I recently wrote and registered my very first feature screenplay (eeks!). It’s an absurdest, comedic noir. The main character, Margaret Mathewson, already has a twitter handle (@MsMatthewson). I registered with the WGA, it’s pending with the patent office right now, and I sent myself a copy. I’ve been sending copies to a few friends of mine who may help me produce it.
But I’ll be honest. I have no idea what to do next.
I know it needs money. Real money this time. I want this script to be done right and I’m tired of calling in favors from all my creative friends. Of course I’m grateful to even have creative friends who I can call in favors from… but I want this sucker to be done right. I want to be able to pay people so they bring their A-game. I want to be able to pay myself at least a little so I can spend more time concentrating on creating a great product rather than doing it in my (spare) free time.
Like I said, I want it done right.
And like I said, I have no idea what to do next.
But here’s the thing. I like not knowing what I’m doing. I like a good challenge. I like to be out of my comfort zone. And I like learning.
So I’ve done the only thing I can do… set up an action plan and a list of goals and start. I’ve got a list of books that I know are helpful to learn independent film production. I know some resources on the web that I can look up to learn how to learn more about film production. I can ask around and reach out to people. I have a goal for when I want to start production on this thing. And it’s coming up. Which means I have to figure out how the hell I’m gonna get the money to do it.
But I’ve done this before. Many times. So this is just another one of those times. I know it’ll take a lot of steps and a lot of hard work and a lot of uncomfortable moments where I’m out of my element and a lot of note-taking and reaching out and learning.
And I can’t wait.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a movie to figure out how to produce.
Last weekend was my 10-year high school reunion. I dreamt of that day since my freshman year in high school. I couldn’t wait until I triumphantly returned to my class and got to brag about all the incredible things I’d done with my life in the past decade. I’d be like Romy and Michele except I wouldn’t have to lie because I’d actually be super successful (though if I did lie, it’d be way more believable than inventing post-its).
But, like most things in life, the past decade didn’t go as I had planned back in high school. What actually happened is that I was unable to make it back for the weekend because I couldn’t afford a plane ticket from LA to Indy and was already booked for a couple shows in LA. But I could have gotten out of the shows. Truth is, I just couldn’t afford the ticket.
Because I’m not yet financially successful. I couldn’t arrive in a limo or in a helicopter like I wanted. I couldn’t even arrive on a Southwest redeye I paid for with a credit card because I don’t have the money available on the credit card and don’t have the time to give off work. I’m far from home out here in LA so a trip like that is a commitment. I know friends who were able to make the trek to say hi. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I’m juggling too much here in LA too delicately. Too much time off and something has to give. And I’m not yet in a position to be able to give anything up. So I didn’t go.
I was class president for two years and student body president my senior year. And I didn’t make it to my 10-year high school reunion.
In case you can’t tell, I’ll just say it- I was disappointed. Not because I had anything to prove. I actually had wonderful friends in high school, many of whom I keep up with regularly. I even get to talk to some of my teachers too because social media is great for all that. And I’ve been back to my high school a couple times since graduation so it’s not like I’m a stranger around there.
I was disappointed not only because I wanted to be there but I think I wanted to be further along in my career at this point, too. I wanted to be able to tell people that I had a dream and I made it a reality and look at the cool stuff I have to show for it. But not really because I needed to show other people. I think I just wanted to prove it to myself.
I know I’ve chosen a different life path than many of my peers. And I’m happy with where I am and happy with the decisions I’ve made. I know as a result my journey is windier and weirder because it’s more unconventional. And that’s ok. But sometimes, there are clear reminders that I will miss out because of my choice. Missing my 10-year reunion was one of those reminders.
So if any of my BJPS Class of ’04 buddies are reading this, I hope the reunion was awesome. I would have loved to have been there and gotten drunk with you (since I was such a prude and a nerd and never did so in high school). I would have loved to have heard about your careers and your kids and your spouses and your sex changes and your college years and your job complaints and your future goals. Please know that I was there in spirit. And hopefully I’ll catch you at the next one. Because I swear to god if I can’t afford a friggin ticket to Indianapolis by then, I’m going to run away and join the nunnery. I hear they love comedians.