Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Los Angeles

TMI Minute Episode 10 | Bigfoot, Rick Dyer, and Resolution Tips

The TMI Minute takes Rick Dyer, Bigfoot, and Madylin Sweeten gives you her tips on keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.

The TMI Minute Episode 10 | Week of January 6
Follow us on Twitter @TMItheshow

Featuring:
Matthew Marcy – https://twitter.com/Matthew_marcy
Julian Clark – https://twitter.com/julianis4lovers
Madylin Sweeten - https://twitter.com/REALAllyBarone

Writers:
Joe Neuburger – https://twitter.com/bentoboxx
Kate Cornell – https://twitter.com/katecornell


Save Parks and Rec!

I tried to throw a flash mob for Parks and Rec after they went on hiatus.

Nobody showed up.

We filmed it anyway!

 

Watch it two ways! Funny or Die


IMDB Credits

In a little over a year of living in Los Angeles, I now have two official IMDB credits to my name. Check it out.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5806970/


TMI Hollywood | Romper Malo (Breaking Bad in Spanish)


Pilot Reading Tonight

My sitcom pilot, The Fabulous Life of Arthur Watkins, is tonight.

Second City Hollywood at 6:30pm

Here’s all the media for it:

Reclusive author ML Reeves can’t keep it together. After her book series, The Fabulous Life of Arthur Watkins, hit the New York Times Bestseller list and stayed there, she’s been crushed by fame, movie contracts, and a rabid fan base. When a long stint of writer’s block has book five behind deadline, Arthur Watkins, the 15-year-old main character, appears to ML. But is he there to help or will he only make things worse?

Starring
Catherine Alter
Nina Berenfeld
A.S. Freeman
Mackenzie Horras
Patti Moore
Shawn Ryan
Melanie Specht
Travis Van Rijn

The Fabulous Life of Arthur Watkinslemonnotsure  braceyourselves morder


I’m Judging You (Or The Other Side of the Rejection Letter)

We held auditions for the stage read of my pilot this weekend (it’s at 6:30 on April 17th at Second City Hollywood and you’ll see two shows for the low, low price of FREE!) and these auditions put me on the other side of throwing yourself at the mercy of someone else’s judgement.How to audition

It’s not easy being an actor. We had 39 people show up.

There are 8 people in my pilot.

One of them only exists off-stage. That’s right. I’ve cut the story down to the essentials (how many people are in an episode of The Big Bang Theory? You’ve gotta keep it tight). Now, there are a few non-speaking roles in there. The first scene takes place at the Hugo Awards, so you would presumably have a whole audience in there somewhere.

But, they don’t talk.

On top of that, I already had two of my characters cast from people I know from the show I write for at Second City.

It was a little ridiculous. Even I was getting nervous about auditions and all I had to do was sit at a table and watch. It’s hard to imagine how they feel. Worse, you’re throwing yourself at the mercy of someone’s highly subjective opinion, someone who has a look, a style, a character, in mind and you need to rock it. I only write down you’re name if you’re interesting. I only remember you if you impressed me. The first thing that goes out the window is “Nice.” I can’t waste too much time saying how wonderful everyone is. I have to get down to it.

sorryimnotsorry

I’m a little sorry.

There were a few people I saw that I thought, “It’s too bad that I don’t have a part for you.” Literally. Out of eight characters, three of them are male, and one of them can’t be half-assed or borderline. You have to rock it.

You have to either read my mind or change it.

Here’s what I learn from having to drop the gavel:

1.) Sometimes, it’s how you look.

I need a 15 year old boy. But, the character is so important, I didn’t want to cast a 15 year old (everyone on Glee is in their 20’s, so you can get away with it). If you look like you’ve walked a hard road to 30, it’s a hard sell, even when it’s just a read.

2.) Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how you look.

One guy, clearly older than 25, read for the 15 year old character and nailed it. So, he didn’t perfectly fit the role as far as looks were concerned. He hit the important part, which was in the attitude and the speech pattern. He brought something to it. What I’m saying is you can change someone’s mind.

3.) Go all out.

I can’t imagine how nervous you are. Whenever I submit my stories to agents, it’s always from behind a computer screen where I can listen to Take A Chance On Me or Maybe This Time and dance around in my pajamas, because I’m a writer and that’s pretty much what we do. I’ve had pitches with agents in the past, but even those were one on one. It’s not as terrible as standing in a line with 7 other people. The person who ended up as my lead took the direction I gave her and made something out of it, even in a three page scene. I was able to look at her reading the role and think, “I never saw the character this way, but, damn, it works.”

4.) Don’t be cocky.

Sometimes, you have to psych yourself up. I get that. I’ve performed live before and ten minutes before every show, I had to sequester myself and talk myself into it. I had to amp up. I had to get ready. I’m an introvert, so I could keep that amping up in my head.

Don’t do it out loud.

Please.

If saying you’re going to fucking rock these auditions is what gets you into the room and gets you psyched, great. Don’t do it in front of the people in charge of the auditions. They don’t all think you’re psyching yourself up. Some of them think you’re just being a jerk.

