Note To Self: Get to Work!

FlyingLettersAs I utilize this blog as my journal as well, I may randomly just post something that is more of a reminder for my future self (see the title of my blog, I was not trying to be clever, it’s true).  Case in point.  This is a weekly review because I’ll be sure to not remember in a week…

Monday – Film festival orientation and discovery that it was going to be a waste of time.  Should’ve gone to writer’s group and been productive.

Tuesday – Career help from a great source, and realization I am not quite prepared.  Must work faster!  Emergency visit to the vet at 2 a.m. because Phoebe had been bitten by something and her poor little face was swollen.  Stayed up until 7 a.m. to make sure she was recovering because I would not leave her at the vet.

Wednesday – Completely useless from stress and lack of sleep from previous day.  I think we started watching Doctor Who.  Now I get it.

Thursday – Cleaned the house from top to bottom in an effort to find the little bastard that bit my furbaby.  Was reminded how much I hate cleaning.

Friday –  See, I’ve already forgotten and it’s only been two days…Oh, I was reminded of my age because I was out of sorts and sore from the manual labor the previous day, and…that’s all I got.

Benedict(leaningforward)Saturday – Took my visiting friend, Julie, to the beach.  Got too much sun, relaxed the rest of the day amidst Sherlock and Doctor Who, and played a little Scrabble – my sister kicked my butt, like by a lot.  She got two triple word spaces for 99 pts and had no tiles leftover.  My last word only garnered me 3 pts and I was left with a bloody Q to which I had to subtract 10 pts from my total.  *Grrrr

Sunday – Lots of reading, story development (I figured out my second tv series idea – Yay!), and some writing.

I hope you’re all enjoying the rest of your Sunday and here’s to a productive following week!

*Quick edit – mentioned Sherlock so must include picture of Benedict!  You’re welcome! 😉

Tell the Universe What You Want

LokiSaysIShouldBeWritingWriters are by far the hardest-on-themselves group of people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, myself included.  We expect so much out of ourselves, especially in regards to our work.  Not only do we struggle to create (and are we ever truly happy?), we also criticize ourselves for not writing enough, we suffer from a plethora of fears; rejection, the blank page, another rewrite, completion, even success, and then we must endure at least a hundred plus other steps in order to succeed as professional writers.  There are dozens of avenues to explore, and we try them all in the hopes of finding the right one.  And people wonder why we’re “special”…or have the audacity to think it’s easy and that everyone can do it, or that all we do is daydream…these and other ideas like them fall into the realm of “writer’s pet peeves”.

So back to the topic at hand, the recent opportunity I was thinking about and mentioned on Monday – volunteering at the Los Angeles Film Festival by Film Independent.  They also put on the Independent Spirit Awards, so I thought it might be a great way to meet people and network, but when you’re a volunteer, you’re not really allowed to do that.  And then a few things popped up and made it a near impossibility to work the event at all, so I’m striking it off the list and moving forward…but to where?  I was discovering quickly that this year was going to pass me by without any real progress.  That was a devastating realization.

I believe that when you voice your desires aloud, that’s when things start happening.  Obviously we still have to work at it, but making the bold declaration, writing down our goals, and putting them out into the universe help to solidify them in our mind.  They aren’t just these dreams we have, but fully realized goals we can move forward to achieve.  What I needed was a new plan.  Great.  Something else to divert my attention from writing.

So the following night when I was talking to my sister’s boss and she asked what she could do to help me with my career, I told her.  I put it out there.  She and her husband both work with and know lots of people that could help me (including some of the biggest names that would pretty much make me pee my pants if I found myself in the same room with them), but in my mind I had drawn a line.  They are my sister’s bosses and therefore should almost be off limits, that is, unless they offer.  Growing up, we were instilled with this idea of doing things on our own, not relying on others, and making our own way (which I clearly can not do as a screenwriter).  Call it pride or stubbornness or stupidity (which is what my sister’s boss called it), but I got a very quick lesson in asking those who are capable and willing for help.  Bottom line is I’m meeting with them in the next few weeks in order to advance my career.

So I will now voice my desires; my next goal – have my portfolio ready when I meet with those who have offered me help.  Oh, gracious universe, please be kind and let the words flow from my mind to my fingertips without much stumbling.  Please allow my mind to grasp all the elements I need in order to finalize my rewrite…*fingers crossed.  A little forewarning, I may be a little absent as a result, because I have quite a bit of work ahead of me.

