After days of gnashing my teeth because the online Nicholl form was infested with bugs (why am I picturing Greg Beal stomping on cockroaches?), it finally stopped whining that it couldn't locate its own server and accepted my application and my credit card. The bad news is that I failed to realize all that grief wouldn't save me the trouble of mailing in a hard copy. Argh.
Oh well. Anything worth doing requires effort and, in this case, you also need gasoline, a trip to the post office, an extra inkjet cartridge, a whole punch that doesn't jam, cardstock, brass brads, a priority mail envelope, $4.50 for postage & delivery confirmation, something to scrape off the gum your shoe found in the parking lot AND the patience to stand in an insanely long line at the post office behind a woman with a screaming baby WHILE wishing you'd bothered to put make up on BECAUSE a dozen or so people are wishing you well on your new job SINCE you know darn near everyone who walks into the post office AND the one person you don't know is six feet tall, brown eyed, effortlessly holding a large box under his bulging bicep, and has not taken his eyes off that darling pink spaghetti top you bought on clearance yesterday BUT sneers at your Steve Perry "Don't Stop Believing" ringtone WHEN your future boss calls your cell phone to remind you to go pee in a cup.
Heh. Bite me, pal. Nobody sneers at Journey in my presence.
I'm not entirely sure why I want to put myself through the agony of receiving another "regrettably" letter from Greg Beal. The Nicholl gets well over 6,000 entries and they can't all be good, can they? I mean, some of them have to suck. Somebody has to come in 6,000th right? You know what? I think last year, it was me.
But, I'm still writing.
Last year, I knew several people who got "next 100" and "top ten percent" letters. I wasn't one of them. Even though I didn't advance in either the Nicholl or the AFF, it was uber cool to read posts from finalists and even winners whose names I recognized as frequent or occasional posters on Wordplay. I probably won't advance this year either. Don't get me wrong. My work is good -- just not good enough -- yet.
So, I'm still writing.
It's actually been almost three years now since I started writing my first screenplay so I'm still pretty much a screenwriting infant. I've got a long way to go if I want to compete with those people who have been at this for ten or more years, gone to film school, live in Hollywood and bump into A listers at Starbucks.
So, I'm still writing.
Monday, it's back to a world where people return my calls, speak to me with respect, admire me for my accomplishments, and are grateful to have me in their corner. In this world, the big dog seeks me out, my letters get opened, people look at me and say, "damn, you're good", I never have to buy my own lunch unless I want to, I get a regular paycheck and headhunters try to steal me away from the guy I just agreed to give a minimum of two years.
But, I'm still writing. Job or no job. I'm still writing.
In the past couple of days, I've run across several "goodbye, cruel world" posts on blogs of wannabe screenwriters who have thrown in the towel. I understand their frustration because I've walked in their moccasins. But, I like moccasins.
You know, it's really not always about winning or even advancing. Yeah, discouragement sets in now and then, but sometimes, outcome be damned, the joy is simply in the journey. Well, unless, of course, you're standing in line at the post office.