I just checked and there’s technically another month of summer. But it doesn’t feel that way. This summer for me was about two huge events that took up plenty of time. One was prepping for a very difficult Kenpo test. The other was my duties as Associate Producer in charge of community outreach for the Sacred Fools 17th Season Launch Party: CAUGHT DARKLY DREAMING. In between those two events, I bounced back and forth between two writing projects I’ve been developing. It sounds manageable and I guess it was, but man, I’m glad it’s all over.
The first time I went to a foreign country was right after college. My girlfriend at the time was an ROTC army scholar who was surprised upon graduation with an active duty assignment in Panama, Central America. I flew to see her, but we mostly stayed on the army base. We ventured out once, saw some sights, but really, I was a pretty fearful traveler back then.
In every screenwriter’s career, there’s the moment when you’re a good enough writer to have sold a screenplay, even good enough to be hired to write one on assignment, but…it just hasn’t happened yet. You’re caught in that wide chasm between being an amateur and being a professional. You’re Pro-Am.
My lady Jen and I watch a decent amount of TV shows together. From the pilot on, we were fans of USA’s “White Collar”. During the first season, I was at the Office Depot near our house and waited in line behind Agent Burke himself, Tim DeKay. I told him how much we loved his show and he was so thankful. He asked if I was in the business and I told him about my script “Five Killers” that was nearing production. He congratulated me and we parted ways. It was really the nicest “celeb” encounter I’ve ever had.
I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, and began making a living as a screenwriter a year and a half later. Got my first movie made in 2006, my second movie in 2009. All in all, I’d spent about a decade making a living as a screenwriter with two produced credits to show for it, something I am VERY proud of.
I’ve been taking Kenpo karate for over four years now. The dojo where I train is a special place. When new students begin, movements are very slow and no one’s getting hit. As the years progress, the “gradient” increases. Gradient can mean both speed and the amount of force you can take. I’m a green belt now, and that is when things get serious. We’re moving at “combat speed” and we’re learning to take real hits. We have several drills where we’re not supposed to make contact, but every once in a while, you take a hit from a fellow student when you weren’t expecting one. When this happens, our Sensei often says:
There’s an often-said phrase that is guaranteed to break the hearts of aspiring writers everywhere. I heard it again recently. Actually, I think it was a Twitter-chat, so I read it. But I could here the pain in the writer’s voice:
“It really is ‘who you know’ isn’t it?”