If you are just being a jerk, stop. STAHP.

5.) Bring a headshot.

It’s LA. You should have one.

Even if they don’t ask you to bring one, you should bring one. A little professional can go a long way. If you single yourself out, maybe you don’t need one. But, you should have one. It’s like bringing a resume to a job interview. Yeah, you already sent one, but maybe they didn’t feel like printing it out. And, it’s easy to say, “Would you like a copy of my resume?” They can say no if they’ve got one. If they don’t, you’ve already set yourself apart from everyone who forgot theirs.

I know rejection sucks. I’ve been there about 120 times in the last 2 years, and those are the ones that bothered to answer.

You can do one of two things:

Keep going

or

Quit.

So, it’s up to you.

What’s the next step?


Writing to Completion

I finished writing a pilot.

It’s the first sitcom pilot I’ve written. My other scripts have all been either sci fi drama pilots or sitcom spec scripts. For those of you outside the TV writing sphere, a spec script is a script for a show that already exists.

It’s sort of weird to talk to writers about writing television shows. Some say it’s easier to write the spec, some say it’s easier to write original material. I don’t really see either as being particularly easier than the other. The hardest thing about writing a spec script (in my personal experience) is writing it for a show that will be relevant in two years. The shows I love (Up All Night, Community, Happy Endings) are all on the brink of death (don’t get me started). Or, they are overwhelming spec’d (everyone’s got their Modern Family script).  Second City Hollywood

So, with this sitcom pilot out of the way, I find myself ready for a new project. More than ready. Chomping at the bit.

Since most of my experience is novel writing, that isn’t always the case. What normally happens is I start querying agents, then I sit around and wait for my rejection letters. But, that’s not really what happens in the screenwriting world. I mean, I could query agents, but that’s not the norm.

The norm is you make friends. Your friends introduce you to producers and agents or friends of producers and agents. Most people (though not all) sell something before they get an agent. So, basically, the answer is, save the file and move on. When you meet someone who can do something with it, whip it out.

It’s a body of work.

The next thing, though. It’s a sci fi drama. And it’s gonna be huge.

 

The pilot I completed was part of the Completing and Presenting Your Sitcom Pilot class at Second City. There will be an onstage reading of it on April 17th at 6:30pm at Second City Hollywood (there will be two shows read on that night).

The Pitch:

What if JK Rowling got writer’s block after Harry Potter 4?

When Arthur Watkins, the main character from a wildly popular young adult series, appears to his author, M.L. Reeves, she has to figure out how to deal with her errant work of fiction while deadlines loom.


How to Achieve Your Dream

I have a dream. I don’t often talk about my dream publicly. I mean, my friends know. And my family knows. And I’m always striving, always working toward that goal. I think I have a sort of weird knock on wood mentality about my dream, like if I say it out loud, it won’t come true. It’s something that I have to keep on the inside, something that’s my own.How to acheive a dream

Before you think you know what it is, it’s not being a “writer.” Saying I want to be a writer is like saying I want to be biologically classified Homo sapien. I’ve had a problem with the word aspiring for a long time, especially as it pertains to writers. Are you writing? Yes. Are you actively pursuing a career as a writer? Yes. Than you’re a writer. If you label yourself as aspiring, my first assumption is that you’ve never actually finished writing anything that doesn’t begin with the words, “Dear Diary.”

In Hollywood, it’s weird. There’s a “who do you want to be” atmosphere that I finally reached the breaking point with.

So, here are some things I’ve learned about dreaming, straight from Hollywoodland.

1) Celebrate the victories

My dream is huge. It takes a lot of steps. Usually, when someone asks me what my dream is, I only tell them the current plateau I’m headed for. Like “head writer” or “created by.”

I have a problem taking compliments. When someone tells me they like something I’ve written, the dreamer in me reminds me that this isn’t the peak I’ve dreamed. This is a road sign to blow past. But, that’s not really the case. I’m working on celebrating these moments of compliment, because I know where they come from. Rather than answer with an I’m not there yet, I take them in stride and acknowledge and appreciate them.

2) Dreams are hard

When I told people I was moving to Los Angeles to pursue my dream, I got a lot of reactions. Most of them started with “You’re so brave.” I suppose that’s a compliment, but it struck me as odd. I didn’t think I was brave at all. I was simply doing that which was necessary to achieve what I wanted.

So, step two is to understand that some people find out that their dream is hard, and they stop going for it. There are other people that don’t acknowledge that part of their dream. There is no hard, there is only an obstacle that has to be surmounted. If you get stuck on the hard, you need to either reevaluate or quit.

3) Aspirations are misleading

So often, people want the simple answer. The question isn’t so much what as it is who. Who do you want to be?

I don’t have an answer for that. I want to be myself. I don’t want to compare myself to other people. So, Tina Fey? No. Tina Fey can be Tina Fey. I will not be better at being Tina Fey than Tina Fey is. Jane Espenson? Closer, but no. I would not make a very good Jane Espenson. (I love Jane Espenson and have the utmost respect for her.)

