Friday, August 27, 2010


There's this boy. Who I met in Michigan. Who lives in LA. Who's working in Seattle. Who I might go see in Georgia.

Does this surprise you about my life? Because I'm not surprised at all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Getting a new apartment ready is a chore. And sometimes a PAIN. I've spent more hours trying to get our TV and internet set up these past couple of days than... I can't even think of a comparison. But it's ok because it IS starting to come together. My room is painted and my new bed is set up and I've started hanging things on the wall. But I look forward to the day when I can just come home. And not assemble furniture. Or paint walls. Or wonder if my cable and internet is ever going to work right.

Some day, I'll just come home.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Lack of an Update

I moved into my new apartment yesterday. It's lovely, of course, but it has no internet or cable yet, and I'm waiting for my Roomie to get back from her weekend away to set it up. Lucky for me there's a coffee shop just down the road. Also I don't have a bed or anything yet. And I need to paint my room first before I attempt to bring all the furniture in. So picture a nice new apartment, completely empty except for a bunch of boxes strew all over the place and an air mattress, and you'll get a pretty accurate picture of my current life.

I also got a PA job [job as in paid work]. The details of which I'm not yet going to share, but let's just say that it was a poor celebration last night of me eating alone on the floor of my unfurnished eating pizza and watching an ancient episode of Bones on my computer. I cannot WAIT to share the details though because, not only is this one of the biggest films to come to Michigan, but the story about how my name got passed along is pretty incredible.

This is great.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I've been reading Richard Walter's new book Essentials of Screenwriting. I've sorta maxed out how many screenwriting books I'll buy, but I was sent this one for free and I'm really glad about that. It's a great read. And it's not dry, which some instructional books can be. The thing I love most about it so far (I'm only about 60 pages in) is that it doesn't start with the three act structure.

It doesn't start with structure at all.

My favourite chapter so far has been the chapter entitled "The Personal Screenplay."
Write what you know has been a popular and controversial maxim for writers everywhere. Walter encourages writers to weave their story into every story they write. "Whenever writers sit down before blank paper or glowing pixels, they should write their own personal story."

There are a lot of reasons NOT to do this. It's self indulgent, no one else will find your personal whine and cheese fest interesting, it's amateur, you won't be able to edit and rewrite effectively. And to *that* Walter says, "If a writer fails to personalize her story, if she fails to make it her own unique tale, regardless of how well turned it may be it will nonetheless also be flat, hollow, heatless, heartless, pale, frail, upholstered, laminated, and not wholly human."

He argues that it doesn't matter what a story is about - if the writer is fully vested it will be innately interested because it will be full of real human drama [Not that skill and craft does not matter. Just simply - they do]. And if I think back about which stories that I've written that I both like best and think are the best stories, the ones which take liberally from my own life and questions and problems are the ones that rise to the top. I think that's one reason my rom com floundered. No matter how well structured it was, I had zero connection to it. If I'm not able to find that connection, an audience surely won't. And it's not that I won't be able to invest myself at some point, but I know that if I try to write it now it will be flat and dry and void of any real emotion.

I also just rewatched (500) Days of Summer with a friend who had never seen it. That movie is so great. It communicates so much. It's intricate and interesting and true. And it's based on the writer's real life.

This all was marinating in my mind as I was driving home to Jersey last week. Also I was trying to unravel the problem of what to write next. Keys to the Garden needs to age a little before I tackle Draft #4. Also I need to find a project that's a little more sellable as a spec.

And then I hit traffic.

I'm pretty sure nothing is more frustrating than hitting traffic during the eleventh hour of a twelve hour roadtrip. Bumper to bumper parking lot. I'm playing the sappiest music I have on my iPod, and since I have no driving to do to distract me, I start to think about my near disasterous relationship life.

"ARGH," I say. "If only there were SOME way to take all these negative situations and turn them into something creative!"

Which, of course, there is.

But no one would want to see my personal story. That's self indulgent and it's boring and it wouldn't fit a screenplay structure...

Wait a minute.

