While picketing a Desperate Housewives location one wee morning, I pondered a looming image of Wonder Woman greeting the day from an overhead studio water tower. Surrounded by hundreds of out-of-work film and television writers, I remembered that my advanced degree had not only been in dramatic writing, but also in “digital media”—a major point of contention in our eventual settlement with the studios. I soon landed an interactive producer job at the most mouse-nificent entertainment company in the world -- eventually succumbing to round after round of lay-offs.
So here we are again.
Ironically, my long struggle to fashion a second career in show business is one rarely seen in the movies, where in very short order the girl gets the job, the guy and the Vera Wang wedding ensemble over a thinner rival with younger looking skin. What big screen career challenge can’t be conquered by a whitened smile and a plucky attitude? What weight problem won’t spontaneously correct itself by the end of a charming musical montage? Armpit stains, broken heel, panty lines? Somebody call wardrobe! This girl’s real life shortcomings serve as daily proof that Hollywood’s reliable sense of justice owes itself mainly to our famous way with illusion.
I never gave up on my dream, I just gave myself a few “story notes,” as we in the business call our little tweaks. While cultivating an online digital entertainment clientele, I continue to write feature screenplays and television pilots on spec. I just finished up a great long-term temp assignment helping run a recording studio inside the world's largest talking toy company -- and yes, this was as fun as it sounds; I hope to be back there very soon on assorted freelance gigs. I also teach screenwriting part-time at the college level, attend a weekly writer’s group, and “like” on Facebook my old film school pals’ network series commitments and feature film distribution deals in somewhat transparent hopes of joining their ranks.
Oh, and there's this blog. Since I first posted here in 2005, I've had hundreds of thousands of visitors and a half a million page views -- traffic that mysteriously continues to arrive by way of Google searches for "film school" and "big deal Hollywood screenwriter" and "failing up,"one supposes, regardless of how long it's been since my last update.
The point is, my story is far from over, you folks still seem to want to read it—and nobody gets to write the rest of it but me.