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March 23rd, 2007


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02:07 pm - To change or to resist change, that is indeed the question....
Okay, this is mostly me having my quarterly moment where I second-guess myself into a corner. So if you have a comment, feel free to jump in, but don't worry that this means I'm having a horrible week or anything like that. :-)


I've been talking off and on with a guy from my church. We share the common goal of wanting to work in the TV/film industry, and he's had a lot of experience both behind (writer, producer) and in front of (actor) the camera. He's not wildly successful or anything, but he's an energetic, practical, Type-A personality: life for him is all about goals and getting stuff done.

On that level alone I find his advice about breaking into the industry rather overwhelming. There's no way I'll be doing it the way he's doing it; I just don't have the level of sheer drive that he does. Nor did I come into writing from as practical a standpoint: he started writing stuff that would be shot three weeks later. I just started by telling stories.

When we get into this stuff, I find myself becoming frustrated and anxious--I'm not him, and I'm kind of glad I'm not, but it makes me wonder if someone like me will ever be able to make it in Hollywood. (I don't even mean "make myself rich;" heck, I just want to be working in this industry.)

I started writing when I was nine (seriously and with discipline, when I was fourteen). It took me years to find something that I knew I was good at, and once I did, I grabbed onto it and made it mine. I'm not a writer in the eyes of some people, because I've never had work published or produced. But I call myself a writer anyway, because crafting the written word, making language into story, has become such an integral part of my life. That's one reason I still write fic. I need to be able to come at something and directly hone it, sometimes, just to keep my head on straight. Maybe one day I'll be able to get that from my scripts--right now they're just too much work, too much of a learning curve.

I have no idea how to treat my writing as a business venture. I am *not* in this for the money; to an extent, I would be perfectly happy to write on my own until doomsday. I want to work in TV, I want to put good stories up there for people to connect with, yes, I do want that. But I am a writer, not a producer, and sometimes I wonder if that alone disqualifies me here.

I don't think I can change that part of me, even if I learn more how to at least approach my scripts as commodities. I don't think I want to change that part of me.

Sometimes I wonder if I've shot myself in the foot by holding onto that.

And then I ask God why He sent me here, if I'm the wrong sort of person for the job?

Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated

(21 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


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From:ladybrick
Date:March 24th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
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I don't think that telling stories is a bad approach (it better not be, because that's basically what I do myself.) Right now, all you're writing is spec. So write what you want. Write the stories that you have passion for. In the end, you'll have a product that's better than something constructed based on marketability that you don't care about. What you want right now are strong examples of your ability. Don't bother selling out until someone is actually paying. It's not like you're going to jump feet first into being a showrunner anyway. Just write and be ready for the opportunities that God throws at you.

Your fic stuff is obviously something you you really connect with. Have any of your TV fics turned into spec scripts?

[User Picture]
From:jd3000
Date:March 24th, 2007 12:52 am (UTC)
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Hear hear to this advice.

-JD
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From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
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Right now, all you're writing is spec. So write what you want. Write the stories that you have passion for.

*sigh* Yeah. I keep telling myself to just focus on where I am, rather than where I'm not, and it's hard sometimes. :-)

Don't bother selling out until someone is actually paying.

*sporfle* Ah, Hollywood, the land of great compromises. So true.

It's not like you're going to jump feet first into being a showrunner anyway.

Thank God. Right now I have trouble even imagining myself in a position of management at my current boring job, much less doing all the crazy stuff that a showrunner has to (write, produce, and all the odd jobs).

Your fic stuff is obviously something you you really connect with. Have any of your TV fics turned into spec scripts?

This ability to write fic, to jump into an existing universe and storyline and characters and *run* with it, is one of the reasons I know I'd do well in scripted TV. I'm just built to this, honestly.

And yes--my CSI spec script was born, not even in a completed fic, but in a fragment which I wrote for my own indulgence. And it is now a completely plotted and 3/4-written script.

I'm deliberately not writing Supernatural fic because the ideas I've had so far would all lend themselves to actual spec scripts, and that's a different enough genre that I'd like to give it a try.
[User Picture]
From:ladybrick
Date:March 24th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
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If it helps... I know all about being frustrated. A scam-smelling screenwriting lab got me very upset today.I hate when I get my hopes up over stuff I know is probably not even legit or a total waste of money :/
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From:kerravonsen
Date:March 24th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
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I know where you're at, friend. I have a tendency to second-guess myself about my own career; feeling that I "ought" to be ambitious, that I ought to be promoting myself, digging for promotions, asking for raises, reading all the "right" periodicals, and so on.

But I don't want to manage people. I want to write programs and make pretty web things. And whether it's humility or just downtrodden-female-socialization, there's something in me that revolts at asking for a raise. I earn what my employer wants to pay me; that's their perogative.
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From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
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At least you do get to get paid for writing programs and making pretty web things. :-) I'm worried I won't even have enough drive to put myself where I can *get* work in this field. Heh.

But yeah...kind of like that. I'm not that great at asking for raises either.
(Deleted comment)
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From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
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The design, my dear, is not accidental.

