Last week I was asked to speak at my old high school. Their scheduled speaker canceled at the last minute so they got in touch with me and asked if I could come in. I had less than 24 hours to organize my thoughts, come up with something to say and slap together a power-point presentation. If all of that sounds like a lot to ask of person, it’s not, if that person is me and the people asking are hoping that I can say something about movies.
I had a blast and I have a feeling that I might be going back to my old school on a regular basis, maybe as a film teacher.
The opportunity to come in and discuss what I have been doing gave me a chance to sit down and access the past year. I prepared my discussion, tallied up my gigs for the year and found that I have written seven feature film screenplays, written two documentaries, shot and/or edited three short documentary/promo films about with children with special needs, wrote a pilot for an animated Japanese sitcom, presented two workshops on screenwriting and I had two acting small gigs -- the first acting I have done in years. I also made a short film --- producing, shooting, directing and editing for the first time in years.
Of all things, I went to bed the night before the presentation with a sense of pride and accomplishment. No, as anyone who has read my blog or taken a class with me knows, I make very, very little -if any- money as a screenwriter but money, while certainly important, is not everything.
Yes, sometimes I want to give up and get a real job. Sometimes I think I am fooling myself by thinking that I am any good at writing. Sometimes I think I will be exposed as a fraud. Maybe that comes with the territory.
I woke up the next morning and remembered that I had forgotten about another screenplay that I wrote this year.
I have actually written eight feature length screenplays this year.
This week, two people have asked me if I am available to write screenplays for them.
So, I don’t get paid much to write screenplays at this point.
I like to think that people want me to write for them because they like my work, not because it’s a bargain.
I like to think that I have something to offer the world; it’s one of the things that keeps me going and, for that, for my family, for my health, for having a roof over my head and for sometimes feeling that I am good at something, I am thankful.