Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things are awesome and bad

First the bad:

Work has been a huge pain recently. It's making me question how long I really want to stay there, and what kind of long term benefits it's going to have for me. Due to work insanity and stress I've been needing time off more, and the combination of work stress and trying to finish a spec script by June 1st was just too much. So now I'm not trying to hit the WB workshop deadline and am instead aiming for Disney/ABC and maybe Writer's on the Verge. Work sucks. I don't like it. This is a pattern for me when I'm 10 months into a job I think. Though I doubt that it would be the case in a job I really enjoyed.

Second: The Good

One year ago today I had the best first date of my life with Writress. Today marks our one year anniversary. I'm at home now, waiting for her to arrive with ingredients to make lasagna. We're going to make some tasty food and watch the Chuck finale on hulu and I couldn't be happier about it.

The only downside to the festivities is that her present has not yet arrived from ThinkGeek.com. Luckily she's cool enough to understand.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Been extremely strapped for time

I haven't had any time to really contribute to this blog much recently. I've been really busy at work heading into the Network Upfronts this week, so there hasn't really been any downtime at the office. And when I'm not at work, I'm either writing, thinking about writing, eating, sleeping, or hanging out with Writress.

I'm about halfway through a draft of my Castle Spec, and it's gonna come right down to the wire whether it's ready for the WB workshop of not. If I don't make that deadline there is more time to submit to the Disney-ABC fellowship and NBC's Writers on the Verge, although the NBC one tends to prefer to bring diversity into the program, which as a white male from New England isn't something that works to my advantage with that particular program. I'm also doing finishing touches on the comedy pilot I'm writing with two other guys, and on the supernatural pilot I'm writing with my roommate. Assuming I stay on pace, I might be doubling the amount of writing samples I currently have available in a month, which is a good thing.

It's coming up on a year since I met Writress, and I can say now that it's the best relationship I've ever been in. My college girlfriend was the bar I used to rate other women I'd dated for years, and most fell short of that (though I'm sure part of that was also that I wasn't ready to be THAT serious with anyone for a while after breaking College Girlfriend's heart). Now, if I compare Writress to CollegeGirlfriend it just highlights the reasons I broke up with CollegeGirlfriend in the first place. While I can still see why I was attracted to and was in love with my college girlfriend, I can say with confidence that even if the ridiculous romantic comedy situation in which she left her fiance at the altar and came running to me actually happened, I wouldn't want to get involved with her again. I wish her the best, and genuinely hope we might be able to be friends down the line, but I recognize that's probably a long shot considering how she dealt with things after we broke up.

I can just be myself around Writress, and while we enjoy the same things we don't get bored with each other. There are just enough differences to keep things surprising and interesting, but at the same time we have so much in common that we're never feeling like we've been dragged into doing something we don't want to do.

Right now I'm trying to work out my vacation plans in August so that I can bring Writress back east to meet the rest of my family. The fact that I'm psyched for my parents to meet her when I hadn't even told my parents about anyone else I dated since college says something right there.

I was kind of a commitment-phobe after college, because I realized I needed to experience the world a bit more, and knew that until I was where I wanted to be in life all I would end up doing is hurting someone again if I got too serious with a girl. With Writress I can see that if we really do become something long term, I won't have to change who I am for her, and she won't have to change who she is for me. If anything, we'll be able to help and support each other, as we have been already.

I remember thinking to myself before I moved to LA that the perfect girl for me would also be a creative writer type. And somehow it worked out that just as soon as I'd worked the single-ness out of my system, along comes a girl that fits the description perfectly. I generally try to keep a somewhat objective and in ways scientific outlook on life, but at the same time I can see how things like this happen and make people believe in things like fate.

Ok, enough mushy stuff for now. I'll just leave it that I'm happy right now despite the fact that I'm broke and busy as all hell. Hopefully there will be more good news to report on here in the future.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Double-Whammy of Networking

Despite the fact that I really need some time to get some writing done, I plan to go out the next two nights to networking events for writers. I haven't been to events like this in a while, so I'm overdue. Really the only people I ever seem to interact with in person these days are my bosses, Writress, and little bits of conversation here and there with my roommate and his girlfriend.