Thank you; I know this, but it's good to be reminded of it when I wonder if that's enough. :-)
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From:jhall1
Date:March 24th, 2007 10:35 am (UTC)
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Does your writing have to be for Hollywood? Wouldn't, say, getting a novel published satisfy you?
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
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"Satisfy"? Well, as I said in the post, I'd probably be satisfied writing fic for the rest of my life--I just love to tell stories. When I go for more than a couple days without doing some writing, I get depressed. And I don't need to be paid for my work to know that it's good.

It's just a part of who I am.

Otoh, it took God five years to convince me to come to Los Angeles. There's some reason I'm here. *shrug*
[User Picture]
From:mistraltoes
Date:March 24th, 2007 11:26 am (UTC)
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I think it would be a mistake to think that God only needs one type of person in each industry. Don't let someone else's vision cloud yours.

And people who think that being a writer and being published are the same thing? Well, to be charitable, I'll have to say that they just have some gaps in their understanding.
[User Picture]
From:mistraltoes
Date:March 24th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
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And like the rocket scientist I am (haha), I forgot the most important part. God sees the end of our path from the beginning, along with all the twists and turns it takes to get there; but we are rarely privileged to know more than the next immediate step. So faith in God's plan is a lot like having one of those navigation systems that say 'turn right in 30 feet', 'turn left here', etc. You don't have to know where God is ultimately taking you, as long as you take care to be where he wants you to be right now.
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From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
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I think it would be a mistake to think that God only needs one type of person in each industry. Don't let someone else's vision cloud yours.

*nods* Thank you. It's tough to remember, but yeah, you're right. And people get into writing here in the weirdest ways... There's no "normal" here. :-)
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From:wneleh
Date:March 24th, 2007 11:46 am (UTC)
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I think that trying to figure out what to do with our lives based on our talents can be very problematic: most of the really awful people in history were good at what they did, and most of them also probably thought God was on their side.

OTOH, the Bible is pretty explicit that we are all given different talents, which we are to use to God's glory, very broadly defined.

Whenever I start in on this at church, someone says that the rightness of our path is judged by the fruits. But we're evaluating those fruits in a specific context...

And what if you're supposed to be in LA, but not as a screen writer? Maybe you're supposed to work in a mission, or just be in a certain place at a certain time, or get so fed up that you return back to your family, but with a much different perspective than everyone else in town, which helps you get the next Junior High built? Maybe something will happen tomorrow that will send you to med school; or maybe you'll end up acting, or teaching.

What I really think is that, as long as you have doubts, you are probably on the right path :-)

- Helen
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
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I think that trying to figure out what to do with our lives based on our talents can be very problematic: most of the really awful people in history were good at what they did, and most of them also probably thought God was on their side.

Heh. Yes, human beings are very good at lying to ourselves and using our gifts and talents to benefit ourselves and no one else.

But that doesn't mean that we're not supposed to use our gifts for God and others; doesn't invalidate seeking a life direction based on the ingrained talents and personality structure He's created in each of us. As long as we're seeking Him, and walking in love (which is the fulfillment of the Law) rather than selfish ambition (I'm very much a small-picture person because of this), I think our talents and desires can be good guides. (Not good masters, but good guides.)

And what if you're supposed to be in LA, but not as a screen writer? Maybe you're supposed to work in a mission, or just be in a certain place at a certain time, or get so fed up that you return back to your family, but with a much different perspective than everyone else in town, which helps you get the next Junior High built? Maybe something will happen tomorrow that will send you to med school; or maybe you'll end up acting, or teaching.

*shrug* This could all be true. But if it is, then it's incumbent upon me to be listening to and trusting the Lord, for his direction (and most of that so far, especially the past six months, has pointed straight to TV); and it is incumbent upon Him to speak to me and point me in the right direction.

I sincerely doubt I will ever move back to my hometown, unless my parents die and some of my siblings are still children. I've always had a different perspective than most of the people there, and it's bizarre to live in a place where you always feel like an outsider who can't get anyone to quite understand them, or get anything important done. But only God knows. :-) (Weird that you should mention medical school; I would make a sucky physician, but I've been told by a couple of counselors I know that I might be good at that, and should consider training someday.)

What I really think is that, as long as you have doubts, you are probably on the right path :-)

LOL, yes. It makes one more apt to listen and consider, anyway. :-)
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:March 24th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
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I totally wish I could show you an episode of NX that dealt with Ed and his screenwriting. He had written a screenplay of which he was very proud, and he'd sent it to an agency. And an up-and-coming agent contacted him, and they met, and immediately the agent wanted to turn Ed's introspective character piece into an action/adventure flick. And he was pushing all these changes on Ed--and shooting down Ed's proposed compromises--and Ed, figuring the guy knew what he was talking about, made the changes. He didn't want to, but the agent said that it'd be easier to sell a product he believed in.

And I'm sitting there telling the agent, "If it has to be a script you 'believe in,' then you must not be much of an agent. A good agent can sell a script he *doesn't* believe in. If you can only sell what you believe in, Ed is obviously not a client for you."

And I'm sitting there telling Ed, "Don't change it! This guy doesn't market in your product. Don't change the product; change the marketer. Find someone who *does* believe in your product. You know they're out there."

