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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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Off the Trapeze

I once heard a metaphor about life. Imagine a person swinging from one trapeze to the next. (Or if you prefer, think of it as vines in a jungle, with Tarzan swinging from one to the next.) In order to move from one to the next, the swinger has to let go of the first one, fly momentarily through the open air, until he grabs onto the next one.

Now, the idea is that the moment of greatest danger for the swinger (he could easily plummet into the abyss) is also the necessary moment in order to progress. Otherwise, he'd just stagnate in that one spot, swinging backwards and forwards incessantly. He'd seem like he was in motion, but he wouldn't actually be moving forwards at all.

Because of that, it is those moments of transition -- those moments when you are in the most danger of falling -- that life is truly being lived to the fullest. Those moments are the essence of life, and the moments when true progress is achieved.

Why do I write this now? Well, events have conspired lately so that a few different aspects of my life are simultaneously shifting, and I find myself flying over that abyss without a firm hold on either the trapeze I've left or the one I'm aiming to grab onto. What do I mean specifically?

Firstly, the two companies for whom I currently do most of my reading work are both in major flux, and my future there is uncertain. I obviously hope to continue reading for them, but who knows what will happen? That's one big portion of my career and my income which is now in question.

Secondly, the Untitled Safari Picture. I don't want to go into many details here, but I will say that certain things have changed following a discussion I had with the producers today. Essentially, we are moving on to the next step, though we haven't fully settled everything with this step. We have also slightly modified the terms of our initial agreement, in conjunction with this. Why is this like going from one trapeze to the next? Well, all along, this process has been unfamiliar territory to me. I've learned a lot in the process, and had plenty of fun as well. But I was always experiencing things for the first time, encountering new challenges, and dealing with them as they arose.

But with these current changes to our process, I find myself in even more uncharted waters. This shift may simply be the result of the different ways in which I and the producers work. Or it could be due to other issues, and due to my inexperience in dealing with such matters, I'm not aware of it. I'm obviously hopeful that the former is more the case, and that all will be wonderful once I complete the next stage of our process. But I am certainly in a place of uncertainty.

The unknown can be a stressful place, but it can also be a wonderful one. I'm a bit nervous about all of these changes in my life, but I'm also optimistic, hopeful and looking forward to the next trapeze, stretching out my arms to grab it firmly. Should you find yourselves in similar territory with anything, feel free to fall back on this metaphor as well and use it as a means of finding comfort in the unfamiliar territory! And remember another metaphor I once heard: if nothing in life ever changed, there would never be any butterflies, just caterpillars.

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Blogger Montana said...

OK, I appreciate your situation, but as a real trapeze artist, it annoys the hell out of me when people use flying trapeze as a metaphor. Sorry!

1:43 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Imagine a person swinging from one trapeze to the next... In order to move from one to the next, the swinger has to let go of the first one, fly momentarily through the open air, until he grabs onto the next one.

This is my dating life. Heh heh...

But seriously, I know what you're talking about. The upside of all this is usually when you have to let go of one trapeze, the next trapeze is better. (Sorry, Montana.)

1:55 AM  
Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Facing the unknown sucks. Glad to hear you're so optomistic, Funjoel. I hope some great opportunities come your way soon, and that things improve for the two companies you read for.

Being out of the industry sucks. I hope you can land a job and stay in the industry where you belong. I'll be praying for you.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Charlie said...

Sounds like a drag FJ,

You seem to love the business, maybe its time to move on (from an individual job - not the biz). You've always said you've never gone for an agent - maybe its time.

Someone in a situation as confining and uncomfortable as the one you seem to be in (only from the last two paragraphs) is probably someone that needs to make a change to save themselves. Get out (again - the job, not the biz).

Get an agent. Finish YOUR (vampire- thing) screenplay. "Alex Epstein" your way into writing a book on one of the focused seminars you teach at the expo (rather than the general books that are all so similar out there).

Good luck, I've always enjoyed reading your blog.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Thanks all.

Charlie -- those are all things that are definitely in the planning for me. My hope is to start looking for an agent sometime in the Spring, probably, once I finish the safari script, and hopefully have done some rewriting on Hell on Wheels and/or a different horror script I wrote.

I've never not wanted an agent. I just didn't have enough stuff to start looking for one. But I recognize that I'm getting very close to being ready for it, which is also why I've started the information-gathering on that exact topic, talking to some people that are more knowledgeable than I about it. But yes, I def plan to look for representation in the next few months.

And yes, a book idea and other possible shifts in job but not career (as you astutely put it) are all things I'm considering too. So thanks very much for your support and insight!

3:15 AM  

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