I understand why this is a question that people ask. It’s the same reason they have to take complex scientific theories on sci fi shows and distill them to clumsy analogies that are simple enough for a largely unscientific audience to understand.

Regardless, stop comparing me to other people. Our dreams might not be the same, and even if they were, everyone’s path is different.

4) Reputation is currency

I suppose this could be specific to my field, but I don’t think so. It’s a little bit karma, but mostly attitude. If you go out to meet people, get to know people, connect with people on a basic level, you will develop a reputation of being kind. I know myself enough that I am often considered aloof and disinterested. I’m not. I’m fully engaged, I just usually enter a receptive state.

Yes, I’m listening. But my face is apathetic. Understanding my aloofness, I have to remind my face to do things when I’m talking to people. Be aware of what you’re putting out there. People might talk about you. You don’t want them to say bad things.

That’s what I’ve learned so far. It’s a work in progress.


Why I won’t be hooting at Meryl Streep

When the Oscar’s come to LA (well, my part of LA, which is the Hollywood part), everything shuts down. I mean, seriously. The street is closed. Events are cancelled. This is our Super Bowl.

I thought that I could fulfill my lifelong dream of hooting at Meryl Streep.

All right, so it’s not really a lifelong dream to hoot at Meryl Streep, it’s more of a last four days dream.

Anyway, I looked up tickets for the red carpet. They’re free. Which is nice. But, then there was this.

  • Write a short essay explaining why you deserve to be chosen.
  • Upload three photos: full length photo, real passport photo and a recent photo with friends.
  • Complete a “Background Check” conducted by the Academy’s Security Team.  A passport-type photo will be required.

I can understand the background check, but an essay? A full-length photo? A recent photo with friends? I don’t even think I have this stuff on my Facebook page. In response, here’s my essay on why I DON’T deserve to be chosen for the Academy Award Red Carpet Grandstand:

I don’t care about the Oscars. I really don’t. I just wanted the opportunity to yell at celebrities in their natural habitat; award shows. I wanted the chance to see Robert Downey, Jr.  I’m not even sure he’s invited to this year’s Academy Awards. I wanted the opportunity to see how tall George Clooney is (he’s short, isn’t he? I bet he’s short). I wanted to Instagram a bunch of famous people and also the back of some guy’s head. I wanted to check-in on Foursquare at the Kodak Theatre (I live pretty close; I can probably do that anyway).

The only Oscar nominated movie I saw this year was Silver Linings Playbook, so if they don’t win any awards, I’m at a loss. There was something in French, right? I don’t even know. It was probably boring.

I have no appreciation for clothing. You could point out some famous designer, and I would have no idea who you were talking about. Tuxedos. Yeah!

To be honest, if I went anywhere, it should have been the Golden Globes. Or the SAG Awards. Or the Emmys. Because I *heart* TV.

Here’s a photo of me with a finger mustache.

stache


The only question left is: Do I drink the water?

I just got back from…wait for it:

THE SET OF IRON MAN 3.

So, I guess, the obvious question: No, Robert Downey, Jr. wasn’t there. It was second unit. Or not even that. Principal shooting has been done on Iron Man for awhile. No, this stuff was filler. Extra scenes that just need to fill the seams in the movie. Doesn’t matter. It was still awesome.

Great stuff below. (more…)


Top TV Writers Talk How to Work on Successful TV Shows

Went to a panel sponsored by The Scriptwriters’ Network on Saturday. Call that my force social interaction for the week. The speakers were Glen Mazzara of The Walking Dead, Dan O’Shannon of Modern Family, Alex Cary of Homeland, Janet Tamaro of Rizzoli & Isles, Vanessa Taylor of Game of Thrones & Matt Nix of Burn Notice. As you can tell, some hefty names in there.

They started with the usual grab bag of “How I Broke in Stories.” I appreciate these to a certain extent, but the thing that nearly all of the stories boil down to is: Know Someone.

They knew someone, They met someone at a party, such and so introduced them to their agent. It’s not easy. You have to network. So, circle this, star it, bookmark it, whatever. If you want to write for television, somewhere, somehow, you’re going to have to know someone in or around the industry. What this translates to is: get to Los Angeles. I’m not poo-pooing your dreams and maybe there are exceptions, but look deep inside yourself and decide whether or not you’re Katniss Everdeen and even she had sponsors. Peeta had to know someone to get a leg up (oh! A leg up! Snap!)

Enough with the Hunger Games references. What other wisdom did I take away from the experience?

You have to write. A lot.

You have to get used to rejection. Janet Tamaro, as a female showrunner, asked the men on the panel what the male equivalent to “bitch” was. Interestingly, the joking answer was “success.” And all the panelists were kinda like, “well…yeah.”

But let’s be honest:

bitches get stuff done

Perhaps the biggest thing they hit on was Voice. (Yes, so big I capitalized it)

It’s weird, Voice. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have a Voice. No, not sometimes. All the time. What is my Voice? How am I different? How can I be different while proving that I can also be the same?