My manager friend who's been a help with reading my material and getting me a cable network meeting has just decided to leave LA and join the family business (not entertainment industry). While I wish him well, this does leave me in the market for new quasi-representation. All the more reason for me to interact with other writers tonight. Perhaps the fact that my go-to-guy is gone will lead people to suggest other representation for me, since it's not like I'm just some random guy who can't get anyone to read his stuff. The other wild card is my current boss. He kinda offered to read my pilot months ago when he gave me permission to take a morning off for that cable meeting, but he said to contact him after the holidays. Well as soon as the holidays were over, pilot season started and we've been crazy busy ever since. Now six months have gone by, and he hasn't brought it up again. I'm pondering if/when I should ask him if he still wants to read my stuff.

Last night was kind of a bust for getting writing done. Things were in full Apartment clean up mode when I got home, since Roommate's dad is coming into town today. I pitched in and did my part, then just as I was about to sit down to eat before writing Writress called with the happy news that she was getting off work at a decent hour. She's been sick and we haven't had time to hang out for a while, so we took the time to catch up on a couple shows and do some laundry instead. Now I REALLY have to buckle down and find time to work though, while still fitting in these networking events.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Narrowing my focus

I turned in a draft of my webseries for my writing group's showcase. Now I just need to wait and see if mine is one of the ones picked for the staged reading (actors are reading first acts and teasers for 3 or 4 scripts).

In the meantime, I'm in the process of turning my Castle outline into a Castle spec first draft. I have until the end of the month to get it finished so I can submit to the Warner Bros program again this year, and I'd rather have time to review it and not send a first draft. What this means is that the Castle script is my top writing priority.

I got a few short scenes written last night. Rather than just start at the beginning I worked on my act outs, which I think are pretty strong. I based my structure on what I'd seen in other episodes, so I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, so I don't anticipate having to rework the structure too much, so that gives me the freedom to write scenes out of order if I feel like it.

Writress has been feeling kind of sick the last few days, so I've also been trying to take care of her in my off hours. She's back at work today, so currently my "crazy Cinco de Mayo plans" consist of going home after work, maybe making myself some pasta, watching an episode of something on hulu while I eat, then writing until Writress gets off work and calls me.

Having a deadline is really helping me get motivated to work on this project every day, rather than taking tons of days off. I feel really good about this outline, and I think a lot of what I've learned as a writer in the past year will come out in it, so it should end up being a stronger sample than my Heroes spec was last year. Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Idea for networks picking pilots

Every year the networks go through hundreds of scripts, pick around 50-100 pilots to shoot, and pick a fraction of those to actually go on the air.

And sometimes, even after they do that, we get a situation like what happened with "100 Questions for Charlotte Payne" or "Happy Town" where months later the shows don't even make it on the air or are instant bombs.

Here's my thought. There are so many people that are die-hards for some TV. And people will pay more to get somewhere "first" whether it be the not-as-good version of the iPhone or an advance screening of a summer blockbuster. What if there were a way to get advance input on what shows will be successful, and make money off it?

My idea is that a network set up an online venue in which people pay for "advance screenings." Once they pay (and have the option of giving their age/gender) they're able to screen all the pilots. After each pilot they're allowed to rate it. You could even include short ads before each pilot as with hulu.

If done on a large enough scale, the networks would a) make a little money from the people paying to see the advance shows, b) get a better idea of what kind of ratings to expect, and c) get more word of mouth for shows that WILL be a success.

This is already done to an extent with test screenings, but those are done with random tourists in Las Vegas or people with nothing else to do in the middle of the day. And they're getting paid to be there. With my idea, people rate from the comfort of their own home, and you get a sample of people that are more like your prime time audience. Plus, they're paying YOU to be watch rather than getting a free pass to the Madame Tousaud's museum at the Paris Casino.

The networks are already familiar with the public voting on shows like American Idol, and people get really into it. Why not have people become die hard supporters of their favorite pilots?