I’ve started a new screenwriting job that has me working at an office.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of corporate culture. I worried it had been too long since I worked business hours with normal people, having co-workers who didn’t have tails or wear diapers. I worried not for me, but for them. It’s been a very long time since going to work means I have to put on pants.
It’s that time of year when networks are ordering pilots. This means tv writers are sitting around anxiously waiting to find out which scripts they’ll be viciously hate-reading.
It’s been a little while since I’ve had time to do a Weekly Procrastination, so I’ll do two today.
Wednesday: Dallas Quill Awards Gala
It is my first gala. It is my first time being a keynote speaker. I fear that these two firsts will combine to give me a moment like you see in comedy pilots for clumsy-girl-you’re-supposed-to-relate-to-but-will-be-worse-at-life-than-you-are-so-you-feel-a-little-better-about-yourself shows. You know, where I accidentally knock over the podium because I made a joke that didn’t go so well because I didn’t know someone important to the organization had just died of whatever thing I was joking about, and then when I try to fix the podium I accidentally rip off a toupee or two while having no choice but to bust into a freestyle rap about Dallas and then eventually I just grab the mic start talking about Tim Riggins because it’s the only way I know how to get all girls back on my side.
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.
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.
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.