This comes on the tail end of me pitching something in class that I probably shouldn’t have. I started the pilot writing class on Tuesday, a class that will end with a group of actors reading my pilot on stage. This is an awesome opportunity, to see what someone will do with my work. And, I pitched my half-baked idea. I had my ready to go idea. And I pitched my half-baked idea.

My heart’s in it. I love my half-baked idea. But my brain started berating me. I’m not ready to write this. Which makes it, perhaps, the perfect time to start writing it. It’s like I snuck up on this idea in the jungle and surprised it into submission. Hopefully, I can wrestle it to the ground before it gets its legs underneath it.

Well, once again, I’ve turned this blog around and made it all about me.

I guess what you really need to know is that nobody knows what they’re doing. And also no one can really tell you what to do. We’re all firing in the dark. Some people have flashlights, but when they hand them over, they don’t always work correctly.

Last note: Dan O’Shannon wrote a book about some of his comedy experiences called What Are You Laughing At? If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought. I will probably take a look at it and throw a review up here. I suppose I should get back to being “smartly droll*” about books.

* A friend of mine said I was smart droll so I’m stealing it. Welcome to the world of writing.


Talk Amongst Yourselves

You know you’ve reached a weird point when you start Search Engining blog topics. I mean, what do I write about?

Part of my problem is overload. I’m writing four sketches a week, 10 jokes a week, two blog posts a week for work (why is that always easier?), and developing a sitcom pilot while keeping one eye open for work in the entertainment industry.nog

So, I guess I’ll update you on random things and you can talk amongst yourselves.

  • Love, love, love Los Angeles. Go…Theater Nerds? (I’m not sure what team I’m supposed to cheer for here.)
  • Still working two and a half jobs from home. Garbage disposal broke. Plumber came over to replace it. I awkwardly hovered over him and tried to talk about TV shows.
  • I flirted with him a bit, but he turned me down. It’s cool. Those inter-office romances never work anyway.
  • I’ve started referring to all my neighbors by their Native American names. Works On Car. Lets Dog Poop. Flirts With Kate. Has Loud Sex.
  • Egg nog is a meal in and of itself.
  • My Second City classes were lovely. They cost a lot of money. Those two things probably aren’t related, but whatever.
  • I haven’t finished reading a book in two months.
  • I’m reading Pride & Prejudice and I love it. Which makes me a stereotypical girl, but I’m dealing with that in my own way.
  • I lost a friend and made two.
  • I’ve been earning Adulthood badges like gangbusters.

Well, what have you been up to? I think you don’t realize how busy you are until you look at the date and think, “Hm. I should have my Christmas shopping done by now.”

Happy Hanukkah everybody!


The Change

I’ve gone Hollywood.

Gone HollywoodFor the first time in 3 months, I returned to Dallas on a quest to surprise those I left behind. I hadn’t thought I had changed.  I was still the sly, witty, Iron Man rip-off that I’ve always been, but this time, something felt different.

One of my roommates is a reality TV star. Living with her is not nearly as exciting as it would seem. She’s an amazing, generous person with a Midwestern work ethic and an inviting personality, but it doesn’t change the fact that each tidbit of information I mention seems like I’m raising the stakes.

She’s a reality TV star.

From Bad Girls’ Club.

And Love Games.

And she’s filming a pilot this weekend.

Yes, my life turned into that. My roommate is filming a pilot this weekend.

I wrote a sketch for a Second City show that premiered on the main stage this Sunday when I was in Dallas. It was a wonderful thing to be able to tell everyone about, but I wasn’t heartbroken that I missed it. There will be more to come, more to experience, more to contribute.

I met Jane Espenson. I was at a coffee shop with Damon Lindelof (I think, still not sure), and I went to the Paley Center preview nights for three major networks.Hollywood Star

Back in Dallas, I ordered the salad because the takeout is less greasy in LA (this is not to say it is more healthy). I left a half-hour too early for everything because I’m already adjusted to living with the traffic patterns. Gas was $4 a gallon and I considered it a good deal.

But, let’s be completely honest.

The one thing that has really changed about me is that I’m happy.

I love living in Los Angeles. I love what I’m doing in Los Angeles. I am incredibly busy and not everything has moved as fast as I want, but I love it all.

And my last moments were bittersweet. Because, as I said goodbye to my friends, my heart breaking all over again because I already missed them, this time I wasn’t leaving Dallas to move to LA.

I was going home.


Celebrity Spotting

I’d like to dispel a rumor.

There is this…notion…that if you live in Los Angeles, you see celebrities everywhere.

This is simply not the case. I have only seen (identified?) two celebrities since I’ve been here. I am, of course, not counting the ones that I went to an event to see because, let’s be honest, that’s totally cheating.

The first was this guy:Progressive Insurance guy

Yep. The Progessive Insurance guy. He was walking down the street (in a jacket that color, no less) while I was driving. As I passed, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I knew that guy. I had met him before. But, from where? It wasn’t until later that I realized where I recognized him from.

