I, Maple

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t takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. You tap a tree, extract 39 times what you need then boil it down to get to that one sweet result.

The success ratio of cold querying scripts to Hollywood executives and getting a positive response is comparable. None the less – and I will live to regret this statement – I miss querying.

Here’s where we’re at: After a month of negotiating, I accepted a producer’s offer to option Script #1. However, another month later and I haven’t heard jack from my lawyer. It seems unlikely that the producers have changed their minds, but the wait is a little tough to bear. During this time I also haven’t heard from my manager. As he’s also slated to be a producer on the film, I expect he’s keeping his distance until the deal is done.

So in a way, I’m exactly where I was at this time last year: No manager, no lawyer and (as of yet) no deal.

The difference? I can’t query.

Since aligning myself with Manager I’ve written three new screenplays. All are presently sitting on a virtual shelf. Collecting virtual dust.

This never happens to me. For years now, I’ve been completing scripts and immediately launching into the process of emailing executives to solicit reads. It’s how I’ve widened my network of contacts. It’s how I landed Manager in the first place along with this option deal.

Now, however, my scripts – like me – sit and wait.

I’m not sure how this is supposed to go. Or even that there is a supposed to at all. When I first started out with Manager he told me that I wouldn’t have to query any more. That he’d be doing that for me now– Hearing that was like music.

What I didn’t factor into that proclamation was that this would also mean I’d be on his schedule. And he’s a busy guy. Not to mention he’s got a reputation. So he’s not just going to send out anything and everything I hand over.

My relief over never having to query again has turned to restless, fidgety pacing.

I get that Manager’s not going to be there ready to read at a moment’s notice. That makes sense. He’s gotta move at the industry’s pace. A slow pace. Not to mention, not everything I generate is going to be worth sending out. I’ve written over twenty screenplays in the past couple years. Only one’s gotten optioned. It’s better than the maple syrup ratio but that’s still a lot of sap to boil down.

But I can’t help wake up every day, see these scripts sitting here and think to myself, nothing is being done right now to further my career. This material is just sitting here. In my querying days I’d be hammering out loglines and getting this shit read!

I have to remind myself that this is a process. That if Script #1 starts to make some noise, then the town will wonder what else I’ve got to offer. That they will come to me– To Manager.

But that’s still a while down the road. And in the meantime I miss the activity of actually working on my own career. It’s hard to ease off the reigns.

The first time I did so in while was taking last weekend off to pursue a new interest. Tapping maple trees. I’ve thought about it for a couple years now since moving out into the sticks but never looked into it further. Last weekend I spend an entire day reading and watching videos about it.

I was super excited! Yeah, I get excited about this stuff. Eating directly from nature is huge deal for me. And that I work in a starving artist type field and often find myself literally scavenging for food in the woods, is not lost on me.

But this maple thing should be fun. And I haven’t really given myself the opportunity to consider anything fun in a while.  In the coming weeks I’m going to get myself outfitted to tap the maples in my yard. I’m going to build an outdoor boiler. With any luck, be swimming in syrup by April.

It’ll be a good distraction. Give Manager a chance to do his thing. To boil down my supply of sappy writing and see if anything sweet emerges.

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10 Comments

Filed under The Journey

10 responses to “I, Maple

  1. Finally chiming in here. I’ve been following awhile.

    I don’t know why you think it’s the worst blog ever. It may not be chronicling the journey you anticipated, but it makes for damn good reading.

    Yeah. Options. Locked in. Well, welcome to Hollywood. They invented “hurry up and wait.” I guess, in the meantime, maple syrup?

    And I have a stack of screenplays, if you need bathroom reading.

    • Hey Samara, thanks for chiming in. Yeah, I’m sounding a bit like a babe in the woods here, aren’t I? My “worst blog ever” post was more of a comment on my lack of post frequency these past few weeks. It’s the Canadian apologist in me; sorry followers for not keeping up my end of the deal here.

      As for bathroom reading, if you’re talking about your own writing you’ve gotta work on your pitch!

      • Dude, my screenplays are solid! My pitching skills suck. I will never make it as a pro!

        No one takes my return address seriously. I live in NJ. At one point, I lived in NYC. And I had an LA entertainment lawyer representing me, so I sold a screenplay.

        It never got made.

        A couple of months ago, a producer asked to read my stuff. He said he keeps screenplays stacked up in his bathroom.

        Paid me a high compliment, though. Said mine made it out the john and actually held his attention.

        But I don’t have the heart, the thick skin, the drive, or the patience for the business end. I just love to write.

        If I win the lottery, I’ll make my own films. I have a great story about Ed Burns. That’s for another time.

        keep on keeping on. I’m rooting for you.

        • Hell, if you sold a script you’re already leagues ahead of most – including myself. As for return address, at least you’re state-side. Try pitching from the woods in another country. The thick skin and drive is a must though. I’m gonna keep watching your blog for that Ed Burns story…

          • I’m not telling it on a blog. Too embarrassing.

            I was taking an acting class in NYC in the 90’s. This girl in my class said, “Does anyone want parts in my boyfriend’s movie?”

            I said, “Tell me about it.”

            She said, “Well, he’s filming it in his mother’s house on Long Island…”

            I said, “yeah, I’m OUT.”

            It was The Brothers McMullen.

            She was Maxine Bahns. Hahahaha. Ed Burn’s girlfriend at the time.

            Who fucking knew??

            • Live and learn. I’m sure most people would have passed too. We’ve all been to the guy who ISN’T Ed Burns’ mother’s house and learned not to do it second time.

            • THANK you for understanding. Cause I kinda kick myself for not going.

              But Long Island is the most boring suburban area ever. I had no interest in paying my own way to some guy’s mother’s house.

              Ed freaking Burns. My luck.

  2. Maple Sap Analogy of the Writing Process, I like it.
    The quantity of raw written work, waiting, submitting, and the selling of it feeling more like pandering when it doesn’t feel like panhandling. But when you sandwiched that process between maple tapping, patience, reducing raw sap to get it to the perfect sweet sugar ratio, and that it’s fun, learning something new, building something else while you wait, I liked that.

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