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Old 07-28-2013, 07:13 PM   #91
markerstone
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

Time to weigh in - wrote my first script at 24... I'm 47.

I moved to LA right after college, wrote three scripts that sucked and then GAVE UP!

For next 20 years I dreamed of writing... spent countless nights awake in bed outlining in my mind... drank too much - lost a few wives... had a few kids - even made tons of money in corporate America, but I always had a couple scripts I dreamed of writing.

Three years ago I lost everything... wife, kids, house, business...

So I put an ad on Craigslist - netted a work for hire within 3 weeks... 18K to WRITE A SCRIPT!!

Spent the next few months on the set of features, TV shows and commercials... read every script I could find and started querying the bigs - agents, managers and prodcos. Finally got a script request for one of those scripts that had kept me up for years, and I had not written a word of it.

Nine days later it was ready (now 12 drafts later), so I sent it in and it made it all the way to an A-List talent.

For the past two years I have written, adapted, co-written and studied the craft - exactly what I should have done 20 years ago!

After all this time, regardless of where I have been or what I have done in life, I am still a screenwriter... just got a script request from a very respectable agent last week, and its POSSIBLE that may last spec will soon go wide.

Best,
Markerstone
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:45 PM   #92
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

Quote:
Originally Posted by markerstone View Post
Time to weigh in - wrote my first script at 24... I'm 47.

I moved to LA right after college, wrote three scripts that sucked and then GAVE UP!

For next 20 years I dreamed of writing... spent countless nights awake in bed outlining in my mind... drank too much - lost a few wives... had a few kids - even made tons of money in corporate America, but I always had a couple scripts I dreamed of writing.

Three years ago I lost everything... wife, kids, house, business...

So I put an ad on Craigslist - netted a work for hire within 3 weeks... 18K to WRITE A SCRIPT!!

Spent the next few months on the set of features, TV shows and commercials... read every script I could find and started querying the bigs - agents, managers and prodcos. Finally got a script request for one of those scripts that had kept me up for years, and I had not written a word of it.

Nine days later it was ready (now 12 drafts later), so I sent it in and it made it all the way to an A-List talent.

For the past two years I have written, adapted, co-written and studied the craft - exactly what I should have done 20 years ago!

After all this time, regardless of where I have been or what I have done in life, I am still a screenwriter... just got a script request from a very respectable agent last week, and its POSSIBLE that may last spec will soon go wide.

Best,
Markerstone
Great story, Markerstone. And congrats.

Have to admit, I'm curious about that ad on craigslist. You got an 18K gig from a writer for hire post??

Damn.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #93
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

Work for hire was a vanity project... the producer had just inherited a good chunk of change - perfect timing!
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:08 PM   #94
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

Have also had an ad on fiverr.com for the past year - less lucrative, but still paid practice!
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:12 PM   #95
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

I think it's unfair to attack the OP and say his scripts can't possibly be any good due to the sheer speed at which he writes. We all write at different paces. I usually take three weeks to a month to outline, then I average about 5-7 pages a day (5 days a week). At that rate it usually takes me about two months to have a first draft completed. Not to mention I'm constantly polishing my other scripts while working on new ones. In addition to that, outlines for future scripts are always forming in my mind as I go about my daily business.

In the last 365 days I've written 5 features and a pilot. And two of those features are current Nicholl quarterfinalists, so they have to be at least okay on some level.

If it takes you nine months to a year to write a draft you're happy with there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it's right to judge anybody else's work simply because they do it at a different pace than you do.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:21 AM   #96
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

Gotta apply for membership in the DD Hack Union.

I've been writing for a paycheck since 2000. As a Copywriter, I've written web content, corporate blogs, catalog copy, product descriptions, packaging copy, press releases, corporate memos, signage, and even scripts for local/minimally-syndicated television. Currently, I have a job in a marketing department at a very, very industrial company based in LA. It is dishwater-dull. My commute is excruciating. My boss is a disorganized flounderer with zero communication skills. And the work environment itself is nothing short of soul-crushing. However, the paychecks are good, and so are the benefits. So it's tough to think about leaving, as much as I dread coming in every day.

