Monday, November 24, 2008

"Nobody Takes Vacations in Hollywood"

I got to work this morning and was talking to a guy here about whether or not it's a good idea to submit projects to people right before they leave for Thanksgiving.

I'm of the opinion that people will take a break from work, and likely forget about random submissions, so it's better to get them when they come back to the office. Unless it's hugely important, who's going to ignore family they haven't seen in a year to read a 7-page treatment for a movie?

My buddy in the office is of the opinion that most people are workaholics and holidays are a great time to catch up on work. He said, "Nobody takes vacations in Hollywood." I'm still not convinced.

And I definitely intend to make Thanksgiving a vacation. I'm going back east to experience some cold weather, see my family, eat some turkey, and relax since I haven't had a day off in months. I don't get paid enough to sacrifice a holiday to pointless work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finding Time

I use my google Calendar hooked up to my blackberry to keep track of everything going on in my life. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to remember everything I'm supposed to do that week and double book all the time. Plus this way I can look back at my old appointments to remember when I did stuff. It's tough remembering exactly when something in your past happened when there's no difference in weather to use as a reference.

So looking at that calendar, I find that there's very little spare time on it. My day job takes up pretty much my entire week. I can fit in something for a couple hours after work most nights, but that's pretty much it, and if I have something scheduled every night, I feel swamped because I'm trying to fit in the life of an aspiring writer on top of a time-sucking day job.

First, I need to schedule in time to write. I have my spec class every other tuesday, and I need to schedule in time for me to do the work for that class. Plus I have the pilot that I'm working on with my roommate which we work on Thursday nights. Now I'm adding in a cross country work session with my buddy from high school to work on a feature script idea of ours on Wednesday nights.

Second I need to schedule in the other aspects of my life which inform the writing. This includes seeing the significant movies that have been released, staying caught up with some of the popular tv shows (Hulu makes this easier since I can't afford cable), and reading for pleasure since I enjoy it and Stephen King recommends it as an important way to improve as a writer (I even joined a book club that meets once a month).

And lastly there's my actual life (which is also something that informs and inspires the writing). I have friends that I try to stay in touch with and see whenever possible, which is a lot harder when we're not all living in the same dorm anymore.

I'm also fitting in a lot of time with the new girl. Still not sure exactly what our status is, but we've been seeing a lot of each other over the last month and a half, and more often than not that includes some kind of sleepover, so that entire night is lost to anything else (not that I'm complaining, I very much enjoy it, especially after going without this kind of thing in my life for a while). She's very fun to hang out with, and saucy in ways that make me very thankful I'm living the single life with girls like her instead of getting engaged like my ex just did. She even brought me to a strip club this past weekend, which is something I never thought I'd do with a girl I was dating, but it was her idea and we had a lot of fun (NOTE: Strippers LOVE hot girls who show up in the club. They do all sorts of extra crazy stuff for them).

Monday, November 10, 2008

My ex is engaged

After spending the entire weekend with the new girl, I rolled out of bed Sunday afternoon and checked facebook. Right at the top of the newsfeed was a picture of my college girlfriend and a guy who was a year ahead of us at school that we were friends with. She looked like she'd just been crying, he was feeding her cake, and she had a diamond ring on her finger.

Apparently they'd been dating for months, and all my friends thought I would freak out if they told me, which of course I didn't do when I found out. Even though my ex and I were together for three and a half years, I'm not the jealous type. After I broke up with her a semester before we graduated I only hoped she'd be happy, so hopefully she will be now.

It was just kind of a mind blowing experience for me though. I had to pretend not to react long enough to walk the new girl down to her car, and then I was able to say "holy shit..." and think it over.

I had broken up with her because the end of college was coming up, and it was looking like we were going in very different directions (and to different coasts). Essentially my choices were to to either break up or buy an engagement ring and hope we could deal with the distance when I went to CA and she went to law school. I was 21 years old, and not ready to get engaged, so we broke up. Now it looks like she was in a similar situation with this guy as law school was ending. I'm not sure what his situation is, but it appears he is able to go with her after she graduates from law school.

Breaking her heart was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I wasn't sure if she'd ever be able to forgive me. I know the cliche is that I should be weird and inapproriately jealous or something, but in all honesty I'm really glad that she's happy now.

