Julie Goes Indie

Having recently submitted a project for possible independent financing at Juntobox Films, I've been thinking more about not making a movie, as opposed to not writing one -- and really these are two different things, requiring two separate sets of delusions. Just when I thought I'd run out of ways to disappoint myself and others around a script that didn't come together, wasn't worth re-working and had to be permanently shelved, this time an actual movie would have to fail before all that happens.

So far most of my creative energy has gone to how I would post the happy news on Facebook. Right now I'm going with "Greenlight, bitches!," beside an old still I found of a topless go-go girl shooting a movie, in the woods for some reason. I figure if she could get off the pole and pursue an even more dubious second career, why not me?

Where screenwriting amounts to getting up and dressed in time for another big game of rocks, paper, scissors, filmmaking means being on set at dawn to plug important things into other important things because you have something important to say. I'm not very mechanical by nature, but I am jotting down mental notes for the trade press on my improbable triumph over sexism, ageism and cronyism. Oh and lazyassyism, perhaps the best explanation why we avowed recluses don't tend to roll up our sleeves and collaborate of all things.

So far my favorite part of being an independent filmmaker is the high quality procrastination it offers. Honestly, I can't think of a better excuse for ignoring my silly little pages than thinking really hard about making a Serious Piece of Breakthrough Cinema. Okay, so it's a quirky little funeral comedy with elements of a feel good sex romp climaxing with an action-packed heist, but still.
I'm not the first writer to grapple with the jump from the page to the stage. "One deceptive appeal of being out there with other people is that it gets you away from the job of writing," Woody Allen told The Paris Review. "I’ve always felt that if they told me tomorrow I couldn’t make any more films, that they wouldn’t give me any more money, I would be happy writing for the theater; and if they wouldn’t produce my plays, I’d be happy just writing prose; and if they wouldn’t publish me, I’d still be happy writing and leaving it for future generations."

It's probably easier to believe your unproduced work will have lasting merit when you are Woody Allen -- who doesn't even show up to accept his Oscars because it interferes with band practice.

Now that I'm going to be a multi-hyphenate, maybe I should get mentally prepared for awards season, which has gotten so out of control between Cannes and Taormina and I mean, BAFTA? Really? I'm not sure how the Brits got to be in charge of everything again, but should Kate Middleton show at my after party, I really need to start reducing now. Even pregnant those princess types make the actresses look like tubs of lard -- who in turn make us writers seem especially ginormous and awkward at these events.

Then again the whole point of bypassing the studio system is avoiding the judgement to step out of the shadows and grab what's due me. Somehow this never occurred to me before, despite all my yakking here over the years about how awesome I am.

I guess my big priority should be becoming a living legend already, because, really, what fun is it to be a dead one? "Not that immortality via art is any big deal," summed up Allen. "Truffaut died and we all felt awful about it, and there were the appropriate eulogies, and his wonderful films live on. But it’s not much help to Truffaut."

Maybe one day some idiot blogger will be sitting alone in a Toluca Lake coffee bar quoting me on death, comedy and grabbing the spotlight while there's still time. Like I said, brand new skillset, same old delusions.

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