The second was this guy:

Chord OverstreetWhile I’m not a big Glee fan, it’s on the fringes of my knowledge enough for me to have made the connection when I saw him. He was getting into his shiny, black car outside of our neighborhood Rite Aid. Celebrities are just like us! They have prescriptions!

I’m a little disappointed. At a premiere event for the second season of Scandal, some woman walked the red carpet and my friend whispered to me, “That’s Kerry Washington!”

I had no idea. I’d never seen Scandal before that night (it’s really good; watch it). I had no schema for Kerry Washington or any of the other actors on the show. So, I’m doubly disappointed. Not only have a not spotted many celebrities, I’m not versed enough in the culture to recognize them when I might see them.

When I was in New York, the only celebrity I saw for four months was Scott Adsit. As a huge 30 Rock fan, I recognized him immediately, but, at the time, 30 Rock wasn’t the comedy powerhouse it is today. I mean, it had only won two Primetime Emmys at the point.

I wonder if I would like to try celebrity hunting for a week. That’s sounds a little paparazzi of me, but, hey, it might be fun.

If there was one celebrity you would want to see (without drooling on them), who would it be?


Knowledge is Power

I miss school like a heartache.

I started Second City classes a week ago and I was assigned homework. Granted, it was fun homework (Watch Late Night television, write jokes), but it was still homework. And, as I struggled with why Diet Pepsi, with added ingredients to increase shelf life, deserves the time slot after Larry King, I remembered what it was like to have to do something because a professor told you to.

Second City HollywoodI love school. I love education. Learning new things energizes me. I can only compare it to the feeling when you finish writing a book. I want to run around and strike ballet poses while expressing my joy to inanimate objects. Leap through doorways. Dance with a mop. Just remember that moment when, after struggling over something for hours, your brain finally makes that last connection and it’s like a whole new world is illuminated.

And, it doesn’t matter the topic. Granted, I struggle more with certain subjects, but learning is fascinating. Perhaps I’m intrigued by the impetus of learning that school forces on me. Learn or fail. There’s no other option.

I love homework.

I love hauling out that ten pound textbook and pulling out the highlighter. Poring over that dense writing with no white space. Maybe a diagram every twenty pages…

My roommate, Randy, has gone back to school to become a nurse. Which makes me question whether or not I need to have a direction in mind. What are things that I would like to learn?

I never really met my science needs. I haven’t taken a serious science course since freshman year of college and, face it, rocks aren’t the most difficult of sciences. Geology Isn't a Real Science

Physics is an option. But, I never took to calculus. I need a refresher in that. I could always try to finish out my psych major. In college, I pretended that I didn’t want to conduct social experiments, but I totally do. Human behavior is quite interesting (or maybe I’m just annoyed by all the political posts on my Facebook feed).

Then, there are the humanities. A history course wouldn’t really aim me toward anything except to be more educated in history. But, there is the draw of just taking classes.Textbooks

On a whole different level, perhaps education is my calling. Not necessarily the perpetual student on the level of Buster Bluth, but maybe my destiny is in education. Could I cut it as an associate professor somewhere?

I’m not about to abandon my dream of writing for television yet. All writers are captivated by knowledge. They’re seekers of truth, after all. This doesn’t change the fact that I really want to go listen to a professor.

If you could go back to school, what classes would you take? Answer in the comments to make me feel happy.


Second City Homework

Okay, so I had to write ten jokes. Here they are, in all their (non) glory. Let me know if you like any of them.

  • A new button has surfaced at the Democratic National Convention, Hipsters for Obama. That’s a change from supporting that candidate you’ve never heard of.
  • Canada has launched a new digital currency called the MintChip. No word yet on the other 31 flavors.
  • The Democrats have brought in Kal Penn to do the rebuttal to Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech. Penn aimed his remarks at an empty bong.
  • This week was the first annual cat video film festival. Everything was going great until the closing ceremony, when someone snuck in a laser pointer.
  • Wyoming has taken its grey wolf population off the endangered list which is terrible news for the Wyoming Lannister population.
  • Last year, Obama ran on the Change campaign slogan. This year it’s “Change. Spare change?”
  • Hurricane Isaac washes up 18,000 dead swamp rats. Honey Boo Boo commented with “Them good eatin’ right thur.”
  • Snooki released her first photos with her newborn son, Lorenzo. You can find his new cologne at Babys R’ Us and Macy’s.
  • Turns out the speakers at the Democratic National Convention mischaracterized on their speeches. That’s what you get when you use Joe Biden as your factchecker.
  • Fantasy Football season has started. It’s a perfect time for fantasy football players to pretend they aren’t roleplaying.

An Unspecific Update

I’m bad at earthquakes.

No, seriously.

There have been three earthquakes of substantial (not considerable) size, two while I was asleep that I didn’t even wake up for, and one in the evening that I read a book through without noticing. I mean, geez. The earth is moving beneath me and I laid in my camp bed working my way through whatever latest book I was on…how’s that for sturdy Ikea construction?

