Monday, October 23, 2006

The return of a screenwriter

There is no feeling in the world like that of a renewed sense of purpose in life. I have had these moments on a few times in my life, but each time led me to that proverbial fork in the road, whereupon the direction I selected seemed justified. It is also the feeling one gets when you drink a rootbeer float too quickly -- the delicious ice cream gives you brain freeze while the fizzy rootbeer tickles your nose and throat.

Yeah, kinda like that.

I have attended the Screenwriting Expo 3 times in the last 5 years. I was there the first two years, skipped a year, went last year. When I saw the dates of the Expo overlapped those for the Austin Film Festival, I knew I faced a quandary.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I made the decision to go to Austin a year ago. The day after some of my online friends returned from their sojourn to Texas, I found myself a tad jealous. They had such stories of camaraderie, intellectual stimulation, good contacts and lots of free booze. I knew this was something I wanted to to experience myself.

But what about the Expo? I'm good friends with many of the people who make that event happen. I'd miss Tim Minear! Ronald D. Moore! The Pixar guys!! Chris Soth and Fun Joel! And thus the aforementioned quandary.

The economics of course screamed 'go to the Expo'. I live in L.A., the 4 day pass was $125 plus whatever I'd spend on the panels or any parties (and the parking). I'd have to fly to Austin, get a hotel room, buy the (very expensive) Producer's Pass if I wanted to get the full benefit of the event.

But the decision could not be made on cost alone. And while some would value William Goldman over Shane Black or Oliver Stone over David Milch, I had to decide what I wanted, what I needed out of one of these events. While the Expo would provide me with a pool of 4,000 people to potentially meet, the AFF Screenwriting Conference would give me 10% of that number, but I'd meet directly with agents, managers, producers, accomplished writers, and spend time in the evenings with a wealth of aspiring filmmakers and writers, not to mention all of the people invited panalists I had heard during the day. The decision was easy. I had to go to Texas.


I'm home. 5 days later, I feel reborn, renewed in spirit and focus. All I want to do right at this moment is write. All I can think about doing for the next several weeks involves writing and working my long term plan. While I expet the Expo would have energized me, I'm not sure it would have given me this feeling of rebirth. I feel the NEED to be a screenwriter, not just the WANT.

And to quote Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a wood and I --
I took the one last traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Scribble94 said...

It was great to finally meet you. I feel inspired, too. But also in need of a nap and some rehydration.

Fun Joel said...

Thanks for the shout-out. You were missed, but I completely understand (and who knows, maybe I'll head to Austin next year).

Oh, and I encourage you to recheck that Frost "quote." ;-)

Systemaddict said...

Though I don't have the Expo experiance...I cannot but agree with everything you've said in regards to AFF...

And, I very much enjoyed meeting you.

Shawna said...

So picky, FJ. Fixed the quote.

It was great meeting you too, Ben and Jamie. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Sing it, sistah!

Miss you guys...


Brett said...

We used to have a line to throw out when people pressed us to explain why we Aggis have such feelings for Texas A&M. After all, they'd suggest, "a college is just a college, right? What makes YOUR experience so damned amazing?"

We'd smile.

"From the outside, you can never truly understand. From the inside, you can never truly explain."

I'm with you: I'm pissed that I have to sleep, 'cuz right now all I want to do is write.

October 10–15, 2007.

Find me in Austin.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had great time Shawna. What was the Milch thing like?
And what was your highlight of the event?


Warren said...

Nicely done. Next year I'm following your lead. Welcome back to town and good luck with the writing!

Shawn said...

Your jealousy last year is my jealousy this year. Dammit, I'm going in '07.

Glad to hear you had a great time and are inspired once again!

Bryan N. said...

I can't believe we didn't meet. Oh well, we'll definitely meet next year now that you're hooked.

Scribe LA said...

Wonderful Shawna! Please more details of your Austin adventures :-)
Go get'em.