Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Pits

Every so often, I fall into what can only be described as melancholia (okay, depression). Me, usually so chipper, so perky, so up and optimistic.

Yeah, even screenwriters get the blues.

I usually feel this way when I get a rejection that I was really hoping wouldn't be, when I'm flabbergasted over notes/comments that makes me question my creative judgement and/or talent, when I feel I haven't lived up to my ability, I question past choices and a slew of "what if's", when the writing isn't going smoothly or a hundred other things that all point to the inevitable conclusion: I suck, I have always sucked, and my two produced movies were freaks of nature.

And so I agonize and wonder if this isn't the time to chuck the screenwriting game and move on.

As Julie, my good bud, puts it, screenwriting isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, but there comes a time where you have to say, after beating your head against the wall and getting nowhere, when to give up, when enough is enough. How many times does your heart have to break before you say the hell with it.

When French women get depressed, we REALLY get depressed.

I was spoiled early on, having one of my very first scripts sell so quickly, and then get made. Everyone assumed it would be easy after the first sale. So did I. Instead, it's been just the opposite. I could go through a whole laundry list of why I haven't broken through. Poor representation. Bad timing. The writer's strike. And I've gotten close enough, tantalizingly so, to know that I'm not THAT bad. Yet it's still not enough. I honestly don't know what I'm doing wrong. And I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of running in place with holes in my sneakers. I'm tired of trying to write to a marketplace that seems to be always one step ahead of me, and I'm tired that when I do write for myself, no one seems to be on my page. I'm tired of the highs and lows; it's like being on a frigging roller coaster at Six Flags. One minute someone thinks your idea is the best thing since sliced bread and you're flying so high you need oxygen, and the next, someone tears you down as if you're a complete neophyte, and you feel lower than a slug, you're gum under someone's shoe, you're a bug on the windshield, snot in...well, I think you get the picture.

I knew it was going to be hard. But hard for this long? I dunno. Something's got to give. I feel like a rubber band, stretched to the limit.

Now aren't you happy I've unloaded? Makes you long for the days when I just posted You-Tube videos.


marcoguarda said...

[... My two produced movies were freaks of nature ...]

Fu***ng bulls**ts, I say!

Don't do this to yourself. You know you've got the magic. And that kind of thing one never loses.

You've read the first Harry Potter. He had that spark inside him. Only he didn't know, or he forgot about how to use it.

He was bound to become the greatest wizard of all times.

This kind of uncertainty sometimes depends on a lack of focus I think.

It's like when you try to start a fire with a magnifying glass.

You've got the tool, only it's not right on the spot.

Find a moment in the day when you are alone with yourself, when even cats and mothers and kids are asleep.

Start digging again. You're only a few feet away from finding again that mother lode.

Do something else for a week. Try different Cabernets. Wake up early in the morning and do Tai Chi exercises in the chilling breeze. It will kill you at first, but then you will feel invigorated.

Purposefully shut that computer down for 12 hours.

Find the balance. Tune that radio.

You know both the tricks and the real thing. It's just a matter of clearing up your mind from statics.

Some believe evolution is made of "jumps". Maybe it's time to do one.

Or else you could always go on YouTube, make a search for "Eddy Izzard" and watch them all videos.

Blatheringly yours,


marcoguarda said...

Actually it's "Eddie Izzard".


E.C. Henry said...

PJ, for the most part your frustation is slighted on the "business side" of screenwriting. You're SO BLESSED to have to 2 produced scripts. I have ZERO. Only had one hot lead too, where someone in the industry showed interest. But that turned to heartbreak too.

YET. I plug on. WHY? Because I can craft VERY GOOD STORIES. I know what I write is good, and NEVER let jaded people define me. I entertain myself and sometimes my family. Sure, I'm not supporting myself with my writing, but it's what I love to do.

Don't know how finacially tied to screenwriting you are. If you can't support yourself with it, it's time to get a day job. No shame in that. That's what I do, and many others, do. At least you've had a taste of success...

The real joy in writing is DISCOVERING things. Do you still "discover things" when you write? If not you need to change the subject of your current story. Write about the things that interest you, PJ, then you'll go back to being that rosey, warm person that you are.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Carson Reeves said...

PJ, come on. Don't let that b*tch get you down. It's one person. One single person. If you need to be reminded of how insignificant it is, go to Rotten Tomatoes and look at any Oscar-winning movie. Sometimes 30% of the critics will hate that movie. What if your script is that Oscar winner? And what if she's one of those critics?

Scott said...

PJ, I'm reminded of that quote, "Hollywood is the only town where you can't fail, you can only quit trying."

Here's me lighting a virtual candle to light your day!