Nerdist Writers' PanelAnyway, despite my less-than-stellar earthquake detection, things have been settling down in Los Angeles. I have inadvertently become Jeff Greenstein’s stalker and if he ever finds this, I sincerely apologize. This is a big city; why do I see you everywhere? Not that I’m that disappointed. He usually has great things to say, so still kinda cool.

I made a friend. I know, right? I’m just as surprised as you are. It was quite the chance encounter that started off with:

“You write YA? I write YA! You were at RWA? I was at RWA! You submitted to that agent? That’s my agent!”

Three for three right off the bat.

So, all these things have caused me to have a few reflection periods to catch up with all these developments. Because moving here is the same as living anywhere else with one big difference.

It’s like someone hit the fast forward button.

Five Finger Death Punch ConcertI’m a planner. At least on some level, I like to know what I’m getting into before I throw myself at it, but this has not been the case for LA. The plan has pretty much been: do ALL the things.

So, things I’ve done since the last update:

-Went to a test show for Craig Ferguson. It was not televised, Craig Ferguson wasn’t even there (Geoff was hilarious). I won a t-shirt.

-Ended up at a Five Finger Death Punch concert and the after party at the Roosevelt Hotel

-Spent a day on the UCLA campus looking at the Writers’ Extension program

-Met with a group of LA TV writers for hanging out and things

-Saw Key and Peele at the Nerdist Writers’ Panel

-Restrung a guitar


Making It Up As I Go

I haven’t posted in three weeks, which I apologize for. I’m working at a social media job that has me writing 5,000 words a week in blog posts alone. That isn’t really an excuse, but the blog format does lose some of its mystery when you’re up to your elbows in it everyday. I just didn’t have the moral fortitude to add another six hundred words to that count. I spend those words elsewhere.

Paley Center for Media - Husbands Season 2 PremiereThis blog post has little direction, so let’s use it as a metaphor for my life.

Things in Los Angeles have not settled down. I’ve lived here long enough to have paid two months of rent. My life continues to run a gamut of emotions, which, admittedly, I am not used to. I moved in with Amber, from the Bad  Girls Club, which is sort of amazing. I never expected to be living with a reality TV star (I suppose that’s not something that people would expect, anyway). In many ways, it’s nice to have someone who challenges me to go out and be social. I’m not naturally a social creature.

A huge part of succeeding in Los Angeles is being here. I mean, obviously. How can you work in Los Angeles without living in Los Angeles? Waking up in the morning is surreal. I’ve met interesting people. On Monday, I went to the premiere of Husbands (Season 2 out today!). The event was at the Paley Center for Media, a public event, so much of the crowd was just fans of the show. As the 7pm premiere time drew closer, members of the Buffy and Caprica casts started filing into the theatre.

That’s how it is here, I guess. Or maybe it isn’t. I’m in a place where I have nothing to measure anything against and the thing is, living completely without the ability to measure is normal. Jane Espenson’s advice (which isn’t new, but, c’mon, Jane Espenson said it to ME) “Just…keep putting yourself out there.”

I’m sure she knows how hard that is. How painful that can be. Perhaps it’s creator’s self-doubt or maybe it’s something else, but putting yourself out there is HARD. Standing in a room screaming “NOTICE ME!” while everyone else is doing exactly the same thing is trying. Of course, you can try something different, but that’s no guarantee, either.

But, the point is, momentum. Much like writing this blog post, it just got faster and faster as I went. And, maybe meeting Jane Espenson and Brad Bell at the premiere of Husbands was just another way of putting myself out there.

Don’t miss the first episode of Husbands Season 2 today!


I Live Here Now

All right, enough with the boring writer stuff. Here’s a post about something entirely different.

I live in Los Angeles now.

In an apartment.

 

…with ROOMMATES.

The last weekend was a test of strength and endurance. I had everything delivered from Ikea and set to work building it.

I hate Ikea. If I wasn’t so busy, I would make it my life goal to destroy them. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, because the people there were very helpful, but dear GOD! I hate shopping. I usually make a list of the things I need and go in like a robot with a targeting system. I guess it’s because I don’t like people? But really, I think it’s more that I don’t like wasting my time. WHY ARE YOU WALKING SO SLOW!

Well, Ikea rant over.

I did the bed first. Not much to do there, just slap on the supports and flip it over. Then, I had to build the desk. Since it’s Ikea, everything was pretty straightforward. After the desk, I set up wiring and everything. So, here’s the bat cave desk.

I may or may not add a third monitor. Or television. Right in the middle on a wall mount. OMG, I’m drooling a little. But, NO! I live in a big city now. I’m trying to be more economical.

I had to build everything, but the thing I was most nervous about was this.

Yes, something I actually have to sit on. But, so far so good. Nothing to report. Everything’s working. I’ve even taken it to maximum height and leaned back with my feet off the ground and nothing bad happened. Also, this chair is pretty badass intimidating. It also comes in blue, for those of you looking to buy.

Wall went from this:

To this:

There was a note on the shelf that said, “This unit is meant to be anchored to the wall.” My response, of course, was: “Then guess what’s not happening?” followed immediately by, “Oh, yeah, right. Earthquake country.”