Okay, yeah. NX is pure fantasy; but I think the lesson applies. You are one type of writer; this guy at your church is another type of writer. Learn from what he has to teach you, but don't feel bad about being who you are.

And of course, continue to pray about it. As has been suggested, as much as you want to write in TV, maybe that's not exactly where God wants you. Maybe it is. Maybe He wants you somewhere else in Hollywood. Maybe it's "not yet." Or maybe it's as Helen says.

I don't want to discourage you, but from my observation, it does take a driven person to make it in Hollywood, simply due to the fact that it's such a youth-oriented subculture, and by the sheer volume of people who want to make it in Hollywood. They're always looking for "fresh new blood"--often to their detriment, if you ask me. Otoh, I've also heard anecdotal evidence of the "average joe" breaking into the biz because he was in the right place at the right time, being himself, and meeting the right people.

About my best suggestion for you to talk to someone who has been in the industry for 20+ years, doing what he's talented at (but not necessarily what he wants to do) is for me to hook you up for a conversation with Geo's friend JT. (And how ironic is that, considering you *live* in LA and have, I'm sure, plenty of resources.) I'm sure you've heard me talk about JT on an interpersonal level, so if you're interested, we can continue this in e-mail.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Otoh, I've also heard anecdotal evidence of the "average joe" breaking into the biz because he was in the right place at the right time, being himself, and meeting the right people.

I'm kind of crossing my fingers for this, because I'm an introvert and just can't smash into the social scene and get myself known. But maybe a small-town woman who can write will be the right sort of writers for a show, and maybe the showrunners will know that. God knows.

Re: JT. Hmmm. That's not actually a bad idea. I do need to start networking, and even someone at a remove from Hollywood might have some actually useful advice for me. I'll email you.
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:March 24th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
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Further suggestions: First, you *have* to get yourself out there. No one is going to come knocking at your aparment door offering you a writing job. You have to write, and you have to get your product out there. That's just the way it is, in *any* career. If I didn't do community theater, I wouldn't have met Dan who was the one who 10ish years later recommended me for my current position.

That brings up another point, one that Geo and I were talking about with our own housing situation: God starts working on our problems long before the problems even appear. As I said above, it took 10+ years for me to get a job in theater, but by doing community theater, I met people who later afforded me better opportunities.

But you have to put yourself out there. As the above anecdotal scenario suggests, you have to be out there in order to be in the right place at the right time to meet the right people.

As an introvert myself (or maybe more accurately an extrovert who later second-guesses everything she's said in a conversation), I know it's difficult. I really have to work myself up into a mood to audition. I need to remember that it's not going to kill me. It's hard, but it must be done.

Also, Geo suggests entering screenwriting competitions. There are *lots* out there, and that would give you a lot of what you say you need: deadlines, motivation, connections, experience. It will get your work out there for someone to read, and you might even learn what areas of screenwriting you need to improve on.

Your talent and ability isn't at issue here. We all know that. :-) What I'm hearing is that you're reluctant to put yourself out there, but that's what you need to do. How will someone who's looking for a small-town woman who can write know you're out there if you don't tell them?

Let me know about talking to JT.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
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I hope you'll pardon me if I'm a little blunt, here; I clearly wasn't articulate enough above.

Thank you for all the advice; none of it is remotely new to me, and some of it (like entering screenwriting competitions) are things I have on my list of stuff-to-do.

The problem with all of it is that, guess what: I actually have to have completed, decent scripts in hand to do them. Before you put something out there, you have to have something to put out. I didn't even start trying to write scripts until 3 years ago, and didn't start figuring out how to work the format and get stuff actually done (it's *so* different from writing prose, which I can just about do in my sleep; and trying to survive in a city this huge on my own took up a lot of time; &$*&%& full-time job) until about 6 or 8 months ago.

So all of that falls under my "can't do that yet" umbrella. It's bad enough that I'm not where I'd like to be yet, without reminding myself constantly by trying to figure out things I won't have the resources to do for at least another six months, maybe a year or longer.

Not that I'm *not* reluctant to put myself out there; sure I am. But I'm more reluctant to put my focus on things that show me to prospective employers if I don't have the resources to back up my claim. That's not fear, afaik; it's just smarts.
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From:whitemartyr
Date:March 24th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
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things to keep in mind...

1) you ARE exceptionally talented. For example (among many other things), the way you can reach in and capture character voices/mannerisms is insanely awesome and makes me feel like a dolt sometimes. You do it SO well and consistently. It's awesome.

2) God lead you to Hollywood. He gave you the desires of your heart and knows them deeply.

3) (take or leave this one as you will) I believe you are uniquely designed exactly for this. It makes perfect sense to me that you will be writing for TV one day and getting paid for it. I don't know how he'll get you there, but I believe he will.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:March 24th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, my friend. Maybe I should print these out and put them on my wall, huh? :-)
[User Picture]
From:whitemartyr
Date:March 25th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
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You are welcome. Maybe you should! If it'd help then yes, do it.

Did you write today? I've been thinking of you and wishing you words...

*hugs*

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