17 May 2012

Me vs. Them

I’m back from my unintentional hiatus! I’ve missed you, dear readers, and I’m sorry for disappearing the last two or so weeks. As you can see, I’ve added Google Adsense to make a little (VERY little) DOE on the side while I continue my ongoing fight into the Hollywood Industry.

And that’s what it is… a fight. In one corner are the ever looming and always biased Film Execs, trying hard to control the product (movies & TV), the people who make it (aka writers, directors, etc.), and the money. In the other corner are me and Michael—nobodies from the Midwest—and our coach: God. I’m confident.

This slow and steady process has a few many hurtles to overcome. Back at Freshmen College Orientation (so… fall 2003… dear God, has it been that long?) the ever-useless academic counselors advised the naïve students—who’d already paid their tuition—that only 1% of us would “make it.” Of course, this included major changes, drop-outs, people who change their career path, but it’s still a pretty sad statistic.

Oddly enough, that didn’t deter me and here I am today: a “nobody” in LA… but I’m HERE. Getting to LA is half the battle. Staying in LA is the other half. The rest is all networking. Though Columbia College doesn’t have job placement (what Arts school does?), they do have the Semester in LA program, which, if you’re a current film student, you should 100% sign up for it. The program not only gets you to LA, but you also work with a tight-nit group of people who’ll become the start of your network (a second family), and more times than not it’ll get you an internship which will most likely lead to a job.

I missed out on that opportunity; however, I got married, stayed in Chicago longer, lived in beautiful Appleton, and got closer with Michael’s family. The four-year gap hurt those friendships I made in college, yet I feel like I have a shit load of life experience under my belt that has added confidence to my writing, my self, and taught me to appreciate both the fast-paced and slow-paced ways of life.

However, building a network almost from scratch is difficult, especially in a town where everyone’s out for their own gain and trusting the wrong person could mean the loss of millions of dollars and amazing opportunities. People in LA are cautious. If you know someone in the Film Industry it’s tough to get in. If you don’t know someone in the Film Industry it’s that much tougher. The overnight success stories (an ironic term considering how long the process to get the film funded, made, and distributed actually is) of films like Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, The Blair Witch Project, and Bridesmaids is a one in a million shot. Making the success stick is one in a hundred million.

Wow… rereading this I realize how pessimistic this must sound. And although I know all of these frustrating things, the need to push on remains because writing is something I love. Not just writing but creative writing… writing scripts! It’s damn fun because writing is utterly limitless—the limits of imagination are the only limits for the initial draft. Of course, once you finish, the limits of time (features should be between 90 to 120 pages, each page representing one minute of the film). But revising is half the fun :)

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you some of the CHALLENGES of becoming a screenwriter. Oh… wait… I didn’t tell you that I’ve decided that screenwriting is where my skills and talents lie, so that’s what I’m pursuing.  I have a business card so you know it’s official. It’s nice to have focus—thank you God. I’m nervous, excited, thrilled with the challenges. I tend to do things the hard way—not necessarily the best way—so breaking barriers is nothing new.

I hope to share more about my creative process down the road and tell you more about the opportunities that come my way.

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