College Days Revisited

 

In 2001, I was young and full of hope. Eleven years later I’m older and full of something other than hope.

Anyway, I took many writing classes at Orange Coast College back then with one of them being Screenwriting. While watching SpongeBob with Anthony tonight, they showed the episode titled Reef Blower which is the only episode without dialog. It’s only SpongeBob and Squidward acting out all of the scenes.

While watching I told Anthony that those are the most difficult scenes/episodes to write. As proof, I give you this: a scene I wrote from my younger and impressionable years as a college student. Note that this scene is not long but because I had to describe everything the character did, it only appears to be.

Enjoy!

Continue reading

Another Flashback to 1986

While in the depths of yet another session of questioning my writing abilities, a friend of mine handed down simple advice: “Writers write,” and being a photographer he added “and photographers…photog. But you know what I mean.”

I definitely did.

Yesterday, I was scanning some of Anthony’s art that he did in art class when I asked if he had ever seen any of my work. He didn’t (or more than likely, had forgotten). Knowing where a few of my older pieces were, I went into the garage and grabbed them.

I’m glad I did—years of improper storage was causing the paper to deteriorate. But while searching through this old Pee-Chee of art I also came across a lot of stuff that I had written either by hand or on a number of typewriters I had owned over the years.

Much of what I found were lyrics to songs that were on my mind at the time but others were a bit more intriguing.

So I decided that I might as well share one of them with you and when you read it, you’ll see that even though I had no intention of how this message would be broadcast or to whom it was for, the format seems very “bloggish” in that I’m speaking to an audience, much in the way I am now.

Here’s the letter: a review of the year 1986, when I was a junior in high school.

Some of the highlights of the letter include:

1986 letter

(click to embiggen)

I still own the Brother typewriter that I used to compose this letter. It’s got a thermal ribbon that cost a fortune back in the day for a 3-pack, and it also has a 15-character LCD display so you could sort of see what you were typing as you went along. It would also “beep” when you reached the end of the line.

But I used that thing until 1993 when it I met Ann, who had computers all her life. I then switched to Notepad and it was all downhill since then.

Regardless of its capabilities, I think it says a lot that I would go through all of this trouble to bang away at the keys of that typewriter to remember the news of the year, without benefit of Googling any of it—just for the sake of doing it.

Writers write.

And even though the media has changed, 25 years later they still do.

The Payoff

As you all know, I’ve had way too much time on my hands since being unemployed. So much time, in fact, that I had to find something else to do in addition to my daily rituals of exercising, eating right, etc.

Don’t get me wrong–I love blogging and all of the creativity it affords me. But for the sake of keeping my sanity I decided I needed to branch out a bit more and expand my creative horizons just a bit (which is no knock on you, peeps).

And that’s exactly what I did.

Tirelessly, I sat in front of the monitor and feverishly struck keys into the wee hours of the morning in order to create a cohesive, credible story that someone other than myself would enjoy. It may have taken a year but I’m proud to say that the hard work has finally paid off.

But as any writer worth his salt will tell you, writing was only a portion of the work: it took much editing, proofreading and at one point, starting all over in the hopes that the next draft I produced would catch the eye of a publisher. At least that’s what my literary agent told me.

Woah, wait. Literary agent? Publisher? Back up the truck, Mabel! WTF is going on here?

As if I need to explain any further, I’m taking my writing more seriously than ever before since the economy sucks and I was starting to feel like a bona fide loser sitting at home watching The Steve Wilkos Show all the time. Put simply, I threw myself into my work and did some online research regarding publishers, literary agents, etc.

The payoff has arrived.

After submitting several drafts for review, my agent gleefully informed me today that my story has been sold to a publisher. Of course they’re happy–they get a cut of what was offered to me, which will keep us in the curry for a while. And you know, of course, I won’t be the only published author in the family. My Uncle Lou just has his second book published not too long ago.

Imagine that: unemployed to published author in just one year. It’s just…odd.

I’m not quite sure how to take this since it seems a bit surreal for the moment. And I have to admit that it will be really, really strange to see my name on the dust cover of a book in the Barnes and Nobel New Releases section. I don’t think any of this has quite sunk in just yet.

And before you go asking what the story’s about, well, I’m contractually bound not to release any of the information just yet. Maybe tomorrow I will get the word from my agent on when I can spill the beans on this momentous life event. Should that happen, you’ll hear of it.

Before I go, I have one last thing to say about how the writing process can affect authors. Hours and patience pay, yet a person risks inevitable loneliness, feeling outcast, or like some, daring and youthful.

Believe me when I say I experienced all of those things in the process. But either way, it’s finally happened. And I’m excited 🙂

UPDATE 2010/4/1: Hey peeps, here’s an update on what I posted above, and it’s my first video posted here on the blog! Note that the audio and video start to lose their sync about halfway through so…now you know. Enjoy!

