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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- 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, July 23, 2007

I Am No Wuss

Unk has challenged me to not be a wuss, and to accept his meme challenge. I, of course, am not one to back down from a challenge. Now, that being said, I did already answer this meme of eight random things about me over HERE. Still, I know that the Unknown One only recently came over here, so he may not have seen that post. Plus, I haven't posted anything for a few days. So I'm going to try to come up with 8 more things about me, related to screenwriting, etc. (Since, as you know, I try to keep this blog exclusively focused on screenwriting and film.) Let's see how I do!

1. Of all the links in my sorely-in-need-of-updating sidebar, I have personally met 29 of the people on there. Of course, being the socially motivated extrovert that I am, I'm always up for meeting more. So if you're on there, and I haven't met you yet, drop me a line. I'd love to meet you. For that matter, even if you're not on there, but want to meet up, let me know!

2. Though by nature I am not a "morning person," over the years I've learned to become more of one. This is due to necessity. When I was in college, if I had a deadline to meet (and I am very much a last-minute person), I would pull an all-nighter. But as I matured, I came to the realization that these were usually less-productive than going to sleep, and waking up again at an unnatural and ungodly hour to start working early and get that work done. Of course, not everyone can do this. Not being a morning person can make it difficult to work effectively if your mind is caught in the typical haze of those wee hours.

What I've found, however, is that my non-morning-personness is not like my Mom's. She takes a good hour or so to actually get going once she's out of bed. Coffee, of course, is a key component to that wake-up process. For me, I love the Joe as well, and it certainly helps. But my brain is not the part of me that doesn't deal well with the morning. It is my body. I simply hate getting up in the morning, but I also hate going to bed at night. I feel like sleep time is time that could be better spent doing other things, productive or enjoyable. So my challenge is getting out of bed. Once I'm up, however, I'm ready to go.

So all I need to do is force myself to crawl out of bed, and once I do, I can literally be working within less than 5 minutes. Thus my erstwhile schedule of writing at 5 AM. I'm not doing that anymore, but I do still enjoy writing first thing in the morning. So now all I need to do is develop a means of actually getting up when I want to!

3. I have delivered two seminars at each of the last two Screenwriting Expos, and been named a Star Speaker. You probably know this. But you probably don't know that I will be expanding this side of my work. I should be doing 4 seminars this year at the Expo, and I am also looking into the possibility of getting involved with other conferences and the like. I'll certainly keep you all posted, as well as post any discount codes I get!

4. Years ago, I used to volunteer at the annual IFP Market. (The first two years I worked there, it was actually called the IFFM -- Independent Feature Film Market -- but it was the same thing.) The deal was, volunteer for half the day, then get to attend things for free the other half of the day. I highly recommend doing this sort of thing. Developing writers are not typically known as independently wealthy, and many screenwriting and film conferences, markets, festivals and events can be cost-prohibitive. At the same time, however, they are enjoyable, potentially educational, and great opportunities for networking and making friends.

Most such events have similar deals to the one I used to take advantage of at the Market. Pick one or two that are near you and/or appeal to you, and contact them (in advance). Take advantage. You'll be helping them and they'll be helping you. Mutual benefit!

[Wow, finding 8 more is getting hard...]

5. My college was not very large, and had no real film program to speak of. But I was involved in the Dramatics Society there. I acted in two plays (Lettice and Lovage and A Few Good Men), and did lights for two others. An interesting footnote is that since my college (though not my university) was all males, we would typically change/rewrite female characters as males (no, we didn't play the females in drag). So in A Few Good Men, I played the role made famous by Demi Moore in the film version! And in a parody issue of my school's newspaper, we featured a poorly photoshopped image of me covering my "pregnant" belly and breast, a la Demi's famous Vanity Fair cover shot.

6. Whenever people ask me what types of screenplays I write, I typically respond, "anything but drama." I love watching dramas, and Sidney Lumet is one of my all time favorite directors. Plus, I absolutely love his book Making Movies. Still, I am just not such a serious-minded person that I get many ideas that are dramatic features. About the closest I'll get is a film idea that I have (and which many people I've told the idea to love) which is a period romance. But I also feel that I'm personally not ready to write it. Were I to try to write it now, I don't think I could do the subject justice with my current skill set. Luckily, the idea is not likely to become dated, so I think I can wait until later in my career to write that screenplay!

