Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Screenwriting Expo 2006!

A big holla! out to all my homies in Los Angeles: I registered for the Screenwriting Expo from October 19th–22nd (arriving 3ish on 10/18; leaving 3ish on 10/23), so if you want to grab some food and chill wit me for a bit before I head back north to Sacred Tomatoes, I'd love to hear from ya. Wes will probably try to get me drunk as hell every night, but I told him no booze (well, not to excess, anyway) until after the conference. This is my education, hombre, and I don't squander it.

But let's clear one thing up right now—I don't go to conferences just to say I went. In fact, I feel quite strongly about conferences now, especially pricey ones. I've spent too many hours at conferences, lectures, socials, mixers, and schmooze-fests, and most of it has yielded next to nothing. If I go to a social now, it's to spend time with a select group of people with whom I already have a lasting relationship because we've worked together on a project: blood and sweat, it seems, has a crystallizing effect. (It works the other way, too: if you want to see more of your friends, do a project together. You can thank Josh Mehler for that pearl of wisdom!)

Unlike a community of lawyers or doctors or engineers, a conference like the Screenwriting Expo has no pre-qualifications to cull out the posers. Everyone wants to write a screenplay so everyone who can afford the ticket will go. And oh, there are so many. I wonder how many seriously study the craft? How many will actually write a script entertaining enough to be produced? Most importantly, how many people think outside the box and do what nobody else does?

Still, seeing that many writers and/or filmmakers in one room is daunting. I'm reminded of what my filmmaker friend Curtis calls the "intentional blinders"—if screenwriters and filmmakers actually knew the slim odds at getting their stories filmed, they'd give up... so they intentionally ignore the odds. Call it a madness if you wish, but for us creative types, it's a survival tactic—when hope dies, all else is for naught.

Finally, all the time I spend talking to other writers and filmmakers could be time I spend working on my script, or even producing my script. So why would I talk about it when I could be doing it? Yes, it's nice to know everyone's name in this room, and maybe something will come out of all that face time, but that sound you hear? That clickity-clack typing sound? That's me... typing your screenplay.

Nevertheless, this conference is worthwhile. This year's conference has a series of lectures specifically geared towards horror scripts, so I'm sure Arousal will benefit from that.

But the crucial lectures will be from Battlestar Galactica series developer Ron D. Moore and Farscape series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon. Because I'm developing Safe Harbors, my own sci-fi project with its own challenges about world creation, I expect there is much these two amigos will say that I'll find pertinent.

Plus, I get to see my Cuban-Americana sister again, which is a total bonus track! My golden heart... it's been too long. I'm so glad we're walking the filmmaking path together!

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