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On The Other Side

May 2, 2008

It’s been 4 months of a lot of darkness, but I’m doing better now. I’m enrolled in a UCLA online screenwriting class that is going pretty well so far. Thanks to David for the referral. What a relief to have a teacher who has his ego in the right place, and is simply interested in teaching us the basics of screenwriting. I am impressed with the quality of the writers in the class. No one sucks, and one guy is downright excellent. I’m not sure why he’s in the class because he’s clearly not new to the game, but who cares, I am learning from every assignment he submits.

So far, I fear that the story I’m working on is going to be a little too serious and dark to be enjoyable to read or watch. This is where Excellent Guy in the class excels. I have yet to see how his story will unfold but so far, he introduced a situation and characters that are rich and compelling without getting heavy. He saves us from heavy with humor, and that kind of agility is impressive, not to mention fun to read. I am terrified that I’ll never be able to achieve that. I say that like I’m going to actually get somewhere with this.

***

On the singing front, I haven’t found a new teacher, but I haven’t been looking for one much. I’m still having a hard time deciding what kind of music I want to sing, and where my voice fits in best. Classical is still an option: becoming a local soloist is not beyond my reach, I’m pretty sure of that. I think I need to stop thinking about it so much, and go with my heart. And I’m not sure the classical thing is what I really want.

I answered a local ad for a singer and have hooked up with a rather interesting Scotsman who has written a rather nice body of work. He came over 2 weeks ago, I sang for him and he said in his fantastic lilting accent: “I think you’ve got some potential, yeah, let’s give this a go.” He’s recorded/produced one album in Scotland and is here now because he thinks his music has a better chance. Its needs orchestration, but I think the guy has an interesting style. Kinda’ Sujan Stevens meets The Pet Shop Boys meets Rufus Wainwright, with a dose of slightly Celtic melodies that don’t cross over into the Enya realm (thank goodness). Interesting stuff. We’re rehearsing this weekend and we’ll see what we sound like. He wants to be out there performing, and I don’t think we’re ready for that. But if we could get a bunch of other musicians together and work out our music… it just might be something kind of cool.

***

My biggest hurdle is self-sabotaging thoughts of mediocrity and dilettante-ery that haunt me incessantly. Why am I doing this? Where do I think this is going and what is it going to get me? Who the fuck would want to read anything I write or listen to me sing? The answer is always to turn off my brain and simply get into it. Last weekend, as I sat down to write the first assignment for my screenwriting class, it was pure joy to delve in and not care about anything but the process. And when I’m signing with Angus, it all feels so right.

Oh, for the off switch in my brain. Maybe with practice, I learn to shut that off before stagnation sets in.

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