Whenever I read an article about someone who is a current hot commodity they mention a long list of projects that they have lined up to do. While it sounds impressive, how many things can someone actually do? I remember when Trey Parker and Matt Stone got hot during the first year of “South Park.” They got hired to write a sequel to “Dumb and Dumber.” They ended up not doing it and giving the money back. No time, I guess.
I have a lot of kettles boiling. Some of these projects, like “Dancing in the Mist,” are happening. That show has a script, cast, venue, director, stage manager, and show times. It’s got a Facebook event page. It’s a green light project. I’m acting in it. Other projects need to get fed some meat and potatoes to get started.
This brings me to a fantasy project.
For some years I’ve thought about getting more into writing and producing TV or film. I enjoy the medium of TV. I could see myself doing a show on adult swim, for example. That would be a good transition for me from where I am now. Besides my days of being a production assistant when I was in my early twenties, I’ve never pursued that.
My fantasy is this: I write two scripts of current comedy shows. These would serve of an example of my writing. That’s actually a standard method for doing writing samples. I’m thinking sitcoms. Now, stick with me. I know it’s strange to imagine the creator of “The Last Straight Man In Theatre,” which was once called a “total abandon to absurdity,” writing for the Betty White show “Hot in Cleveland.” Anyway. I also prepare a pilot of my own, probably a script only, maybe some video.
Then I go to L.A. for six months and pursue my career as a writer and creator. I network myself, and if at the end of the six months I’m still struggling, I leave. I’m done. I go back to where I was before.
The big part of my fantasy that I haven’t bothered to figure out is WHEN I could do that. I’ve got tour dates up to August. Okay, I could go after August. I’ve got a girlfriend who lives in Seattle. Okay, airfare to and from L.A. from there isn’t high. What about money? Okay, I could work as an extra on TV and movies 2-3 days a week. I can do an apartment swap with someone and they can stay in my East Coast apartment.
But… Can I stomach what I would need to do? There is the living in L.A. thing. I never cared for the city before, but I think I can stomach it. If you want a career in show business (beyond what I’m doing), you apparently have to. Okay. But then there’s the networking thing. That’s when you go to a party or event and you walk around a room and talk to people and see if they can help your career. If they can’t, you say something like, “Excuse me, I have to get a hot dog,” and you continue flitting around the room until you make some valid “contacts.” And that’s how you build a career. It’s a very shallow way of going about things, but there it is, apparently. I read an article in my Temple University newsletter about people who moved to L.A. and networked all the time, and one woman said she was leaving after a few years because she never made one real friend.
I’ve always been more interested in having more of a connection with people rather than just bouncing around and seeing what I can get from people. But maybe I could stomach it for six months. Maybe.
Whew. Okay. Still going with my fantasy. So the other thing is, can I really get a break in six months? Well, I think I can “level jump.” What that means is that rather than spend years getting coffee and waxing the executive producer’s car before I get to be a writer’s assistant, I think I can skip over several steps. Why? Because I spent the last ten years writing, producing, and acting in touring shows. Before that I spent four years writing, producing, and acting in sketch comedy shows in New York. And before that I spent two years writing and producing a feature film that got foreign and legitimate online distribution. And my last three fringe shows – “Cathedral City,” “Bromance,” and “Best Picture” – got some great reviews and box office. So “level jumping” is in order!
We’ll see if I get to my fantasy. I’ve got “Dancing in the Mist” to do first.
Current reading: I finished that Wall Street book and now I have “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith in my hands.
Current movie: I saw “The Interview” on Netflix. Not my cup of tea. I prefer “Too Many Cooks.”
Current TV: Finishing up season three of “Sons of Anarchy.” The gang just left Belfast.
Current wisdom: Make a little progress every day. Time goes by fast, so make that work for you.