In an interesting twist, practically everything I brought that required shelves fit into one book case. Now, I have about seven books that have no place so sleep at night, but my next bookshelves going to be pretty sparsely populated.

And now I have to build my final shelf for this wall:

My room is a good size (it was really small in the bungalow that was my second choice), and, I figure, since I work from home, I will be in here a lot.

One more box to unpack and I am officially moved in.


A matter of fact – Los Angeles

I didn’t really start freaking out until Dad asked me to drive. It’s interesting how it’s easier to not be behind the wheel.

“Can you drive for a couple hundred miles?”

“Yeah, sure.”

For about the first hundred, I white-knuckled the steering wheel as all the implications of what I was doing roared up in my head.

I.

Was driving.

To Los Angeles.

I think I’m still sneezing out desert.

I’m sure some of you are sick of me talking about this, so I’ll keep it brief. I still don’t have a place to live, so this post comes to you from in between roommate inquiries. That’s where most of my anxiety is focused. After I get an apartment, I’ll find the next thing to lose it over.

Here’s a quick list about things in Hollywoodland.

1. Oh my God, the smell.

I know that sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. Not at all. Los Angeles has this smell that’s sort of intoxicating. We got to the hotel, which smelled like Indian food, then we opened the door and…

Oh, my God, the smell. It’s maybe the beach? California? Pot? Is it pot? It might be pot, but it doesn’t matter because it’s here and it’s everywhere and it’s delicious.

2. Places

Between Yelp, Foursquare, and the maps app on my iPhone, you never lack for places to go, and you always know how to get there. Dad keeps asking ‘What’s the address?’ and my answer is ‘It doesn’t matter. You just ask the iPhone and it knows.’

There’s a coffee shop (Bourgeois Pig) that stays open until 2 am on weekdays, 2:30am on weekends . Yes, please.

It has a forest room, too.

Last night, we got pizza for dinner. Along the strip of road were 4 coffee shops, 3 pizzerias, 2 pinkberry’s, and a partridge in a pear tree.

3. Walking

You can walk places. There are places that you can walk to. I suppose my standards weren’t very high when I decided to move. I wanted a city where places didn’t close at 10 pm every night, a city where you could walk. I’m still really excited.

4. Time zone

I have no freaking idea what time it is ever. If you get a text message at some weird hour, I’m sorry. I’m just confused. And, I don’t go to sleep until strange times, either. So, if you get something from me at WTF-o’clock, just pretend it came at a normal time.

On the other hand, I don’t think Dad is enjoying himself. People drive crazy, things are expensive. He is less likely to get swept up in this place than I am, so I’m trying to be patient. I appreciate that he came here with me, but I think he’s stressed in his own way.

Can you imagine he’s not comfortable in hipster/writer settings?

Well, off to try to get things under control.


The Thing about Fear

By all rights, I guess I should be scared out of my wits. That’s what I’m told, anyhow. I should be panicked and nervous, sweaty palms and all. I should be jumping at loud sounds, flight or fight mode shifted into full-blown adrenaline rush.

But, I’m not.

You see, I’m moving to Los Angeles on Saturday. I mean, if you’ve kept up with this blog, I know you know that already, but, yes, Saturday is the big day. And, I’m not sure if I’m done with everything here.

But, my parents have promised to ship it if I need it.

A contingency of my friends and acquaintances have told me I’m brave. Brave is defined as “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.”

Perhaps it is bravery. I don’t think the pain I will face is physical. I suppose the biggest danger is going hungry because I run out of money. I know a big part of what makes this maneuver brave is the fact that I am walking away from acknowledged safety and comfort and heading into the unknown, where hardship and uncertainty are assured.

“Into the unknown!”
“Yes, but unfortunately there’s this dirty great sea monster in the way. “

Several people have asked me if I’m afraid.

I’m not.

So, why isn’t fear a factor?

Fear was a handy emotion. Way back in olden times, it helped keep us alive when we were fighting the saber-tooth tigers. It is a stress response that allows us to act without thinking. Again, a handy-dandy skill when you’re facing something that’s about to eat you or trample you. You don’t have time to waste thinking, “I should move a little to the left.”

Fear still serves a purpose. But, it can also hold you back.

Quotables:

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” -Rosa Parks

I want to write for television. There really isn’t anywhere else in the world that I can do that besides Los Angeles. New York comes in second, but it’s not (believe it or not) as easy to break into television taking the New York route. So, Los Angeles or bust. I’ve made up my mind. I know what must be done. I know it will be hard. I’m not afraid of working. I’m not afraid of failing.

But, I suppose, it’s just simply the fact that allowing fear to rule is never a good excuse. There are so many things that we could fear (worry is a state of fear), but it’s better to face it, take it head on. Conquer it. You can learn to control your fear response. Make the judgement. Is fear really helping? Or are you just a slave to years of living in caves worrying about being crushed by Og’s new invention “hawk blurg rugbug” or, as we commonly refer to it, “the Wheel?” It’s just mind over…mind.

