Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 - My Make or Break Year

Last year was one of transition. I quit a job I liked, moved overseas, quasi learned a new language (still working on that), and decided to write full time.

I'm no spring chicken. To make so many changes at the same time might have been as one of my Toronto/Caribbean friends says, "a little wackadoo."

However, despite early tears shed at the Comune when the level of Italian red-tape really gave the French a run for their money, it has been a great experience. I want to stay.

One needs to actually make money in order to live unless they have a trust fund. I do not. It would be hard for me to stay in Rome without income. While my parents are very generous, after over 11 years in the "biz" I need to finally "make it."

The money I earned as a producer on TRAITOR (p.s. the DVD just came out in the States. Don Cheadle and Guy Pierce fans need to get a copy.) will be finito soon. Savings? What is that?

I know the realities of Hollywood and what my chances are regarding a screenwriting career. Yet I keep going. I'm in the middle of two specs (original scripts) and enjoy what I'm working on. That said, at some point I have to sell something. My manager back in L.A. is not going to rep me forever. It would make no sense.

This year is the one. What is my Plan B? I don't have one. Plan A is going to have to work. ha. Even late last year I was hesitant to say I was a writer. Now I'm claiming it and moving full steam ahead.

I have quite a few goals for 2009 but one of the biggest is to sell a project in LaLa land. For the first time I don't feel like my life is on hold, or a spectator in it. This year all the hard work, 8 years of being underpaid and working with crazy people will pay off. I know it.

I'm very thankful I still have my Italian project. Without it I would be in a Defcon Level 2 financial situation. We're waiting to hear back from an Italian screenwriter. If she says yes, the next step in my deal goes forward. Fingers crossed.

I've pitched a few other ideas to the same company and hopefully they will respond to one or two.

I have to believe with all the various projects percolating something will pop this year.

I'm not Catholic but I think prayers to Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists wouldn't hurt. I might add Saint Jude, patron saint of impossible causes to the mix as well. There is a specific patron saint for TV writers but none for film. Strange.

View from my former office.


Tina said...

There is no such thing as an impossible cause. Keep plugging along my friend. You will do juuuuust fine! I know it. :-) You know it. :-) We all know it.

You're an inspiration!

Diana Strinati Baur said...

You are an inspiration and a lot of people are behind you and commend what you are doing and trying. I don't know if I could have made all these changes if I had been single -- having a partner means sharing the burden. I respect everything you are trying to do and I know it will pay off for you. I think, although you may sometimes feel otherwise, that you are a very strong person. Hang in there and remember there is a cheerleading squad out here singing "Don't give up, we are proud of what you are!"

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Keep going, I am sure you will achieve your goals!!

I know that I could never make those changes, on my own, that is a huge achievment on its own.. Well done :-)

Beatriz Macias said...

You have the right attitude, keep thinking positively and keep working at it, you shall be rewarded. We should find a patron saint for you... I bet there is one...

milanese masala said...

If you believe it, it will come. Just look back at all the things you've accomplished so far. Pretty amazing, don't you think. And you can do so much more. Remember, you're in the city of miracles.

Megan in Liguria said...

You have worked hard and took a BIG step moving here. I applaud you for that. You have already accomplished so much.

My fingers are cross and good karma is being sent your way for that big break through in 2009.

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Keep that positive attitude, it is half the battle!

Kim B. said...

Diana said what I'm thinking so much better than I could. This is your year!!!! I feel it!!!! Keep plugging away, you're right, it's all going to come together.

How about a view from your current 'office'?

Monica said...

I can't believe your friends called pursuing your dream "wackadoo". Wackadoo is remaining in a career for 15, 20 or 30 years because you can't figure out what else to do. Wackadoo is 50 years going through the motions of everyday life, just existing, not living fully in the moment.

Keep doing what you're doing. It'll pay off.

Skywalker said...

What you're doing is an inspiration in and of itself. I love reading your posts about Italy.

I kinda wish I pack up and leave too but alas a husband who requires constant care.

It will come - just keep chugging out the ideas. Put some pen to pad and go. And no you don't need to be a Catholic to pray to Saints - you just need a cause.

Gypsygirl said...

