Sunday, December 4, 2011

Take a leap...

If this was a movie, things would be going to be a. much worse or b. much better. After being messed around by my erstwhile employer for two months, I became unemployed as of last Wednesday. I have several friends in various levels of depression and one in hospital with multiple injuries. Let's just say that if I was a paid counsellor, I'd have earned a lot of money recently. I haven't been able to save much since September because I was unemployed for most of October. Oh, and we still haven't sold the house...

Right now, getting to the States seems like a dream that's disappearing further and further into the distance.

I choose to believe that this is the point in the movie where things get better. I will get a new job. My friends will get over their various problems. We will sell the house. My Hollywood fund will start to grow again.

It's all too easy to make plans when times are good - there's no challenge in that. The real planning starts when times are hard and you can't see how you can achieve your goal. Like a character in your script, you have to take a leap into the unknown and make a commitment. As Michael Ardnt put it, a kamikaze moment of commitment.

I may not be trying to defeat the Death Star or battling Mr. and Mrs. Robinson. But I'm reassessing my plans - while keeping my eyes on the ultimate goal of getting to Hollywood in 2012. That's my December resolution, and I can't wait to make it come true.

Now to work...


Steven Kogan said...

Sorry to hear that a wrench was thrown into the plans. Just keep in mind that no matter how bad things get, it'll all make a great story for your A&E Biography. Besides, if things went smoothly and easily, what in the world would you put in your scandalous, tell-all expose you do in Vanity Faire?

We've all hit obstacles and walls, and it's not about avoiding them as much as taking them in stride. When things get tough for me, there's one quote that always helps lift my spirits:

"Remember, no matter how bad life gets, there is always beer." - Norm MacDonald, "Dirty Work"

Wait. That wasn't it. Though I think it's a close second. Hold on, here it is:

"The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." - George Patton

I actually had a kamikaze moment a little over a year ago. I was stuck in a soul-sucking, dead-end retail job and had been looking for new employment for well over two years with no luck. Finally I met with my boss and gave my notice at the beginning of October that I'd be done at the end of the month. I had no leads or options waiting, but I said new job or no, I'd be done with this job on October 31. Sure enough, the week before the bottom was due to drop out, I interviewed for my current position. I got the job offer while I was at AFF 2010.

I certainly can't credit my taking that dive with getting me the job, but it certainly forced my hand and focused my efforts once I knew that I had a point of no return. Granted, it was also a very calculated kamikaze, but a blind dive none-the-less.

In the end, I wish you the best and hope your plans are set into motion soon, and while I can't recommend doing anything foolish in good conscience, I can't deny a bit of foolishness is sometimes what it takes to get things moving. I'll leave you with the famous words of Robin Williams:

"Keep just a touch of madness in ya. Just enough so you're not stupid, but it'll keep you alive. And no government in the world knows how to tax that!"

Devin said...

In a workshop with Chris Vogler recently... I know, school this year has been AMAZING - we've had Michael Hauge, Robert McKee, Steve Kaplan and Chris Vogler, all in the one year. No Terry Rossio though. I love Rossio. Anyway, one of the key messages Vogler had for us was "trust the path".

I'm in a similar place to you - I'm not quite industry-ready yet (my work is getting really good heat, but it'll take another six months to generate actual work out of that, most likely), and in the mean-time my old money job has all but collapsed. So I'm unemployed (which is great for writing time but bad for financial stress), and I have responsibilities. I'm flying over the gorge now, no safety wire, no net, no bridge beneath me. All I can do is grit my teeth and try not to lose any momentum.

If your work is good you'll get there in the end, one way or another. Trust the path.

(I'm also reminded of Mamet's dictum - those with a fall-back option invariably fall back on it.)

eilism said...

Steven, you're right, it's all good material...

Thanks for the helpful comments and you are both right about having faith and keeping at it.

Some good news also - I have a job interview on Monday for a 6-10 week temp job. You never know, this slump could be over!

Whatever happens, it's important to remember that your day job is for making money, your writing work is for progressing your actual career (and hopefully one day making money!). Now I just have to follow that advice myself...