialties is pecan pie from scratch – crust and everything. A friend with strong roots in Georgia was practically orgasmic over it, which must mean something.

-I like to run half-marathons, averaging about 4 a year. My pace is around 9 minutes a mile, with the goal to someday break the 1:55 time limit. The idea of doing a full marathon is intriguing, yet very intimidating.

-I collect comic books, but have never attended Comic-Con in San Diego. Someday I will. In fact, the dream is to be there while The Movie I Wrote is being promoted (with a panel in Hall H and everything!).

-I didn’t go to school for screenwriting. Everything I’ve learned comes from reading books and scripts, watching and studying movies, attending a handful of seminars, and most of all, writing and rewriting.

Here are the seven blogs I heartily recommend:
My Blank Page – good nuts and bolts advice from a working screenwriter
Just Effing Entertain Me – practical advice for writers and a high-profile script competition (hurry! final deadline is Aug 15)
Sex in a Sub – an extremely prolific writer plus fantastic analysis of Hitchcock films
Sprinting to Fade Out – great info for aspiring writers (regrettably on hold for now, but worth checking the archives)
News from ME – a wide variety of topics from a veteran writer-director who works in TV, cartoons and comics
Scott Tipton’s Comics 101 – got a question about comics? More info than you could possibly imagine, especially if you’re a fan of ROM: SPACE KNIGHT
Comedy Film Nerds – actually a podcast about movies, but extremely hilarious, entertaining, informative and very NSFW

I have no idea if there’s an actual award connected with this, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m just happy to be nominated, and will practice my “forced smile to mask my internal pain” look just in case it’s not my name if a winner is ever announced.

Oh so worth it

perfect in so many ways

Today was great on two levels.  I’ll cover the smaller-but-no-less-significant one first.

After much delay, I finally got to work on the DREAMSHIP rewrite. While making my way towards the page 75 twist, I realized I was going to be about 5-6 pages short. Augh! What to do? Got it!  More scenes!  But not just something haphazard and slipshod. No, these have to be scenes that advance the story and character and incorporate the theme.

I did a little brainstorming and came up with at least 3 scenes that should fit in nicely.  Maybe 1 to 2 more, and I’m set.

I don’t mind that progress has temporarily slowed.  It’s been worth it.

Which leads me to the other great thing that happened today.

Since I started working on The Script Adventurer! show, I’ve been sending out emails with requests for interviews with assorted writing-connected folks. Nobody’s said no, but there have been a few “not yet”, which isn’t too bad.

Somebody who agreed almost immediately was Julie Gray from the Just Effing Entertain Me blog/website.  And even better, she was going to be in town for an actual live interview!

I spent some quality time researching her as best I could and prepared my list of questions.

Another sign it was going to be a good day: she found a non-metered parking spot!  Truly a good omen.

While the original plan was to record the interview and insert it into this Monday’s show, at the last minute we opted to do it ‘live’ and will still use it on Monday (1-2PM PST on radioslot.com. Click on number 1 – best mix/listen now).

We talked about her background, how she got into working with scripts, the benefits of social media for writers and her forthcoming plans to move to Israel for her new non-profit Stories Without Borders.

The time flew by and a good time was had by all.  Give it a listen, won’t you?