My bible says in Hebrews 1:1 "Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen". Believe that and keep the Faith. God will do the rest.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

tina - thank you!

diana - grazie for the support. Reading about your creativity (and seeing it) and your move is an inspiration as well.

anne - thanks for the encouragement.

beatriz - thanks. let me know what you find out on the saint front.

milanese - seriously, being here helps a lot.

megan - thank you for the good vibes.

joanne - yes it is. I hit a rough patch after the last script was rejected and finally snapped out of it by starting a new one.

kim b. - Within a few blocks are some pretty spectacular views, which I appreciate a great deal.

monica - I realized when I was in Toronto if I didn't make a change I was going to be in big trouble. Even my dad told me I was just "existing" not living. My life has changed so much since I moved here, I can't even begin to describe how.

skywalker - grazie. I do have quite a few causes. I need to narrow them down.

gypsygirl - it's funny I do have faith that things will work out and have no idea why. It's kind of crazy given the odds are most def. not in my favor. Oh well, I'll try to hold on to that feeling and see what happens.

ninety9 said...

Despite what your friends say, I think you have way more courage and conviction than most people. I mean really, how many of us would leave the unfamiliar, move to another country where English is not the predominant language, and start from scratch? I thought my life as a grad student was tough. I wish you all the success you deserve.

SDG said...

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you can make all your hard work pay off in 2009.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

ninety9 - thank you. There are days when not being fluent is difficult. It's like I'm back in kindergarten. I keep reminded myself that I know more Italian now than I did six months ago so there is some progress. And six months from now I will know even more.

sdg - grazie. I'm curious to see how this year will shape up.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

ouch, excuse the typos


'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

We should start a 'no plan B club'!
Keep the faith!
amanda x

sue d. said...

My fingers are crossed and my candles are lit.
I feel a hat-tossing sequence is in your future 'cause it's you girl and you should know it. With each glance and every little movement you show it ....

2009 is the year!

glamah16 said...

You know I was just thinking ST Jude. Hes my personal favorite. Dont give up.You have come to far.

Diana Strinati Baur said...

Where do we sign up for the No Plan B Club? I need to know.

Jessica said...

Good luck! I know quite well that it takes a lot of courage to do what you're doing, so keep heading in the right direction. The first year is the transition, from here on in is when it really gets fun. In bocca lupo they say and I know you will have great success.

Jean-Pierre said...

ahhhh, i can relate so much to your post. i've worked in film/tv in toronto for years now and getting to the point where i'm losing interest on working on other's projects - reminding myself why i got into this stuff to begin with.

i admire the path you've taken!

City Girl said...

Things really do always work out for those with determination and courage and you have plenty of that. I will keep you in my thoughts - and thank you for always being such an inspiration to live an authentic life, where you truly live instead of existing in the day-to-day.

wordtryst said...

That was quite a view you had there.

I can't help thinking that since this feels so right for you, since your life now 'fits' and you're following your inner guide, this move cannot not work for you.

That said, I'm a Catholic (non-practising) and there've been times when the prayers to St. Jude (slipped to me by a friend who knew an impossible cause when she saw one) were all that saved my sanity. Can't hurt to cover all your bases! :)

Signed, No Plan B club member.

WineGrrl said...

We are all rooting for you!

BigCNYC said...

You're so going to get that script sold, I feel it!! You're still my inspiration. I don't know about any saints so I'll just stick to Jesus. :O)

Petulia said...

You are doing great things, and all your blog followers can testify that!
I am sure 2009 will be your make year, and you will make it big! In bocca al lupo- and remember we are here if you need us:-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

amanda - thank you. I read an interview with Will Smith where he said he didn't have a Plan B because it would mean he assumed his Plan A would fail. Will is doing well so I'm going to try this idea. ha.

sue d. - you are too funny. thank you for the positive vibes. I will so toss up my hat when I sell something. I'll see if I can get friend to take a picture. :)

glamah16 - I need to read up some more on St. Jude. Thanks for the support.

diana - I like the way you think. Maybe I can make up some buttons.

jessica - grazie. It helps to hear from other expats about their experiences. I do feel like last year was the building the foundation year.

jean-pierre - thank you and good luck with your projects.

citygirl - grazie!!

wordtryst - thank you fellow club member. :)

winegrrrl - thank you!

bigcnyc - ha. Jesus works. :)

petulia - grazie mille. See you soon.

