29 June, 2010

The Hardest Thing About Writing ...

          More than I care to admit, especially considering how few entries I’ve actually made here, I think to myself, “What am I going to write about next?” Because despite my being busy with my day job and home and (wonderfully) my now-eight-month-old son Jack, I often see little things that spur me – just recently I thought of doing something on my passion for The World Cup (at press time about to enter the Quarterfinals) – but, really, there are far better articles already out there; and, sadly, I simply don’t have time to write as much as I’d like. So much of that spurring unspurs too quickly. But I do love writing, and this outlet is exciting – not to mention I was pleasantly surprised to find, when Whedonesque linked to my Dollhouse article (http://whedonesque.com/comments/24175), that others enjoy it as well; so I can’t help but keep plugging along, if in my own little way. So as I thought, "What am I going to write next?" I thought of how little I write, and, as disjointed as these entries are, “What is this blog really about?”

          A dear friend and celebrated writer, Rebecca Winters Keegan (Columnist for Time, The Los Angeles Times and Author of The Futurist: The Life And Films Of James Cameron), called it “a very cool stream of consciousness,” but if I really wanted to make a mark as a writer, I ought to steer away from an article on comics, then an article on Melanie Oudin, then an article on Dollhouse and focus on a single subject. Now it might be as generally singular – you like that, generally singular? – as Comics, or Tennis, or TV, but it should always focus on the one subject, and I should write small chunks (say, 750 words) every day. (While there were bursts in between, On Comics was 2800 words, For A Little While 3500, and they were nearly ten months apart.) She also suggested, as she knows my passion for Film and TV, as well as my having a decent standing in Post Production (having a built-in subject and audience there) that I was already ahead of the curve. She wrote me, “one thing you know about and have access to is Post Production. So blog about it. Write about unique Post processes in TV shows and movies. Use your access to get interviews with key people in the Post world. Link to interesting articles. If you do that, and then promote your blog to other movie blogs, they'll start picking your stuff up. Then you have some published writing samples which you can use to get more work.” And I thought to myself, “That’s a great idea!” So I started thinking about my first Post article.

          Well, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Because, unless you work in this business, the one part of movie making that’s not as exciting as the rest, is Post Production. Writing? Brooding and sexy (unless you’re the writer). Shooting? Flashy and sexy (unless you’re part of the hurry-up-and-wait crowd, which everyone is). But editing and sound design and color correction? While all possibly sexy when finished, and without a doubt INTEGRAL – for those of you out there making movies, wanting to make movies, thinking of getting into this business in the absolute slightest, PLEASE underline that word as it pertains to EVERYTHING after Production wraps – none of it is particularly sexy to the rest of the world. (I work in Post and, as well Written and Published as it is, flip through about three pages of our Industry Mag, Post, and am nearly asleep.) So not only is it rarely included in the DVD Extras – though kudos to J.J. Abrams for mentioning Stefan Sonnenfeld’s contribution on Star Trek, and Jon Favreau actually taking a camera into the D.I. House on Iron Man – but writing about it? Reading about it? In as wide a relationship as we have here in this blog? Even considering that I D.I. Produced Twilight (and the mega frenzy surrounding that) was a Post Supervisor on Dollhouse (clearly a fan with clearly a fanbase) and am currently working on Glee (ditto, not to mention the Joss Whedon tie-in there), I didn’t think you were particularly interested in timecode and line count and color gamut. And fair enough. Frankly, I’m not all that interested writing about it either. Which, I suppose, all too well points to my (however cool) only random stream of consciousness.

          And so we’re back to, “What is this blog about?” After all, busy or not, I feel bad that I only write now and then. And I feel bad that I haven’t written anything (specifically) about my son Jack. Or my family’s trips to England. Or The World Cup (it IS exciting, especially if you saw the U.S. win against Algeria). Or Firefly (writing the Dollhouse piece made me want to reminisce that far-too-short-lived masterpiece). Or Glee (yes, I’ve been working something out in my head, hope to actually write it soon). In any event, all of them are indeed scattered enough that the only real link between them is me. And, however cool I might be, Ms. Keegan is absolutely right: who the hell am I? A good writer (maybe) but without any focus; any real resume. So do I knuckle down, pick one subject, and write 750 words about it every day? Or do I continue as I am, writing when I can, about the things that really interest me – like that five-film retrospective on Bob Hope (if you’re a fan of his, a fun read). To be fair, this isn’t my only writing outlet. I’m still trying to finish one Web Series (Committed … To You) and start another (Holly Would), both hoping to launch this year. And there’s always the novel, plus two or three screenplays I’m in the middle of, all of which, while hanging heavy on my neck, taunt and tease just as strongly. (Ask any writer about that balance and they’ll tell you the same.)

          So perhaps this blog is my own (and I hope it's cool) stream of concsiouness, that can be -- should be? -- only generally specific; that is, MY stream of conciousness. After all, this isn't my day job (work) or a story I'm working on (fun). This is my diary, my journal, my Status Update, my Twitter, my escape, all rolled into one. (Which is not to say I don't Status Update and Twitter as well, but I digress.) It's MY blog. And, however random in topic or lengthy between entries, well, there it is.

          Or perhaps that's my way of leveling with the guilt of not fucusing on Ms. Keegan's advice to the degree it deserves?

          Or perhaps I'm simply embracing Writer's Block, writing 1200 words about how I can't decide what to write about, what all this writing is even about, writing about nothing, writing just to write.

          Or perhaps ...

          I can’t help but be reminded of the old adage, “The hardest thing about writing is writing.” And how true that is. Once again I thank you, dear readers, for sticking by me. And so I’ll continue writing when I can, hopefully with a little more discipline, at least enough to write more often. I can’t swear as to more focus, but, hey, one thing at a time.

          [This is Michael's first blog very specifically about nothing.]

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