Well, that was an eventful year away from ye old blog. Now three semesters into my MFA in Script & Screenwriting, I’m way more exhausted and exhilarated than this time last year. I’ve written two full-length film scripts, two-thirds of a stage play, the pilot episode for a web series, and am starting in on a musical and another web series this summer in addition to some overdue rewrites. And now, thanks to an eye opening two weeks in Los Angeles, I’m taking a second look about what’s “on the table” for my future writing career.
To put into words the experience of learning a new medium in a new place just can’t be done to any satisfaction. Nevertheless, here goes:
I went to L.A. to break the mystique of the West Coast and really analyze my opinions of a city I was heretofore afraid to engage with. I was afraid I’d hate it, but I was also afraid I’d love it and be faced with the new dilemma of whether or not to make major life changes to be there.
What brought me to L.A. was an intense immersion class on television writing and production in which we experienced the lifestyle and work environment of television writers.
We had class each day learning from working professionals and then spent the evenings, late into the night, working on a web series for our university to produce.
Over 14 days, we watched a thin premise with no real characters and a swarm of ideas–some good, most bad–morph into fully fleshed episode scripts. Are they decent? Probably not at this point, but gosh was it fun to learn by being forced to crank out a beat sheet in 24hrs and a draft in 48.
I kind of fell in love.
I say “fell” because it truly was an accident. Before the trip, I’d considered television writing a non-option even though I imagined being good at sticking with characters over the long-haul and enjoying the episodic, dialogue-driven nature of television. L.A. is just too far and otherworldly to consider making a life there, I reasoned.
Turns out that L.A. is not a place where sell-outs go to wallow in their money, or “failures” jaded by rejection flee in bitterness. Turns out L.A. didn’t eat my soul. Turns out I could feel like an artist there. In fact, for many people, it may be the easiest place in the world to feel like an artist because L.A. is a community of artists at every level. It’s a place of aspiration where everybody’s got a story to tell and what you “do” may not be what you’re really all about.
Needless to say, Los Angeles is not as scary as this East Coast girl thought it might be. We’re not calculating Uhaul rates or anything yet, but I’m not afraid to say it’s now on the table. It’s kind of getting crowded up there with New York and myriad other geographic and creative options. But it’s all related to building a life around a single question: “What then shall I write?”
More on L.A. and summer projects to come. For now, check out the trip blog I kept for the university.