Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Like a writer on a movie set

So. Writing.

The ABC/Disney folks finally set a deadline for fellowship submissions--July 1--and now I'm not sure how to proceed, or whether to proceed, or whether I should just go get a job at Walgreens and move back in with my parents and forget the whole thing. It's like preparing to drive through an intersection, and having the light turn yellow--sometimes you're obviously supposed to keep going, and sometimes you're obviously supposed to stop, but sometimes you're just far enough away that neither choice seems like the right one.

Here's the thing: I don't want to wait a whole year to apply. I've known about the fellowship since, what, January? I considered my options and picked a show. I did some research. I pondered. I worked. I hung around the Writers' Guild library, hoping to soak up the working-writer vibe. And it's not like this is just a contest, where you get your name in the paper and a $100 savings bond. This is for a job, something I actually want, and I'm afraid that I'll start waiting and never stop.

But then there's reality: I'm not very good at this. And I'm not supposed to be good at this. I'm a good writer and I've done some of my homework, but I don't have any training. I can listen to other writers talk about going from idea to page to screen, but I don't know how it works for me. I don't know any of my own tricks, or how I sound, or how I'm supposed to sound. Even my English degree is all about rhetoric; it never occurred to me that I might want to go into creative writing as a profession. So I'm wandering a little, here. And I feel guilty whenever CH takes up all of my writing time, or when I'd rather write here, or when I'd rather just not write at all. I'm realizing that it's probably going to take me more than four weeks to come up with something, let alone to polish it and write jokes--how do you write a joke, anyway? I have a few choices here. UC Berkeley Extension offers screenwriting and TV-writing classes; they're expensive, but I could do it. I hear Solano College offers online courses in screenwriting, which are appealing mostly because they're cheap and offer the chance to learn in my jammies. I hate the idea of putting off my application for a year, but I'm also realizing that I don't have the tools I need, and it's going to show.

So....I don't know. That's where my writing stands these days: it's there, it's creeping along, but I'm afraid I'm out in the tall grass at the moment, and four weeks isn't much time to find my way out.


Teri said...

I love that you labeled this "emo".

You could always apply this year, then work your butt off and apply again next year when you're even better - it worked for Jordin Sparks.

Kendra said...

I totally agree with teri. You shouldn't not apply this year. Do your best to put out an application, send it through, and let them make the decision. If you don't get it, work like mad for the next year.

You know, schooling ain't everything.

Heather D said...

I think we have a consensus view here, as I agree with Teri and Kendra. Declare June to be National TV Screenplay Writing Month and get going!

Liz said...


You're right, you're right; I know you're right.

Here's what I'm thinking--a compromise of sorts. I'll keep going, do as much as I can in June, and if it amounts to anything I can rightfully call a script, I'll register it with the WGA and send it in. Either way, after July 1 I'll register for a class of some kind and start working on future projects. Like next year's application.

Anonymous said...

Hey Liz,
I vote for going with your gut feelings. Send something in this year...the worst that can happen is they say no. You are an awesome writer and I know you have something important to I want to read about it and see it. As Chevy Chase once said, " Be the Ball...nanananananananannan" Just do it!
Al's Dad

Anonymous said...

I personally like the Walgreen's idea. Call on line two... Who needs to be a famous screenwriter anyway? Or maybe your experience at Walgreens could be the basis for your screenplay. It's research! Win-win!