Los Angeles Fantasy

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.

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