I be a good righter.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

History, Mine

It's probably pretty obvious what I want to be when I grow up. Hint, my "title" is "wannabe TV writer." Hopefully, you can figure it out.

You probably don't want my life history. Hell, maybe you don't want to know about me at all. And, that's cool. But, I do have to wonder, if you don't, why the hell are you here?

My story is as follows:

I went to film school in Minnesota. I didn't finish, because I came out to LA to take care of my grandma. Yeah, I sound pretty altruistic, right? If I'd had to go to her actual home in Detroit, I probably wouldn't have. I mean, come on, free vacation in LA, and all I have to do is make sure that Grandma eats three squares? I'm so there.

Of course, now that she's dead, I'm ever so grateful that I did it. She was pretty far gone in her Alzheimers at that point, so I won't pretend that we had quality time together. But, there's something very amazing about Alzheimers, in that, though the short term memory is shot to hell, the long term memory is sharp as anything. I got to learn more about her history than I'd ever thought possible. And her history is mine. It's the stock I come from. She died the week Warner Bros' contest deadline. I knew that the week would be all about family, and I wouldn't have time to perfect my script. So, I send it off in a Hail Mary attempt, and went to my dad's house to help him go through Grandma's remaining things. A ghoulish task. It was going through these items, that I came across her diary, from when she was 20. It's creepy reading a dead woman's diary, I get that. But, at the same time, my mother's parents had been dead long before I was born, and my mother never really talked much about them. My father's parents never really talked about the past, or where they came from, until my grandma had Alzheimers, and I heard every story at least ten times. The point is, creepy as it was, I wanted to know a little more about my family's history, so I cracked her diary open, and the first thing I learned? My grandma wanted to be a writer. I can only assume that in that day and age, career women weren't encouraged. And given the fact that she was married shortly after she got out of school, and had my uncle shortly thereafter, that her dream of being a writer was swept under the bed.

In my day and age, however, women are expected to have careers. It's just fate that I happened to choose writing. Or is it genetics? That would be an interesting experiment, in my opinion. Career paths: nature v. nurture. Though, I never knew my grandma wanted to be a writer, until the day after she died. The day I sent off my script to Warner Bros'.

About 5 months later, WB Writers' workshop called me (more on that later) in for an interview. They were falling over themselves saying how much they loved my script. All I could do was say, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." I went in for my interview. I'd prepared way too much. I'd done research on the company, learning all the names of all the execs. I'd learned all about the WB shows, past and present. I'd tried to learn all I could about the women who were about to interview me. I was a nervous freakin' wreck. I'd never had any sort of success with writing. Hell, it was only my second year of writing. I didn't know what to wear, what to say, I was nervous. In the interview, my hands were shaking, my knees were weak, my head was doing some sort of weird imitation of a bobblehead. Oh, and in case they couldn't see how nervous I was? I told them. It was a ten minute interview from hell. For me, and for them. Needless to say, I didn't get into their workshop.

I enrolled in an advanced workshop at UCLAExtension. I wrote a WB spec, Without A Trace. Convinced that next year they would desperately want me. Convinced that they'd really wanted me in the first place.

Meanwhile, I was working out three times a week with a trainer, and the guy who worked out before me, turned out to be a Lit Manager. Within days, I was repped by him. I was amazed, and awed, and he had this somewhat decent office near the Formosa. I didn't want to bug him too much, so I just concentrated on my class, and my spec. I finished the spec, and hated it. The manager asked to see it, I told him it wasn't very good, I wasn't proud of it. He basically forced me to send it to him. He told me that it was pretty good, but the mystery was a bit obvious. Which was a huge affront to my ego, since I consider myself the Mystery Queen. In fact, I plan on naming my first born daughter Agatha. However, I reread the script, and saw what he meant. So, days before the FOX Diversity Program contest was coming up, I rewrote the WAT, and made the killer slightly less obvious.

In the Summer, I'd already sent my Law & Order to WB the year before (this was the one they 'loved'), and I'd sent it to Disney. So, I was really left with only one choice, the WAT that I hated. I sent it off, not thinking that I had a chance in either program. I ended up throwing the script away in September, thinking it was a piece of crap. It was in November, when I was working as a researcher on Crazy Food Facts (a series of interstitials for the Travel Channel) that I received a phone call from Disney wanting to interview me. On the phone. It ended up being a great interview, being that I'm awesome on the phone. But, as the weeks went by, I started to doubt. It was three weeks between this phone interview and the second phone call. I don't know that I slept more that 2 hours a night for those three weeks. But, then they called. They wanted me to come in for an in-person interview. So, I did.

This time, I was determined to get into the program. I was determined not to do anything like I'd done during the WB interview the previous year. Sadly, my hands were shaking just as much, my neck was bobbling, I thought I was going to pass out. However, once I got into the interview, once I got talking about writing (I was exactly three years from the day I'd started writing), once I talked about the writers who inspire me, I calmed down. At the beginning it was touch and go, my voice was shaking, and I felt that I needed to make excuses. However, all I said was "Sorry, guys, I'm excited to be here." It was a little way for me to do mind control over my body. I calmed down after that, and had a perfectly respectable interview.

A few days later, they accepted me into the program. A few weeks later, they fired me. Long story (yes, longer than this one). I don't think I want to get into that whole thing on this blog. I'd like this to be more about trials and tribulations of trying to be a tv writer in LA. I will say: Don't lie on any part of your application.

Today, I'm no better off than I was before I'd gotten into Disney. I'm the same writer. I'm still (somewhat) unrepped (that's a blog entry in itself).

The main thing I've learned is: You have to want it badly, but you have to realize that even if you get it, it can be ripped from your hands. So, you have to ask yourself, would you still be doing this if nothing happened? Would you still be doing this if you got fired? I think that this is mainly a game of endurance. This blog will be about my journey, past and present. Will I make it? The odds are against me. But, I'm going to keep trying. I hope you will, too.


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