A quick look inside the life of a writer. Let me know in the comments below what I left off and what you do as a writer!
Hey everyone! It’s that time of the year when I like to stop for a moment, recap and catch everyone up on the exciting blog entries I’ve posted over the last 4 months. Ranging from When To Get An Agent to When To Leave Your Agent to What Is A Win to me dropping off my feature film script to James Franco’s production company, let’s take a stroll down memory lane from oldest blog entry to the newest:
Happy Birthday! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-iN
Taking It To The Next Level: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-jx
A Big Win With James Franco: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-jR
What Is A Win? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-mS
The Revolution Begins: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-os
When To Get An Agent Or Manager: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-6T
Happy 15th Anniversary! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-qq
Happy Labor Day Weekend! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-rq
Self-Tape Audition Adventures: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-rA
The Showrunner In Me: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-sx
Do You Celebrate? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-uj
A New Journey Begins: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-wo
The Power Of The Human Spirit: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-x6
Quick Tip: Callbacks https://wp.me/p8uI5M-xn
Pre-Production Begins! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-xx
When To Leave Your Agent: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-y5
Hey everyone! I’m excited to announce that pre-production has begun on a new film that I wrote and will star in. On September 30th, I posted a blog entry titled “A New Journey Begins” (http://wp.me/p8uI5M-wo) in which I wrote about outlining my new film in 32 minutes. Shortly after, I wrote the first draft of the script in 1 hour and 25 minutes. I was thrilled to see a finished product before my eyes. I was thrilled to see this outline transform into a script!
Now, the pre-production phase begins. The excitement and nervousness. Yes, nervousness. I still get nervous before embarking on a new project that I’ve originated and that I will be leading. But that nervousness is channelled into excitement and action. To be on go! I’m putting another product out into the world and I can’t wait!
I’ve created a pre-production plan. I’ve registered my script. I’ve reached out to an actor friend of mine to pitch my film and email the script. He loved the script and is in. I’ve reached out to a DP and cinematographer I’ve worked with before to shoot my film. I’ve begun identifying and writing down potential crew members I’d love to work with again. I’m looking at a shoot date and location. I’ve begun downloading pictures from Google Images to inform the art direction and the storyboards. I’ve created a list of production equipment we’ll need for the shoot. I’ve already come up with a concept for wardrobe and how I want my co-star to physically look. I’m excited to start rehearsing with my co-star and making any tweaks to the script during our rehearsal process.
Hiring a producing team to help me execute certain things like securing the perfect location to filling out SAG paperwork.
I already know how I want to edit the film. I see how the whole film plays out in my head.
And many other things that are involved in the pre-production process!
I’m excited to create another project and see how much further I can take this one in terms of the writing, the storytelling, the acting and the technical aspects. My aim is to always get better with each project. I can’t wait to bring this project out into the world as another example of my work and voice as an artist.
As artists, we need to continually be in creative motion. We need to be involved in a handful of projects at any given moment so that we stay on path and remain artistically fulfilled. In other words, if one project doesn’t work out or doesn’t quite take off, then you have these other projects you’re working on. Conversely, if one project takes off and then that chapter finally comes to an end, then you have other projects to jump into. Let’s say you’re in a series and then it goes on hiatus for the summer. Cool. Now get back into class and put up some new scenes or shoot a short film over the summer based upon that script you wrote while you were shooting your series. Staying in creative motion is a cool, built-in defense mechanism. An artistic shield that keeps you moving forward from one project to the next.
I say all this because a few days ago, I outlined my next film script in 32 minutes! I am a huge fan of The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror and my script will pay homage to these great shows. I am so excited and proud of myself because as soon as the idea flashed across my mind, I jumped on it and didn’t question it. I didn’t throw away my idea because it was too big or too crazy or too this or too that. If you remember, my first blog entry of 2017 was a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”:
To believe our own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,–and our first thought, is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
I detected that gleam of light that flashed across my mind and jumped on the opportunity to outline my script. In 32 minutes. That is the power of following your genius. I can’t wait to write the script and shoot it in the near future. I’m clear that I am the protagonist in this. The focus of the story. And I want to go the other way in the casting of my co-star. And my instinct is right about how I want to cast my co-star and present this casting as the paragon of what I’m looking at in my story.
Creation is definitely tied to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary definition of “Imagination”:
We would define imagination to be the will working on the materials of memory; not satisfied with following the order prescribed by nature, or suggested by accident, it selects the parts of different conceptions, or objects of memory, to form a whole more pleasing, more terrible, or more awful, than has ever been presented in the ordinary course of nature.
And I’m excited to get to work!
Until next time, keep Chasing The George!
