Neglect and Turning New Pages in 2013

Books

You know you’ve neglected a website when you log in and there are 16 new plugin updates, security error messages, and a new version of WordPress available.

This past summer my life took a turn for the… busy. PA’d on a $50mil feature for the first time, which was amazing(my previous feature job was $1mil budget). Watching the production behind a movie of that scale is one of the reasons I got into the industry in the first place. I was able to do a bit of traveling, meet some great people, work with a childhood hero of mine, and gain valuable filmmaking experience.

After the film ended I had a brief stint on another feature and then I got the long job. I was given a choice. Keep freelancing — working my ass of just to find a job every month, yet have the possibility of working a ton of awesome jobs, OR go the steady route and take a year-long job on a non-scripted, non-union, production that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me emotionally or creatively. I took the safe route — a year worth of steady paychecks — the long job.

But something happened. I moved out of being a PA. I now work in Producer’s Assistant land, which, turns out I enjoy better than being a PA. So on one hand, I’m happy because I’m no longer a PA, but on the other hand, I’m not really working on the type of show that appeals to me creatively. My heart is in scripted. I’m still working long hours, but now it’s Monday through Friday, every single week, for a year. No down time — which is where the neglect comes in.

Not only have I been completely neglecting this website, I’ve been neglecting everything else in my life. I haven’t been writing, I haven’t been reading, and I haven’t been socializing, I haven’t been living. I’ve just been working, collecting a paycheck, paying bills, pretending to save money, and starting what I think might be a very unhealthy shoe addiction. Besides the occasional work on the dark pilot*, the last time I actually opened Final Draft was in July.

It’s the time of the year where we all make obligatory new year’s resolutions. I decided to start small. I’m going to read more. This past thanksgiving I did something I never thought I was going to do. I killed a little part of myself and purchased a Kindle. I finally succumbed to Cyber Monday. I love books. I love bookstores. I hate the fact that e-readers are killing things that I love. I want a massive library someday. I want to own every book I’ve ever read and display them on shelves so that people can stand in awe at their glory and shout, “This man is well read!”. But alas, I bought a Kindle. I read six books last year. Three of them after I bought the Kindle. Six books all year — 3 in the one and a half months I owned this little piece of library killing shit. And I love it. It’s a book store at the tip of your finger. Any book you could ever want. Just search, buy, download, in less than 30 seconds. Tap to turn pages. Be lazier than ever before. It’s Jan. 3, and I’m already almost done with my first book of 2013. My current goal is to read 15 books this year, but I have a feeling I’ll be reading a bit more. Thank you Kindle, I hate you.

After I started reading more, I realized how far I had swayed from my creative mind. I instantly wanted to learn more. I was falling in love with stories again, and it made me want to write. I have been stuck in the trenches of 12 hour production days for too long and my mind had started to slip into a level of mediocrity that only a boring desk job can bring to fruition.

I don’t know where this year will lead. All I know is that I’m going to read more books and put some honest effort into writing more often. Whether that is on this blog, a short story, a screenplay, or my thoughts on a napkin, I will write more.

If you somehow have stumbled onto this blog post, it’s probably because you either want to get into the film industry and are looking for advice on how to do that, or you someday would like to get paid by writing. Even though I’m not PAing, I will still dole out healthy tidbits on how to find and keep work in this industry. For those who want to write, don’t waste your new years resolution on a false hope of quitting smoking and joining a gym. Light up that cigarette and open a book — or use the gym money to buy a kindle. Either way, join me in reading more in 2013.

* The Dark Pilot – I can’t remember if I talked about this before, but I’m working on a pilot based in dark historical revisionism. Work has been going slow, but I’m in love with the characters, so I haven’t let this one go.

7 thoughts on “Neglect and Turning New Pages in 2013”

  1. It really is a bitch when you reach a level of success that by dint of such endlessly long hours, precludes you from doing the very things that lured you to Hollywood in the first place. I’m not sure this is avoidable, but keep in mind that you’re still in the “launch phase” of your career in this business — ascending though the lower levels on your way to something bigger and better. That you’ve left the PA ranks is a very good thing, whether or not the current gig is taking you where you want to go. You have plenty of time to make mid-course corrections — decades, really — and figure this thing out,. From what I’ve read here, you’re doing okay. That said, it’s a good thing you’re taking a long look at this past year and preparing to make some changes.

    Hang in there, and good luck in the year to come.

  2. I just ran across your blog while doing research for my paper on being a PA. I want to be a tour production assistance. But can’t find anything. It was nice reading your blogs. I added your blog to my bookmarks. Hopefully I will get a chance to read to read thru your blogs and get inspired!

  3. Lol I stopped to comment at the end of the third paragraph. I don’t know why, even though, my mind said the long
    job=steady, reliable paychecks, my heart screamed out, “Yeah, right. He grows and lives for the thrill of the freelanced jobs because in the end, he always ends up making it through.” But, seeing it written just catapulted me into laughter and shock.

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