Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I could have some really big news. Maybe. So I'm not going to tell you. But here's some lesser news.

I finished the third draft of The Exit Strategy! I'm going to let it ferment a little and then dive back in for a fourth draft. After that, I do believe it'll be ready to show to a few close friends. And then rewrite it more. And then I'll send it to others (Carson? I'm gunning for you). And then I'll rewrite it more. And hopefully I'll get it polished in time for next year's Nicholl.

The Hockey Player thinks writing takes too long.

I've recently gotten my hands on a copy of Show Me the Funny! edited by Peter Desberg and Jeffry Davis. Since I'm really hoping to vamp up the comedy in this next draft of The Exit Strategy, I'll be looking for some applicable tips.

Football season is about to start. That's GREAT.

You know what else comes with fall?
Pilots. There are several new shows I'm excited about (Awake, The New Girl, Once Upon a Time), and I will be reviewing. It would be a great time to pull out my own pilot.

I've also been thinking about the end of the world a lot recently. The Hockey Player and I are forming a plan. The only tips I can give you are familiarize yourself with local emergency headquarters, get a bike, and plot the sneakiest route into Canada.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


People often ask me, in the screenwriting process, what follows full completion of a script? If it's done and I know it's done and I'm ready to let it go, how do I get it to the people who have the money? And my answer always is, "There's fellowships and blind queries and contests and secret lists and really I have NO IDEA."

I don't. I don't know what the steps are from finished script to first day of production. I suppose that's something I'll figure out in the next few years (hooooopefully). In most of my imaginary scenarios, it involves moving to LA.

Screenplays, I'm shot at. But
short stories. I know what you do there.

I wanted to get back into fiction this summer. I have two stories that I'm pretty proud of, and I just got one to DONE status. It's finished. It's ready to go. This sucker is ready to sail.

So. Once I have the time. I'm going to start researching short story markets. And then I'm going to start querying. I am nervous but excited. I am savoring the anticipated rejection. I'm having trouble typing with my fingers crossed.

I haven't had a fiction piece published in at least five years. I haven't tried. But I'm tired of typing and typing and typing and stuffing the pages into my pockets. Time to bid them farewell (and good luck). This could be the beginning of my failure as a writer.

Or it could go really well.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not so nice.

I have a problem.

I was hoping it was just restricted to the film industry, which is dominated by bull-headed adolescent man boys. But apparently it's just something about me.

People think I'm nice.

I did everything I could think of, short of actually being mean and standoffish. I thought maybe it was because I suddenly look young (seriously, I was never told I look young for my age until I graduated college). So I cut off all my hair. I got a new job where I can dress like an adult. And yet, last week, a couple of my new coworkers (literally, they're a couple. Husband and wife) told me I reminded them of their nice, who is just SO sweet and SO nice.

You think this wouldn't be a problem, people thinking I'm nice. But the problem is, people think I'm just so nice, and then they don't take me seriously. Which is an actual problem. Just because I'm pilot and reasonably courteous, I'm not timid or dumb. In the film industry, you can just give off a lot of attitude and get some balance that way. You can't give off attitude in an office setting.

Maybe I just have to wait it out, until people can believe a person can be nice AND young AND competent. Maybe I just have to wait until I get old, and people start believing I
have graduated college. The only thing I know I am going to do is bring in my fresh batch of French macarons to work tomorrow. I'm sure baked goods are just going to compound my problem, but if I didn't get rid of the things I baked, I'd have an all new personal problem.

EDIT: I'm not saying I AM nice, mind you. Just that that's how people perceive me. I'm just nominally polite and apparently young looking, and I am not responsible for how people interpret that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sometimes I say things to not look like an idiot, but instead I just prove it.

Last weekend I went to a goodbye party for a friend who was moving to China. I got to meet a lot of new people, which allowed for the always long story of where I'm from, what I'm doing, and what I want to be doing (seriously, I never think my life is complicated until I start telling this story. And usually I just skip the bit about England).

I got talking with my friend's dad about how I wanted to be a writer, and he said, "That's a tough career. A lot of people try it, and very few can make any money off it."

And I said, "That's true, which is why I think the key to having a sustainable writing career is to diversify, produce everything from screenplays to short stories so you can tap into the market from all angles."

And as he was nodding his head, all I could think was WHAT? Where did that come from? I've never said that before in my life, and I don't even really think it's true. I said it because I was to scared to admit to this person, who has relatives in the film business and legitimately knows how difficult it is, that I'm gambling a whole lot of time and energy on something that could turn out to be a big black hole. I couldn't say, "Yeah, screenwriting is more commonly a source of frustration than money but I'm going to do it anyway," because I didn't want to sound like some starry-eyed high schooler with her fingers crossed for NYU. So I made something up and just sounded dumb.

I do write more than screenplays. I write short stories and sometimes novel excerpts and these amazing blog posts, but it's not because I think I'm going to make a career out of them. It's because I enjoy all those modes of storytelling. I'm still learning not to be embarrassed about being a writer, even about being an unpublished/unproduced writer. I hope that next time someone says, in essence, "Oh you want to be a writer? That's a tough field," I'll be able to say, "You're right, it is. And I'm going to rock it out anyway."

PS. I finished that short story I've been working on. It's 18 pages of mess, but it's also 18 pages of awesome. Maybe you guys can't tell from my blogs, but I'm really not half bad.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More Soon.

It's been a perilous past couple days.

Actually, that's not remotely true. It's rather settled at frustrating, with my room remaining stubbornly hot while the outside part of the world becomes surprisingly cool. Every season I forget how Michigan weather goes.

Also, apparently it's a thing to bring your TV camping now? I did not know. But while on a twenty-four hour camping trip with friends (which, now that I think about it, was less than safe at times), we saw several families huddled around a TV set -- in their tent! What is wrong with the world!

Can we talk about spec script sales for a minute? According to Scott Myers, spec script sales are up 84% this year to date. I honestly don't know what else a writer would do to try to break into the industry BESIDES write a spec [EDIT: Ah, I forgot, Tumblrs and Twitter Feeds], but hallelujah for the resurrection! To all the people who said the spec market was dead, eat 84% of your little heart out. Go us! [And by us I mean you real people making money off this crazy thing.]

Are you guys following ScriptShadow? Are you? Because what I'm trying to say is, he said something really great last week, and I'm trying for the life of me to figure out what it was, but I'm drawing a blank. It might have been how truly hilarious comedies always seem to need that one character who will "go there" to ridiculous lengths [a la Zack Galifinikas]. This character, interestingly enough, is rarely the main character. And in female driven/targeting rom coms, it is ALWAYS the best friend of the career driven, detail oriented, Miss Lonely Hearts protagonist. Wouldn't it be great if we had a rom com where the female lead was the ridiculous one? Kind of like Juno, at 25? Or my own script, The Exit Strategy? [Please email for read requests.]

I'm on the fourteenth page of my current short story, and I'm getting that delicious feeling of tumbling down toward the end. Any day it could happen. It's inevitable. It's set up, I'm prepared, all we need is an afternoon or two at the keyboard and away from Facebook. I've been reading old Nebula winners too. Writers should be readers if only because it inspires us to be better writers.

I'm sorry about the excessive punctuation tonight. I don't know what came over me.