P.S. I outlined my script in 32 minutes and it took me 32 minutes to write this blog entry! How synchronistic is that?!
Happy Sunday! Not too long ago, I posted a blog entry about what a win is and what defines one. For example, is it only a win when you book a job in the entertainment industry? I wanted to shed some light and a new perspective on what a win is. Here is the link to that particular blog entry: http://wp.me/p8uI5M-mS
Well, now that you have a greater understanding of what a win is, and you’ve had some wins in your life and in your career, what did you do to celebrate them? Did you take the time to celebrate that win or did you forget about it and move on to the next thing on your “to do” list? You know, that list of things you keep crossing off and you keep crossing off and don’t ever acknowledge the progress you’re making because you’re only focused on the end goal? “I just want to keep crossing things off my list and then I’ll celebrate! I can’t stop moving now!”
Celebration is important. The definition of celebration is: To observe (a day or event) with ceremonies of respect, festivity, or rejoicing.
How cool is that?! To observe a win you’ve had with respect, festivity or rejoicing. Sing praise! Rejoice! Hallelujah! Give back to yourself for the work you did to achieve that win. Celebrate! Woo hoo! Sing out loud from the rooftops how kick ass you are! But wait. How many of us actually celebrate? How many of us actually carve out time to celebrate that win we just accomplished? Remember, now that you have a clearer understanding of what a win is, celebration should be a frequent part of your journey.
Celebration should be immediate. It should be done quickly in order for you to cement the win. To cement the accomplishment. Don’t let time pass because then you will forget the win you had. When you celebrate, you are planting your marker on the ground as an acknowledgement of what you’ve achieved. You are staking your claim with celebration. You are claiming for yourself. When you celebrate, really give it to yourself. Remind yourself why you are having this celebration in the first place to really cement it in even more. For example, when I get celebrate with a massage, I think to myself during it, “I’m getting this massage for that kick-ass callback I had. I’m getting this massage for that kick-ass callback I had.”
Celebration is a form of respect for you and the work you’ve put in to achieve something. Something you’ve moved forward. A discovery you made in the journey of your life and career. Life and this career is already challenging as it is, so celebration keeps us on the path. It reminds us that we are winning and advancing forward. If you don’t celebrate along the way, you lose perspective. If you don’t celebrate the little things along the way, you’re not going to celebrate the bigger things either. Crazy, right? You’re thinking you’re only going to celebrate when you win that Oscar. Or that Emmy. Or when you get your first series regular role. Or when you sell your first script. “I’ll finally celebrate when I get that big thing!”
The irony is that if you wait to celebrate until you achieve that big thing, you won’t enjoy nor celebrate even then! You’ll finally get that series regular role but you won’t celebrate because you’ll think to yourself, “But yeah, it’s a series regular role on a smaller network. I wanted a series regular role on HBO!” Or “I won an Oscar, but it’s only for supporting actor!” “I booked my first role, but it’s only five lines!” Your expectations are higher than your gratitude. Celebration keeps you in gratitude and it helps you to see the through line of your journey. Celebration keeps you present versus you only focusing on the goal ahead and not taking stock of your progress.
Celebrate and honor the audition you had just as you would celebrate the series regular booking. Celebrate it all because it’s all part of the journey. They are all connected. The audition led you to the callback and the callback led you to the network callback and that led you to your booking, etc.
You can’t and won’t enjoy the bigger things if you don’t acknowledge and celebrate the little things as well along the way.
And celebrations don’t have to be expensive. They don’t have to cost you a ton of money. Actually, you will discover different categories of celebration. One celebration will be appropriate for one type of win while another celebration will be appropriate for another type of win. For example, when I have an audition, I’m not going to celebrate afterwards by taking a trip to a beautiful, tropical island. I’ll most likely save that for when I sell my first feature film script.
So, as you move forward, start looking at ways you can celebrate and how you can organize them into different categories like small, medium and large celebrations. In my DOIN’ (Declaration of Independence) aka my business plan, I have my celebrations categorized into small, medium and large celebrations. I even took it a step further and defined for myself what wins would constitute a small, medium or large celebration. This helps me so that I can apply the right level of celebration to the win I just had.
Check them out below and I hope to hear from you about your own list of celebrations!
**Below is just a few examples of what kind of wins would constitute a small, medium or large celebration for myself:
Small celebration: Audition; callback; put up a scene in class; film festival acceptance; film festival screening; finish writing a scene in a film script or episodic script; submit script to a writing competition; etc.
Medium celebration: Booking paid acting work on TV (co-star; guest star) and feature films (supporting; principal); finish producing a short film; etc.
Large celebration: TV series order; feature film script sold for development and production; series regular booking; earn a significant pay increase; winning one of the following awards: Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, SAG, etc.
