Contest entries sent; bring back some money

I’ve made some headway on the screenwriting front in a few different ways. I entered a couple contests, wrote a lot over the weekend and have found some allies in my writers’ group who seem to want me to succeed. That feeling makes a difference.

First off, I entered “Paper Cuts” in the Nxt Stage Film Festival in the web series category. I shipped off a DVD yesterday along with my entry fee, a completed entry form and a postcard they’ll send me to let me know they’ve received it. I don’t see much info on when the festival is or when I’ll hear if I’m accepted or not. That makes me feel a little anxious about the contest’s legitimacy and all, so this could end up being more of a valuable lesson than a career changer. We’ll see.

I also entered the Sixth Borough Screenplay treatment contest I mentioned earlier this month. I elected to receive early feedback, with the option of re-submitting to the contest after making any changes. The winner of that contest will be announced Aug. 15. That was the contest that recommended I register my concept with the WGA, which I did; now I can write more freely about my screenplay, because I have documentation of creative ownership. Or something. If someone took my idea, I could legally use my registration with the WGA as evidence in my favor in a court of law. This will not happen, but it’s a load off any writer’s mind, I’m sure.

This past Sunday, I added several pages to the screenplay itself while sitting at the Lennox Cup O’ Joe with Eileen, who is right in the thick of completing her masters’ thesis paper. We sat there for a few hours, each writing, only looking up to ask occasional questions and moving only to order still more coffee. This might not sound like the best quality time, but you don’t know Eileen and me. I did take a break for a moment to crowd source on Facebook and ask my friends to name one of my characters. I got more than a dozen suggestions for female names, one of which I ended up using. I’m hanging on to the rest.

Finally, I went back to my writers’ group at Kafe Kerouac on Monday night. Even though I made some changes to my treatment, I didn’t bring the revised version. I should have though, because it turned out some new people showed up, including SNP’s own Donovan Campbell! It’s a small city, you guys. The people who were there last week asked about my progress and I promised to bring my outline next time.

“It’s like 8 pages long and messily written,” I warned them.

“That’s okay,” said Mike, the owner of the cafe. “I like discussing ideas more than I like correcting grammar.”

You kind of get that idea from talking to him, too. I also had a great conversation with two other members I hadn’t spoken to yet. One is an actor who gave me his card and wants me to send my outline directly since he’ll be absent next week. The other is a playwright who seems to be just the right mix of riotously witty and slightly jaded, ala Garth Bishop from SNP, and who is becoming reluctantly interested in writing for the screen as opposed to the stage. We are Columbus, Ohio’s own Algonquin Roundtable and I just fell right into it like a pig into a mud pit.

Last night I started working on an online portfolio, where I will be putting all the multimedia work I create. I wish SNP had saved the one and only video I did for them, because it would be most professional platform my videos have seen yet. But, alas. There’s only so long you can hang on to a video of four wailing infants and their bewildered, but ridiculously attractive, parents.

In the tradition I’ve maintained on The Sleeper Hit, here are the costs I’ve been met with in my pursuit of happiness (coffee consumed not included):

Nxt Stage entry fee, with postage: $31.22

Sixth Borough entry fee: $30 ($20 + $10 extra to get early feedback and the chance to re-submit)

WGA: $20 (standard non-member rate for any work)

I’d better not enter much else for a while. This stuff adds up quicker than I thought.

Ahoy weekend

Tonight there is yet another SNP going away party (good luck, Lisa!) and unlike last week, I don’t have a work conference to be at. I’m carpooling with fellow SNP-er Rachel, who left the company but, unlike most of the others, managed to stay in journalism. Lisa is actually staying in the field as well and will be freelancing for a local chain of suburban papers that will remain nameless. She’ll also be further developing her successful photography business, and through this venture, following her dreams while actually making money at it. Jealous? I am. Does anyone want to pay me to finish my screenplay?

Tomorrow I will be serving as assistant director for a Plum St. Productions commercial. The Cincinnati Rollergirls have a partnership with FORCE, an organization that raises cancer awareness. Some of the girls will appear in a promo for FORCE tomorrow, which means I will get to fulfill my dream of meeting an actual roller derby player. I will try not to act too starstruck.

On Sunday, I am moving my stuff back into my apartment. Brandon’s moved in with some guy friends, which means I’m heading back in. Last night I made my big thank you dinner for my family. It took almost an hour and a half to make (which was about twice as long as I expected) but they were very patient with me. I really need to learn to cook, you guys.