As I head out to LA, be assured that I’m not facing my fear.

I’m fearless.


They’re so round and…shiny.

While cleaning out my closet, I found something.

Round, shiny objects with holes in the center. I’m not exactly sure what their purpose is. They are called, “Compact discs”.

That’s right. I discovered my high school collection of CD’s. It’s possible that I bought one or two in college, but I doubt it.

20120605-233641.jpg

I’ve been known to rock out to some old school Britney Spears. And, N*Sync circa ’99? Forget about it. Everyone thought the world was about to end, but we were more concerned with Bye, Bye, Bye.

I remember the Christmas when I got my first discman. It was a life-changing experience. I listened to music almost constantly (still do). It wasn’t long until I wore out that first one and had to upgrade to a Sony Sport Discman, the one with the big lock on the front. The one that the tank could drive over…

Now my hard won albums will be making their way to Half-Price Books, to fulfill someone else’s collection. Here’s a look at the big ‘uns.

1. The Bubble Gum

All the essentials. Genie in a Bottle, …Baby, One More Time, Say My Name. Do you remember Destiny’s Child? You know, back before Beyonce put a ring on it?

I don’t know if I would say I wore these albums out, but they definitely found their way to my ears on more than one occasion.

I even had the N*Sync Christmas album. That’s made you popular in college. Well, if you hung out with the right people.

2. The Rebellion

I had my Korn period. My Nirvana phase. My *cough* Limp Bizkit phase. Hey, I was young. And, I was at that impressionable age when all that stuff gets pushed into your head.

Anyone up for a Nookie lyric rap battle? It’s in there. Right behind Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It.

3. The Essentials

So, maybe I made a few questionable choices, but you can’t call me completely tasteless. My mother grew up on the Rolling Stones and Motown, which means I did, too. As a result, I’m a diehard Jagger fan and the Beatles can kiss…nah, the Beatles are all right.

Forty Licks, Janis Joplin, Jackson 5. They all stack up.

4. The Soundtracks

Oh my God, I did not realize how much of a soundtrack junky I was until I stared into the box. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Moulin Rouge, Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain. I started to dip into musicals there, didn’t I?

I’ve transferred all this stuff to my computer and forgotten about it. It’s time to share my music collection. The gems (Dresden Dolls) and the not-so-awesome (N*Sync/Britney combo that came with a Happy Meal).

I like to think my taste in music has evolved since then but turn on Livin’ La Vida Loca or Mambo no. 5, and I’ll be on my feet in no time.

Do you have any guilty music pleasures?


My To-Do List

As I eyed a 6’0″ axe at the Renaissance Fair last week, I was struck with the thought that maybe I could wait on getting that new computer. My current compy is only four years old and in fair condition, but that’s four years at 2,000 words an hour. Some of the buttons are wearing off, sometimes it just gets obstinate and refuses to load anything, but it’s seen me through my first paid writing gig, a pilot episode, a Big Bang Theory spec script, three novels, two trips to Michigan, and a partridge in a pear tree.

So, I figure I can wait a year. Maybe sell one of those three books…

But, I digress. Back on point.

My perceived need for a new compy put me in another frame of mind. Way back when Lion came out (I’m running Apple; you can read all about my indoctrination here), I tried to update only to find it didn’t run Microsoft 2004. Those three novels disappeared. With hat in hand, biting back the curses on my tongue (I didn’t read the fine print), I shuffled my way to the Apple store and muttered, “Please, sir, may I have my files?”

They were nice it worked out huzzah yeah apple but NOW…the time has come for me to upgrade to Lion.

And do everything else before I move to LA:

 Save up money

2. Upgrade the compy

Find homes for my instruments that will not make the journey

3. Meet up and settle friendship communications

4. Acquire boxes

5. Measure how many of said boxes will fit in the car

6. Trial run with packing the boxes

7. Agonize over everything that doesn’t fit

8. Find a place to live

 Get a job

10. Have a major freakout, regret the decision, run around in circles, yell at my parents for no reason, talk to my cat about all the opportunities, decide to go anyway.

11. Order Not for Tourists: Los Angeles

 Add new categories to blog: TV Nonsense, Movie Nonsense, Los Angeles

So, what? Am I missing anything? Let me know, because I really need to shut it down and get going. I met with a friend, Ben, who used to live in LA working as a writer and as he described this place to me, I could see/hear how much he loved it, how much he missed it, and how much he hoped to go back to it.

While people have been telling my how much I will hate LA, I’ve been answering with “But it’s what must be done”. But, after meeting with Ben, I started to think, “Man, I could really love living there.” He was the first person to say to me “Just get there. You’ll see.” I understand that people are in awe of the choice, or proud that they know someone relentlessly pursuing their dreams, or afraid that something will happen to me. But, I think the profundity of Ben’s fascination with LA burned away the lasts wisps of doubt and fear.

I’m as prepared for culture shock as one can be.

Ben said, “You’ll meet a lot of people like you.”

And that’s interesting.

Because I like me.

I like me a lot.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 814 other followers