This is that time when everything you’ve been working on catches up with you, and you just don’t feel like doing anything else. You burn out – temporarily. You can’t stop doing everything because it is too hard to get it going again. You can back off a bit, but you’ve still got to keep moving forward. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. There is no time to pause and take a break just because you don’t feel like doing something. That’s not to say you can’t take time off, but it should be structured time off. You have to plan for it. It’s like taking a vacation; it’s a block of time you set aside somewhere down the road for a little R&R. Having a bad day – or two – doesn’t count. You have to keep moving. And that’s where I was this weekend.
It started with discovering problems coming out of Act 2 in my screenplay Come Ups. I felt like I was in good shape and then it all seemed a disaster. I didn’t know what to do to rectify the situation other than start over. That was disheartening, but it was also a little dramatic. When you become so heavily involved in a project, it’s easy to lose perspective. This is why you have to occasionally take some time away from a script so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Maybe take up another project for a few days, or in my case, work on the website and do some networking on the social platforms.
Unfortunately, my chosen options only added to my woes. I discovered a great article on screenwriter compensation. When I say great, I mean it was eye opening, but not exactly the shot in the arm I was looking for or needed. And it seemed everyone on the social forums was experiencing a similar gloom and doom predicament. So there were no encouraging words to lift my spirits from fellow writers. Mix all that with some family issues and it was a pretty miserable weekend.
I did manage to catch up on my twitter account and that brought about the one bright spot over several days. I met several people, all very friendly, and had a nice exchange of ideas. The Facebook Forums, however, were rife with embattled, bitter writers, each of whom thought their way was the only way and screw everybody else. I, thankfully, stayed out of the fray, but was appalled by some of the comments.
In one particular forum, a legit manager tried to bring some order to the chaos and offered his take on a variety of subjects. The writers weren’t having any of it and got a little nasty with him, even declaring that he wasn’t a real manager. It didn’t take me but 10 seconds to run a Google search and find him and his company. If any of the writers had taken the time to do a similar search before opening their mouths, they might have been a little more open to his thoughts. Now they’ve only alienated someone who could help with their careers. If my Google search wasn’t enough, I also discovered that the manager had written an article for Film Slate on writers finding an agent or manager. It was in my queue of articles for the website, so the guy has some street cred. The manager, Matt Prater of Dedicated Talent and Literary Management, offered some good advice on the forums and even more advice in his column. Unlike some of the users in the forum, Mr. Prater was polite and respectful throughout the ordeal, but I guarantee he will remember those who were less than civil in return. It just goes to show you need to be cautious in what you say and to whom. You never know whom you may be offending.
Find the articles mentioned in the blog at the links below:
Matthew Prater's Article for Film Slate
Screencraft's Ken Miyamoto's What Screenwriter's Really Make