On the flip side, I've been writing drama in some form or another since high school. The first piece of writing I ever got paid for was when I was 17, a junior in High School. It was a one-act play that got picked up by a college-level Creative Writing textbook. That's when I first figured out I might have an aptitude for this sort of thing.

It still took me 20 years to make it to Los Angeles...I got into town three days before my 38th birthday last February.

So far, i's been harder than I could ever have expected. L.A. is overwhelming for a Midwesterner. It is sprawling, expensive, overwhelming and downright frightening a lot of the time. My wife came out to join me two months after I got here, and left me two months later...Turns out she hated L.A. as much as she liked her secret boyfriend back in Minneapolis. And I loved that woman beyond all reason, with everything I had, for my entire adult life. So in addition to being overwhelmed, I'm also heartbroken, betrayed, devastated, and without my beloved partner of 17 years.

It's ironic...After years of dreaming about being here, I finally am. But the whole "expectations vs. reality" smack in the face has been a VERY rude awakening. I loved L.A. before I lived here. But now, I just don't feel that way anymore. So, finding the strength to keep going, to keep writing, has been incredibly tough. Especially when just getting out of my empty bed, putting on pants, driving an hour to a place I loathe, spending 9 hours hating my life, and then driving home another hour to an empty apartment seems to take more energy than I usually seem to have in a given day.

I contemplate packing it in and going home not on a daily basis...I do it on on an HOURLY basis. Which is sad. After as much as I dreamed about being here before I WAS here...now, all I dream about is returning home to my small, snowy Midwestern hometown; one with little opportunity for ANY job, much less in my field. And of course, zero opportunities for screenwriting. Every day I wake up and wonder if this is going to be the day I pack my bags, and take a cab to LAX to go home. I really do think about it constantly. My folks still live in the house I grew up in, and they always have the room. We have a great relationship.

But every day I have to tell myself that even though cutting and running back to my comfort zone is what I WANT to do, there are other things that I simply HAVE to do. After a contest placement and a flurry of reads, I spent the better part of two years trying to get out here. I've only been here for a little over 6 months. And though I've suffered a leveling personal tragedy that still tears at me every day, I have had some amazing opportunities. In the time I've been here, I've already reached out to some contacts I STILL can't believe answer my e-mails, and had a meeting with one of the most respected and prolific legit producers in my genre. Spec samples have been submitted, and are being reviewed. We're waiting to hear back.

I only hope the news is good. Because honestly, in light of everything that's happened since I got here, and despite everything that led up to pushing me west...I'm seriously starting to wonder if I'm actually cut out for this, or not. I mean...I have the ideas. I feel I have the craft skill set necessary to tell them in a way that is very viable. And I even seem to have relationships with people who are willing to lend a hand. But what I seem to LACK right now is the drive; the desire to hustle. Because there is a dark cloud/black hole over my entire life that affects everything. It saps my energy, and will to keep going with ANYTHING, not just screenwriting.

And I know it's just depression over the woman I've loved since just out of college taking off to go and be with an abusive, bipolar piece of human $#!+ 2,000 miles away when I really needed her support the most. I know it'll pass. I know I'll grow, and wind up stronger for the ordeal. I just don't know what's going to wind up filling the void she left; who I'll be when this is all over. And if I'll still have the same dreams I had when I wanted a secure, safe and happy future for US. I honestly don't know if I'm strong enough to survive this much transition and uncertainty alone.

So, for now...I'm just going through the motions. Pinning my hopes on forward motion from the producer. And not knowing what will happen with my desire to continue if that prospect falls through. And maybe that means that I have no business trying this. Maybe it means I've already given up. Maybe it means I'm destined to fail. I don't know. There's a lot about my future I don't know, because I built all of my dreams around a foundation that no longer exists. A foundation I'm not sure I can reconstruct in a solo sense.

And it's awfully hard to build castles in the air when there is nothing beneath your feet to which to anchor them.

