I’m off to the Austin Film Festival next week, where the number one question asked is, “How do I break into the industry?” This week’s Procrastination is for you.
Jason and I have been in talks to start a family for some time now. I say “in talks” because I find it to be along the lines of countries negotiating, as one nation will have to take on a serious — albeit short-term — obligation that could potentially affect that country’s GNP for some time. We went back and forth on when and how, birth vs adoption vs fostering, back to budgeting to financial obligations to legal obligations to when and how we would fit it in with our work schedules and my deep-rooted fear that if I had a child I’d never get hired for anything ever again.
We discussed starting a family at such a conceptual level we were practically wearing elbow patches, continually adjusting our reading glasses in order to make another articulate point about feminism and the human procreational instinct. (TL;DR: We nerded out about it.)
Giving a little Cal update, as he’s sleeping beside me right now on the couch.
After two inconclusive aspirations and a visit to the cardiologist, Cal is now on a tiny dose of daily beta-blockers because of a heart defect, and some occasional subcutaneous fluids to help with any dehydration due to his kidney issues. The mass is still unidentified, but he’s got so much going on with him at once, opening him up to find out what it is seems too risky at this point. He’s still playful and silly, but a little slower and sleepy due to his medication.
Today’s weekly procrastination is making me have to use the tl;dr shorthand, which I only recently looked up as I’d never had to learn it before, because I don’t believe in its philosophy. (What if it was good, and you would’ve been so happy to have read all those words? Why so much judging on length alone? If you’re so busy, what are you doing screwing around on the Internet, anyway?)
The tl;dr answer is in this entry’s title, but here’s the letter in full (I’ll bold the parts where she’s asking her questions):
I think I wrote this while on an airplane.
“i am working on an essay about nail polish while the lady to my right is editing her documents that attempt to change the FBI’s definition of rape in order to get more rape kits ordered.
… i have done something wrong w/ my life.”
I was driving home from a features meeting yesterday listening to Scriptnotes, a podcast by Craig Mazin and John August. If you are an aspiring screenwriter and you haven’t found Scriptnotes yet, I highly encourage it. Craig plays the cranky rich guy who grumbles when a screenwriter finds this job hard while John soothes with his kind voice and gentle encouragement. I think it’s the kind of balance you need inside your brain if screenwriting is the kind of thing you want to do to your life. (“Oh, just shut up and write, you whiny baby! …and good luck, you can do it!”)
Lately Craig and John have been taking a few minutes out of their podcast to ponder why there are so few women in this industry. As a woman who had just taken two general meetings that day in features, slammed in the middle a week of no less than five TV sitcom pitches, I wanted to shout back, “I’M TRYING, GUYS.” Craig and John gave some stats based off their own recent inquiry for submissions — only 12% of the writers who sent them pages were female — and with less than a third of Nicholl submissions coming from women and only around a quarter of working screenwriters with the Guild being female, they eventually somewhat concluded: “I guess they just aren’t as interested.” And then I got really bummed out.
This Thursday I’ll be on my laptop having a Q&A for YOU TAKE IT FROM HERE just for you! Shindig‘s hosting this event, where we’ll be in a giant video chat room together where I can answer your questions on a wide range of subjects, including my other books, writing advice, the odd private life of Little Pam and the current state of sweet Cal. It’ll be a fun interactive hour.
Thursday, July 26th, 6pm EST
Click here to sign up for the event
I’m sitting on the couch working on a script that’s due, waiting on the phone to ring with some work-related answers, including the latest on how the film rights are going for You Take It From Here. I’m flattered and relieved that there’s interest. Things are moving forward (yet creeping along).
One of the questions I’m inevitably asked about a project, and one that I always dread, is about casting. I’m always asked, “Who do you see playing this role? What’s your dream cast?”
I don’t mind the writing, the outline, the pitching, the waiting. But since it’s always such a long shot that anything would ever get the greenlight, I long ago stopped trying to mentally cast things in my head. Why get myself even more hopeful for something that probably won’t/can’t happen? I’m always so grateful and happy to hear when an actor or actress is interested in a property or attaching to a project, and I think it’s an effortless happy partially because there’s no name or face to knock off my dream list for that person to stand there.
I’d like to host my own little book giveaway, to thank you guys for all the support and passion you’ve given You Take It From Here and for making this book-writing thing a little less lonely. From the Amazon and Goodreads reviews, to the pictures of you with your copy you’ve posted to Facebook and Twitter, you’ve made me feel so much better about writing this novel. It’s sometimes a little frightening to put so much of yourself out there that somebody can literally put it in their cart at Costco.
So I’m giving away TEN SIGNED COPIES of You Take It From Here. This book can be for you or for your best friend, to say thank you for being there, for being weird and funny and loving and wonderful.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling us about your best friend, something he or she did that was above and beyond what you’d ever expect from someone. What was his or her true moment that changed everything about your relationship and bonded you for life?