So we leave for a home-finding mission to LA on Sunday. We’ll have a stop in Moab, to visit Denise’s Grandma and then it’s across the desert to the coast, where the mother of a friend has graciously allowed us to stay at her place. I couldn’t be more eager for this all to take place, as it will hopefully make the fear subside a little. We've made appointments to look at appartments, but I’m also hoping that we find a really great place just by driving around. I realize that the chances of us finding the perfect place* where we will happily spend the next 12 months is slim, but I’m hoping that fortune smiles and we get off to a strong start.
I had a friend pull me aside to check on me recently. My frazzled demeanor is starting to show through the seams, and he wanted make sure I was okay. He too is going on a similar life changing adventure and expressed that he was scared himself for this big change, and can only imagine how I feel. I’m glad he took the time to talk, it meant a lot. It’s no secret that I’m terrified, and most of my terror stems from uncertainty… uncertainty about money mostly. We have money saved, but California is notoriously expensive and we’ll both need to line up employment soon after arriving. I have no aversion to hard work, but as a 31 year old who plans to work hard, it would be nice to get a living wage and not get treated like an 18 year old with stars in his eyes. If things get really sour, I’d even go back to manual labor. I just don’t want my family and I to be up shit creek.
The other concern is the fact that the whole reason we’re moving out there is for me to work in entertainment, starting as a writer and moving from there. If we move out there, and I end up working another 9 to 5 and am unable to search for work creatively, then what was the point of moving? It is this dynamic that has me deeply searching for what it is I want to do.
For the past two years, I have been primarily engaged in writing and producing my own animated programming. Since I am not an animator and have limited resources, I have had to find ways around the animation process. This necessity, has produced animation that can be described as both “charming” and “crude”. In any event, the animation will never be praised as a triumph of the medium, but what sells the animation has been the writing. And not to toot my own horn, but since I started producing this work on a regular basis, the writing has gotten better. It is this writing that often gets sited by others as the reason to watch each episode.
I have been enjoying this workflow over the past year and my only regret is that, due to my full time job, I am unable to produce more episodes on a regular basis. While I would like to try my hand at a live action feature (at least once), I enjoy working from home, creating little bite-sized entertainments for an online audience. If I could generate a paycheck this way, when my wife and I finally start our family, I could work from home which would be ideal. I haven’t figured out yet how to monetize my particular talents, but I’m currently looking at options**. All this is to say that I enjoy writing, I like telling stories and have been working on several short prose pieces which I will be sending off to publishers over the next year. I don’t necessarily want to limit myself to just screenplays, I’m down to work on short stories, comics, jokes, articles and blogs***. More than anything, the childhood view of what my Hollywood future would be like has expanded to form a career that includes projects both visual and written. This career is not unlike a mix between Steve Niles and Wil Wheaton, both of whom are allowed to live creative and yet normal lives. And if I can be half as successful as those two, it may be considered and unwavering victory.
Those of you who know me, know that I’ve long held the belief that one doesn’t need to be in LA to make movies. I still hold to that belief. But even as the entertainment landscape has changed and creative people can be creative from anywhere, Hollywood still hasn’t gotten the message and remains (tenuously) the hub of entertainment. My building realization over the past several years is that writing offers perhaps the best spot to be in creatively. If my work catches on and connections are made, I can live wherever I like. My “dream ending”, as my old acting coach used to say, would be to live in Colorado and be able to make a living writing and producing creative things. I don’t think it's too much to ask for, but we’ll see. Wish me luck.
*Is within the $600-$900 price range, in Studio City, accepts cats, has fridge & stove (which I didn’t know were optional)
**For some reason I keep coming back to certain web comic bussiness models. Free content, sell merchendise.
***Which I’ve been quietly dabbling in via certain blogging sites. More than anything, I want to see if I can do it.