TRAMBLINGS. . .
Good Morning. OSCAR NOMINATIONS were announced today. This is the first time in about twelve years I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to watch the announcements live. That’s my thing. Every year I wake up to watch. Too exhausted this time. But I do get a kick out of the actresses (it’s almost never actors) who say they were asleep when the nominations were announced and a phone call from a publicist, agent, manager, friend woke them up. Don’t buy that for a second. You know your ass was up all night waiting. If I get up every year to watch, you know someone who might possibly be nominated is biting their nails. UPDATE: Here’s a link to a NEWSWEEK OSCAR ROUNDTABLE with Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Forest Whitaker, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Enjoy!
Anyway, my program started last week and to say it’s competitive is an understatement. Three hundred and twenty eight applicants, seven of us were chosen. Great group of people with interesting backgrounds. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone.
I’ve been meeting with my network mentor every week since early December. Last week I learned the name and primetime show of my second mentor. Thrilled! (Notice the exclamation point). I’ve been assigned to a show that I love which is a nice bit of good news. My goal: to finish the spec epsiode with Mentor Number One by the end of February, then write an original one-hour drama pilot by the end of the program. All that to say, that’s why I missed the nominations this morning. Sleep is now a precious commodity because I am still putting in seven to eight hours a day on the book. An additional goal, of course, is to turn in the book by the end of April, possibly sooner. I sent 200 pages to my editor last week, Friday to be exact so I am waiting to hear her thoughts. My writer’s group meets on Saturday and I am one of the writer’s up for critique on those same bundle of pages. This time, as I’ve stated before, I am trying not to be so precious about every single word. I am getting down on the page so I can actual forward movement then going back to work out the kinks. My previous m.o. was to write a paragraph, sentence, word, page, chapter, then go over it with a fine tooth comb until I got it as close to “my perfect” as possible.
My new m.o.: I start the day with a specific goal (i.e., get to page 120 today, add additional chapter, etc.) and I only stop once I hit the mark. I do, however, re-read the pages from the beginning before I start just to get back into the world. I also make edit marks as I go but I don’t implement them until the end of the writing session. It’s working so far so keep your fingers crossed for me. And, once my program is complete, I’ll provide a link for the next application period (for those of you interested in applying) and I’ll tell you the name of the show I was assigned to shadow and the titles of the specs I wrote. I’m playing it safe here, for now, which I am sure you can understand.
Anyway, regarding the drama pilot, last week I had two ideas that I’ve been turning around in my head. Thinking about characters, thinking about the world, the situation, etc. But this weekend, while up in the Bay Area, I remembered a news story from about two years ago. It was wild and I thought, “Damn, that would make an excellent crime show.” But because I was swamped with other things, I “gave” it to the Crown Prince. He was looking for a new project (did ya’ll know he was also a writer? A screenwriter to be exact? Not sure if I ever said that) and I pitched to him over the phone. He whistled in appreciation when I told him because it was so vivid. (And to think, it wasn’t even the lead story on the news).
He ended up getting into something else and never moved forward with the story. Saturday, while sitting around with his mom, the Queen Mother, I remembered the story. It took me about an hour searching the local newspapers until I found it. I had the original story back in L.A. buried in a file so I printed a new one just to shake out the details. I had the city wrong but not the awesome potential of the story. Seriously. (Can’t even use that word without thinking of GREY’S ANATOMY – warning the lastest entry from Krista Vernoff might make you cry). But, seriously, the story is damn good. The Crown Prince read it and agreed for the second time. We looked at each other for a long moment then I said, “Yeah, okay, I am taking it back. You cool?” He was. So, for now, I think that story has moved to the head of the pack.
Last night after a mixer with the executives associated with the program, C.P. and I went to dinner and talked out the story. I was married to an opening scene (the teaser) and pitched it to him while we ate. He liked but had a suggestion that broke open the entire story. Once he said it, I said something else and we were off and running. I wrote it all down because I can’t take myself away from the book and the spec but come March 1st, “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” (Okay, did anyone else say that when they were little kids?)
Lastly, I think I am finally getting the hang of dressing for the “industry” here in L.A. Most anyplace else, if you have a business meeting you put on a business suit. Not here. C.P. wears shorts and flip flops to his meetings, jeans and T-shirts and baseball caps are just standard. I cannot tell you how much that freaks me out. Whenever I get dressed, C.P. yells into the bedroom, “Don’t put on your prom dress. Wear something casual.” Then I walk out in what I believe to be casual and he shakes his head and says, “Uh-huh, dude, put on your jeans.” That’s when I melt down and start screaming, “It’s not f*c*ing casual if you have to spend this much time stressing about it.” Jeans at a meeting just seems all kinds of wrong to me but he’s right. Anyway, I got a really nice pair of jeans (yes, Virginia, there’s such a thing) and a bunch of interchangeable tops. And like everyone else, I dress it all up with a cool bag. . .
and cooler shoes. . .
At least I hope. Both my mentor and my program director complimented both so I am on the right track. Well, kinda, I am wearing cords instead of jeans but, you know, a girl has to be herself.
Until next time. . .