But at the same time this whole episode reminds me of just how not ready I am for marriage or any of that. I'm young, broke, and trying to break into a very tough industry. I won't be ready to settle down like that until I have some success out here. Trying to fit a marriage into that wouldn't be fair to me or my wife, so I'm happy to delay that for another five years or so. I don't even want to get a dog until I know I'm able to really take care of it. I can't even think about starting a family right now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Too long in one place

I've really been feeling like I need a vacation at work recently. I'm not as patient, find that I'm not learning much of anything new. I'm really ready to move on to something new, especially something I've been looking forward to and working toward (i.e. tv writing).

Instead I'm stuck working between 50-60 hours a week with no overtime pay or benefits. I make so little money as an assistant that after paying for basic necessities like rent, car payments, and food I'm not really able to handle much else, including paying down some credit card debt I worked up last year when I was unemployed during the writer's strike. Since this job takes up so much of my time, it's difficult to find times to write.

I'm in a program working on a one hour TV drama spec, which has been interesting but we move along so slowly that it's hard to stay motivated and focused on one 43 page script for 5 months. I'm also working on an original pilot with my roommate, but he's only able to schedule me in for one meeting to work on it a week, and half the time that ends up getting canceled for some reason. I always try to reschedule it when it's canceled, but he never has time to, despite the fact that he always makes the time to work on comedy sketches with other people he knows.

But this is all what I've been dealing with for the two years since I moved to LA, so why should I start feeling it now? It hit me this morning while I was making coffee at the office (which seems like days ago's been a long day).

For my entire life, things have always been broken up a bit. All through school there was summer break (in addition to the various vacations and other time off during the year you get). Just when I was getting antsy and dissatisfied with being a junior in high school, summer came, and after a three month break working in a record store I returned as a senior, a completely different routine.

A similar pattern continued on through college. Now, I graduated over two years ago, so you think the pattern would break there, but here's what happened to me:

I spent 4 months living at home and working temp jobs in Boston. One job lasted a month and a half, another lasted almost 3 months, and neither had much in the way of responsibilities. It was also during this time I had the most time to write that I've had since, and it shows. That was when I was able to finish my first feature script.

After the 4 months in Boston I moved across the country to LA. Definitely a change of scenery. We found an apartment, and a month later I found my first job. The guy I worked for was a small time independent film producer, and I shouldn't have worked for him for more than 5 months, but I ended up staying 7 and a half. I was REALLY ready to go by then, and not just because of itchy feet, but I should note that I was working there for close to the equivalent of a school year.

Then I worked another job for 3 months, then came the writer's strike in which I was unemployed for almost another 3. I started my current job in the beginning of February 2008. It has now been over 8 months. Never in my life have I ever worked anywhere for this long without some sort of break. I took a long weekend to go back east in August, but other than that I've worked every single day, with the exception of one half day I took when I was sick.

Not only am I getting burnt out, but my body and mind are also expecting me to move on. They've had enough, they know that we're now due for something else.

I guess this is just a necessary part of growing up, though I bet I would deal with it better if I were being paid a bit more than minimum wage and felt satisfied with my job.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voted this morning

I voted this morning. If you're reading this and polls are still open and you haven't voted, get your ass down there. If you're in California especially make sure to vote No on Prop 8.

I woke up around 6:40, rolled out of bed and walked around the corner to my local polling place (so convenient) and got in line around 6:50. By the time the polls opened at 7am the line was twice as long. When I left around 7:20 the line was three times as long.

What I found strange was that nobody was conducting exit polls. It really makes you wonder how accurate those things can be if they literally don't have anybody taking the polls at some locations.

While it's a beautiful day in LA now, at 7am it was still a little wet and rainy, which I found funny. They always talk about weather affecting voter turnout, but nobody ever thinks it will happen in Los Angeles. And of course they were right, the sun came right out and now it's another beautiful Southern California day.

Also on a positive note, the starbucks around the corner from the polling place gave me a free cup of coffee because I was wearing an "I Voted" sticker.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I totally called this months ago

You may recall that back in early September when McCain and Obama were still neck and neck in the polls I said that the numbers would correct, and that they probably weren't accurate when it came to younger voters since we don't have landlines, just cell phones.

Well according to Wired Magazine, I was right.

It's just another example of how the world has changed. You can't run a campaign, an election, or the country the same way you could 10 years ago.

This is why Net Neutrality is an incredibly important issue, even though nobody seems to be talking about it.