Post with 1 note
This story was an omen, but I didn’t realize it at the time. It was the reason why I had to leave the film industry and get the hell out of LA.
For our incredibly stupid film industry class we had to take our last semester of film school, we had an assignment to go to 2 networking events and get 3 business cards. For one of my events, I went to the LGBT alumni group’s film festival on campus. I got there 15 minutes early so I could start networking (which I thought and still think is stupid and sleazy and awful). There were only 4 other people who got there early. I awkwardly stood in the lobby of the theater and sipped my water as my eyes darted around the room.
Finally, a hunched-over old man with a full beard started small talking with me. He seemed to be there alone. He was retired, but sold real estate in his spare time. I would say he reminded me of my grandpa, but both of my grandpas had passed away by the time I was 7, and I don’t remember them well. So I guess I would say he reminded me of a grandpa. He wasn’t tied in to the film industry whatsoever, and our conversation wasn’t exactly sparkling, so I didn’t really have any reason to talk to him. But there we were.
Five minutes into our conversation, he handed me his card. There. I got a business card. 1/3 of the assignment complete. I hadn’t networked with anyone from the film industry yet who could actually be of use to me, and I already got the business card I needed, so the best networking decision would be to say goodbye and move on.
An organizer called out over the room — which had slowly gotten more crowded over the past 15 minutes — that it was time to head in to the theater and get started. I figured I would sit next to the old man, but try to strike up a conversation with anyone else around me who could give me a card and maybe even be a good connection.
The row we sat in was pretty deserted. A couple of girls sat somewhat nearby, but they were completely absorbed in their own conversation. The old man and I talked about his love for the theater, his career as an engineering professor, his time in the navy. I felt annoyed. This wasn’t what I came here to do. When I read in the program that there would be an intermission, I plotted my escape.
When intermission was called, I told the old man I needed to use the restroom and took the first step to darting away. Before I could race off, he said he needed to go, too. I sighed inwardly and realized I wouldn’t be shaking him.
After having talked with one another for quite a while during the first half, we had little to say during intermission. We silently ate cheese and crackers in the lobby, and I looked around at all the young, hip, film-industry types around me — sunglasses indoors, perfect stubble-to-face ratio, laughing with one another over this screenwriter’s awful pitch or that agent’s meticulously plotted move to sign a famous actor. I wanted to get networking, to fulfill my mission, but a mix of fear of talking to strangers and guilt over leaving this old man alone kept me from doing so.
Some of the people in my film industry class wouldn’t have done this, would’ve thought me stupid for not taking advantage of an opportunity like this. I remembered a film school event the year before, when I was talking with one of the other screenwriting students in the lobby before a film screening. I had went alone and was glad to see someone I knew. In the middle of our conversation, he saw a professor who was particularly well-connected. My classmate hardly let me finish my sentence before running off to strike up a conversation, throwing me under the bus for a complete stranger.
I realized, standing silently in the lobby with that old man, that I cared more about him not having to spend that day alone than I did about any business card. I didn’t want to take real people with real feelings and treat them like means to an end for my career. I’m sure my classmates who are willing to do that will succeed marvelously in the film industry, because that’s the mindset you need in that awful business. But doing so would be, for me, the complete opposite of why I wanted to become a writer in the first place — to care so much for another person that I would take months or years of my life to tell their story. To treat them not like an object, but like the most interesting and complex person who had ever lived.
I spent the rest of the day with the old man happily, and we said our farewells and parted ways. The thought of him struck me today out of the blue, and I wondered where he is and what he’s doing. I don’t think I have the business card anymore. The film festival was about a month before I graduated and decided to change paths. I realize now that the story is a better reason for why I decided to leave the film industry than any reason or logic I could come up with.
Post with 1 note
I’ve been wasting so much time lately! I come home from work and then just screw around on the internet for the rest of the day, pretty much. I can’t decide if the rest is good after nearly 5 years of almost constant work to get two degrees, or if it’s just a slippery slope to enduring laziness.
I’m not sure how to feel about my writing, either. I haven’t been doing a ton of it. Maybe once or twice a week I’ll just play with an idea and write a few pages before throwing it out, but that’s it. It’s certainly not a fast track to literary stardom. But I got so creatively drained from college and all the pressure to sell a script. I feel like I’m relearning about how I used to write before college, when it was just for fun and not to pay the rent, when the whole process was more enjoyable.
I really just have no idea what I want to write. The ideas have been coming in like crazy, which is great, because I was parched for them during college. But my ideas include two mysteries, fantasy, magical realism, sci-fi, dystopian fiction, and southern gothic. I do feel pressure in which one I pick, because if I do finish the book and publish it, I could be pigeon-holed into one genre for the rest of my life. Which I think is stupid, because I like to write lots of different things, but that’s the way of the world.
Blech. Too many possibilities. I’m like an immature college kid who’s looking for love but just can’t commit. What’s the literary equivalent of sleeping around until you figure out what you like?
Beauty will save the world.
A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.
Video with 2 notes
I never cease to get chills from this.
"You’re remembered…DEAD! You’re remembered…DEAD!"
A true artist and rocker.
Hamadryas baboons at the Emmen Zoo in Emmen, Netherlands, have been behaving strangely. They have not been eating and are sitting close together in a small periferic area of their island. A few years back the same group of baboons showed similar unexplicable behavior of mass apathy. Picture: Vincent Jannink/AFP/Getty Images
I must be a baboon. Explains all the hair, at least.
Today I found new dwellings inside one of the humans favorite drinking devices. The humans found me though, and promptly removed me from my new home. I fear I may never find comfort with these giants watching my every move. I will debate pooping in protest as I contemplate my eventual escape.
Writing advice from James Merrill: “You hardly ever need to state your feelings. The point is to feel and keep the eyes open. Then what you feel is expressed, is mimed back at you by the scene. A room, a landscape.”
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
Pictured: Anthony Hecht (far left), James Merrill, Richard Wilbur and others travel to the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of the Academy of American Poets at the Library of Congress.
Page 2 of 125