Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Write or not to write, which is the right question? (Lame)

When I originally applied to film school, I thought "I'm going to be a music video director!" I love music and I love music videos.  Often times, I see a music video and I'd think "Oh, Ben Folds, you should've hired me, I could've done much better". I also hate those b-roll music videos...where they show the band preparing for a concert, where they're throwing peace signs at the camera, or joking around and signing autographs.  Basically, it's a video to show "how cool we are". I wanted to change that because I thought that was LAZY music video-ing.

So, I show up to film school and find out, maybe I'm not cut out for music video making but rather comedy writing.  I would make these short films (based on my fear and terror of being in New York City and by myself with no friends) that would accentuate my experiences of being an Pacific-Islander girl not knowing how to cross the street in NYC or finding strange things in my food.  Apparently, these films actually evoked laughter from my audience.  I tried to do a dramatic one about a break-up and I just got confused looks.  So I went back to comedy and did a short about NSYNC solving the Monkey Master Mystery and of course, that was voted in the student film festival.

I took a writing course (we all had to take writing. Believe me, some of the cinematographers needed it.  There was this one French guy who shot amazing things but I had no idea what was going on.  As part of his assessment, I said "I don't understand the story..what there something going on?" and he replied with "But it is beautiful, no??" Well, yeah but we don't care for vapid beautiful work (unless you're in LA.)) Anyway, I took this writing comedy writing course and I just excelled at it.  I don't know why I did, I don't think I'm truly inherently funny but rather, I appreciate humor and tend to add on top of that.  But whatever, I'll take it!

So, our final project was to write a spec script.  I wrote a South Park script where Cartman's babysitter  turned out to be Vanilla Ice's half-sister/ex-girlfriend.  Vanilla Ice came back to South Park to win her back and challenged Cartman to a duel via Dance Dance Revolution.  Well, apparently, this script KILLED in the read-through and I thought....maybe I can do this. Maybe?

My professor took me aside and said that I should really pursue comedy writing and that I had a talent for it. Really?  She said I should start shopping scripts and writing sketches and maybe try stand up comedy (um, NO way).  She thought of my humor as "Woody Allen"-esque.  Sort of self deprecating and witty.  So I took this advice and.....

did nothing.

I didn't write a damn thing.  I left school, got a corporate job for good money and health insurance and there you go.  A few years later, got myself a boyfriend, got my own place, got doggies I really wanted, got the car I really wanted, got a comfy salary.  I'm thinking, this should be enough, right? This is enough to be happy for the rest of my life.

But every now and then, I think about writing.  I'd like to write a script.  Maybe a short story. Maybe a short film. But I never do it. I talk about it and never do it.  I think my problem is that I find writing to be self-indulgent. I mean, for god sakes, I'm writing a blog about ME. My writing now is mememememmemememe. I just feel uncomfortable about writing anything that reveals how vulnerable and lame and uncool I really am.

So I'm trying to find hobbies to fulfill this somewhat vague desire to write.  I joined trivia night. I tried a running club.  I trained for a triathalon.  I travel extensively.  I took dog classes (I am terrible at Agility).  And yet, I still think about writing.  I think its because I really want to write drama but secretly know I should write comedy.  Also, I think comedy takes a lot out of me.  I have to be hyper-aware of social cues, social commentary and exposing the stuff we don't really want to talk about but is hilarious when we release it to the audience to laugh about.

Anyway, anybody who knows me, knows I've been thinking about it and then declining to do anything about it.

The reason I write this blog entry is because the writing urges are becoming more and more apparent.  So I decided to sign up for a comedy writing class at The Groundlings or Upright Citizens Brigade.  I may have lost my humor but I might as well find out, right?  If anything, I'll get to write for a few weeks and maybe I'll be all written out that I can finally close this chapter and say "Yes, this is enough."


  1. So weird... I've been having this same dilemma of late, partly because I'm in a short story class that's only reading, but is geared toward MFA writing students (what?). Maybe we should form a writing club of two.

  2. pursue life my dear, like a top of the food chain predator - ensconced in a familiar chair twenty or thirty years from now - tell those close to you of what you tried and either succeeded at or failed - not the regrets of dreams deferred and forgotten...

  3. I feel we may be on similar pages when it comes to our creative side (maybe because we're sisters??). For me, it's hard to be ok with doing truly deep creative pursuits wholeheartedly because it requires me to be deeply vulnerable. Furthermore, I'd be heartbroken if such a near and dear part of me was rejected at any point. It would be like the ultimate, "You are a failure" message, that I guess, as siblings, we tend to be so sensitive about receiving when it comes to our work.. forget very personal work.

    Anyway, whether or not that is true, you are mentally strong enough to answer that nagging question: "Do I want to write? " All things happen in their time and maybe its no coincidence all the things you accomplished before you finally decided to revisit this question you tucked away long ago. If you find the class isn't enough and you don't feel satiated... well... when you cross that bridge, call me. I'll have some words of encouragement for you :)

    But, IMHO, it takes a lot of courage to pursue the answer to that question whether or not the class is enough. GO YOU!