Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recalculating... Recalculating...

If you've ever used one of those GPS devices like the Garmin, you know recalculating. This is what the GPS lady voice (my parents call her Mrs. Garmin, which I love) says when you veer from the path she's plotted for you, say because you encounter traffic or know a better route yourself.

The voice recording for "Recalculating..." has this hilarious (to me, anyway), faint tinge of disappointment mixed with resignation, as if Mrs. Garmin's thinking, "Okay, pal. I tried. You win." Ultimately she's gotta suck it up and recalculate a new route, because, after all, you're the one driving the fucking car.

Tomorrow will mark the 5 month anniversary of my last paid day as a writer on MOONLIGHT. The show got its walking papers from CBS a few weeks later. It's been a busy summer full of good meetings and pep talks with Los Agentes and El Managero, but as of today I'm still unstaffed. You know how you keep hearing that it's tough out there right now? It's tough out there.

In an effort to cheer me up, the Boyfriend said to me recently, "Right now you're doing pretty much every kind of writing you can do, except being on the staff of a TV show."

He meant this as a good thing.

And it is. Here's what I've been working on during my summer "vacation":

  • Spec feature
  • Spec graphic novel
  • Story areas for 12 episodes to accompany my spec pilot
  • Pitch for an hourlong TV show
  • Pitch for a half-hour single-camera TV show
  • Pitch for a direct to DVD movie
  • Prep for a young adult novel

    And that's not even counting game design consulting gigs and truly nutty stuff. Monday I sent one of my plays to a local theater that has a new works staged reading series. Today I mailed a short story to my college alumni magazine's annual fiction contest. Then, on a whim, I sent it to The New Yorker too. Why the hell not?

    Back to the list. Apart from the first two, these opportunities are for real companies, and could lead to real jobs with real money attached. Of course, most if not all will fall through despite my work on them to date, because this is the real world. In a grumpier moment earlier this week, I was feeling like that girl in high school who all the guys wanted to grope behind the bleachers but wouldn't ask to prom.

    I may not get asked to Hollywood prom for any of that stuff, but it won't be for lack of trying. And I'm still working to get staffed on a show, maybe for midseason, maybe next spring. In the meantime I'm enjoying the chance to stretch creatively and keep my writing muscles exercised.

    Enough about me. What does this mean for you?

    If you're getting thwarted on your main path, try something else. Recalculate.

    At a number of events this summer I met all kinds of talented writers, many of whom unfortunately are also "between projects" or "working on their own stuff," code for being out of work. Everybody, working or not, has stressed the importance of diversifying.

    Writers write. Shoot that short film and put it on YouTube. Write that play. Take that class in writing comic books. You may know where you want to go, but be open to trying a new way to get there. Isn't that better than being stuck in traffic?

    Sure, there may be some disappointment. Get through that and the resignation so you can blaze a new trail to your goal. Because you're the one driving the fucking car.

    BooM said...

    What an inspiring post!

    And holy shit, Batman. You're a busy beaver!

    Kira said...

    Busy but unpaid. :) Here's hoping...

    christy said...

    Good luck to you, Kira. I can't say thank you enough for your work on Moonlight. :)