Dana Kaplan said...

Just to say that reading your blog has been an inspiration to me, as well obviously to so many others. What you've achieved already is amazing. Here's my inspirational quote for the day, which I saw on someone else's site but can't again find, so thank you to whoever it is:

"It's not because things are difficult that we do not dare...

...it is because we do not dare that things are difficult."


(Could it be a slogan for the 'No Plan B' club? I love that club idea...)

Good Luck to you! Dana

Michellanea said...

Great post and thanks for being so honest. I'm a big believer in going for broke and up to now it has served me well. I look around me and many of the people who took the "safe" route do not seem happy. Or their carefully constructed lives are beginning to fall apart. Which isn't to say you have to be this huge risk taker to get anywhere in life. But I would MUCH rather be in your situation - as economically precarious as it is in this moment - than in many, many other situations. There was a great photography show at the MOMA in New York many years ago called "Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort." When I want to freak myself out and think about how or where I could have ended up, I pull out the book and flip through the pictures. You go girl!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

dana - thank you. That quote is fantastic.

michellanea -grazie!! I understand what you're saying. Most of my friends in the States are doing very well but with this economic climate even they are worried. Sometimes the safest route can still be unpredictable. At least my over head is low. I would be freaked out if I had a 5k mortgage.

Then there are the friends and associates from my film life who are making millions and yet are the most unhappy people I know.

We only live once. I don't regret going for broke. Even if I don't succeed with in all my goals I've tried.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

This hits home. I've been spinning my wheels. I've also tried a few things that didn't pan out. Yet I have no "career" to fall back on. I was always counting on the pursuit of my art to pay off. Now I realize there are some things I need to be doing differently. My outlook has taken a huge blow. I want to turn things around this year. I have to make a big change in the next few weeks because I have to cover basic expenses first. But now I just found out I've received Inauguration tickets and I'm trying to figure out how to get to D.C. and whether I should in fact go. I think it's the kick in the pants I need. I also have to physically move myself to a different environment and I have accumulated months of clutter. I was hoping I could get rid of it in 3 days but it's not just physical- it's emotional. So now I'm debating whether I should take the next week and go through this stuff or go to DC in 3 days and then come back and take care of this. Getting those tickets changed everything and I don't want to devalue the significance.

Texas Espresso said...

girl I feel your pain! My Italian @ 40 changed careers and went back to school. Its been a lean few years (I love the defcon reference) but the end is near and I've decided despite whatever the economic forecast says - it will be a good year!

It takes courage and strength of will to start over mid-career. sucks at times but I fully believe it is the best thing to do if you feel the need.

savings? - are you supposed to have that? HA

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

actsoffaith - I say go to DC. It will be packed and cold but it will be a memorable experience. I went to Clinton's and it was incredible.

I feel you. I was in the same place a few years ago. I had a job but the company shut down right before Christmas, my parents moved out of the country, my siblings got married and I was starring down the barrel of a big birthday. I was broke, single and def. not happy. Then at the last minute I came to Rome for a week. It was my first trip and everything became clear to me sitting in Santa Maria in Trastevere. I went back to L.A. with a different outlook. Good luck. Have a great trip and I hope '09 is your year.

texas - more people are making careers changes mid life. Some of course are forced to due to layoffs, etc. It's still difficult...best of luck to your Italian. Regarding savings I do wake up at night worried about my retirement. What the heck is going to happen to me? Then I remember I need to worry about paying rent later this year and then that keeps me up instead.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You made it this far; it only seems logical that you'll make your goals.

Talk to your guardian angel. ;-)

I hope the writing projects continue to go well and that you'll hear from the Italian screenwriter soon!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - thank you! I have a meeting today about another potential project. Fingers crossed.

erin :: the olive notes said...

hey arlene....can you believe i'm still catching up on posts since i got back. loving this one though...you did have a major year last year, and it will be exciting to see what happens this year. it's fun living without a plan b :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

erin - we will support each other. I see you have already made some big changes this year. Here's to a great '09!