I guess I'll just have to take it a day at a time.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:13 PM   #97
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

"Do not give up! The beginning is always the hardest."

- fortune cookie (Asian)
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:07 PM   #98
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

I read the details of your story in another post, and it is pretty fascinating. It seems the main problem you have is a lack of motivation. I've thought of some tips on how you can find it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UglyShirts View Post
And though I've suffered a leveling personal tragedy that still tears at me every day, I have had some amazing opportunities. In the time I've been here, I've already reached out to some contacts I STILL can't believe answer my e-mails, and had a meeting with one of the most respected and prolific legit producers in my genre. Spec samples have been submitted, and are being reviewed. We're waiting to hear back.
Here's some motivation:

Think about the tens of millions of people who work in jobs they hate every day, but have no idea what else they might want to do with their life. That go to their graves not knowing what they truly care about. (Unlike them, you have found your passion - screenwriting. Before you reached middle age, no less).

Think about the tens of thousands of people who have found their passion, but have not been able to demonstrate any genuine skill at it. (Unlike them, you have had high contest placements, beating out thousands of others).

Think about the thousands of people who have found their passion and have been able to demonstrate genuine skill at it, but have not been able to get anyone to notice or recognize it. (Unlike them, you have made some powerful contacts out of people who respect your work, including the producer you mentioned).

Think about all of that when you are feeling down like this, and you will begin to feel a little better. Better that you are in a position that literally tens of millions of people would dream of being in (and some would literally die to be in). Trust me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UglyShirts View Post
And I know it's just depression over the woman I've loved since just out of college taking off to go and be with an abusive, bipolar piece of human $#!+ 2,000 miles away when I really needed her support the most. I know it'll pass. I know I'll grow, and wind up stronger for the ordeal. I just don't know what's going to wind up filling the void she left; who I'll be when this is all over. And if I'll still have the same dreams I had when I wanted a secure, safe and happy future for US. I honestly don't know if I'm strong enough to survive this much transition and uncertainty alone.
I know one's personal life can have a negative effect on all other aspects of one's life, including the professional.

Which is why it sounds like you need to work on your personal life. Go out and meet people. Make new friends! Even if your wife had stayed with you, was your plan to spend every breathing moment with her? I certainly hope not! Even if you don't like a lot of LA people, you can probably find a lot of other people in LA who don't like LA people. Go talk to them.

Go on dates! You are obsessing over a person who has shown absolutely no regard for you. What does that say about you, and your sense of self worth? I know none of us are in your shoes so we can't possible know how serious it is, but frankly it sounds like you've come too far to give up because of one person. There are 300 million people in America, and 7 billion people on the planet. Find another. Just sayin'

Quote:
Originally Posted by UglyShirts View Post
So, finding the strength to keep going, to keep writing, has been incredibly tough.
I know this may sound annoying, but you must keep writing. If you really love this activity as much as you seem to, then you should be able to find joy out of doing something related to it on a regular basis. Even if it's just creating an outline for some ideas you have, or just brainstorming some ideas for your next great script. I have to admit, I would consider turning the experience you've had into some kind of screenplay, because frankly, it sounds like a good jumping off point for a movie. (Man works hard at passion for several years, man's longtime love interest leaves him just as he starts to see the fruits of his labor, man realizes his passion may not be all it's cracked up to be, man has to reevaluate his life moving forward). Think about it, and then give me just a small percentage of the check when you sell it, lol. All the best.
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Last edited by UpandComing : 08-12-2013 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #99
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

The other question is 'what is giving up?'

Are people seeing the goal as making millions as a screenwriter? If so, then yeah, maybe give up. But if the goal is to write scripts and make movies, then freaken do it! There are so many people out there who want to make movies, just find them, team up, and get your movie made, right?

And if the day comes when you can quit your day job and only write, that's awesome. But it doesn't seem like something you can plan on, just something you can work toward.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:18 PM   #100
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Default Re: At some point you have to give up

Huuuuzzzzzzzaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!
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