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February 21, 2009

Chasing Mist

I've always felt kind of bad for taking over this website, one that rightfully belonged to an amazing band, not some dude living in California, trying to make it was a writer.

So, I've finally done the right thing. You can follow my exploits at ChasingMist.com. I'm going to miss this old place. But hopefully we'll have music related stuff to post someday in the future, so I can come back.


Posted by jason on 12:03 AM | Comments (5)

February 15, 2009

The "other Lyric"

If you haven't seen Coraline yet (and you should if you haven't!) then you probably don't know how cool and creepy this picture really is. My daughter sent this to me today.


(And let me just take a moment to say it's kind of surreal and also pretty great to have a daughter old enough to send me cool, unexpected things like this!)

Posted by jason on 01:37 AM | Comments (6)

February 14, 2009

My rewrite

I worked basically all day on my rewrite of Tovenray.

(ok, that's not completely true. Darby and I went on a hike with a friend of mine who is a graduate of UCLA's Screenwriting program and now works as a producer. And I also had an excellent phone call with my mentor / friend Paul Castro)

But other than that, I worked on Tovenray.

here is how I did it. I had a print out of the script, along with my written down notes from my manager. I read through the print out first, pen on paper, making changes or marking where I would make changes. For me, the tactile feeling of the pen on the paper is much better for any stages of writing that feel more like sketching or sculpting or painting - the early stages where you're still trying to figure fundamental things out. The idea of actually opening the script on my computer and making changing right away with the keyboard is really... just wrong to me. It's hard to explain.

So fortunately, I made my way all the way through that pen and paper stage, solving most of the problems raised by the notes, and pretty happy with the direction the script is taking. I then opened the file on the computer, and made actual changes to the script up until page 33.

So that gives you an idea of how much more I have to do. All in all, it took about... 11 hours today.

Weird thing is, I'm falling behind on writing my next script by spending the time on this one. Not to mention iPhone apps, my taxes, other school projects, blah blah blah.

But I really can only do one thing at a time, so it's triage, baby.

Happy Valentine's Day (since it's past midnight.)

This has never been a particularly special day for me and Darby, but it's still nice to get candy and all. Darby is actually quite wonderful at getting the kids special stuff for V-Day. I always forget about it, honestly.

Posted by jason on 03:11 AM | Comments (4)

February 13, 2009

Taking a Punch

I had my notes meeting with my manager today. It went very well. I'm more sure that she will really help me make sales. What's great is that her notes aren't dramatically changing the story itself, they are just emphasizing and defining and deepening certain things that are already there.

Taking notes - suggested improvements about things that are less than perfect about your baby - can be a hard thing to do. I honestly don't like it. But at the same time, I do, because I know it'll get my script to where it needs to be. One of the things that I've really learned is how to take this criticism.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that to be successful one of the most crucial skills someone can learn is simply to take a punch. To be able to get knocked down, and survive. To hit the ground and not give up. This kind of resiliance is one of the greatest disciplines someone can develop. I don't think there's any coincidence in the fact that God's name for his chosen people meant "wrestles with God." Or that Jesus wants us to learn how to "turn the other cheek."

My ability to hear about improvements will help me in the industry. I could tell my manager didn't know how I'd react to her notes, and was quite pleased with the fact that I could hear them without any defensiveness or tension...

Learn to take a punch, people. It'll really help you out.

Posted by jason on 12:25 AM | Comments (3)

February 11, 2009

My Own Little World

Often, when I am stressed or trying to figure something out, or overwhelmed by a ton of things that seem bigger than myself, I find that I like to make things smaller and within my control. For me, this often takes the form of video games, or computer games. The first time I realized that I did this was with a great computer game called Civilization, where you run a civilization from 4000 BC until 2000 AD and try to win wars, develop technology, colonize space... I would literally play that game all night sometimes. Because it was so nice to be in control of every little aspect, to have this whole world that I could understand and make sense of.

These days, my game of choice is Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii. it's a really arcadey version of soccer. And there are weeks that go by when I don't play it at all. Sometimes I do play it just for fun, but often I'll play it when I'm stressed and overwhelmed, or even trying to figure things out in my head.

If you want a clue for how things are going for me, let me just tell you that I've played 76 matches this past week.

Yep, I'm a little stressed. In fact, I've never been so hopeful and so worried about the future in my entire life. Weird, huh?

But the problem right now is the stress is actually taking a toll on my writing. As in, I didn't hit my page quota today because I was playing Mario Strikers, retreating to my own little world. I'm not sure it's a bad thing, really, but I have to kick myself back into shape in terms of churning out those pages.

Posted by jason on 04:09 AM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2009

The Outliers

I recently started reading a very insightful book called Outliers, which is a study of successful people. I highly recommend it, but one of the most interesting things he's observed is that it seems like in some ways talent is actually overrated, but dedication and practice are really the over-riding factors in success.

Malcolm Gladwell contends that before someone can be truly amazing at what he or she does, they need to invest 10,000 hours in developing that craft. 10,000 hours. Think about that! That's 5 years, full time hours.

Do you tink you've spent 10,000 hours doing anything specific?

Posted by jason on 12:50 AM | Comments (7)

February 09, 2009

An Update (Long coming)

Here's what I'm up to:

I had a meeting with a potential manager last Thursday. It was set up by my agent. The meeting went very well, I loved her outlook, and she is now potential no more... she is my manager. It's pretty cool because I remember just a year ago sitting in a 434 with screenwriter Michael Colleary and he was talking about "the business" and he said it was essential to form a team around you of people who tried to sell your work. I remember at the time thinking it would be so difficult to get an agent, and a manager. It seemed so far off.

And now, just a year later, I have an awesome agent and a really great manager, and they're getting ready to start selling my work!

So the plan right now: I have a notes meeting on Thursday with my manager. I'll address those in another draft, and then my agent will take that script out to sell. Cross your fingers! I'm now writing another script that will go out in early March.

All great news. It's such a strange time in life. I really have literally no idea what life will look like in one year. That is such a strange place to be in, honestly.

Posted by jason on 01:47 PM | Comments (4)

February 04, 2009

An exciting day

Today was an action packed, self confidence boosting day.

I went boogie boarding with Lyric (in February, I still can't get over this!), and guess what swims directly towards me? A SHARK. Now, bear in mind that it was only about 4 feet long and dark brown, so I'm thinking it was a swell shark. But still anytime you see a shark swimming towards you in that distinct sharklike motioned way, you get scared (I say this based on my extensive experience of one time.) I grabbed Lyric's hand and we decided we must be a little too deep! We did, however, continue boogie boarding for another 45 minutes afterwards. No cowards, are we.

Then I negotiated my rent downward with my landlord, saving myself $150 a month. Not bad, right? I happen to know that our neighbors recently had their rent go up $50/month, so I am particularly proud of my accomplishment.

Then, I volunteered to get new judges for UCLA's screenwriting competition, so I started contacting some of the people who had contacted me when I placed in the Nicholl. Now that I have an agent, of course, they want to represent me too. It was funny, because previously I hadn't heard back from them, but now one of the specifically said he would love to be my manager. It's really true, nobody loves you until somebody loves you, and then everyone loves you.

Finally, UCLA's Professional Program asked ME to be a judge for their yearly competition, because of my achievements in screenwriting. Score! I'm honored to.

Good day. I didn't get eaten, too. That's always a plus.

Posted by jason on 02:20 AM | Comments (10)