And I don't know what it was. It was some crazy combination of Richard Walter philosophy and (500) Days of Summer and the sappy music and being forced to just sit in my car in the middle of traffic and think, but for the first time I felt like I was given permission, like I finally relented to myself and said,
Yes, it's ok. You can write about that.

It's difficult to victory dance in a car, but when the seed of a beautiful story finally appears, you find a way.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Something for Everyone

My brothers are away for the weekend and I am home, so I slept in their room last night. In typical move out fashion, *my* room as already been repurposed. Into my brother's podcasting studio. It's kinda ok with me, because I have only a futon chair in my room to sleep on and they have actual mattresses, but it was pretty weird to wake up in the middle of the night... in my brothers' room. This morning my mom asked me if the mattress was comfortable. I reminded her that I spent most of last year sleeping on a two inch piece of foam supported by a frame of wooden slats.

Well, I was going to write about how cool it is that there are so many diverse movies opening at the theatre this weekend, but then I read Nikki Finke's Friday BO review. She rips on so many of them I'm nearly ashamed to be excited.

1. The Expendables - Hello, macho big budget action movie. HW Guy has been talking nonstop about this movie for a week and even sent me a text at 3 AM about how mind blowing it was. I would not be opposed to go seeing this movie *with* someone, but it's definitely not one I'm trying to persuade my friends into. I love how blatantly the marketing appeals to guys, including a tagline that says "Guys, don't let Julia Roberts win." Way to appeal to guys' inate competive nature. That's all fair because...

2. Eat Pray Love - ...this movie appeals to a woman's desire for freedom [yeah, I just got all Braveheart on you]. But seriously, I think this movie markets a lot of what American women want -- risk, first class adventure, and international love interests... all from the safety and security of their local theatre. I just started reading the book because I have a girl date to go see this movie next weekend. I'm about 10 pages in and am pretty excited about it. Maybe because I'm a writer who loves to travel... as is the author of the book. Also, I just sorta feel for Julia Roberts. Duplicity was way underrated.

3. The Other Guys - I feel like this Will Ferrel comedy is the date night compromise between The Expendables and Eat Pray Love. [Sorry, some other actor is in it to, but if you're going to do a comedy with Will Ferrel, prepare to be forgotten half the time.]

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - The other date night compromise. Some weird hybrid between a comic book and a romantic comedy. I really want to see this movie, but I feel like you have to find someone just as excited about taking a risk on cheese as you are. I have not yet found that person, but then again I'm spending the weekend in Jersey and typically have a much more difficult time conning people into going to the movies here than I do in Michigan. Hey, Micheal Cera, what about that Arrested Development movie?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mix Tape

On my twelve hour drive home today I heard this cool new song on the radio. I almost wrote the lyrics down so I could look them up later, but I decided to trust my memory.

So stupid.

It took about twenty minutes of hair-pulling Googling to figure out the song. But in the end, technology prevailed over my shoddy mind. I think it's pretty rad:

The Ready Set: Love Like Woe

Also, Pennsylvania, you and I are no longer on speaking terms.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The absolute hands down no questions asked WORST thing about being an adult is the amount of paperwork and admin crap you have to do. This is generally how I feel about responsibility --

Hyperbole and A Half: This is Why I'll Never be an Adult

But today I went to the "secretary of state" as they say here in Michigan [DMV for us word lazy East Coasters] and registered my Taurus. The amount of annoying work that goes into your registering your car seems ridiculous, but now the Taurus is insured, registered, plated, and ready to drive.

I have a Michigan license plate on my car. It's so weird.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Drop Kick Action.


At about 9 pm I realized that I hadn't written yet today, so I picked up my laptop and my cell phone and trudge off to Starbucks [look, I know. It just sorta... happened]. Basically I was just cutting and pasting, because the third act is solid. And why change too much when you know you have ANOTHER draft coming up? An hour later I typed THE END.

Hollywood Guy asked if he could read it, and I said no of course [but, awww, love it :) ]. Soon though, and that feels great. I said maybe after the next draft. Maybe after Draft #4 I can show it to people. I hope.

Either way, I'm getting closer, and it feels delicious.

Double Take.

Ok, so maybe my friend destroying my will to work on my rom com wasn't so bad after all.