So go on, tell the universe what it is you want.  Good Luck!

*And by now you should know, if I can, I will include a picture of either Tom Hiddleston or Benedict Cumberbatch.  So you’ll always have that to look forward to. 😉

Quotes of the Week

There is no one way toward a destination, and sometimes we have to try different avenues to get us to our goal.  I’ve decided to try something different.  I’ll keep you posted. 😉

You can’t always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes, you have to dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could have been.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

Have a great week everyone!

What I Learned Last Night At My Writer’s Group

UnhappyIconGracious.  Last night, for the first time, I read some of my work to the group; a few pages of the script I’m thinking of adapting into a tv series.  I’ve been attending this particular writer’s group since January, and some of the members have become friends, so I was completely taken by surprise at the level of anxiety that overtook me when I started to read.  I haven’t been that nervous since the first time I had my work read aloud in college, many moons ago, which I did eventually get over.  Obviously, it’s been in hiding.  The quivering voice that made me more and more self conscious as I continued to read, the spastic hand that made it difficult to scroll, reiterated to me why writers drink.  Our group leader brings wine for everyone each week, but last night I did not partake…I really should have.  I got positive feedback, so that felt good, but I felt stupid that at this point in my life, I couldn’t control the nervousness.  I was surprised they were even able to pay attention to the words beyond the trembling.

This unsettled me.  If I had this level of anxiety among people I knew, how would I be able to pitch and sell my stories to strangers?

I used to wait tables and bartend.  Talking to strangers comes easily, but talking about myself and my work on a bigger scale is clearly a hurdle I will have to overcome.  I was thinking back to my first days as a server.  I was nervous, but nothing like what I experienced last night.  I became a pretty good server, often asked to wait on special guests at the restaurants I worked in…I would have to remember those principles I once implemented as a server; being friendly, professional, confident.

I would also have to practice.  As I had been able to get over the anxiety in school through repeated exposure, I would have to do the same thing at the writer’s group.  I mean, I am to blame for not getting myself and my work out there more.  I’ve been attending the group for 6 months and I just shared my work?!  Geez.  So I came to the conclusion that I would have to read, and read, and read some more.  I would have to get comfortable being vulnerable again.  I’m not sure if it was the judgement I feared or what exactly, but I was reminded of a particular quote when I got home –

Your work is not you.

If anyone has any advice to offer on the subject, please share!

On a side note, I wrote about 700 words of some Dragon Age fan fiction…

I’m sending out positive vibes today!  Best wishes!

 

What I Learned At My Last Networking Event

TVblueLast week I attended a networking event with a manager/producer guest speaker who said outright that screenwriters should focus on television.  The television market is where it’s at, which is obvious with all the new original programming options at Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, among others.  Movie attendance is down, so the studios are mainly looking for projects with a built in audience.  Hence all the superhero movies, remakes, and those based on novels.

I wept a little inside.  My screenplay, the one I’ve been struggling to rewrite, the one I wanted to use as my calling card, I could see was about to fall into the realm of obsolete.  The advice given was to create two original pilots.  Gracious.  The one area I’ve been struggling in, and now I needed to create two different shows?!  I barely had a viable concept for one.  And what was worse, I had to write them.  I couldn’t just have a fleshed out idea that I could pitch.  There’s that pang in my chest again, even knowing what I do now, writing this out causes a twinge of anxiety, again.  I left the event a little deflated but thankful for some honest advice from someone active in the film community.  As writers, isolated, no matter how much we read or discover about the business, until we’re on the inside, we don’t know what’s really going on.

When I got home, I started looking through my half-baked ideas, and the gravity of the situation started to sink in.  I have been working on my portfolio, trying to get all my ducks in a row, and I thought I only needed ONE tv pilot or web series idea, not a whole script.  I started to bounce around some ideas, and thought I had come up with a couple of fairly solid ones, until my sister enlightened me.  My fifth screenplay, Projection, influenced by the likes of La Femme Nikita, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Alias, could definitely work as a tv show.  And the bonus, it would only need a little reworking as I had already written about 50 pgs.  I know the characters, I know where I want the story to go (at least for a season or two), and who wouldn’t like to watch a female spy with special powers kick ass?!

