So last year I took a position at a company called Legacy.com, moving myself and my husband to Los Angeles. Basically the same kind of Drupal/PHP/ESScript work i’ve been doing but focused primarily on Drupal as a backing store for a REACT-based front end. If you don’t understand what that is, don’t bother. Understanding it is not important to the post.
It’s been a great year. I love the work. I love the site. I love the people I’m working with. My commute is 10 minutes. I’m paid very well.
But I’ve had a dream. For a long time this dream has gestated. A dream I haven’t dared share because it was completely ridiculous.
That dream is to write for the screen.
Yeah, I know. EVERYONE who’s ever moved to LA and bought a copy of Final Draft has decided they’re going to write The Great American Screenplay(tm). Or better yet, a screenplay about writing The Great American Screenplay(tm). I told you it was ridiculous like a paragraph ago.
It. Is. Completely. Ridiculous.
Especially given that I have such a good career that would keep me comfortable for the next 10 years or until I could retire.
But I can’t escape the dream. It chases me down. It reminds me in my sleep every night that I could be more… and that what I am now is less than my realized potential.
In my life I can point to a series of issues about which i’m passionate:
The political climate in America
It’s no secret a number of Americans were unahppy with the results of the election of 2016. I’ve had to face the fact that people who don’t care about literally anything but themselves are now in charge of our government and are making laws that pretty much only benefit themselves and they’re rich friends.
Increasing violence against minorities (both LGBTQ and ethnic)
I literally can’t open news apps anymore. If it’s not a headline about The President doing something stupid, embarassing or corrupt (or a combination therof) then it’s some innocent minority getting caught up in a violent event by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes it causes me to lose sleep.
Increasing climate distress
Every year this planet gets a little bit hotter because of the carbon humans keep pumping into the air. If you don’t believe this is true. Please stop reading now. I’m sorry. We’ll need to part ways from here. Climate catastrophe is a bus. It’s coming toward us. You can get on the bus going the other way or you can get run over. Your choice.
It’s no secret I love TV. Anyone who knows me, knows I grew up in front of a Television and continue to love the various offerings of broadcast, cable and streaming services. Two years ago I cut the cord and no longer have a cable box. I subscribe to multiple streaming services that add up to less than what I was paying for cable but with so much more of the content I love.
The last ten years has seen comic book culture going mainstream. There has never been a time in my life where so much comic book culture is available both on the internet and in comic book stores. The stories of our comic books have become America’s mythology. The heros, American gods (no disrespect to Neil Gaiman’s fantastic work). I believe Comic Books and Jazz will America’s longest lasting contributions to the human experience.
These converging tsunamis are driving a desire in me for change. But I have a very keen understanding of my own impotance in afffecting change to both public opinion and/or public policy.
I can add my voice to the chorus of people who are saying the same thing I am on social media, and I do. But you can’t convince someone of something about which they’ve already made up their mind.
How do you change someone’s mind? How do you take a brain that truly believes climate change is made up by the Chinese to sell solar panels, show them data from literally hundreds of scientists and have them come to a rational conclusion other than “You’re trying to sell me something” ?
How do you take someone who calls themselves a “Christian” and convince them that the religious leaders telling them for the last 20 years to shun gay people are not actually encouraging behaviour that Christ would in any way endorse? And worse yet, that attitude contributes to the tacit approval of violence against people who are part of this current society’s “least of these” (to use Christ’s language)?
And not to beat a dead horse, here, but Sunday morning 10 A.M. is still the most racially segregated hour in American life. ‘Nuff said.
How do you convince someone who’s a 4th generation coal miner in West Virginia that they’re the one that needs to change and that coal’s days as a useful material on this planet are numbered?
How do you convince someone in Lousiana who feeds their family with money made working an oil rig that fossil fuels are endangering their children’s children’s ability to breathe clean air?
Cognative bias is the enemy. I go back to that old screenplay trope: Show don’t tell.
After last year’s election, I felt like the most radical thing I could do was to buy an electric car. I bought a Kia Soul EV. They’re not only better for the planet, they’re actually better at being a car. Much of the stupid stuff that normally breaks down with a gas car simply doesn’t exist in the electric drive train. I continue to look for other ways I can minimize the mess I make while I’m here on this planet. You should too.
I’ve also made the decision to write for the screen. I’ve done that by writing an entry for the Warner Brother’s Television Screenwriting Program.
To my blog, I’m adding my submission essay. I poured all of the tangled feelings about my dream into it.
I’ll find out in September whether or not i’m accepted. I just read a few days ago that there were 2428 submissions this year, the most ever in the history of the program. I’m under no illusions i’ll get in my first year of submission.
I’ve been down this road. I know the signs. Your first program never works. Your first stab at creating a feature for a website is never well-received.
You always suck. Every Time. Until you don’t suck anymore.
It takes 10,000 hours to get shit right. The only way past is through.
This summer i’m writing a few comic book adaptations in preparation for writing next year’s entry.
I haven’t told that many people about my dream to be a writer. So I guess this blog post is a sort of “coming out” as a writer. I’m here. I’m (hopefully) clear. Get used to it.