2012 - goodbye now
An interesting year, 2012.
It saw the end of my nine to five due to the change of a educational requirement which stated that my five years experience counted for nothing and a piece of paper meant everything. The job was just a job and a long way from a passion but I felt a considerable amount of resentment nonetheless. My ever supporting wife and best friend in her infinite wisdom put forth the challenge. "You call yourself a writer? Here's your chance to prove it!" There's an ultimatum for you.
I managed to secure a few professional gigs, the first of which was a draft of a screenplay based on a novel on the NY Best Sellers list. A bit of a challenge as the book is written in the first person and it was stipulated that there wasn't to be any voiceovers. Verbosity is a flaw of mine and the draft finished up at 137 pages or so. As I get more experienced, I am learning to love the red Sharpie. It is a very liberating feeling to go to town slashing and burning the scenes you think are imperative only to find the story might actually be better off without them. Important lesson learnt but still difficult to do.
In July, I had my first experience of a face to face with an LA producer. I've pitched on jobs before via email but I've never had the money fly from LA to meet me. Well, I'm sure he had other things to do while he was here but grant me the chance to indulge my ego for a bit. Now, I've been told I have been known to waffle, so I told myself to sit, smile and shut the hell up unless invited to speak. There I was – sitting in a bar in Sydney with a notepad on my lap, a pen in hand and a dopy grin on my dial. I needn't have worried – the guy barely paused for breath. He knew what he wanted and tore the pitch to pieces. There wasn't a problem with character or story that he didn't address and at the end I was sure he hated it. He gave me a chance to stammer out how I would make it all work when it came time to write the script and then, after a brief pause, he says, "I'm excited! I'm fucking excited!" Then he sweeps out of the joint and into a cab leaving me to wonder what in the blue blazes just happened. The wheels are turning on the project as I write this.
July also saw the first meeting set up as a direct result of a hit on my website. It remains to be seen if anything will come of it but it was a great feeling all the same. I am rubbish at all this Interweb business. I have a good friend, Maurice, who is in the trade and tells me what I have to do as far as web design and social networking and what not is concerned. I tell him if he thinks it'll help to just do it, because trying to teach me how to do it will cause him brain damage from smashing his head against the desk in frustration.
Last month, I got to meet a truly crazy man who gave me a part time job in his retail outlet and fired me in less time than it takes to make a green apple, brie and thinly sliced crisps baguette. The reason? He created a lot of rather far out excuses but I learnt later it was because I was 'loitering' outside the shop rather than coming in and looking him in the eye. The shop in question happens to be on the street I live in and on the day in question I wasn't working there. I was stopped on the street outside while I chatted with my wife on the phone about where we should eat lunch (for more on this question consult Douglas Adams). As I have difficulty doing two things at once such as walking and talking on the phone I suppose it could have been construed as loitering - if you're completely mad! So if you'd like to see crazy unhinged for yourself, drop into a certain DVD/music store in Crows Nest and ask for the owner. The bonus from this experience? I shall immortalise him in fiction. I think I will call him Loons McParanoid.
In the last few months I have started working with copywriting. Although a distant, unpopular, redheaded country cousin of my beloved scriptwriting, it does offer me the opportunity to combine many skills I've acquired over the years in my various employment capacities. And my first copywriting job? To write an article on a man's perspective of Labiaplasty. Believe me when I tell you I'm pleased that I also get to write about snowboarding.
On the personal side, there have been mercifully fewer funerals than births and marriages this year. My tight knit circle of six continues to stay strong. There are three women and three men and when we're together I hear I'll Be There For You and I want to dance in a fountain. As much as I'd like to think of myself as the funny one in the sweater vests, I can't help but think I might be the stupid struggling artist who likes sandwiches.
It has been a year of ups and downs. The downs where actually ups (although I didn't know it at the time) in that they meant the end of things that I thought were important but weren't and the ups where also ups and continue to climb. I choose to believe that 2013 will be my finest to date and I sincerely wish the same for everyone in whatever they aspire to achieve.