Related articles mentioned in the video:

Share

Career Change

As I continue to search the classifieds for a job, I’m beginning to think that the time I spent as a magazine writer and proofreader was just a big joke.

I realize the market sucks right now but I figured that with a little over 3 years spent in each occupation that I would at least get some kind of feedback from some of the jobs for which I applied (which have been many). So far, I haven’t heard squat from any of them and with that comes the self-doubt that I was hoping I wouldn’t put upon myself.

Yes, when I got the writing gig I did have a friend that was already working at the place, so knowing an insider definitely helped. You Hollywood types know what I mean (*wink*wink*). But as far as the proofreading job went, that was all me…albeit a me that looked like Jabba the Hutt at the time

And it’s not like those are the only jobs I would take; those are just preferences. Lord knows I’ve already applied at several “regular” places in addition to applying for writing and proofing jobs.

As a result of being overlooked for my preferred jobs for which I definitely felt qualified, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s time to seriously quit looking for something in either of those fields and, at the age of 40, turn over a new leaf and try to tackle something different.

You wanna know how desperate I’ve been? I accepted a part-time, $10-an-hour job from AppleOne to cold-call people and set appointments for consumer surveys. Now I don’t know about you, but I hang up on assholes that call me for that same shit. But just as I was looking up the location on Google Maps, AppleOne called me and said that the company completed their calls ahead of time so I didn’t have to go. I was kind of relieved.

But yeah, that’s how bad it’s been. And to further prove the point, here’s a list of some of things I’ve been considering:

  • Car salesman: No experience required, full training and benefits. And I can drive cars all day.
  • Consultant for a weight loss program: I’ve been there so it wouldn’t be hard to motivate people or convince them to lose weight.
  • A dog sanitation service, or poop-scooping: Crap in; crap out. It’s really pretty simple.
  • Avon: Seriously, people, I need something! And hey, I wouldn’t be the only guy selling the stuff.

But whilst I continue to get ignored by everybody on the fucking planet, I got my unemployment paperwork filled out and returned, so I should be getting checks very soon, along with the food stamps.

And that’s a good thing because the items I listed on eBay have yet to get a single bid, my HubPages articles have yet to make me more than one red cent, and the fridge is looking pretty freaking sad right now.

Now before I head on over to scan the classifieds again, does anybody have any other suggestions? Note that drug dealer, pimp, etc. do not count.

But if this keeps on…

Share this post:

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : post to facebook : :

Effing Liar

tombstoneOkay, now what the Hell was I thinking? You know, all that talk of “retiring” from blogging?

Turns out it was more of a lie than anything else. Well, there was some reasoning behind it but after sitting in front of the computer and doing some research, I came to one solid conclusion: my dreams of every becoming a screenwriter should be permanently buried. No seriously, they should.

You see, we writers certainly have our heads full of fantastic ideas, of churning out the next Hollywood blockbuster and laughing all the way to the bank. To see your ideas, your characters, your baby on the silver screen is the ultimate goal and that’s what I was aiming for when I decided to (temporarily) step away from blogging.

But the road to screenwriting fame and fortune is riddled with setbacks, heartaches, and plenty of frustration. And at this point in my life I don’t want to subject myself to any more that I can’t already handle.

As reader Harna so eloquently pointed out, my blog is indeed therapeutic and as someone that finds comfort in expressing himself through said outlet, pulling the proverbial plug on it just didn’t make much sense when I looked at it from afar.

The way I see it, I could sit in front of the computer and try to figure out character arcs, so-called Big Events, rewrite, revise, etc. and once I felt I was just a step away from polishing a turd, I then would have to figure out how to market the damned screenplay, not to mention the whole WGA registration process and whatnot. Shit, I could be 50 by the time anything came to fruition and who knows if anything would be the same once it was out of my hands.

Once it was all over, there would be a paycheck for all of my troubles—maybe.

P’shaw. I think exchanging all that for something a bit more real, aka my ridiculous daily thoughts and adventures, is a much better idea. My money problems? They will be resolved. Job issues? Whatever; I’ll go to work for 8 hours and bitch about them when I get home.

Whether you like it or not, I’m back from the shortest. Retirement. Ever. And while it feels good to say that, I’m wondering which one of you jokers won the bet you made with yourself.

Besides all this, WordPress has introduced even more features that I’m itching to try. These guys never stop working.

And with all that said, I’m still avoiding that ultimate time-waster of a Web site as I don’t need anymore notifications about lost Farmville cows or people sending me “drinks.” It just gets to be silly…


Share this post:

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : post to facebook :