Tag Archives: in

The Philly Spec

I spent yesterday working on the sitcom spec that I started in class a few months ago. This was the class I dropped, but then promptly returned to, once I was contacted by my teacher. She asked me to come back and give what I could in class, even with my crazed schedule. This woman really is something amazing – if you’re in the NYC area and looking to learn how to write sitcoms, I highly recommend her class at The Peoples Improv Theater.

Anyway, I decided to write an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Originally, the plan was to write a 30 Rock script, but that’s a spec many aspiring TV writers are covering. I also considered Entourage, but something was telling me to save that for a second round of writing. It’s Always Sunny…, however, went untouched in my class, so I went after it. Plus, it is my hometown. And – no offense to my fellow Delaware Valleyians – but the fun of the show is its wild exaggeration of “the Philadelphia crazy”. Now granted, I never knew anybody who fed his friends raccoon meat, but we are talking about the town that once pelted  Santa Claus with batteries.

It’s very exciting: sitting down, brainstorming, writing this stuff out, cross-referencing (which means actually watching episodes of the show). There is, of course, The Fear. It’s something that’s been on my mind ever since I began to consider writing as a career option. When enough time has gone by – and that initial rush from a great idea comes and goes – The Fear finds a way to settle in: no money, odds against you, wondering if you’ll be 30 and actually be getting paid to do this stuff. The Fear can easily derail you. I’ve fallen victim to it, as have all writers. In fact, I would say it’s the same for humanity in general – who among us has ever lived fearlessly?

Here’s the way I see it: nobody has guaranteed me anything. If I want it, I have to work for it; and even then, there’s no time stamp on my birth certificate that says “Will completely succeed on xx/xx/xxxx.” When I think about that too much, it becomes easy to let myself get sidetracked; make my spec (or screenplay) a second priority. But instead of taking the easy way out, I remind myself, “What will be gained if I do so?” The answer is the same thing every time – regret. The way I see it, you can make money anyway you want at any point in your life. But if you don’t do what you want, when you want it, then you’re just wasting time. Maybe it sounds corny, but I didn’t come to New York to live with regrets. So – even when I do have those moments of anxiety – I try to remind myself that I am talented at writing. Somewhere out there, someone appreciates what I’m doing.

So, the spec is coming along – I wrote the beat sheet a while back, and the goal is to get the outline done by the end of today. Once the outline is done, revise it, make sure it makes sense (in context to the show), and then I’ll probably send it to my teacher before I take a crack at writing the script itself.

In between, I’m trying to come up with some new stuff for my next open mike on Tuesday night. Right now, I just seem to be talking about dating. Hey, it’s a start.

5 Comments

Filed under Blog

Chink In The Armor

knight-725847

I’ve never been refused sex, and then asked to leave someone’s apartment. However, it has now happened. I can scratch it off my bucket list. Next up: being slapped in the face by Jackie Mason.

Believe me, I was surprised. Imagine doing the walk of shame at 4:30 in the morning, except no shame actually occurred, thereby making it just a walk. Would you be surprised if I told you it’s the second weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me? In my New York dating/sexual experience? The number one thing on that list involved me being refused sex after I asked if she had condoms. But that’s a story I’ll save for another time and place.

In this case, she apologized to me. She told me it wasn’t me, it was her. She gave me a reason that I couldn’t argue against, but was still frustrated to accept: “Look, if I’m going to have sex with a guy, I need to know that I can date him.”

Huh.

The whole reason this happened was because she asked me the corresponding question as things were beginning to… pick up. Obviously, at 4:00 in the morning and after a couple of Jamesons, my rapier wit is not at its sharpest. So, with Fate against me on this one, I only had the capacity to do one thing: I was honest with her. “I’m not looking for a girlfriend. No, it’s not you. I’m just not actively seeking out a relationship right now.”

If you just heard something, it was the sound of my libido getting choked to death by a far more savvy feminine intuition.

Honestly though, what the HELL else was I supposed to say? It’s either: be douchebag #679 in this woman’s life and then never call her again, or just be honest. Maybe I’m too altruistic from all the “You should’ve been an English major.” guilt my parents used to lay on me, but I advocate honesty in all scenarios. Plus, I believe that karma is a bitch when you decide to mess with it.

The next morning, I sat on my couch nursing a hangover and wishing I subscribed to the Sunday Times. I thought about what went down a few hours earlier. You can’t hate someone for being honest with you, whether it’s in the name of personal integrity, or because they just want you gone. When I first started dating in NYC, I still bought into the Nick and Norah fantasy; I wanted to be some girl’s knight in shining armor. How exactly I was going to pull that off – being the runner-up for Mr. Post-Grad Insecurity back then – I didn’t know. I just trusted that somewhere, a divine screenwriter had my back. As I’ve gotten older and remained single, I’ve learned to want the exact opposite. I want to be no one’s knight in shining armor. Why? Because the thought that someone would need that frightens me. The only reason that person buys into such a concept is because he/she wants somebody else to fix their problem. They’re assuming that happiness starts with the right significant other, and then they’ll just work backward.

Been there, done that, got the gray hairs. Not really interested in a second go-round.

If you were to ask me “Have you ever dated anybody that wasn’t asking to be rescued?”, my answer would be: “Yes.” I have been with one such person. And, because of the experience the two of us shared, I believe that “saving each other” is not a requisite for a healthy relationship. I believe if you’re ever going to make a relationship work, it’s got to start and end with honesty. Even if it’s ambivalent, it’s still someone’s point of view. So, I’m actually happy for the way things worked out. This woman was honest with me. That’s all I ever ask for these days. I genuinely hope that wherever she is, she finds what she’s looking for in this world.

As for me, I mounted my steed (a beat-up pair of Chuck Taylors), readied my sword (a copy of the Sunday Times picked up at my bodega), and proceeded to Camelot (a Sunday brunch of coffee, eggs, and bacon). I may not be perfect boyfriend material, but I don’t feel as if I ever have to be. I just have to be me.

1 Comment

Filed under Blog

My Top 5 “Emo” Songs

hf

1. “Lost In The Supermarket” by The Clash
I didn’t realize until last year that this song is actually sung by Mick Jones. My favorite Clash song is not sung by Joe Strummer. Now I know how it feels to be a Ringo fan. Angst, anxiety, depression – Jones hits all the right notes with this one. One of the best pop songs ever.

2. “Night Moves” by Bob Seger
This song reminds me of Nicole, a girl I hooked up with during the summer of 2000. I was 17.

3. “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
2003. College. Sophomore year. Angry. Bored. That was the same year I discovered Brooklyn and Karen O. Thanks MTV2.

4. “Can’t Hardly Wait” by The Replacements
I’d like to think that if I never got into emo, I would’ve found my way to The Replacements. Say all you want about their post-Stinson era, I love this song. Very raw and very heartfelt. That was The ‘Mats in five words or less. This song pulls at my heartstrings.

5. “Incinerate” by Sonic Youth
Any song that opens with “I ripped your heart out from your chest.” is bound to go nowhere but up.

1 Comment

Filed under Top 5 List