Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I'm back from my trip to Buffalo and NYC, which was lovely. I am kind of relieved to be back in LA, a place where it can be 70 degrees in the middle of the winter. I guess it's starting to be home. Weird. Good. Weird. I'm not relieved to be going back to work, though. A lot of people were not thinking past the new year in terms of the strike...everyone was saying, "we're all ok for now, but after the new year, it'll be a different story." So now it is the new year, and we won't be distracted by giant gift baskets showing up at every moment. Does that means layoffs are coming? Is it possible for the lit dept to get any slower?

I know that New Year's resolutions are stupid and impractical and all that, but I am always drawn to them. I guess I like the idea of a blank slate, a chance to be that person you've always wanted to be. That person with the perfect body who flosses daily and eats lots of vegetables and reads impressive books and accomplishes oh so much. I know myself, though, so I am only going to make one resolution: to work on my writing every day. It can be research or an outline or a scene, it doesn't matter - bu I need to do SOME kind of work every day. I think this idea may have started at a Nightmare Before Christmas party I went to a few weeks ago. A friend of mine tends to go through a few stages of drunkenness...first, there's his loud hatred of everything, where he'll say all those things you think but refrain from saying in public. He also has a phase of doling out admiration and compliments, a phase of sentimentality and a final glassy-eyed phase in which he throws himself at most women in the room, saying things like "I just like pale chicks" and "you gotta get rid of that boyfriend so we can finally be together." A character, he is. Anyway, somewhere in the admiration phase he told me, "I'm a writer who talks about writing and you're a writer who writes." And I thought to myself, am I? Yeah, I have a pilot, a crap feature and two entirely obsolete specs...but is that really enough? I need to keep writing - because a lot of other people are, because this business is hard enough for people who aren't lazy procrastinators, and because I know that once you stop writing, get too into your job or anything else, you might give up and never go back. And I don't want that to be me.

So I am going to write every day.


Jeff said...

You have to keep writing because everyone else is. And on those days when you say, screw it, I'm taking the day off, just remember that "they" aren't. If you sit at the computer and the words just don't come, start a new project, even if it's just sketching a scene or trying to find a way to use the word 'obdurate' in a sentence, then the sentence in someone's dialogue as they're dangling from a cliff with a gun trained between the bad guy's eyes; you have to, because "they" are (although they're using words like 'uxurious' or 'maunder').

Always carry with you a sparker. No, not a sparkler, that would just be weird. A sparker. The latest Script magazine, a notecard with a movie quote ("Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?"), or last month's rent bill with 'PAST DUE' typed red in Helvetica 32 font...whatever it is that hits you like a jolt of fresh double espresso and sparks your brain, your passion, your imagination.

Don't have time today, you say? Tomorrows are in limited supply, lassie. Besides, you've got it easy: no baggage. No husband. No kids. Just you and yours. So you can stay up all hours, not do laundry for a month, eat only cans of Vienna sausages mixed with cups of Ramen. You know why? Yup. Cuz "THEY" are. They're working long days, coming home to families, working into the midnight lee, surviving on 2 hours of sleep, rinsing, and repeating until they get one sold.

So write every day. Twice a day. Write in your head when you're not at the keyboard. Act out your scenes in the shower. Be consumed by your love of the game.

Because in the final analysis that's what it is: a game. And you can't win unless you play.

So write.

moviecritic said...

so amanda
when can I read one of YOUR scripts??

moviecritic said...

you can mail your funniest, heart filled script

Great American Cinema
1116 South Varney
Burbank, Ca