Something special happened last week. The WGAw (my union) gave me an evening to showcase two of my spec sitcom pilot scripts. It was a little bit of validation that we all need once in a while – proof that, while the gatekeepers might seem uninterested, my fellow writing professionals, in an official way, put their stamp of approval on my work.
Of course, that also meant that the pressure was on to live up to such a recommendation, so I did what any smart person would do: I called in as many of my talented friends as I possibly could. I cast some of the great/funny actors I know and, most importantly, I handed the scripts over to two friends/directors who I knew would “get” the material. I then sat back and watched the directors dissect the scripts scene-by-scene while the actors found laughs and nuance in the dialogue that I never knew were there.
In order to make the evening successful, I also had to make sure we had an audience. Once again, friends, fans and well-wishers turned out to pack the house and make it a fun night of actual “theater” and not just a dry script reading.
For me, the biggest pay-off was being able to watch the rehearsal process lead to the actual performance. We all write a lot of stuff. It is a rare treat to get original material like this on it’s feet and in the mouths of actors. The audience had a great time and I learned a lot about my own work.
I was also reminded that the most important part of any creative project is that you must enjoy the process itself – all of it, from writing, to casting, to rehearsing to showtime – because the rest is out of your hands. Did I want the evening to be a celebration and a good time? Yes. Did I also want it to be a chance to raise my industry profile just a bit? Yes, of course, so it was interesting and disappointing to see that of the literally 100s of industry professionals I invited, including many who I’ve heard say those classic words “We just can’t find good scripts!” exactly ZERO of them showed up. So this week they’ve been able to keep their jobs by telling their bosses “we can’t find anything.” while I’ve been sitting at my desk writing more great new stuff.
Keep typing everyone.