I’m here! …and other less exciting admissions

FeaturedI’m here! …and other less exciting admissions

I think it’s time I dust off this catacomb of thought. When I started it in 2010, I had just graduated college and had no idea what to do with myself. Scripted Scenes & Coffee Beans was a way to keep writing, to share with far-away friends and family, and document my journey into adulthood. A quick scroll to my “Older Joes” will show you how that’s gone.

But the absence of entries is not an absence of life. In fact, quite the opposite. My life has been bursting and brimming with substance the last three years as I’ve grown professionally and creatively and allowed my dreams to crystalize a little, and now I find myself in much the same position as I was in 2010…at the beginning of a new chapter having no idea what to do with myself. 🙂

So it seems fitting I would return here now to keep writing, sharing with far-far-away family and friends, and documenting my journey into the entertainment business as a writer.

This wasn't even taken in Cali.
This wasn’t even taken in Cali.

Moving clear across the country to pursue a dream brings with it a lot of introspection and a potent cocktail of emotion. So before I sober up and settle in with my 8-5, Starbucks, happy hour, networking, dream-building California life, allow me some transparency.

This is hard. And admitting that it’s hard is even harder. This is my dream. This is what I’ve worked for, prayed for, fought for, and uprooted for. I never said it would be easy, yet I can’t cut myself a break when the distance bruises me to tears and the sense that I’m a third wheel in my own life hollows me out from the inside.

“Great!” I say when friends and family ask how things are going. Because outwardly, they are. I have a great job (!) and generous friends who didn’t even kick me out after a month. I’ve been to some really cool places, met some great new people, reconnected with old friends, and made some quality contacts for the future. I have nothing to complain about.

And yet…

I wake up every morning, realize where I am, and say “Oh my God, I actually did it.” I actually left Virginia Beach where I was known and loved and cared for and where Hubs and I had built something of a life that, to the outsider, was only just beginning. And I dug it up and transplanted it to another planet. (And trust me, when you’re born and bred on the East Coast, California may as well be another planet.)

It’s a strange sensation because this is the fulfillment of so many dreams and the seed of so many more to come. Yet I’m not gleefully Instagramming my way through my #LAlife because it doesn’t feel like mine yet. And that’s…unexpected. Instead, I’m busy trying to make sure I’m doing enough to get where I want to go and comparing my “start” to the friends I know who have made the same jump with seemingly different results (This is an extremely helpful and healthy practice, of course).

So how am I? I’m happy, anxious, excited, nervous, confused, lonely, and above all, grateful to be here.

I’m great, but I’m homesick. I’m great, but I’m secretly scared I made a terrible mistake and will ruin everything. I’m great, but the pressure to get it right makes my chest tight sometimes.

One day, hopefully soon, the flood of photos and cutsie captions on social media will resume. But for now, I’m taking it all in and figuring it out. California, you’re like a new pair of jeans. I’m confident the more I wear you, the more comfortable you’ll become, but doggone it if you aren’t pinching my thighs at the moment.


On the Table

FeaturedOn the Table

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.

Hollywood Experience 2013
Hollywood Experience 2013

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.

Our team walking down Wilshire to where we made the magic happen.

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.

Making the magic happen in the room.
This looks like about hour 9 of our day.

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.

Notes, beat sheet, outline, first draft.
Notes, beat sheet, outline, first draft.

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.