One down.

So there you go, fellow screenwriters.  A little advice from the field.  I started following a few writers, a screenwriting career coach, and the editor of Script Magazine on Twitter, so I’ll hopefully have some more solid advice to share in the near future.

Happy Sunday!

Caution: A Fairly Happy But Ranty Writer Ahead

Happy Wednesday!

BrecilianForestCave

Here’s a little update:

Last week I received my first link to a story inspired by one of my writing prompts.  I was so excited!  Please give the wonderfully vivid Things Best Left Forgotten by redgypsophila a read and offer feedback, and let’s start building! 🙂

Moving forward, I’ve started to have a few ideas of what I’d like to do in order to “build” this community.  I’ve felt a little brain dead the last few days though, so it may be slow going.  I blame all the new social media outlets I’ve been exploring.

I joined Twitter (my handle is @RachaelCMarek).  Now that I’ve (slightly) got my bearings…I’d like to use this specifically as a resource, so if you have any tips on how to use it wisely, or can suggest people to follow that might be beneficial to writers, please, please, please share in the comments.

Then I signed up for Tumblr.  I didn’t realize it was another blog, so that one will probably fade into obscurity, but I wasted a whole lot of time the other day…

I added a link to my YouTube page that I’m trying to build with the writer in mind.  I’m trying to create “music to write to” playlists.  This will be a work in progress, but if you’re like me and like to write to music, you may find a few new things.

And as if you needed one more thing, I saw a post about a blogging resource called Quora.  This link is the article via The Write Life.  Is anyone using this yet?  Is it worth it?

Is all this other nonsense really required to be a writer…??  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, blah blah blah.  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some of these services (some much more than others); it’s a way for me to stay connected, keep in the know, learn new things, etc, but A) It’s too time consuming to maintain so many outlets. B) It’s too easy to waste inordinate amounts of time. And C) Why?  This is not how it used to be, not even a couple of years ago.  Yes, there are hints of bitterness laced with mind-numbing exhaustion.  I take full responsibility for time wasted the last couple of weeks.

As for actual writing…I spoke to some of my new writer friends who helped me gain some perspective.  I decided against the massive rewrite, as it would change the story completely, and am going to try to find the issue in Act I that is affecting Act III.  I have been all over the place with this, and this might be one reason I’ve started to mentally check out.  So wish me luck.

Wishing you all a productive rest of the week!

Helpful Site: Write to Done

HelpfulTipsI was bouncing around the internet, instead of writing, because I was still enjoying my morning tea and didn’t quite have the brain capacity for anything beyond reading emails and Facebook statuses, and luckily, I found something of use amongst the nonsense, a website called Write to Done.  They offer a section for submitting material as a guest blogger (here are their guidelines), they have a free book, and over 200,000 monthly readers, so it might be worth a look-see.

Happy Sunday!

2 Writing Opportunities

While on the hunt for writing opportunities, I came across these and thought I’d share.

Collective Lifestyle | Apply to Become Writer – for you freelancers

&

ProLiFic – which looks like an interesting idea and maybe a way to get us to finish our work 😉

Good luck!

 

2 Writing Opportunities

So I’ve come across two writing opportunities that I’d like to share:

1.  NBC is casting a net to find new comedy writers.  Here’s the link.

2. Disney ABC Creative Talent Development is looking for scenes for their talent showcase.  You can find more info on their Facebook page, and because I couldn’t find a proper link, here’s a screenshot of the details.

ABCshowcaseI’ll keep my eyes and ears open for any other opportunities!

Good luck!

A Screenwriter No-No

I had to share this.  And just to forewarn you, it’s painful.  One of the first rules of etiquette in this industry (or any), don’t abuse your contacts.  This should almost go without saying.  I understand the excitement that goes along with finding someone who can help you with your career (I’ve talked about this before), but this is not how to go about it.  If this writer had done any research on how to network, how to maintain relationships, and how to take any amount of criticism, this may have been someone he could have contacted again in the future, but now he’ll be lucky if he’s not blackballed from the entire industry.  It’s a small world and people talk.  All I can say is wow.

Enjoy!

Why producers will not read your script – shocking case study from one exec.

Have a great week everyone!