It will be weird living alone, but I try to remember the short time I lived by myself in the city; a couple years ago, there was one month in between moving out of Doug and Chandra’s and Christina moving in where I was on my own. The first few nights, I stayed up late, paranoid and convinced I was about to murdered in my sleep. Granted, there was a serial rapist running loose at the time, but still, I was a little nuts. After I got used to it, I took advantage of the time alone in an apartment with no furniture and painted, read and wrote. It was actually a pretty sweet month. I do miss that apartment sometimes.

But that’s enough reminiscing; the time to live is now. I’m going to get so much done in the next couple months. And I don’t just mean tracking down season three of “Veronica Mars” and watching it with Eileen. I burned through the first season in a week and I’m almost done with the second, sigh.

Trusting my instincts

This weekend I went shopping with my friend Jessi from college and met her friend, had dinner and a movie with Christine, with whom I attended Muskingum for only one semester, yet we’ve kept in touch. I had breakfast with Eileen, who afterward spontaneously decided to drive down to Cincinnati with me for a Plum St. Productions meeting. It was a great weekend filled with girl time and good conversation. It’s something I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of lately and I’m  feeling grateful for that. Really grateful, actually.

I had a work conference all day Friday, and I ended up missing an SNP going away party that night. SNP continues to have going away parties for people I worked with there, and I never cease to be amazed that there are still people I knew leaving. I was extremely disappointed I missed the party, and went home feeling dejected and exhausted. I also had to work Saturday, but got a break early in the day, allowing me to see Jessi, who was down from Cleveland for the day, shopping at Easton. My conference was at Easton, so she and I, along with her friend Shellie, walked around together. I got to have a good heart to heart with Jessi, who can relate to my life situation these days. Breaking up is hard to do, kids. She’s a trouper, though. And I enjoyed meeting Shellie, who was very pleasant and easy to talk to.

Later Saturday evening I stayed at Easton where Christine met up with me. She and I had planned on getting dinner at Max & Erma’s but while waiting for a table, we spontaneously decided to go see “Avatar” and have AMC food for dinner instead. She’d already seen it, and was so dismayed that I hadn’t yet that she insisted we see it right then, even if it was no longer available in 3-D. I didn’t realize how long that movie was going to be, but it was pretty good. My cousin described it as “Fern Gully” meets “The Matrix” and I can totally see that. I probably would have been more engaged if we had seen it in the 3-D format for which it was intended, but alas.

She and I went back to her apartment after and began planning our October trip to NYC. She’d mentioned it earlier this month and I have been wanting to go back to the city for a while now. It’s probably not a good idea to visit the city alone, so I jumped on her suggestion when she asked if I’d be interested in the trip. There’s a concert there for one weekend only that she wants to see, and she’s never been there before.

The next morning, Eileen and I went to Spinelli’s Deli, our old breakfast stand by. She’s going to be moving to San Diego in June, and she’s been compiling an ever growing list of things she wants to do before the big move. Breakfast at Spinelli’s one more time can now be crossed off. She was telling me about her big idea for moving all of her belongings across the country. Perhaps on the high of planning the NYC trip with Christine, I asked her if she’d like company. The answer was an enthusiastic yes. So, if I can get vacation time, I’ll be going on a cross-country road trip in a van filled with Eileen’s clothes and furniture.

But that wasn’t all; in the spirit of spontaneity and road trips, Eileen asked me if I’d like some company for the trip I was about to make to Cincinnati. She went into her apartment, grabbed a book and her laptop and on to Cincy we went. She read while I sat in on a Plum St. pre-production meeting for next weekend’s commercial. Afterward, we went to be extras in a short video two Plum St. writers were filming across the river in Bellvue, Kentucky. It sounds like a fun concept; it’s intended to poke fun at Foursquare. I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t on camera at any point but there’s a good chance Eileen was. Also, while we were there, she talked to her old roommate, who I was friends with as well, and it sounds like she’ll be going on our road trip with us as well. It was pretty serendipitous.

I dropped her off and went back to my aunt and uncle’s. That morning, I’d had an odd moment with them; I told my family before going to breakfast that Brandon would be moving in with some friends this week, and so I’d be going back to my apartment soon. My aunt said it has been nice having me there for a while, and I suddenly teared up. It has been nice for me especially, and I’m going to miss living with a family. They are not exactly the same as my family was when I was in high school, of course, but it has been so wonderful having a family to be around. There’s always someone home, and they ask how my day went and what’s going on with me, what I’m doing later. I know about their lives, what’s happening with them. We eat dinner together. We help each other out. Well, they help me out. I decided to make dinner for them one night this week as a thank you gesture. When I got home last night from my trip, my aunt told me I am more than welcome to come back on Thursday nights for our tradition of watching “The Office” all together. I can’t wait.