Small celebrations (sampling)
Get a full-body massage
Buy a nice bottle of champagne
Go to a drag show with friends
Go to a movie
Buy a new chocolate I haven’t tried before from Trader Joe’s
Medium celebrations (sampling)
Veuve Clicquot or Krug Rose with friends
Buy clothing from Rik Villa or Brandon Kee
Have dinner at a nice restaurant with friends
Purchase painting from a new artist
Large celebrations (sampling)
Buy a luxury car
Buy a home
Take a vacation in Hawaii, Cape Cod, the Dominican Republic, France, Spain or Australia
Purchase painting from Kehinde Wiley, Keith Haring, Roy Nachum or Jean-Michel Basquiat
The only reason why I want to be a showrunner is because I love telling people what to do.
LBH (Let’s Be Honest)
According to Google, a showrunner, in the most basic terms, “is the person who has overall creative authority and management responsibility for a television program.”
I want to lead and run my own TV shows.
ICYMI, In Case You Missed It, no one is going to create my career for me but me.
Showrunner: Ryan Murphy, Gloria C. Kellet, Mike Royce, Tanya Saracho, etc.
However, I want to be in front of the camera as well. I want to see my face up on that screen in addition to developing and writing the stories I’m interested in telling. I want to see my face on billboards and magazine covers. I didn’t have anyone that looked like me or sounded like me when I was growing up. THIS IS VITAL TO ME that I represent up there as well. I BELONG.
OTOH, On The Other Hand, when I was growing up, I wanted to be Madonna. As an adult, I still do. Hell, when I come back in the next lifetime, I want to be Madonna.
BTT, Back To Topic!!
DGMW, Don’t Get Me Wrong, I want to be me too. I love being me. And it feels so good each time I infiltrate mainstream public consciousness with my work, my voice, my sensibilities, my art.
So maybe it’s more like Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Issa Rae, etc. They are behind the camera as showrunners and in front of the camera as the stars.
But damn, I love movies too. AAMOF, As A Matter Of Fact, movies are my first love. I originally came to Los Angeles to be in movies. I love movies and I love being in them.
Hmmmmm, so maybe it’s more like Tyler Perry, Tina Fey, Dan Bucatinsky, etc. They are actors, writers and producers on both the film and television fronts.
Yeah! Actor, writer and producer for film and television.
I want it all!
I want to be in front of the camera and behind the camera. Film and television. Infiltrate the mainstream. Change perceptions. Fuck with perceptions. Challenge perceptions.
DIY, Do It Yourself, because no one else is going to do it for me. Work hard. Build relationships. Make bold moves.
This will be it.
It will happen. I have the talent. I have the intelligence. I have the work ethic. I make things happen. I make a set better. I uplift people. I administer tough love. I am a mensch. I love this explanation of a mensch from Wikipedia: “According to Leo Rosten, the Yiddish Maven and author of The Joys of Yiddish, a “mensch” is “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being ‘a real mensch’ is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.” The term is used as a high compliment, implying the rarity and value of that individual’s qualities.”
This will be it.
MMW (Mark My Words)
EOD (End Of Discussion)
LBH, I really want to win some Emmys, Golden Globes, Oscars, etc. as that actor, writer and producer just so that I can go to the after parties with my awards in hand and channel Madonna’s dance spirit and outfit below. Riccardo Tisci, Tom Ford, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, John Galliano and Rik Villa will each take turns to dress me.
Photo courtesy of Majic Painting
On August 26th, 2017, I celebrated 15 years of living in Los Angeles!!!!!!!!!!
I celebrated by attending a Moët champagne and Veuve Clicquot champagne taste testing, amongst other cool things!
I am so blessed and grateful for the journey that I have been on as a person and as an artist. I am blessed and grateful because I came here to create my dreams and I am still in the game. I am blessed and grateful because I am still living my dreams and enjoying them whereas I have seen countless others give up on theirs. I can’t tell you how blessed I am that I am still living my dreams. I am blessed and grateful to have turned many no’s into yes’s. I am blessed and grateful that I have changed perceptions and enlightened many people on what I can do by honestly being who I am. I learned who I really am by moving to Los Angeles, living on my own and becoming an adult.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I went to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I am from the East Coast. However, Los Angeles is my home and I look forward to the next 15 years here.
I want to thank the following people and things that have contributed to my experience here in Los Angeles. This is just a sampling and not a comprehensive list:
My family: both biological and the ones I’ve created here
My friends past and present
My teachers past and present
Relationships past and present
Places of employment
My former co-workers
Past apartments I’ve lived in
My agents past and present
Various crew members who also make the magic happen