The Guy behind the Guy behind the Camera Operator who’s sitting on the floor leaning against the wall charging His cell phone…

“… boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness . . . But nevertheless it doth fascinate…”
Francis Bacon, Of Boldness

Suggested background music:
Wale featuring Nipsey Hussle – “Chun-Li” & Outkast – “The Whole World” <PLAY. REPEAT if necessary.>

I’ve been away from my blog for quite some time. I did it so I could focus more on my screenwriting career. Well, career is such a strong word, but one needs to write in order to eventually have the career part come into play. (I would never abandon the one place I can be published.) I also did a little soul-searching. The kid’s weight even fluctuated up and down by about twenty-five pounds or so . . . lost a few friends, picked up a few new ones, you know—the usual. Yeah, this past year has definitely given me a hefty batch of lemons to make lemonade with.

ImageBut outside all of that, I’ve been on task rewriting and polishing my screenplay which took an incredible amount of focus and drive on my part to get done. The entire process kind of left me with the feeling that the whole world was conspiring against me—which is absurd; I know it isn’t. But I’ve never seen so much negative ish come my way. It was like growing up all over again. Now finishing my script wasn’t necessarily a page one endeavor, but it was as close to it as you could get. It’s hella tenuous combing through a one hundred and six page document, checking it for grammatical errors, syntax and overall plausibility—and that’s only the first part. Next you have to show it to someone, someone who isn’t going to feed your ego or steal it, and they also have to be able to give you constructive, sound, honest feedback. Then after that: you have to send query letters to industry professionals with the intention that the material you want them desperately to read is your best offering, and that you’ll be able to generate the same quality of work—or close to—time and time again as a paid, professional screenwriter. And after that: you have to get back in touch with loved ones and explain to them why you needed to be so distant for so damn long—some of whom who thought you were dead, or worse: moved back home. . . Nope! I’m still here fighting the good fight.

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If anyone pays attention to this damn blog, you should know that had a meltdown a while back [Hopes & Dreams… CRUSHED!!! – 06/10/2011] and wrote a panicky, scattered blog post about the screenplay that I’ve just finished as of last week, Chalkboard. Back at that time Chalkboard was just a bunch of scenes and a loose treatment wasting space on my hard-drive and I would only look at it from time to time, and my intention for it wasn’t really to finish writing it. It was what some screenwriters (all writers maybe) call their “top-drawer script”, meaning that only my eyes would see it, I could take some liberties wherever, and it couldn’t possibly be sold or turned into a movie, so what’s the rush in finishing it. In today’s movie-making world, it’s sad but that still might definitely be the case. I looked at that old post just before I started writing this one and I still can’t make sense of what my angle was. If I had to sum it up now it would be insanity—and frustration, paranoia too. I guess I haven’t taken it down because I want other writers to know how crazy and over-dramatic we get about ish, and what being nonsensical looks like as far as me. No one wants to steal my script; I’m not that clever. In the future perhaps. . .

ImageBut distancing myself from people and things for close to a year, though gruesome, was a step I needed to take in order to become the professional screenwriter I think I could be. I always knew how good of a story Chalkboard was, but I didn’t want to buckle down and really write it. But that kind of mindset works against my goal and isn’t what I’m about. So, I guess I got tired of talking about it and thinking about it and decided to give it to some folks—the pages I wrote of course—and the feedback was positive, some wasn’t; but overall it felt good to be passionate and defensive about my work again. And ultimately, every bit of feedback I received went into the effort to make Chalkboard the best screenplay possible, my strongest to date. Again, having another set of eyes other than your own read your work pays huge dividends. I highly recommend it—free sets of eyes that is! Image

Admittedly, I didn’t know if I would be up for it. I had my doubts early on, up until the end really. Why do we do that to ourselves, writers? Seeing so much red ink and having to take so much criticism—it kind of made me want to scrap the whole idea altogether. But then that started to feel like 2008 the year I stopped writing and put a two year freeze on my growth. . . I came back to and remembered: that’s screenwriting, or any other writing for that matter—it’s rewriting. Man, I’ve done so much rewriting! I’ve gotten up and went to bed with this damn script for over a year. Even now after I’ve written The End, I’m still going back into Chalkboard and making changes to it. It’s embarrassing. But seriously, I’m done; I’m not going to touch it anymore!

ImageBut I do want to “touch” on something—talent! Only because no one can say to me anymore that I’m not a good writer. It’s unbelievable how much better I’ve gotten. It’s like when Denzel was released from prison in He Got Game and he returns home to see his family, and his daughter tells him that Jesus Shuttlesworth, his basketball prodigy son, her older brother, can now use his left hand with the same skill and precision as his right. This script is money, and it sucks that it may never get the attention it deserves—which is ironic, because that’s why I wrote a story like Chalkboard in the first place: a story the deals with a character moving on from something the character saw as the end-all be-all to his existence. Now I definitely know what the stakes are as far as screenwriting goes, and with spec screenplays too: only a fraction of those pursuing end up doing. But it doesn’t erase from my mind the fact that I belong and that I’m just as qualified as those working in Hollywood. I’m not begging or whining or prophesying, I’m just stating the obvious: I’m that confident in my craft. So, there’s no reason to hang my head either way. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be taking meetings going into the fall and the coming year. But as far as Chalkboard goes, it just marks my return, my return to writing and feeling good about who I am and what it is that I aspire (still hate that word) to do for a living… I’m back!

ImageI’ll let the universe sort it out, but it feels damn good to be blogging again… I have lot of ish to get off of my chest! And so it begins…

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