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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog

(OR EL DUDERINO IF YOU'RE NOT INTO THE WHOLE BREVITY THING)

-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Monday, May 30, 2005

On the Cusp

So a few people have asked me why I've begun the blog now, and though I've addressed it a bit in my intro post, I figured I'd also expand on that a bit here.

As I said, I've been working in the film biz for a while now, and have been writing scripts for a number of years as well. But a few things conspired to push the writing aspect of my career forward and place me "on the cusp," as I see myself.

First of all, I moved to LA in October '03. That was a huge step forward for me, in terms of my career. I'm not even going to expound on the "do I have to live in LA to be a screenwriter" question. The answer is yes, you do, or at least you'd be stupid not to. Period. In addition to putting me in a position to meet with (I hate the term "take meetings") producers, and others, living in LA has also placed my mindset more firmly in business mode. When I was in NYC, if I didn't write as much as I should have, it was easy for me to just ignore it and bury myself in sundry other activities and interests. But in LA, where such a high percentage of people works "in the biz," my competition, on the one hand, and the parallel quests of others helps foster a positive tension and a sense of community. When I don't write here, I get angrier at myself for not acting responsibly towards my career.

This also helped lead me to join a writing group. While I was involved in one for a few months in NYC, again it is of a different caliber here. Everyone else seems more serious here as well, spurring me on. There are many kinds of writing groups, but I highly recommend that the developing writer finds a good one (or starts one), and makes use of the support system, constructive criticism, and network that such groups offer. There are many such groups, but it is important that you find one that is honest, yet supportive, and also one that isn't too big.

Lastly, I forced myself into a writing schedule. This may have been the most difficult part of my development. By nature, I love variety. I'm an Aries, an Enneagram Type 7. I've been freelancing for years, and largely because I love the lifestyle. If it's a nice day (when isn't it, in LA?), I can go outside and have a cigar, maybe read a script out there or take a walk. If I'm tired in the middle of the day, I can take a nap, and just work later on. I thrive on that variety. So adding structure into my life is not my favorite thing. But at the same time, not having a schedule allowed me to embrace my natural tendency to procrastinate. Thus, less than a year ago, I began waking up at 5 AM and writing from 5 or 5:30 to 7 or 7:30 every morning. I won't lie and say that I always succeed at this, but at least it is my goal, and there is no doubt that I got a lot more done than I would have without setting this schedule. I've found my mind is clearer in the morning, without the distractions of the day that has passed. It's quiet outside and in. And by getting up and writing early, I find I also get more writing done later in the day, because I'm in a groove already. So in the past year I've made more progress with my screenwriting than I had since I began even thinking about screenwriting at all, about 10 years earlier.

This is why I see myself as "on the cusp" now. I've got a number of pieces nearing completion. I'm almost ready to start trying to find an agent. I'm at the point of my career when I am almost ready to start trying to sell a spec. And I've got things to use as writing samples in the hopes of getting assignment work. That's why I've started this blog now. If I were a few years earlier in my career development, I don't know that my insights would be as useful as I hope they will now be. And by discussing the trials, and hopefully triumphs I experience as I progress, hopefully I can help others who will reach similar scenarios a few years down the road.

1 Comments:

Blogger kojled said...

joel

you know, i found that hours between 5 and 9 am are best for me. i just think far more clearly. i mean, it's scary how much better i am early in the morning

1:33 AM  

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