So, I don't know if you can tell by my sidebar, but I juggle a lot of projects at once. Really, you can only effectively work on one or two projects at a time, but it's nice to have options. So when my rom com fell from grace, I picked up a different project because I may be unemployed but that only gives me a reason to be productive! (Sometimes I have to talk myself into being productive, if you hadn't noticed.)

I picked up Keys to the Garden (aka Even Angels Swear, my new favourite title for it) which I was in the middle of my third draft of before I abandoned it to procrastinate on packing. This draft is a massive rewrite, and it was just getting to be sort of a mess. I picked it up again, because even though it's a big budget heavily religious supernatural action movie that will never be viable as a sellable spec, I think it has the most potential of all my scripts to be a good story.

That was probably four days ago. I am sailing through this bad boy. Is that because I was soon into the third act, which is pretty solid and requires mostly just cutting and pasting? Maybe. But soon this draft is going to be DONE, and I can print it out, tear it up, and start all over again.

And I think Draft #4 might be the one. I think after that I'll be able to start showing it to people. And after i do ANOTHER draft based on their notes, I might even ask Big A List Screenwriter if he'll read it.

And then I'll have to work on something else because, like I said, it's at best a writing sample. Or fuel when I no longer can afford heat in the Michigan winter. (Just kidding, parents.)

Man, I can't wait until I can do just this for a living.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


I knew coming to Starbucks was a bad idea.

I usually like to go to more Michigan-y coffee shops, but Starbucks was right here and I had a gift card and they usually have quality AC. Bad move, Amy.

I've been working pretty steadily on my rom com. Plagued with self doubt as I do it, but I think I've finally gotten past my two or three false starts into my first draft for real. I've been knocking off a couple pages a day because, well, I'm not working so I should be doing something productive. And as I was sitting in Starbucks, typing away and trying to ignore my phone because it's the ultimate distraction these days, one of my friends who's a summer starter at the law school walks in.

I adore my friends, but this just furthers my hypothesis that law school ruins peoples' lives.

We say, "What are you doing here??" like it's a surprise to see someone at a Starbucks on campus (actually just I did that. Because I'm socially awkward), chit chat, and then he asks me what my script's about. And I give him the long version of the log line because even though I don't like talking about my scripts and I hate summarizing, it's a skill that I've got to learn.

And he goes, "Oh, it sounds like that 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' movie."

And then he leaves me to wallow in the dazed and broken pieces of my spirit.

Because on one level, he's very right. Almost too right. As in, I haven't written anything since he's left. And I remember, from somewhere in the parts of my mind where I put things to forget, having had this conversation before I started writing this stupid script. Only I can't remember how I justified it being different enough. And I know it is different enough because it's my story. Naturally it's going to end up being a very different beast. Right?

Hollywood's built on "the same, but different" principle. Maybe my rom com will just slide gracefully into that category. After all, can't ever story be reduced down to similar synopsises? Well, I mean, probably When Harry Met Sally and Predator don't boil down to the same plot, but within genres at least.

Or I'll turn out to be a talentless hack who can only reguritate unoriginal story ideas. Maybe that will happen.

Monday, August 02, 2010

My best relationship is the one with my phone.

I have pretty disappointing relationship habits.

Not friendship relationship. Those I think I'm ok at. You know -- the *other* kind of relationship.

The recent trend has been to meet a really nice boy, have a pretty good time, then sit alone in my apartment as three days later he goes back to his real home state.

It sucks.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


We wrapped the feature I was working on Thursday morning. Well, technically we wrapped Thursday afternoon after they reshot the footage from the last tape that was accidentally erased before being downloaded. The wrap party was Thursday night. All the rumors about wrap parties are true.

One of the grips said to me after I took the 2nd AD position, "You've got this new glow. You're really owning this step up." First of all, our grips are so awesome and sweet. But I really did enjoy being 2nd AD, and I was thinking about how this is one of the few times, maybe one of the only times, that I felt I really really excelled at something. I feel that in life I manage to get second best or top ten fairly frequently. But to really really excel at something is often out of reach for me.

I really feel that I rocked it out.

But now I'm jobless. And that, my readers, sucks.