Dave Chappelle famously said in an interview that his most favorite and least favorite word is “reality.” While I don’t share the same answer, I do share the same sentiment. Sometimes, reality is nice, and sometimes, reality sucks the life out of you.
REALITY OF FILM SCHOOL
Whenever people ask me about graduate school (which I should probably call “film school” from now on), I only think about three things: loans, jobs, and impressing my professors. Probably in that order. To those who would quip, “Oh, just sell one script, and you’ve covered your loans and secured employment,” I’m about to throw down a heavy anvil of reality on your ass.
Here’s how you sell your script: come up with the story, write it into a screenplay, and then pray to God someone notices you. I cannot stress that last step enough, because you have a better chance of throwing your script into the ocean and having someone on the opposite coast pick it up and read it, than having it sell in the business. If you’re lucky enough to get it sold, don’t expect a fat stack – expect a single tear to fall down your cheek and into your deep pool of debt.
Also, if you’re lucky enough to make the film, pray that people don’t pirate or illegally stream the movie. That’s money that doesn’t go into your pocket, and the pockets of every person who ever helped on set. (You can justify it by saying that you’re testing the movie before you actually go see it in theatres, but let’s be real – you’re not going to go back to the movies for it.)
It’s depressing – and my professors with industry experience drive it home every class (probably due to bitterness). It really is, and I hate that no one seems to understand except other writers. They know, and others don’t, but the ones who shouldn’t open their mouths to speak on the subject, do (usually in unfavorably condescending, clueless terms). I don’t talk about how you should do your job, but just because you can hold a pen to paper doesn’t mean you know how to do mine.
Also, if you ever want to hear some really messed up stuff, gather a group of screenwriters to discuss anything over alcohol.
REALITY OF MY RELATIONSHIP STATUS
I’ve rewritten this section multiple times. (According to WordPress, I’ve made nine revisions.)
Personally, I don’t like to talk about dating or relationships – at least on a public forum where people may construe the context. It’s a messy subject in general, and when there’s an opportunity to fudge the details, you get a Rocky Road amount.
If you haven’t noticed, as a friend pointed out (and I clearly took offense to it), I’m sort of a “glass-half-empty” guy. It wouldn’t be a farfetched assumption, since I do like to focus on the negatives first. If someone were to ask me what my type is, I’d probably end up telling them what my type is not, which are bitches. (I generalize a lot as well – comes with the screenwriting mentality.)
I have arrived to a standpoint in which I don’t really try to put myself out there anymore. Occasionally, I’ll see and get to know a woman and be genuinely attracted on what information I have, but you’d have better luck firing a bullet from a pistol into a shot glass from a moving monster truck. As I described to most of my friends, the door is closed, but it isn’t locked – I’m merely looking for someone bold enough to kick it open. (I also gave the option of testing the door, entering, and not leaving.) To me, if I’m only looking for one woman, then every other woman is a waste of time; if every other woman is a waste of time, then there’s no reason to share personal things, no matter how negligible it may be. I realized that a little too late, and now I regret opening up certain skeleton closets to certain women who, in my mind, would like nothing more than to parade the bones to their girlfriends for gossip fodder.
Side note: I really do hate gossip. It’s just disgusting. It’s classless. To me, it’s a clear indication that your life is boring as hell, and you need to dig up someone else’s crap to draw attention and elevate yourself. What’s worse is that some Christian women do so on the grounds of “prayer topics.” If I need prayer on the subject, I will consult my pastor or my brothers, not a [single] female with eager ears and loose lips.
As I keep pursuing my studies and passions, I just find that a relationship is damn near
impossible improbable, so I am slowly resigning any hope of having one or getting married. Sure, it’s benefits will eventually outweigh the costs, as most married couples have told me, but honestly…
The only argument for it is biblical/spiritual, which brings me to my last Heading sz. 3:
REALITY OF REALITY
I had a friend lose his father suddenly. I wrote about how I felt. I mourned from afar, and if I were in his position, I would want my friends close. It kills me that I can’t be there to personally give my condolences.
In my catching up with others, reflecting on my friend’s loss, reality resurged its head to remind me that life really is short. Even though the days are long, life is about as fragile as crystal, and the last thing you want is empty crystal. (Apologies if your name is Crystal.)
I remembered why I got into this game, why I put myself through self-deprecation. It wasn’t to make money or gain fame, and it certainly wasn’t to hook up. It was to change lives, and if that sounds outlandish and dreamy-eyed to you, that’s because it is. I’ve heard so many complaints from realists who do absolutely nothing to change the situation, that when I took this route, I told myself that I am never going to sink to that level. It’s such a depressing way to live, and I can’t stand those who say but do not do.
Sure, excuses come up. Legitimate ones even. Life happens. Yet, for me, I don’t want to settle for the status quo.
I had two friends tell me contrasting views: that everyone eventually settles (in marriage), and that I should not settle. (He said, “[Some] people settle, but you shouldn’t.”) I found it extremely encouraging, that someone had more hope in something that I was in the process of discarding. Although he was talking about marriage, I found it to have more of a global application.
In this short time I have on this earth, I am not settling for what people tell me is the norm. Not on employment, not on marriage, not on goals. I can’t give up, because God hasn’t given up on me. If that sounds like idealism on the verge of a meltdown, then at least I’m an optimistic idealist. And I love seeing optimistic idealists chase things. It shows that life is always interesting – it’s just a matter of perspective that can make it seem draped in dreary gloom, or a wild ride.