Monday, September 3, 2012


As a writer I'm finding that my natural state of mind seems to be obsessing about... well, the quality of my writing. I don't believe that I am the best writer in the world. I don't even believe myself to be very prolific. But I still obsess. Does anyone care? Will I succeed in entertaining someone? Will my work be recognized on any level?

In July I was obsessing over the completion of some Supernatural TV specs. I once vowed to never tackle TV, and it was precisely because of what a writing friend of mine recently asked when I spread the news my spec Supernatural - Intervention made the top 10% list at the Austin Film Fest and at Scriptapalooza.

Kevin asked me this - "I just wanted to ask, out of curiosity, when you wrote a script for Supernatural, at what point in the storyline did you write it from? Or was it like a stand alone, "monster of the week" type script? Because I'm only thinking is it not kinda hard to write a script for lets say, where the overall storyline is now, because by the time you have it written out and finished the storyline couldve moved on?"

Spot on, Kev. Yes, the very reason I took so long to tackle ANY TV spec is because of the outdating that a series timeline represents. I obsessed about why I shouldn't do it instead of just doing it... I'm glad I decided to do it.

So, as mentioned, Supernatural - Intervention has made it to the top 10% list of two very relevant screenwriting competitions. It's a relief to be recognized (OMG, someone believes I have talent!). Do I continue to obsess? Absolutely. Can I continue to pull it off? What should I be writing next? Etc. etc. And the beat goes on.

I thank my writing friends and family for keeping me writing. They are an inspiration, and I hope that I'm as much of an inspiration to them to keep doing what it is they are passionate about. For some, it's writing. For others it's... other stuff. Keep doing what you do! Keep obsessing about it - in a good way.

And keep writing. :]

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mid-Year Angst

Well, here it is - July!  And after feeling somewhat positive that the new year would bring good things, I'm now stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for the moment when those good things will happen.

It's agonizing. And after checking out a friend's recent blog post about distractions and their role in our writing process, I find myself pondering - and writing this entry with more than the average distraction in the background - teenagers playing video games. I guess that's part of life, though. Since January, I have been productive in completing 3 specs for the TV show Supernatural. But because of life's distractions, I missed a crucial deadline to submit them to a crucial writing fellowship program. The WB Writers Workshop is the perfect venue for breaking into TV writing, and Supernatural is a WB show. But I missed the deadline, and I am left hanging.

I've gotten some really good feedback on the scripts from writing friends, and I've submitted to a few TV writing competitions, but finalists aren't chosen until it's officially Fall, and I'm having a hard time waiting that long. What's worse, one competition sent me feedback from what they call the 'first reader.' Three sentences of general notes that left me feeling ambiguous about my chances. As my son put it - "It's one person's opinion! And (s)he said you nailed the characters. How is that bad?" It's bad because the reviewer was ambivalent about the choice of the main plot. And on that note, no more details...

but my son is right. It's pointless to obsess during the waiting phase. The competition rules even state that the brief feedback we might receive is not necessarily an indicator on how well the entry is doing... And so, I continue to obsess. This kind of obsessing is just as much a distraction as the kids in the background, the chores waiting to be done, the bills waiting to be paid, the holiday events, the graduations (my son is out of high school, prepping for college - distractions, distractions, distractions...).

And then there's the 'could have been a contender' moments to obsess about. I entered a short called Blindsided into the DC Shorts Competition, then received an email apologizing for the mixup about being a finalist... Wait, what? I got an email saying Blindsided was a finalist? Well 'not' being a finalist meant that instead of being in the Top 6, the script was an alternate in the Top 9. How can I complain about making the Top 9 in a national competition? I can't. But, here I am, obsessing over the fact that I was sooooo close.

I guess I'm sort of rambling. What was my point? Oh yeah, distractions. Some of them are legitimate, and as writers, we need to just set aside the time anyway. Muscle through it. But some of them are really our own doing. I need to focus on a feature rewrite - an agent said he'd be interested if I could retool it a bit. I need to focus on a series pilot. Now that I've got a handle on the format of a one hour drama, I think I can retool another old script into a series idea. Someone suggested that years ago, and I obsessed about how I could do that. Now might be the time to stop obsessing, and to stop adding to the distractions not under my control. Or to at least push those nagging worries to the back burner for a while and take a new step.

I guess I started moving forward by deciding to update this blog. It needed it. It got me writing for the day - so I guess a little obsessing is a good thing!

Keep writing, friends!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Making the new year count

We're off to a good start for 2012. And let's face it, we've got to make it count with the advent of the whole Mayan calendar - zombie apocalypse on the horizon.

Speaking of the zombie apocalypse, I just received word that my zombie short - Body and Blood was a first round finalist in the 2011 Table Read My Screenplay Competition.  This is the second time I've done well when entering this competition... I like this competition.

But what I really should be focusing on is the necessity to broaden our horizons. For years, I stuck to my guns and focused solely on features, and predominantly on horror features. It's my niche, and it's where I'm comfortable, and let's face it, Body and Blood is a horror story. But it's not a feature. And if my friend Jay Costelo hadn't put faith in me and convinced me to try and write a few shorts, I probably wouldn't have written this.. So thanks, Jay!

And if my friend Jeff Brown, a writer who I believe has a promising future, hadn't convinced me that Supernatural was a show I needed to watch, I wouldn't have tried my hand at writing a couple of TV specs. So thanks, Jeff for inspiring me to broaden my horizons.

And while we're at it, thanks needs to be sent out to other writing friends of mine - Judith Watson, George Lee and Sharon White who, as a group, participated in a writing exercise with me that inspired me to write Turf War, an animated feature with no horror whatsoever in its content. I still think it's better than Gnomeo and Juliet. Turf War was a top 100 Table Read finalist last year.

One last thank you, to Greg Goyins - another writer, director, producer and a man with many hats - who has inspired me to tackle another short.  I'm working on it, Greg. I'm working on it.

Thanks to all of you, and to anyone in my life who may not be mentioned here, for helping me broaden my horizons and see the potential of the future. Have a good 2012!