So last week, in my brief post, I completely failed to mention that while I was in Phoenix, I found out that I got a gig writing a movie for the Disney Channel! This was not exactly out of the blue but it was exciting and it was… totally surreal. I got the call from my writing partner on the project, Cindy McCreery, while I was sitting in a deli waiting for a shuttle van to take me to a mall so I could scrounge up an outfit for the Phoenix Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala. (Do male filmmakers feel the need to dress up for this kind of thing? Do any filmmakers? Alas, I did and so I confess that I spent day 1 of the Phoenix Film Festival shopping).
Anyway, this is how things happen - you push and push and push and PUSH for years to make a dozen projects move an inch and then suddenly, something just zooms to the finish line while you’re having tuna salad in a deli in Phoenix. You gush quietly in a corner that you get to write something you like and get paid and get benefits and you gush that somehow by the skin of your teeth you’re keeping the dream alive and you wonder if you shared your good news with the guy behind the counter if maybe he would give you a congratulatory hug… And then you call your husband. And your last producer. And your mom.
|Am I alone in thinking that there's |
something sexy about projectors?
That DC news carried me through the length of the festival, through the nerves introducing THE LAKE EFFECT to packed houses, through the technical difficulties that led to late starts, re-starts, late nights in the projection booth, and one-time awful DVD projection… through the panels that made me self-conscious and the panels that had me in stitches… It also carried me through the horrible bronchitis I contracted while running amok in Phoenix! Somehow, all the excitement comes with a price but did I let my bronchial infection stop me from enjoying free drinks and good company of other filmmakers? Heck no.
|pre-sick, SOLD OUT! |
Alright so maybe I should admit that by the time the awards ceremony came around on my last night at the fest, I had to drag myself out of a sleep stupor in the hotel room to make my way to the filmmaker’s lounge. And maybe I sounded (and looked) something like Bea Arthur. Luckily, my lack of respect for illness paid off. The Lake Effect took home TWO awards from the Phoenix Film Festival! The first one they announced was Best Ensemble Acting and I was (to put it mildly) giddy. I am so incredibly proud of the cast of TLE and want so badly for their amazing work to be seen and recognized… I thanked the festival and skipped off the stage to text Ross and Tara and Kay all the good news. I was still texting them in fact, when I heard another presenter up on stage quoting something I half remembered saying on a panel earlier that week… I can’t remember now even what it was… something about “We had this location and I thought, ‘Damnit, now I’m going to have to write a script…’” all I know is that when I heard it, I thought, “I might be winning an award right now… and can I can get this text out before I have to get up there…?” The answer was no.
Winning the Best Screenplay award was shocking. And thrilling. And appreciated. Though I have to admit, accepting an award for my actors was so much easier… I know they deserve it. But my relationship with writing and with everything I’ve ever written is… complicated. Believe it or not, writing is pretty thankless (which is why I officially dedicate my Best Screenplay award to every writer who has ever written a screenplay that has not been bought or lauded or produced… it’s hard out there for a pimp). So being up there on stage, being recognized for screenwriting was… about as surreal as finding out that I just landed a sweet gig writing for Disney Channel while waiting for a shuttle bus and eating tuna salad at a strip mall deli in Phoenix. I still don’t think it’s quite hit me. But I’m waiting for it to do just that. And when it does, I will let you know how it feels.
In closing, BOO to technical difficulties and bronchitis. YAY jobs, awards, and the Phoenix Film Festival!
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