It’s been 78 days since my last post. That’s a lot of time to get a lot of things done.
Only I didn’t.
It has been a rough start to the new season, which follows a rough ending to the finale of the first season.
The biggest obstacle I have faced is a lack of work. There seems to have been some type of seismic shift in the work landscape here in Los Angeles. As a result, there have been fewer projects starting up and a large number of people employed in the industry (Reality TV anyway) are finding themselves on the outside looking in. I have been no exception.
Struggling to find ways to pay bills is definitely a hindrance to creativity. It’s hard to concentrate on the next script when you don’t know how you are going to pay rent. It becomes a vicious downward spiral that leads to total debilitation.
Since my last big project ended in March of 2016, I have managed to find an odd gig here and there to keep me going, but subsequently all my free time became more and more devoted to finding work. I applied to around 500 jobs both in Los Angeles and around the country between March and November of last year.
It is very disheartening to be told that you lack the requisite experience for a job – with literally decades of experience under your belt – only to learn the person hired for the job had no previous work experience at all beyond being a hostess at the Cupcake Factory in Atlanta, GA.
And I’m not the only one in this position. I have literally received calls from former show runners asking if I knew of any upcoming projects.
I finally gave up on finding any work and made plans to move back home and live with my parents while trying to regroup. It was not an easy decision to make, but one that was sort of forced on me in the end.
I packed my belongings – those few that I had left having disposed of most everything I had in anticipation of the move – and shipped all my clothes home. When I returned from UPS I had a message waiting for me – job interview. It wasn’t met with much excitement I have to say. In fact, I was reservedly pissed off. What followed next were two weeks of interviews, studio tours, pre-employment applications, rate negotiations and finally an offer . . . of sorts.
The company expected me to start in two weeks, maybe sooner, and there was relief, joy, consternation and a few other mood swings. It meant not just postponing my trip home, but missing out on Christmas as well. And then the boom fell. The company postponed indefinitely the start of the project. The project may not start until the end of January, but possibly even later – if at all! Though they repeatedly told me how much they wanted to work with me, it was probably best if I looked for other work.
Great! Still just enough time to make the cross-country road trip and make it home just in time for Christmas.
And then another company called, one I had worked for previously. They needed someone to cover their editors over the Christmas break with the possibility of continuing work after the holidays. I needed the cash, so I took the job. Christmas at home was no longer a possibility. It was a good couple of weeks. I got to work on some high profile projects including Martin Scorsese’s Silence and Disney’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast. As a bonus, I spent some time with old friends I hadn’t worked with in years.
The downside was there wasn’t quite as much work as they had anticipated and the New Year found me unemployed once again. There is still a possibility of work later in the month, so I’m holding out for a little longer to see what happens.
But where does that leave me on the writing front?
Needless to say, there has not been much writing accomplished and I am well behind my daily/monthly goals. It hasn’t been a complete wash though. I did manage to get some of the rewrites finished on Nowhere to Run (formerly Come Ups), but I didn’t get the rewrites complete on The Devil’s Tramping Ground. NaNoWriMo resulted in only one new chapter of Nightfalls. I did manage a substantial article on the 10 Things I Learned on my One Year Screenwriting Journey, which was my last post.
I also completed an article about BAFTA’s recent decision to tie their most prestigious awards to cast and crew diversity. That article will most likely be my next post.
And finally, for creative writing, I returned to what I was calling last year My Secret Project. It was an idea I had for a short film project that I thought I might be able to shoot. Unfortunately, with everything else going on last year, that project was shifted to the back burner. With nothing happening at the moment, I pulled that project back to the front and actually pounded out a 10-page script.
Returning to Rewrites Workshop for the first time in months, I presented the script this past Thursday. The comments were off the chart. ‘Scary, compelling, engaging’ and my favorite “God damn, that’s some good writing.” There were criticisms as well that led to a quick rewrite. I sent the second version out for feedback and they were . . . well . . . contradictory. One reader said the script was powerful and gripping. Another reader said I shouldn’t waste any further energy on the script. They not only did not find it well written, but didn’t see any point in it.
Guess you can’t please everybody!
So that pretty much brings you up to speed on where I am. I’ll be hanging in Los Angeles for at least a little longer to see what happens on the employment front. While I’m here, I’ll ride this burst of creativity and try to catch up on my writing. I have plenty of time available. And I’ll continue to think about putting the Secret Project into production. That’s going to take some initiative and finances, but what the heck. It’s not like I’ve got anything else going on. Might as well make the most of it.