7. Unk mentioned both his motorcycle, and his three 4-wheel drive vehicles. Well, I am among the very rare people in L.A. who actually does not own a car. I live in an area that has many easily accessible-by-foot stores, and which is centrally located and near multiple bus routes. Plus, I have good friends who are typically kind enough to give me rides if we are going places together. This is one of the reasons why I include the slogan "Everywhere is within walking distance if you have enough time" on my MySpace profile.

What does this have to do with screenwriting? Two things. First, it presents challenges, since you need to be able to easily get around L.A. in order to meet with people, etc. But luckily, I'm also pretty close to both Beverly Hills and Century City, and can get over to Hollywood without too much difficulty. So as long as I don't need to get to the Valley, I'm pretty much okay. It also relates, because I'm hoping that with some of the money I'm making from this screenwriting assignment, I will finally be able to afford to buy a car. Wish me luck on that count!

8. People sometimes as me if I have an agent. I do not. But I also have not yet tried to get any representation. Being a script reader for so long has taught me the importance of not sending things out to people until they are ready. So let me stress this again, even though I'm sure you've all heard it a million times. Be patient with your career. Make sure your work is in the best possible shape before you start showing it to people.

When I finally begin looking for representation, I don't want to blow my chances due to a poor first impression. I know that if people are willing to read my work now, they'll also be willing to read it in a few months. Waiting a bit now can make the difference between getting representation (and thus more work and hopefully a successful career) later and struggling at this game for the rest of my life. Thus, my plan is to try to revise Hell on Wheels and my low-budget horror script in between work on the safari picture. Then, hopefully by the end of the year or early in the winter I'll have three good samples, and I'll be ready to seek out that next step along my career path.

Okay, Unk. How'd I do?

And anyone who hasn't been tagged yet, consider yourself tagged now.

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Anonymous yet another screenwriter said...

Hey Joel - enjoy your blog. Just noticed on one of your pages that you went to the New School. I'm checking out that same program myself. Actually trying to decide between professional writing and media studies. Did you enjoy it? TIA

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Unk said...


Outstanding as usual... I had read the other meme but YOU DO KNOW that when you're tagged, YOU GOTS TO DO IT AGAIN, right?

That's how we get to know even more about Fun Joel...

Here's to a future beer together...


5:15 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

TIA -- I'm happy to discuss the program with you. Feel free to email me.

5:35 AM  
Blogger oneslackmartian said...

Haha, your #7. You’re soooo New York, aren’t you?

I must commend you on your staunch effort to resurrect the use of the word “wuss,” which steadily declined in popularity throughout 80s, but made a brief appearance on Seinfeld in 1995.

Nevertheless, I hope Hell on Wheels earns a big budget for the screenwriter.

Peace, bro.

7:00 AM  
Blogger E.C. Henry said...

What'cha teachin' at the Expo this year?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

7:26 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

OSM -- I was actually using that word since Unk used it in his tag, but glad I could be of assistance! ;-)

E.C. -- I'm going to wait until the program is finalized on their end before I go into details here. Don't want to misinform anyone. But I promise to post it here when it is final!

7:40 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

As a fellow A Few Good Men alum (Louden Downey was framed, yo), I salute you. And because my Drama director was a stickler for realism, I think I can even still salute correctly.

(I can't believe I said "yo.")

9:53 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

LOL Josh. I think I can as well. And my director actually brought in drill sergeants to train our cast. Of course, I was exempt since i was just a lousy JAG lawyer, instead of one of those true soldiers. Thus my salute would likely be a bit more lax.

10:46 PM  
Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Amen to the part about not sending stuff out until its ready and first impressions in #8. Been preaching that myself. And I'm also totally with you on the 5:00 a.m. thing. I would NEVER get out of bed that early. My alarm goes off at 5:30.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Kid Sis said...

Good stuff, Joel. Thanks. You going to post that Demi Moore pic?

12:01 PM  
Blogger mernitman said...

Okay, you can officially stop giving me shit about writing long posts now.

10:48 PM  

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