I feel really loved right now; I can’t really explain it, but this weekend was uplifting. Last weekend was great too, of course, with all those people celebrating my birthday with me. But this weekend was full of meaningful conversation and honesty, and general goodwill. Oh, and shopping. I just feel like I’m starting to think maybe I am going to be okay after all. Things are happening in my life in 2010, and I am going to welcome change. I am not usually a friend to change, and I find myself spending far too much time reminiscing about the “old days,” when things were so much better. Until suddenly there’s different “old days” to miss and I was too busy living in the past to appreciate them. I’m not taking the time to be glad for the good times going on right now, happening this second. I am staring dead straight into the rear view mirror, and since graduating from college, I have not taken two seconds to try to look at the future. I’m just stagnant, moving slowly forward while scrambling frantically to go back.

Today, I am looking forward to the future. I am appreciating the present. I’ve got big plans, people. This is kind of a cheese ball entry, but it’s what’s on my mind right now, so there. I have been sitting on my butt since I moved out of my apartment, but that resting time is over. It’s time to plan for the future, and for once, that idea is exciting instead of scary, even though it felt terrifying merely weeks ago.

We’re gonna be okay, and every part of me trusts that feeling. I have to listen to it, even if doesn’t make sense. Maybe that’s what they say having faith is like.

My life will suck without you

Today is the last day of work for a woman in my department. Ever since I started, I began being trained to be her back up for all her duties pertaining to our company’s web site. She used to make jokes about how I’d need to be ready for the day she won the lottery and never came back. Or she’d joke about getting hit by a bus. Now, as it turns out, I was being prepared for the day she got a different job, which, quite frankly, was the last of the three possibilities I’d have thought possible. She’s been here for years and is extremely passionate about what she does.

She is also the person at work that I get along with best. At SNP, Eileen and I bonded over our walks around the building and I missed that when I left there. My co-worker here had just started taking walks with me this summer, and while we weren’t as consistent as Eileen and me, it was nice to be able to take a break with someone at work – or go out to eat somewhere once in while rather than eat at my desk.

I brought her a bottle of wine and one of her favorite candy bars as parting gifts this morning. Until her replacement is hired, I will be performing her job on top of my own. It took us nearly three months to replace our graphic designer after she left in August (and gave us two months’ notice of her plans). The next several weeks of my life are going to suckkkkk.

Also, I need to make some more work friends. How does one do that, exactly?

Weighing in, off the wagon

When I fall off the wagon, I fall hard, you guys.

It snowed a whole bunch last night, so I didn’t go to the gym. Instead, in my lethargic state, I ordered a pizza. Poor pizza delivery guy. And those mini fried apple pies I ordered probably weren’t necessary. I won’t be going to the gym tonight either, because I have an SNP going away party to go to at 6 (good luck, Rachel!). If I have any hope of completing the third day of week two of Couch to 5k, I’ll have to either go tomorrow before my first improv class or (God forbid) run outside on Sunday. Why is my gym closed on Sundays? Grrrr.

I haven’t lost any more weight, but I gained two pounds back. Yay. EDIT: This is after running twice and roller skating once this week. Lame.

Also, it seems that running gives me lower back pain. But just on one side. Thoughts? Someone said new running shoes would help. Running shoes = very expensive. Worth it?

Schedule changes

It occurred to me yesterday that I scheduled two scenes to be filmed on Easter, so that required a little schedule tweaking. Today I posted a facebook plea to my friends in or near Columbus, seeking extras for Saturday. Becca and I are going shopping tonight to find her a dress to wear that day.

I was going to post the schedule on here, but it is really long and not that interesting if you’re not in it. Plus, it’s getting changed a little bit every other day, so it would be obsolete by next week anyway. But, it’s now at last complete with the opening scene, and I still get at least a couple evenings a week off from the project.

I’m leaving work early tomorrow to drive to Zanesville to pick up the prizes I won in that raffle last weekend. Then I have to pick up some stuff for Saturday, and Brandon and I may be getting a craigslist couch delivered straight to the new apartment, since we are allowed to pick up the keys tomorrow. Also tomorrow night is Eileen’s going-away party, so I am looking forward to seeing the SNP crowd.